Just Effin' Do It.

 It's the The "I Just ran 13.1 Miles" to the "Gym-Rat" to "Desk-Life".

There's gotta be way to find balance and have it all, right?

 I've been trying to convince myself for the past say... weeks months year to hop on that "workout wagon" and none of this on-off bullshit! But with zero effort, I've lost count of my short comings and I'm sure the gym is loving my monthly donation. I've over used the excuse of "right now, things are just so crazy.." Then when I started a new job, I kept telling myself that "once I get used to this new schedule and develop some sort of routine, then I'll start.." Well, I started my new job in January (hmph). If I don't have a routine by now, I never will. 

So as I scrolled through IG, feeling both inspired + envious at all the work-out gurus I still follow (and hungry cause you know I follow a lot of food enthusiasts, that's not the point). I came across a gal who I literally fell in LOVE with. Like honestly, if I saw in her a crowd I'd probably follow her like a puppy dog, wanting to just be around her aura. Her approach towards fitness and her zest for life is really inspiring. One of the most "real" fitness bloggers I've come across and she made me do a double take on myself and feel okay and validated at where I am in my life right now. Honestly, it's like that bestie you have where she tells it like it is, like "Okay girl, you are getting a little chunky-chunk and I see why you're no longer wearing those cute jeans cause that muffin top ain't no joke!" LOL! But she made me feel "Okay" with all of it and most of all she inspired me to get my azz up and just start.. just effin do it! 

She has started a #30DayWellness Challenge that you can sign up for by checking out her IG @gofitjo or check out her website HERE

My goal  in this challenge is find harmony + balance in this new chapter in my life. I no longer have the luxury of being a stay at home mom where I can drop the kids off to school and head to the gym or go on my 10 mile runs. I want to find my way back to eating more plant-based meals, enjoying home cooked meals and inspiring my family and those around me to be the best version of ourselves and to live life to the fullest. Regardless, this is a jumpstart to an fire in me that has been left unattended for a too long. 

 


Dear Mom...

Dear Mom, 

It's been six years since you passed, that's 2190 days without hearing your voice, the way you said my name, Rah- (pause) Naw-Lin in your ever so cheery melody as if it's a jingle you made since I was born. Lord knows, that same cheerfulness lost its tone in the days leading to your passing. Somedays, you tried to sound like your cheery self, but I knew by the hesitancy in the syllables that we've lost all hope of good news and that sheer reality of your illness was gonna take your life, a little too soon for me and all of us. 

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(2012, Visiting Mom's Grave)

Some days I look in the mirror and in a swift glance, I'll see a little bit of you in me. I'll look down at my hands, my thumb (out of all things, looks just like yours). But for the most part, since I'm not back home, there's nothing here that takes me back to you. Somedays I'm afraid that I don't think of you enough, that the only time I stop what I'm doing are during holidays or birthdays or when I come across your photo. I'll sit and watch movies like "Coco" and think, hmm.. is she really up there with dad, grandma and grandpa laughing and reminiscing? 

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(2008, Mom & I in my photo studio)

Six years without you hasn't been easy, I've been lost at times and other times I've used my memories of you to help me figure things out.

Some days the feeling of missing you succumbs me and I can't stop crying, wishing you were still here so you could see how far I've come. Did you know I finally graduated from college mom?! I have an awesome job and living in my dream home! (But don't look at all the dust bunnies in the corners or the laundry that hasn't been folded yet!)  How I wish you could see your not so little grandchildren now.  Caelan and Ethan are practically adults and our little Izzy, my mini-me, she's just as tall as me now! She is quite the "balasang" and you would be so proud of how Rudy and I have raised them. But most of all, I wish you could see me. I've grown so much and I've learned to appreciate this one very beautiful life. I wish you were here to see the kind of woman I am today because of you. 

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(2008 Mom & Izzy, first time mom has seen snow!)

Six years without you has been so scary at times.

Some days I feel like I try to remember everything you taught me about being a Mom and other days I feel like I was robbed of so much with you. The further I get away from the day you left the easier it gets but the scarier it becomes. I find myself closer to the age you were when I lost you. I feel older and not sure how to navigate this whole thing without you by my side, without you on the other end of the phone, without you in my corner.

I try and remember all the good times, the sweet memories from the time we shared and not just the one bad day you left us. My regrets from those final days are many and sometimes they weigh me down.

Losing you I lost some of me.

I took a different path when you left me. I like to smile and think that I am where I am today because of your guidance and because I lost you.

I'm here today because of you, Mom.

Six years and forever to go of missing you but every now and then, I'll dream about you and in that little moment between the dreams and reality, I get to see you and hear you. 

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Your Annako, 
Ronalyn


Self-Love.

 

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."
Oscar Wilde 

Love Yourself. Self Love. Put Yourself First. If you want other people to love you, you must love yourself.

We all know this is generally much easier said than done. Of course we all want to love ourselves, but it's not always that easy, is it? The day I took that photo, I remember sitting on my desk, pinching my belly fat that hung out of my new (bigger ) jeans. Then I found myself scrolling through my old IG pics saying to myself "Damn, look at how skinny and fit I was back then!" and wishing I could get that same desire or drive to get back to that point. It crosses my mind, every now and then, usually when I get up in the morning and get ready for work. But lately, that's all it has been, just a thought, an idea, that has yet to come to fruition. 

Then one day while watching one of my favorite IG'ers @gofitjo's story. She talked about her relationship with "getting fit" and that although she was devoting time at the gym, she wasn't quite "feeling" it. (What! Gasp! My IG fit Inspo not feeling it!) I was just happy to hear she was being "real". Then she asked her fellow viewers if we were at a point in our lives that maybe needed more attention than the other. She made it ok, to not think and be a fitness guru 24/7. I sat back and thought of where my mind, soul, and energy was the last time I was all gung-ho on working out and staying fit. Well, I was a stay at home mom, who wasn't working or going to school. I had quite a bit of time on my hands to truly devote time to my physical goals. (To the point where I was literally going to the gym twice.) I was at a different place in my life. I look at myself now, completely content and happy at where I am (I worked hard to get here, being a full time student and working at the same time) and this was my first time in the real workforce, a 9-5 and doing what makes me happy. So why was I being so hard on myself?

So here's what I've realized (again and again) cause this whole Self-Love is like a renewal of vows, you have to stop what you're doing every now and then and remind yourself.

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others. 
    The entire world encourages us to compare, to want what others have, to want to be like others. Focus on you and what's great about who you are, what you have, and what you do. Don't waste any more time comparing yourself to those around you. This is the first -- and most important -- step to loving yourself now. 
  2. Focus on your achievements -- big and small.
    To often, we focus on the things that went wrong (or could go wrong) and not on the things we did right. It's okay to acknowledge the things that didn't go swimmingly, but if you really want to love yourself, you have to spend most of your time thinking about what you did/said right. And, remember, even the little things deserve a pat on the back. 
  3. Look past the mirror to your true self.
    It's all too common for people to define themselves by the way they look. Remember: you are more than what you look like. Yes, it cannot be denied that appearance is important and has some merit, but it is not everything. The way culture is set up, it's hard to remember that sometimes.
  4. View yourself from an another perspective. We all have the tendency from time to time to get wrapped up in our own minds. Our thoughts and ideas take over and we tend to forget that there are millions and millions of other opinions and ideas out there in the world. The next time you find that you're giving yourself a hard time, take a step back and try to look at the situation -- and yourself -- objectively.
  5. Make a list of all your awesome traits. Feeling like you're not quite up to par? Stop. Drop what you're doing. Grab paper and a pen. And get to work. The activity might seem like a silly one, but, seriously, taking some time to write about how great you are will help you to realize that, no matter how you might feel about yourself sometimes, you really are pretty awesome.

Loving yourself isn't easy, it seems like the kind of thing that should come naturally, but I think most people are filled with reasonable amount of self-doubt and, as a result, their minds fill with self-deprecating thoughts from time to time. So start embracing your awesomeness and use the five tips above to start loving yourself now. There's no time like the present to learn to love yourself! 


March, WTF?

Seriously though, March?

Life comes in waves of ebbs and flows. Somedays I find myself hanging on to the down, dark, the negativity, or the I like to call "The Why Me Moments". I can talk about them for hours or casually bring them up as if I'm still in the moment. Seldomly,  I bask in the light. I don't normally find myself saying "Yes, today was a good day!" I can usually hear myself.. complaining all that I didn't get to do, want to do but not there yet, or just flat out whine. But lately I've been finding myself say, "Today was good" or dancing in my car to the end of a good day. Right now, life is flat out... good. With that I say:

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At work, I am constantly challenging myself to "master my craft". Design is an ongoing thing, it constantly evolves and changes so you never hear a designer say "Oh yeah, I know it all.." As a creative, my brain is always turning, even on my lunch or potty breaks. I'm constantly sketching out ideas as they come because at any given moment, it will hit you like an epiphany. I've learned so much as the years passed, in school, in previous marketing agencies and I can tell you one of the most important things to takeaway is "It's in the details." The slightest space between two letters or moving things one pixel to the right or left, makes all the difference. When you pay that much attention to your craft, you've already honed in on a good habit. Slowly but surely, my practice and attention to detail is paying off, I am producing work that I'm proud of and getting noticed for that to. 

So peeps, Believe in Your Dopeness! 

 


Your Stories Matter, Document Them.

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(Cover of my 2018 Project Life Scrapbook)


"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do."-Brene Brown

It all started with a 35 mm Kodak camera that I had since I was about 4th grade. I remember bringing it with me everywhere and getting excited when I would get my rolls back from the photo lab at our local Longs Drugs. Then I would place them in those adhesive type albums, you know the ones where the entire page was adhesive and you would have to peel them back and be extra careful placing the plastic cover. But I would add magazine cut outs and even confetti, so it was always a challenge placing those plastic covers back over.  

 (Exhibit A & B, And I think I used puffy paint! WTH!) 

Growing up, I would document everything! I would fill my albums with stories, photos, magazine cut out as embellishments. Heck I would even cut out our photos and stick them on photos of cars to document our "travels" or "adventures." So choosing a career that resonated with my passion seemed only fitting. I always knew I enjoyed documenting, telling stories + photos. Magazine layouts, posters, typography and photography has always struck my heart strings and I simply love design. 

Looking back, I was at my most content when I was able to add a bit of creativity to my everyday. I started this blog 12 years ago with the intent of being able to write my stories as I did with my written journal entries as a child then copy & paste them to my albums. Scrolling back, I have been doing just that (just a few):

The Need To Create

In The Midst Of Chaos

Another Mini Album Done

There have been a few long breaks in between, especially when I decided to go back to school and get my degree in Communication Design. Although, higher education and my love for learning took the place of my need to create, I always missed it and see how many stories I missed documenting. I realize how quickly life changes without us even realizing it.  We are often great documenters when it comes to the big events like birthdays, or the trips we took, but we tend to miss all the daily details of our everyday life and I believe that it is those little details that make our story uniquely ours. My goal with this blog of over a decade has always been my place to capture my story, our families story, document the details of it, and share them with others. 

Back in 2012 I started this system of documenting the details of our everyday life, called Project Life.

Past Project Life Pages

It simplified the system of scrapbooking, and mind you I've been in this community for a LONG time, way before it hit digital. The best thing about this way of scrapbooking is the simplicity of it. In the beginning I felt that our everyday life wasn't really interesting, but as I scroll back at all the albums, I was moved by all the little stories that I've captured and realized our mundane life was our own authentic life. Life changes quickly without us really seeing it until years have passed and remembering all the little details encourage me to continue to preserve our stories. Project Life encourages me to print my photos and journal my everyday story, and I love keeping my albums in our family room so that they are easily accessible and ready to be enjoyed by all that flip through them. Believe me when I say that documenting your story is something you will never regret and if you aren't doing it already I hope you will feel inspired to start today!

"We take photos for a return ticket to moments otherwise gone." - Unkown

 

 


On Repeat...

Gah... it's on repeat guys!!! And it still gives me goose-bumps!
I love a motivational song with lyrics that set my soul on fire! When I first heard it, I switched over to the lyrics right away and I was "blown-away". (But then again, it is Imagine Dragons) and all their songs get you moving, not so much in a dancing way, but always leaves you inspired and excited about your path in life no matter where you are in this adventure we call life. 

Whatever it takes
'Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
'Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains

This will be one of my mantras for 2018. "Whatever It Takes"
When I think of 2017, (some highs but definitely lots of lows) hanging my head down low, feeling defeated, broken down, exhausted, and just ready to give up. I look back and think how could I let this blip in my time line affect me so much? But I get it, I know myself, I put everything I have into something no matter how much it took from me. But this time I had expectations so high that I almost saw my future (retirement and all) in this moment and as quickly as it started, it ended just as fast. 

Forward to 2018, I feel stronger and more confident than I have ever been. There's much to be said about being "broken-down" and left at your weakest. Your character is unveiled, you either come back stronger, more driven, and become a straight up bad-ass or you stay down. Glad to say, I don't stay down for too long. My favorite part of the song is this:

Hypocritical, egotistical
Don't wanna be the parenthetical, hypothetical
Working onto something that I'm proud of, out of the box
An epoxy to the world and the vision we've lost
I'm an apostrophe
I'm just a symbol to remind you that there's more to see
I'm just a product of the system, a catastrophe
And yet a masterpiece, and yet I'm half-diseased
And when I am deceased
At least I go down to the grave and die happily
Leave the body of my soul to be a part of me
I do what it takes

Let that simmer into your thoughts :) I know right...

So, by now you know that I love.. LOVE music! It's a big part of me and I could talk about lyrics, musicians, and playlists all day! So what's on repeat for you?


OLW (One Little Word)

After jotting down a few words that came to mind: 
Onward. (moving forward, progress, accelerate) all with the intention of not looking back. 
Pursue. This came to mind thinking about acting out on opportunities, ideas, and seeking to change.
Thrive. To bloom, flourish, and prosper. To develop or to aim higher from what I already have or a situation I am currently in. 

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But then I saw the word "nourish" and it just clicked. At the end of the year, I realized I needed to do things for me, things that made my soul happy. I began to look back in my life when I felt "at ease" or "content" and every single time I felt my soul feeling "fed" was when I incorporated my creative being in my daily routine. Whether it was writing, scrapbooking, photography, painting, or designing. I always made the time to "foster" that aspect of my life and in doing so, I felt a sense of balance. "Maintaining" and challenging myself physically through exercise, eating healthier foods, and "sustaining" the balance of good food and junk food made me feel whole. 

It took me a while to realize what really matters and I'm not talking about the obvious of the love my husband or the comfort of my family, that is a given and top priority. But its when I recognized the other "Sources Of My Energy" and listened to my feelings or my inner voice, that's when I found my clarity through the noises that surround me. Through this certainty, I seek my balance, and by listening to myself, and nourishing myself, thats when things fall into place and peace will surround me.

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Cheers to a new year! It is 12:20 am on a late Saturday (or early Sunday morning) and I'm finishing up my December album and eager to start my 2018 Project Life. 


Reflecting On 2017

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As I sit reflecting on the past 365 days (as I listen to iTunes tops songs of 2017, Ed Sheeran "Shape of You" playing in the background) I'm wondering if I feel any different? As most naysayers of not wanting to sound cliche on making New Years Resolutions, I don't necessarily equate the new year to "New Beginnings". For some reason or another, that mood comes in the Fall (a lot of reflecting around that season) followed by Winter and the Holidays (that's reflecting + expectations + comparison of the previous holidays). So naturally when that New Year rolls around and the clock strikes midnight and we are ringing in the new year, I've already dived into my wants, needs, expectations, hopes, dreams, goals,etc for the new year. 

I'm still reflecting on my word for the year... I haven't had time to sit and stew on a few words. But these are my past words :

2015 : Grow  (cultivating, harnessing, developing, becoming) -- who I want to be in every facet of my life.
2014 : Observe
2013: Renew
2012: Clarity

This year, we rang in the New Year with full hearts and the most joy I've felt in a while. We rang it TOGETHER as a FAMILY under ONE roof. I couldn't have been more happier. It was then I knew what mattered the most. I've been so hell bent on the idea of feeling unaccomplished (thinking I should be further along in my life by now, somewhere sustainable, where my college degree actually meant something). But, I realize that these MOMENTS are what makes LIFE worth LIVING for. The five of us, together as a family, eating, drinking, laughing, taking photos, making the most of the minutes we have together. 

I'm still processing it all and it's my first day back at work after spending a good week with my family. I'm eager to document them all and get into some rhythm where I'm writing at least once a day. Just today, I was thrown off guard by a new opportunity, so as I sit here editing my resume, I'm feeling both nervous, excited, and afraid all at the same time. There's this feeling as if I'm standing at the edge of a cliff (once again) and wondering if I should take that leap. What does my gut say? She says "Go For It!" 

 


Currently...

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It's been a while since I've done one of these:

listening: Today's Hits (iTunes) "Perfect Duet" by Ed Sheeran & Beyonce; "End Game" TayTay "Him & I" by G Eazy & Halsey; "Mi Gente" by J Balvin & Willy William, "I Fall Apart" by Post Malone

eating: Tacos, Tacos, Tacos (Taco Palenque) and Whatta Burger *I really need to stop! 

watching: Netflix (The Crown, Magicians, and re-runs of Friends). 

 wearing: Rudy's Red/Black Flannel PJ's and Red Hoodie.

feeling: Glad to be home, relaxed sitting in front of the computer, blogging and scrapbooking my December Daily 2017. 

weather: 56 degrees in SA with a bit of a breeze. 

wanting: Besides Crunchy Tacos? More days off, although I've got the rest of the week off. I want to get a good routine going (but I think with the Izzy's Xmas Vacay and Caelan visiting, I doubt I'll find a good rhythm). Contemplating on getting my Bachelors Degree in Business Management. 

needingTO GET BACK TO THE GYM! Shit! I really need to get my ASS back in there!  

thinking: How I called Caelan tonight to ask if he needed to talk about anything (like suicide). I took his Instagram story too literal I guess. But that's the reality of it now, kids don't think twice about ending their life, I see it too much in the news. I just wanted him to know that I love him no matter what! I guess Finals Week is getting a bit much for him. 

enjoying: The minute I walk through the door and coming home to my loves. I immediately call out for my "Isabella Consuela" (inside joke) and jump on Rudy's lap for a "Glad To Be Home" kiss. Don't get me wrong, I do like my job and in all I do, I do my best.  But after 9 hours, it's nice to come home to what matters the most, my family + dogs. 

wonderingHow Kai and Pua will be upon meeting their new "doggy day care provider". This is the first time I've used the Rover App and found a gal to watch the dogs while we go are out and about during the day. I really hope Pua adapts well. I never have to worry about Kai because he is the most easy going dog I've ever met. 


Wedding Photography: Isis + Sam

 

Last week I had the honor of capturing some beautiful moments for a friend, Isis. I met Isis when the three of us here:
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Worked at The Office Depot a few years ago:
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Goodness, I miss working with these two lovelies! It was always a joy to go in and find that I would be working with one of them. I'm fortunate to have somewhat kept in touch with these gals and see them evolve and grow in life and witness their many milestones! (Just a few months ago I photographed Christiana's wedding as well.) 

 I am so overjoyed to be able to capture these moments for friends but also grateful that I can continue do what I love, which is to be behind the camera. Photography has always been my first love, even before design. I hope to one day continue this path/journey that I may be able to grow my photography business once more. (For now, I'm just not sure San Antonio is where I want to pursue this path). For now I will take the many opportunities that I have been given in between work to be a "part-time" photographer.