Sunday, December 30, 2012

C’ya 2012 – Hello 2013!

Another year is about to bite the dust.  How does that make you feel?  For me, I like to take this time of year and look back at those three hundred plus days just passed, and see if I accomplished as much of what I set out to do.  So, I guess, it makes me feel…

1)      Nostalgic
2)      Wistful
3)      Yearning
4)      Reflective
5)      Sentimental
6)      All of the above

So, Mike, how was 2012?

Like all years, it seems this one that is about to end has had its share of ups and downs.  While I attained many successful goals that I set for myself, both personal and with my work, there were other areas of my life, and my family and friend’s, which was nothing to write home about.

  • Health scares
  • Financial challenges
  • Issues with the day job
  • And the everyday battle for consistent balance 
The good news is that for most of the above I have been able to work on and correct—which, again, is what all years, and life, is about.  Good year or bad, good life or bad, one will have challenges, adversity, heartbreak, and loss.  The key, as with all of life (and, remember, years are the chapters [and days the pages] of the novel called “your life.”) is the ability to cope and deal, learn from and not repeat mistakes and missteps…and try to make the best of all situations.

So, again (ahem), Mike, how was your year?

Glad you asked.

My brand, livelife365, had its best year ever.  I had more visits and video views than any other time since its creation—almost 2 million!!  That only encourages me to keep doing what I’ve been doing, but even more so.  It also indicates to me that people dig my message and want to change their lives for the better.

I was able to finish and publish another book, song, and music video—a project that I am very proud of.


My websites and videos generated more income this year than all of the previous years combined—a good thing!  Why?  Because I am now able to expand my reach and tackle even more projects.

I enjoyed a successful book signing for this book:

And produced and uploaded more videos than ever!  With two going semi-viral:

I survived another decent year with my day job, keeping my streak of being gainfully employed well into my fourth decade.  This is nothing to take for granted in these challenging financial times and I am thankful.

On a personal note, I enjoyed my 19th year of the best relationship in my life with my lovely wife—thanks for putting up with me, baby!

I traveled, spent important and fun time with family and friends, continued collecting and reading modern first editions, played my guitar, collected (and consumed) more excellent wine from around the world, exercised just about everyday, and lost a dozen pounds (few more to go).

Leaving me to look ahead to 2013.

Goals are always important to me and this coming year will be no exception.  Here are a few:

Ø  More balance between work and non-work
Ø  Drop those last few pounds
Ø  Produce more videos…ahem, good videos
Ø  Keep spreading the livelife365 brand
Ø  More volunteer and charitable work
Ø  Have I mentioned better balance?
Ø  Travel to see my mom turn 80
Ø  Manage my finances tighter
Ø  Good health…for myself and all those I love
Ø  Keep doing all the things I enjoy…
Ø  And discover a whole lot more

That’s enough of a list for now.

Until next time…



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eat Cactus Fruit and Live Forever

Okay, maybe not forever, but longer than if you don’t consume this delicious and nutritious fruit.

What exactly is cactus fruit?


Cactus fruit is:

a)      a member of the opuntia family
b)      tuna
c)       prickly pear
d)      nopales
e)      all of the above

If you guessed “e,” then you are correct.  Cactus fruit goes by lots of different names and can look daunting when first encountered.  But it is really quite simple to eat and the benefits far outweigh those prickly pear-like features.

Here are some excellent reasons to eat Cactus fruit:

  • Low in calories
  • Low sodium
  • Excellent source of vitamin C
  • High in fiber
  • Good source of calcium
  • An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • High in potassium
  • Helps control blood sugar
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Great vegan and vegetarian food
  • Tastes great

I discovered cactus fruit while vacationing on Maui—the same island oasis where I found these other delightful tropical foods:

  • Papaya
  • Dragon fruit
  • Guava
  • Passion fruit
  • Star fruit
  • Pineapple guava

Check out your local grocery and you may be surprised to find this healthy fruits, along with many of the others I mentioned.


Okay, you may not live forever by adding all these delicious and nutritious fruits to your daily diet, but you may just live a longer, happier, healthier, and fulfilling life.

Think about it.

Until next time…



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oceanfront Condo Etiquette

I have been enjoying my island stay at the timeshare condo my wife and I are fortunate enough to have on the scenic island of Maui.  While it has been another wonderful vacation away from it all, it always is a transition, for me at least, in the ways of the condo and connected-wall-community.  I live on a few acres in a house with neighbors scattered to and fro, sometimes inflicting their will (and ridiculously barking dogs and screaming children) on my tranquility, but nothing like existing side-by-side with neighbors, literally, breathing down your neck.

So, here are my rules of condo etiquette…more to the point:

Rules of Oceanside Condo Etiquette

1. Shut up!  If for some unknown reason you think that your voice is more important and compelling and needs to be heard over the soothing and meditative roar of the ocean, you need to visit a doctor specializing in mental health.  Again, for those hard of hearing or just challenged because your nasal twang of ignorance is imbedded in their ear, SHUT UP!

2. Shut up!  If for some reason you didn’t understand the above rule, I must reiterate that you need to stop talking.  And really, really stop talking so loud as to permeate my lanai.  If you really need to express yourself with loud adjectives and inane adverbs, do so in the rear bowels of your condo, with the hope that your piercing and annoying voice still does not penetrate and violate those of us sitting and reading in hopeful quietude.

3. Again, Shut the Frig up!  Do you really think that you need to discuss your so important business on your smart phone on your lanai?  Utilizing the speaker phone?  So all of us losers can understand how important you are with a nod toward how truly tiny your miniscule penis must be?  Come on, Mister CEO, do us all a favor and shove that cell up your butt and relax and enjoy the scenery.

4. This may sound redundant, but: SHUT UP!!      Do you really need to stand on the grass and yell up three floors to your significant other discussing what he/she needs to do next on this gradually turning to hell vacation?  Really?  Or you, Mister douchbag on the top floor lanai, screaming down to your spouse what coral reefs appear best for snorkeling?  If I have not been clear before, may I just now suggest shutting the hell up?

5. And for those that are hearing impaired (not that there’s anything wrong with that), ahem, please shut up?  Your loud and obnoxious soirée beside the barbeque, with the booze and screaming and oh, so, frigging funny jokes, is meant for few others to enjoy…meaning - ONLY YOU!  No one else gives a rat’s ass about any of your banal word play or endless meandering stories…so, please, for all of us…shut the hell up!

There are other rules, most as obvious as a zit on the tip of your nose, like:

  •     Your kid is not as cute as you think it is, so try to refrain from allowing it to act like a monkey
  •     don’t smoke…anywhere!!!
  •     don’t slam your door
  •     Just because you can’t sleep, giving that your ten hour time difference is running havoc with your inner clock, do not think we all want to hear your b.s. at five a.m.
  •     Your perfume is not as alluring as you may think it is, so stop sharing it with us
  •     Put more clothes on
  •     Turn your TV off - is anything on that idiot box more interesting than what’s outside your window?  If you answer yes to the above, jump off your lanai, please.

So, while this was a tough love Foster livelife365 post, it was done with humor and satire in mind.  But also with a message to all you clueless and selfish folks out there that think your little slice of the world is more important than the rest of ours is…to you people I suggest:


And enjoying the moment, your life, and the fact that you can afford an Oceanside condo to misbehave in.

Until next time…



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We Could Change the World…

If We Wanted To.

My most ambitious project ever is an undertaking that has been years in the making.  It started as an idea, like many of mine, it seems, that came to me while basking in the Maui sun.  A few months before my Hawaiian trip, a catchy tune found its way inside my head…this was followed by some lyrics that seemed to fit just right.  That sequence of events was the early genesis of this song.

Back to Maui…

I thought the song was good, but the lyrics were better—they meant something more than just what a song has to offer.  While on that tropical paradise, I put pen to paper and scratched out the basis for the book that was inspired by the song:



In the book (and song and video), I discuss how the ability to change as a person can effect change on a larger scale—like maybe even changing the world for the better.  That’s a major and ambitious task, for sure, but one, if approached at a grassroots, singular perspective, could have global impact.

Being a videographer, a songwriter, and enjoying sharing both endeavors with as many people as possible through my myriad websites, I wanted to create the most effective way to share this concept.  A music video was my natural choice.  On all of my songs and music videos, I have collaborated with my pal Dale Price, from Electric Canyon Studios.  He is a master at making my voice sound better than it is and turning my acoustic guitar into a rocking band.  He was also instrumental in taking hundreds of hours of video footage and turning it into the amazing result below.  Thanks, Dale!

Please enjoy:

Remember: Change Yourself – Change the World


Think about it.

Until next time…




Saturday, August 25, 2012

some facts about melons...

I recently enjoyed eating a melon I purchased at my local farmer's market, called sharlyn melon.  I loved its sweet and butterscotch taste so much I made this video:

Melons, like this one, are loaded vitamins and taste.  While they are not superfoods, they do pack a lot of nutritious punch.  My only negative I can say about them is their sugar and carb count.  I constantly watch my carb intake, so I have to enjoy this delicious food in moderation.

But that's just me.  What about you?

Some reasons we all, but especially you, should embrace this tasty fruit:

  •         low in calories
  •         no fat
  •         high in vitamin C and A
  •         great for smoothies, fruit salads, and breakfast
  •         taste awesome!

How does one tell when a melon is ripe?  Glad you asked...

And don't forget one of the most popular melons of all time...

I love the sweet taste of melons, but consume them in moderation with a nod to my low-carb diet.  They are worth it, though, for all of the above reasons.

I try to visit my local farmer's market every week.  It is there where I have discovered many of the fruits and veggies that I have shared with millions of people across the world.  One of my favorite things to do, something that makes me what I am and gives me wonderful fulfillment.

Until next time...



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Take Action

My most resent video is called, “Move It or Lose It.”  I discuss the importance of getting off one’s duff and moving around.  Exercise.  Yes, it may sound like a broken record, but this tune is being sung for a reason:


Working up a daily sweat is awesome for you.  It not only helps you burn more calories, which contributes to weight loss (and who doesn’t need to drop a few pound, right?).  It also assists in blowing out the impurities inside you, which just makes you feel good.

It is also good for the soul.  And the mind.  And, the obvious, the body.  The old Triad of Balance.

One of my favorite sayings is:


Don’t sit around waiting for your life to change, or wishing it would, you gotta do something!

I have written several books and blog posts, produced hundreds of videos and original music.  It is no accident that a lot of hard work went into doing all of the above.  But none of it would have gotten done without taking that first step…taking action...

Often, when I tell folks that I have written a few books or that I fancy myself a writer, they respond by saying, “Gee, I always wanted to written a book.”

To that I usually say something like: “What’s stopping you?”  And then go on to explain that it only takes a few words to get started, to take action, to be well on your way to becoming that writer you keep talking about wanting to become…or that singer…or fireman…or college graduate…or trapeze artist…whatever it is you want to do with your life.



Because it’s your life and it is precious…so don’t waste it.

Think about it.

Until next time…




Friday, July 20, 2012

What Makes You Happy?

Happiness, as defined by

adj  , -pier , -piest
feeling, showing, or expressing joy; pleased
willing: I'd be happy to show you around
causing joy or gladness
fortunate; lucky: the happy position of not having to work
aptly expressed; appropriate: a happy turn of phrase
informal  ( postpositive ) slightly intoxicated

( in combination ): happy birthday ; happy Christmas

There are so many things that make us happy; I am often amazed at how unhappy some people appear.  Hey, I’m not thrilled with life all the time, but I do strive daily to attain as much of all those nice descriptions above this paragraph.

So, what makes YOU happy?

For some, happiness is a dog licking your face and snuggling beside you in your bed.  While that same dog on someone else’s bed, lapping away at your face, may evoke the exact opposite of happiness.

To each his own.

For me, happiness begins with self.  If I am not happy with myself as a person, I have difficulty enjoying my existence.

That’s why I work hard on improving all of my flaws.  Through this effort, even when I am not always successful, I attain my happiness…and maybe lose a few pounds, gain some introspection, and improve as a human being along the way.

But it’s not all work and no play for me, either.  I love spending time with my wife and family, strumming my guitar, creating videos, or dining on some of my favorite foods.  Like these:

There are many things that bring us happiness inside this sometimes challenging world in which we live.  The key, as with life, is to know where to look and embrace it is often as possible.

Think about it…

Until next time.



Saturday, June 30, 2012

discover livelife365

my newest video explains all that my websites are about...

please enjoy and...

Discover livelife365 






Monday, June 11, 2012

Killer Eats

There are a lot of foods out there that, if eaten often, can turn on you and eventually push you faster toward your demise.  You know the ones: fat, juicy cheeseburgers; chili cheese fries; chocolate cake; even good old lasagna and pizza.

Now I love most of these foods, except for the ones deep-fried or that contain animal protein.  I like to indulge in something naughty but nice, too, ya know.

It’s just that I have dedicated most of my life to healthy food options, to eschewing the fat and gristle so that I may enjoy my life longer and happier.  Because, I truly believe that you are what you eat, and that to me means feeling better by eating good foods, like:

·        Fruits
·        Veggies
·        Whole grains
·        Beans
·        Nuts
·        Lean protein like fish
·        Green tea

And by avoiding:

·        Excess carbs
·        Unhealthy fats
·        Sodium
·        Fatty meats

All of the above is how I live my life most of the time…and I am a better person for it.

But I still need my killer foods, but the good “killer.”

Recently, I have produced a few “how to make killer foods” videos, several that have gone on to become some of my most popular.  Like this one:

How to...Make a Killer Fried Egg Sandwich

And this one:

How to...Make a Killer Spinach Omelette 

I try to make these “killer” meals as healthy as possible, but with cheese and butter it is not always possible.  So I produced this video:

How to...Make a (Healthier) Killer Fried Egg Sandwich

Hey, I eat like a rabbit chasing an iguana most of the time, so I try to cut myself some slack every once and a while and eat something a tad bit bad for me…in moderation.  And rarely.

My latest “killer” video:

How to...Make Killer Veggie Fried Rice with Tofu


Try them and let me know what you think.

Until next time…




Monday, May 28, 2012

Eat Cherries...Every Day...

It's cherry season, and that means that i can indulge in one of my fav fruits, and also one of the healthiest...


Why do i love these sweet/tart babies?

Because they are loaded with antioxidants and are considered a super food...

And they taste awesome, without giving you that filled up feeling, like some foods (like the Mexican i ate Saturday...put me in a bad place for hours, man...)

Here is my latest video about cherries...

...followed by an oldie but a goodie blog post....

How to...Eat Cherries


I Cannot Tell a Lie, Cherries Are Good For You

It seems I can’t drive anywhere in town these days without passing a roadside stand selling cherries.Guess what? That’s a good thing. Besides all of these local entrepreneurs competing for my patronage, the grocery stores are overflowing with these sweet (and tart), delicious fruits. Living in California, and the fertile San Joaquin Valley, I take it for granted that most of the time something fresh and tasty and locally grown is going to be on sale. Right now…


My lovely wife is a major cherry aficionado, which simply means she digs those chewy pitted babies. We can’t drive past one of those aforementioned stands without her begging for us to stop and grab a box. Me? I wasn’t all that into them until I met her, but eventually her enthusiasm, and that fresh, juicy fruit, wore me down. Oh, and another thing:


Actually, the more I researched the health and nutritional benefits of cherries the more impressed I became. In fact, cherries are now considered one of the SUPER FOODS. This revelation excited me so much, I made this video:

Cherries: Another Super Food!

Why are cherries super?
* loaded with anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant linked to their red color, many scientists believe a diet rich in cherries can reduce inflammation, lower bad cholesterol, and decrease belly fat
* they may help ease arthritis pain and gout
* one ounce of cherry juice contains the daily recommended amounts of antioxidants required to help fight cancer and heart disease
* cherries contain more anthocyanins (one of the strongest of the antioxidants, by the way) than raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries
* one of the few food sources rich in melatonin, a natural body hormone that helps you sleep better and can reduce jet lag
* they help lower your body fat, thus help you lose weight
* can help control diabetes

Wow, after looking at that list only one word comes to mind: SUPER!

How do you like your cherries? My favorite way to eat them is the same way I enjoy almonds: by the handful. But unlike almonds, cherries are not nearly as fattening. One serving of cherries (one cup, with pits) has less than 100 calories (around 87), while offering up 3gs of fiber and zero fat or sodium. They are also a very good source of vitamin C and iron.

All this talk about super foods and health and nutritional benefits almost made me forget to mention:


Fresh-from-the-branch, pop-in-the-mouth delicious! Cherries can also be added to oatmeal, salads, desserts (cherry pie or cherries jubilee), as well as complimenting savory foods like pork and chicken. Serve them up anyway you like, but serve them up as often as possible.

Cherries come in dozens of varieties, both sweet (Bing, Lambert, and Tartarian) and sour (Morello, Montmorency, and Early Richmond), in various shades of colors.

Like George Washington said, all those years ago when he chopped down that cherry tree, “I cannot tell a lie.” Neither can I, so I can honestly say that I didn’t realize how super cherries were until I did the research for this post.

The next time my lovely wife and I are driving around town and we pass by a cherry stand and she yells, “Stop, cherries!” I’m going to stop and pick up not one, but two baskets. Why? Because super foods like these don’t grow on trees…uh, well, in this case they do, actually. I guess, what I’m trying to say is:


Until next time…



Still hungry for information about cherries? Check out this cool site, a very helpful resource for this post.

Monday, April 30, 2012

What Is Daikon?

Did you know that this is one of the most popular vegetables in Japan?

Did you know that daikon literally means “big root”?

Did you know that this veggie has a sweet and tangy taste?

Did you know that you can use shredded daikon as a replacement to rice for sushi?


You bet “WOW!” 

As a vegetarian, I am constantly in search of new and delicious vegetables.  I first discovered daikon while volunteering on vacation.  My lovely wife and I worked at an organic farm for a day and besides being great fun and fulfilling, we were rewarded with a delicious lunch made from several of the vegetables grown there.  One of those veggies was daikon.

Yeah, but how do you eat it?

Like this:

Daikon can be eaten cooked or raw.  Add it to stir-fry, boil it and mash it up, toss it on the grill and serve as a side dish, or bake it with the protein of your choice.

Eat it raw in a salad, pickled as a side dish, or shred it and use it as a great way to reduce your carbohydrate intake when enjoying sushi.  I love sushi, but the rice is loaded with carbs and difficult to digest—daikon is my savior!

Besides being a delicious root veggie, daikon also offers these benefits:

·        Low in Calories
·        High in Dietary Fiber
·        Excellent Source of Vitamin C, Potassium, and Magnesium
·        Low in Carbohydrates
·        May increase Immune System
·        Heart Healthy
·        Slow the Aging Process (count me in!)
·        Has Cancer-fighting Agents

Next time you’re cruising the produce aisle of your local grocery and see a white rooty vegetable about the size of a baseball bat, stop and grab some daikon.  You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time…




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What is Celery Root?

One does not pass celery root in the produce section of the grocery store and pause to admire its attractiveness.  Quite the opposite, if you ask me, as celery root is one of the least attractive of vegetables.  It may actually be downright ugly.

I know, I know, those are harsh words, especially for a food that is not only tasty, but is loaded with tons of nutritional necessities.  And, for those of you, like me, who are trying to cut back on those dreaded carbohydrates, an excellent replacement for potatoes.

Pop Quiz:

                What Is Celeriac?
a)      a recently discovered planet in our solar system
b)      an arthritic condition found in aging rock stars
c)       a word describing a hilarious haircut
d)      another name for Celery Root

If you chose d, then you would be correct and win this fabulous prize:

Celery root is low in calories and high in flavor.  With only 9 carbs per serving (less than half as much as a potato) this is a great way to get your spuds in without the weight gain (or glucose spike).

Celeriac also offers these nutritional benefits:

·         good source of fiber and protein
·         high in manganese
·         no cholesterol
·         high in vitamin C and calcium
·         low sodium
·         nice source of iron

So how can you eat this root veggie?

Anyway ya want to.  Use celery root to replace any of your potato recipes, from soups to chips, casseroles to fries.  Grate it raw and add to salads; bake it or eat it mashed.  As I did in this absolutely delicious video:

Next time you’re in your local grocery store and pass by a gnarly lump of ugliness is the produce section, stop and grab some celery root.

You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time…



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Are What You Eat

Are you saying I’m a cheeseburger if I visit that greasy fast food place and devour a Big Mac? 


That I have a bun for a head, lettuce for a face, and cheese and ground beef as a body?


Are you crazy?

Yup.  But that’s beside the point.

Corny attempt at humor aside, you can also look at someone who opts for a healthier diet than the one above, and consider the same logic with what I am getting at here.  If you eat a lot of veggies and fruits, cut back on the carbs and fats, you may not look like a broccoli or apple, but you still carry the healthy results of those food choices with you.

You are what you eat means that if you eat a lot of carbohydrates, sugary desserts and bags of potato chips, then you are going to gain weight.

Conversely, if you keep the carbs down and the fiber up, try to consume 5 – 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, add some fish or poultry, then you may not sprout fins and feathers, but there’s a good chance you will become more fit.  And happy!

Here’s a simple formula to consider:


While you digest that, watch this:

You Are What You Eat 

Eating the right foods and the right amounts go a long way to leading a healthier, happier, LONGER life.  But if it was easy, we all would look like Brad and Angelina.

Here’s another video that can help:

Recently, I wrote a very popular post about diabetes, how it is the new silent killer.  That even if you HAVE a body like Bradgelina, you may still be a walking time bomb.  That underscores the importance of eating the RIGHT foods, as well as staying active and counting those calories.

You may be slender, but if you eat too many carbs, even when they are in the form of potatoes, bananas, or whole wheat bread, you could be susceptible to diabetes.

Remember, eating well is one of the keys to living life to its fullest.  Take a gander of yourself in the mirror and if you see a pork chop and mashed potatoes staring back at you, then change your ways.

Opt for your reflection to be a bowl of almonds, a side of spinach, and some grilled salmon.

You ARE what you eat.

Think about it.

Until next time…



How to...Lose Ten Pounds in One Month


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Try Jicama, You Will LOVE It!!

I recently uploaded a new video called: How to...Eat Jicama...

I have enjoyed jicama for dozens of years, way back in the day when I first traveled across country, from New England to Southern California, and discovered this crunchy, tasty, healthy root veggie.  I have been a jicama fan ever since.  One of my most popular blog post over the years has been the one I am reposting below.  Please enjoy (again?)...

What is Jicama?
Many of you may already know what jicama is, may already know how to correctly pronounce it, and may have actually had some contact with it. If that’s the case, congratulations on your acquired knowledge and worldliness--you are more than welcome to skip this next part.

For those of you still clueless, here are a few clues:

Jicama is:

a) a tropical island in the southwestern part of the Caribbean
b) a rare skin disease that turns the bottoms of your feet purple
c) a popular spicy stew prevalent in Portugal
d) an edible root, originally cultivated in South America

The correct answer (and it should be no surprise for those familiar with my plethora of posts about diet and nutrition) is “d.”

Jicama is a tasty, crispy, root vegetable, cultivated in South America for centuries. It is amazingly versatile, easy to prepare, and healthy for you.

If you would like to learn how to pronounce jicama, or are just tired of reading, watch this video:

Also known as the Mexican turnip or potato, jicama is used in many recipes south of the border. Its unique taste (a cross between an apple, potato, and water chestnut) and texture (crisp and smooth) make it one versatile veggie. Enjoy jicama:

* raw, in sweet, fruit salads, or lettuce-based salads
* sliced or julienned to use with a dip
* plain, eaten as a snack (squeeze of lime, some hot sauce)
* diced and added to savory dishes: stews, soups, stir-fry
* mashed as a side dish

Once you taste jicama, you will ask yourself why you waited so long to try it. And more good news: it is loaded with fiber. One cup has about 6 grams of fiber, around 1 gram of protein, and contains less than 50 calories. Jicama is also an excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium.

Simple to prepare, you peel jicama like a potato, using either a peeler or paring knife, removing the fibrous skin. From there, depending on how you want to eat it, it can be easily sliced, diced, Julienned, or mashed.

Like my late discovery of the avocado, I did not taste my first jicama until I was well into my twenties, thus missing out on years of epicurean enjoyment. Don't let this happen to you.

The next time you’re cruising the produce section of your grocery store, look for jicama, and grab a couple.

The good news: Jicama is not a rare skin disease that turns the bottom of your feel purple, but a versatile, nutritious, and fun vegetable that will delight you with its unique taste.

Until next time…