Love Authentically

Love Authentically

The one thing that has held us together was our honest and open communication. We're still learning what that looks like from time to time, but the more and more we practice opening up to one another about our fears, concerns, hopes, and dreams the easier it becomes. Sometimes I wonder if I had been more open about some of the issues I was facing with other friends who were married than maybe we could've saved ourselves a few nights of going to bed in separate rooms furiously angry at one another. Last year when my husband and I were going through some rough patches I was actually open about it to women and a few men around me. I can't tell you how much hearing from other people who would just say, "GIRL, we've been there too..." helped. It was as if the feeling of loneliness, shame, and lack of self worth had subsided. It's crazy how when you get married, you somehow feel like you're supposed to be some love expert, when the reality is you've just opened up a whole new chapter of messiness to sort through with your "till death do us part" partner. 

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5 Ways to Wear NikeWomen Zonal Strength Training Tights

5 Ways to Wear NikeWomen Zonal Strength Training Tights

Do you believe in more? Long before I started my wellness journey, I believed in more and wanted more for myself as it related to my health and exercise. In my mind I had always envisioned this version of woman who was in love with fitness and was ultimately doing it for her family. But like any big dreams or goals, doubt and fear became a challenge to overcome. It definitely wasn’t easy, but I knew that in order to raise incredibly strong women, I had to hold on to the vision I had for myself. After all, believing in your ability to manifest your dreams is the greatest source of power we have.

I was compensated by Nike to write this post, however the styled looks and thoughts are my own. 

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The Refined Collective: Self Care

Self-care, self-love, self-discovery. These three things have been the theme of my life for the past 4 years and every single time I've learned a thing or two about each area, life seems to throw me another curve ball to teach me another lesson about what these areas mean in my life. 

When I became a mom, I did exactly what most women do when they become a new mom. They pour out all their love and energy into raising a family (as you should). But the one thing that I didn't recognize or value in the first few years, or 9 years of motherhood, was to find ways to fill my own cup so that I can continue serve others especially my family.

You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
— Eleanor Brownn

The life of a working mom began and soon enough I was hustling left and right, backwards, sideways, you name the direction I was there. I was overworked and overwhelmed with the idea of juggling motherhood, work, my passions, my relationships with girlfriends, and my relationship with my husband. I remember feeling spread thin thinking that it was a normal feeling until I started to find myself dealing with anxiety and depression. Things got rough and then I started to focus on my health and it improved. 

In my books, exercise will always be the number one form of self-care, but I also know that for some exercise might be a challenge so here are some self-care practices that I try to do at least once a week in order to refill my cup. 

  1. Journaling. This has been an instrumental piece of of maintaining and improving my mental health and the easiest form of self-care that I can practice whenever I'm feeling lost in the moment. I started to journal regularly this year as another onset of depression hit me just a few weeks ago. If you're unsure what to write about you can start with my favorite thing which is to list down 5 things you are grateful for. 
  2. 10 minutes of mindful breathing and meditation. I used to think that meditation was for yogis and just for yogis. Some days my mind feels like its a super highway, thoughts and ideas just whiz by. The perception I had about meditation was that you had to control those thoughts, until I discovered Headspace. 
  3. A bath and candles...ALONE! This one is very rare in my house to do because typically the bathroom door opens and I have someone saying "Mommy..." before I can roll my eyes to the idea that private moments is no longer a thing in my house. So when I can spend 15-20 minutes alone in a bath to simply relax from my day, unplug from my emails, phone, and studying it becomes pure bliss and the absolute best form of self-care.

A few other things I like do for self-care are: monthly massages, recovery time in the hot tub or sauna, a face mask, and even just laying in bed quietly while listening to music and diffusing essential oils in the air. A self-care practice is vital for your health. It's one that we take for granted these days especially while we're so busy juggling all of life's demands. Make sure to make time for it and remember its called a practice for a reason. You have to make time for it just like you make time for others in life. 

Just like exercise and eating healthy or living balanced, a self-care practice is just as unique as the individual practicing it. Your self-care routine will look different from your girlfriends and what you choose to practice, how you practice, and when you practice is entirely up to you. I hope I was able to provide you some inspiration to build your own. 

This article is written in Collaboration with some of my favorite women! Every 2nd Tuesday of each month we'll be sharing our thoughts on topics that tug on our heart strings, so make sure to check back in March to see what we've got lined up for you.

Check out their thoughts on Self-Care today too:

The Refined Woman // The Refined Collective Self-Care

Lauren Scruggs Kennedy // Self Care

Chelsey Korus // Self Care

Tutti del Monte Photography // Self Care Practices

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.

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Nana Joes Granola, sweetened by love.

First off I feel like it's been so long since I've written on this blog. I've been spending a lot of time trying to catch up with my studying, running around from one event to the next, and juggling all the usual crazy madness of the life I love! 

I wanted to take some time to highlight a brand that I recently discovered and completely fell in love with, Nana Joes. A few weeks ago the amazing folks reached out and sent me a few bags of granola to try! It was perfect timing too because that day I was ready to make my own and lo and behold a box of goodies shows up at my feet! Being a foodie who's taste buds have had the pleasure of dining from the finest restaurants and meeting the Chefs who've created some of my favorite meals, seeing the kitchen where Nana Joes was created was an incredible honor. There's nothing more touching to me than the authenticity and integrity that goes behind food that I eat. It becomes more than just nourishing calories, it turns into soul food. 

The first thing that I noticed about Nana Joes granola when I first looked at the packaging were the real ingredients. Everything the ingredients were things I can pronounce and there was no added sugar, which is key for sustainable energy. 

As she shared the stories with me about her family and her personal experience with health it dawned on me how similar our lives are. And how much we all have in common. It was such a beautiful realization and something I cherished from my experience. 

Below are photos from my quick little visit. Nana Joes is a woman owned and operated business. It wasn't the intention for Michelle, but it has been that since she opened it and its something she cherishes. 

Check out Nana Joes online, you can also find some at select Whole Foods.  

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.

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5 things I wish people told me before launching my blog!

As I sit here and work on changes after changes on my blog I'm thinking to myself WTF, I've been sitting here for days going back and forth and making page changes, replying to emails, opening packages, creating social media content, and feeding my daughters their afternoon snacks. 

I love what I do and I love being able to share my world with you guys. It's been such an incredible treat to do so and surprises just seem to come at every corner. Now that I'm blogging full time while going to school there has been so many things I've learned that I wish I knew before I started my blog.

For all of you who's thinking of creating a blog here's the top 5 things I wish someone told me:

1. You will evolve as a blogger or brand and that is 100% OK! When you're in the beginning process of starting your blog, you are building your brand. A brand essentially is your identity as a person or a company. When you first start you may have this idea of what your blog or brand will be about. Over time, as you grow as a person some of these initial views you may have may evolve to. When I started GOFITJO I had the intention of it being a heath and fitness blog. In my head that meant healthy food recipes and workouts. As I continued to learn more about myself in my fitness journey I realized I was more than just a before/after photo and I wanted to share more about my life and so I did. In fall of 2015 I made major changes to my blog and started to incorporate more of my life. At that point I didn't feel cornered in to just writing about workouts and healthy recipes, I felt free to write about the things that mattered most to my heart. 

2. Focus on your own lane. There will always be a shit ton of people doing the same thing you're doing whether this be blogging or Instagramming (also referred to as micro-blogging) and there will always be more for you to write about if you focus on your story. When I was a hairstylist I remember thinking to myself "Who is going to come to me as a hairstylist, there's so many talented stylists here in the Bay Area?" As I continued to focus my craft as a hairstylist I built an incredible clientele. This attitude is what is needed to constantly remind myself when I started my blog. Your story will resonate for a particular audience and there are millions of people who can potentially connect to your writing. Focus on your story, focus on refining who you are as a blogger, the rest will follow. 

3. That my dishwasher would be filled with bowls. Maybe this is just me, but ever since I became a full time blogger all I do is eat out of bowls. Salad in bowls, poke bowls, smoothie bowls, ice cream bowls...Sadly I feel like its due to the number of meals I have throughout the day and the time spent in front of my computer either writing, editing photos, or studying.

4. Find coworkers! Starting something new can be scary. You'll experience frustrations, accomplishments, and moments that you just need someone to cheer you on when you're feeling a little low. I'm so grateful for a few handful of girlfriends who have not only been able to be there to help me spell check blog posts, web pages, and emails, but they are there when I need to rant. They are my virtual coworkers. Two of my favorite coworkers is Remi of rrayyme.com and Meg of megsexton.com, they help make my days go by quicker and are typically second eyes on my work. 

5. Schedule out time to do the housekeeping items like updating your blog/site, bookkeeping, looking for inspiration outside your industry, photoshoots, etc. I get distracted really easily especially working from home. It's a good practice to schedule things out that are important to get done so that you can treat them like important appointments. When there's an endless list of things you can do for your blog you want to make sure you take the time to organize your schedule so you know what needs to get done and when. Right now one of my biggest priorities is building out an editorial calendar so I know when to launch blog posts consistently on specific days of the week. At the moment its really ad hoc, but I know it's not going to be sustainable when I become a health coach! 

I know that starting a blog, learning photography, or knowing what kind of content to create can be hard and I'd love to help in whatever way I can. I mentioned last year that I'll be starting to share a series of posts that are geared towards blogging, content creation, or social media. If this is something you'd love to know more I'd love to know! Fill out the form below if you are. Since its #TBT I'd love to share a little throwback Thursday blog post of one of my posts I wrote when I was a hairstylist about branding

Let's Get Profreshional

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Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.

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