Entries in personal/random (15)



I've toiled with creating this post for a long time. I feel like "wellness" is such a topic in my life these days, that it feels right. You see, I haven't been feeling so great, and a lot of my effort goes towards figuring out how I can feel better. A year and a half ago, I learned that my body wasn't working right (after years and years of pain). I'm happy to finally have answers and information, but it can make you feel "off" too. I've actually been surprised with how much my health affects my thoughts regarding unrelated aspects of life. I feel like a different person some days ( I wish there was a less cliche way of saying this). Navigating these issues has become one of the most important things to me. I figured "hey, maybe someone else feels this way too." Hi if you're out there:) 

I'm pretty social and believe so much in community. In any bind or period of joy, I look to others who may feel the same way. Truly feeling understood is one of life's best experiences. In regard to my health, I responded the same way. I reached out to others who are experiencing what I'm going through. It has helped my mind and spirit tremendously, which I'm learning are just as important as the body (if not more so) in times of stress and despair. Others like me understand the unfair, worried feelings without the need to problem solve or "fix." 

I'm hoping that this series can help us remember the immense value in taking care of ourselves. I'm also hoping that if you're struggling with something (or needing an "I see you" avatar moment), that you feel like you can reach out to others like you. I've learned that so much is out of my control, and sometimes I need to be with others who "get it." Below is an interview (and images of course) with Jessica (@jamesjessica). Normally, you'll find pro-fitness images of her, but we did something different. It's kind of a celebration of her new found self kindness. I'm so thankful for her raw, openness about her journey to "be well."  

(feel free to reach out and share other things you'd like to see here in the future!)

Hiya!  My name is Jessica, a 25 year old online personal trainer and women's physique competition coach. My passion is doing anything teaching or advising others to live a healthier, more balanced life. My non fitness related hobbies are painting pottery and teaching myself how to do make up!

What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness means taking care of the mind, body and spirit on a daily basis.

What are three things people would be surprised to know about you?
 - Only 1 hour of my day is committed to working out and most of the time even less than that.
 - I'm in bed at 9pm every night.
 - I go to 3 Overeaters Anonymous meetings a week, have a sponsor, and am going through the 12 steps.

What mantra are you living by these days?
Progress not perfection.

What does a typical day look like for you? 
 - I write my gratitude list.
 - Prep my food in meals for the day in a cooler I keep in my car.
 - Some sort of cardio either outside or I take the last 10 min to jog outside.
 - 20 minute meditation using my Head Space App in the sauna.
 - Tea with my Mom.
 - Answer emails and send out diet and fitness plans to clients on my laptop at the coffee shop.
 - 30 min power nap.
 - 30 min at least of some kind of weights.
 - Shower and skin prep ritual.
 - Family hangout or games.
 - Write a night inventory of everything I did well that day and a small list of what I could've done better.

What is your greatest challenge?
To stay in the present and not too much in the past or future. I'm very driven and goal oriented so I thought that planning, over preparing, and thinking about the future was somewhat "anti-lazy" and a positive characteristic to live. It's hard for me to pull back and remind myself I have no control over what happens besides this very moment - Giving up control of the unknown. Because no matter how much I plan, life sometimes has another plan for me, and I can't be set in my ways for those curveballs.

If someone wants to initiate a self-transformation, what general advice would you give him/her?
Baby steps. Not trying to dramatically change your lifestyle on a Monday or the beginning of the year. Start with small changes and even then, don't hold yourself to any expectation to be perfect or fear slipping back into your old ways of living every once in awhile. You will! ....and that's okay because new habits take practice and patience if you want to adopt change for the long run. When we force, punish and expect perfection from ourselves, it may work at first, but it never sticks. We get so discouraged and give up when we finally do mess up.

What are you most proud of? 
Oooooo that's a hard one, but I'll probably have to go with discovering and being open to having a Higher Power in my life. It always been a challenge for me to go to church and worship a "God" person. However, I have now come to believe that there is a power greater than myself and I'm proud of that willingness. I'm more at peace knowing there's a HP, and I do not have to go through life alone or be in control all the time.

(please do not use images from my blog without permission, as well as citing "Torrey James Photography" as the source!) 


Gallery Event - Dono dal Cielo Winery

Photographing people is my thing. In the beginning, I would ask family/friends (and anyone who would let me practice) if I could photograph them with the people they loved most. Moving, living people was a whole new bag....but I loved the process. I should've identified the joy it brought me sooner. In high school, I would gift people portraits of their closest friends (I once set up photo shoots for friends at their homes and in their yards). Kind of weird (really weird), but I wanted subjects.

In the meantime (my high school film days and beyond), I'd photograph stuff (Like, random stuff. I remember giving a photo shoot to our pool table. How edgy was I?!;). When I bought my first DSLR, I brought it on every outing and trip. Photographing travel work and landscapes helped me understand light. I didn't feel rushed. I gained a better understanding of my camera without pressure. 

Today, we all have camera phones and can pretty much snap a photo whenever/wherever we'd like. You snap it in a second and blast the pic through instagram for the world to see. It's so neat. BUT, when I look at the images I took with my "big camera," there's more than just better image quality. I remember setting up for the shot. I remember where I was and that precious moment in my life. Maybe I just take a moment for myself with little concern for instantly sharing? Compared to the effort it once took to create a photo (over the last 200 years) this is nothing. However, it feels more purposeful and intentional when I get out my "big camera" and take that shot. 

Yesterday, I showed my travel work at the fabulous Dono dal Cielo winery. It was so much fun! I'm thankful for the turnout and for the journey photography has lead me on. Below are the final images I included in the show. Thank you for coming yesterday and for your kind/supportive words from afar:) 

Below are a few of Aaron's camera phone snaps of the event. 


our card...and the outtakes! 

the camera on a tri-pod, two dogs running around everywhere, a husband that loves to torture me...aka our holiday card pictures. we start cheesing ourselves out and can't stop adding to the cheese/making up ridiculous poses!  

2013 concludes a rough year (physically and emotionally), yet I've never been more thankful for the things and people I have. funny how that works....

happy best time of the year!

our actual card:


.....next year, we'll hire someone.