The (Dead Mothers) Club HBO Documentary Films Premiere

by Sara Mooradian on April 29, 2014

As Mother’s Day approaches this year, I will have a little swell of pride inside me instead of my normal feeling of general numbness. A little piece of a story I’m a part of will be told.

On Monday, May 12th at 9PM, the documentary The (Dead Mothers) Club will premiere on HBO. As you may remember, I backed this film in 2011 on Kickstarter and I’ve been following the two filmmakers, Katie Green and Carlye Rubin, ever since. I’m incredibly excited for these two to have their film debut here.

motherless daughter the club HBO

I’m not in the film or anything and to be honest, I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve just watched the trailer a million times and feel this is a story that many will identify with.

Please help show your support and tune in to watch it on HBO on Monday, May 12th at 9PM.

I would host a viewing party but I’m pretty sure I’m going to go to the ugly cry during this so I’m better off doing that in private.

Here’s a little more about the film from the Smoke & Apple Productions website:

The Club  tells the stories of three women whose mothers died during adolescence – a Southern artist making sense of her past while redefining herself through her artwork; a high school senior struggling to gain independence from her close-knit family; and a Brazilian living in NY, navigating first-time motherhood while discovering her genetic fate.

The film reveals how coming of age without their mothers has and continues to play a role in their lives. Structured around a series of ‘dialogues’ featuring Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda and Molly Shannon who speak candidly about their own experiences and thread the stories of the three women followed together. From their intricate relationships with ‘mother figures’, the cyclical nature of grief to their own mortality, the women of The Club provoke thoughts surrounding the innate and complicated nature of the mother/daughter relationship, even in its absence…




6 Survival Tips for the Whole Life Challenge

by Sara Mooradian on April 25, 2014

Everyone’s experience on the Whole Life Challenge is unique. What YOU do for exercise or for meals might be totally different than what your teammate does.  And that’s ok. There’s no magic formula to doing the challenge. During the first whole life challenge, my teammates and I all did different things and all saw awesome results. You’ll figure out what stuff works for you and if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded.

During my first challenge, together with my teammates, we ‘discovered’ recipes and tricks that now I can’t live without.  You’ll discover your own set of must-haves during the 8-weeks that I’m sure will be different from mine. Learning new tricks and tips along the way is part of the fun. But here are 6 survival tips for the Whole Life Challenge that are just too good not to share:

6 Survival Tips for the Whole Life Challenge.jpg

1. Join a Team

You will hear this a lot from Andy and Michael as you get closer and closer to the first day. For good reason. I can’t stress how valuable and important this is.  Find at least one person that you can call a teammate during this 8-week journey.  And yes, two people do make a team! Think up a silly team name and join up. Trust me, you will want someone to text or FB message with during this.  Surrounding yourself with people who are positive and “in the boat” with you will be your secret weapon.

2. Make an Awesome Playlist

Whole Life Challenge Popsugar Cover

Invest 10 minutes to make a playlist that’s going to get you and your ass off the couch when you don’t feel like moving.  One of my awesome teammates during the first challenge made us a killer playlist.  This was my go-to when I didn’t think I had a walk in me. Favorite song: Work B*tch by Britney Spears. Listen to it. You’ll love it. I promise.

Tip: Want a quick cheat? Subscribe to some already awesome playlists over on Spotify.  Here are some of my favorites:

But seriously, listen to whatever does it for you.  Just have it ready to go. One day, I ran to heavy metal.

Don’t judge.

3. Invest  In Your Water Bottle

Your new favorite accessory during the whole life challenge will be your water bottle. So get something you like and then get two of them.  If one gets grungy or left in the car, the other one will be close at hand.

Tip: Get a water bottle that has watermarks on them so you know how much you’ve drank throughout the day. Here’s what mine look like:


Whole Life Challenge Camelbak waterbottle

Camelbak Eddy Waterbottle* – $16

I fill them both up and carry them around with me all day. And then I run to the bathroom.


4. Download these Apps:

MapMyRun or MapMyWalk – FREE

They are essentially the same app where you can log your runs or walks.  Bonus: you can also log ANY kind of workout that you do, like videos or going for a bike ride. It will track it all.  You can connect with friends and earn points for improving your times along courses.  If you want to upgrade, the App will also coach you to improve your times. It’s super cool. If you are a data junkie like me, you will love this App!

Whole Life Challenge tools MapMyWalk


This is kinda cheating because Andy tells you about this App during the challenge. Knowing about it ahead of time and not sharing it seems wrong though. It’s a really neat way to track how much water you’ve had during the day and will even remind you to drink up. Love this App!

Whole Life Challenge tools waterlogged


5. Love Your Scale

OK – again this is what worked for me.  I like data. Correction, I LOVE data. I’m of the opinion that you should weigh yourself every day. Furthermore, I think you should track it.  And graph it. Not everyone agrees.  But for me, having daily data and looking at it was so satisfying! I have a problem, I know.

I have a first generation Withings Wireless Scale*.  I’m not convinced it’s still 100% accurate but I think it’s pretty close.

The best part? After it measures your weight, fat mass % and your BMI, it sends it to an app on your phone and in the cloud. You can slice and dice your data using their App over different periods of time and look at the different metrics.

Another bonus, you can have 4 different users for the scale.  Somehow, this thing knows when it’s me standing on the scale or my one of my kids.

Whole Life Challenge tools WiThings Wireless Scale

WiThings Wireless Scale* $89

Whole Life Challenge tools withings There is a more current and pricier model of this scale that measure all kinds of extra things like the air quality in your home. You can see that model here.

6. On your marks, get set, start pinning!

There are some really great resources already out there on the internets that can support you during the Whole Life Challenge. One of the best places to start looking is Pinterest. Need boards for meal ideas? Workouts? Try searching some of these keywords:

  • Whole Life challenge or #wlc
  • Paleo
  • Whole30
  • gluten free, dairy free
  • fitness motivation

You get the idea.

Another really great source for inspiration has been instagram.  Folks are pinning all kinds of crazy stuff with the hashtag #wholelifechallenge.  I mostly post pics of my paleo-ish meals and other random stuff over there. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @sara_mooradian.


So that’s it! Hope you found these tips helpful.  Got a question or a tip for someone else? Leave it in the comments below! Have a great 8-weeks people! Let’s do this!!!


* These product links are affiliate links. If you click on them and decide to buy something, I would get a couple of pennies from Amazon. Nothing huge but something that the FTC makes me tell you up front. :) 


The Whole Life Challenge: 8-Weeks to a New Life

by Sara Mooradian on April 23, 2014

I’m about to start my second Whole Life Challenge on May 3rd and I want you to join me.  Why? Because the more people that you do this with – the better.

Whole life challenge logo

What is it? The Whole Life Challenge was started by two guys, Michael and Andy, while at CrossFit LA.  It’s an 8-week  ‘game’ where you incorporate exercise, diet, mindfulness and a whole bunch of other things you need (but just don’t realize) and earn points.  You deduct points if you miss a workout or eat something non-compliant and earn extra points for completing additional ‘lifestyle’ challenges. It’s really easy and really challenging all at the same time.  In a word, it’s awesome!  Their video does a much better job of explaining it – go ahead, watch:

Am I a cross-fitter? Umm, no… but I have mad respect for them. I’m pretty sure I’m NOT who Andy and Michael had in mind when they developed this program. I don’t speak cross-fit: i.e. do W.O.D’s or  burpees.  And while, I used to be athletic, I’ve finally come to accept that being on a varsity team 20 years ago in high school no longer qualifies me as ‘athletic’.  Now I have to work my ass off to make sure I don’t have a big ass. (Sorry)

In my thirties (ok almost forty!), post-kids, I’ve struggled with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Remember my cleanse with Gwyneth? That was awesome and everything but totally not sustainable.  Coming off this past Christmas, I felt gross. Like really, really gross. I was overweight, plump and frumpy.  All of which was attributable to stress, poor diet, enjoying a glass of wine at night and zero exercise.  Nothing fit. Everything just felt gross. Gross, gross, gross. We had a trip to the Bahamas for spring break planned and the idea of being so self-conscious that I wouldn’t want to play on the beach with my kids made me incredibly sad.  I had do something.

I stumbled onto the Whole Life Challenge while reading blogs for work and thought the video sold me. I needed something that was going to shake things up and hold me accountable. I wanted a healthy lifestyle to be at the center of things.  I did not want to do a cleanse or a diet. Next thing I knew, I recruited two friends and we started a team.

So let me jump to the results.

I played at the intermediate level which was totally doable. No grains, no dairy, no sugar. I could still have my morning coffee and one glass of wine a week.  Wait… WHAT?? Yup, that’s right.  I could still have caffeine be it green tea or coffee AND a glass of wine and not feel guilty.  No shakes (unless I wanted them) and I could eat carbs. WTH? This was never going to work.  But you guys, it TOTALLY did.

I basically adopted a paleo-ish diet and exercised daily for 8-weeks.  Sometimes, I was only able to eek out the minimum required of 10-minutes a day (for me that was a walk around the block) and this is what happened:

  • Lost weight (18 lbs on the challenge, since then total 22 lbs.)
  • Lost inches (9 inches all over)
  • Slept better, more rested
  • Increased energy
  • Felt calmer (wasn’t expecting that one!)
  • No seasonal allergies (??)

Ready for my before and after pictures?  (I can’t believe I am going to do this…) For reference, I’m 5’9″.

whole life challenge 2014 before and after photo 1whole life challenge 2014 before and after photo 2

I’m kind proud of those photos because I did work my butt off.  I did exercise almost every day for 8-weeks and I did make healthy eating choices. But I never once felt deprived or hungry or grumpy, or like I was dieting.  I learned some great new recipes and became a little better at meal planning. My whole family benefitted. The change I experienced was so great and empowering that I’m signing up to do it again.  And I want others to learn from what I figured out in the first one!

Other than eating some sweet treats here and there little has changed for me since the last challenge but I’m excited to try to do things better than I did.  Like what? Like the stretching. I totally just did that to get it over with. I didn’t get into it at all. So I think I will try something else this time for that requirement.

So this next spring/summer whole life challenge starts on May 3rd.  Who wants to do it with me?  SAY YES!
Sign up here:

Want to be on a team with me?  Join my friend Kareen’s team Revamp Warriors. Let’s do this people!

Next I’ll share some of tips and tricks I learned during the last whole life challenge so be sure to check back.


Spring Break: Exploring the California Redwoods with Kids


Last spring break we wanted a family vacation in driving distance with our dog in tow. Our destination was the California Redwoods and this was our itinerary.

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Mommy Learns To Code


My blog is no longer my blog – it’s become a repository for random thoughts.  For this, I apologize.  But if you’re still reading this, well then maybe you want an explanation for where I’ve been… I will try to explain.  So what the heck have I been up to? Well, a whole lot of everything […]

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