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I'm Melissa!

A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!


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Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free. ~ Christy Ann Martine.⁠

I know most people think of exercise as something we do to stay in shape, build lean muscle, lose a few pounds, tone up or burn off the pizza we had for dinner last night. Health, vanity, and longevity are definitely motivating factors, but they are not the only reason to move your body.

Most of you know that I am a water baby. I feel my happiest when I am swimming in the ocean or pool. We are mid-way into January 2020, and I have been feeling a little off. I tried to figure out why. I have been taking yoga classes, hiking in the canyons, and going for walks almost every day.

I have been eating good home-cooked meals and getting plenty of sleep. I have been good about not, not pushing myself too hard with work this year so I am not stressed. But I realized I had not been in the water since our trip to Hawaii over Thanksgiving. Yes, that is right. It’s been 6 weeks since I have been for a swim.

So yesterday I went to the pool and swam some laps. And when I came out, I felt like a brand new person. The water just does that to me. It cleanses me and centers me. Under the surface, in the silence, I can speak to God. H20 is a magical element. The only one that takes 3 forms – solid, liquid, or gas.

This morning I woke up before sunrise and headed back to the pool. While I was moving and breathing, I realized that the reason I love swimming is not cause it is the hardest workout. I swim breaststroke at a very leisurely pace. I’m never sore or tired after hours of swimming. Instead, I am overflowing with energy and joy. I laugh a lot more and the world looks all shiny and new.

Movement should do this for you. It should connect your mind, body, and heart space. It should speak to your soul. It should not be something you force your way through. It should bring you to a state of bliss. And each person is different. While I have not lifted weights for decades, lunging and squatting could be your magic elixir.

Finding the movement that works for you is much more important than what workout you do.

Because if you enjoy yourself, you are more likely to make it a part of your lifestyle.

And what works for one person won’t necessarily work for all bodies. I am prone to bulking if I do heavyweights, so I prefer sculpting and stretching exercises like yoga and pilates than create length.

I can swim breaststroke for hours and the silence in my head, from being submerged, puts me in a meditative trance. I feel peaceful and happy when I am in the water.

That said, I detest anything that leaves me hot and breathless. And my worst punishment would be to run anywhere. But there are billions of people, addicted to the runner’s high and cardio-based workouts. In fact my daughter Jade loves the adrenaline rush of a run.

The trick is to find out what YOU love to do. So try a pole dancing class, kickboxing, spinning, Zumba, kayaking, Salsa, Krav Maga, cross-fit, and boot camp. Take a walk on the beach barefoot or go for a hike.

But make sure to move. Daily movement is essential to overall health and longevity. Your body will tell you what it enjoys doing. Afterward, you’ll feel good and more importantly, you will look forward to doing it again.

There is no right or wrong way to exercise. The important thing is that you are moving your body every day in a way YOU love. Maybe it’s a tennis game, skiing, boot camp, spinning, dance class, cleaning the house, a walk-in Mother nature, Zumba, tai chi, boxing, yoga, Pilates or playing with your kids.

Use the movement to connect to the quiet space within. Only when you can create this mind-body connection can you tap into the full benefits of a workout. What workout does that for you? I’d love you to share.


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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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Food Netwok Chef, Melissa is dishing up delicious food and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your soul.

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