Last week, two significant events occurred in my life:

  1. I celebrated my 25th birthday  7279382038_7bacf1ef67
  2. My uncle tragically and unexpectedly passed awaysadface

Needless to say, my mind is full of overwhelming thoughts and emotions as I reflect on a quarter of a century of my life and everything my uncle meant to me and my family.

I want to write this post on my reflections- the thoughts and revelations I’ve had in light of these two events. I can’t promise this will be the most uplifting post I’ve ever written. Additionally, a lot of these points are part of my own “processing” of events, so I apologize if I ramble a bit.

Reflections on Uncle Mike

  • He was my dad’s oldest brother (only 54 years old, though), best man at my parents’ wedding, father to two of my cousins, and eldest son of my grandparents…among his other roles.
  • No doubt about it: he was the family jokester. I can’t picture him without a big smile on his face. One of the funniest stories my family tells is how Uncle Mike showed up the day of my parents’ wedding, as the best man, with hair and eyebrows freshly dyed jet-black. I can’t imagine my mom laughed about it then, but now we definitely do.
  • He was everyone’s cheerleader. He was such a big supporter of whatever I was doing in my life at the time. When I started weight lifting and bodybuilding, he was one of the only people in my family not saying things like “don’t get big,” “be careful of too much muscle.” He shared my excitement over lifting PRs, my progress in getting stronger and more muscular and we spent many a family party shooting the shit about fitness. He made me feel validated with my passions.
  • He adventured…Cairo, the Himalayas, Nepal, Europe, Yosemite. He was a tourist in the cities and backpacked in the mountains. I believe it was after he finished law school that he (and my Aunt) backpacked around most of the world. He had a passion for nature and culture. Sometimes his priorities may have been questionable…like the time in college when he spent money that was supposed to pay for housing on climbing shoes (then had to live out of his car)…but everything worked out for the better in the end.
  • He was passionate…about his kids, rugby, corvette racing, his wife, nature, adventuring, family, music, and so many other, sometimes random, things.

Reflections on Grief


  • It sucks the big one.
  • I don’t like the word grief.  It’s weird.  One’s response to loss. I don’t feel like it’s an accurate depiction of what I or any of my family feel. Grief. Sadness, confusion, anger, numbness, emptiness, shock, devastation, sober, pensive, pained, preoccupied, distracted, heartbroken
  • Everyone says how important it is to let yourself feel, to “process” emotions associated with such occurrences, but, to be honest, I don’t really know how to even begin to do that. What do you do? Sit on the couch all day? Make yourself cry looking through old photos? Part of me doesn’t feel like I deserve to be as affected as others who were closer to hom. I was just one of his nieces, not someone who talked to him often, grew up with him, or saw him daily. A lot of my sadness around my uncle’s passing comes from empathizing with my family members’ pains…my dad’s, my grandma’s, my cousins’. Seeing my dad’s reaction to losing his brother, my grandparents’ pain from losing their son, my cousins’ heartbreak from losing their dad. These are the realities that affect me the most. I’m sad for their sadness.
  • Relationships and time are the most important aspects of life. Who matters to you? Do they know what they mean to you? How does your time reflect who is important to you? I know I definitely need to devote more time to cultivating relationships with my parents, my sisters, my friends, other uncles, and my grandparents. Life is too short to put these things off just because I’m busy with work or too caught up in my own world.

Reflections on being 25 years old

  • I bought myself 6 bottles of red wine for my birthday.
  • I feel old even though everyone I know who is older than me says I shouldn’t feel that way.
  • I feel so blessed to have such a close family and a fantastic boyfriend. My family has grown so close as my sisters and I have become adults. Our family dinners are truly the best and are frequently spent laughing, telling stories, playing games, and just having a great time together. My boyfriend and I support and compliment each other well. We both love working hard and playing harder. We both have our own businesses but make time to go climbing, back packing, shooting, surfing, sailing, hiking, to the movies, and to do all other kinds of things together. I’m so lucky and so blessed to be with him.
  • I’m frustrated to not be in or committed to a graduate program. I still feel like I’m in this “transition” phase in which I don’t know where I’ll be or what kind of job I’ll be doing 5 months from now. I am taking steps to remedy this, but it’s just a slow-as-molasses process. I’m not done learning. I’m eager to begin the “career” part of life, but there is so much more I want to learn.
  • I have a few major accomplishments so far in my life: 1) I was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard for 2 years 2) I ran a full marathon 3) I worked as an EMT with UCLA EMS 4) I graduated from UCLA with my B.S. in Physiology.
  • On my own I’ve learned a lot about:
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
    • Coaching
    • Motivational/Habit-Forming Psychology
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • Running my own business
    • Physical Therapy
  • In the last year, especially, I’ve realized that a healthy mind is just as important (if not more so) as a healthy body. Achieving these is not something that happens over night nor is it something that one can just give up on. Both are essential for a high quality of life. I will never stop trying to be healthier today than I was yesterday.
  • I don’t know everything. Actually, I don’t know much at all. What am I doing?
  • I’m not sure what I want to do for my career. Some career paths have well defined names: physical therapist, doctor, writer. More and more I find that the people I look up to and aspire to be like have less defined titles. Eric Cressey runs two athletic training facilities, writes articles for multiple websites, publishes books and training programs, and speaks in conferences and seminars. Ben Coomber owns 4 businesses, runs a nutritionist certification program, has an amazing weekly podcast, speaks at tons of venues on nutrition, creates supplements, and plays rugby. James Clear publishes articles, writes books, speaks at events, travels the world, and lifts heavy weights. Bret Contreras writes a lot of great articles, does a lot of impactful research, is finishing his Phd, and runs a successful coaching business. So I guess I want to be an entrepreneur? A fitness professional? Create a career where I can do all the things I love that help people get/stay healthy and active? Impact as many lives as I can. Unfortunately, there isn’t a how-to book available on that kind of career. It’s a lot of touch-and-go, trial and error, work your butt off, try and try again, and take things a day at a time.
  •  I’m grateful that my parents allow me to live at home with a low rent…..but it’s really hard to grow as an adult under one’s parents’ roof. It’s really hard. I’m an organization nut, and the fact that I don’t have a functional, organized office space to work in, with white boards, etc drives me cray cray. Sharing a fridge and pantry with the fam is a challenge, as is spending most nights at my boyfriend’s place but having to come back home in the morning for clothes/food/etc. I do my best to create and environment where I can be successful, but I also crave my independence on the daily.

What are your thoughts? Please share below in a comment.


Sane, Balanced, Motivated

It’s the 2nd week of February, and this year is flying by. Since there is so much “new” in my life, a new job, schedule, blog, and goals, I’m always juggling and frequently re-evaluating. Today’s post is going to be an update on what’s going on in my life right now and what I’m doing to stay sane, balanced, and motivated.

Physical Therapy School

I’ve spent the last 2 years focused on getting accepted into a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.

The first year out of college, I retook (and Aced with the highest grades in my classes) two biology classes at my local community college, racked up 100+ hours of observation hours in a physical therapy office, and applied to 5 programs/schools that were within an hour’s drive of my house. I was rejected from 3, interviewed at 1 (then rejected), and waitlisted at the last (which never came to fruition).

The second year, I spoke with an admissions counselor from one school I was rejected from the year before, and framed my approach based on his recommendations. I retook a physics class (Aced), aced a 5.25 semester unit Spanish class, acquired over 1500 observation hours in multiple physical therapy settings, and had more recommendation letters. I also applied early to 20 programs this time. Well, after months of waiting for responses, I’m now at a point where I’ve been rejected from 14 schools and waitlisted in 3 programs, and I’m still waiting to hear back from 3.

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Every single rejection is heartbreaking. The nicest rejection email still reads like “you are not good enough.” It hurts. It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing.

I just wonder if all these “no’s” are a sign that God has another path intended for me…or if struggling through this is God’s way of building an essential element of my character.


I do believe He has a plan for me.

I’ve had time to cultivate my passions in fitness and physical therapy over the last years. I have a lot more direction and sense of purpose in my life today than I did a year or two ago. Physical therapy is not my [only] end-all-be-all goal. My passions are in helping others, working with young athletes, teaching everyone healthy and sustainable fitness practices, and keeping people active and uninjured through the entirety of their lives. I see physical therapy as a means of doing this, but it is not the only way. So, regardless of what happens with physical therapy, I know the direction I’m going to keep shooting in.

Following My Bliss

While I wait to see how physical therapy school plays out, still unsure of where I’ll be in the Fall, I’m spending my time developing my personal training business and learning about being the best coach I can be. I call it “following my bliss” aka doing what makes me happy!


  • Yesterday, I did my first [paid] photoshoot as a model. It felt great! This is something I plan to incorporate more of. Why not? Anyone need a model?
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  • I have a [awesomely organized] binder for my personal training business. Yes, I’m a organization nut. I have color-coded tabs, self-made logs, a place for ideas, and other resources strategically placed in my binder.
  • I’m cultivating a social media following to increase the exposure of my website/blog.
  • I’m building a network of fitness professionals to collaborate with, including the physical therapists I’ve worked for.
  • Although I work for a gym, I’m not limiting myself just to business in that setting.
  • I’m exploring opportunities for growth, including coaching internships, Masters programs, and seminars/conventions.
  • I’m frequently listening to awesome podcasts in my car such as Ben Coomber Radio (a great UK-based nutritionist) and Physique Science Radio (hosted by Sohee Lee and Layne Norton) and trying to keep up with my monthly-delivered Strength & Conditioning Research Literature Reviews.
  • I began a new training program in the gym. It’s from Eric Cressey (one of the top athletic trainers in the country and one of my idols) called the High Performance Handbook. Yes, I am a personal trainer who has a personal trainer because, I’ll admit it, there is still a lot I don’t know, specifically in regards to training program design, which is really a form of art. I’m two workouts into this program and already I feel FANTASTIC. Not only am I learning a lot about my body and program design, but following a newinteresting  workout program is highly motivating.
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One thing I need to improve on is setting boundaries for myself. In addition to planning time to get things done on my calendar, I really need to plan time off and time for non-fitness, relaxing activities. Doing fitness/career related tasks all day every day is a surefire way for me to burnout. This is where playing with my dog, Bug, and spending time with my family and boyfriend come into play.

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How is your year going? What are you doing to stay sane, balanced, and motivated while pursuing your career, goals, etc?