After living in a city for more than 10 years, you’d think you would know the ins and outs of a city for which you now call home. “No, don’t go that way, it’s a one-way” or “there’s a Fellini Pizza at that corner,” and “just take Peachtree, it’ll take you somewhere“. Atlanta is a beautiful city. Eclectic. Welcoming. And in the fall, truly breath-taking. The people are beautiful. The views from every which way are dynamic. Going north on I-75, mother nature simply couldn’t have birthed a more picture perfect city. The city becomes a coloring book in the Spring. It is as if the trees were assigned a number for which you must fill in with nature’s different hues. But if you are one to color within the lines you may miss out on what the city has to offer. This weekend I decided to become a tourist in my very own backyard. I took my 13-year old niece with me to explore the city for what it really was. Artistic. Inspiring. Colorful. We ran into some wall art along the way and let’s just say between getting out the car every couple of 100 feet and taking photos, we realized that we have driven by these streets so many times and never truly appreciated the art for what it was. Living Walls of Atlanta is an organization that showcases local Atlanta artists as well as out of state talent and invite them to display their artistic abilities throughout the city, specifically, on buildings. Being a photographer in the Great State of Georgia, I can see myself using these walls as my background for some awesome shoots. Next time you go exploring someone else’s city, make sure you’ve done your fair share of exploring within your own city limits. Atlanta, Forever I Love. Here are some of my faves! Enjoy.
One day i picked up a Canon && suddenly the world looked so differently. My love for photos has always been near & dear to me. I remember when digital cameras were on the rise and my dad bought me my first nikon. I was ecstatic. To capture a moment is to capture a memory for 1000 years. I finally decided to put my love for photography to the challenge. Here are some of my favorites while driving around my beautiful city of Atlanta this past month! If you’re a mommy to be in the Atlanta area wanting to capture the last few months of your pregnancy- i am trying to build my portfolio and would love to shoot you pro-bono!
Camera ready kinda guy!
She’s as natural as her hair!
Such a beauty! And that mole is to die for… Marilyn ain’t got nothing on her! Shot with my canon..
My niece catching air! #canon #actionshot
Look deep into nature for you will understand everything better
Follow my photography page on:
Coming soon: Jeannellyjay.com for your source of inspiration & motivation
The weekend has escaped you but with remorse and determination you reintroduce yourself to Monday. Boisterously, with your chest out and proud, chin up, you say “I’m Jane Doe and I’m starting my health journey today.” Monday looks at you with pity in her eyes, she hisses and turns away. Then she softly says, “as if we haven’t met before.” Quickly, you try to respond but she cuts you off mid-sentence. “In fact, we meet at least 2-3 times a month,” she says matter-of-factly.” Your chest deflates like a child’s 14-day old balloon and you feel compelled to make some kind of excuse in which Monday just does not have the energy for. You try to form the words to justify your eating habits the past few days but come up with nothing. “Thursday has a way of captivating you in a way I wish I could. He makes you forget of your promise made to me. You dance under the moonlight with him, distancing yourself from your daily goals. Friday and Saturday are those girlfriends your mother has advised you to stay away from, they make you overindulge in foods you said you wouldn’t, your favorite things now control you and your commitment to yourself becoming a distant memory. By Sunday, like a child who stumbles and fall, you crawl back to me in your dreams.”
“I’m Jane Doe and I’m starting my health journey today.”
You curse Thursday for he has tempted you to retract to your old ways. Like a broken-hearted girl, you can’t break the toxic relationship. Thursday’s venom seeps through you like air in a bag, he makes you lose sight of your dream body and while you’re prancing around with Thursday, he makes you gain weight, so effortlessly. He laughs in your face and proceeds to grin, “works every time.” You’re angry with yourself, feeling like an undefeatable battle. A constant struggle between your love for Monday and your indiscretions with Thursday. Sunday is forgiving, like your nana. She withholds from showing any disappointment in you the many times you have let her down. For she instills faith in you, like God does unto sinners, she trusts that you will do better with each passing week. She forgives you, like last week and the week before, for you have sinned against your commitment to Monday and yet somewhere deep down inside, with her sweet, golden-aged face, she calms her disappointment and envisions your potential. But Monday is apprehensive for she knows better. You have fooled her one too many times, “but this time shall be the last. It’s a vicious cycle you continue to play, and I no longer have anymore time to give,” Monday yells. You beg for her trust because this time you are serious. This time you will stick to it. This time you will meet a different side of Thursday, one who will not manipulate your goals but encourage you to get through it a day at a time. This time will be so much different, you promise.
How many times have you told yourself you were starting your diet, fitness journey, health goals, on Monday? How many times have you let her down? Have you let Thursday control you?
When will you realize that the mind can do what the physical body cannot do. It simply is… all mental!
Nykole! Good entry!
Here is another glimpse into my thoughts racing at Grand Prix speed, I write for the same reason I breathe, it’s how I live. Keeping up with my 30 mins a day for writing is really what keeps the doctor away. Living your passion even when you don’t get paid is the true definition of success.
The allure of the game,
a more defining call than an attempt at change.
Your backstabbing way takes on many shapes,
story of prince and pauper we are one in the same.
Anxious when the day begins, waiting for money to exchange hands.
Stuck in a four walled room, two doors, no windows, no vantage point for escape
just a couple of revolving doors opening and closing shut with no thought of the future. Keeping myself in the forefront my present outlook is a treat.
Plans change as you sleep, there’s more minds…
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- The way in which two or more concepts or people are connected, or the state of being connected
- The state of being connected by blood or marriage. The way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other.
- An emotional or other connection between people.; a romantic or sexual friendship between two people
The other day I read a quote that urged woman to stop praising boyfriends. It came from one of those “quote-sy” guys that have climbed their love ladder to fame from the simplistic ideologies of every day re.la.tionship situations, and yet people think it’s so poetic. You know the type. The “Love-Guru” who has a Bachelor in Re.la.tion.ships with a minor in Romance, a Masters in Heartbreak and a Ph.D in Vulnerability, specifically, focusing on the woman’s heart and emboldening the woman’s scorn. The one who can say “Love is about believing in love” and the entire female species believes it to be such a novel concept.
The quote went a little something like this, “stop praising boyfriends.” It was like the clouds had opened up and a soft harmony from the angels above sung to my women followers. Suddenly, it went viral, it was all over my timeline and IG account and I thought to myself, why shouldn’t we praise our boyfriends? Our boyfriends, (and by ours I mean those who prefer the male sex and those who have shown you that they are men) are great, fun, humorous, caring, loving, compassionate, patient, charming, and the list can go on & on. And to be in a re.la.tion.ship is to accept that person for who they are and what they represent. Now, if you’re in a re.la.tion.ship where none of those adjectives above describes the bond between you & your significant other, it may be time to re-evaluate the kind of re.la.tion.ship you’re in. The “stop praising boyfriends” quote is often supported by the covenant of holy matrimony carrying it’s non-sinner ways under the bible and we all know that you can’t ever argue with the bible or God. My boyfriend and I joke about this all the time. Whenever we pose a difficult question about anything– the world, love, wars, flowers, animals, the food we eat, cute babies– people often bring in the bible to explain any and everything, and well as aforementioned, you can’t really argue with the bible. Because you know, how do we really prove it? I do not want to mislead my readers in thinking that this article is about the holy book or any religious affiliations. It’s not. It’s about the marriage of relationships and boyfriends. Pun intended.
As a young girl, I never once believed in the holiness of matrimony. Probably because no one in my immediate family took it seriously. My father never married my mother but my mother was married once before to the father of my half-brother. My aunts and uncles married and divorced by the time some of my cousins were entering grade school. Even though they married and divorced, all the men in my family were heavily involved with their kids. Til this day, my family is an extended one because, although they are no longer together, the men who married or even dated my aunts which led them to have babies with them were and still are my uncles. I don’t think of my uncles as being any less of a man because some of them never married my aunt, I think of them as being respectable men who while raising their own kids, also managed to be a male-figure in the lives of their nieces and nephews. You know the saying, it takes a village? Well in the Latino community we take that very, very seriously! It was many other examples and events that made me say to hell with marriage and everything associated with it. I’m not ashamed of the dynamics in my family, I loved that my family is amicable and cordial, so much so that the new girlfriends and wives can be friends with the exes, my aunts.
Now my mindset has totally changed about marriage but the quote “stop praising boyfriends” still manages to bother me the more I see it floating on my timeline. I have been in a re.la.tion.ship for 3 years (in sum), but we’ve been friends for 7 years. And personally, I think our re.la.tion.ship is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Thank you Mary Poppins.
Like many other couples, you have your days where you don’t like that person very much but then there are days where you wake up and say “God, I love that man!” And well, those days supersedes those not-so-great moments. But it doesn’t mean my re.la.tion.ship is not legitimate because we’re not married! I praise my boyfriend. I praise him for all things he does right and even when he does wrong. I praise him for picking up the bill, for grabbing me a glass of water 2 seconds into that comfortable spot in the bed. I praise him for admitting when he is wrong. I praise him for washing my car and putting air in my tires on Saturday mornings. For letting me sleep in because he knows how much I love my sleep and I praise him for constantly asking me if I’m comfortable because I’m always hot by nature. I praise him because he deserves to praised. And to say that I shouldn’t praise my boyfriend just because we aren’t married is just absurd. He isn’t a grown boy. He is a grown, educated, well-articulated man and it’s been well over a year, and as Tony Gaskin may have predicted, I ain’t single like a dolla bill! He has given me three good years, not 6 months– and yes, I agree that an every 3 month type evaluation is healthy to ensure you’re on the same page, but this isn’t a job, this is a person who has faults and flaws and when those issues arise, you work through it.
Granted, the justification behind the quote is basically implying that women should not give a man everything too soon and that women should not treat her boyfriend as a husband if they have yet to take that vow. Because, giving a man everything too soon leaves you with nothing to offer later, right? Women should be more reserved with a boyfriend because you know, praising a boyfriend is just not OK. But how can you tell me that a marriage is more legitimate or credible than my re.la.tion.ship? So because you’re married and have taken this covenant “under the eyes of God” your marriage suddenly holds more truth than a re.la.tion.ship?
**Disclaimer** I am not speaking about all marriages, just those that I have encountered throughout my years of existence.
I know many couples that are not in a rush to get married, some are already married and some are engaged and I don’t think any of those re.la.tion.ships have any more legitimacy than my ring-less one. In addition, I cannot stand when someone poses a question like “what’s the point of being in a relationship when marriage is not the ultimate goal?” Well… maybe it’s the fact that people who tend to get married also tend to get divorced. I have heard from multiple sources that they wish they would’ve waited to marry. Because of the pressure of being in a re.la.tion.ship rang wedding bells, they ultimately caved only to find themselves feeling unhappy with the decision. Sometimes the ultimate goal is just being happy! What an unconventional philosophy! Yes, there are plenty of marriages that have avoided the “D” word and by no means am I discrediting or dismissing those types of marriages. I am mostly speaking to those marriages where I have asked “why did you get a divorce” or “why did you choose to separate?” I actually have a friend who said she’s been married before and she will do it over and over again! She loved being married and that it jut didn’t work with her first marriage. Hopeless romantics are like little mint chocolates. They are refreshing treats in our every day, miserable not so happy lives.
I mean, what if you don’t want to get married because you don’t think that a piece of paper validates your re.la.tion.ship? And so the bible-thumpers will say, “getting married is not about the piece of paper but your lifelong commitment to your spouse and God.” OK, so if I went in my backyard and held a private “ceremony” with my S.O., and said God “we are now married under your watchful eyes” would that constitute as being married? Then they’ll say, “no, because you didn’t have witnesses.” And I’ll say, “well let me go grab the neighbors.” And then they’ll say, “marriage is about becoming one legally and spiritually.” And then I’ll say, “so when African-American slaves jumped the broom, because that was the only way they could recognize their union, they were married. Slaves were not considered people, but property, so in this case the only thing that gave them an ounce of dignity was the humanizing act of jumping a broom to justify their marriage. And then they’ll say, “well, no that’s different.” And then I have yet to determine what’s so “different” about holding a ceremony on our deck where my S.O. and I introduce ourselves as a union to our friends under God? It becomes a constant battle between societal norms and the holy grail. *Cues Jay-Z*
The point is that whether you’re in a re.la.tion.ship or marriage, both have just as much legitimacy. You might have a flashy ring that your husband may still be paying for or a wedding debt that either of you couldn’t afford, but one re.la.tion.ship is not better than the other. The simple fact is, if you want to get married, get married! If you’re like, ehhh… I’m good for now, don’t bash or put down those who have chosen a different route than you. My S.O and I are constantly growing for the better, for each other. We have become one without the title, which goes a long way for those who’ve been married for just as long as the existence of my re.la.tion.ship and are already crafting up an exit plan. I’ve given my man all of me and he has, in return, given me all of him. I don’t look at marriage as a constant growth, I look at life as a constant growth. Whether you’re in a marriage or not, you should always be growing wiser, closer to your spiritual journey, loving those who love you and admitting fault where needed. If you feel that withholding certain things in a re.la.tion.ship is necessary because you aren’t married to him yet, then I really think you shouldn’t go into a marriage without showing the real you and displaying your strengths and weaknesses. Chances are, you could be a fraud and the man that married you may be thinking that you’re one way, when in fact, you’re completely the opposite. And that could be very misleading.
I’m flaunting my re.la.tion.ship before the aisle, after the aisle and down the aisle! OK!
What do you think about giving too much in a re.la.tion.ship? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let this be an open dialogue rather than a heated debate.
Sophia Amoruso’s new book titled #GirlBoss offers an insight on how to discover the Girl Boss in you.
So what’s a #GirlBoss?
“A #GirlBoss is someone who’s in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it. As a #GirlBoss, you take control and accept responsibility. You’re a fighter– you know when to throw punches and when to roll with them. Sometimes you break the rules, sometimes you follow them, but you can’t do it without having some fun along the way. You value honesty over perfection. You ask questions. You take your life seriously, but you don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re going to take over the world, and change it in the process. You’re a badass.” p. 11
If the number one #GirlBoss’ definition isn’t enough for you, here’s Jeannelly Jay’s personal twist on it: #GirlBoss is the everyday-working-hustling-grinding-never-sleeps-constantly-encouraging-inspiring-motivating-building-something-from-nothing-while-being-pulled-in-every-direction kind of woman!
#GirlBoss is witty and offers a comedic relief whenever the going gets tough, and let me just say, she does an excellent job of letting you know how it is: in business and in life. When Sophia Amoruso keeps it real throughout #GirlBoss, you might say “damn, that was harsh!” and then it follows up with a sentence kind of like, “I don’t mean to sound harsh but…” And you instantly feel better because she too, recognizes that it may come off as a bit direct, but she’s there with you every word along the page. Amoruso does it in a way that is tasteful so that a #GirlBoss out there can build a tougher, more invigorating- don’t-take-any-BS #GirlBoss
Building a business and a brand such as Nasty Gal, as told by Amoruso, takes more hours in a week than a regular paying job. And you better be willing to clock-in and possibly NEVER clock out! Though the instant gratification of owning your business may consist of higher pay (yes to that Beemer!) and being your own boss (take that alarm clock!), Amoruso lets you know that whatever you get out of your business, you put it right back into the business (so,keep your alarm clock & don’t befriend the snooze button). Don’t splurge on material things when you’re building a brand because,
“Money looks better in the bank than on your feet”, p. 101
What I enjoyed most about #GirlBoss, and believe me there was a plethora of things I found amusing, was that Amoruso found a way to incorporate the stories of other #GirlBosses, who too, built their businesses from the ground up. It became inspiring to read about every day women who thought to themselves, “I want more out of life than just a 9-5” and that want later became a need, which led these #GirlBosses to build successful companies, one blog or styling gig at a time. Their stories became a golden ticket every few pages, and even though Willy Wonka didn’t make a cameo, those inserts became something like a chocolate chip found in your grandmother’s baking apron – short, sweet & unexpected. The start of every business is quite different, but the end result can be very much the same. Everyone who starts a business wants ultimate success and those stories as told by the owners made #GirlBoss that much more humanizing.
If this book doesn’t do anything more than light the fire under you to finally start working towards that bakery, the online fashion blog or putting up your art for the world to see- then she has failed you. She insists to tap into your creative side because,
“All humans are entrepreneur, not because they should start companies, but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA” — Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn, p. 186
I encourage you all to find your inner #GirlBoss & #GuyBoss!
The date was November 24, 2011. What’s the fourth Thursday in November called? Thanksgiving and I was not one bit thankful for the weight I had gained that year. I recently graduated from college with a BA in Political Science and soon after I landed a pretty sweet job that allowed me to work from home. For this I was very much thankful. Like most post college graduates, I was living, loving, eating and drinking… a lot. I would work out and justify it by downing a burger with a double order of fries. “Hey, I had an ‘intense’ cardio session this morning!” Yea, right!
Another thing I was grateful for, was my body. God gave me the body that can hide a shadow in the shade. I hid my fat well. Dark clothes, pulling the bra strap down to hide the back fat, high waisted tights (why was I even wearing tights? Questions that need answers!) 3/4th quarter length sleeves, baby-doll dresses that could hide a toddler- you name it, I wore it. To the untrained eye, I was “thick” not fat. Now that I know better, I realized those were just synonyms of each other to avoid my feelings from being hurt. I could tell myself all day long I was thick, but when it came time to pick out something to wear to meet the family of my boyfriend, I was fat. There was no way around it. I’m a 5ft 7′ girl weighing at 215lbs and though I thought and so did everyone else think I was “thick”, you would have never known I was well over 200lbs. Perception was is NOT reality when it comes to weight!
Here’s a pic of my “thickness” winter 2011
Not enough you say? Ok. Well here’s another one. I’ll let you be the judge of that!
Anyways, I remember sitting at my boyfriend’s family house with my Charlotte Russe size-13-nothing-skinny-about-those-skinny-jeans and just felt my stomach rolls snuggle over the waistline. I wore a long sleeved gray shirt that hugged me tighter than a shoe half a size too small and to top it off, I proceeded to add a black shaw over the long sleeved shirt as it would “hide” my stomach,iIn my mind, anyways. I ate so much that day.. after all… it is Thanksgiving and my bf’s mom made the meanest Mac & Cheese. I nudged my boyfriend because I was ready to go home, only because I was uncomfortable and wanted to remove those “not-so-skinny-skinny-jeans.” The story gets better. The next day, Friday, my boyfriend’s sister who lives 4 hours south invited us to her favorite restaurant. Aside from the fact that I was extremely full from Thanksgiving night, we also had the leftovers that morning for BREAKFAST! Needless to say, I sat in the restaurant booth with my stomach befriending the not-so-skinny-jeans waistline again and I chose not eat. It was the first time I had turned down food. I had reached my boiling point. To make the long story short, [although as you have read by now, is always impossible to do when telling a weight loss story]- that weekend of November 24, 2011 goes down in my mental note history as the day it finally clicked.
“Wake up Jeannelly” the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results! I was done with the same habits I had been doing and it was time for change. Not just any kind of change, drastic changes to my eating, my health, my life and my overall goals. So what did I do that weekend? Well I cried. I cried a lot. I wasn’t depressed or anything, after all I have a pretty great life- I was just angry with myself and felt utterly disgusted. How can I treat my body so badly when it has been so good to me for the past, at that time, 21 years? That Sunday, November 27, 2011 I got up and worked out for 2 hours, went on a tea detox for 5 days and lost 8lbs. I haven’t looked back since. I lost 35lbs in 5 months.
Here are some helpful tips, in no specific order:
- Tip #1: Do Not Eat Past 8pm; if you get hungry, drink water and go to sleep!
- Tip #2: Invest in a TRAINER! You can spend a ton of money a month on eating out and entertaining a bad diet, but you can’t pay $100 a month for a trainer? Let’s admit it, you don’t know every machine at the gym or what your body is capable of- I invested in a trainer 6 months after I lost the initial 35lbs because I wanted to gain muscle and lean out.
Here is mine- Q the Trainer
- Tip #3: EAT BREAKFAST!
- Tip #4: Drink
Diet SodaWATER! Water for every meal and with every snack. Immediately, you’ll notice a difference in your health and your skin.
- Tip #5: Shut Up and Train— No seriously, it’s a movement. Look him up on social media world! Commit to it everyday- no complaints, just show up and show out! Do a bootcamp once a week, zumba, group power or yoga– just keep moving. Don’t think that because you worked out in the morning, you don’t have to go again at night- go twice if you have the time. You’ll feel better afterwards. Push yourself.
- Tip #6: Losing weight is 70% diet, 30% exercise. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Make a conscious effort to research what you’re polluting your body with. Get the facts, shop at your local farmers market, ask the tough questions. And remember, you DON’T have to eat everything that’s on your plate!
- Tip #7: In the world of social media, follow people with the same goals and ambitions as you. There are so many people out there that can motivate you with one tweet or Instagram post. My personal favorite on IG is: training4mylife– thank me later once you looked her up!
- Tip #8: Treat your body right, you only get one of those.
BEFORE: MAY 2011, WEIGHING 215LBS
AFTER: MY 21ST BIRTHDAY, FEB. 2012 WEIGHING AT 190LBS- At this point I had lost 25lbs in 3 months
BEORE & AFTER SIDE BY SIDE:
Today, I’ve maintained my weight and have put on some muscle. In 2013, I gained about 25lbs back, yep you heard right. I shot back up to 205lbs. But that’s another story for another blog.
Here is my current update taken today, May 21, 2014 at the gym after my beast of a workout weighing in at 190lbs, a weight loss of 15lbs from the damage done in 2013. I’m not perfect. We all fall off. Life happens. But it is your responsibility to get back on and keep going!
Up Next: Juicing
As always, if you have any questions about my journey- please ask!