Avenue A | adidas

Growing up I lusted over adidas. I never owned a pair of Superstars because as a kid I simply wasn't cool enough and let's be real, my parents were just not willing to shell out that kind of money for me on things that were simply "trendy" in their eyes. Little did they know that Superstars would make it back into the scene stronger than ever in the world of athleisure wear.

adidas recently launched Avenue A, a new subscription program that ships out each quarter and contains a curated box of goodies. The box is curated by top athletes and trainers from all over the world and Adidas delivers you an entire outfit geared towards performance and style. The one outfit I'm rocking is from the Spring 2016 box which is their first one which included a pair of their new PureBoost X, a sports bra, a packable jacket, leggings, and this incredible Stella McCartney bag that I absolutely adore.  The subscription is $150 per box and you get 4 boxes for the year. To learn more head on over to: https://www.adidasavenuea.com/

Many thanks to adidas for gifting me the spring Avenue A selection. I can't wait to see what else you have in store! 

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Lessons from one woman to the next

On Instagram today I shared a post titled #anote2mydaughter which maybe should be more like "lessons from one woman to the next” because let's face it she’s slowly becoming a woman. 

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Over the past few weeks at work I’ve been working and researching some very interesting and insightful topics as it relates to the young teenage girl and their lives on social media. (its pretty heavy) Often times I catch myself mid track and mid research having to stop for a minute and reflect on the conversations and social pressures my daughters will have to face as they navigate through life and the world today.

At some point last year you may have remembered or heard about Essena O’neill, a young teenager from Australia who shares a very disturbing and real insight to social media today and her own experiences with her growth of her social presence. In November of 2015 she stirs up the pages of every teen online publication that she quit social media and even re-edited her photos with captions of the true authentic story behind every photo.

Here’s the thing, as a parent in this generation, we were never taught nor armed with the right resources and education to have these conversations with our kids. How do tell your children that “social media is not real” when what they are introduced to is the innocent idea that all their friends are simply sharing and documenting their simple day to day lives? What type of ways do you protect your child’s identity on the internet and what ideals do you teach them as they begin to explore who they are becoming in this stage of their life?

Middle school is when a person begins to truly define themselves as a person. They are exploring the weird avenues of love, sexuality (ewww!), and building friendships that may last a life time. In these years the lessons that life teaches them are ones that will mold and shape their thought processes and values when they become adults. Vulnerability is at its peak in these years as well. Especially as they start to build a voice for themselves in the areas that are of high value: friendships, relationships, fashion, body image, and even their life long career goals. Although their dream job or career will probably be the last thing on their minds. 

I’ve said it before in a post of mine: we need to teach our young women how to be brave not perfect. Women have been socialized to aspire to perfection and now we have become cautious in taking risks, making changes, and being brave because of the fear of being “imperfect". We’ve programmed our women to live below their potential because we have socialized them to fear failure instead of facing a challenge. Women have become afraid to disrupt a system in the professional world and turn down leadership roles because of our fears of becoming less of a mother or wife in doing so. Women have become afraid of trying something new in the fear that we will look “imperfect” in the eyes of society if we fail at our own attempts.

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Now I’m not going to make any sort of stand against social media here, thats not my intention. But what I will say is this, let’s reminder ourselves simply of the audience and who really is absorbing all the things we say and do in our day to day lives. Yes a huge part of that is our peers, but a larger part of that is the young women who are simply trying to define who they are meant to become as an adult. We all have the ability to influence change and a generation who is listening with wide open ears and eyes waiting to take in all that life and the people around them are willing to share.  

5 Values of a Girl Gang

I became a mom at 21 and entering motherhood at such an early age meant that my twenties were spent creating family bonds instead of bonding with other females. Which became a little more challenging for me to navigate through my mid 20s and into my early 30s. The one decision to embark on a healthy lifestyle really changed this for me. More than ever I needed a girl gang in my life to help me though new challenges and women that can help support and encourage my development and growth. 

Having a girl gang is essential to the soul, just like food is essential for nourishment. We hear often that some women avoid friendships with other women due to drama, cattiness, unhealthy competition, and simply the fear of our individual values not being understood. The truth is drama happens in every direction, you’ll find it in motherhood with your children, relationships with your spouse, and even in the work place. It’s not something any one should associate with a specific gender because its more about the people you associate with or even yourself. 

Amongst many other good reasons like shopping, workout buddies, and mimosa brunch dates with your girl gang, here are 5 values of a girl gang: 

Inspiration 

Every where around around me women are breaking through glass ceilings, crashing down barriers, and changing society as we speak today. It’s so incredible to see woman coming together supporting each other in efforts in life, fitness, health, and career development. Women are naturally built for nourishment and its incredible when your girl gang truly wants to see you win at life and you should want the same for them too. 

Values  

Women share unique bonding experiences that only our hearts will understand. Some of the greatest values and lessons in life that I hold now are ones passed on to me by that friends that have come and gone in my life and they are ones I’m excited to share with my daughters.  

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Encouragement

Compassion and encouragement is something we need more than ever in the world. There are many times as women we tend to feel weak and overwhelmed with the daily demands of life, and its an incredible feeling to be able to call a friend in a time when you need to hear the encouragement the most. I know for me I call on my girl gang when I need to be reminded of how awesome I am and I do the same for them. 

Accountability  

Honesty is such an important value to me. Often times I can get stuck in my own world of ambition and get caught up in my own messy life. Your girl gang will call you out on these mistakes out of love so that you can take the responsibility for your actions and get back on track on being the bad ass and good woman you are. Surrounding yourself with women who can tell you how it is with good intentions is so important in this world today

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Vulnerability  

A girl gang is there to support you at your best and to love you at your worst. They are the ones who you can lean on in times when your marriage or relationships are getting hard and when control in life is slipping through your hands. Vulnerability is the magic sauce that brings us together. Its the thread that allows us to share so many incredible life stories, struggles, hopes, fears, and dreams. 

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I used to fear being worthy enough for true friendships because of the stigma that women or girls were just “drama driven”, a social stigma that was driven hard into my mind as a middle school girl and well into my high school years. As my daughter begins to navigate through her first few years of middle school I’m excited to share with her the new life lessons I’ve learned on the importance of womanhood. These lessons I feel I would’ve never learned until I began to share my story and journey of health and happiness. 

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A woman is often measured by...

I was tagged this morning in a post by my wonderful friend Alyssa Chang, whom like me spreads a message of body image love and finding happines and health in movement. 

She shared words from this old 1990s Nike Ad that featured Marilyn Monroe. I hope you enjoy this inspiration as much as I do.  

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I absolutely love this message! 

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3 ways to overcome insecurity

We all experience insecurity and it hits us as every stage in life.

Around this time of year for the past two years I would normally be finishing up my last few weeks of competition prep. Normally these preps have an all or nothing mindset and world that surrounds it. I still have many friends and acquaintances who are currently “leaning out” for shows or photoshoots. I’ll see their progress on social media or them at the gym and feel slightly jealous because I want to look like that too and that I had before also.

A serious case of FOMO hit:  It felt like I was missing out.  It felt like because they were lean, I was fat. It felt like giving up. It felt like I was less than.  It felt like I wasn’t relevant anymore. 

For a brief moment I was feeling insecure and unworthy.

Here’s the thing I had to remember, being super lean and 10-12% of body fat (which I was this at my very leanest) meant that I would have to go back onto an intense diet and that for the past two years I was trying to maintain this stage lean physique all year round which is near impossible to do with my current work/life demands.

The past week I had to take a step back and dive into the truth of my insecurity, which sometimes can be very hard to do. 

I had to remember what competition prep looked like for me at the time I was on it. Which was more time spent doing cardio, saying ‘no' to a lot more social gatherings with friends, and making my competition prep a higher priority than my family time. 

I had to remind myself of my goals: to become a healthier and happier version of myself, to find balance and sustainability with an active lifestyle, and to be a great example of a modern day mother to my daughters.

I had to remove myself from someone else’s experience and progress by focusing on my experience and journey. So that I can continue to build the confidence in mine.  

Through my own experience I know a sustainable weight loss or lifestyle is going to benefit you more in the long run. It will give you tools to navigate and practice building the confidence and knowledge you need to make the right choices in your day to day life. Diets or workouts that are designed as fast fixes will only result in the potential of gaining it all back again. 

So here are the things you have to remember when insecurity of #morningabs or #abcheck photos hit the internet: 

- do a quick self exam on your confidence, goals, and the approach of your process regardless of what others are doing. 

- ask yourself why are you feeling this way? What is the trigger that pushed this emotion of insecurity or jealously? what are you telling yourself that is making you believe that you are not good enough? 

- Fitness looks different on every body. No two experiences will ever be the same. Success comes in different forms. We have to define our own meaning of success, worthiness, and beauty. And once you’ve done that pursue it relentlessly.

I'd love to know what do you do in times like these? How do you get back on track? 

 

 

Speaking at NINE RETREAT: A retreat for women

I'm so excited (and incredibly nervous) to announce that I will be having my first speaking engagement at Nine Retreat this year near Eugene, Oregon. 

As lifestyle/wedding photographer I've seen many creative retreats take place and have attended quite a few. They are great opportunities to get away, refresh the creative spirits, and bring new inspiration to our creative work. But there was never a place or event to simply get away and get re-inspired for life. Last year, I watched as Kym Ventola launched something I had been yearning to attend for years, a women's retreat designed to help reignite community and inner strength in the lives of many creative women. And this year I'm excited and crazy nervous about this opportunity to speak in such an intimate setting. I'll be giving a talk on how I manage to balance out my crazy world and leading a 45 minute workout. 

To learn more about Nine Retreat visit www.nineretreat.com and for one lucky woman the hosts have offered $200 OFF your registration fee, if you're interesting email me and I can give you the code. Offer expires on 5/31. Can't wait to see you there. The photos below are from the venue and taken by Kym Ventola.

Q & A with Joanne

I've always believed that community is EVERYTHING! The greatest leaders in the world know that they are nothing without the people who support them. So from the bottoms of my heart, thank you for journeying on this life with me, it's been an incredible ride so far!

The other day on Instagram I thought it would be fun to invite my followers to ask me questions about anything. So here it goes, I broke them down by categories to make it easier to go through. Enjoy! 

 

Health & Fitness

What is your number 1 daily self care tip, that you do to keep yourself healthy? This is awesome! Keep rocking it!! - @stellardaymagazine 

There are two things that I actually do to daily for self-care: set my phone on DO NOT DISTURB during my workouts and meditate for 10 minutes a day. For my meditation I use an app called Headspace and it helps guide me through a 10 minute meditation to help clear my thoughts. It's so amazing!

How do you control yourself from bad foods and keep yourself motivated??  - @brittvbergen_

I have one cheat meal once a week where I eat whatever my heart desires. I try to keep that cheat meal dairy free, but it sometimes doesn't happen. I feel like the one cheat meal like this keeps me from eating junk foods. I also prep my meals for the week so that I've got my food lined up during my work week.

When you first started working out when did you start to feel like "yes, I feel changes"? - @tracywlloyd

 I would say probably after about 5-6 week mark of real consistent focus. The one thing you have to remember is that you're making a lifestyle change and to make the right changes you have to give it time and grace. Even now I'm learning that the life I lived in the first year of my journey is not the same life I lived now and I'm evolving with it all one day at a time.

When you started your journey to a better you, were there moments you fell off the wagon? I started well on my meal plan, workouts with my trainer are strong and consistent however going into my 4th week I've had moments where I've eaten really bad. - @unbothered_by_u

I am not yet strong enough for pull ups what is a good alternative exercise? - @hobbsfunk

Give assisted pull ups on the pull up machine a try for now and even horizontal pull ups. One thing that you can use is a resistance band with the pull up to help give you some assistance until you gain the strength. Jumping pull ups can also help build the strength until you can do one pull up without any assistance. Keep at it, work at it one week at a time. 

1. Were you working out during your pregnancy? Bbg or any other exercise. Is it safe to follow Bbg if you are pregnant 2. I am not really sure about your workout frequency but there are so many Bbg girls who workout twice a day, morning and evening. Would you suggest this to anyone ? 3. This one is just random Would you ever put a lip stick or gloss in front of others. For example when you are sitting with co workers( also friends). Is it inappropriate or full of yourself behavior. 4. Do you drink alcohol. If yes then what's your frequently and what kind. 5. Is it imp to have pre workout drinks? 6. I don't usually get sore , I feel I might be doing something wrong.  -@nidhi1408

1. I didn't start really working out consistently until after my 2nd daughter was 3 years old. So unfortunately, I did not. I wish these habits of mine were instilled in my at an early time in my life, but glad to have it now. 2. There are times where I work out twice a day. I think it all depends on the individuals stamina, work/life balance, and what they are willing to give and sacrifice. BBG workouts are 30 minutes long so it doesn't take up too much time. The circuit based training is very cardiovascular focused vs strength based body building or lifting so depending on the person's health and time on their hands you can actually do more in the day. Your body needs rest to encourage muscle growth, so as long as someone feels they are getting enough rest for their body to function both in the gym and in life, then go for it! 3. I put lipstick/gloss on at any given place except for the dining table at a restaurant. I don't believe it's a "full of yourself" type of behavior. 4. Yes I do drink alcohol. I love a good glass of Napa Cab Sav and I may have a glass or two once a week at the most. 5 I use a preworkout drink that includes BCAAs before I strength train especially when I train legs. My workouts are normally weight lifting/body building based so I personally like using a PWO to help me through my routine. 6. Some people actually don't get sore, but make sure that you are feeling the full contraction in the muscle groups you are exercising so you know you're getting the full benefit.

When are you gonna start running with me? -@smankkey

Soon, when are you going to squat with me? I'm running my first 5K at Wanderlust108 SF!

I've recently started running and I'm trying to gain muscle. I see you're in really good shape and was wondering if you did any running and if you so do you sprint or run long distance? - @prettiff

I don't run very long distance, but I do HIIT sprints on the treadmill and HIIT on the stairmill.

Here's a random question for you... What kind of socks do you wear with your runners? I'm on the hunt for some good no-show socks for working out in! -@ashley_nichelle_dancer

I use some from Target and Nike no show socks.

Where do I start to learn more about meal preps and a balanced diet? How did you start learning about that process? - @jingjencc

I hired a coach who does customized meal planning and exercise for me. One thing you can do is look up what the macros are supposed to be for your body and goals online. Then from there decide to break down your meals based on how many you want to eat throughout the day. Bodybuilding.com is an awesome resource as well. But if you don't have the time and would rather pay for someone to help with lifestyle coaching, then hiring a fitness/nutrition coach should be something you might want to try at least for a few months then try experimenting on your own.

What do you think of the Kayla program? -@audreyparisphoto

Like any other exercise I use BBG as tool or a form of something to get my body moving. I started my fitness journey lifting weights and I absolutely still love what lifting weights has done for my body. I've built curves, strength, and there's simply something bad ass that stirs up in me when I know I'm the only woman in the weight room from time to time (confidence maybe). I used BBG last year during a time where my shoulder had to recover from an injury. I really enjoyed it. From time to time I use the circuit training she has laid out as my cardio before weights or as a 2nd round at home when I'm feeling a need to workout. If you've used NTC Nike training it's pretty similar to some of the workouts they have. Over time the NTC training app has evolved to create really robust 4 week programs based on your goals.  Here's a great article from Massy on "The Myth of Toning."  She sums it up so nicely about the benefits of strength training. 

just researching about barre classes... While any activity is better then no activity, they seem to be a bit pointless when it comes to losing weight or getting stronger. :) also they kind of promise false results when they say " get a dancer's lean body" . They are aiming for a really specific body type, I don't like that. Do you incorporate barre into your workout? Maybe it's good for active recovery days? -@fluxi 

I'm a firm believe that exercise is all about moving your body in any which way and form. Now in order to make significant changes with your body composition, you need to put enough stress and resistance on the muscles to gain muscle. The more muscle you gain, the more your body turns into a fat/calorie burning machine. Now this doesn't mean you need to turn into a body builder, but you need to increase the lean muscle mass on your body in order to change the composition and the more muscle you have on the body the more muscle tissue you have to burn more calories. Barre is great to incorporate as an active rest recovery day. Personally, that's what I would do. I weight train 5 days a week, incorporate cardio 3-4 days a week, 1 active rest day where its just cardio alone, and one full rest day where I take a class of sorts like SoulCycle, Orange Theory Fitness, or do an at home Yoga practice

What are your thoughts on plastic surgery....especially tummy tucks...with regards to fitness comps. - @michellemiddleton30

I think plastic surgery is such a personal choice. I had a breast augmentation done last year and wrote my thoughts about it and experience here. My choice for doing so wasn't for competing or for fitness, I've breastfed both my children and due to that "my girls" changed. I wont lie, I've thought about a tummy tuck especially when at my heaviest when I thought that it would be the only solution to tightening my stomach. I still plenty of loose skin there and lots of building more muscle and toning up to do to keep that midsection firm, but being able to see what I can do with my body as far as transforming it with exercise and nutrition is something I'm willing to work hard for. Now as far what athletes might do to get ahead or better placing, I feel there are other things worse than a tummy tuck such as drugs. 

Life: Career & Personal

What is your job title at VSCO and how did your academic career path lead you there? -@karenatran

I'm the Director of Curation and Community Support at VSCO. Before landing the career in the start up tech world, I was a hairstylist for 10 years. In some ways I was lucky to get hired there in the beginning of the company's start by the CEO who was my wedding photographer. Although it sounds like a Cinderella story, its been nothing less than a hustle to keep my job title especially for someone who doesn't have the education or experience. The one thing that has worked well with me is that I'm a hustla and someone who doesn't stop trying to learn and continue to grow in both my personal life and career life. :)

1) What would the current Jo tell the Jo from before (the one that was at her lowest point in life) to encourage her to make a change? In other words how would you have been able to successfully motivate her? 2) on the flip side what would the current Jo ask the future Jo (let's say 5 years from now) for advice about? -@bbghapa

Thanks for the loaded question Kristen! 

1. I actually wrote myself a letter for the 2013 Joanne. But there was a time in my life where I was even at my lowest and that was when I was 15 struggling with my first signs of depression and even attempted to commit suicide. To that Joanne I would say this: "Dear Joanne...YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! I know you don't feel like anyone cares, I know that you feel like your parents, family, and friends understand you; but know that I do. You're not alone even though it feels like you're walking on this earth in pain all by yourself. I'm here. You are more loved than you know and you were born to do great things. One day people will be inspired by you, your story, and the endless amount of passion and love that you have for those around you. Hang in there babe. The world is tough, but so are you."

2. "Dear 38 year old Jo, does it get any easier? The whole juggling a busy life? Will I ever feel like I have it all under control or will the scales constantly teeter from one side to the other? Also I need some advice on how to have that sex talk with Airis, HALP!"

YAS! No one is perfect, we all fall off. We have seasons good and bad ones. There are even times now where I'm struggling with the plan I'm on. The biggest thing to ask yourself is "how bad do I want this, are my goals bigger than my distractions?" One thing I used to ask myself in the first 12 weeks of trying to eat clean was: "Is this cookie helping me work towards my goal?" I didn't suffer from an eating disorder, but I did have a pretty horrible relationship with food and my emotions. In the past when I get stressed I turn to food, so I had to ask myself was it worth it? 

Hey! Please tell us about your tattoos. What are they of, any particular reason you got them, and do they make you feel any different in terms of boosting your confidence etc? Thanks! -@darendien

Hi Jo, could you tell us a bit about your tattoos? How did you decide what to have? - @nims78_bbgnl

My right arm is a siren in water by Adrian Lee. The siren for me represented a strong mystical creature who was fierce and deadly. (hahaha) She wasn't supposed to represent me at all, but over time I've sort of come to find that I might be more and more like her. My left arm is lotus flowers in water. Lotus flowers are a symbol of new life and rebirth. At the time I got this I had just moved out of my parents house and started my new life as an adult. I thought what better way to celebrate than to get a 3/4 sleeve. The decisions to get my tattoos wasn't to build confidence. In retrospect there were a few moments in my career where I felt a little insecure about them, like I wouldn't be respected in certain professional environments. Over time I realized its not my outer shell that matters, it's what I carry in my heart and mind. :)

When you had your first child did you have the same work load as you do now? -@harrietaquino

Far from it. Life has become much more complicated and a whole lot busier. My first daughter is 12 and at the time I was working as a full time stylist in a salon and had the ability to make a much more flexible schedule. My husband didn't have his photography business at the time either.  

How long have you been married? And how old are your daughters? -@jozdiguangco

My husband Jonathan and I will be married 8 years this June and have been together for 14 years. Our daughters are 12 and 6.

What does "You are enough" mean to you? How do live your "enough-ness" in your day to day life? -@holding__space

'you are enough' means to me that you are happy with yourself and the abilities and capabilities you have to accomplish anything your mind is set to do. This doesn't mean being completely goal oriented or driven, to me this simply means that if you want to be loved, then you believe you can be loved. I guess you can say it boils down to a form of believing in yourself. Each day for me challenges this theory. Waking up to go workout when there are times where I feel like my progress should've been more by now, is how I live my "enough-ness". Being a mother is how I live my "enough-ness". Being "enough" is very similar to a practice of gratitude. You have you to work at it daily, you have to build the confidence and self esteem daily to believe you are enough for what life has to offer. And baby, know that you are enough, you just have to BELIEVE.

Style & Beauty

Who does your hair?!?! - @ chrisr0x

 Keara Frost at Do Or Dye Salon in San Jose, CA

What colors or how often do you retouch it up? - @madi5en

What's your skincare routine? I love love skincare. - @helchme

I'm a huge fan of Kielh's and I use the entire Ultra Facial line. The other skincare that I have on my bathroom counter is the entire Frank Body Skin Care line. I love the coffee smell and how it scrubs off all the dead skin cells even from my lips.

My hair is a silver grey. The toner is by Kenra Professional from Guy Tang's metallic line and it's a 7SM and I tone it almost every 2 weeks. Thankfully I am a licensed cosmetologist and have access to the professional beauty store.

I'm sorry I missed this! I want to know all about your nails! -@meredithdclark

I used to be a hairstylist for 10 years before jumping into the corporate start up world and my hair used to change pretty often, maybe once a quarter. Since, I've gotten older and more active in life maintenance and upkeep for such demanding hairstyle changes is just not a priority. So I live that creative beauty expression in my nails. I live in monochrome and so do my nails. I have found two local nail techs in the San Jose area that have seemed to get my style. One is Amy over at Vivian's Nail Bar and the other is Jenny at Pink Nails Spa. I typically bring them designs from my favorite IG accounts to follow: @nail_unistella, @superflynails, and @vanityprojects.

For Fun

How about that right toe? -@fitklo

The toe is pretty right.

Thongs or boy shorts? - @heyabiq

Thongs or nothing at all. :)

This was lots of fun! Thanks for reading and asking me all these questions!