Monday, December 28, 2009

A Zhu Zhu Christmas

On my last trip to Salt Lake City to visit my niece, Alex, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and Christmas. She said "Nini, I want Zhu Zhu Pets!!" Well, I had no idea what they were, but I figured they would be easy to get.

My first try was at Walmart. I scanned the toy section and finally found someone to help me. I told the clerk I was looking for Zhu Zhu pets. She said, "Oh, we are out of them." Next stop, Target. Same question to the clerk there... "Do you have Zhu Zhu pets?" She replied "Oh no honey, we sold out a while ago."

Next stop CVS, based on a tip I got from a woman at Target. She said CVS just got a new shipment. I rushed over and there was one left, a little hamster play set complete with their wheel and little blanket accessories and lots of Zhu Zhu stuff. I took the box to the register and as I was waiting in line, I noticed the box read, "Hamster sold separately!!" Aagghh! I took the box back and went home to look online.

The Zhu Zhu pets were being scalped on E-Bay for $50 each — they retail for $12. I nearly gave up until I saw an add in the Sunday paper: "New shipment of Zhu Zhu pets at Toys R Us!" I rushed out to Toys R Us and got the last set, complete with two hamsters — Mr. Squiggles and Patches. I felt like a crazy woman obsessed with the latest greatest holiday toy. I wonder if my mom went through that when she bought me a Cabbage Patch doll... It was all worth it to see the look on Alex’s face when she opened the box...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Annual Holiday Basketball Clinic

Each year I lead a holiday clinic for our local CYO — Mt. Carmel. We had a great turnout and I really enjoyed working with the kids. It brings me a lot of joy to see so many boys and girls here playing basketball.

The parents here are fantastic too — so supportive. Many of them volunteer to coach and work with youth on a regular basis. It was a great day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sharing Stories About Dad

Here is a behind-the-scenes clip from a documentary being filmed be Vern Glenn at KRON Channel 4 in San Francisco. My dad played a huge role in helping me pursue my passion of basketball.

In this clip I talk about how Dad's always had this incredible understanding of me as well as the sacrifices he made to put up a basketball hoop in our driveway.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Co-Hosting the LACY Awards

Hon. Patrick E. Tondreau won the individual award.

I co-hosted the LACY (Legal Advocates for Children and Youth) awards with Don Bleu, local 101.3 FM anchor. Don was fantastic to work with! He has been on the air and doing events for 30 years.

Don Bleu

LACY, founded in 1990 by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, works to advance the legal rights of minors, empowering them to lead healthy and productive lives. The LACY awards celebrate the of the work done by many in the community to address the problems of youth who have no voice.

Hon. Patrick E. Tondreau won the individual award for his work in the juvenile court system. He has the unique ability to see the best in youth and help them to get on the “right” path. He told me that he loves his job so much it doesn’t feel like work!

I left the luncheon very inspired by LACY and their work in our community. I believe when people are successful, they have a duty to give back, volunteer, do what they can to build stronger communities.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Amazing Experiece at Festival of Thinkers!

I was part of the panel "Future Role Models, Adventure in Adversity." The Festival of Thinkers has been an amazing experience!

I have been able to listen to Nobel Laureates and world “thinkers” discuss current issues such as the economic crisis, world health, and globalization. After each session, we broke into roundtable discussions to connect on the issues.

At my table, there were students and “thinkers” from Lebanon, Mexico, Latvia, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. Very different worlds, but we were able to connect and get to a common view on the relevant issues. If only governments could converse like this!!!

After our “panel,” we were summoned by Sheikh Nahyan to come to his palace for dinner. Ready, set, go! When you get asked to join the Sheikh, you drop everything.

I actually thought it was really cool to get his invitation as he has done so much good in the UAE for education, namely educating women in the region, so I am a big fan of his. When we arrived at the Palace, we had no idea what was going to happen. We entered a huge rectangular room with chandeliers, and the finest of everything. There was seating, sort of like couches all around the rectangular space.

After mingling with my fellow panelists, Donna, Dan, Kareem and Michelle, other guests began to arrive. We had no idea why they were there and actually we didn’t really know why we were there — other than to show a great sign of mutual respect for Sheikh Nahyan.

While at the palace, one of my new friends, and co-panelists, Dr. Rodrigo from Chile, said “hey someone wants to meet you.” I followed him across the room and met a man who look almost exactly like Fidel Castro (whom I met at the Pan Am Games in 1991).

Fidel Castro Jr. introduced himself to me and said he really enjoyed our panel today. We chatted for a while and then suddenly all 80 guests quickly lined the room as if, well, as if Sheikh Nahyan were about to enter the room.

I felt like I was in the middle of a movie scene! Sheikh Nahyan greeted each of us with a hand shake. We then sat and had coffee, and a smoke-filled lantern came by and waved incense in our faces. I have a great video on the way of the night — absolutely fascinating!!! I am so grateful for this opportunity.....

More From the Festival of Thinkers

The third Festival of Thinkers included 15 Nobel Laureates and scientists and nearly 110 world thinkers from 40 countries. Here are a few photos from our panel discussion.

Dr. Rodrigo Jordán, me, Michele Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Donna de Varona during our panel discussion

Dr. Rodrigo Jordán, me, Michele Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Donna de Varona, and Tony Woodcock

Me, Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz–Balart, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dan Clark, Michele Smith

With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA legend

With Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz–Balart, Scientific Advisor to the President of the State Council Republic of Cuba

Ceremonial Arabic coffee with Sheikh Nahyan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Couple Photos from Day 1

I wanted to post a couple of quick photos (I didn't have a camera cord handy earlier). Look for more updates soon!

Cherie Blair, Founder Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Michele Smith, Olympic Gold Medalist United States National Softball Team.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 1 in Abu Dhabi at Festival of Thinkers

Day one was awesome! Today was the opening ceremony at the Emirates Palace as well as the start of the roundtable discussions at the Abu Dhabi Women’s College, concluding with a huge gala dinner.

The production was amazing — including one of the most incredible fireworks displays (out over the gulf) I have ever seen!

I was very impressed with Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize Winner for Peace, from Iran. She spoke about the importance of educating Muslim women and the importance of women in the Muslim world. I was surprised at how freely and confidently she spoke about women’s rights in the region.

Our topics of discussion today were the current economic crisis and sustainability in the world’s resources. I am part of a panel tomorrow entitled, “Future Role Models, Adventures in Adversity.” Time to sleep — I hope, as jet lag is no fun!

I also wanted to include this short video of my friends from the Abu Dhabi Women’s College. I was shocked on my trip to the region last March that a number of the girls play basketball!

I was so impressed as I didn’t realize they were “able” to play based on the cultural views of women. What’s great to see is that things are changing here and there are many more opportunities for women, most of which we Americans totally take for granted. I have a wonderful bond with the “team.” I love their spirit!

Here's a list of my blog posts from this trip!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Journey Begins!

Hello USANA family! I am about to board the plane for Dubai and like all of you, I never leave home without my HealthPak 100! I was just going to empty the paks into my bag. I can’t travel as much as I do without USANA on every trip!

I always up my Proflavanol 90 on long trips like this...helps a lot! It will be interesting to see if I get interesting looks as I take out my HealthPak during our fancy dinners. Should make for some interesting conversation...

Headed to Dubai

I am headed to Dubai today to participate in Festival of Thinkers, a “platform to foster and celebrate thinking, inspiring the youth of the region, and allowing thinkers from around the world to come together and share their ideas and thoughts.” Here is the incredible group.

I can’t wait to meet the “World Thinkers.” (still not sure how I got into this group...) My flight leaves SFO at 4:45pm — thankfully nonstop to Dubai. It’s a short 16-hour flight! I am excited to fly on Emirates Airlines as I have heard how nice the service is. I will send updates during the trip.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Setting a Goal and Achieving It

Last March I was recruited by 4 of my college teammates to run the Nike Half-Marathon in San Francisco. Although all living in different states, they decided we could train (remotely) together for the race in honor of our 20th anniversary of winning the NCAA Championship at Stanford.

As much as I enjoy running, I never run more than 40 minutes! A half-marathon is three times what I am used to! Not wanting to let my teammates down, I very reluctantly decided to commit.

The first step was to sign-up and pay the $100 entry fee. Step two was finding a good training plan. Step three: I followed the program. Step four: recording my workouts.

To my surprise, I enjoyed the training, pushing myself beyond what I thought were my limits. Following the roadmap was invaluable so I never had to “think” about what to do, I trusted the expert’s plan. The feeling of camaraderie and support from my teammates made all of the difference, especially on those days I did not feel like running!

On the morning of the run, I was a bit nervous, sort of like I used to feel before games. Could I really run 13 miles? Was I ready? We lined up in Union Square along with 20,000 other runners and the energy was unreal! I had to force myself not to start out too fast and lose steam! The energy of the event, the runners (and my adrenaline) helped the miles pass remarkably fast. There was music (including a gospel choir and bagpipes) and people cheering every couple of miles.

The run was absolutely breathtaking — a gorgeous loop around San Francisco, including Land’s End and Golden Gate Park, finishing at Ocean Beach.

It was a fabulous way to spend time with my teammates after all these years! And together we pushed each other to get in shape! We each had our own goals — Sonja Henning wanted to qualify for the NY Marathon and she did! Trisha Lamb wanted to beat 2 hours and she did! Ann Adkins wanted to complete her first half-marathon and she did!

And I wanted to run faster than an 8:30 pace and I did! I finished in 1:47!

Just finished!

Nick and Ann


For anyone looking for motivation to exercise, I highly recommend getting a group of friends to commit to a race. It was just the motivation and accountability I needed to push myself. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Playing Tennis With Some Legends!

I had a blast yesterday at The Esurance Tennis Classic at Harbor Point in Mill Valley. Harbor Point is a spectacular location with a full view across the bay of San Francisco — gorgeous spot!

The tournament raises money for breast cancer and prostate cancer research. When I was invited to the event, I had no idea what I was in for! I had also just come off of a 10-day road trip, including events in both WNBA Finals cities.

Local resident Larry Goldfarb donated $50,000 to play with Steffi Graf against Andre Agassi — Andre won... The tennis was outstanding!!

Tracy Austin and Michael Chang had a team that competed against Andre and Steffi’s team. It was all fun and friendly! The players joked with the sold-out crowd and clearly had a great time.

Tennis legend Rosie Casals asked me to play next year. I told her I would need two or three lessons first. She said, “Well, Jennifer you will need a lot more than that!” Clearly I would play as a “celebrity” guest, not as a real player. My tennis game is much better than my golf game, but that’s not saying much.

I was also able to visit with Andre and Steffi. What impresses me most about them is how much they give to their communities. They use there celebrity to do amazing things, like Andre’s school in Las Vegas — Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.

He lit up like a proud father when he told me that they had recently raised $8 million for the school and this year they graduated there first senior class and they are all going to college!!! Amazing! What a great day...

Here I am with tennis great Brad Gilbert.

Mom's Workout: 4-Week Update

I was in Salt Lake City for the weekend visiting my family and got the update on my Mom’s progress (here's the first blog).

Six weeks ago she had a routine blood test and her cholesterol was 285! She had two choices, medication or exercise. She chose exercise.

Five weeks ago, she committed to walking at least three times a week for at least 15-20 minutes. While that may not sound like a lot to some, it has made a big difference! She teaches school full time and it has been challenging to find the time and motivation at the end of a long day to walk.

I was able to join her on two walks and she is getting stronger and more fit each week! She will retest her cholesterol at Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What a Celebration!

This may be a little late, but I wanted to share the experience with my blog readers. I really enjoyed the USANA DC Celebration!

This was my first USANA event in DC. Dave Delevante did a wonderful job as the local host of the event! I got to spend some time with Dr. Peter Rugg and his wife and enjoyed getting to know them better.

USANA attracts such wonderful people! It is truly a testament to the associates and our management team (well and of course the world’s best products!!!) that we can have a record-breaking quarter in the midst of a recession. To quote Aaron Dinh “When the economy is down, USANA is up and when the economy is up, USANA is up even more!”

I am really excited about what the next year has in store for us! Thanks to Kelly Branan for the great photos!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WNBA Cares About Kids

I was in Phoenix for the WNBA Final — Phoenix vs. Indiana. The game was outstanding!!! Phoenix won in overtime, 120-116. The skill level and scoring ability of both teams may be the best I have ever seen, and I am not easily impressed!

I was in town for our WNBA Cares event at the Lincoln Phoenix YMCA. Toyota, the Phoenix Mercury and the WNBA partnered for a $50,000 renovation of the reading and learning center at the “Y.”

I emceed the event and my good friend and colleague NBA Legend Bob Lanier came to support the cause. He is one of the most outstanding people I have ever met!

There were about 50 kids chosen based on their good grades to be a part of the program and to be the first to use the center. I love these events because the kids can’t stop smiling!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Golfing for a Great Cause

I played in UCSF Medical Center’s Annual Golf Fundraiser at the Presidio in San Francisco. The tournament raises money for hospital programs, namely the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, where they can do medical procedures on a fetus — miraculous stuff!!!

The tournament was a scramble, so we played the “best ball” on each shot. That’s my kind of golf — the game moves along and it creates a real team effort. I played with Jan Laret, Mark Laret’s (CEO UCSF Medical Center) wife. We had great conversation about healthcare and the future of medical treatments.

With Jan Laret

A breast cancer survivor, Jan is an outstanding woman whom I greatly admire. Fortunately our group was not too serious, so we had a lot of fun. I got an award (a new Blackberry) for the athlete with the “highest score.” I was really excited (thinking wow, my game has improved!!!) until I realized that the LOWEST score is the best!!! It was all in good fun as we did not even keep score...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Help Out Others by Volunteering

I spoke to the Marin National Charity League at their annual Philanthropy Faire. There were 200 mothers and daughters at the event.

The Faire raises money and awareness for local charities. The mother/daughter teams also volunteer to help numerous organizations, ranging from local youth programs to planting trees in the GGNRA (Golden Gate National Recreation Area).

It was a pleasure to speak to the group! Volunteering is one of the most noble things we can do to improve life in our communities. I also believe “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I speak at charity events and give back because I have been blessed with success and I feel it is my duty to help. There is nothing better in life than using your success to lift others up.

We all have talents to make the world a better place! And we can ALL volunteer our time. I left the Faire motivated and inspired by all of the work the NCL is doing in our community!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Speaking at the Olympic Training Center

I was the keynote speaker at the International Association of High Performance Training Centers in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center.

The participants at the IAHPTC convention were either directors or owners of High Performance Training Centers. Their mission is to provide Olympic-level athletes state of the art training facilities. My topic was “Leadership in Sports.”

It was great to be back in Colorado Springs at the USOTC. I spent a good bit of my career with USA Basketball training there. Prior to the Olympics in 1996, we used the facilities as our home base for 18 months (when we were not traveling all over the planet!).

When I arrived at the auditorium to speak, the 200 or so participants were in the middle of a session. I took a deep breath as I looked across the room. One word can sum it up — somber. I had to give myself a pep talk — “just have energy!” I love Paula Abdul’s advice to performers: "have passion and energy, that matters more than what you are doing.”

Passion and energy are the keys to a successful talk for me, too. As soon as I got the group interacting, they were fantastic! We had a great time especially when we shared ideas on “life after sports.” I got to meet some incredible people, namely Marcus Vinicius Freire, CEO of The Brazilian Olympic Committee, and others from Thailand, Uganda, and South Africa. It was a wonderful event!

With the Ugandan Directors

With the Thailand Directors

IAHPTC Owners and Directors

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mom's Workout: Day 1

After the USANA convention in Salt Lake City, I visited with my parents who happen to live in Salt Lake. My mom shared that her cholesterol is 285!!! I have worried about her for years since the number one killer of women is heart disease and she has been relatively sedentary.

Her doctor told her she had two choices — medication or exercise. mom does not want to be on medication, so she is choosing to exercise.

I got her to commit to exercise (walking) 3 to 4 times a week (something she has never done!!). I hope her story will motivate other people who think it is too late to start exercising. It is never to late to take control of our health and our lives!

My Mom is keeping a calendar of her workouts and we are going to re-test her cholesterol at Thanksgiving. Go Mom!

Friday, August 28, 2009

USANA Convention is the Best!

I am having a blast at USANA’s 2009 International Convention!!! This may be one of my favorite weeks of the year. All of us USANA crazy folks get together to learn and to have a lot of fun! Dr. Wentz spoke yesterday — what an amazingly brilliant scientist, leader and visionary.

Whenever I listen to him, I ask myself — why isn’t everyone taking USANA??? If you are considering USANA I highly recommend attending this event. The credibility is unbelievable!

World class scientists, world class athletes, world class Associates! As a passionate user of USANA products and as an Olympic athlete, I am thrilled at how we are growing and more and more people are discovering USANA! All athletes at every level should be on these products!

My role at convention was to speak and to host the athlete segment on the main stage. To see Derek Parra, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Werner Berger, 72-year-old climber, the oldest North American to climb the seven summits, talk about the difference USANA makes in their lives and their training, gives so much credibility to USANA!

And I am a walking product of the USANA products!

We had a blast on stage. Since not all of the USANA world class athletes could join us, we gave 750 flags to the audience to represent all the world class athletes out there taking USANA. 8,000 associates were on their feet cheering for our athletes! I also have been able to walk around and meet a lot of the new associates...I love their energy and enthusiasm!

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Exhilarating Experience at Indy Grand Prix

I had a fantastic experience in Sonoma as Grand Marshal of the Indy Grand Prix on Sunday. I must admit I was a bit nervous for my 10-second “Drivers start your engines!”

I got to the track around 10 a.m. for a tour of the garages, the pit, and a wonderful debriefing about Indy from Vision Racing. It was an incredible look behind the scenes! I got to sit in the Vision Racing car sponsored by William Rast. Wow, that seat is compact! No wonder the drivers are all so small and fit!

After the tour I had a press conference and a couple of interviews. Shortly after, they brought around a portable stage (on a semi truck) in front of the grandstands to introduce the drivers and special guests. It was quite a production!

After my introduction I shook all of the drivers' hands as they were introduced — very cool. It felt familiar to me as I watched the focus and relaxed intensity on each drivers face as he or she walked across the stage.

From there I rode with the drivers in a cable car around the track — a very Bay Area thing to do! We hopped off the car and I headed to the starting line to start the race. Nervous time!!!

With cameras in my face, I practiced “Drivers start your engines!” a couple of times while I waited and everyone around me was laughing and giving me pointers. (I later found out that all of the Grand Marshals have been nervous and have also practiced their line!)

After saying my line, it was an all out sprint to the “pace car” to lead the drivers on the first lap. Man was it fast!!! After the lap, it was time to relax and watch the race up in the owner’s suite. At the conclusion of a great race, I helped present the trophy to Dario Franchitti (below). Barely missed getting sprayed by champagne!!!

Steve Page, President of Infineon Raceway, and Jerry Wheeler, Infineon Events Manager, were fabulous to work with! I highly recommend seeing racing events at Infineon. Yes, I have become a racing fan.

With Olympic Champion skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

With NFL legends Marcus Allen and Ronnie Lott.

The grandstand — lots of spectators!

Getting ready for the start of the exciting!