Dancing With The Stars, family and friends for health!


Dance Styles and Exercise Forms – Pictured: Alberici Sister, The Golddiggers, Maria Lauren, Marianna Riccio

When the music starts, my body starts moving whether I am sitting down, laying down or standing up. It’s a natural response. Isn’t it? The human body was made to move so it makes sense that dancing is beneficial for your body, mind and spirit.

It’s no wonder that I am a fan of the television show, “Dancing With The Stars.” The show is not only entertaining but it’s inspirational too. Dancing is a wonderful way to exercise and express pent-up emotions. This aerobic activity is therapeutic for releasing stress and helps to keep your cardiovascular system, muscles, bones and brain healthy, especially as we age.

“Dancing was the only physical activity associated with lower risk of dementia.”New England Journal of Medicine, Published in 2003

A 21-year study of senior citizens was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and funded by the National Institute on Aging. The study wanted to see if regularly practiced physical or cognitive activities (thinking, reasoning, remembering) influenced mental capabilities.

The results in short, for a reduced risk of dementia was as follows:

Reading – 35%, Cross-word puzzles – 47%, Dancing – 76%

Dancing had the greatest risk reduction of the activities studied, cognitive or physical.



A big thank you to “Dancing With The Stars” for motivating people to dance! Personally, it’s been a joy for me to tune into the competition since it’s first USA airing in 2005.

Congratulations to this years 2014 winner of “Dancing With The Stars,” Alfonso Ribeiro of “Prince of Bel Air” fame and his teacher, the beautiful Witney Carson of “So You Think You Can Dance” fame!

Here’s a clip of them doing the “Carlton Dance!” :-)


I enjoy doing the many dance styles that were the craze throughout the ages but I am not a dance pro by no means, I’m a singer who loves to dance!

This led me into the group, The Golddiggers of  “The Dean Martin Comedy Hour” and Las Vegas, “Showstoppers.” It was a pleasure to put on some glamour and nostalgia to perform with these ladies, my friends. Below you’ll see what I mean. Also included is a short snippet of my daughter Marianna Riccio and I being interviewed by Larry King.


In 1977, the release of the movie, “Saturday Night Fever” brought disco dancing to the forefront and the moves of John Travolta. Disco, the mirror ball light and the coveted mirror ball trophy of “Dancing With The Stars” still represents the best in dancing today.

This past Halloween, my daughter Marianna and I had a small dress-up party and got retro leading some disco moves. We break the steps down on this home video. We’re starting from the ground up!


Dance is great aerobic exercise and the best thing about dancing is you don’t even realize your exercising because it’s lots of  fun!

Find freedom in the dance,

Maria Lauren, aka Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

* Want to read more about “Dancing” and “Dancing With The Stars?” Then, check out my past posts: Dance Party! and Up Close: Dancing With The Stars.

Beyond-Our-Wildest-Dreams-bookIf you’re interested in the rise and fall of the “Television Variety Show” and celebrity icons of the 70’s, you’ll enjoy the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams written by myself and my sister, Linda (Alberici Sisters from The Dean Martin Goldiggers), with backstage stories told by those who were there!


My Website

Maria-Lauren-Alberici-Riccio-You-Got-The-PowerThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.

The Comfort Tree, meditation


The Comfort Tree by Maria Lauren


As you gaze into the picture, imagine taking a seat under The Comfort Tree. A chair is waiting for you.  Relax. Take off your shoes and feel the grass in between your toes. Feel a soft breeze caress your shoulders. Listen to the gentle fluttering of the leaves. Are there birds singing close-by?

Who will sit under The Comfort Tree with you? I find comfort sitting next to the nurturing and compassionate spirit of my loving God (a.k.a. the Comforter, Creator, Jesus, Savior).

Take some time for yourself when you feel overwhelmed. It’s just not computers that get overloaded and melt-down, I know that all too well. Remember the power of prayer.

“You may be in a situation that feels hopeless, but God still has a plan. He can bring greatness out of a great mess.” - Joel Osteen 


Relax-n-Renew by breathing slowly and deeply. Inhale through your nose and focus on the oxygen comforting you as it travels through your lungs to enter your diaphragm, the navel area. Exhale and feel the oxygen take your tension away.

“Sit and rest under The Comfort Tree with me. My hand on yours, just relax and be. My angels soothe you, massage you with love as we sit under The Comfort Tree sharing a cup of serenity.” – Maria Lauren, a.k.a. Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Remind yourself to smile. It feels so good and it is an instant face-lift too! Thank you for allowing me to share these feel-good remedies. I needed the reminders. ;-)

Counting blessings,

Maria Lauren, (aka) Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

My Website

Maria-Lauren-Alberici-RiccioThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.


Going With The Flow


Your Powerful LIFE blog

Seasons change. Do we need to make some changes too? What habits have we developed? It is a good habit to look at your life’s goals with each season. I have to admit the thought of change makes me feel uneasy, even stressed. Time to take a deep breath. For now, I’m living in the moment and going with the flow.

During the month of September, I always feel I have to get in my last bit of beach time to ride the waves. This is when the water temperature of the Pacific Ocean in Malibu California reaches its highest of 70 degrees. The ocean refreshes me.

This year, 8/22 -8/29, Tropical Storm Marie was active. The waves were massive and pounded down hard damaging the Malibu Pier and the coast line. I wondered how surfing was after the storm and with a sense of adventure, I headed down the Malibu coast on the P.C.H., Pacific Coast Highway.


Malibu Coast

The Malibu coastline is comparable to Maui of the Hawaiian Islands. In these waters it is not unusual to see dolphins playfully jumping the waves and sometimes even spy sea lions, seals and whales.

The Pacific Coast Highway descends down towards sea level to one of my favorite spots, Zuma Beach, a long stretch of sand for beach lovers. I enjoy the big waves that are great for body surfing or boogie boarding. Both surfing techniques vary when taking in a wave and it is always a workout to fight the strong tide to catch the waves. Usually the waves propel me for a long ride to the shore. Sometimes my sister Linda joins me.


My sister and I enjoy staying fit and boogie boarding at Zuma Beach

After the storm, I noticed that the beach shrunk considerably. The ocean looked unpredictable. However, almost every wave curved with a thrashing impact close to the shore. I ventured into the water and noticed that the storm had left its mark. The surface under the water was now uneven and small rocks swirled erratically with the ocean. The waves were too rough to use a boogie board but I was able to get the nerve to body surf. The rides were crazy, maybe I was too! Good thing I’m limber because the water had me curving this way and that way, similar to a roller coaster. I even felt acrobatic when I did a double roll-over with a wave. It was fun and scary at the same time. When I thought I had enough, I began hiking my way through the tide towards the shore. That’s when a big wave knocked me over when my back was turned to bring me to my knees.

“To everything – turn, turn, turn

There is a season – turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven”

- Lyrics, musical artists, The Byrds



Life brings me to my knees in prayer when I am knocked down. With all the troubles in the world, not to mention the troubles under my own roof, I can find peace knowing that God is in charge. The last Psalm sums it up. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluia.” – Psalms 150:6

Like the ocean, I yield to the power and glory that created the universe. In this consciousness, I can flow like water, I can refresh those on my path and eventually wear down the stones in my path. Every season and every day can be a time to reflect, heal, Relax-n-Renew.




Peach Supreme


Peach or Pear Supreme (seasonal), a simple, no-baking dessert recipe


  • 4 peaches/nectarines or pears
  • Heaping tablespoon of raw almond butter
  • Drop of vanilla flavor
  • 1 teaspoon of agave syrup or honey
  • 8 large graham crackers


Slice/chop fruit in large pieces. Stir fruit with the almond butter until creamy. Put a heaping tablespoon of mixture on top of a crispy graham cracker or cookie.

*This dessert is a perfect solution for fruit that is over-ripe.



Enjoying the great outdoors! Stretching and balancing with the forces of nature strengthens you for life.


Yoga in the ocean, a powerful combo!



The Department of Health and Human Services designated the month of September as the national day for Yoga awareness and education.

The daily practicing of Yoga and deep breathing helps me immensely by expanding my mind and loosening up my body to withstand the tugs and pulls of life as I stretch and bend with the times.

Time well spent is doing Yoga and other fitness disciplines. I enjoy teaching safe and fun exercises at Kaiser Permanente.


“Stretching backwards, feet and hands sinking, holding my balance, the waves of life refresh me.” - Maria Lauren (Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio)


Do you want to keep fit while on the run? Do it with this playlist: A variety of one minute exercises to burn fat and strengthen your muscles, hosted by Marianna Riccio on YouTube.




“We share the ocean connecting us, always changing, ever constant, tossed by the storm, sometimes calm, ever flowing to shores near and far.” – Maria Lauren (Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio)

We are connected to each other, yet separate and No Man is an Island. The unrest in the world reminds me of the horrors of 9/11. The flag display at Pepperdine University located in Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway is a massive memorial – The Power of Remembering: 9-11

As I finish writing this blog post, I am in my backyard pensively thinking of the many sorrows in the world that weigh heavily on my heart. I feel helpless but I hear the birds singing in the background and that reminds me to be in the moment and appreciate the beauty of nature and life.

The seasons change and each season brings a special beauty to the world and a time to share your distinctive talents and blessing.

Connecting in love and going with the flow,

Maria Lauren, a.k.a. Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

My Website

Maria-Lauren-Alberici-RiccioThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.




“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” – 1 John 4:18

My daughter’s friends sometimes become a friend of the family sharing dinners, weddings and births. This is true of Shantal, a young mom whose recent announcement that her newborn has a disability strikes a chord of courage and perfect love. With a gracious and enthusiastic heart, she has allowed me to share her story.

Shantal Sequeira: “My story you all know is a happy one. I met my love, got engaged, married, then pregnant. My pregnancy was virtually perfect, I felt good, no sickness, no hormonal emotions, I got a really happy vibe from this baby in my belly. When my son was born the nurse showed him to me for the first time, we locked eyes and she said what do you think? I shook my new baby’s hand (because he put his hand out as if to say “nice to meet you”) as he looked in my eyes, I thought ‘he’s perfect’.

Any mother knows your heart falls in such deep love that very moment in time. In that moment in time I was told my son may have Trisomy 21, a.k.a. Down Syndrome. In that moment I was so confused yet stayed calm because I didn’t know what this all meant? I just wanted to hold him and be with him. Nothing could block the new mommy, love, excited, fascination and beautiful love feelings I had for him, not even the possibility of him having this syndrome that I knew little about.

After being told baby Julian has displayed a positive diagnosis, my husband Elmer and I were shocked and wondered what was going to happen. We didn’t know how to feel really but with a deeper sense of warmth and responsibility, we held hands and asked every question in the world. Then, off we were on this journey into parenthood of a very special child. After covering all the bases about health conditions and possibilities down the road everything looked normal in Julian (his heart, his lungs). The only difference was… now I knew a little bit more about him as a person, that’s all.

They say you are supposed to go through a process of sadness, to ‘grieve’ or ‘mourn’ this life that you imagined for your child like, him going to Harvard or whatever… but to me, I always lived in the moment because you never know what the next moment has to offer. I am so SO proud of my son and he hasn’t gone one day without making me smile. They say it’s normal to cry and think “why me” but I’m not one of those people, Julian has special needs but he has a GREAT life, he has two loving parents a house, two puppy brothers and everything he needs to strive and reach all his milestones in life.


Mom, Baby, Dad – Shantal, Julian, Elmer

Julian has been full of surprises since week thirteen of my pregnancy when we thought he was going to be a girl. LOL. Well, there is no better or perfect family for Julian to have fallen into than with myself and Elmer as his parents.

Contrary to popular belief this doesn’t mean he has a disease, or considered retarded or whatever. No, it is a combination of characteristics that causes developmental differences than a typical child. There are so many myths out there but EVERY child is different so there is no telling when he may begin to talk or walk. The community has SO many resources that provide early interventions to help with anything we need.


Baby Julian

Either way, Julian is a baby, I’m a new mommy, and nothing has changed my experience as a mother and the bond we share together. I haven’t had a moment to write about this since breastfeeding is an all-encompassing experience. I feel blessed, my heart never loved so hard and I’m not saying I love my son more than any other mom out there, but the truth is I was meant to have him. We were meant to have him.

The crazy thing is, I remember a year or so before I got pregnant the day my husband and I had a conversation about down syndrome kids and I specifically said I wouldn’t mind having a kid with special needs, he answered back and said you know what, me neither. I get chills repeating that because God, the Universe was listening and I feel so lucky. One out of something like seven hundred kids are born with downs and I was chosen to be one of the moms of this awesome kid. Also contrary to popular belief the majority of kids born with Trisomy 21 are young moms, not over the age of 35 like people believe. (I got pregnant at 30).

Julian is amazing, at 2 months of age he is the most courageous baby I have ever seen. He doesn’t cry when he gets poked at the doctor and he has this peace about him that I wish I could imitate. He is patient, confident, he actually never cries. Sometimes he yells and it seems as if he listens to the sound of himself yelling and thinks to himself, “I don’t like that sound” and stops. He sleeps through the night, doesn’t make a peep and he’s actually a pretty serious baby. I love his personality so far, he has his dads big serious eyes, he doesn’t smile yet, but very rarely when he does… he smiles using his eyes and his smiley lips with no teeth. My heart melts. And I don’t doubt that throughout his life he will melt a lot of hearts.”


Perfect Love – Baby and Mommy

So Happy

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together

(Song excerpt, “So Happy” by : Alan Gordon, Allan Lee Gordon, Garry Bonner)


 It was a pleasure to share Shantal’s powerful story; it melted my heart.  I trust that baby Julian will follow in his mom and dad’s loving ways.

Speaking of melting, summer is a good time to share my daughter Marianna’s favorite summer treat. This frozen treat will melt in your mouth before or after a workout. A tasty snack for kids of all ages, it’s healthy and easy to make too!

 Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Energy Pops (short for popsicle)


Banana Peanut Butter Energy Pops (pre-frozen)


One banana

One tablespoon of peanut butter

Option: Mixing some dark chocolate chips to the peanut butter

Two servings

1. Take a ripe banana, and slice it in half (like you would when you slice bananas.)

2. Take one of the halves and slice it horizontally, so it resembles the sandwich part of an ice

3. Smear one tablespoon of peanut butter on one side; put the other side on top, wrap it in aluminum foil, and pop them in the freezer.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other half of the banana.

When the treat is frozen, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw for one minute. Then enjoy this delicious pick-me-up snack. I’m telling you, it tastes like peanut butter banana ice cream!


Marianna Riccio

Marianna Riccio

Marianna Riccio comes from a long line of “healthy treat junkies.”

Long before big health food chains such as Whole Foods even existed, her grandfather and grandmother who are my mom and dad, Albert and Lee Alberici raised nine children on natural, unprocessed foods and created healthy treats for the family.

Marianna is a third generation still living in the same light. Back in the 50’s, my sister and I, Alberici Sisters, were raised as vegetarians before it became popular. We wrote about being health pioneers and our entertainment adventures in our book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.


Thank you Shantal and Marianna for sharing,

Maria Lauren, a.k.a. Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio,

Your Powerful LIFE blog

~ If you would like to be an advocate for people with Down Syndrome, I suggest finding out more at N.D.S.S., National Down Syndrome Society.

~ My Website

Maria-Lauren-MotivationThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.

“Jersey Boys” – Philly Girls



The story of the “Jersey Boys” lives close to home.

 I love musicals, on stage, television or movies! High on my list of  musicals is the Tony award winner, “Jersey Boys” directed for the big screen by Clint Eastwood.

It was fun to go back in time to this big slice of hit songs provided by the iconic pop  group, The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli.


Jersey Boys: John Lloyd Young and Frankie Valli

In the movie, the members of The Four Seasons are portrayed by the Broadway stars including John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his role as Valli. Most of the  cast members are made up of actors that are up-and-coming, except for Christopher Walken, who plays the role of mobster Angelo DeCarlo, known for funding the rise of Valli and Sinatra too.

If you are a fan of this era, the music or the Broadway musical, the movie “Jersey Boys” is a must-see!

“Everybody remembers it how they need to.” – Jersey Boys, movie tagline

“Jersey Boys” movie website and trailer


Jersey Boys with Clint Eastwood at the premiere

The Four Seasons got their start in New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia where I grew-up with my family of eight sisters and brothers. Our Philly neighborhood also had our own singing group of cute guys that sang outside the corner drug store. My sister Linda and I looked forward to listening to their harmonies on our way home from school. Of course, there was singing at our home too.

Not unlike the Jersey Boys’ neighborhood, the neighborhood where my sister and I grew-up had an unspoken protocol: Be loyal to your roots, especially your family, support each other, never forgetting those who believed in you.


“Philly Girls” – Alberici Sisters – Maria & Linda

Those sentiments are weaved within the pages of our book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. During the 70’s, my sister Linda and I shared an exciting journey entertaining with celebrity legends as part of the groovy troop of girl singers and dancers called, The Golddiggers. How did it all begin for us? Was showbiz all that it was cracked up to be? Oh the stories! You’ll also read the views of others that were there with us, thanks to our book producer Billy Ingram, who transcribed dozens of interviews to give the fabric of our story texture and color.

The narrators, Linda Eichberg and myself, Alberici Sisters, arranged each characters’ documentary into a context that is sequentially historical and orchestrated each episode in what we hoped to be a stimulating celebration of a bygone time.


For me, it all starts and ends with the family. Regardless of whether I was touring with the biggest stars in show business such as Frank Sinatra himself, entertaining in front of the television cameras, performing in Las Vegas or traveling to exotic places, family was a powerful influence.

* Enjoy these excerpts from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS that are taken out of context so you can taste a few samples of this delicious era.



The Dean Martin Golddiggers walk the red carpet at the 2009 Grammys: Deborah Pratt, Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg and Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner, Marie Halton- Peck, Peggy Gohl

Maria and Linda:  

As a group, we grew from wide-eyed girls to womanhood, from go-go boots to evening gowns. We changed our look and our sound but not our hearts. These wonderful ladies with whom we traveled for so many years are now our lifelong friends.

Oh, the adventures we had together! Our life has been a whirlwind of surprises with many challenges, ups and downs, but my sister and I still kept plugging along and held on to each other and our family values. Yes, there was danger as well but our faith carried us through it all.




Darlene (Alberici) Cianci, Golddigger 1977, our younger sister: 


Darlene Alberici – Cianci

Keeping the family connected was very important to our dad. He wouldn’t let too much time pass without paying Linda and Maria a surprise visit.


Patti Pivarnik – Gribow

Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Golddigger 1973 -1985: When the sisters’ family came to see us, I was always amazed how those young, gorgeous, sexy, powerhouse performers on stage could immediately after a show become nurturing caretakers, bouncing their younger siblings on their knees and changing diapers.



Chuck Anderson, guitarist: One night I asked a guy I worked with, Who do you work for?

He said, “I work for the mob.”

I said, “You’re a conductor and work for the mob?”

He says, “Yes.”

And I said, “Well, how do you find working for the mafia?”

He says, “They leave me alone, they’re very nice, they’re very polite, they expect me to be on time, they expect me to be sober, do my job, and they pay me very well.”

So it gave me a very different view of our television and film idea of the mafia guys. South Philly was the Angelo Bruno family and all the different crime families were in Philadelphia and in New York. But it never affected the music. It’s not really that much of a surprise, Vegas was founded by Bugsy Siegel. The mafia was kind of a big, organized corporation. It wasn’t the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.



Book co-writer and co-narrator: Linda Alberici – Eichberg

Linda: Dean didn’t take himself quite as seriously as Frank did. He was a simpler guy. He talked to us about his golf game, working out, TV—especially his favorite westerns— and his family. That was enough for him. He didn’t go around with a ‘kingdom’ surrounding him like Frank did. For the most part, The Golddiggers were his entourage now.

Dean was never like the boss, he was like a part of our family. He never gave off a vibe of pressure; he was the most gracious, cool guy, really. He had this little act that would pump him up before the show. He wanted to see each girl before he went on. Oh, and if you were late or you missed him, you would hear about it, in a funny way. He used to kid around with us, “Where were you? I missed you.”




Maria: My family, including my uncles, aunts and my grandmas, dressed in their finest evening attire to see us at the Latin Casino. They never stopped talking about how they were treated like kings and queens at our show. Frank Sinatra insisted on taking care of the comps for this engagement, he had our family regally escorted to a long table right up in front, smack in the middle. I heard that Frank told the waiters and waitresses not to take any tips from their table or they would be fired. He would take care of the gratuity. At least that’s what the servers told my relatives. They never forgot that old school courtesy. It was the Italian way…respect from great men. They could hardly believe it.



Maria_Elena_Alberici_Riccio_Lauren_Beauty_ Queen_Dean_Martin_Golddiggers

Book co-writer and co-narrator: (aka) Maria Lauren – Riccio

Maria: Our group got along so well. I think the love we had for one another overflowed to whoever was around us. As the invited guests of Sheiks and Princes, some of us went on a tour of the Royal Palace equipped with Palace guards more colorful than the pictures in my childhood storybook of Cinderella. As I walked through the interior of the Palace it seemed hard to believe that Princess Grace Kelly was brought up not far from where Linda and I grew up in Philadelphia.

I began to reminisce back to my Miss Pennsylvania days when Grace Kelly’s brother Jack took me on a tour of Philly’s in-spots frequented by the Main-Line elite. As I looked around me, I began to ache for a little reality. I was missing my family back home to be honest.



 I hope you enjoyed these snippets from our book. It was a sense of family and our deep faith that brought clarity to my sister and I as we adventured “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.” Even today, we are grateful for the blessings that guide us to a balanced life as moms, fitness professionals and entertainers.

Without a doubt, the music and times of “Jersey Boys” and Frankie Valli has made a mark in showbiz history. Coincidently, it was good to see Frankie Valli attending Sunday service at our church with his family. Ah yes, faith, family, friends and love is the glue that keep life together.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain

Live your truth,

Maria Lauren, (aka) Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog


What’s next for our book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS?

Maybe there is a Broadway musical, film or television show on the horizon. :-)



Maria’s Website

Contact: YGTPower@aol.com

Maria-Lauren-MotivationThis is a personal blog, produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.