Monthly Archives: November 2012

Music Soothes The Soul.

By Deanna

I never considered myself a “music person”.  Sure, I like music. I like music when I am running or out at a bar. I have certain artist and groups in my arsenal that I never waiver on.  I have different taste from 80’s/90’s rap, Jim Morrison, Billy Joel,  The Dixie Chicks, Eagles, Pink, Pussycat Dolls… (you get the point).  I do enjoy music when its played but I rarely put the radio on in the car, I hardly know what the new “Top 40” hits are, I NEVER know the lyrics to any songs and I most certainly never play music at the house. 

My husband is a “music person”. He loves music – almost every genre. He plays it all the time, at home, in the car, he takes his ipod and its accompanying radio with him on every trip we take.  He makes playlists for every event, holiday, happening that goes on.  I think his playlists have playlists.  

Slowly I am becoming a “music person”.  I am discovering that music is really soothing, gratifying, healing, rewarding, and fun.  I am appreciating music, what it offers, and the artists that bring the lyrics to life.  Also, I am enjoying new genres: Country, old favorites: Eddie Money, Led Zeppelin  Run DMC, Queen, The Beatles and I’m listening to music when I work, I can’t believe how much better I work, I’m focused. Really focused. 

My sons are becoming “music people” and I am so grateful, grateful that my husband is giving them a gift that is so wonderful, a gift that I would never be able to give them. I love that the five year old can sit on the couch with my old ipod and listen to tunes and that he requests special songs from his dad. The eight year old is getting there too, a little more like me but since my hubs is constantly playing music he’ll learn how wonderful music is at an earlier age.  That makes me happy, and my heart sing! 

So, are you a music person? What’s on your ipod now? 

 photo credit: Funky64 ( via photopin cc

Posted in deanna, deanna verbouwens, music, music person, soothing music, That's Life

More Love.

By Deanna

On Sunday, my sisters, brother and sister-in-law, our children, and I witnessed first hand what Hurricane Sandy did in her path of destruction.*

Our plan was to head to a donation center in Island Park** to help volunteer, as my sister had communicated with a fellow classmate via Facebook who have been volunteering there for several days, the efforts at this location are being lead by another classmate of ours, we felt comfortable knowing that this was a viable location to volunteer, and were advised that it was an appropriate spot for our children as well.

Traveling to the donation center was no easy task because many of the parkways are still closed; we had to make a diversion and take a very local route and what we saw was devastating: local restaurants, clothing stores, dry cleaners, bakeries, gas stations, jewelry stores and the like ravaged by the storm, carpets thrown to the curbs, tape and plywood securing windows ripped apart, broken glass and parking lots of once typical Long Island strip malls bustling with patrons were now empty, vacant, sad.

As we were approaching our location we made a spontaneous stop when we came upon a gorgeous Greek church, outside the church were long banquet type tables adorned with clothes, food and toiletries all up for grabs for the local residents. This small Greek church with only 80 families in their congregation was hit hard, suffering major damage from Sandy to their already struggling place of worship. We had the pleasure of meeting the priest of the church and his father, where we were given a tour of the church and an education about its beautiful history and the Greek Orthodox religion. We gave the church the supplies we brought because it was clear that the residents needed the shampoo, soap, tampons, q-tips, batteries, flash lights, razors, toothbrushes etc.,- the church happily took the cleaning supplies to continue their recovery efforts.

After spending some time at the church we walked to our destination – the Island Park train station – through a neighborhood that was strewn with piles and piles of people’s lives outside their homes: couches, kitchen tables, books, lamps, plates, beds, toys, bathroom vanities, clothes, house after house, street after street. The smell was atrocious: seawater, mold, dust mixed with sadness. This was just three blocks in ONE town of thousands of homes on Long Island going through the same process of ripping out bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, fireplaces, bedrooms, and hauling their lives to the curb. 

    This photo is from Long Beach, New York, although Island Park wasn’t much different.

When we arrived at the donation center, to say it was overwhelming is an understatement. We walked passed a tent that housed FEMA, insurance agents, a trailer with the towns make-shift village hall, porta potty’s, food trucks, food stations and tables and tables of clothes that were donated and being distributed.  

We were welcomed with open arms as the amount of people that needed help outnumbered those that volunteered. As we volunteered we were able use this as a teachable moment for our children, who really worked hard, hauled ass and helped out. When my 8 year old asked me if we could go back and donate his old shoes I knew I made the right decision to bring my children along.

We witnessed so much in a few hours – I saw the best and worst in people. I saw people shopping as if they were at Target while others were so desperate and clearly so thrown off that they needed clothes from a donation center they could barely get the words out of their mouths. 

I left feeling, as a friend mentioned like Oscar Schindler  “I could of done more!”  I felt that we didn’t do enough. I was emotionally and physically drained. I plan on going back this weekend to do more volunteering; in the future if I can’t physically go down and volunteer I will find another way to help.

But with that being said, and volunteering being so important to the recovery, what we saw was NOTHING compared to what my husband saw and accomplished. My husband, along with a group of other FDNY helped fellow Rockaway brothers demo their homes ripping out walls, floors, taking down bathrooms that were just remodeled weeks before, shoveling four feet of sand out from basements all to just BEGIN the process to repairing their lives.

The many towns on Long Island, Staten Island and Queens don’t need random people visiting to “survey” the damage carrying checks (although the check will help) what they need are TEAMS of people to go to work, to go bust their asses and work hard. This is an idea that I am still trying to make into a reality, I can’t wrap my brain around it, how do I convince 20 healthy men and women to give up their weekends to help complete strangers continues to allude me?

The lives that have been destroyed in Sandy’s path of destruction need more than donated clothes, and me volunteering they need love, understand, strength and support; the post-traumatic stress that comes along with a disaster of this magnitude can be just as crippling as the Hurricane itself.

As we are quickly approaching the stressful holiday season I implore all of us to move forward with more patience, and love for our fellow neighbors. Let’s try to be aware of our surroundings – be kind to those that seem stressed – the receptionist at the doctors office it could be her first day back to work after digging her house out of a pile of sand, if the person in front of you is arguing with the cashier, have patience, it might be the her last dollar in her pocket after paying for her new hot water heater, be kind to your children as they are most likely unaware of the stress that surrounds us all –whether or not we have been directly impacted or not, we are all a little bit on edge.

All in all, I think we all need is more love, and I leave you with this excerpt from a Dixie Chicks song that I keep replaying: 

More love, I can hear our hearts cryin’
More love, I know that’s all we need
More love, to flow in between us
To take us and hold us and lift us above
If there’s ever an answer
It’s more love 

*This is my simple account of my experience regarding Hurricane Sandy destruction, I am not touting my efforts as I see them as nothing compared to what others are doing, and what needs to be done.

** Island Park is a town on Long Island that is located between the mainland of Nassau County Long Island and Long Beach which sits directly on the ocean.

Posted in #sandy, #sandyaftermath, deanna, deanna verbouwens, donations, hurricane sandy, more love, That's Life, volunteer

Yurbuds GIVEAWAY, Hurricane Sandy Ass, & a Pledge!

By Deanna

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I tried my hardest to not eat myself into oblivion, but I failed. I like many residents of the New York’s Long Island, Staten Island and Queens we were living in extremely stressful conditions – without electric, heat, gas, and the limited food supplies – it was close to impossible to exercise or eat healthy – or that was the choice I made, and the excuse I told myself as I chased down a slice of pizza with a donut. 

Nevertheless, I have now pulled the plug on my Hurricane Sandy eating marathon cause well 1) I feel horrible, 2) it won’t get me to my weight loss goals any quicker 3) Christmas is around the corner, and I swear I will not put on a “Christmas Ass” especially since my body is already adorned with an adorable (insert sarcasm) Sandy Ass. So today I stopped the madness, and got myself under control, I started by exercising. For me, exercise helps me balance everything, and when I exercise I need my music. I need to listen to Billy Joel, Eminem, Pink, Taylor Swift, John Denver, Run DMC etc… to get my ass in gear. 

Speaking of gear… (great segue right? ) before Hurricane Sandy touched down I was in a really good place of solid exercising and eating right, I was also lucky enough to test some new gear… Yurbuds  “Inspire For Women” sports earphones for a little over three weeks before my Sandy Ass attached itself to my body. I was so happy to review the Yurbuds earphones because I have been eyeing them in Target for some time!


Overview:  The Yurbuds earphones are in one word are AWESOME! They are made for WOMEN! The have a twist and lock technology that enables the earphones to fit very snug and keep them in place. I tested the Yurbuds while running, walking, spinning, and lifting weights (think: weighted squats, ski jumps, squat jumps, planks, shoulder presses) and was flabbergasted (yes flabbergasted!) that the earphones stayed in place with every exercise I tried. This NEVER happens with my other headphones, I feel like I spend half my workout  adjusting or wiping the sweat off from my other earpieces but with the Yurbuds that NEVER happened – ya see ? Awesome! 

 The Yurbuds are comfortable, and durable.  The Silicone material that the earphones are made of are a Medical-grade Silicone, which is unbelievably soft and flexible, the Yurbuds are also ergonomically designed to fit a woman’s ear: naturally, not crammed in there; which is something you can never find, ever. I was so happy that they offer two sizes  – large and small, which gave me a choice of fit – which is also awesome because, well, don’t we love when things fit right? They are durable too, I sweat buckets, and they held up, they also were easy to clean!

Sound Quality: The sound quality rocked! The Yurbuds blocked out any background noises so I wasn’t forced to listen to the person next to me grunting, and while running outside I was able to hear my music at a decent decibel while it still being safe to hear the sounds around me.

Style: They are PRETTY! Great colors to choose from … pink, purple, blue, teal, orange, green, yellow…every color! And the cord is just the right length, not too long not too short!

Whether or not you experienced Sandy, have a Sandy Ass truth be told the holidays are also quickly approaching, and it’s now or never – stop the madness – get yourself on a healthy eating and exercise kick so that you don’t screw yourself. Don’t become a statistic:  80% of the population packs on 5-8 pounds during the holidays, and never takes it off!  I know I VOW not to become a statistic. I just can’t. I caved too many years in the past, and it’s not happening this year. No way. No how. 

So join me! Pledge below by leaving a comment that you won’t put on a “Christmas Ass” and to sweeten the deal I have a set of Yurbuds to GIVEAWAY! All you have to do is comment below and on Monday, November 19th I will pick a lucky commenter through  And if you don’t win, well, you can buy them at Target for a really reasonable price! So basically, a win-win!

So pledge away, and say “NO to a Christmas Ass!” and YES! for a chance to win your own Yurbuds!

Disclosure: I was provided the earphones from Yurbuds and BSM Media. The opinions expressed are entirely my own based on my experience with the product.

Posted in #INSPIREFORWOMEN, christmas ass, deanna, deanna verbouwens, exercise, hurricane sandy, Mangia Mia Fitness Pia, sandy ass, stressful eating, yurbuds, yurbuds giveaway, yurbuds review