Judge me.

To the woman dressed head-to-toe in a $300 color coordinated track suit and matching headband who refused to enter into discussion with me because she judged me as unworthy for conversation about athletics due to my lucky shorts with a gaping hole in the waistband, baggy tank, and Tom’s,

To the man weightlifting at the gym who directly ignored me when I offered to give technical advice, only to approach me two days later to inform me he’d Google’d my name and now would love to hear some tips,

To the older woman who muttered crude and degrading words under her breath and shook her head in condemnation of the shorts I wore in the grocery store post-training,

To the girl who labeled me as an “attention whore posting sexually explicit pictures on Facebook for validation,” in an anonymous email,

To the past boyfriend who declared me hypocritical and unfit to call myself a “strong woman” because of my willingness to adapt my behavior and make sacrifices,

While I would like to simply reply with, “Do you even lift, bro?” I realize that judging an individual on how much they lift or cannot lift is just as bad, so I will respond to each of you with this…

Judge me on my character.
Judge me on my morals.
Judge me on the respect I have for others.
Judge me on how I treat others.
Judge me on the respect I have for my self.
Judge me on my willingness to evolve, change, and grow.
Judge me on the quality of the human being that I am.

Do not stop “judging,” but please judge me on these things instead.



Photo by Tiffany Alanori

My Present Haven


10 months ago I left my downtown, brick walled, milled door loft and filled my ’99 Jetta to the brim with suitcases, faux taxidermy, and amber depression glassware for my voyage to the desert. As my heirloom vanity, mid-century chairs, and aluminum bar stools collect dust in a Philadelphia storage facility, I can relay that moving cross country leaves you with little to none attachment to material things. Perhaps this is why it took me nearly a year to fill my Phoenix bedroom, leaving it stark white and empty (though I LOVE a bleached out haven), rejecting the idea that this is “home” for the present moment.

While I may have no attachment to material things, I do have a love for the beautiful things. So with a little help of collected antiques and my favorite pastime, thrifting, I have accepted this present moment and filled this sanctuary with vibrance, pattern, texture, life, and love.


California polaroids line my wall in dollar picture frames.


I have an obsession with jewel colored glass vases and jars.

And so does the Arizona sunlight streaming through my window.  IMG_1781 IMG_1782

Mocassins from the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and a portrait by a beautiful friend.

A terrarium and clay pot longing for herbs, and a piece from my vintage Samnsonite collection.

If you can tell what type of person someone is by what lines their shelves, I’m not sure what metallic clogs, Chuck Taylor’s, a polaroid camera, and an antique hand mirror says about me.

Isn’t it mandatory to have your boudoir equipped with a leather pillow, humming bird, Isreli wool blanket, and German Shepherd?

(P.S. Looking for inspiration for your own sanctuary?
My favorite lifestyle blogs:
Design Love Fest
The Socialite Family)


Aloneness in California.

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This past week I made my first voyage to California. Just me, Mike the Mini, tunes from Tomahawk Bang, a Polaroid camera, and some day dreams of becoming a Ninja. Along the way I was challenged, inspired, stunned, and learned a few things:

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1. I need to surround myself with more color, patterns, light. I need more beauty. The emotional impact of the stunning Santa Monica beaches, the bright apartment, and the free spirits of the individuals who reside in both resonated within the gray and dark state I’ve come to be in.

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2. The power of positivity is unrivaled. From the producers of American Ninja warriors, to the community of “ninjas,” everyone I encountered on my trip spread nothing but smiles in this soul of mine. Their passion for the challenges, their will to train, and the joy they had in creating and participating  in the show, was truly remarkable.While this community left me with tips on improving my parkour abilities, I also left with a newfound motivation to master my craft and passion. (PS. The episode will be airing on May 26 at 8pm on NBC)

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3. I am one lucky gal. With a bundled coach and coach’s wife in the wind surrounded stands on Venice Beach at 4am and an outpouring of messages and notes sending good luck wishes, I am convinced my friends and family have more love in those mushy hearts of theirs than anyone else in this world…but maybe that’s just the love I have for them.

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 4. The ability to be alone is a necessary one. A 6-hour drive each way, an empty loft, and a city full of strangers can unsteady even the most self-assured of humans. But rather than fearing the self-reflection, presence of the moment, and quiet air of solitude, one can gain so much in accepting aloneness in all of it’s uncomfortableness. To quote J. Krishnamurti:

“There is an aloneness which is not this loneliness, this sense of isolation. That state of aloneness is not a remembrance or a recognition; it is untouched by the mind, by the word, by the society, by tradition. It is a benediction.” 

Scan 19 Scan 18 Scan 17(5. I need to clean up my polaroid skills)


Pixie Warrior : Ninja Warrior

Ironic as it is, I recently found out that my internet-created nickname, “Pixie Warrior,” is more fitting than I ever liked to believe. While there have been drawings which portrayed me in a similar light to Xena the warrior princess, after this month I may just have more in common with team Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s bad boy, Raphael…or at least I’d like to think so.

Ninja Sam

Last month I was put into contact with a casting producer of NBC’s well known show, American Ninja Warrior. As a fan of the original series, Sasuke, I had flashbacks of watching contestants dangling from the cliffhanger, flying off of the double salmon ladder, and engaging in their best Sonic the Hedgehog impersonations in order to conquer the half pipe. In addition to these flashbacks, I’ve had nightmares of belly flops into the water, this short 5’2″ stature hindering me from any long jumps and reaches, and my coach hiding his face in shame as I fail on the first obstacle course. But presented with the opportunity to face plant into failure in front of a nationwide audience…I couldn’t hesitate in accepting it.

So in less than two weeks I will be joining my muscle head comrades in Venice Beach, California to attempt and film the course, and show my ninja skills. If you’d like to support this challenge, I would be more than grateful. Here’s how you can do so…

  • Buy a Pixie Strength shirt! All proceeds from this product will go towards funding my travel expenses in California, and anything beyond that will assist in my trip to USA Weightlifting Nationals this Summer. (See “Shop” above to see product availability)
  • Watch Ninja Warrior!…And try not to laugh too hard if I do in fact face plant.



magical belly.

I eat to fuel my strength and well being.

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I don’t eat (or not eat, rather) to look like a bronzed barbie in a swimsuit come summertime. I don’t eat for a vascular, display of the abdominal muscles all ordered neatly in a row. I don’t use food as a punishment, nor as a reward. I don’t place negative emotions onto a spoon full of sugar, nor do I strip myself the pleasure of a savory meal out of fear that I won’t be able to burn it in the fiery depths of guilt at the gym the following day. I eat to bring clarity to the mind, awareness of the present moment through the senses, and energy to the body through one of it’s purest (and most delectable) forms. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Just like most individuals, it’s a struggle to maintain this positive relationship with food. But for me it’s not much of a choice, it’s the only choice.

As an athlete, I willingly place an immense amount of stress on the body day in and day out. Without such positive energy I would sink into despair in the grasps of a cortisol overload.

As the only grandchild of five without Common Variable Immunodeficiency and tri-weekly blood infusions, I willingly direct a great amount of awareness to the source of said energy. I fear any ignorance or naiveté would bring weakness to my body and allow this demonic gene to show itself.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) So with this choice, I eat, and I eat well. I don’t label this eating as a “diet,” so as not to not place any negative connotation on the act, it is simply what I am meant to ingest. Whole organic foods, minus a few things.

A few years ago I followed the Paleolithic Diet, stripping gluten and dairy from my diet, and replacing it with meat, vegetables, and limited starch, nuts and fruit. I never “cheated,” forging a love for broccoli, cauliflower, lamb, peppers, and berries, expanding my palate for the healthier things. But that expansion was not only limited to my nutrition, but also to my belly. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Now introducing, the “magical belly.” Feed it a  tomato or a handful of grapes and this belly will perform a trick, distending to a size that can only be compared to that of the Laughing Buddha. This stomach could perhaps pull a bunny out of a hat, but it certainly can’t tolerate or digest certain foods.

While I battle iron weights daily, my biggest fight is often against horrendous abdominal pain, bloat, nausea, gastric reflux, vomiting, constipation and the alternative (I’ll limit the gross talk). All of these symptoms fall under the definition of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which is simply a blanket term for unexplained gastrointestinal issues. Made with Repix (http://repix.it)While my gut may be intolerant to gluten and FODMAPs, it is still full of love for the most delicious of foods.

With the help of the loveliest of nutritionists, Elke Nelson of Whole9, I’ve determined that the best fuel for this body includes gut healing bone broth, lean grass-fed meats, organic poultry, wild fish, good fats, squash, and greens (kale, collards, spinach), supplementing only with fish oil and branch chain amino acids. It provides the perfect balance between strength and energy in my training and health in my body.

And there you go, my belly’s not magical. It’s just an illusionist with a picky appetite, but a wonderful one.

P.S. Here are some of my favorite sites for recipes:



photo credit: tiffany alanori

before writing some words, let’s go over some numbers:

  • 2: years since my first national weightlifting competition
  • 540: days since the BuzzFeed article coining “pixie warrior” was released
  • 10: months spent without touching a barbell in order to recover from a traumatic injury
  • 2342.1: miles driven from the city of brotherly love to the valley of the sun
  • 50: attempts made to write this first blog post

this year has been filled with the most fear, pain, disappointment, anguish…passion, joy, courage, and strength.

after a severe injury, a loss of a job and coach, i sat in the comfort of my beautifully brick walled loft reminiscing on all of my successes, yet fearing all of my failures. i cried tears for all i had lost, but my spirit realized that in all of my past comforts i’d already lost the most important thing…challenge.

i’d accepted my comfort, i lived in the past with mere expectations of a future, but i never breathed in the present moment. i chose to easily dismiss fear rather than accepting it in order to propel me into a state of courage. so the next breath i took, i embraced that presence, fear, pain, and the new challenges to come from it.

so here i am. writing in the beautiful desert, training under one of the top coaches in the country, with not much to my name…my passion, my strength, and just that, my name. so join me in my journey to see what lies ahead.





get ready…


Here’s my first attempt at a shirt. It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m anxious to try more.

Ready for a Pixie Strength blog & merchandise? Here it comes!



Dear friends,

Firstly, thank you for all of the love & support! Without it I’m not sure I’d have had the courage to overcome my injury, defeat my fear, and rid my weaknesses. I’ve started training again, and with the added muscle & sights of upcoming competitions comes some questions for you…

1) I’m finally ready to take the plunge into the blogosphere. What would you like to see in the content?
2) Any one know of any amazing blog designers?
3) Heading back into the national competition scene means additional training and travel expenses. So I’m thinking of making some Pixie Warrior branded merchandise to raise some funding towards this. Any ideas for items you’d like to see?

Strength & smiles,