So this post is coming one month after the start of the new year. As many of you have probably noticed this past year and specifically the past 5 months, my posts on social media and my blog have been pretty non existent. There was a reason for it and I’m happy to say, I’m finally able to fully take my life back and get back to doing one of my true passions in life…talking and sharing with you about my love for makeup, fitness and passion of helping others struggling from mental health issues and disorders. After wrapping up a two year battle in which I won’t go into details about, I really needed to take a few months off from everything and regroup. Luckily I was in a position to take a step back and find ME again. I was able to focus on my next move and also lay the foundation for how I’m going to push forward and turn a horrible tragedy in my life into something that will ultimately help others. There is so much I will share with you in the coming months and after such a long and empowering journey, I must say, I’m much stronger than I ever knew I was. They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…in my case, it also pushed me in a direction to be heard and be a game changer. There is a silver lining to every situation in life and I just found mine. Thanks for the love and support you have shown me through the years…now let’s get back to business!
I did my first blog post on suicide prevention back in 2015, exactly three years ago to this day. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, because I have personally lived this life. It is extremely hard for me to talk about because of the stigma that revolves around mental health in general, but it is also important for me to talk about it because it may save someone’s life and becoming an advocate and talking about it myself, has ultimately saved my own life. It has given me strength, a voice, purpose and also helps me find the silver lining to a situation/incident that nearly killed me. Many people will not understand this topic completely, but most people have either suffered themselves or know someone that has suffered from depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, bipolar, schizophrenia, or some other form of mental impairment. There is NO shame in struggling, it’s what we do with it that ultimately determines how we move forward. We should never be made to feel less than adequate, less human or less than anyone else for having a mental condition WE can’t help. The number of suicides are alarmingly increasing. We need to start talking and we need to start fighting harder than ever to save one another.
With today being WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION day, I wanted to first and foremost highlight that you can NOT judge someone’s mental health by their looks. Let’s just get that fact straight! I am sick and tired of being told I don’t look like I could possibly be depressed. Well what the hell does depression look like? It’s also highly offensive for someone to tell me because I’m in shape or wear a bikini on social media, that I don’t suffer behind closed doors. Working out for me helps with my mental health, plain and simple. When you work out it releases endorphins that helps ease anxiety for me. There are so many things that I plan on revealing down the road, but I am unable to talk about at this moment. But I would like to reiterate, at times, life is a struggle. We have all gone through rough patches or endured devastating heartache. Whether it be a death, an illness, a breakup or a financial struggle. In the moment, these feelings can be a lot to handle. There is help available. Please don’t suffer in silence. Surround yourself with an amazing support system and work your hardest every day to pull through. I have seen firsthand what suicide does to the friends and family left behind. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s amazing how when you start talking about things, you realize there are a lot of other people that have experienced or are experiencing your same feelings. Life can be hard. Life has obstacles and life can be a challenge. Remind yourself every day how amazing you are and how much you are loved. What we can control is waking up each day and trying our hardest to make each day count and seeing a happier tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it doesn’t seem like it today, believe me, you will get through this dark time. The world is a better place with you in it!
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
With Summer right around the corner (or if you live in L.A. like me, some days already feel like Summer!) you’ll want to start thinking about your Summer wardrobe now. If you wait until the weather actually gets warmer, everything is already picked over or you are left scrambling the “day of” an impromptu pool day. We’ve all been there & it’s not fun. When shopping for swimwear in general, I like to search for suits that I can wear multiple ways. For instance, I often times wear my bikini tops either with jeans or as a foundation under a sheer top. My latest obsession has become the one piece. I’m also a fan of bodysuits (I never thought I would say this again, especially after owning quite a few in the 90’s). They just make my outfits so simple to put together. But let me say, all bodysuits are NOT created equal. Find the ones that are easiest to get out of on the go (if you know what I mean:) What I absolutely love about the suit pictured above by Wolf & Whistle for ASOS, is the versatility it provides. Pair it with cut off jean shorts and you have the perfect casual outfit for the pool or daytime BBQ. I can also wear it with a skirt and a sheer loose sweater over the top for a edgy, but chic look for a night out. It’s just a great overall swimsuit! The weight of this suit is unbelievable and it was definitely a bargain for only $45. The quality and material of this suit rival any of the high end designers.
There’s a fine line between tan, and looking like you rolled in doritos.
I also believe the best addition to any swimsuit is the perfect fake tan. You know how much I love my self tanners. I was recently sent a self tanner by Madame LA LA to try and it has quickly become another one of my favorites. The key to a perfect tan is all about the application. Faux tans are a easy way to hide imperfections on your body and skin in general. What I love about the Madame LA LA dark self tanner is how quickly is allows me to achieve a deep, dark, flawless tan in a matter of minutes. The richness of this tan also lasts for days. Who doesn’t love that?
As many of you already know, I recently turned 44! Yikes, I know, this aging thing creeps up on us quickly. But, for me, age is definitely just a number and women these days are defying the aging process and killing it! With that being said, it is slightly more difficult to keep my body and skin in tip top shape. But it is absolutely possible with some hard work and dedication. I have always been a bit of a health nut, but not so much that I go overboard. Living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying the better things in life (burgers & cocktails) in moderation, helps keep things on track and still allows me to live life to the fullest. Yes, I absolutely fall off the wagon just like everyone else, but with how my brain works, it’s never usually more than a couple of weeks.
Now on to how I stay in shape, and specifically how I target my problem area, my butt. For me it’s all about targeted training. I am a religious believer of the Brazil Butt Lift workouts. I know, the infomercials are laughable, but when I saw it myself, I immediately got sucked in to thinking my butt would like the Victoria Secret models they kept showing on TV. I actually remember someone laughing at me when I said I had ordered them. Needless to say, this woman was somewhat of a hater to begin with, but her exact words were, “Oh my god, what? Do you think you can actually look like those girls in the commercial? Those informercials are such a scam!” I actually laughed as I walked away, and thought that was a lot of effort on her part to put another woman down. Which is NOT what I am about in life at all. Another thing you guys know about me, is how important empowering other women is. So I quickly brushed it off and started using my DVD’s. Annnnnd, guess what? They worked-
LIFE HAS IT’S UPS AND DOWNS. WE CALL THEM SQUATS.
My other favorite thing to do to help keep my butt lifted, are the dreaded squats! I say dreaded, because I know how much people hate them, myself included. I bought a 10 pound kettle bell, and when I watch TV I pick it up and do squats. I honestly don’t even mind doing them anymore, because I’m not actually thinking about it while I’m watching something on TV. The other thing I would like to point out is, the Butt Lift workout revolves a lot around squats and lunges as well. It is one of the best ways to get a round, perky butt! I promise. As with anything in life, dedication and persistence is key. I once had a personal trainer tell me, it doesn’t matter what kind of workout you do, as long as it is tailored to your needs and you DO IT, you will see results. I saw great results with my trainer, but I honestly feel like my body is in better shape now from doing these home workouts. I am lucky to have an amazing gym in my building, so I try and utilize it as much as possible as well. But there are definitely weeks, sometimes months, where I’m strictly doing home workouts.
Last but not least, eating healthy is also a key component to seeing results fast. When I am targeting my abs for instance, lowering my carb intake really helps highlight the definition. I also feel better in general with limiting my carbs. But like I said, you only live once and life is ALL about balance. My goal is life is to enjoy as many things as I can. I’m grateful to be where I am today…and the people around me and the choices I’ve made, have all helped me get to the point where I’m actually living again, and I’m loving every minute of it!
I have always been an animal lover. From the time I was an infant, I can’t remember my life without being surrounded by animals. Growing up, we had every pet imaginable. Fish, hamsters, rabbits, a turtle, a frog, more cats than I can count, dogs, parakeets and I think that about covers it?! We were also notorious for bringing home stray animals. My sister Kristi brought home a rabbit once that she rescued from the side of the road. The poor baby was being chased by a dog. It wasn’t until years later we found out it was actually a wild hare. I’m not even kidding!
Well, this past Summer, my sister had a stray cat that had kittens in her backyard. We quickly became obsessed with these little guys. We even took them to the vet numerous times when we suspected they were not doing as great as we would have liked. We had fully nursed them back to health and were waiting for the 8 week mark to adopt them out to their new homes. At about 7 weeks, the kittens all vanished one night. We were devastated. We looked at shelters, asked the neighbors if they had seen them, but they were nowhere to be found.
In the meantime, we had planned that we were going to try and trap the strays that were living in my sisters backyard. Yes, it’s easier said than done. In the meantime, there were two new litters of kittens born one day apart. Concerned about their safety, as we still had no idea what happened to the first batch of kittens, we became increasingly paranoid. To the point that we tried to trap the mom and her kittens and bring them inside. It was impossible. The mother was so scared and untamed, that we couldn’t keep her in the cage.
People will say I saved their lives, but the truth is, they saved mine.-Jen
Fast forward a few weeks. After losing track of the two litters of kittens multiple times because the Mom’s kept moving them, we thought we finally had a handle on the situation. We had called numerous shelters. etc and had been told the kittens needed to stay with their mothers as long as possible or they would not make it. So that was the plan.
Early one morning, everything changed. My sister went out in the backyard to feed the adult cats and found two coyotes in her backyard. One litter of kittens were gone and the adult cats were all hiding in the trees. We now knew the fate of the kittens. My sister was horrified. We knew immediately, that in order to save the remaining four kittens lives, I would have to take them in. We had tried trapping the Mom along with them, but she was too wild to bring along. We felt terrible at the thought of separating these babies form their mother, but It was the only chance these little guys had to live.
I took the kittens home, all of which happened to be boys. I started bottle feeding them every few hours, They were only around 3 weeks at the time. It was extremely hard, but also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I honestly can’t even begin to describe the feeling. I also knew that I couldn’t keep them, but I had no idea how hard it would be to adopt them out when they were finally old enough to go to their forever homes. They were my four boys! Max, Oliver, Charlie and Scout. Well, time flew by quickly and it was time for them to be adopted. I was able to get my Mom and my Dad to each take one. The third home didn’t work out as planned so I ended up keeping both Max and Oliver.
My little guys are now 5 months old and have already changed my life. Soon enough, I will tell you my story of the past few years. When people tell me I saved these kitten’s lives, I always reply. “No, they saved mine.” It’s the truth. At what has been one of my darkest times, they came into my life and gave me hope. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a foster mom and ultimately Max and Oliver’s forever Mom! I can’t imagine my life without them-