Discoveries and Lessons Learned in 2014

2014 was a roller coaster of good, bad, ugly, great memories, sweat, and tears for me. I made a lot of progress but I also took a few steps back from time to time. I reached my goals and learned from the process it took to achieve them. I’m so excited to see what 2015 has in store, but I want to reflect on how great and not so great 2014 was, the discoveries and lessons learned:

 

1) I competed in Emerald Cup 2014 – This was probably one of the highlights of my year. Competing in ECUP opened opportunities for me, introduced me to new people, pushed me past my physical and mental threshold, caused me pain and tears, drove away friends and family, taught me the science of nutrition and training, made me completely broke, and taught me that bodybuilding ain’t my sport. I placed 7th out of 24 gals in my category, and had the support from friends and family that I didn’t deserve. It was an experience I will never forget, but will also never partake in again.

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2) Lost a few friends – Losing friends can be a part of growing up. Some times it doesn’t phase you, but some times you think about them every day. Some times friendships can’t be mended, some times they are lost by things you did or didn’t do. Although it’s a shame, I learned to cherish the good and bad memories and just keep moving forward.

4) Did my first fitness photoshoot – In fact, I did two photoshoots this years! My first fitness shoot was so much fun! I’m not saying the second one wasn’t, but the first photoshoot was capturing me in my element and natural surroundings. My second photoshoot was a month before competition date and I was feeling carb depleted, kinda exposed in my bikini, and overall bashing myself mentally for how much farther I thought I had to go to be ‘stage ready.’ Either way, huge thanks to Amir Zahed, friend and co-worker for the great opportunity and excellent photos.

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5) Became a sponsored athlete with Femme – This was extremely exciting! Femme is a brand new company in Australia with Australian and U.S Athletes. I was signed on when they first started in March, so the beginning was quite rocky, but under new management our relationship has been strong. They provide me with amazing supplements such as Femme Peach Skin Tightening Cream (my personal favorite, check out my blog post for giveaway details!), BCAA’s, Pre Workout, and Carnitine. I can’t wait to begin events with them once they grow into a larger company.

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6) Made it to the morning shift at the EBC – This might not sound like a big deal, but believe me, it was for me. I was about to begin an interview process with Regus while I was on night shift (11:00am to 7:30pm) until they moved me to the opening shift (6:30am to 3:00pm). As much as I enjoyed morning workouts and my morning routine, working the night shift meant getting off way past 7:30pm once everyone has left the building. It really hurt my mental health. I was completely over working a year of night shift. Moving to the morning shift opened so many doors for me, the biggest opportunity being school.

7) Paid off my debt – 2013 hit our pockets financially in a big way: buying a new dog, being forced to move out, paying more for rent, surgery for our dog, having to move AGAIN after 5 short months, marathon in Leavenworth, Iron Man in Vancouver, etc. After the miraculous reunion with my biological family and a savings bond being passed down from my great great grandma, we were able to move and pay off our debt with our tax return as well.

8) Went to my first volunteer event – My Christian high school used to do quarterly volunteer events with Union Gospel Mission and it felt really good doing those, so I decided to do another volunteer event with my work with the Special Olympics over the Summer. We weren’t working as closely with the athletes as I thought we would be, but it felt good to be donating our time to help out with the vendor booths at the event. I want to make it a goal to do a few more volunteer events this year as well.

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9) Began my own eBay store – Talk about extra side cash! I sold basically my entire closet of unused clothing on top of other odds and ends and have probably made well over $1,000 so far! Keep it coming! I started buying half price tag items at Goodwill to resell. It’s been pretty successful, I’m excited to see how much I can rake in for 2015.

10) Took a vacation to San Diego with the hubby – We went to San Diego in July after racking up enough air miles to help out with a huge percentage of the ticket cost. We went for 5 days and literally lounged on the beach every day and drank every night. I got the worse sun burn I’ve ever experienced, but also the sexiest darkest tan. I still have swim suit tan lines on my booty.

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11) Discovered what Influenster was – Pretty much the best online discovery I’ve made this year. Influenster is platform where you can connect all your social media to increase your social impact score, write reviews to maintain eligibility for prizes, receive FREE prizes, write reviews and fulfill tasks and challenges, and earn MORE free stuff! I’ve earned Sally Hansen Nail Polish, beauty boxes, over $100 in eBay gift cards, and my FAVORITE….. the Victoria’s Secret Sport voxbox with a free Incredible Sports bra, and workout crops. On top of THAT…. I was the lucky winner of the $500 VS gift card for my YouTube review. In love with Influenster.

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12) Got a Twitter account – Not proud of this one. Let’s just say I did it for Influenster 😉

13) Two of my closest gal pals got married – This was a big deal! I was a Bridesmaid for my friend Brittany and was in charge of throwing her a Bachelorette party, so much fun. My other friend Danielle had her Bachelorette party in Vancouver while Derek went to her husband’s Bachelor party in Lake Tahoe. Tons of fun, drinking, and money spent of course. Hopefully no one gets married for a while so we can recover… JK!

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14) I made the decision to go to school – Biggest and most important decision of the year! I started in Fall Quarter and made a 4.0! I have no idea what I want to do, but I’m playing around with the ideas of environmental science, conservation, and/or sustainability. That’s what the first few years of college is for though, figuring out what interests you. I hope I continue to do well for the rest of the year.

15) Extended our current lease for another year – This is a huge deal for us! IN FACT…. we extended our lease for another year, so 3 years total. That will be the longest we have lived anywhere. We really love the security, the location, and how perfect our condo is. We would LOVE to own one like it some day, maybe after Derek graduates Law School.

16) Derek passed the LSAT! – We share our successes, so I feel a huge connection with him passing his LSAT. He was so nervous, but he studied his ass off EVERY DAY of Summer. I’m so happy he passed with a great score placing him in the top tier. He put so much hard work into everything he did to prepare, I had total faith in him 🙂 Now onto Law School and Scholarship applications this year!

 

It was a blessed year, I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store 🙂

~Jess

 

 

Thoughts…….

My blog hasn’t really been structured lately, in fact, I don’t believe my blog ever had structure! I just sorta’ post when I feel like it, or sometimes I’ll post when I realize my page views are dropping and I have been doing a shitty job keeping my readers engaged. Some times it’s hard to have really great content ‘come to you’. So here’s a hodge-podge of random thoughts for your reading pleasure….

I recently added a few new categories to my blog. I’ve expanded my product review labels since I recently joined Influenster, Sample Society by Allure, Fabletics athletic apparel by Kate Hudson, and I’m a sponsored athlete with Femme. Now I’m just sittin’ pretty until my goodies arrive in the mail so I can tell you how awesome or not awesome they are!

In the mean time, I’ve been creating goals for myself with the new school year fast approaching. This will be my first time back at college in 5 years! It’s a pretty monumental moment for me! I will be working overtime at my job with a full course schedule. I’ve never actually done that before! It will be hard to sacrifice some workout time for school, but I won’t give up one or the other, I WILL find a balance! tina2

My typical goal is to visit the gym 5 times a week, working out anywhere between an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes.

While I’m enrolled in school I’ve set my goal for at least 4 times a week, working out the same amount of time, but working out SMARTER. I will be incorporating more HIIT treadmill sprints and incline sprints with plyo sets in between. I easily torched about 750-800 calories in a short amount of time during my competition prep with this style workout. Currently I am lucky if I burn up to 600 calories with my lifting schedule. Both types of workouts have their benefits, I personally benefit more from cardio and plyo workouts, especially when I have limited time. I will still incorporate two lifting days, mostly leg days, but if my arms are feeling skimpy I’ll do some upper body as well. I usually workout upper body 2-4 times a month! Not often!

I’ve also adjusted my macros so I will be eating less carbs. Not much less, but I definitely feel like I didn’t need 186 grams per day! We’ll see how my body reacts.

If I become too overwhelmed with the schedule and can’t fit my workout in after work, I can also run to work in the mornings while good weather lasts. My work has a shower, all I have to do is bring a small shower basket with hair products and small make up bag to keep in my locker. Voila! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

This will be my work and school schedule beginning Monday, September 22nd:

Monday and Wednesday:
-Work:    6:00am to 4:30pm
-School: 5:20pm to 7:40pm

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:
-Work:    6:00am to 2:30pm
-School: No classes! Workout and HW

I’m secretly really excited for school 🙂 Am I terrified because it’s been 5 years?! Absolutely! I really need the distraction from work, I need to feel like I’m working on something to achieve a purpose for MY future. I love the convenience my job; the hours, the pay, benefits, and the pace; but I know that there is something else for me on the horizon.

Is it weird that this almost feels like farewell?! I’m about to be insanely busy, I really hope I can cope with the jam packed schedule. My future blog posts might be few and far between, and when I do post they may be rushed and just a brief update. To be honest, I might migrate back over to the old school pen and notebook journal. Something about physically writing with pen and paper soothes me. I will write as often as I can, until next time……

~Jess

New Week – Fresh Start

Hey Guys,

Sorry I’ve been a lil’ M.I.A lately. Life has been a crazy train the past few weeks. I’ve been busy with Bachelorette party planning, travelling to Vancouver for a second Bachelorette party, making plans for my friend Brittany’s wedding this weekend, Derek has his Iron Man the weekend after the wedding, I’ve been approved for weekly over time at work for cross training purposes with the Cybercrime Center, I’m also planning on going to the Washington State Open Bodybuilding Fitness Expo in Puyallup, and I’m tracking down my Financial Aid for school this Fall and the list continues. Man, I need a vacation!

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Brittany’s Bachelorette Party last weekend at Danielle’s house and in Seattle at Wasabi Bistro.

Even though it’s been insanely crazy, I’ve been having loads of fun the past few weekends! Last weekend Danielle and I planned Brittany’s Bachelorette party together. It was a fun night! We decorated Danielle’s house, made snacks, and made margaritas. We did a freakin’ good job, I was super proud of us! We opened presents, had a few drinks, took photos in the photo booth and head out to Seattle for dinner at Wasabi Bistro. Wasabi Bistro was delicious and the bartender was kind enough to give us delicious free drinks. They were so amazing, I wish I remembered what they were called! After dinner we went out on the town to Ohana and Foundation Nightclub for a few and came back to Danielle’s house for board games and wine. It was a low key evening, but plenty of fun catching up with close friends 🙂

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Danielle’s Bachelorette Party in Vancouver this weekend with 12 gals!

This weekend was Danielle’s Bachelorette party in Vancouver, 12 girls total and NO CELL PHONE SERVICE! It was definitely tough staying together as one group without getting lost since most of our phones were turned off. After we found the second hotel on Saturday, everything was easy going. You’d be surprised how helpless you feel without service or GPS! It was so much fun meeting all of Danielle’s family and gal pals, they were a great crowd. Saturday we went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Downtown and bought vodka on the way back to the hotel to PREEE FUUUUUUNK! To be honest, I think I was at my drunkest while we were pre-funking at the hotel. We walked down to the water front and took epic photos, and had our photos taken by complete strangers and tourists. Kind of awkward but super cute anyhow 🙂 Afterwards we started getting ready to leave for dinner and clubbing. I must say, it was a fun evening! Even though I’m 99% sure our drinks were watered down, it was still fun giving Danielle ‘dare’s’ to complete throughout the evening. As you can see, one of the dare’s was to have a stranger wear her bra! She didn’t even have to be drunk for that one! She also had a male stranger buy her a drink, she danced on top of the bar, and was invited to go behind the bar to mix her own drink. It was a great weekend!

Brittany and I started the drive back to Seattle early so we could decompress and mentally prepare for the week ahead, I can’t believe she gets married in less than a week! This Summer has definitely kept us all extremely busy, it’s been great though 🙂

I’ve been very blessed with new opportunities from my sponsor, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work over time while training at the Cybercrime Center, increasing my pay by $300 a month. Definitely needed and appreciated! I also just got off the phone with Financial Aid and I’ve been granted a deferment so my tuition isn’t due until September 15th, whewww! Dodged a bullet there! A month and a half until schooooool! I also FINALLY have a workout partner! Kat signed up for an L.A Fitness membership and we will be working out together Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Squat partner! 🙂

Well, I better work on my ‘To Do’ list, hope everyone has a fabulous week!

~Jess

 

Monday Madness

This week is gonna be CRAY!

I’m pretty damn excited though, I’ve got big things on the agenda. Today I’m trucking through a 12 hour shift so I can work a short day tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m going to Bellevue College to take my COMPASS Placement test so I can register for classes for Fall. To be honest, I’ll probably epically fail the Math portion, but I’m confident in my English testing skills.

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After my COMPASS Placement test I plan on heading to the gym and whipping out a killer workout to make up for losing a workout today. We all know how much I hate skipping Mondays, but it has to be done.

As far as workouts this week I’m pushing my comfort zone with a spin class, FINALLY swimming since post show, and attempting to run to see how my left foot reacts. I still want to run a half marathon, but August may not be possible at this point. I might also want to do a relay triathlon depending on how my running is, or how good I get at swimming. Open water swimming is a whole new can of worms though.

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On a different note, I’ve signed up for an online social media program called ‘Influenster’ which I’m pretty excited about! Influenster is a FREE online site where you can create a profile and review products you enjoy. By connecting your social media accounts to this profile, your social media ‘influence’ is calculated, and depending on how heavily you influence the internet, you can be sent FREE products to review! I’ve been going to town writing reviews for dog toys, beauty products, apps, web sites, etc. I just received an email saying I qualify for the ‘Beauty Box’. NOTHING IS GUARANTEED YET THOUGH! I took the survey they emailed to me, and I will find out in a few weeks if I qualify for a VoxBox of free products to test and review. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high since Femme was a complete bust, and Quest Nutrition has been very unorganized about the events they need staffing for and disappointed me with their lack of communication.
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Can’t wait to see what the verdict is! I’ve been filling out surveys like mad, and I really enjoy reviewing products! I want to purchase a monthly Beauty Subscription as well so I can review products in my blog. I signed up for Ipsy but was sorely disappointed when I never received my June glam bag. I emailed Ipsy Care 4 times and never received a response! Finally I decided to cancel since July is coming up and I didn’t want to be charged for July when June never arrived in the mail. After cancelling (and conveniently writing a poor review on Influenster) I received a response and they should be sending me another June glam bag. However, I’m still cancelling and won’t be signing up again. There are other great subscription boxes out there! Check out mysubscriptionaddiction.com! They have almost EVERY subscription box imaginable categorized and the site is very user friendly. There are so many awesome choices, I can’t make up my mind!

Stay tuned this week! I’ll post some workouts and update you on classes I plan on taking next quarter! Thankfully this week is a short week with the upcoming holiday, whewww! Much needed! Have a wonderful week 🙂

~Jess