Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Choosing Excellence

Have you ever read something that smacks you right upside your head (as my mother would say)? I read a lot of really great blogs/websites each day but one of my favorites is Donloree.

I began reading her blog more than a year ago, which at the time was called "Bikini or Bust", and instantly feel in love with her! Donloree is the epitome of positivity. No matter what she's going through, she is able to see the silver lining and the lesson in the midst of the negativity or trials & tribulations.

On Monday, she wrote a post entitled "Know Your No" that really struck me. After reading it, I started to critically examine myself and all the things that I am attempting to excel at. I asked myself, "Are you trying to excel at too many things?" and the honest answer is yes, I am. I'm trying to be so awesome at everything which, at times, is causing me to be mediocre at best.

One line of Donloree's post really stood out to and that is the line that reads "Choose a narrow path and run down it with excellence."

Why should you and I settle for mediocrity? We have the capability to be great, to excel, to be phenomenal.

I've made my choice - what about you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Release Tuesday

Sean Paul just does something to me when I hear him. Is it the accent? Is it the bad boy swagga? Is the fact that 80% of the time I have no clue what he's saying?!?

Who cares?!?

All I know is that I'm feelin' this song and every time I hear it, I want to move my body.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

When You Put In The Work...

If you followed my blog during my off-season, you recognize the term "Operation Build-A-Back". One of my goals after last year's shows was to build a better back. At the end of last season, I felt pretty good about my physique but knew I could definitely improve the thickness of my back and create a better v-taper. With this in mind, Operation Build-A-Back was born!

In my "So, What Exactly Are You Doing?" post, I not only shared what my off-season goals were but also one of the early workouts of Operation Build-A-Back. In January, I was whining to Tom aka The Boss #2 about being squishier than I liked and not instantly seeing differences in the way my back looked. Each time we were in the gym and I would whine about my back not growing, he would tell me to shut my mouth please be quiet, be patient, and do the work. I would grumble under my breath but would ultimately nod my head and get back to work.

Tom shared his thoughts with you after one of his brutal creations in his guest post "And Now A Message From the Trainer". That workout was a bitch beast!! I remember thinking I wasn't going to be able to make it through the next rep let alone finish the workout. Tom is such a joker and we laugh often but very rarely in the gym. For us, the gym is serious work and conversation & laughter can wait until the drive home. This particular day was no difference. In fact, I remember thinking he was a bit more serious and bossy than usual. As we often do post-workout, we talked about what the exercises I did were and what the reasoning for doing them was. I questioned some of the things Tom said but he reassured me it would be worth it. He constantly told me over the course of my off-season that he and The Boss #1 had a plan. My job was to do the work and trust, not only the plan, but both of them. I huffed, rolled my eyes, and said a few curse words but in the end, I would nod my head and get back to work.

I was able to share yet another "Tom Is Trying To Kill Me Under the Guise of Building My Back" creation in a video that we put together. Off-season training was in full effect and the This Is How We Do It  post was my way of showing everyone, including myself, that I was serious about laying the foundation for the 2012 season. It wasn't quite time to begin prepping for my first show so I complained about looking pudgy in the video but Tom helped me keep it in perspective by pointing out certain parts of my back that were showing improvement. I used the words "improvement" and "beast mode" to help me keep moving forward and pushing the weight while I waited to start peeling off the layers.

So, you might be wondering what my point is. My point is this, The Boss #1 and #2 had a great plan for November 2011-March 2012. They knew improvements could be made if I stayed the course and put in the work that was necessary. I didn't doubt them but I doubted myself at times. I wasn't sure if I was actually improving, changing, transforming. While I would nod my head and do the work, I wondered what the end result would be.

In the end, I didn't have to question if I made any improvements. All I had to do was look at the picture below.

October 2011 on the left. July 2012 on the right
Soon, it will be time for another off-season. I've decided to think of it as Modification Mode. Just like the definition of modification reads, I will be changing and it will be influenced by my environment aka my workouts, dedication, and desire to win.

Playlist Thursday: 'Til the End of Time

Thank you for joining me for another edition of Playlist Thursday! If you missed last week's post, you have to check it out. The Local Flavor post featured songs from the area I was raised and currently live in. This week, Pavement Runner challenged us to share songs that have been on our playlists FOREVER and will never be removed...thus the title of my post :)

Let's get this things started, shall we?

Something Old

Artist: Earth, Wind, and Fire

Title: September

Side Note: My mom has an undying love for Earth Wind & Fire. Their music is guaranteed to make her stop what she's doing and bust a move. She passed that love onto me and I have no shame in saying I can't live without them!
*Additional side note: Their concert was the first concert my mom and I attended together!

Quotable: "Ba de ya, say that you remember. Ba de ya, dancing in September. Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days."

Something Current

Artist: Gym Class Heroes

Title: The Fighter

Side Note: There have been quite a few things that have happened in my life that would have knocked any other person down for the count. I have chosen to get up, fight, and continue to be a threat. The first time I heard this song, I sat down and cried quietly because I felt like it was written for me.

Quotable: "Ya ever feel like your train of thought's been derailed? That's when you press on - Lee nails."

Something to Consider

Artist: The Pretenders

Title: I'll Stand By You

Side Note: Many years ago, my friend played this song for me when I was going through a difficult time. She told me that she felt like the song described perfectly what she wanted me to know about how she felt about me, what I was going through, and our friendship.

Quotable: "When the night falls on you, baby. You're feeling all alone. You won't be on your own."

Now it's your turn - what songs will never be deleted from your playlist?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Release Tuesday

I can't believe I'm doing this again. By "this", I mean acknowledging that I like a song by Jennifer Lopez. It's so shameful... :)

This song is the perfect addition to the playlist I'm using for fast walking running. I may or may not fist pump while doing said running on my treadmill...don't judge...just try might like it!

Jennifer Lopez...damn have I fallen under her dance track spell??

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Wonder Woman Suit

If you don't know who Wonder Woman is or love her deeply, you should stop reading this post ahora! I'm serious, go find something else to do!!

I have always loved Wonder Woman #realtalk She was a warrior princess. She had superhuman strength. Her accessories (aka her bracelets & tiara) were indestructible and could be used as a weapon. The woman was badass, plain and simple. Beauty, brains, and brawn - everything I aspired to be!

During my off-season (2011), I decided that I wanted to purchase a new suit for the 2012 season. This was not because I did not love my Tamee Marie suit (because I do, deeply!) but I had worn it for three shows including the same show in my hometown I planned on competing in again.

2011 Orange County Muscle Classic

2011 NPC Terminator

2011 NPC Border States

I wanted to present a whole new package to the judges and that included a new suit. I spoke with The Boss #1 and she said that if I found a suit and fell in love with it, then I should buy a new one. She also told me that if I didn't find one that I loved, it would be perfectly fine for me to wear my blue suit again.

I wasn't "actively" searching for new suits but I would definitely check out the new postings in the "Suits for Sale" forum on Siouxcountry, facebook, and Diva Exchange. One morning while on Siouxcountry, I saw a post from a member who was selling two suits she had previously used while competing in figure. I opened up the post and instantly fell in love with one of the suits shown. I was hesitant to contact her because I didn't know if I loved it right at that second or really really loved it. After three days of constantly looking at the picture of the suit, I decided I would contact her and see if she would be interested in renting the suit to me. Long story short, I had waited too long. She was totally interested in renting the suit to me  but that would only happen if the person who had contacted her before me changed their mind. In the end, the person didn't change their mind and I was back to square one.

The Boss #1 then suggested a suit maker she had recently worked with and had a wonderful experience with. The person she recommended was Ellen from Crystallini Bikini. I emailed Ellen and asked if she would be willing to send me some swatches of colors I thought I might want. It took me longer to decide on the color of my suit than it did for Ellen to send me the swatches! After multiple email exchanges with The Boss #1, I decided on a red suit.

Y'all know I'm not one for fluff and saying things just for the sake of saying them so trust that I am being completely honest when I say Ellen is nothing short of amazing. She promptly replied to every email, answered my questions thoroughly, and had my suit in my grubby hands W-A-Y before I expected to receive it! She's so incredible that when I emailed her a week ago about possibly altering my suit, she replied and explained me what my options were.

After receiving my blank suit from Ellen and making sure that my badonkadonk would fit into it, I sent it off to be stoned. The person stoning it for me was none other than The Boss #1.

She has stoned many of her own suits including those pictured above and graciously offered to stone mine! After we argued agreed upon a price and I sent her pictures of suits I liked, I packed up my blank suit and sent it off to the other side of the country.

A couple of times, she sent me a sneak peek of the suit but I really didn't know what it was going to look like once I received it back. After many years and months two measly weeks, it arrived!!

I tore into the package the same way The Princess tears into her gifts on her birthday and Christmas! Once I had the package open, I sat there and just stared. It was beautiful and utter perfection!

The Boss #1 had told me that she used my family as her inspiration for the stoning. ( frickin' awesome is that?!?) The flames on the top are for Tom. My man is a kick ass firefighter and I'm a proud firefighter wife :) And to incorporate The Princess, she did this -->

A crown!!! Try and tell me that is not the cutest thing you've ever seen!! Not only did she incorporate my family into my suit, she used the same colors as the suit of my idol Wonder Woman! The first time I put the whole look together (wig, suit, clear heels, etc) for progress pictures, I swear I strutted - I'm not kidding -  I was the Black version of Wonder Woman. Look at my face in this picture and tell me that I don't think I'm the sh!t :)

I could go on and on about how much I love this suit but I'm going to have to wrap up this gush fest. I highly recommend you contact Ellen at Crystallini Bikini if you're looking for a suit. Her prices are incredibly reasonable and her work is top-notch. If you're looking for someone to stone a suit for you, The Boss #1 is your woman. I've already put my order in for next year so you better get your's in now!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reading Rainbow!

Did anybody watch that show when they were younger?? It was one of my favs but that can't surprise you coming from a woman who is a self-proclaimed bookworm and current public librarian :)

I wanted to share with you some of the blog posts I've enjoyed over the last couple of weeks. Some are fitness related while others are not. I like variety in my life and I get around...not like that, pervs! :)

If you have any posts that you would like to recommend, please leave a link in the comments section!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Playlist Thursday: Local Flavor

Playlist Thursday is this great weekly posting that Pavement Runner features on his blog guessed it...Thursdays! Each week, he features a theme and shares one song that is something old, another that is something current, and one that is something to consider. I find myself heading over to Pavement Runner each Thursday to see what songs are going to be featured and felt brave enough to participate this week!

This week's theme is "Local Flavor" and since I'm girl who grew up in a predominantly Hispanic part of the city, my flavors are going to be heavily influenced by that. Here are some of the songs that add some flava' (I had to add a dash of ghetto fabulousness up in herrr' to my life!

Something Old

Artist: Selena

Title: Bidi Bidi Bom Bom 

Side note: I spent many days learning how to do the cumbia to this song. I just wanted to move my hips like Selena did!

Quotable: "Mi corazon se enloquece y me empieza a palpitar."

Something Current

Artist: Wisin & Yandel featuring Jennifer Lopez

Song: Follow the Leader

Side Note: I first heard this song one morning on one of the Spanish television stations and it instantly reminded me of one of the clubs my friends & I go to in Phoenix!

Quotable: "Baby, the way that I'm working my body. Can tell that you already like it. I make you lose your cabeza, go loca."

Something to Consider

Artist: Ozomatli

Song: Can't Stop

Side note:  I love this song!! This band comes to Tucson quite frequently and they put on the best show! I love their fusion of different types of music and their songs have some really great messages!

Quotable: "You can't stop, can't stop at yesterday. Cause we gotta move in a different way."

What about you? What songs represent your local flavor? I love discovering new music so please share!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Release Tuesday

I discovered this song this past weekend while I was in Phoenix with my friends. I love the message of the song and as I was sippin' on my Smirnoff fluffed marshmallow & Fanta Orange concoction, I realized this was the perfect song for the place I find myself at right now!

Here's another plus, the beat is sick and it's definitely needs to be added to your cardio/workout playlist!

I'm fist-pumping as I close out this're welcome for that ridiculous visual :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back in Business, Baby!!!

HOLA!!!! Did you miss me?!?! You know that I'm not one for excuses so I won't be making any about my absence from my blog. I will just say damn the Olympics! They ruin routines and sleeping patterns but are oh so amazing!! :)

I have been relaxing, hanging out with my friends, going to concerts, and getting into mischief! I even have proof :)

At the casino before the Pitbull concert
Sassy dress, shoes, and a beverage - watch out now!
Ready to drop it like it's hot....dale!
Pitbull singing "International Love"

In addition to playing and having fun, I was busy taking care of my responsibilities as Mom to the World's Cutest Princess! I sent my little lady off to 6th grade last week! As I watched her get on the bus, I remembered her first day of school and how I couldn't believe how fast she was growing up. That was six years ago and I still feel the same way! I posted the following photo and message after I watched her bus drive away:

"I sent my daughter off to her first day of 6th grade today. These moments are reminders that her father & I have been blessed. These are moments we were never supposed to have. I am so thankful for each breath, each smiled, each flipping of the hair, each roll of the eye, each hug, each milestone. My heart is full!"

I went to visit some friends in Phoenix this past weekend and I had such a great time. I hadn't visited in quite some time due to schedules, prep, life, you name it. The trip was my last big splurge before I have to buckle down and start getting ready for my next show (more on that later this week!)

We always bust out the wigs!

Double trouble :)

There are two things I would like to share with you before I go. The first is an exclusive discount code that you can use at kohls. I was contacted by Kohl's a short time about one of my Sweat to Street posts and they  provided a discount code that not only I but you, the readers of my blog, could use until August 23. The code is BLOGIT10 so go get yourself something nice! Thanks, Kohl's!

The second is a great post I was able to participate in put together by the incredible Kellie Davis of Mother Fitness. I, along with some fabulous fit women, share our recommendations for the best sports bra. We've taken the guess work out of buying a sports bra.Trust me, you want to read this post! Check out "Fit Females Help You Find a Bra for Every Sport" and let me know what bra you would recommend.

I hope you all are doing well...I'm not gonna lie...I've missed you....shhhh....don't tell anyone ;)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Release Tuesday

This week's new release is in honor of the fist pumping, booty shakin' experience I had last Sunday night at the Pitbull concert.

I love him. It's the eyes. And the ink. And the swagger.

I don't care if you judge me. Dale! ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Determined vs Unrealistic

I know most of you have heard the quote "ask and you shall receive". Well, I asked for feedback from the head judge at the AZ Open show and the other night, I received it.

The email contained the P word. Yep, it contained the word I have literally been working my butt & muscle off to avoid.


Once again I have been told that I am too muscular for figure. Once again I have been told that I need to consider changing divisions. Once again I am being told "your physique is awesome...BUT..."

As I do with all the feedback I receive, I forwarded it to The Bosses. In my message to them, I asked a simple question.

"Truthfully, am I just being completely ridiculous & stubborn 
by not giving up figure and making the switch?"

I ask The Bosses the question above while asking myself "When do you cross the line from determined to unrealistic?"

I am determined to be successful in figure. There is something inside of me that tells me that I could be a serious threat in this division. At times I can picture myself winning my pro card at a national show and going on to compete on the pro stage.

I know I can do this. I know it to my core.

But I wonder if what I think I know is really me just being unrealistic in my goals and expectations?

Is it possible that the people who are waving physique in front of me know something that I don't? Are they privy to some piece of information I haven't received yet? Are they smarter than me?

I don't have the answer to any of those questions but one thing is certain, I will not be switching divisions this year. I still love figure deeply and I know it's not time for us to go our separate ways.

You might call it unrealistic. I call it determined. Let's agree to disagree.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Puttin' It Down In My Hometown - Part 2

Before we continue this walk down memory lane, I wanted to share with you that I made the Siouxcountry banner this week! Head over to the website and check it out!!

I ended Part 1 with Figure Class B lining up and getting read to hit the stage. As I stood there, the last girl in line, I realized that I was towering over most of the girls that were lining up. I had a momentary freak out because I was worried that in the judges eyes, I would look like Gigantor compared to everyone else. I pushed that thought aside and mentally went over the things I knew I needed to do when I walked on the stage.."smile...remember to look at the judges...chest up...spread lats.." The next thing I knew the expediter was walking us onto the stage and directing us to where we should stand.

After my line did our quarter turns and returned to the side of the stage, the head judge began calling the numbers of  those in the first callout. As each number was being read I kept thinking to myself, "Please call #39...please...just call #39". The number of competitors slowly rose from 3 to 4 to 5 and after the fifth number was called, I knew that I didn't make first callout. As my heart broke just a little bit, I reminded myself that there was still the AZ Open the following weekend. I was startled when, in the middle of my attempt to uplift myself, I heard "#39 please join the line". I would be a total liar if  I said I didn't jump up & down with glee on the inside but I made sure to walk quickly to the front of the stage and smile politely at the judges. 

Trying to contain my glee at being in first callouts!

Front pose courtesy of the show's official photographer

After our class was excused by the judges, I went to my spot and put my jacket & pants on so that I could go out to the audience. My parents, my sister, and a couple of my friends were in attendance so I chatted with them for a little bit. I knew Tom would have some feedback to give me so I headed over to where he was sitting and he told me his thoughts about my class and my possible placing. Since I needed to eat and The Princess needed to be picked up from my in-laws, we decided to leave and not finish watching the rest of prejudging. While Tom and I walked to the car, I expressed to him that I was a little disappointed that I remained on the end of the line and was never moved during the comparisons. In his calm and to the point way, he reminded me that I was fortunate to be in first callouts and I should be happy with the package I presented.

Me and my mister <3
My sister, my mom, and I

After having lunch with my sister and parents, we headed to pick up The Princess. She was full of questions and kept saying she couldn't wait to watch me get a trophy at the night show. Once we got home, I took off my suit and rested on the couch. Before I knew it, it was time to get myself and The Princess ready to head out the door. The Princess was excited because this was her first time attending finals and most importantly, she had a new outfit to wear :)

Honestly, I don't remember much about finals. I remember making it a point to put on my ipod and start the book I had checked out from the library. Each competitor is individually introduced during finals so I knew it would be a bit of wait before it was my turn to hit the stage. I did meet WBFF Pro Karen Mullarkey backstage! She was sitting on the floor next to me and it took me a good 10-15 minutes before I realized who she was. She had two girls who were competing in bikini so all of us sat on the floor, chatted, laughed, and just enjoyed each other's company. 

After individual presentations, the audience is given a brief intermission. During this time, the expediters post the top 5 for each class. As the sheets were being taped to the wall, I literally sat in the corner trying not to get ill. No matter what I may have told people beforehand, I was going to be extremely disappointed if I did not place in the top 5.

Once the stampede to the postings died down, I slowly walked over to the Figure Class B sheet with my eyes half-open. When I finally got the courage to open them, this is what I saw.

I spy with my little eye... :)

Yeeeaaahhhh buuudddyyy!!!! My names was highlighted!!!  I sent a text to Tom, who was awaiting the verdict out in the audience, that said "Top 5, baby!". The expediter began yelling for the top 5 of each class to get ready to go back out on stage. I quickly touched up my lipstick and headed up the stairs to the stage.

Since I previously shared the video of trophy presentations in my Look What I Have post, I won't go into a ridiculous amount of detail about this portion of the show. I will just say that when they called my name, my heart dropped a teeny tiny bit at not doing better than I had done at last year's show but I didn't think about it too much. My friends and family were cheering for me and I was happy & relieved!

I think the look on my face is ridiculous...and

NPC Terminator, Figure Class B, Top 5

After the trophy presentations, I gathered my stuff and headed out the audience. The Princess gave me a huge hug and then instantly grabbed for my! I think that girl loves trophies more than I do ;) My baby brother was at the show and being his normal, smartass self asked me, "5th? I came to watch you get 5th??" My mother, father, and sister-in-law were in attendance and they are such a crazy group! Molly, one of the engineers (meaning she drives the fire engine) at Tommy's station was sweet enough to come to the show as well. 

Tom and I decided to wait until the show was completely over so we could speak the judges and get feedback. We wanted to know what could I work on in the next week that might help me improve for the AZ Open. One of the judges was at last year's NPC Terminator and at that time gave me some really great feedback. I decided to speak with him again and the conversation was, once again, very beneficial. 

With feedback fresh in our minds and a 5th place trophy in my hand, it was time to head home for a tiny cheat meal, shower, and sleep! My brother decided to come over to our house and we ate, drank a little, and had a really good time. I really miss being able to do that with him since he's livin' it up in Los Angeles!

"I'm Proud of You, Mom" kisses from The Princess
My parents left roses at my house! Yes, they have a key to my house :)
The card from my mom & dad
Isn't my brother so handsome??!
We all decided to call it a night around 1:00 am. As I crawled into bed, I vowed to work as hard as I could in the following week to do better, look better, be better. It was officially Sunday, July 15th and peak week #2 was beginning!!

What my kitchen looked like Sunday morning!