Great Thanksgiving and Great Workouts!

I hope everyone else’s Thanksgiving was as awesome as mine! I had a really great time with family that I hadn’t seen in 15 years! Great grandparents, great Aunts and Uncles, cousins, second cousins, halves of this and halves of that…. WHEW! Hard to keep track of the family tree, especially since I’m so “new” to it. If you know anything about me, or have read past posts, you’ll know that I was adopted at age 7, and lost all contact with my biological family until the summer of this year. I definitely have some history, good, bad, ugly, and just plain bizarre. I might write a book about it one day!

Anyways, I met a lot of relatives and had an awesome time! There’s so much that I’m thankful for this year, and one of the number one things I’m thankful for is reconnecting with my biological family. They are all so kind and gracious, so quick to call me family and accept me back as one of their own. They have been looking for me for years! I honestly never thought I would see them or hear from them again. I am definitely blessed beyond measure.

I would say there were about….. 20 people there, it was a very big group! Kaienna made friends with my Great Uncle Scott’s daughter named Nora, I guess that would make her my second cousin? I think? Kaienna is 4 years old and Nora is 5 years old. They had a great time! Kaienna was glued to Nora’s hip all night, they played together really well. My Uncle Rob was there and he brought 2 types of beer that he brewed, both were absolutely delicious AND potent! I was very impressed, he’s also a really funny cool guy. My Great Aunt Cheryl was there with her fiance Barry and his 3 kids, as well as her 2 kids Ryan and Amber which would make them my second cousins again? There were just a lot of people! I don’t want to embarrass myself and continue listing everyone, just in case I forget some people.

The food was GREAT! I only had one round of dinner since I had such a small breakfast and I’m sure my stomach has shrunk over time. Mind you, it was a very large plateful! There was turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, marshmallow coconut candied sweet potatoes, cranberry and pecan fruit salad with whip cream, dinner rolls, and this delicious broccoli, egg, onion, cheddar casserole….. mmmm good! Whew, my belly wasn’t quite ready to pop until after dessert. I had some of Aunt Cheryl’s pumpkin spice, walnut bars with whip cream. Soooooo good! It had a light fluffy texture and she added just the right amount of spices, ’twas amazing! Man…. after dessert I was about to POP! Good thing I was smart and wore stretchy yoga pants.

After a full day of drinking, eating, laughter, meeting new relatives, and great conversation, we headed home around 7:30pm. We rented Monster’s University and enjoyed a slice of my leftover apple pie before turning in for the night. It was a really great day, I can’t stress how perfect it was given how crazy my past has been. Unfortunately I was unable to get any pictures, but that’s alright, I was too busy soaking in and enjoying the moment.

In case you were wondering, YES I did workout Thanksgiving day and YES I did work out today, the day after the carb-load feast! Yesterday’s workout was designed to boost my metabolism for hours after working out, so I could burn more of that Thanksgiving meal. HIIT, cardio, plyos, you name it! I wanted to back off my legs today since Leg Day on Wednesday killed them and they seemed to hurt WORSE this morning! Today I did a mile warm up and did super sets of triceps, shoulders, and chest. I was short on time so I was unable to fit that 15-20 minute run in afterwards like I usually do. Tomorrow I will be adjusting my pre-written workout to use resistance bands at home since Derek will be training clients in the morning and will need me to stay at the house to watch Kaienna. Tomorrow is core, back, and biceps!

Today was the last day of my David Barton Gym 2 week trial membership, I’m pretty sad about it, but I’m also thankful to be getting my basketball court back at L.A. Fitness for sprints! I enjoyed my 2 weeks there, now I’m even more motivated to smash Emerald Cup and earn my PT cert so I can work there one day. All of the people there are so friendly, very personable, and not once did I feel like they were after my money. I can definitely feel their passion for bodybuilding, health, and fitness. I got to meet a couple of really cool people too.

I wanted to address something in this post that I’ve been thinking about today. The definition of ‘bodybuilding.’ People typically think of bodybuilders as cocky juice heads who pick up heavy things and put them down. People think they strictly lift weights, bulk up, and smash things. I want to redefine what bodybuilding personally means to ME. To me, bodybuilding is an art, it takes true perseverance and dedication to rock at this sport. It doesn’t mean you strictly lift, or you have to take roids, or you have to take supplements, powders, and eat hardly anything. It doesn’t even mean you have to win! It means that you’re an artist and you can take control and sculpt your body into ANYTHING you want. You can push your body to the limits and literally create something. It’s so freakin’ cool! Creating a beautiful shape isn’t even the limit, you can push beyond that and make your body perform to the max, push past any resistance, create mental strength as well as physical strength.

I can’t wait to see where I can take my body, watch it transform, watch my mind transform as well. I will never mistreat my body, I won’t pour crap into it, I won’t starve myself, I’m going to do this the healthy way. People are going to notice that something unique, and it’s going to be because I trained different. Yes, there are going to be rough patches and I’ll mentally and physically be at the lowest of lows, but I’m going to get up so high too and that’s worth it! The diet WILL be crazy, but I’m not going to be malnourished, I will give my body what it needs. People will recognize the difference, and hopefully I will love this sport, rock at it, and continue performing with my own style.

Whew…. sorry for the rant, but that’s what I’ve been thinking about today after meeting some really cool people at David Barton. I wish I knew more people and could network better, this is something I love and I wish other people loved it as much as me. We’ll see what the future holds! Have a great weekend everybody, stay tuned! XOXO

~Jess ♄


It’s my Friday…. AGAIN!

Today’s my Friiiidaaaaay again! So excited to have the next 5 days off, I have plans to relax as well as be productive. I’m going to wake up at 4am regardless, I’m not going to waste my day sleeping in! Tomorrow I’m doing body weight exercises, plyometrics, cardio and LEGS! Gonna feel the buuuuuurn, really take time to focus on my muscles and core engagement.


Tonight I had one of my easy favorites for dinner! Derek and I love making Ground Turkey & Quinoa Whole Wheat Wraps. Here is the recipe:

1. Bring 1 cup of dry quinoa to a boil in a sauce pan, place lid on sauce pan and let steam on low.

2. In separate medium sauce pan, cook 1lb – 1.5lbs ground turkey with Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, and Garlic Salt. lafactoria


3. Once both the quinoa and ground turkey are fully cooked, combine in one pan with an 11oz can of drained corn and a 15oz can of drained black beans. Keep warm on low to serve. 

4. Use ‘LaTortilla Factory‘ Low Carb Whole Wheat tortilla wraps to make a burrito and add shredded cheese! MMmmm delicious! 


Try the recipe out and let me know what you think! If you guys have any suggestions for new recipes, please let me know, I’m always open to new ideas for healthy eats.

Right now I’m enjoying some Ginger Tea and honey watching 30 Rock making plans for tomorrow. Aside from working out I’m going to go tanning, getting my Lululemons from ‘Between Friends Consignment’ hemmed, paying some bills, running some errands, and baking an apple pie for Thanksgiving at my Great Grandparents.

I’m so thankful for this time of the year! Spending quality time with the family and relaxing before the craziness ensues again. I definitely need the mental break! Life has been so insane. Finances, moving, work, working out, goals, and losing track of time. Time has been flying by so quickly! January is going to roll around the corner any minute, and I want to be ready for it. The next month I’m going to clear my mind, learn to enjoy and live in the moment, set my priorities, and focus on my goals. I want January 2014 to start fresh and I want to be so motivated to take on challenges and succeed!

With that being said, I better head to bed so I can wake up 4am to crush the day. Good night everybody! Hope everyone had a great Tuesday XOXO

~Jess ♄

Season to be Thankful

What a beautiful hump day in the usually rainy Seattle area!

We’ve been experiencing periodic bursts of sunlight through the EBC windows, definitely a mood booster to help power me through the rest of the week. I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I was walking my dog today, thinking about how thankful I am for my blessings.

It’s November, so that means it’s time to count and reflect on your blessings!

Our current home in Downtown Bellevue / Living Room

I’m thankful for having an incredible year despite all the ups, downs, and obstacles in between. So much has happened in a mere 10 months, it’s insane! I started a new job at Microsoft and Derek started a new school at Seattle University.

We were faced with having to move out of our Downtown Bellevue Condo due to our Landlord’s personal issues and needing the space. We found a new place and lived there for 4 1/2 months in very stressful conditions, we did not have a pleasant relationship with our Landlord. There was plenty of arguments, concerns with Landlord style, concerns with our privacy and health. After much toil we broke our lease and were able to move into a new 2 bedroom/2 bathroom in Downtown Bellevue with a better price, location, and most importantly private. Plus I get my own bathroom, it’s HUGE!

I’m also thankful for coming in contact with my biological family after 15 loooong years! Short snippet of my life:

I was adopted at age 7 after years in the foster care system and living with several different relatives.

me & dad

Meeting my biological dad Al for the first time!

My adopted family was awesome, they took really good care of me, gave me a great life and great memories, and taught me many of the morals I live by to this day. They were also very VERY reformed Christian, and I found myself in a very dark conflicted place at the age 16, denounced my faith and ran away. For 2 years I lived a less than desirable life doing things many people would frown on, including myself. At age 18 I met my husband and we both saved each other from living very different lives. We grew together and created a life and family. We have become very successful and have achieved so much, it’s amazing.

This summer I was contacted my an agency saying that my biological great grandparents wished to see me. After the initial shock I said I would be happy to exchange information and contact them. After contacting them I was given my biological Dad’s information and reached out to him. Very intense moment in my life! The very next day I opened my Facebook to a million friend requests and messages from cousins, Aunts, Great Aunts & Uncles, step siblings, etc.! Very overwhelming! So little time to process everything. Just a week later I was surprised with a visit from my Dad, his wife Rhonda, and my half-brother Anthony. I met my great grandparents, Great Aunt & Uncle, second cousins (I think?), and so many more relatives. Although it was very overwhelming, the visits were positive and the experience was so surreal, and I’m so genuinely thankful for it. I never thought the day would come.

wedding leaving

My wedding day February 11th, 2012, leaving for our ‘honeymoon’

I’m also thankful for my husband for a million reasons! He is a true role model, and he never ceases to amaze me daily. I’ve watched him grow into the incredible man that he is today, and I know that he will only continue to grow and impress me and everyone around him. He has such a fiery passion and dedication for anything he decides he will accomplish. He pours himself into his studies, always puts his family and others first, thinks from a unique and different perspective, and truly cares about things people look past constantly. I learn something new from him every day, and I’m so blessed to be married to such a great man, because there aren’t any like him out there. He does everything in his power to make me a happy woman, and he succeeds but I don’t tell him nearly as often as I should. He’s amazing, and I’m lucky to have him.


Derek’s wonderful parents Amy and Al Frank

I’m also thankful for his family and Kaienna. They are all amazing people, and have helped us out immensely. They took me in and accepted me as family, even after hearing about my crazy history. They have shown us nothing but kindness and support through thick and thin. They stepped in and helped me plan my wedding. His mom and dad pitched in for the wedding dinner and conducted the whole rehearsal and set up. His older sister Jamie flew up while he was nearly 9 months pregnant to help with decorations and the bridal shower, she also fixed my bouquet which was atrocious before she rescued it! His other sister Jenna did my hair as well as the girls who were in the wedding party. Talk about team effort! Kaienna was our sweet little flower girl, she was absolutely adorable.


Derek and Kaienna

Kaienna….. such a beautiful well-behaved little girl. I am honored to be the woman by Derek’s side to watch her grow. At first I was a little hesitant with Derek having a child with another woman before he met me, but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being a part of her life, creating memories with her, teaching her, and having such a huge impact on her life. She’s beautiful, funny, smart, and has an adorable laugh. I love being her Jess ♄

I am also thankful for my job. Of course I could sit here and list a million things that irritate me about this job, which I do too much, but I’m going to be thankful that I have a high-end job in the Executive Briefing Center at Microsoft that pays well and is giving me great experience for the future. This job allows me to spend more time with my family. At the Marriott I typically worked the 3:00pm to 11:30pm shift and was never guaranteed weekends off. This made it difficult to spend time with Derek and get to know Kaienna. I love looking forward to the weekend, it’s great knowing you have those 2 days to plan anything! The EBC also provides a free bus pass, free delicious lunches, sick days, paid holidays, vacation, and health benefits. I complain too much on a daily basis when I have so much going for me.


My ‘Maid of Honor’ Danielle, miss her and love her!

I’m thankful for my friends. Some days I feel like I have no right to call them friends anymore since I haven’t seen them in so long. Responsibilities have been piling up for me and sometimes it feels so overwhelming. You know you have true friends when they say they understand, “You’re a step mommy now, you have a little girl to take care of.” Or remind you that they will always be your friends no matter how often you talk or not. The very least I can give them is time, and some days I just don’t have that. I want to give back because, man, they would give me the shirt of their back any day. They have given me so much more than I can ever imagine giving them back. Friendship, a home, a family. I wouldn’t be here without them.

Keyda :)

Keyda 🙂

Of course I’m thankful for my pets! I love my lil’ Shiba named Keyda! Such a well-behaved dog since Derek trained her. She is liter box trained, does NOT bark, is playful, affectionate, obedient, ADORABLE, and gets millions of compliments wherever we go. I couldn’t ask for a better dog. My cat Pookie has been a little feisty lately, but nonetheless she is a great pet, and very affectionate when she wants to be. Keyda and Pookie get along great and keep each other company when Derek and I are away for long periods of time.

The list goes on and on! I wanted to mention how grateful I am also for the amazing honeymoon Derek and I had last December. Technically it wasn’t within this year 2013, BUT I wanted to count it as a blessing anyways. We were very fortunate enough to travel all of Thailand last December for a whole month! Last year I worked 3 jobs, and we both put away a lot of money so we could go on this trip. It was amazing! thailand I think we absolutely grew closer because of it, even though we hardly saw each other all year. SO many great stories, memories, pictures, and life experiences. Our rental motor bike ran out of gas and we had to push it to the gas station, but they wouldn’t fill us up and we didn’t know why because they didn’t speak English. We had to push the bike to the next one! We fed Jaguars at the Chiang Mai Zoo, stayed in amazing tree houses in the jungle, rode elephants, pet tigers, had our debit card eaten by a ATM in the middle of nowhere, and so much more! Amazing time!

Lastly…..*WHEW* This IS a fitness blog, so I would like to finish by saying that I’m thankful to have a healthy, properly functioning body that can do almost anything I want if I work hard at it. I rarely get sick, I can work out without worrying about any current injuries, I treat my body well and put good food into it (most of the time, hehe), I ran the Oktoberfest Half Marathon, and I am about to rock the shit out of Emerald Cup 2014! I have been blessed this year, more than I deserve by FAR!

Wow, that took all day to write, but I’m in an extremely good mood! Hell, I should do this all the time! Thanks for reading, have a great night and enjoy the rest of your week!

~Jess ♄