Fitness, My Journey

Visualization


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This past weekend I celebrated my 30th birthday, so I spent my time with family and friends walking around DTLA and enjoying some delicious food. More often than not when you talk to someone about turning 30 you often hear a sigh and then a list of regrets or things they didn’t accomplish before they were 30. Instead I’m extremely thankful and blessed for each day that led up to my 30th birthday. As I look back on the past 30 years I hold nothing but a smile on my face. A smile that I am going to take with me into the next decade of my life. One of my biggest goals is to get back to my fit and healthy self. That begins with visualizing where I want to be and determining the necessary steps to get there. Tonight’s exercise was one of those steps.

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Birthday in DTLA. PC: my best friend Bhanuja

Workout

Tabatas 0:40 on/0:10 off – 4 rounds

1. Sprints up and down driveway (doing this with your dogs chasing you adds laughter)
2. Jump rope (I don’t know about some of you, but I struggle with this one because jumping makes me have to pee, and so I had to take a bathroom break part way through the third round.)
3. Push-ups
4. Curtsy lunge to a 180° squat jump – begin by lunging your right leg, at an angle, behind your left leg (like doing a curtsy). Come up to neutral stance, squat and jump while doing a 180° twist. Once you land do a curtsy lunge with your left leg behind your right and do another 180° squat jump.
5. Crunches
6. Parallel bar jump overs (I used 13″ parallel bars)
7. Reverse crunches
8. Overhead twisted ball slams – Begin with legs hip width apart and a medicine ball in your hands. Lift the medicine ball over your head, rotate your upper body to the right and slam the ball to the ground. Picking the medicine ball back up, lift the ball over your head as you rotate to the left. Slam the ball to the ground. Repeat this sequence through the remaining time.
9. Football shuffle to plank burpee (count to 5 in your head while you shuffle before you drop to the burpee)
10. bicep curl to shoulder press (I used 6 pound weights)

 

My goal during this workout was to get my heart rate up in a short amount of time. Overall I was able to burn 475 calories in under 40 minutes. By the 4th round I was tired, but I didn’t want to give up on myself, or my goals. Always focus on what your vision for your future is when you’re at the point of quitting. It’s that reminder that gives you an added push to finish what you set out to accomplish. 

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Love always,

Jess

Fitness, My Journey

Sisterly Fun


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It’s my birthday weekend and I spent today being celebrated at work. They decorated my cube with confetti, bought me fruit for breakfast (yay for being healthy!), and had a bundt cake for dessert. I know that I am going to be enjoying some delicious food this weekend so when my sister asked me to workout with her tonight I said of course! Tonight’s workout is brought to you by Carissa, enjoy :). 

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Workout

Part 1 – partner rotation

For each letter grouping you will do 8 rounds of 0:30 on and 0:10 off. At each resting point you will switch exercises, doing each letter 4 times each. Between each grouping of exercises you will take a recovery period of 1:00, at which time you will do your burpees (i.e. 5 burpees, 0:30 on 0:10 off of A, 0:30 on and 0:10 off of B, repeat A and B 3 times, 1:00 recover and 4 burpees, then move onto C and D).

5 burpees
a) battle rope composers: with your arms straight in front of you, lift the battle rope up and down. Next as you lift your arms up circle them out and bring them back together at the bottom. Repeat the two movements for the 0:30.
b) bicep curl –> overhead press

4 burpees
c) funky T’s –> Frankenstein: with arms straight out to the side (like a T) lower one arm down and bring it back up (single arm fly). From the T position bring arms together in front of you and then back out to the T position. Do a single arm fly on the opposite side and then bring your arms back together in front of you. Repeat the sequence for the 0:30.
d) alternating single arm row

3 burpees
e) triceps dips
f) 90° fly –> superman: Place your elbows at your sides, arms bent 90° (halfway point of a bicep curl). Leaving your arms in a 90° angle lift your right arm laterally at the shoulder (elbow is in line with shoulder) and lower back down. Straighten both arms out in front of you at chest level, palms down. Bring elbows back down to your sides with arms bent at a 90° angle. Lift your left arm laterally at the shoulder (elbow is in line with shoulder) and lower back down. Straighten both arms out in front of you at chest level, palms down. Bring elbows back down to your sides with arms bent at 90° angle. Repeat sequence for the 0:30.

2 burpees
g) scaptions
h) chest squeeze to alternating shoulder press: Arms begin in a goal post position. Bring arms together in front of you (squeezing elbows together). Taking arms back to goal post position lift right arm in a shoulder press. Squeeze arms together again and once back in goal post position lift left arm in a shoulder press. Repeat sequence for 0:30.

1 burpee

Part 2 – Pyramid of core & buns

Each exercise in this section has a specific number of reps associated with it. Beginning with the exercise that has 10 reps you will work your way down to the exercise with 1 rep. As you move on to each exercise you will repeat all of the exercises before it (i.e. 10 SL dead lifts; 10 SL dead lifts, 9 squats; 10 SL dead lifts, 9 squats, 8 pike toe taps; etc.). Once you make it all the way down the pyramid, do one round of the pyramid backwards, so start from the exercise with 1 rep and finish with the exercise with 10 reps.

– 10 alternating single leg dead lifts (5 each leg)
– 9 wide stance squats on tippy toes
– 8 pike plank toe taps: starting in plank position on your hands bring your right hand to your left toe and return to plank position (this counts as 1). Repeat with left hand to right toe.
– 7 reverse crunches
– 6 lunge extravaganza: On your left leg do a reverse lunge, a curtsy lunge, a reverse lunge, and then a squat (this counts as 1). Be sure to balance through the entire sequence. Repeat on the right side.
– 5 varying jump squats: Starting in a closed foot squat, jump out to a wide squat and back to a closed foot squat. Each time you bring your feet back together this counts as 1.
– 4 archers: Begin in bear crawl. Rotate your body to the left, bringing your right leg under your body and extending out in an L in front of you. Stabilized on your right arm pull your left arm back as if you are an archer pulling a bow (this counts as 1). Return to bear crawl position and repeat on the opposite side. Your extended leg should be flexed and at a 90° angle at your hip.
– 3 box jumps
– 2 mercy bicycles: With your legs straight and hovering an inch from the ground, bring your right elbow to your left knee for a bicycle crunch. Hold for 2 seconds and bring legs back to hovering (this counts as 1). Repeat on the opposite side.
– 1 “I’m a Star”: jump in the air with arms and legs out like an X.

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Happy partner workout!

Love always,

Jess

Fitness, My Journey

Workouts don’t always go as planned


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I had a plan today. I was going to get off work at 4:30, go home, workout and have dinner with my family.

Then life happened.

I left work at 4:30, got in my car and as I was turning out of the parking lot I remembered I had dinner plans. Crap! The questions started bombarding my brain, do I call and see if we are still on for dinner? Do I go home and then message her and say oops? Do I not say anything? Did she forget too? I ended up calling her and we decided to meet up for sushi. 

Once I arrived home I said hi to my family and then began cranking out my workout. Half way through my sister came into the garage and told me that her and my dad needed help with our dog. Kalen, our male golden, is currently suffering from an infected wound on his balls and they need help holding him down while they cut the hair around the wound. Again, life happened and I had to roll with the punches (maybe while being slightly annoyed). After all the hair was trimmed I jetted back to the garage and finished up my routine. 

I could have easily thrown in the towel from the moment I realized that I had dinner plans. Knowing that I still wanted to get my workout in I didn’t eat a lot of sushi and we kept our roll choices on the lighter side. I could have also ended my workout when my sister asked for help, but I decided that finishing my workout was more important to me than the time on the clock. 464 calories later, I am proud of myself for not giving up on my goals and what I said I would do. 

Workout

Run: 1 mile finished in 14:20
– 7:00 run
– 7:20 alternating between 1:00 walk and 1:00 run

4 Rounds with a 1:00 break in between each round
– 20 crunches
– 12 push-ups
– 20 crunches
– 12 alternating reverse lunges
– 20 crunches
– 12 plank jacks with knee tucks
– 20 crunches
– 12 bicep curls (6 pound weights)
– 20 crunches
– 12 plie squats to releve

 

Now time to meditate.

Love always,

Jess

Fitness, My Journey

Accountability


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This past week I’ve been listening to the Ed Mylett show and a lot of what his guests have been saying has been resonating with me. They have been talking about manifesting your dreams, going after your goals, and holding yourself accountable for what you want in life. As I’ve been listening to these podcasts my health and fitness goals have been at the forefront of my mind. On July 17th I went to the doctors to get my blood work results, and although they weren’t horrible, there are things that I need to work on. As I go into my thirties I want to live a life at the healthiest I have ever been. I’ve been slowly making progress at losing the excess weight, but the current patterns I have been living with aren’t sufficing. To reach my goals and succeed at living a healthy life I need to hold myself accountable on every level. Starting today, July 28th, 2018, I am going to share my workouts, meals, and measurements on this blog. I will post my measurements every Saturday and post my workouts either every day, every few days, or once a week, depending upon how my week goes. I hope that in keeping myself accountable I will inspire you to hold yourself accountable as well.

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Measurements

Weight: 185.8 pounds
Right Calf: 14 1/8″

Right Thigh: 26″
Hips: 45 2/8″
Waist: 36 1/8″
Chest: 38 2/8″
Neck: 14 1/8″
Right Forearm: 9 5/8″
Right Bicep: 12 6/8″

Workout

20 minute run
– 1:00 walk
– 6:00 run
– 13:00 broken up by 1:00 walk followed by 1:00 run

Tabatas 3 rounds @ 1:00 on 0:20 off with a 2:00 rest
– Reverse crunch (round one 16, round two 20, round three 28)
– Upper cuts
– Side shuffle (3 steps) to side lunge toe tap
– Alternating single arm clean and press with a 10 pound kettle bell (round one 17, round two 18, round three 20)
– Russian twists
– Ball slams with and 8 pound ball
– Standing oblique crunches with a knee tuck right side (round one 32, round two 39, round three 44)
– Standing oblique crunches with a knee tuck left side (round one 32, round two 39, round three 44)
– Jump rope

At the end of the workout I was a sweaty mess (see hat below). I’m not usually a sweater, but with the heat and humidity today I definitely got my monies worth in this workout. I burned a total of 778 calories and spent majority of my workout in zones 3 and 4. 

Love always,

Jess

Erotica, My Journey, Pole Dancing

Someday ~ Sugar Ray


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Tonight I wanted to do something a little different. As some of you know, I am a pole dancer. I use pole dancing to express myself, tell stories, and get any emotions I may be feeling out of my system. On occasion I will have someone video my dance and I will post snippets, but tonight I wanted to paint the story I told through written word. Warning: not many people know this, but I write erotica and there will be some in this story telling, but it will not be super explicit.

The class tonight was a goddess flow class with the theme being beach. We each had to bring a song to dance to for ourselves and then a song for someone else to dance to. I was the last person to dance for the night and each of the women in the class were to give me an element to my story that I must portray:

  • Last night on a European vacation and reminiscing on the adventure that happened
  • 24 years old
  • Met a Spanish man while on the vacation and I had to leave him at the end of the trip
  • Bittersweet about leaving him behind

As the women continued explaining to me what my story would be I went to my bag and threw on a bikini, a pair of light blue jeans, a blue floral kimono blouse, a white scarf and a black sun hat. During all of this preparation I was not provided any information about what song I would be dancing to. As you can guess by the title of this post, the song was Someday by Sugar Ray. When the music started up I was whisked away to my European vacation.

Leaning over her balcony, staring out at the setting sun, she feels the wind caress her skin as the curtains blow in the wind behind her. Hearing him call her name she floats back into her hotel room and sees him sitting on the chase lounge beside the doorway. Enamored by his handsome face she leans up against the wall and pulls her hat over her face in giddiness. This man has changed her life and he doesn’t even know it, but as her last night in Spain comes to an end she doesn’t want to leave without one more night in his arms. 

Slowly walking towards the bedroom she beckons for him to follow. Surprising her he wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her in for a hug and a gentle kiss on the cheek. Grabbing her hat, he tosses it on the floor and whispers something in her ear that fills her with laughter. Playfully pushing him away she continues on to the bedroom, unwrapping her scarf along the way.

Once in the bedroom she begins to dance around the room, teasing him with the swaying of her hips. Taking control now, he slowly pushes her to lay on the bed. Releasing the button on her jeans he begins to unzip them and pull the fabric down her hips. She stops him, sits up, and looks him in the eyes as she slowly peels her legs out of the jeans. Without missing a beat she spreads her legs open and he begins gently trailing kisses down her inner thighs. As she becomes hot and bothered he dives in and takes what’s his.

Hands in his hair and all over her body she writhes as he takes her to ecstasy. Before her climax can release he turns her face down and enters her from behind. Thrusting into her he begins reaching his own climax. She stops him, rolls him onto his back and climbs on top of him. Hips grinding she pulls her shirt over head as their bodies merge together in orgasm. Collapsing down onto the bed next to him, he wraps her in his arms and caresses her sparkling skin.

Moonlight peeking through the curtains she rolls out of bed, leans back against the wall and captures one last mental image of this beautiful man asleep. Picking up her things, she walks out of the bedroom, blowing him a kiss goodbye. A piece of her heart forever staying behind.

When I finished dancing to this song I felt some sort of clarity wash over me. Over the past couple of weeks my heart has been broken and tonight I felt at peace. Delving into this story brought me a sense of hope, passion, and trust in whatever my future holds for me. It’s amazing how in these pole classes a song and a dance can be chosen for you, the universe knowing it’s what you need in that moment. I hope you enjoyed the painting of where my dance went tonight and that it brings you a piece of joy and some longing for a European vacation somewhere. Thank you for allowing me to open up and share a side of me not many people see. 

Love always,

Jess

My Journey, Travel

Pura Vida!


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For a few weeks now I’ve been trying to find the right words to put into perspective what I felt, learned, and discovered during my trip to Costa Rica. Countless times I have sat down in front of my computer screen only to be stumped at how I can portray to you readers everything that was experienced in the jungles of Uvita. Upon my return to the States I quickly became aware that I have been transformed, but it wasn’t until the past two weeks that this transformation became apparent. 

At the beginning of the year I joined a book club and our first book was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. This book challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and do something completely unexpected. The unexpected thing happened to be traveling to a foreign country, by myself, to join a bunch of strangers for the Live Your Journey yoga retreat at Selva Armonia. The day I left I surprisingly wasn’t nervous. Normally when I travel alone I get anxious, cry because I’m leaving my family, and am afraid that I will do something wrong. This time around my soul felt at peace and was ready for this adventure. 

Location

After a five and a half hour flight from LAX, and a four hour car ride from San Jose down to Uvita, I arrived in a the most magical place I have ever seen. Selva Armonia sits on thirty five acres in a rainforest that over looks the South Pacific Ocean. As I walked down to the common area I realized that I would be fully immersed in the jungle for the next six days. The entire place was built so that we were outside in the elements for our entire stay. Only the bedrooms and bathrooms had four walls. The location of the property was perfect because as you looked out from the common area you could see the whale’s tail (a sand bar) in the ocean. The most gorgeous, peaceful, quaint place I have ever stayed. 

Being submersed in the jungle for six days was soul cleansing to say the least. I was barefoot majority of the time, only wearing shoes when we went to the beach and zip lining. It felt nice to ground my body with the earth and feel her constantly underneath me, supporting me, and carrying me forward on my journey. The luscious greenery surrounding Selva beats any place I have ever been. Not only are the plants vibrant, but a lot of the stuff you can eat or use. For instance, there is one plant that provides you natural shampoo, and then there is another leafy plant, that when you eat it, tastes like cranberries. 

Living among the vegetation are various animals. Our first morning there a thunderstorm was rolling through and the howler monkeys started to fight. You look at these tiny little things and think they are cute, but when you are woken up at five in the morning by their loud howling you feel like you are in The Hunger Games. I never got to see the monkeys, but I did see toucans, mapaches, frogs, geckos, iguanas, hummingbirds, and many other types of birds. Listening to these animals sing while doing yoga provided serene background music for our practice. 

Food

While staying at the retreat center we were fed three vegan/vegetarian meals a day and started each of our mornings off with coffee, tea and fresh fruit. Our chef, Yery, is a culinary genius! Every single meal was organic, delicious, colorful, and left you feeling completely satisfied. The food tastes differently out there, and I think that has to do with the fact that we were in a rainforest, so the veggies and fruits receive a lot of water. I don’t typically like coconut, but our morning pineapple had flakes of coconut sprinkled over it and the taste and texture were so different.

After our first yoga session of the morning we would be fed breakfast, which usually consisted of eggs, rice, beans, veggies, and fruit. A couple of mornings he made a vegan cheese that was to die for. Each of us girls went back for seconds and piled heaps of it on our plates. Our lunches and dinners all included a jungle salad with homemade dressings. Each of the salads were made up of leaves and other vegetables taken from the gardens in Selva. One of the things I discovered while I was eating the jungle salads is that I like beets. I had never tried them before, but since they were on top of each salad I tried them. Out of all of our meals my three favorite were vegan pad thai, yuka lasagna, and turmeric rice burrito. 

Three of our nights consisted of mouth watering desserts. During our first night there we were sitting down to our desserts when the power went out. I have no idea what the dessert looked like, but it felt and tasted like granola bars topped with chocolate and passion fruit sauce to drizzle on. A few nights later we had a strawberry shortcake type dessert and our last night we had vegan sundaes. We were supposed to do the vegan sundaes over a camp fire, but due to the storm we enjoyed them in the dining hall. We were each given a banana cut in half and we could put in any toppings we chose to. I did chocolate, almonds, and peanuts. After it was warmed in the oven we dove in. It was scrumptious and definitely something I will repeat at home. 

Yoga

Our first night together we gathered on the floating yoga deck in a circle, introduced ourselves, and talked about what brought us to the retreat. In the few hours I had already spent with the other ladies I could feel that this is exactly where my soul needed to be. There we were, strangers, ready to embark on a journey together that would forever change all of our lives. As we sat in the circle we began to open the gifts that Allie so graciously gave us. In each bag there was a journal, a note card that said “Live Your Journey,” a pair of Buddha pants (if you have not tried a pair of these, please do. They are amazing!), and a set of goddess cards. After our gifts were opened we spent some time with our goddess cards and then journaled about our intentions for this trip. 

The next five days we spent our mornings and evenings on the yoga deck doing everything from relaxation yoga, arm balances, inversions, chakra yoga, breathing exercises, 108 sun salutations, meditations, and of course journaling. During our arm balance workshop I was really proud of myself because I got into crow pose for the first time! I did not get myself up into a headstand, but thanks to Sarah and Melody I was able to begin the process of getting into them safely. I think my favorite yoga practice had to be the 108 sun salutations along with working with our mala beads. To me it opened up my soul the most and it showed me my true strength when it comes to yoga. 

I am not as far advanced as majority of the ladies who went on this retreat. A few of them each yoga and others have been practicing for a good chunk of time. I’ve been doing yoga on and off for about two years now. Being on this retreat and doing our daily yoga practices I realized how rejuvenating it is for my soul. A lot of my life I spend on the external, but it was on the yoga deck that I was able to focus on the internal. Surrounded by these women who come from different places in yoga allowed me to witness a time of support, encouragement, and a judgement free zone in my own yoga practice. This is something I have never experienced in a yoga studio.

When I came across Allie’s online yoga, called The Journey Junkie, I knew instantly that she was the instructor for me. She has a big heart that resonates across the screen and she is always encouraging you to put your best self out there. The other thing I love about her is how open and honest she is about her own journey. She is raw with her community, embracing her positives and negatives. This allows each of us to look at ourselves and love ourselves for who we are. This retreat was a first for all of us. Allie was hosting her first retreat and being allowed the opportunity to meet her in person and learn from her was truly spectacular. I am thankful for the community she has created and for making yoga such a big part of my life. Mostly I am thankful she created the opportunity to go do yoga in the jungle. See for yourself in the photos below and you’ll understand why yoga in the jungle is so magical. 

Activities

When we weren’t doing yoga we were either spending time resting by the pool, laying around in a hammock, reading books, or going on excursions. On my travels from the airport my driver stopped at a rest stop that had a bridge you could cross to look at some crocodiles. Those things are massive! The next morning we were supposed to hike to waterfall, however it had been raining all morning and it would be too slippery for the hike. Instead we had a mini spa day. The staff of Selva taught us about home made face masks, healing remedies, coffee scrubs and makeup tips all from the natural plants on sight. After our lesson was over we put on a blue clay mask and hiked down to a mini hot tub they had on the property. In the hot tub they used natural plants and herbs to create an aroma therapy experience. It was super relaxing and neat to learn about how much more nature can provide us than her beautiful scenery. 

On Thursday, our second full day at Selva, we took a trip down to the beach and ate at a restaurant in town. The beach was absolutely gorgeous and I loved how it butted up against the jungle. While we were there Yery came and brought us fresh coconuts to drink from. Man were those things refreshing! I had never drank coconut water straight from a coconut and I am so glad I got the opportunity to. After we finished our coconuts, and capturing some yoga pictures on the beach, we headed to a hostel/restaurant in town. Although this restaurant had chicken and bacon I decided that I would eat vegetarian to maintain a vegan/vegetarian diet while I was in Uvita. I really wanted to see how my body felt while eating fresh, organic, and meat free foods. The restaurant made each of us a smoothie and with the temperatures being hot that day the cold smoothie felt wonderful going down. As we finished lunch majority of us decided to head back to Selva for some R&R, while the others headed back to the beach. 

As we headed into the evening we began to prepare for our sound healing ceremony. Included in the sound healing ceremony was a cacao ceremony as well. As we walked down the path to the yoga deck we were met by the beautiful Tish, who saged us off and asked us to grab a Soul’s Journey card as we entered the deck. In the middle of the deck sat a gorgeous set up of plants, along with the cacao drink we would soon be indulging in. Cacao has a spiritual aspect to it, that when consumed allows us to connect to ourselves and our loving energy. Tish led us in this mesmerizing ceremony, followed by a sound healing meditation. As we sipped our cacao we were to focus on our card (mine was guilt) and our intentions for our future. I learned so much about myself during this time and I wanted to continue to explore what Tish had to offer. Unfortunately she was not able to come back to work with me on womb healing, but I will be reaching out to her eventually to continue working with her. If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend experiencing a cacao ceremony on your own. To me it was life changing. 

Friday happened to be my favorite day of the retreat. This was the day we went zip lining!!!! When I first signed up for the retreat zip lining was not going to be one of the excursions so I had planned on doing it on my own my first day there. However, as time went on Allie decided to add it to our retreat package. I am so happy she did because I got to experience flying through the jungle with my JJ sisters! The course included nine zip lines, two rappel stations, two bridges, and a Tarzan swing. My favorites were the rappel stations because we got to rappel upside down :). Sooooo fun!!!!! We even got to see a sloth while were zooming past on one of the zip lines. It was asleep up in the tree, but it was stinkin’ cute! So were the guys who took us on the tour ;-p. They had us laughing the whole entire time and made sure that we were all having a great time. If you ever get down to Uvita, do yourself a favor and check out Osa Canopy Tours. By far my favorite experience on the entire retreat. 

Saturday was our last full day at Selva and I spent it relaxing. Some of the ladies went on the waterfall hike, but I laid by the pool, read, and enjoyed a massage on the yoga deck. That morning we had written down on post-its all of the negative things we wanted to leave behind to throw into a bonfire that night. Due to a big storm that rolled through our bonfire was cancelled. I thoroughly enjoyed watching that storm roll through though. There is nothing more peaceful than being in the middle of a rainforest and listening to the sounds of mother nature all around you as she cries out. We all spent our last evening together sitting around the dinner table enjoying conversation, laughter and sharing memories.

The next morning as we packed up, said our goodbyes, and exchanged contact information, I was reminded that this time at Selva was one of the most special things to ever happen to me. We grabbed our post-its from the day before, burned them in a pot, and released everything to the Universe. Once on the bus for our four hour ride back to San Jose you could see pure bliss on everyone’s faces. We were all leaving with souls open and ready to take on the next chapter of our lives. We were ready to conquer what life threw at us. That night some of us went out to a Mexican restaurant in San Jose and had one last celebration. A celebration of coming home to ourselves!

Post Retreat

As I sat in the hotel on my last night in Costa Rica I felt content. I was ready to head home with a new outlook on life. I did not know, and still don’t know, what life will bring me. What I do know is that I am better equipped with tools to help myself find out what I truly want out of life. A couple of weeks ago I was blindsided by a situation that occurred. Since then I have realized that I am handling the situation a lot different than I would have in the past. I owe that to Costa Rica. I allow myself to feel all of the emotions that I need to, but at the end of the day I am reminded of my strengths, of my JJ sisters and of all of the possibilities out there. Life is not always going to be easy, but it’s in how you handle what gets thrown at you that shows your true character. I feel at peace. I feel happy. I feel renewed, rejuvenated, restored. 

During the trip I lost seven pounds due to the healthy lifestyle I was living while in the jungle. I am trying to maintain that same lifestyle out here. I am not one hundred percent there yet, but I am working towards it. However, in the changes that I have so far implemented I have lost four pounds in the past two weeks. I know what my goals in life are right now and I won’t let anything get in the way. On top of my healthier lifestyle I have been practicing my Spanish every day, seeking out the goddesses when I am feeling lost, doing yoga at least once a week, and meditating every night. It’s all of these positive changes to my lifestyle that are going to keep launching me forward into the best me that I can be. I cannot wait to join Allie again on another retreat, but until that time comes around I want to make sure that I nourish my soul so that I can live out my best self in all areas of my life. Until next time my beautiful readers. Pura Vida!

Love always,

Jess

Travel

A letter to New York


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New York,

A year ago I came to visit you for the first time and my heart was closed off to you. You see, I was here on a mission, to work. I was processing heartbreak and that trip was my first time traveling to a place I did not know, alone. I explored you the way a tourist would. Empire State Building, pizza, Central Park, and a Broadway show. I explored you, but I did not see you. For that I apologize. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching since I was last here and today I came with an open heart. 

I am currently reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. As I sat on the plane reading this book my heart cracked open to the vulnerability, love, angst, and feelings of pain every person on this earth seems to have in common. As a tear trickled down my face I put my book away and looked with intent at the people surrounding me. I saw two one year olds from different worlds share joyous laughter with one another as their mother’s talked about their sleeping patterns while flying. I saw a mother, and a wife, choose patience over frustration as she spent the entire flight taking care of her two children and her sick husband. I saw this sick man stay calm while he had an accident during the flight. I didn’t even realize he had an accident until he got up to leave the plane and his seat was wet. For five hours us strangers sat on a plane together with one common goal, to get to you, New York. 

There’s this beauty that you behold. So magical that many spend an abhorrent amount of money to live out here while struggling to make ends meet. You, beautiful city, are worth every day of struggle to these people because you open up a world never thought possible to many. Tonight I chose to see that side of you. When I landed at JFK I was greeted with rain, so instead of staying locked up in my hotel tonight I chose to walk outside and feel the sky’s tears fall gently on my face. Your towering buildings felt like a cozy blanket wrapped around me while the rain drops felt like the perfect cleansing to my soul. 

As the sun set and the drops continued to fall, I made my way to Central Park. The last time I set foot in this majestic fortress of yours it was hot, humid, and I had a plane to catch. I wasn’t here to see your greenery, but rather check something off of my list. Tonight as I set foot onto the paths that wound intrinsically through the grand canopies I could not help but lay my heart at your feet and surrender to what you wanted me to see. I saw the towers peaking through the trees reminding us that in a fast moving city there is a spot to be tranquil and leave behind the woes of yesterday. I stopped and read about Shakespeare, Columbus, and many others on your Literary Walk. I walked down to your lake and watched the turtles swim about. The reds and browns that covered their shells were vibrant through the murky waters. I didn’t just explore you this time, I saw you. Every corner I turned, every new path I walked, I took the time to stop, listen, smell, and see what you were telling my heart.

I finished my walk around your enchanting forest with the most spectacular spectacle of all. You brought me upon a group of people drumming and trumpeting to their own beat. These souls were filled with such joy that I stopped, closed my eyes, and felt the spine tingly chords they were producing. These are your people. The ones who see your worth, your beauty, your magic. My soul was meant to be there tonight. I came with my heart wide open to what you had to show me and I left with a love for you that I never knew could have existed. Thank you for giving me a second chance at truly seeing what you were all about. These next few days that I am here I will leave my eyes and my heart open to what you have to show me. And when I leave, I will do so with a little more magic in my heart because you made my heart better by just being you. Thank you!

Love always,

Jess

Poetry

Devil


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I feel my soul
untying from my body.
As I start to float in the air
I turn around
and look down.
I see my naked body
lying in the bathtub full of blood.
I see the pistol lying next to me on the floor,
and the place where I shot myself.
The heart.
Cuz that’s where I felt most of my pain.
I didn’t want to hurt anymore.
So I thought
if I just stop my heart
all my hurt and sorrow would go away.
But now as I stare down
at my lifeless self
I realize
my life was better than I thought.
What did I do to myself?!
I screamed
but I don’t hear a thing.
I pray to God to forgive me
and let me live.
I hope all this is a dream
that any second now I will wake up
to my alarm clock.
But I don’t wake up.
I’m floating higher and higher.
I’m at the gates of Heaven now.
I ask God to forgive me
and not to send me to hell.
He says, “Not to worry my child.
I am here for you
every step of the way.
You will stay in Heaven with me
for the rest of your days.”
I feel better now.
I feel safe
and protected.
Like if the Devil tried to reach out his hands
and snatch me away
he wouldn’t be able to
cuz God is my savior
and he has saved me
from the Devil’s clutch.

excerpt from Love! Lost! Pain! published by Jessica Trapp

Poetry

I want the…


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I want the you that God knows,
not the you the world sees.
I want the wake up at 3 am,
drive to the beach to watch the sunrise
and talk about our heart’s desires.
I want the sit on the kitchen floor,
eating brownies out of the pan
and laughing until our bellies ache.
I want the broken moments,
a roll over in the middle of the night
to hold onto safety after a nightmare.
I want the decision making coversations
about our futures.
I want the hold each other close
in the middle of a park
as our walls crumble down around us.
In a world filled with masks,
filters, and instant gratification,
I want the time spent slowing our worlds down
looking in each other’s eyes
and discovering each other daily.
I want the imperfectly perfect.
I want the push to chase our dreams
and never lose sight of what makes us unique.
I want the travel the world
and make memories on hotel balconies.
I want the you and me
against the world mentality.
Most of all
I want the future.
Day in and day out
with you by my side.
I want the you that God knows,
not the you the world sees.

Poetry

Don’t Let Her Go


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everything you’ve ever wanted
everything you’ve been praying for
is standing right in front of you.
you see,
her smile and her beautiful green eyes
they don’t just shine for anyone.
the heart she gives freely
doesn’t love absently
but abundantly.
you want freedom,
room to spread your wings and fly

she’ll give you that.
you want honesty, simplicity,
a partner who will fight along side you
instead of against you?

that’s her.
she doesn’t play games.
she works hard, hustles,
puts forth effort in every area of her life.
she has no time for jealousy,
or wasted energy,
because when she gives herself,
it’s all of her.
Don’t try to push her away,
or fear that it’s too real to be true,
because what is standing in front of you
is the greatest thing to ever happen to you.
trust me,
the gentle caress of her hand,
the softness in her voice,
the strength behind her actions,
it’s all real,
and she is a once in a lifetime kind of love.
don’t let her go.