Tag Archives: NEXT by Athena

swim spot’s Q & A With Me

(Lisa Vogel, Suzanne Yeo, & Gretchen Tseng)

SwimSpot ran a quick interview / Q & A with me on their website today…I thought you might like to hop on over to learn more about my Fall favorites.

Click HERE to read the interview.


Filed under Interview


I thought I’d share some pictures with you from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s¬†Pipeline to a Cure Stand Up Paddle event I went to this past Sunday as an Ambassador for NEXT by Athena. ¬†For those of you unfamiliar with Pipeline to a Cure:

The goal of the Pipeline To A Cure is to increase awareness and funding for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by rallying the surfing and action sports world. Since 1955 the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has worked to assure the development of the means to cure and control CF and to improve the quality of life for those born with the disease.

In recent years, doctors in Australia realized that cystic fibrosis patients who surfed had significantly healthier lungs than non-surfing CF patients. They found that the inhalation of saltwater mist hydrates the lining of the lungs and actually assists in the elimination of bacteria-laden mucus. As a result of this discovery, a hypertonic saline solution was developed to mimic a ‚Äúsurf session‚ÄĚ for CF patients to use on a daily basis. We all know that surfing is great for the body and soul, but in this case, it actually helps fight the disabling effects of cystic¬†fibrosis for thousands of children.

We really lucked-out with the weather (the weekend before was FREEZING) which made the day so enjoyable.  What could be better than hanging out at the beach?  Above is a picture of me with Dave Kalama (World Champion of surf, SUP, and outrigger canoe) and Suzanne Yeo who is my fellow NEXT by Athena Ambassador,  a SUP Instructor, and yoga instructor.

Above on the left is Lisa Vogel who is one of the co-presidents of RAJ Manufacturing which designs, manufactures, and markets  swimwear for high profile brands such as  Athena, NEXT by Athena, Luxe by Lisa Vogel, Ella Moss, Splendid Swim, Guess Swimwear, Hurley Swimwear, St. Johns Swim, Reef Swimwear, and Nautica Swim.  I feel really lucky to be associated with RAJ and NEXT by Athena.

During the event all of us were commenting about how awesome the music was.  The music was provided by the Kalama Brothers (click here for more information) and had that awesome laid-back Hawaiian feel.  I had to laugh when during one of their breaks I realized that I knew one of the brothers, Ryan, from when my son was younger and he taught his Gymboree class.  It was fun to reminisce with Ryan and meet his brother Kai.  I am expecting big things from these brothers (Kai was on season 8 of American Idol).

We finished off the afternoon by taking a quick SUP class from Suzanne.  I had been wanting to try SUP for years and absolutely loved it.  I am looking forward to getting out there and practicing.

Please consider supporting Pipline for a Cure.  What an amazing cause.


Filed under Education, Events, Research


I can remember the first time I tried a Mexican Wedding Cake cookie.  If I remember correctly, my mom was baking holiday cookies and got the recipe for them from one of our neighbors.  I was an instant fan.  I loved the intensely pecan flavor of this cookie and its sugar-coating.

I recently held a vegan cooking (although there was no “cooking” involved) demonstration as part of NEXT Week. ¬†I am a Brand Ambassador for NEXT by Athena and the company put on a great event. ¬†During NEXT week there were tons of free classes held at the Swimspot store at the Irvine Spectrum… everything from pilates, yoga, Pure Barre classes, to my cooking demonstration. ¬†I decided to keep the cooking demonstration easy and made three varieties of my Cookie Dough Bites; PB and C Cookie Dough Bites (click here for the recipe), Mexican Wedding Cake Bites, and Gingerbread Bites.

My kids love my cookie dough bites. ¬†Most everyone I know likes to have something sweet from time to time and these are great for those occasions because there really isn’t anything in them that is too “bad.” ¬†Yes, you do want to make sure you don’t get too much fat in your diet, but I would MUCH rather have the fat in your diet come from nut butters than animal products. ¬†While my version of these Cookie Dough Bites does not have the traditional powdered sugar-coating, you could definitely opt to do so.

Falling back on my simple is best philosophy, these are crazy easy to make and come together in a snap.

The Mexican Wedding Cake Bites are my son’s favorite Cookie Dough Bites, so without further ado…


1 cup roasted cashew butter
¬Ĺ cup Somersweeet¬†**
2 tsp Frontier vanilla flavor ***
1 cup toasted pecans (blended into a meal)
** As an alternative you can use sucanut, coconut sugar, date sugar, or powdered sugar
***DO NOT use vanilla extract. ¬†Since these are not cooked, the alcohol in the extract won’t taste good.
¬ľ cup Somersweet **
¬ľ tsp cinnamon

On the stove over medium-low, toast the pecans (watch carefully to prevent burning).  Once tasted, remove them to cool.

Place the cooled toasted pecans in the food processor and process into a meal.

With a hand blender, cream together the cashew butter, ¬Ĺ cup Somersweet and vanilla flavor.¬† Once the mixture is creamed, mix in the toasted pecan meal (I use my hands).

Once the mixture is creamed, mix in the toasted pecan meal (I use my hands while wearing non-latex gloves I bought at Costco).

Form the dough into small rounds (about 1Tbs. each). ¬†In a separate bowl, combine ¬ľ cup Somersweet with ¬ľ tsp. cinnamon. ¬†Roll the rounds in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator to firm-up.  The cookies should keep in the fridge for a week.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian