Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#WriterWednesday: How I Found Myself While Doing A Weight Loss Program

I'd hate to start out a blog post like this but the truth is for most of my life, I've felt like I can't really be myself. I've always felt proud of the person I am and the fact that I recognized who I was from an early age. I 've always been someone that cannot just be labeled or prematurely defined.

So recently near the end of August, I was contacted by a Beachbody coach on a Facebook picture I posted making a joke of how my unlimited meal plan really changed the way I look. In a bad way? No. In a noticeable way? Yes.

Plus, being that I've still not yet found the man who will love for me, I started to believe that I must lose weight and become this shredded version of myself in order for my dream guy (wherever he may be or whoever he may be) to love me Delusional thought #1

I also believed that by losing weight and becoming this different version of myself on the outside, I would be able to fit into the SoCal lifestyle when I do move there. Delusional thought #2

This coach gained what little trust I had by confirming my two current beliefs. So I spent $150 on a Team Beachbody Challenge and was beyond stoked to get started. The program I enrolled in was the 21 Day Fix Extreme. You find out your target calories and are supposed to abstain from the use of alcohol, sweets, and fatty fast food meals.

The first seven days I messed up big time because I was using the Shakeology in addition to three meals a day instead of as a meal replacement. So once I admitted my mistake to my coach, she offered to check in twice a day.

I started to really do good. I ended up losing two pounds in one week and for me, somebody with hypothyroidism and multiple food allergies, that was HUGE!

Then, I got to September 21, I woke up and weighed myself and somewhere along the line, I gained back the two pounds. Did I eat unhealthy food and consume alcohol? Yes.

Do I feel that that was the sole reason I gained the weight back? Heck no.

See the week after that first blissful week, I started to get sick to my stomach. I'm talking in the worst way you can imagine, and then some. Plus, I had to go to work while being sick and do long shifts on an empty stomach and while dizzy and lightheaded.

All in all, I loved the workout aspect of Team Beachbody.

Yet, I prefer lifestyle changes that include each meal already suggested or planned out for me.

Do I think Shakeology and 21 Day really work? Sure, if you have the money to do multiple rounds.

I do not since I just got this job at Wal-mart three months ago.

Plus, I don't think it's necessary to spend that kind of money on a lifestyle change/health plan.

Basically, the truth is I am 25 years old and I want to indulge in the sweets, the booze, and the fast food without feeling guilty about it.

Do I think I could lose a little weight? Yes, but couldn't we all really.

My point here is that at the end of the day, this world if FULL to the brim especially nowadays with pressures from every side of this all important go with the flow or get the hell out of our way mentality and I find it to be utter bullshit.

For example, you can see it in the U.S. election. God forbid you actually admit you agree with Donald Trump. You might as well be admitting to all your past and future sexual partners that you have every STD or STI known to man.

As you can see, I am an individual. I think for myself. Have my own beliefs and pride myself on the fact that I tend to go against the grain in every aspect a person possibly could.

That's just the thing that bugs me about the whole Beachbody thing. I realized that I need a lifestyle change that makes me feel comfortable being me not scolds me for being honest about my mistakes and tells me to keep pushing when I was rounding the verge on my second near-death experience.

All in all, as an individual in a free country I would hope to be greeted with a little more respect and admiration, especially more love. And a lot less of rolling eyes and scoffing at me for being NOTHING less than me.

Until next time, remember: Individuality is what makes us human and separates us from the wild animals. We don't all have to follow the pack to survive.

For anyone who's ever felt this way, BE YOU! Do You! And RESPECT That I AM ME!

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#WriterWednesday: Someone is ALWAYS watching

Lately, I've been dreading going to work. And not because I don't like it or really don't need the money. I definitely do but because I feel like no matter what I do at work, I get yelled at.
I've come to realize that wherever I am while at work and no matter what I am doing, I am being watched.

Managers have my schedule and log my breaks and meal times on their palm pilot. (They know when you take a break longer than 15 minutes). They know if I clock in early, clock in before putting my stuff away, or clock out early.

They know if I'm late, if I've called out. All thanks to the great and powerful concept of technology.

Plus, they know everything I do while at the register or walking around the store (there are cameras everywhere).

Just this past week, I felt like I was literally being fitted for a customized ball and chain. I felt less enthused to go to work and more as if I was just someone in a cage asked to play a role, and they promise to feed me.

Yet, I have to perform the role just right or else. And it made me start to feel like I wanted to give up but I knew that was the last thing God wanted me to do.

Plus, the truth of the matter is this:

In the long run, all these mistakes that are embarrassingly being called out in front of customers and other associates will make me a stronger person.

A strong person who got through their job because not only did they know that the all seeing eye was watching and listening.

So no matter how hard I am tested with this job and the people I must respect in order to keep it, I REFUSE to give up.

God sees you and me and he hasn't forgotten about the dream he's placed in each of our hearts.

One day when I'm a huge PR executive for a A-List PR firm, I will look back and laugh at how far I've come.

One day when people are writing reviews about my novels, I won't break or change who I am and how I write to please them because I know WHOSE I AM.

Until next time, remember:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#WriterWednesday: The Great Agent Conundrum (I hope I spelt that right)

Every writer knows the story. You finally finish your manuscript and believe it's ready to be shopped. You polish up the most succinct and clean-cut query letter you can put together that shouts "THIS BOOK IS GOING TO SELL MILLIONS OF COPIES!" without sounding like one of the old school newsboys trying to sell papers back in the 1930s yelling, Extra, Extra! Read all about it.

You still hope they don't catch the blood, sweat, and tears poured in between the lines of that letter. 
You hope that someone, anyone with the right credentials asks to see more from you whether that be a proposal, or for fiction, sample chapters. Your heart stops beating for a millisecond when you get that rare shooting star of a manuscript request. 

Yet, you feel like someone is preparing to bury you alive when you get a response to that manuscript that says, "Sorry, not what I am looking for. Best of luck elsewhere!"

I wish I could say that this hasn't happened to me but it has. My memoir is one of the most heartfelt books I've ever written. I was open and honest. And I poured everything I had into it for three and half years during the writing process. 

Recently, I finally got the chance to send an agent from a rather high-end agency and I was totally thrilled.

I actually started imagining the way my coworkers would treat me when they found out I was going on an international book tour.

Some of them would rush up and ask for an autograph.
Others would still wear the same friendly face.

Then, I got rejected on a Thursday night when I was already having a terrible shift. 
I was on break when I opened the email inside the Wal-mart bathroom stall and I just burst out crying. 

Then, I realized I had to go back out there and still ring up customers and so I put on my best customer service face after sharing my heart on Facebook, and got through my shift. 

Then, I went to Applebee's with my mom for half-price apps and drinks.

That night, I pretended I was fine but the following days, inwardly I felt like I wanted to just sit in a corner rocking and crying, and sucking my thumb.

Until I remembered WHOSE I AM. 

It seems to me like there is nothing wrong with my memoir or my query letter (even though I'm now sending out a letter that reads less like microwave cooking instructions and has more of my voice throughout).

After the three and half years of writing it, I had a writer friend (#BetaReaderLove) edit it chapter by chapter for context. Anything that read like a bottle of seltzer gone flat was taken apart or discarded. 

Following this, I had a highly linguistic genius/wordsmith beta read it and she raved over it despite the fact that her expertise is in fiction.

Plus, I feel that besides my mom, she also got the power hidden throughout it. Which means that I can't give up on it's journey toward full and complete manifestation and successful destination. 

I believe my memoir may not be getting representation for the following reasons: 
  • The memoir talks about JESUS a lot because he is my SAVIOR and not just a religious relic to me. He saved my life twice (literally) and without him, I wouldn't be able to breathe like a normal person so excuse me for being OUTSPOKEN about how much I love and owe to JESUS but I think I will not be removing him from my memoir anytime soon. Matter of fact, I wholeheartedly believe the memoir will end up being published by a big-time Christian publishing house like Revell or Thomas Nelson.
  • The memoir documents my life story from birth to current day but contains three and a half years of research on medical jargon and all types of factual information about different illnesses I suffered from such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, depression. 
  • The memoir has a major theme of loving someone so much you are willing to die for them. This is why I settled on the title ONE LAST BREATH. It not only encapulates nearly dying but serves as a double metaphor for the love I had for someone who would rather watch me die than ever love me back, and a metaphor for my life of struggles and how I've always fought so hard for what I wanted in life even if it would cost me my last breath.
  • The memoir contains song lyrics from songs I thought fit in certain chapters and because I was listening to those songs throughout the writing process. It also contains poetry I wrote during those exact moments discussed in the book and I already know that most publishers aren't looking to publish poetry. (I don't know why because poetry is seriously equally as therapeutic to write as it is to read). 
Reasons I believe the memoir will be a strong piece of American literature
  • It's unlike any other memoir out there. (Part of my research was that I started the preliminary stages by reading other great memoirs. Along the way, I realized how much I love the genre. Speaking of which, I am beyond stoked that someone allowed the avenue for Amy Schumer to publish a memoir because that woman is AMAZEBALLS and hella funny!)
  • I have a degree in marketing so I think I have a solid plan for how to get it to sell once it is published. Publicist, nah I don't need one. I'm already trained in how to be my own.
  • With the network I've developed from the Smart Cookie, I could totally find (real genuine) people who would be willing to say something nice to go in the front of the book. And also a few book blogs that could write a review and promote it to their network.
  • It was written with the help and great and mighty hand of God. My story is only as bright as the person shining his everlasting light and great favor on my life. He gave me the words to minister to people. I am just the messenger. After all, with God all things are possible!
All in all, I'm still going to shop it around no matter how long it takes to get it representation because I believe that the right set of eyes and the right heart will see it's potential and just like fire, I will light up the world for more than just one day. After all, no one can be just like me anyway.

All I ask of all of you is that you pray daily for me and my memoir, and if anyone is interested in beta reading it, please email me at

Before I leave you with a final thought, don't forget to read the first five chapters of Kickflip My Heart in the upper right hand corner.

Until next time,
Remember the strength that Colossians 1:12 talks about: As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#WriterWednesday: A Birthday For The Books (and Lessons Learned)

I bet you can't believe your eyes right now and I don't blame you there. I haven't blogged here in quite a while so it actually feels foreign and incredibly freeing to be doing so.

Before I get to my birthday, I just want to say how grateful I am to finally have a job and one that I actually love. Yes, you could say for most of my life, I've had a habit of checking people out. First, with my job at the Saint Leo University campus library and now with my job as a cashier for Wal-mart.

There are good days and bad days with every job and mine has no exception. As you are reading my birthday story, you'll see how my job fits into the scheme of things.

It all started on a Wednesday, two weeks ago, particularly on July 27, the one year anniversary of my best friend Geniveve entering heaven on a rainbow bridge. I knew the best way to honor her on that day was by living my life to the fullest. So I bought a vision board and finally put one together.

For proof, visit:

Then, my sister and I already made plans to have a late lunch of sushi to celebrate my birthday but then she offered to pay for me, and I was completely in awe of how blessed I am.

I ordered sake which I had never tried but the International Hospitality and Tourism minor in me jumped at the chance to try something culturally ethnic. (go ahead and laugh)

For a video of me trying it as well as a quick slideshow with rad music, click here!

Then, Jayde suggested I try a margarita at the sushi place since this was the first time I was eating there, and I order one.

After I tried the regular margarita, the waitress comes over with another but a different flavor and says,

We didn't know if you were going to like that flavor so we made an extra one just in case. You can have it, no charge.

I smiled to myself and as she walked away I said to Jayde, "That was Geniveve saying Cheers! for my birthday."

I got a little watery-eyed for a second then I remembered it's my birthday and queens don't cry on their celebratory day. 

Thanks Geniveve! Love you.

Then, I went to the mall and actually bought some cute clothes at actual stores and even though I spent about fifty dollars or more, I didn't feel bad about it. I needed the retail therapy.

Saturday I was greeted after work by two large boxes on the dining room table. 

It turned out that my paid in full Keurig and new mug with writer quotes came! 

Monday, my dad took me to Einstein Bros. Bagels to celebrate my birthday. 
Naturally, I got the new Twist N' Dip bagel. (oh em gee, it was delicious)

Wednesday, I had a day off and my family had my party 

My parents came in clutch with the dopest gift yet!

 A little money and a little MJ never hurt anyone!

If you want to hear them sing to me, be sure to watch this video.

Thursday, August 4, 2016, I turned 25!!!! at 8:37 a.m.

For my birthday, I decided I wanted to keep it chill by watching a butterfly documentary on Netflix (A Smart Cookie always stays learning even on their birthday).

I got all dolled up and my family and I went to Chili's

(For $5 Magaritas, duh)

It turns out that the waitress's birthday was the next day, Friday August 5th. How cool! #Leopower

All in all, I had a great birthday but shortly after I got done eating my fill at Chili's, adult life set in and umm, I guess I had to go to work.

I wore this pin thinking I would run a small social experiment: Would people say happy birthday to the cashier checking them out?

Turns out, the results were a hard pressed NO!
Absolutely no one I checked out said a word about my button or anything. I'm totally fine with it because I still got paid (for being born) but hey, just goes to show how unaware of things people really are.

I came home and Jayde's boyfriend wished me a happy birthday before handing me a card

(I pretty much looked the same when he handed me the card)

Turns out he gave me a $15 Dunkin gift card too! Totally schweet!

Then, my sister Jamie came home and ended up giving me $15 in Florida Lottery scratch-offs and I won $18 on them.

Such a rad quarter of a century birthday!

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy day, took time to acknowledge my day, or gave me a gift! You so totally ROCK!

Plus, my site officially has some affiliates now and I'm totally stoked for that as well. 

Plus, up in the left hand corner of this blog, you can click the cover image to my new re-write of my first two novels. Feel free to read the first five chapters. It's still in it's draft stages but if I get two comments on the story, I'll post two more chapters for you! Don't forget if you like it to share it with your friends.
So never fear, take the good days with the bad, and celebrate the heck out of life because you only get one! 

Until next time, remember: God never gets weary. When we are weary, we can overcome it by waiting on Him, trusting that He will do what we cannot do. -Joyce Meyer

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!

~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#WriterWednesday: A Piece I wrote For My Dad

I don't really have anything new to share so I just wanted you to check out a piece I wrote for my dad for Father's day that was a part of the Encouraging Dad's project.

Thanks for all the kind words about my new job. I love it!

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#WriterWednesday: On a Happier Note...I Got A Job!!!

I am absolutely honored and humbled that my beautiful friend Lux from the Philippines allowed me to write a guest post for her very successful and amazing site, About Life and Love.

Read that first by clicking the hyperlinked text. I wrote that near the end of May, and can happily report that as of June 7, 2016, I got a job as a cashier for Walmart. I love it. I'm not too fond of being on my feet for long hours but I love interacting with the customers and being the last person they see during their shopping experience.

I feel that God knew what I needed better than I did because this is public relations in its lowest form.

Thank you for always supporting me by reading and checking in with me. I love and appreciate all of you so very much.

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Monday, June 13, 2016

#OrlandoUnited: A Tribute to Christina Grimmie

Before I discuss the tragic murder of someone who was absolutely innocent and precious, please allow me to offer my condolences to those affected or dealing with the loss of a loved one in the Orlando Pulse Night Club shooting. It is absolutely horrific and completely tragic that both of these shootings occurred.

After hearing the news of Christina Grimmie's tragic murder on Friday night and subsequent passing Saturday morning, I found myself bawling hysterically and feeling completely numb. 

How could someone so young, so full of life, so full of love for everyone she met, and with so much purpose be senselessly murdered?

All weekend I awaited the media to give me answers. I was glued to my phone regrettably because I couldn't do much else. Yet, in all the chaos and violence, I realized something profound:

1. There is no reason good enough for this senseless act and we must find it in our hearts to carry on Christina's legacy of love after properly grieving her loss.

2. I don't believe that God causes bad things to happen in this world because he's not the ruler of it. John 10:10 says: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

3. The victory that overcomes the world is our faith. -1 John 5:4-5. Christina was open about her faith in Jesus (some speculate this may be why she was targeted) and it is what saved her and brought her right to heaven and in Jesus's arms when she was shot.

As most of you know, back in March I was selected as a part of Rachel Platten's Tour Crew for her Orlando show at the Cheyenne Saloon. I remember all four of us girls were standing by the merch table awaiting our next assignment when Christina introduced herself to us with a sweet smile and bubbly voice. She was wearing a beanie and a hoodie despite the Florida warmth. Her brother Marcus was right by her side. She told us to make sure that no one other than Marcus was selling merch at her merchandise table. It was apparent right away that her brother and her were very close. 

At around 8:30 that night she took the stage and having never really heard of her, I didn't know what to expect but when she started singing. I was completely starstruck by her immense voice and talent. And she performed some of her "Voice" covers as well as performed some of her originals some off her debut LP With Love and others off her recent EP, Side A. At the end of her performance, she urged people to come say hi after the concert as she would be hanging out at her merch table to sign autographs and take pictures. Even though she had such success so young, I felt a great humility about her.

Then, she later came on and sang with Rachel during her live performance of Stand By You. I may have not personally interacted with Christina but as I was asked to monitor the merchandise table following the concert along with the rest of the tour crew, I watched as Christina interacted with old and new fans alike and each one was greeted with a genuine smile from someone who was really listening to and soaking in everything the fans had to say to her. Again, you could see how humble and kind she was. And the best part was she was laughing and animated as if they were old friends. 

Two of those people she interacted with that night were my mother and father. They were incredibly starstruck by her as well and eagerly awaited the chance to go over and let her know how amazing they thought her set was. And she was so kind to them. And it's something I will never forget witnessing. 

You can see me in the top picture in the pink hoodie. Christina Grimmie, thank you for teaching us ALL that LOVE is a verb, that dreams are meant to be chased (even when you want to give up) and that sound faith will carry you through this life and into the next.

Then, to wake up the following day and see that over 100 people were either injured or killed while celebrating life at a nightclub in Orlando really disturbed me. Yet, with all this tragedy I think the best thing we can do is STOP sowing hate in this world (and that starts on social media). Stop posting argumentative political posts because James 3:16 specifically states: For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

This evil occurred because of this principle as well as the choices of two men who may or may not have been in their right state of mind.

With that in mind, my friend wrote and shared this today and I thought it summed up Christina poeticly

The Grimmie family is in my prayers and especially Marcus during this difficult time. Don't allow unforgiveness to settle in your heart but find comfort that each of you will see Christina again. 

If you would like to support both or one of the funds for both tragedies please donate at the links below. 

Until next time, remember this my friends: ‘When the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.’ -2 Chronicles 20:9

Thank you, dear Christina. Now please rest in peace. <3 p="">

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~