"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us." ~ Marianne Williamson

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stained Glass

Stained Glass (Photo by Shawn O'Connell)

Let me share a little secret I've learned about life. You can never break someone, who has figured out how to create stained glass from all the tiny pieces. Never underestimate your own strength. :)

With love,
Ane :) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Sister = A Forever Friend

I dedicate today's blog to my little sister and all the sisters of the world (big and small). (Don't worry brothers you'll soon have a blog of your own) 

A Sister = A Forever Friend

This is just a quick post about someone who is such a major part of my life and essential to my mental health and well being. My sister. I was motivated to post after one of our daily phone calls- because no matter what is going on in life, talking to her for even just 2-minutes makes me happy. She is an amazing human who constantly inspires me to be a better person. She is a superhero mom that does it all. I have no clue how she juggles everything with such grace and still manages to look as if she just stepped out of a magazine. No matter what happens in life, she will always be my sister and my forever friend. I heart her so much I can't even tell you where it begins and ends. For me, family is what roots are to a tree. They keep me grounded, give me life, allow me to blossom, and grow. 

The relationship I have with my sister is something I cherish. How can two people be so opposite and the same all at once? For all the things I lack, she embodies and in her I find the answers to so many questions about myself. Growing-up, having a sister placed first on my Christmas list and was the wish I made when I blew out the candles on my birthday cake. Well, actually it was for a sister AND a radio (just in case ya know). I could hardly wait to brush her hair, share clothes with, and do all the things that sisters do. Little did I know that having a sister would be so much better than I could ever imagine. Actually, she is the one who combs MY hair (she's a hairstylist by profession) and gives me fashion advice (she has the BEST shoe collection), and advice (so wise that little sister of mine). Sometimes I wonder who really is the eldest? We even have our own language that my poor parents have been trying to decipher for years (sorry mom and dad- it's a secret). 

Having a sister has taught me how to be a good friend, to laugh, share, have patience with myself, to never give up, and that sometimes in order to get the job done you gotta suck it up and get to work. There is no major decision in my life that goes without first consulting with her. Sometimes just knowing she is there in silence speaks far greater than any words. I know that I am very fortunate to have a sister, my forever friend. If you have siblings, cherish every second with them and do not take for granted the connection they have to your life. I know many who may not have siblings, but share this special bond with close friends. It doesn't matter if they are related or not, but if what they bring to your life is of value make sure you let them know. 

I cannot ever repay my sister for all she has given to me, so instead I will let her borrow my lip gloss, buy her coffee now and then, and overall be the very best sister in return. Never take your loved ones for granted. We all only get one trip around the sun so make every relationship count! 

With BIG Sister hugs to you all, 
Ane :) 

Favorite Sister Quotes: 
  • You can kid the world, but not your sister.
  • Never let an angry sister comb your hair.
  • A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thinking Outside of the Box

"Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."— Mencius 

Caine's Arcade

Today my co-worker sent me a super rad video about a 9-year old boy named Caine from East Los Angeles, who built his own arcade out of cardboard boxes. He runs the arcade out of his dad's used auto part store and even used his own toys as many of the prizes. You HAVE to watch the video to see how amazing this story really is. His innovation is captivating and humbling. In a society plagued with digital gadgets (ahem yes, that includes you reading this on your iPhone/iPad haha), Caine reminded me of how important it is to not lose your ability to be creative.

His story gives new meaning to the term "think outside the box!" He literally did just that and more than anything I believe Caine's Arcade sets a good example to us all of what can be accomplished by using our imagination. Growing up I remember making the most elaborate things out of boxes or things found around the house. Heck, Barbie had the best house as far as I'm concerned and it was simply made from my mom's old shoe boxes. Some of my best childhood memories were pulling my little brother and sister around in a large box, with a jump rope tied to the end. I would stuff my siblings in there with all my stuffed animals, tie a jump rope to the front of the box and PULL AWAY! We would use the old box until the bottom was so worn it wouldn't slide anymore.

Watching Caine's story I was reminded of all those good times and more than anything grateful that my parents did not jump at every opportunity to buy us the newest toy around. Maybe I did not realize it then, but boy did it open doors for my imagination to be set free. Caine's arcade while simple, is so much more complex in theory. This will hopefully set the foundation for a bright future to one day own his own arcade, and I bet it will be one of the very best out there. I just hope that when that day arrives he keeps with the simplicity of what he has today.

I hope you enjoyed this video as much as I did! It made me so excited that I just may go home and build a fort out of blankets and my dining room chairs! The best part about doing this now, is I do not have to make sure it is down by dinner time. Forget planning a trip to Disney Land, if you are heading to sunny California make sure you stop by Caine's Arcade and do not forget to get the "fun pass" it is worth 500 plays!

I wish Caine much success in his business and hope this inspires us all to never lose our inner child.

-Ane :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

See You At The Gym! On The Road To Becoming Physically and Mentally Fit.

I like many others made a resolution to get fit- both financially and physically. If I could do it once (during my pageant days), of course I could do it again, right? After two days of weight training (5 lb dumbbells) and stair climber I could barely lift my arms to get dressed in the morning, much less get in and out of my car without wincing. As I sat reeking of Icy Hot, reality set in...and it wasn't pretty. I was out of shape!

Being physically fit definitely contributes to being mentally fit. A study by Arizona State has proven the positive effects related to mental health, through physical fitness. Findings showed that consistent exercise decreased feelings of anxiety and depression, and increased self-esteem, ability to deal with stressful situations, and contributed to better sleep patters. It is also hypothesized that regular exercise can combat the onset of depression (although further study needed to be done). Today, it is estimated that 1 out of every 5 Americans will suffer from some form of mental illness at least once in their lifetime. Regardless of race, gender, age, or economic background- mental health is something that affects us all and this is even more reason to care for ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. All three factors are imperative to our well-being.

Now, remember this isn't about being skinny, the the key words are PHYSICALLY FIT, which incorporate physical activity and healthy well balanced food selections. When I signed up for my gym membership, my vision of what I wanted to accomplish was pretty simple, I just wanted to get back into "woot woot shape." Simple as that! Yet, somewhere since my time preparing for Miss America (sooo many years ago) and now my body seemed to have forgotten just what that entailed. As I set forth on my fitness journey I embraced the vision of what I wanted my outcome to be. This quickly took a different turn during my physical fitness assessment with the complimentary trainer that came with my new gym membership. So, there I was in my gym attire, hair pulled back, motivated, and ready to go full force and only 30-seconds into my first set of high-knees I was despising the muscled human standing in front of me as he was telling me to give it all I had. Little did he know that I was giving it all I had...to not pass out! Suddenly reality set in again and I was overcome by emotions and guilt for neglecting to properly care for the vessel that gets me through each day, my body. How could I treat it so badly after all it has done for me?

In meeting with the trainer, I was able to see exactly what I was working with in terms of my weight, body fat and overall body mass index (BMI). The results were no bueno, but something I needed to face. The number on the scale didn't bother me as much as knowing what could happen if I didn't start being proactive about my physical health. Unhealthy weight and body-fat, increase chances of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (especially in women).

A long-term goal and plan were set in place to lose 30 lbs overall, tone up, and decrease body fat. I then broke this up into short-term goals of 4 week increments, with the focus on losing 1-lb a week and getting to the gym at least 3 x's a week for no less than 30 minutes. Finding a gym that I liked was important. I made a few rounds and finally decided on the following things 1. location (closer the gym, the more likely I would go) 2. Variety in machines and classes (this meant I wouldn't get bored). The next step was actually more difficult and dealt with nutrition. You can workout for hours, but if you're not eating the right food results will be hard to come by. I signed up for a free online program called "Lose It." It has been one of the greatest tools to keeping me on track and so easy! Everyday I input what I eat and it calculates my calorie intake in relation to what my fitness goals are. In addition, I am able to see if I'm balanced in what I'm eating. From this I realized that there was a SERIOUS need for more vegetables and fruit (vegetables....ewww).

I am currently going on week 7 of my fitness journey to get into "woot woot" shape and feel great! I am down almost 7 lbs, which is right on target with my plan to lose 1 lb a week. I haven't measured myself just yet, but clothes are starting to fit more loose. It has not been easy, but the key is consistency and patience. I have really gotten to know my body better and every time I go to the gym, I view it as my way of giving it thanks. From time to time, I'll be posting updates on my progress and additional tips I learn along the way. Again, I am by no means a professional in this area and if you are going to start a new fitness routine, you should definitely talk to your doctor and someone who is certified in this area. Most importantly, don't be too hard on yourself. Losing weight and getting fit is one of the most difficult tasks I have had to encounter, but being consistent in making good choices- both physical and in what you eat will surely pay off! Good luck on your journey! :)

Tips from Ane's Shiny Locker Room:

  • EAT: Yes, you MUST eat. 5-6 small meals throughout the day. My daily routine looks like this. Do what feels best for your body. This is what seems to be working well with me to not feel hungry all the time. 
    • Breakfast- oatmeal w/ honey handful of almonds and a glass of water
    • Snack- banana w/ peanut butter and green tea glass of water 
    • Lunch- some type of protein (chicken, tuna, salmon), 1 cup of veggies, and a carb such as potato, rice, or pasta and glass of water 
    • Snack- banana with peanut butter or handful of almonds with yogurt and glass of water
    • Pre-gym- I'll have either a protein shake or another banana about an hour before gym 
    • Dinner- Some type of Protein, and 2 cups of veggies 
  • Choices, Choices, Choices: Everything we do has a choice. Remember only you have the power to make the right choices that will lead you to succeed. Remember to always think about the choices you're making. Is there something healthier you could have instead of the slice of pie? Instead of watching Tv could you go outside for a walk instead? 
  • Cheat Day: I allow myself to have one cheat day every week. It's the best day ever and I eat whatever I want without feeling guilty. If I know I'm heading to an event, then I will make that my one cheat day instead so I can enjoy myself. However, what I have found is that on cheat day I usually don't splurge as much as I thought. Also, as time goes on I have found myself craving healthier foods like carrots. 
  • Events: If I'm going to a party or get together, I already assume there will be unhealthy items on the menu, so I try to eat a little something before and also pack some healthy snacks in my purse like nuts and a banana. Cake is one of my weaknesses, so I just stay away from that side of the room all together. However, if you find yourself about to cave have a small slice to cure your craving and remember that cheat day is just around the corner
  • Be Prepared: I always have food of some sort in my purse, whether it's nuts, a protein bar, or apple/banana I am prepared to feed hunger when it strikes, especially if I'm out. I've realized that I make poor food choices when I'm hungry.
  • Fruits and Veggies: I am not a fan of vegetables, so I try to find unique ways to incorporate them into my daily diet. Each week I try a new vegetable and/or fruit. I have also found that blending in a cup of Spinach into my protein shakes isn't so bad after all! 
    • Anther trick that has worked for me is to write the name of each vegetable I have in my fridge on pieces of paper. I put them in a cup, mix the pieces of paper around, select one, and TA DA! That is my vegetable of the day. :) You can do the same thing with fruit.
  • H2O aka Water: I am not a big fan of water (hey just being honest), but it is critical to keeping my body and mind healthy. A majority of people are dehydrated and most headaches are caused by not drinking enough water. So here are some tips that have helped me. 
    • I add some extra helpers to my water such as sliced cucumbers (my favorite), mint leaves, lemon, or oranges. Not only does it taste better, but it looks kinda fancy. 
    • Soda, coffee, other: If I could survive off of Coca-Cola I'd be one happy gal! I love that stuff! However, with all the sugar there is no way I will reach my goal so I save my soda for cheat day or no more than twice a week if I absolutely cannot handle my cravings. However, as time has gone my cravings have decreased. Coffee is awesome, but the fancier the name the more calories it most likely has. I've traded my caramel machiatto for just plain Folgers hazelnut flavored coffee grinds and a splash of almond milk w/ honey (saves me loads of $ also). Just as with soda, the more time I stay away from it the less I crave it. I noticed this after about 4 weeks, so again be patient with yourself.
  • Gym Time=Fun Time: I think of the gym the same way I use to think about going to the playground as a kid. It's fun time! Changing the way I think about my time in the gym has really impacted my attitude. Also, when I'm at the gym it's my time to think about my goals, focus on myself as a person, get stronger physically, and clear my mind. Add in some amazing music and an hour goes by so fast! 
    • Remember- when you're at the gym it's YOUR time. Do not waste it watching other people or chatting with friends. Focus on YOUR workout. 
    • Do not be intimidated: If you are not sure about how to use the free weights or a certain machine, then ask. I use to shy away from certain parts of the gym, but if you don't ask then you'll never know. :)
    • What to Wear: When I first started going I was not in the best shape, so I needed a little something to help me out, so I picked a cute outfit. However, as time went on I just focused on getting to the gym. Now that I am seeing results I could care less if I'm matching. 
    • Selective Workout: When starting out I focused on the areas of my body that seem to tone up faster, such as my arms and legs. This helped me to visually see results a little faster and keep me motivated. After about 3 weeks I then started moving inwards from here to target my mid-section (abs), which usually tend to be a problem area for most. 
  • Cook at Home: I am no Martha Stewart when it comes to being in the kitchen, but healthier eating consists of cooking at home and staying away from restaurant/cafeteria foods. After researching the calories I consume by eating in the cafeteria at work I was in shock to find that just breakfast alone was costing me over 700 calories for a breakfast burrito!!! No wonder all the time in the gym wasn't paying off. I am learning to cook, but most importantly I try to stay away from boxed foods since they are high in sodium. I also found that buying fresh foods such as vegetables and meats means I have to cook or else they'll go bad. The crock pot has become my new best friend! :) 
  • Stay Positive: Stay positive and surround yourself with people who are supportive of your efforts and goals. Know that as long as you stay consistent in being active and eating right you will soon see results. My first 4 weeks into my routine I actually gained weight at first, but knew that if I stayed consistent I would see results, which I finally did. 
I am currently on week 7 and have hit a mental plateau. In loosing a few pounds I feel pretty good, so my mind and body wants want to take a break. In realizing this, I have switched up my workout routine and also increased the amount of weight I'm lifting. This has helped to keep things current and change things up.

Well, that is about all the tips I have for now. Again, talk to your doctor and visit with a nutritionist if possible to find the best routine that will work for you. In deciding to compete for the title of Miss New Mexico, it took me almost 4 years to prepare for swimsuit. When I won the title of Miss New Mexico, I was not the thinnest or most fit girl, and that held true when I went on to compete at Miss America. However, I was in the best shape of my life! However, at the time that was part of my "job" then. Remember this when you see models or celberties on television. A lot of extra help goes into their routine. If we all had extra time int he day to spend in the gym, extra money to spend on the best trainers, and a team of nutritionists at our fingertips, well then of course we'd have J-Lo's body...and ummm booty.  So, do what works best for you and love yourself! While I am on a new journey to get fit, I'm thankful that there is no pressure of ever having to sport a swimsuit on national television (yikes). This time, it's for myself and the sake of being healthy physically and mentally. I am not on a mission to be thin, I am on a mission to be physically fit and healthy. You and I are unique and so are our bodies. Do not try to conform to what you see in magazines, television, or around you. Being your best self means being healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Make good choices, stay consistent, be positive, and practice patience. Those are my closing words. Just keep moving/eating right and your body will thank you for it! :) 

Wishing you all good health! 


Source for Arizona State University Study: http://www.fitness.gov/mentalhealth.htm

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Is it just me or did winter seem to stay longer than welcomed? Well folks the weather is progressing and everything here in DC is in bloom, which means spring has finally arrived and a new season call for new adventures and planning. Spring cleaning is in full effect, but instead of a Clorox wipe down of my living space, I'm focusing on the personal aspects- physical, mental, and emotional. Winter has its way of weighing us down with stress over the holiday season, bulky sweaters, and all those baked good we just couldn't seem to hide from. Well spring has officially sprung which means it is time to shed your cocoon and spread your wings little butterfly!

I am happy to report that in March I began a new physical journey to get back into "woot woot" shape. Physical health intertwines mental health and I thought it would be interesting to come up with a starter plan to help others. This meant I would need to get started first. So, if you are wondering where I was in March, it was at the gym! I'm really excited to share with you what I have been working on (literally) and hope it is helpful enough to get you started and motivated as well. It's all part of my personal goals for 2012 to lose 30 lbs.

I am a big believer that you gotta walk the walk before you talk the talk (or in this case blog the blog haha), so I was not about to share any opinion about getting fit without getting my own bum moving! Getting started has definitely been the hardest part. Yet, after 5 weeks I have dropped 6 lbs and formed a consistent eating and workout schedule, and while it hasn't been easy everyday that I wake up feeling stronger makes it worth it!

Im excited to share my journey with you all and hope it will help peel ya off that couch. Being healthy is so very important and when I am physically healthy I feel strong mentally as well. My thought process is clearer, my energy allows me to accomplish so many things, I sleep better, clothes fit better, and overall I feel whole inside and out.

My new project is about being fit, and not being thin. Im not a pro, so everything i share is from personal trial and error. I am way too busy for gimmick diets that cloud my mind because I am so hungry. I also do not have the money or patience to wait and see if some new product holds the "secret" to my success. Competing in the pageant system and preparing for swimsuit taught me one thing, there is only one simple solution and that is to get moving and make better decisions when it comes to what you eat. Do not be fooled! There is no easy way, but nothing worth having ever is.

I will tell you the true secret. It is you! That is right! The power to reach your goal, whatever that may be, lies within you and YOU alone. We all need help along the way, but do not lose your way in the process. Come back soon for my full blog on this adventure! Anything and everything are possible when you See,Believe,& Achieve!

Be well,
Ane :)