This is Me: Take it or leave it

Once I heard the song This is Me for the first time (in church of all places) it instantly got stuck in my head. After looking it up and playing it on repeat for a few weeks, I finally sat down and watch The Greatest Showman. It was a great movie and in some ways reminded me of Hamilton. They both channel that whole this is me, this is who I am, and I’m not changing for anyone. Strong, powerful lead characters who are impossible to take down. And these characters fuel me.

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As a writer, I’m a lot like Hamilton. I could see myself writing pages and pages, the words flowing out of me. Actually, I’ve had days like that where I just write and write in my journal. Some stuff almost no one will ever read. But today I feel like sharing just a little bit more about me and why I no longer give a f*ck.

Growing up I had a lot of f*cks to give. I cared a lot what others thought of me. I’d go out of my way to dress a certain way, brush my hair, and try my best to be nice to everyone. I actually found myself between a rock and a hard place several times in elementary school as I tried to be friends with everyone, including the nerds and the populars. At the end of the day, I just wanted to be accepted and feel like I belonged. But I also didn’t want to make anyone else feel alone.

Most of my life I’ve been really nice. Actually I am still really nice. So nice that it’s been painful at times. But I always have and always strive to see the best in people. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I’ve been around some of the best of the best. The people who I’m so glad I gave a chance. The people I love to love. It’s a curse because there are people who have and will stomp all over my heart for their benefit. I had someone who after I pushed past all of the barriers and obstacles only to choose him, over and over again, used that same blind love to stab me in the back and still demand a quick and low-cost separation. Of which I granted, out of kindness not only to him but also to myself.

So I am nice, but after crawling through flames I’ve decided to be nice to myself first and foremost. This is not to say I’m not nice to others, it’s just to say that I have to consider how being nice to others affects my niceness to myself.

In other words, I ask myself how much of myself do I want to pour into someone before opening up. I’ve been singed a few too many times to just openly love and pour on strangers. But I also still have the ability to love on the right people. The people who are there for me no matter what. The ones who show up in the middle of the storm and at the top of the mountain peak. I try my best to be as warm and kind to those who are there for me. And I give my standard kindness to everyone else.

But for those who shun me or judge me, I have nothing for them. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on draining individuals. Instead, when one person leaves, I tend to take that energy I almost wasted and pour it into myself. This way, with every person I encounter, I grow spiritually and emotionally. Whether they’re terrible or great, they bring with them a lesson that I learn and grow upon.

But never will you see me chasing after the wrong person. I would rather watch them walk out of my life than be anywhere near them. And to be honest, I’m running low on f*cks to give. I gave a lot of them to who I thought was the right person. Now, I’m taking the time to step back and breathe as I try to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistake again. (third times the charm?)

Holding on to these last f*cks for the right guy. For now, they’re in the vault until the time is right to let them shine.

 

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The 10 Coolest Places I’ve Visited

I’ve been blessed with the ability to travel to many cool places, both near and far. It’s hard to narrow it down to the top ten, but here’s my list of the coolest places I’ve visited.

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  • The top of a Maui volcano: rode a bicycle all the way down starting at 5am to see the sunrise.
  • Snorkeling in Molokini: clearest water ever and sea turtles!
  • Mozart’s statue (Vienna) and childhood home (Salzburg) in Austria: Mozart is my favorite composer.
  • On a gondola in Venice, Italy: It’s cliche but was totally awesome.
  • Kissed the Blarney stone in Ireland: upside down, risking your life all for some extra luck.
  • Giant’s causeway in Ireland, crazy rock bridge where the giants roamed.
  • Pike’s Peak in Colorado: cold on top, warm on bottom.
  • Niagara Falls, both on top and behind them.
  • Grand Canyon: just on the edge looking over it so will have to go back.
  • Cedar Point on all the coasters! I’ve been here many times and it never gets old.

Where are the coolest places you’ve been?

Top 3 fitness training obstacles

Before focusing on the pre-natal fitness niche, I had plenty of obstacles that I would have to overcome in order to obtain a new personal training client. With the more focused pregnant mothers target market, there are even more obstacles. These are the top three that could apply to almost any market you’re trying to target for your personal/small group fitness training business.20190117_204906.jpg

  1. Building trust. This is huge. It’s hard when you first meet someone/start talking to them to build trust but I have found it helpful to ask certain questions about them in order to get them talking about themselves and their fitness goals. Asking open-ended questions is key here. Rather than asking if they want to lose pounds, ask them what or who they admire and want to look like. Almost everyone (especially millenials) have a fitness Instagram account they follow and want to look like. You’d be surprised at how many male clients I would have pull up a male fitness guru’s account to show me his goal.
  2. Find their X-factor. Trust me when I tell you that every potential client will say something close to “I want to lose X lbs” or “I want to gain X lbs of muscle” or a mixture of both. Obviously, the prenatal market is looking to stay/be healthy for baby and to shorten labor time. That’s an X factor. So for those people who just tell you they want to lose weight and/or gain muscle you have to find their why. Some examples I’ve heard include: upcoming event (i.e. wedding), want to keep up with kids or grandkids, and doctor’s orders. Find out what’s driving them to get back in shape and your job will be much easier.
  3. Financial. This is the biggest obstacle to overcome. While everyone wants to get in shape, not every has the extra cash to pay for a personal trainer 3-4 times a week. If you do a little digging, most people can give up their starbucks/fast food/alcoholic beverages to afford about 30-80 dollars a week. Finding something comfortable is important, as you don’t want them to not be able to pay their bills. But also, you don’t want them to pay too little where they don’t take you seriously. So I like to have a range where I’m comfortable getting paid. I take a few things into account. I charge less for my online clients versus my clients I physically meet at the gym. All things considered, I wouldn’t undercut myself if someone could only afford 15 or 20 dollars a week. I could still help them by writing up a generalized meal plan and workout plan for a month at a time and charge them a flat rate for that month. But it would be on the client to follow through with the workouts.

What obstacles do you see in the fitness industry? How do you overcome them?

Running is a lot like life

I recently started reading a book by a local runner appropriately named The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal. Even within the first chapter, I saw that this book wasn’t just about running. It’s way more, and running is way more than just running.

You have good days and bad days in running. Some days, the weather’s perfect and so is your pace. You feel like you could run forever and a day. Your feet feel like they’re running on clouds and there’s a stupid smile pasted on your face. These are the days we look forward to and hope for.

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But then there are the bad days. The weather is cold, wet or dreary. Your feet feel like they’re weighing you down. You can barely look ahead let alone up and above the dreaded horizon. Each step is felt and you count them until your last step. You have to push yourself every step of the way, and don’t even think about your pace because that’s a lost cause. If it’s bad enough, you might even consider quitting running for good.

And these days don’t just apply to running for fun, but also race days. You can train and prepare and get to the start line on race day only for everything to fall apart between the start and finish line. Now think about life. Life is the same way. We have good days and bad days. We train and prepare hard for certain things. And sometimes, hopefully usually, we are successful. But nothing is guaranteed. We may fail, but it’s up to us to get back up and dust ourselves off.

You may not finish that marathon, or you might have a terrible running day or streak of days. Or maybe even weeks, months, years. But those running shoes will be waiting for you to lace them up and try, try again.

What keeps you going?

My two cents on today’s news

The news and social media have been full of politics lately. Usually Trump-related but this morning I watched a video where a group of young kids wearing “Make America Great Again” hats stood and mocked a Native American as he sang a song of unity while steadily beating his drum. If you somehow missed this headline, you can read the story here.

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I couldn’t help but start crying as the kid stood in Nathan Phillip’s face with a smirk across his face. My heart broke for the indigenous people, the veterans who have fought so long and so hard just for unity and peace. As these Trump supporters were chanting “Build that wall,” I feel like they are the ones who should be on the outside of that wall they want so much. If you think about it, Nathan and his ancestors were here first. Out of anyone, they should be the ones wanting to kick everyone else out. But instead, they march for peace and unity. They’re singing songs urging participants to “be strong” against the ravages of colonialism that include police brutality, poor access to health care and the ill effects of climate change on reservations.

Watch the video and see that the kids don’t allow Nathan to move and taunt him the entire time. Nathan said he felt the spirit was talking through him. He didn’t back down and he didn’t stop even in the face of fear.

The saddest part of this story is that those kids were there on a field trip for school. They were there to support the pro-choice movement March for Life. What they’re supposed to be standing up for: life, and yet here they are saying build a wall and kick people out of our nation.

I don’t know about you, but when did only certain lives matter? And if that were the case, why not be pro-choice. In that regard, you could choose who lives and who dies. Which would avoid the need for the wall in the first place.

And I grew up catholic. Actually, I grew up Pro-Life and had this March of Life been about 20 years ago, I would’ve loved to had been there marching for life. But never would you have caught me anywhere near what these kids did. Being pro life means that you value every life, no matter their race, gender, background, or family. Growing up I was taught to love everyone. I had friends from many different nationalities, and aspired to learn as much as I could about other cultures and traditions as I could.

What do you think about this video?

And I’ll conclude with this quote from Nathan that I agree with:

“That energy could be turned into feeding the people, cleaning up our communities and figuring out what else we can do,” Phillips said. “We need the young people to be doing that instead of saying, ‘These guys are our enemies.’ ”

My bucket list

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There are some things in life that are always evolving and changing. One of those things for me has been my bucket list. I’ve put things on this list, checked some things off it, and feel like it’s always a work in progress. What do I want to do next type of thing. Without further ado..

  • Go skydiving (again)
  • Visit Taiwan with Joyce
  • Visit Australia and New Zealand (find the hobbits)
  • Visit Egypt/pyramids
  • Help those in need in my local community
  • Help those in need overseas – thinking Africa but open to where-ever God leads me.
  • Run a sub 5 hour marathon.
  • Run another destination race.
  • See the northern lights
  • Visit Machu Picchu.
  • Attend Comic Con.
  • Visit London, Greece, France and Spain.
  • Learn a martial art (continue my Kung Fu or find something new)
  • Learn how to meditate.
  • Learn how to practice mindfulness.
  • Fall in love.
  • Have a destination wedding.
  • Become a mom.
  • Buy a brand new car.
  • Start and own a business.
  • Work for myself.
  • Achieve financial freedom.
  • Drive Route 66
  • Go ziplining.
  • Kayak with whales
  • Run the New York Marathon
  • Go skinny dipping.
  • Volunteer abroad.
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
  • Meet Gwen Stefani
  • See Gwen perform again, either solo or with No Doubt

What are your bucket list items?

What I want to be when I grow up

Growing up, I had big dreams. At first, I wanted to be a teacher. But in middle school I realized I didn’t like kids/students and actually really loved animals. From that point on, I wanted to be a veterinarian. But not any vet, one who owned her own practice and saved every animal she possibly could. It wasn’t a lavish life, one where maybe I’d have to work hard but I figured all that hard work would pay off. I would own my own business and not have to answer to anyone.

Years later, reality hits. It started in High School when my counselor put in my head that I wasn’t smart enough (i.e. grades not good enough) to get into Veterinary School. This was Freshman year, years before even applying to college let alone vet school. But I was determined. My B-average was just that… B average. I studied hard and even took an Advanced Placement class and test. I had a rocky senior year and had to write the letter of my life to still go to University of Illinois, but they let me attend and 4 years later I walked away with my degree, along with that solid B average GPA.

Guess my counselor was right, not a single veterinary school out of the 5 I applied to even considered me for an interview. Yet I persisted. I moved back home and enrolled in some classes at the local community college in order to try and get my very average 3.0 GPA up a little. And I applied to 13 schools instead of only 5. This time around I was invited to two interviews, and placed on two wait-lists. After not being chosen, I decided to enroll in Grad School to once again hopefully increase my GPA.

Working full-time as a Veterinary Assistant and attending school full-time was very interesting. After years of long days full of sick animals, classes, and creating and writing a thesis, reality hit. I no longer had the same passion and dream to be a veterinarian. So now what?

Over the past 5 years, I’ve dabbled in so many different career fields but they all have a common theme: I love helping others. Whether that’s helping people with their computer, school subject, ACT, SAT, beloved pet, fitness goals, laboratory equipment, gym equipment, or anything else. As long as I’m helping someone else, I’m happy. I didn’t need a Master’s degree to realize this, but it appears like I needed to venture away from my long-time dream to discover just who I want to be when I grow up.

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I want to be a helper. But even more than that, I want to create an asset where I’m in control, helping people and being paid for it. You’re either helping build someone else’s asset or your building your own. While I enjoy what I do, at the end of the day I’m still answering to someone else. I want to be free when I grow up: have financial freedom and be happy in what I do everyday.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This day in history

Did you know that on this day in 1970, Elvis Presley’s single “Suspicious Minds” hit #1 in the U.K.?

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Who cares, right? Well my mom was a HUGE fan of Elvis Presley so she definitely cared, especially back in the 70s. And she came to mind recently. I actually dreamed about her and Will Smith last night. I know, random. But Will and I were just chilling and I was telling him how much my mom loved him. He was the nicest celebrity ever, and really interesting to talk to. But also really relaxed.

I don’t even know if my mom loved Will Smith as much as I do. Growing up with the Fresh Prince, maybe he is my Elvis Presley. Except he didn’t die so young like Elvis did, thankfully. They weren’t really similar but for some reason my mind mushed them together last night in my dreams.

So to Elvis and my mom! And Will Smith who hopefully will live forever. Because he’s just awesome. 🙂

Love yourself challenge

Simple post today. I challenge you to post up your favorite recent picture of yourself and write down a snippet of what you love about yourself. Try to find a picture from the last year or so. Can be a physical attribute or something in relation to your personality. Try to write the first thing that comes to mind and embrace it. Then comment here or on social media with the link to your post.

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I love this picture because it’s artsy, but also because it shows that hard work pays off. I love my legs, arms and shoulders. I work hard on them and loving the results.

Now post up your picture! 🙂

A hair above the rest

Growing up, I was cute but cuteness only went so far in school. I had my parent’s genetics to deal with. Some things you just can’t control, like crooked teeth or bad eyesight. I was born blind but my parents didn’t notice until I was in Kindergarten. I blame that on my smartness, I just faked it till I made it, or at least until I could no longer make it. Like when my mom asked me what time it was and I admitted that I couldn’t read the clock. Glasses it is!

Just looking at my dad, you could tell my teeth were doomed after seeing that I got his flat brown hair and poo-colored eyes. Braces were inevitable, but even metal mouth and extra large glasses were bearable compared to… my hair.

My hair was an oil pit. Especially once I entered middle school. It was that type of hair that literally would hit 24 hours after washing and turn into grease city. I’m talking did you pour a bottle of olive oil on your head and expect to make friends? Quite the opposite happened. I got made fun of all the time. To the point where my lazy 7th grader self was forced to wash my hair every day or suffer the consequences.

It was 50/50. And a part of me kept thinking maybe I could train my hair to last longer than 24 hours. Ain’t nobody got time to be washing and drying long stringy brown hair everyday. As I got older, I ended up caving in and washing as often as possible, sometimes twice a day. Throughout high school and college, I struggled to try and extend my hair life beyond the 24 hours it typically lasted. Even with advice from wiser women who would go DAYS, and I mean like 3-5 days without washing their hair, I still struggled. I finally discovered dry shampoo, but even that only gave me another day or two. At least I was improving, but it just wasn’t enough.

It likely didn’t help that I lived an active lifestyle full of jogging, martial arts, and other forms of torturous cardio/strength training activities. As recent as a few months ago, I was working out 5-6 times a week and still ended up washing my hair every 2-3 days. Still too often, and my hair still wasn’t at it’s prime since I was going through dry shampoo like water.

PicsArt_01-15-03.10.38.jpgThat’s when I discovered Monat. My friend gave me a bunch of samples and I put it to the test. From the first wash, my hair was beautiful for 4 days. On the 4th day, my lazy bum self used dry shampoo and made it to day 5. Not only did it look good, it felt and smelled even better. If I had a boyfriend, no doubt he would have his nose in my hair. But instead I just couldn’t stop touching my hair. I was beyond excited and actually looked forward to washing my hair again. Because of how long my hair went, the samples lasted me weeks. Which is unheard of. I was sold after going to a Monat hair washing and brunch event, where they transformed my hair in just one washing. While the shampoo isn’t the cheapest, it easily lasts 3-4 months if not longer. I purchased my first bottle back in November and have barely made a dent. I expect it to last yet another 3 months from now.PicsArt_01-15-03.16.08.jpg

And trust me, I’ve spent the same amount if not more on shampoo that lasted half that time. And normally I don’t spoil myself. Actually, I’m still sometimes in that college-kid mindset where the idea of spending any money on myself outside of food and gas is instantly rejected. But I will say that the dollars spent on Monat were well worth it. Every week, when I wash my hair once or maybe twice, I feel a change in my hair for the better. I get excited when I see other people’s hair improving as well. And the stories are endless. But don’t just take it from me, give it a shot. We all wash our hair anyways, why not try a sample and see if it’s for you?