active living

Don't hate your self(ie).

In our society today we poke fun at selfies, so much so that if you google "selfie hate" you'll find a community created on Facebook called "I hate selfies" and even a number of articles on this topic. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe when hating on a selfie you could actually be hating on a human, a highlight of that moment in time, or even the simple feeling of happiness. Did you ever think that maybe a selfie is merely one person's way to document a moment in their life where they felt amazing and no one else around to capture it for them?


There was a time in my life where I couldn't stand the woman in the mirror. A period in my teenage years were the words "you're fucking ugly" was scribbled over and over in my slam books and photos albums. Not too long ago my perception of my own self was so skewed that I put myself down in front of my own daughters calling myself ugly and fat.


My dearest friend Athena, shared this article with me, linked in my profile for you all the read (it's worth it, trust me) Here's an excerpt: How vain we must be to document our human existence! How vapid! But you know what selfies can show you? Yourself. And you are worth looking at. You are worth marveling at. Every day, your body performs a series of complete and total miracles to keep you alive, and then your body does amazing things like creating another human or running a mile or getting to work on time, and to pretend like that isn't noteworthy is absurd. You are worth staring at in the mirror and capturing with whatever medium you have at your fingertips. (read more here:


When I workout I'm typically alone, it's my me time, my therapy, my centering moment for my busy day. It's the opportunity I give myself to learn how to deal with some of life's greatest challenges. It's me overcoming all the excuses, all the distractions, and all the reasons I can choose to not live a healthy lifestyle. My exercise is the movement that helps calm my anxiety and silence my depression.


And often times in the moment of triumph I'm silently screaming, jumping for joy, giving myself a high five, and overflowing with admiration of what I just accomplished. Because for the longest time of my adolescent and into my adult life I struggled with feeling beautiful, worthy, and loved. So to overcome such a fight, I sometimes feel the right to remember it with a yet another gym selfie, because I should be capable of admiring my self, my mind, and my body of the miracles it performs each and every day!


Celebrate your self(ie). Share one with your girlfriend, share one on Instagram, and tag it #rentlesslybeautiful so I can celebrate with you!


Here's one of me in bed, unedited, feeling accomplished for writing this post. 

Here's one of me in bed, unedited, feeling accomplished for writing this post. 

DO // Just start

By Encarnacion Photography

By Encarnacion Photography

I frequently get messages from people asking me "how to get started" or "what did you do to start?" I wish the answer was just as simple as "Just Start" and in some truths it is.

My fitness journey was a beginning to an end of years of self hate and depression. At 15 I was diagnosed with depression. In my teens I battled days of highs and lows and thoughts of suicide. As an adult I slowly swept a lot of these emotions under the rug as I started to piece my grown up life together. The moment I became a mother nearly 11 years ago, my body image changed. Naturally I gained weight due to my pregnancy, but months of working out and dieting got me no where near to what I was pre-baby. I gained 15lbs of which I couldn't lose. That feeling of failure began the snowball affect that lead me to the start. After my 2nd daughter was born make changes occurred, but health and fitness became the least of my concerns as a married mother of 2. I had a full time career, a business I owned with my husband, and a social/business life I was trying to maintain. The creative lifestyle of a wedding photographer is one that involves tons of food, wedding cake, wine, and lots of cocktail networking events. Needless to say I lost balance and control of my eating and spiraled into an out of shape, overweight version of myself.

Over the years I covered up this depression fairly well, but there were moments I would be hiding in my closet or in bed crying because I hated myself, I was so disappointed in myself. At the time I didn't know why until I was getting ready with my oldest daughter. She complimented me on how pretty I looked and I immediately snapped back at her telling her I was ugly and fat! The look on her face is one I will never forget. I just crushed her world and truth she knew about the one woman who stood for everything she believed in. The pain in her eyes was exactly what I needed to see in order to realize what was driving me to this unhappiness.

It was then when I reached out to someone I knew who hired a fitness coach. Now I've had trainers in the past, but none that gave me nutritional and fitness guidance. Those two things paired together equal the results you want to achieve. There's no magic pill, no quick fix, no 30 day solution. This entire thing was hard work. I have definitely wanted to give up, quit, and run back to some of my old lifestyle. But I knew that in doing that I would again lose a part of me that I was trying to gain, my self-confidence.

The reasons why people start their fitness journey are always different for the person themselves, but often times the why is what sets the motion for how. For me, I took one step, one leap of faith into the unknown. I started not having a weight loss goal, I set no expectation for myself, except that I wanted to be better than I was yesterday and stronger for tomorrow. So with that mindset I just went for it, I continued to go for it, and now I refuse to quit.

You may ask me how to start, my answer may be as simple as "just start."


LIFE // Changing your mindset

Some of the most frequently asked questions I get is: "How did this journey start? How did you shift your thinking and change your mindset?"

My answer: The switch definitely didn’t happen overnight. I was diagnosed with depression at 15 and have had some really rough memories and experiences with trying to find my self worth and create self love for myself. There were definitely happy moments in my life as an adult and moments of low and in some ways because of my career forward lifestyle I was too busy to entertain some of these “low moments”. I became a mother almost 11 years ago and when that happened even more physical changes happened with my body that added to some of the “mental darkness”. I gained stretch marks, my body composition changed even more so, and at that time my mindset was “great I’m a 21 year old with stretch marks, loose skin and loose midsection, and a busy career with no time for my health.” Growing up my family was never healthy eating focused (I’m Filipino) or active lifestyle focused. So working out, eating healthy was never a priority for me. As my life got busier I became more and more unfit and more overwhelmed with life. I don’t think it was until my second daughter was born where it all hit me even more. I buried a lot of the feelings with life an didn’t realize what was the root cause of the unhappiness until a moment and experience I had with my daughter

Finding what made me happy took some trial and error and just working through the emotions. I’m currently married to an amazing man, have a wonderful career, and a thriving business with my husband, but was struggling internally and mentally. When I stopped to reflect what it was that was making me unhappy I realized it was my self image. I hated what I saw in the mirror and that self hate seeped into all areas of confidence in my life. My perspective on work, my marriage, hanging around certain friends, and even being around my kids was so skewed because of how I felt about myself. Lacking the confidence in my own skin really affected my mindset. It was so toxic. 

I think it takes searching high and low in all the wrong places to find what the answer is. And sometimes we run from it because its almost unbelievable or even sounds seems so superficial to say “I’m unhappy with how I look and feel.” I think its because we have so many people in the world who love us despite our own flaws, but because we can’t find the same reasons why people are so attracted to our hearts, the cause of unhappiness is hard to admit.

In some ways I did wake up one day and say I’m fucken over it. I need to change and jumped head first. I hired a fitness/health coach who helped me focus on that area of my life. The moment I started to work on that particular part, all other areas fell into place. It was incredible to see the changes. I focused on tackling an area of my life where I felt I was failing miserable with and slowly over time that began the chain reaction that set the course of my lifestyle changes. There are still moments of self doubt that I have to fight and moments where I’m not as mentally strong, but learning to make the conscious decision to do your best to make the strides forward has helped the daily battles. 

One of the things I tell people is:  stop searching for all the reasons to start, the answer is in the mirror right in front of you. It's important to love yourself enough to care about your health. Do something daily that is active and practice building a strong body, physically and mentally.