Archive for the ‘Happy Feet’ Category

A few years ago I participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock Up fundraiser–I use the word participated lightly.  My boss had me arrested and I graciously adhered. The organization came to my office, picking me up in a black limo, and then taking me to a mock jail at the Sun Trust building, downtown Orlando.

I spent a few hours there making phone calls to clients and friends asking for “bail money” while being served brunch. Honestly, not a bad way to spend a morning.

At the end of my sentence, I turned in the money collected; then I stood in line waiting to be photographed with stripes and handcuffs leaning against rails. Out came the lip gloss and mirrors as all of the other women touched up their makeup and brushed their hair. Some people posed, others offered larger than life smiles. I did none of the above.

I accepted my picture and tossed it into the dark abyss of my purse. Once home, I buried the image deep inside my nightstand. I don’t know why I didn’t throw that picture away. But I couldn’t. I knew something deep was captured in that moment that I needed to recognize. Yet, I just wasn’t ready to look.

Recently I unpacked the remaining boxes from a move to the city. Stopping as I ran my hand across the slick surface of the photo, I sat back on the bed and drew in a deep breath. The picture stared at me. The woman in the picture appeared as a stranger. Sad and uncomfortable posing, trying her best to offer some resemblance of a smile, she stares into the distance, trying unsuccessfully not to look pained. The backdrop jail suits her.

The truth is my weight does make me feel like a prisoner.

Oh, I haven’t always been overweight.  I have had the pleasure of eating Twinkies and slugging Coke without thinking twice about counting carbs or calories. There was a time when the only exercise equipment I purchased was a little black dress and a pair of heels for dancing the night away. My pantyhose size coincided with the beginning of the alphabet not titles of royalty.

I refer to my thinner self as if she’s an actual person, separate from me. I feel like the thin me is an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time. I miss her. I pull out pictures of her and reminisce. I still keep some of her clothes in my closet. The closet that’s divided into three sections: I’m fat, didn’t think I could get any bigger, and damn, I’ll never get into those again.

This prison is made up of diets, Weight Watchers meetings, low-fat, low carb, running, walking, sweating and starving. It’s a scary place to visit and once you’re here, the truth is, it’s hard to leave. In the lonely confines of these walls there is no beautiful imagery, no breathtaking views, only guilt and shame.

Today, I’m putting my mug shot up on my mirror right beside an old picture of my long-lost friend. I hope together they can inspire me to make a new friend. I can emerge as a new person, not the prisoner of fat or the thin young Twinkie eater. Fearlessly, breaking the chains of guilt and fear I’ll be new and improved, low carb, low-fat, and a healthier version of me. I will be free.


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If you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to finish, or even start, your Christmas shopping. It’s easy to become flustered and panic. Or you can ask for a little help from your friends, which is what I did. I reached out to one of my favorite communities, our Twitter friends. I received advice from some of our favorite health and wellness experts like @ArthritistAshley who tweets about chronic pain, RA, and OA. I chatted with Dr. Mo aka @FitInMyHeart and @GirlGoneHealthy, excited by their unique suggestions. @RunnerLuis, our favorite Before & After Icon, shared several of his best workout/running gift ideas. A few tweets later, I created a last minute Christmas list full of fun and practical ideas for everyone on your list—from teachers to mom to colleagues at work. And in true holiday spirit, I’m paying it forward and sharing with you. I hope you’ll find inspiration, motivation, and maybe even a little something for yourself. Thanks to all of our Twitter friends for their excellent suggestions and helpful holiday tips. 

Cleaning Service Gift Card. “Cleaning your home can be a chore for anyone, but is especially difficult if you live with pain or illness. Consider giving a gift card for a cleaning service or offer services to help a person who may need it this holiday season. A clean home for the holidays is a happy home!” ~Ashley Boynes-Shuck.  Connect with Ashley  on Twitter @ArthritisAshley and Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arthritis-Ashley/140748292608472.

Indoor Cycling Bike. @IronMikeStone didn’t hesitate when asked what his ideal Christmas gift would be. “It’s the Must-Have new training bike.” If you’ve followed the Le Tour De France, you’ll remember seeing commercials with Lance Armstrong working out on a bike like this—it’s the official training bike of the Tour, made by Pro-Form. Be sure to check out Mike’s Triathlon, Fitness, & Motivational Blog.

Aromatherapy Hot/Cold Packs. Podiatrist Rose Caillier, @FootScribe, offered this great suggestion for a favorite gift. She suggests using these for neck, shoulders, feet, and ankles. We took her advice and found this great deal at Brookstone: n•a•p® 2-Piece Lavender Aromatherapy Set.  You can learn more from Rose at www.footscribe.com.

i-Tunes Gift Cards. “I love i-Tunes gift card so I can build up my running playlists.” ~ @RunnerLuis

GU Pure Performance Energy Products. Luis is a marathon runner and hates running out of GU. He suggests buying a box for that special running someone.

Running Undies. Athletic underwear are made of wicking fabric to prevent chafing. “My best gift one year was running undies. They were awesome, and I use them multiple times a week.” Our favorite spot for finding great running undies for men and women is Lululemon. Luis offers health and weight loss advice on Fat Free Life, and he writes a blog at Muddy Runner.

Blender, Food Processor & Juicer Machine. @GirlGoneHealthy recommends this as the perfect gift. “It’s perfect for health nuts or those just starting!” ~ Tera Norberg. And after talking with Tera, we searched and found a great all-in-one product by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.  Tera features articles about healthy food on her blog Girl Gone Healthy.

Fitbit. “Oh yes, you know what I recommend? A Fitbit. It’s a $99 investment in #LifeLoveANDHealth. It is like having a personal trainer with you at all times. There is also a wonderful community to cheer you on!”  ~ @FitInMyHeart, aka, Dr. Mo, a Florida Podiatrist. For fun, motivation and education check out Dr. Mo’s website at www.FitInMyHeart.com.

Sleep-N-Heel Night Conditioning Heel Sleeves. Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman, recommends the Heel Sleeves for conditioning dry, cracked skin. Visit www.HoustonFootSpecialists.com for more on ordering this product.

Gift Grab Bag. Our friends at AARP Magazine went out of their way this season to create an amazing Holiday Gift Guide specifically tailored for, well, everyone—the fitness enthusiast, the Gardner, the great outdoors enthusiast, pet lovers, and the list goes on. Not only are the gift ideas fun and creative, did we mention they’re all under $50? Now that’s a reason to celebrate! Rather than pick one, we recommend grabbing a warm latte, a fluffy croissant, and curling up with the mag as if it were a good book.  

Body Media Fit Core Armband: http://www.bodymedia.com/Shop/Armband-Packages  @BrooklynFitChik is always up on the latest & greatest in health & wellness and she’s giving us some of her top picks she hopes will find their way under her own Christmas tree this year.” I have the slightly bigger version but would love this sleeker version. Easily one of my favorite workout products that keeps me on track. LOVE!”

Nordic Track 3-in-1 Foal Roller: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/gifts-under-75?page=5 “My IT Band has it on her wish list.” ~ @BrooklynFitChik

Sorel Tofino Boots: What more can we say about footwear that’s comfy and fashion forward? Maybe we should leave that to someone else who says it best . . . “Because I am worth it!” ~ @BrooklynFitChik. Be sure to visit Margo’s website at www.BrooklynFitChick.com.

Holstee Manifesto Poster. Embrace motivation & inspiration each and every day with words to live by. Did we mention that it’s eco-friendly too? Yep, that’s why Holstee is one of our favorite companies—inspiring a little Happy in our day—as they use sustainable materials and processes. And they have some of the coolest products around.

Happy Feet Insoles. What Gift List would be complete without a quick nod to our fabulous massaging insoles? Trust us, Ole’ Saint Nick himself couldn’t get through Christmas Eve deliveries if he didn’t wear his Happy Feet Insoles all year long.  Or at least that’s what we believe . . . and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? www.happyfeet.net.

 Happy Holidays from the Happy Feet Team!

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Gaga has the Grammys, Firth has the Oscars, and Happy Feet has the Choice Awards. Recently selected as a Choice Awards product winner, Happy Feet shined at this year’s National Hardware Show.

A recent comment from NRHA’s vice president Scott Wright stresses the significance of this award, “New products are the lifeblood of the industry. The Retailers’ Choice Awards program recognizes the top products each year at the National Hardware Show® that demonstrate strong sales potential at retail. The award also creates a strong bond between retailers and manufacturers due to the fact that retailers choose the winners.”

Other winners at this year’s show included College Duck Tape from Duck Tape, 360 Grill from Blacktop and Ready-to-eat meals from GoPicnic. Key elements of chosen winners include products that display innovation, great sales, and business potential for retailers.

“We are very proud to have been chosen for this award. As a made in America product we are always striving to keep our work force pain-free and comfortably on their feet for as long as they need to be,” says Annette Salamone, Vice President of Marketing, Happy Feet USA, Inc. “We look forward to The Hardware Show each year.  The attendees are a group of hard-working, on their feet, individuals and it makes us happy to be able to put smiles on their faces.”

Read more about the “latest and greatest” products, like Happy Feet Insoles, in the Hardware Retailing July issue.

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We’ve all been there . . . racing to the store at the very last minute, rummaging through the leftovers, searching for some semblance of the “perfect” Father’s Day gift among the predictable—ties, wallets, cufflinks, and cologne. But it doesn’t have to be this difficult. Tap into that special dad in your life, and go with a gift that says you know him, you appreciate him and with this gift you salute him.

Adventure. Pull dad out of his every day rut with a wild and crazy adventure. A few years back, I noticed how much my once daring husband seemed to be simply going through the motions. He’s the kind of man who traveled the world, craved bungee jumping, and blew things up for a living. The spark was a mere flicker and it needed to reignite. I purchased a Pilot for a Day package at our nearby Flight Academy, and he and our daughter spent the day flying around Orlando—feeling the need for speed. For inspiration, visit XperienceDays. With gifts like balloon rides, Nascar driving, and surfing, there’s something special for every type of dad. Not sure? Give an Xperience Days gift card and let him choose.

Collection. My step-dad played the gut-bucket, retired to become a real cowboy, and entertained friends and family as if he were still in his 20s. He loved traveling off the beaten path in every aspect of daily living. Although these attributes endeared him to me, they also made life hard when searching for gifts for holidays, especially Father’s Day. Until, I found this crazy pair of socks in the mall. He wore those socks to business meetings, the bank, at parties, camping trips—they became his claim to fame, showing them off every chance he got. From Tabasco bottles to dancing reindeer, the socks’ silly, over-the-top, unique, and eye-catching allure brought us one step closer to our wonderful relationship. Start a collection for your dad. Whether it’s timeless pieces or zany ones, find something that fits him and the two of you.

Concert. Do you ever hear him talk about that one concert? The one he always wanted to see but never got around to? Yep, the one that got away. Well, make it happen. The “old” bands and artists are crawling out of the woodwork, giving it that old school try. Whether Dad experiences flashbacks of his own version of Bret Michaels hair or has morphed into a little monster and digs Lady Gaga, there’s something for every generation, every musical taste.  And there’s nothing like having permission to dance badly, scream loudly, and wave a lighter, uhm, cell phone  in the air. Check out Tickets Now for upcoming concerts in your area.

 Health. We want the dads in our lives healthy and happy for years to come. Why not say that with the gift of health? You can select one of these or put together a basket of healthful goodies. A healthy read, Laird Hamilton’s Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul (and, of course, Surfing), isn’t just about surfing but more about tapping into the surfer soul in all of us, finding our own passion and path in a crazy, busy life. (It’s a personal favorite.) A new exercise class, like SoulCycle or kickboxing, is a great way for Dad to enjoy a fitful experience working out with his family. iPods, engraved with a Father’s Day message, keep Dad moving to the beat of his own drum. And sweet relief for those tired dancing feet? You know it, a brand new pair of Happy Feet® Massaging Insoles.

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You can celebrate Earth Day’s 41st  Anniversary by visiting some of your favorite stores. As concern for the environment grows, individuals and organizations pledge to make a difference in healthier living. This year’s ever expanding list of difference makers includes Starbucks and Lowes. But if you take a look around, there’s a store on almost every corner participating in the Earth Day celebration in some form or another. Being green is so in. So spend the day out in this Spring weather and pay attention to those offering green gifts; you may be pleasantly surprised.

Are you doing something special in honor of Earth Day? We’d love to hear about it. And don’t forget to visit earthday.org and submit your Act of Green for the Billion Acts of Green Campaign. From the simplest, smallest gestures to the grandiose, it’s a beautiful thing.

Starbucks. Starbucks offers patrons, what else, free coffee. Step into your preferred Starbucks today with a reusable mug or tumbler in hand and enjoy a free coffee or tea.

According to a recent online post from Starbucks Global Responsibility Manager, Sue L., “In 2010, people brought their own tumblers into our stores more than 32 million times, keeping nearly 1.45 million pounds of paper out of landfills.” Clearly Starbucks and their dedicated customers impact our world every day by performing one small gesture.

Lowes. Visit a local Lowes store on Saturday, April 23rd and receive a tree in honor of Earth Day 2011. This is a great way to get the entire family involved and to help teach children the importance of taking care of the environment for today and tomorrow, ensuring a sustainable world for the next generation. Make a day of it. Bring the entire family outside to plant the tree and talk about its significance, and then enjoy a picnic lunch out on the lawn, admiring your handiwork and Earth Day Birthday gift.

Happy Feet. As you leave your carbon footprint behind today while celebrating this place we call home, remember to wear your Happy Feet® Insoles. In an effort to become an eco-friendly partner in helping take care of the environment, Happy Feet manufacturers use biodegradable, non-toxic glycerin which meets USFDA compliance regulations.

How will you celebrate Earth Day ?

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“I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power.  You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” 

~Jesse Owens~

There’s no better way to start a fitness program than signing up for a 5k. It’s an unwritten contract with the healthy you who lurks beneath the surface. You can walk. You can run. You can walk and run. There’s no right way to do a 5k—it’s what makes sense for you. Whether you walk to earn funds or awareness for a non-profit or sign up for a marathon that pushes your limits, these events inspire a healthier you.

You can find events sponsored by a cause you already support or search for one you’d like to learn more about, like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training (TNT). Although my 5k experience is limited, both 5k events I walked left me feeling accomplished and motivated. In an effort to reignite my fitness plans, I’m registering for the Purple Stride Manhattan, taking place May 22, 2011. My goal is to run this one.

As I work towards this May event, I’ll be reading all of the great Facebook and Twitter posts about upcoming walks, fitness, motivation, goals, and success stories. I’ve already found great information and tools there. After perusing the awesome Twitterverse, and getting a little help from my friends, here are a few upcoming walks you may want to check out, whether you do it this year or train for next year.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary: Portland Marathon 2011

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Sunday, October 9, 2011   

7:00 AM

Downtown Portland, Oregon


Runner Sarah Bowen Shea shares her Portland Marathon experience.

I ran the Portland Marathon in 2010. I’ve lived here 11 years and run numerous (now 7) marathons, yet it was first time I’d done the Portland Marathon.
The race is renowned for being incredibly well organized and very well supported. Both true. They introduced a new corral system in 2010 that worked very effectively, ensuring runners would not have to dodge walkers–and that walkers wouldn’t have to be jockeyed by runners. While Portland doesn’t have the crowd support of, say, NYC or Chicago, I felt the spectators were very enthusiastic (especially given it RAINED the entire time–only 3rd time in 39 year history of race that ANY rain has fallen during it) and fairly well spaced out along the route. The volunteers were incredibly helpful and energetic, and the water stations worked like clockwork.
The course has its scenic sections, and a few drab spots. The city has an industrial edge to parts of the Willamette River and the course spends a fair bit of time in this industrial district. But it also crosses a lovely bridge (designed by same man as Golden Gate Bridge) and then hugs a bluff for several miles.
The finish line area is top rate–a smorgasbord of healthy, enticing options and LOADS of eager, helpful volunteers. Each finisher gets a rose (Portland is the Rose City) and a sapling. It’s very memorable and charming.

Sarah is the co-author of Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, dubbed “a bible for active parents” by the New York Times. She is also a contributing editor for Runner’s World and Shape magazines. On Twitter you’ll find Sarah @SBSontheRun and on Facebook at: Run Like a Mother: The Book.



The Overnight

June 4 – 5, 2011

New York City, NY

My family and I participated in the AFSP Central Florida Out of the Darkness 5k in 2008 and held every February. It’s a very upbeat, inspirational event. The Overnight is the signature “big sister” event. Although I personally have not participated, I’ve interviewed others who have, and it’s always the same story: a life changing event worth every mile, all 18. Registration is now open for the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk in New York City on June 4th through 5th. The 18-mile, sunset to sunrise, walk raises funds to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national organization that funds suicide prevention research, education, and advocacy initiatives as well as programs to support people personally affected by suicide and mental disorders. More than 2,000 people are expected to participate. To register, donate or learn more about The Overnight please visit www.TheOvernight.org or call 888-The-Overnight.



NYC Half 2011

March 20, 2011


New York City, NY

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 Runner Tina Shoulders shares her excitement about the upcoming NYC Half.

I started running about spring of last year after run/walking for about 6 months and lost more than 50 pounds in the process. I started to fall in love with running and decided I would make it my superpower. I decided to run for a cause, so in November I signed up for the NYC half Marathon with Team In Training to raise money for blood cancers, one of which my father is in remission from lymphoma. I could have chosen a marathon but decided to go with a half because it is still a challenge, and I am a born and raised ,diehard New Yorker—I  want my first marathon to be NYC. I am half way there, doing the NYC half Marathon on March 20.

I am chronicling the journey and more at www.beautifulathlete.com. Make sure to check out the Heart & Soul Magazine post on Tina’s transformation. You can also find Tina on Twitter @laidbackchick.


The San Francisco Marathon

July 31, 2011

San Francisco, California

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Runner Luis Bueno shares an excerpt from his upcoming (Happy Feet) guest blog post, revealing his passion for running and The San Francisco Marathon.

Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.

San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.

The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.

 You can follow Luis on Twitter at @runnerluis and be sure to check out his blog at muddyrunner.blogspot.com

If you have a favorite walk or run that you would like to promote and tell our readers about, please feel free to post and include links. We’d love to hear all about it. 

 (Jesse Owens quote courtesy of Quote Garden.)

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Hello there loyal readers of Happy Feet! I am honored to share with you a little bit about me and my practice. One of the first things I’m asked is “Why Podiatry?”  My first response is “It’s better than Proctology” LOL (Am I Right?!?). Seriously, I was a McDonald’s All-American soccer player in High-School. One of our trainers was a Podiatrist. He told us that we could be a physician and still have a family and a fulfilling lifestyle. I believed him so HERE I AM… Dr. Monique Holmes. For the most part, I am able to make my patients feel better once they leave than when they came into the office. I often say “Time to make HAPPY FEET.” Ben Franklin once said, “When your feet hurt, your entire body hurts.” So I’ve made it my mission to make as many people as “Happy” as I can…. 1 set of feet at a time.  

I currently work for Manatee County Rural Health Services. It is a Multi-Discipline organization (48 Doctors, PAs, and Nurse Practitioners). We treat patients REGARDLESS of the ability to pay. That makes me a HAPPY DOCTOR!!! In today’s economy, with so many losing their jobs and their insurance, it’s important that these individuals get the health care that they require. I have a focus on Diabetics, Geriatrics, & Pediatric/Sports Medicine. Some of the more common diagnoses I treat include Plantar Fasciitis, flat feet, sprained ankles, fractures, Ingrown toenails, Bunions, Hammertoes, Fungus of the nails and feet, dermatitis, neuromas, cancer, warts, cysts, infections, and ulcers. One of the most common mistakes people make is to WAIT to seek medical attention.  SOONER rather than LATER is ALWAYS the Best Answer. One last thing before I get into the “Fun Stuff”…You should NOT have to live with pain. Don’t dismiss an ache as “A Part Of Life.” Life should be as Pain-Free as possible! 😉

My “Life” on Twitter…. A little over a year ago, I remembered hearing all the buzz about this “Twitter”. I wasn’t a social media girl. I wasn’t on Facebook. I have never been in a chat room. I am such a social butterfly in real life that I couldn’t really see the benefit of the on-line “Stuff”. I had some spare time after a surgery and decided to log on. I came up with a name (that is now @FitInMyHeart) and began to “Tweet”. I did what most newcomers do; I started following stars. A lady from New York began tweeting with me. That Friday, she did a #FollowFriday and a Mr. Tweet recommendation for me. The rest, as they say, is history! I have been blessed to get involved with a group of positive, healthy Tweethearts. They are so incredibly motivating and supportive. I decided that 2011 will be the year that I HIT GOAL WEIGHT! I want to push limits! My first order of business….

THE DISNEY HALF MARATHON! I used the Hal Higdon 12 week training plan for this race. I used the gymboss counter for my running/walking intervals. I made it through my training fairly injury free. My Goal… To give it 100%. On the day of the race, I was FOCUSED, EXCITED, and READY! The traffic was insane but the Disney Resort Transportation finally got us to the start. For me, the best part of the course was around mile 5 when we ran through Magic Kingdom!

Things were going well. My Friend in running (slorunnermom turned @DareToBecome www.daretobecome.com) was sending update tweets to my friends who were cheering me on. I was right on my training pace as I passed mile marker 9. Many people behind me, my legs felt strong, my feet were pain-free, I knew I had the energy and the drive to finish! Around mile marker 9.3 two tour buses pulled out 20 feet ahead of us to block the road. The Sheriff’s officers informed us that they needed to open the roads to the parks. I made my way to the finish line to watch My Team (Including My Brother Dr. Lewis Holmes) finish the race. In addition, I was able to cheer on my sister-in-law in her first road race ever—The Disney Full Marathon!  Check out the cute picture that she took at mile 24 (see slideshare).  That race, that day was a VICTORY for ALL OF US! For me, the success was that I TRAINED, I SHOWED UP, and I GAVE IT MY ALL! 

Whats next for me?  A 10K in Ohio (During the Cleveland Marathon Weekend). My GOAL is to RUN the entire race. (No walking intervals). YES, it will be a CHALLENGE! But Isnt that what Life is all about?!? 

So, My “Take Home Message” to YOU!!!!  STOP being a SPECTATOR! Get In The GAME! The TIME is NOW! Just Take a STEP and REPEAT!!!  😉 SEE YOU OUT THERE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjiVyxj0gZ8 <~ “One Step At A Time” By Jordin Sparks

BIO: Dr. Monique Holmes is currently a part of Manatee County Rural Health Services. EDUCATION:  B.S from Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS (Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. MEDICAL SCHOOL: University Of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, College Of Podiatry. RESIDENCY:  St.Vincent’s Hospital in NYC.

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