wedding anni numba 8! #maui #greateight

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we had an absolute BLAST celebrating our 8th wedding anni in Maui last month.  i took way too many pics. like a ridiculous amount.  if you make it to the end.... thank you in advance for your time, haha.

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 when you have to be at the airport at 5am, you don't even bother going to sleep.  my girlfriend had just finished installing my faux locs like 3 hours earlier (18 hour job if you're interested!) and my head was sooooooo tender. but i loved them and Sonny did too.  he better had! he requested them :) 'happy wife, happy life.' is cute... but i rock with 'happy hubby, happy her.'

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i didn't find out where we were going until we got to our gate (still didn't know in this pic!) but i knew i would not be disappointed.

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my Modern Oats package hit our mailbox juuuust in time.  i took the very last container from the 8 count variety pack they so graciously sent me and ate it for breakfast on the plane.

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soon as Sonny sees this i'm going to get a text. nah, prolly a call.  get your laugh in while it's still up, tee hee

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snackin' on the plane!  eating the freeze-dried raspberries i got from Trader Joes before we left.  Sonny missed out cause i ate them all.

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that's a really, really big hole. diamond mine, i guess. i have no idea where we were at that moment and didn't ask.

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back to my snacks. since you have to purchase EVERYTHING on a plane these days i pretty much brought us our own personal mini bar.  i had seen these in Sprouts Farmers Market for months before deciding to purchase them.  maui made me do it.

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my goodness, they are DELICIOUS and seriously addicting.  especially this flavor!

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layover in phoenix.  we spotted a Le Madeline while heading to our next gate and got some more grub. it was still breakfast time so we got omelettes.

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finally!!!!! long flights are just not my thing.  6 hours from phoenix to maui and i almost lost it. how will i ever go to Nigeria one day? no idea. i kinda don't want to sleep for 3 days straight before we have to go though. sigh. anyway, we made eeeet!

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loaded up Red Vevet and you already know what was next....

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the rental car peeps suggested we try Da Kitchen so we went straight there. sure, we were hoongry, but they were spot on with that recommendation.

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i started with a green salad,

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and followed that up with some salmon (duh) and Sonny requested the biggest dish they had!! soooo that's exactly what our waitress brought him.

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yep, that's spam. i have never eaten spam in a restaurant. ever. whatever you think is in that bowl, it is.  eggs, brown rice, colby jack cheese, spam, ground beef, onions, gravy, and green onion. it was actually REALLY good, just way too heavy for me.

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 look them up on IG and you'll find our pic in the hashtag cloud. #DaKitchen

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on to the hotel. we were extremely pleased with our Westin Ka'anapali premium villa. check out the periscope tour we did! straight to sleep that night though, zzzzzzzzzzzz.

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the next morning was the BIG day! and yep, it started with prayer and a workout.  it's automatic and it wasn't forced at all either... we enjoy starting our day this way. i pretty much ran for fun and did a weight circuit with Sonny and called it a day. that's pretty much what our workouts looked like our entire time there actually! we worked out 4 outta the 5 days there.

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post-workout brekky!  i eat this way cause i love it. i enjoyed myself and indulged but i would be eating these particular items regardless. everyone we asked suggested Mama's Fish House for our anni dinner but you have to make reservations like 2 weeks in advance.  sooo that was out. we asked for the next best thing which was Merriman's.

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we spoke to Chiso on Skype during breakfast! gosh i missed my boys so much. he was actually at the hospital at that very moment because my sis in law, Kara, had just delivered her baby girl!!!! we spoke to the proud parents too and even got a glimpse of baby Natalie!  we now gladly share September 15th with our niece, Natalie Chizara Egwuatu <3

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it rained on our very first day out and about, buuuut it cleared up after breakfast thankfully. we took some pics and then a lil' drive through the mountains in the 'stang. 20150915_124225-01

the winding roads, the mountains, the water, the scenery...gaaaah it was incredible and kinda hard to take all in at once.  i saw a sign that said 'scenic look out 1000 ft' so i told Sonny to pull over.

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we hopped out and basically made a post card. look at that!

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8 years. you ever look back on your life like, 'THANK YOU GOD for not making it work with any of my ex's.'!? He knew best.

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every city/country we travel to... this is on my agenda. deal with it, Sonny. 20150915_134822-01

i just wanted some snacks!  look, i did a two week sugar fast to get beach ready so i was about to enjoy me some chocolate. i found the bulk aisle and made myself at home.

20150915_140937-01 salted carmel chews and chocolate covered pretzel balls. worth the tummy ache.

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then we found a Walmart and bought some souvenirs for our family and a breast pump! i actually packed my dual electric Medela pump but naturally something went wrong with my tubing and it totally wasn't working. bum. mer. back to z hotel!

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'ooo, wait, this is the selfie cam.'

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it was still cloudy when we got back but we couldn't wait any longer!  we went out to the beach anyway to explore and take in the views.

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and have a mini photoshoot.

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well we definitely weren't in galveston anymore!

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enjoying this life.

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we went back to the room to get ready to go to our anni dinner. i found this dress at H&M for 30 bucks! 2 weeks prior to that day it would not zip all the way up.  nixing refined sugars from my diet... that'll do it.

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i see ya with the fancy lighting, Red Velvet.

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we had an awesome, intimate dinner at Merriman's! we arrived after dark so we couldn't see the magnificent view they are known for, but i couldn't have cared any less! i was so happy to just be there with Sonny at that very moment.  before we tore up that food, we took a pic for #8. to God be all the glory.

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it was super dim in the restaurant so excuse my flash and these horrid angles, yall. i had half lobster enchiladas with asparagus and fillet mignon with garlic potatoes.  the portion sizes weren't outrageous, so i had plenty of room left for dessert.

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Sonny had fillet mingon as well with swordfish and seasoned veggies. it was just right!  we were satisfied, not stuffed. i was so ready to go IN though, hahaha.

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then Sonny had a big ol' cup of coffee cause he was STRUGGLIN' to stay awake!!! it was only 8 there but 1am in Houston.

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dessert was a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream paired with this chocolate-filled 'purse'. we broke through the dough with our spoons and it oozed right onto the plate. yummerz.

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meanwhile... i was constantly wondering what my babies were up to! my mom sent me this pic of Dego getting a good ol' fashion kitchen sink bath. so bittersweet cause i couldn't reach out and kiss his little face.

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same plate, different day!

the weather was picture perfect that day.

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so i put on my two piece (H&M, 10 bucks) and hit the beach solo cause somebody needed a nap after breakfast. immediately before i left,

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knock, knock!  what an unexpected, pleasant surprise. a day late, BUT they spelled our name correctly and brought us dessert so it was all good! i ate a couple and went on my way.

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this.

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soaking it all in.

i was bummed we couldn't get into Mama's Fish House for our anni dinner, but we DID snag a lunch reservation, yay! we headed there to see what all the buzz was about.

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this was a very, very good sign in my book.

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:)

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strawberry lemonade!

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bread, butter, and a complimentary sip of cream of mushroom soup.

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a real, fresh lei! nice touch.

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tank tops weren't allowed, so our waitress brought Sonny and made him put his guns up. 20150916_164424

i feasted on the Opa,

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and this.... this was THE best coconut rice i've ever tasted. i saw it on the menu and added it to my meal cause i had to have it!

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Sonny got the stuffed Mahi Mahi. clearly there is a reason this restaurant is ranked #2 in the NATION!!!! everything was scrumptious. everything.

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Hana Banana Macadamia Nut Crisp topped with the cutest little sea turtle cookie. lick-the-bowl DELISH.

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so we had a delima...we ran outta ice cream with a bit of macadamia nut crisp left to go.   our waitress solved that problem and gave us another scoop on the house. that's going the extra mile right there. she was incredibly sweet and took fantastic care of us from beginning to end.

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the restaurant faces the shore and the windows were all wide open to the ocean air.

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what an experience. 20150916_180316-01 stuffed and off-balance. cheese!

the very next morning, we set out to do some sight-seeing and hiking.

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but first,

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we hit up the 'Bucks for some caffeine before we rode out, map in tow.

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the winding roads seemed to just go on and on and on...  it was fun being completely submerged in nature.

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checking out the Nakalele Blowhole.

the sign says: 'Warning. Stay clear of blowhole.  You can be sucked in and killed.  It's not a waterpark.'  although the sign did make me a bit nervous, i wanted to get way closer naturally. but Mr. Egwuatu said no.

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as good as it got.  i later googled to see other tourist photos of this spot and found this one:

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we could have gotten a lil closer, Sonny, dang.

anyhoo, on to hiking!  i was really looking forward to a good, long hike. we drove back to the Kapalau Hiking Trails and hopped out.

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buuut Sonny's achilles tendons had other plans. they've been giving him trouble for months now and that day was no different. we hiked for about 15 min before we called it quits :(

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we still had time before the breakfast buffet ended so we sped back to the hotel.

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i saw this class going on while we were at breakfast the day before so after we ate i went to change into my 'kini and jumped right in.

20150917_121146-1 next up, snorkeling! first timers, here.  we had NO idea there were so many fish at our feet and that they were that close to the shore. crazy! even after 15+ years of knowing this guy, there are still so many firsts to experience together. 

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the next day we literally CHILLED and lounged around. we also did some really boring stuff like driving to the Sprint store to check on Sonny's phone's memory card slot. i totally dropped his phone when i hopped out of the pool earlier that week and was hoping i didn't jack it up too bad and lose all our pictures. whew. 20150917_202730-01

we came back to our room and ordered in!  Sonny got this banh mi sandwich,

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and i ordered a gluten-free hawaiian pizza. we wanted to see Straight Outta Compton that night but didn't want to fall asleep in the movie theater.

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last day :( ! we woke up and got all our stuff together and headed to check out of our hotel. no breakfast buffet that day; we headed to a recommendation from one of the valet guys minutes away: Slappy Cakes!  if Food Network says they're the bomb, i had to go see for myself.

20150918_112304our patiently-waiting-to-be-seated usie.

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basically, you make your own pancakes right at your table!!! i do this at home for the boys, so this was right up my alley. what a fun concept!

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spot on, Food Network.  i confidently claim Slappy Cakes as having THE best gluten-free pancakes i have ever eaten. EVA.

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aaaand an extra stack for the road didn't hurt. finished'em before we got to the airport though.

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we said our goodbyes to Red Velvet and took the shuttle to the airport. this was it! finally homeward bound.

20150918_173149-01 maui to honolulu, honolulu to phoenix, then phoenix to houston.  20150918_192608-01 somewhere along the way we devoured this together.

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back home to our babies!!!! our families held it down and took excellent care of our boys while we were gone and we are so grateful for their support and willingness to help. back to life, back to reality....which is pretty darn good.

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Q: where should we go next year? i ask cause it'll be my turn to plan ;)

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breakfast in 3! w/ Modern Oats

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fall is basically here and it's back to school time, parents!  we are all busy. we are all often scrambling to get ourselves and our kids together and out the door in the mornings. been there!  actually i'm there every day.  now that Chiso has started preschool (no tears from either of us, yay), i make sure he is focused and ready to learn before he leaves the house. how? some brefus! yes, breakfast.  it's incredibly important for everybody, so don't downplay it or sweep it under the rug.  statistics don't lie, peeps.  easy, to-go options in the form of healthy carbs are the way to go, not unhealthy, sugary, prepackaged, instant, frozen junk.  they need good, wholesome, nutrient dense foods that their bodies recognize so they can perform at their very best.  start this with your kiddos NOW!  they will only get busier and busier as each year passes; by the time they are teens and beyond breakfast will be second nature (and hopefully non-negotiable).  parents, we must send our babies off right and set them up for success.

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if ya follow my blog or my Insta account then you'd already know how much Chiso (4 yrs) despises all vegetables.  however, he still loves oatmeal something serious!  so when this very special delivery hit our doorstep,  Chiso went BANANAS and could not wait to crack it open.

'yummy oatmeal, mommy!!!' yep, Modern Oats was officially in the building. look at all the pretty colors and tasty flavor combos!

  • 5 Berry
  • Mango Blackberry
  • Apple Walnut
  • Goji Blueberry
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Chocolate Cherry
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Chiso is nowhere near as indecisive as i am and chose 5 berry immediately.

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there's an oatmeal cookie recipe on the back of the carton that i'm totally going to try!  anyway, if you don't/can't whip out a pot to boil water, then don't.

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microwave a mug of water (enough to cover the top of the dry oats) until it's pretty darn hot (bout 2.5 min),

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carefully pour it into the carton, put the top on,

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and in 3 minutes you've got a nutritious, power-packed, start to your busy day.

i love that:

  • i can pronounce and recognize every single ingredient
  • gluten-free & non-GMO
  • small & portable w/ a lid
  • it's naturally sweetened from the antioxidant rich fruit
  • filling & hearty
  • incredible flavor combos
  • my kids ate it ALL!
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toddler tested, fit mom approved.

and dad!

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i whipped up the apple walnut flavor for Dego.  there were chunks of apple, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins and walnuts in each bite.... delish.  

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aaaand i ate my brekky right along side them. so exciting. lol. if you haven't seen my IG posts, my wedding anniversary is coming up and my hubby hasn't told me exactly what we're doing, but that i should pack a bikini!!!!!  so, i wanted to tighten up a lil' bit these last few weeks and get serious with my nutrition.  sure i eat oat bran and egg whites every morning anyway, but i miss being able to snack in moderation (quest bars, arctic zero, wheat thins, goldfish crackers, fig bars, dark chocolate covered raisins, kettle corn) whenever i please!  maintenance mode (concerning my calorie intake / body fat percentage) is fun and where i belong right now, but i just want to bring my best package to the beach, hahaha.  master trainer and 1/3 of the 6 Pack USA team, Brian Egwuatu quickly drew up a customized meal and workout plan for me that has got me wondering if i ever want to compete in a bikini competition again LOL!  it's been 3 years or so of not having this many restrictions, but hey, the more change you desire, the more restrictions you must make.  it is what it is.  plus i'm working on an outrageous 2 week timeline so just know ya girl is over here STRUGGLIN' for the cause!  once we are done frolicking and celebrating i will happily return to maintenance beast mode. 

i HATE leg extensions!!!!!!!! that is all.

anyway, if you'd like your very own Modern Oats variety pack, you can order them right here via my FFL Store!

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we did a Modern Oats Periscope yesterday too; check it out via katch.me along with all my other past scopes if you're interested.

Q: you're rushing outta the house and have not eaten breakfast yet.... what do you do? be honest!

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**this post contains an affiliate link; this means i will receive a commission if you purchase this item through my link.  you will not pay more when buying a product through my link. thank you for your continued support!**

in love with lean

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godstiming

the wait. that dreaded wait.  we all wait for something at some point in our lives.  His timing is..... impeccable though. perfect. every time.  but while you're waiting, you don't want to hear that.  and i wanted another baby. and when a woman wants a baby,  she wants one when she wants one.

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Sonny and i prayed and believed consistently for another Egwuatu kiddo. we knew Chiso was only the beginning. however, after stepping off the stage last year i was head over heels for my 'new', lean body.  you might say, 'but you were already lean.' there's a huge visual and physical difference between 21% body fat and 10%.   i was thrilled at seeing 130- anything on the scale.  i had not seen the 130's in this decade.  'long & lean' was something i had always wanted to accomplish with my body.  so once I got there, according to my standards anyway,

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i wanted to stay there. here we go again...but on a much deeper level this round.

<<rewind<<

my menstrual cycle has always been flaky. it has always done its own thing since it finally popped up at age 16. late bloomer right here. from then on, Irregular City...which was prolly due to my active sports life.

i discovered my passion for group fitness and became an instructor for a few local gyms a few years after college graduation and marriage to Sonny.  i was extremely nervous just thinking about getting in front of a crowd, but the support and encouragement from friends, Sonny, and my family pushed me to just go for it.  i started with a BANG teaching 7-9 classes per week (before and after work) and local boot-camps on my own in addition to my full-time job.  then things got a little crazy with my body. i went from monstrous PMS symptoms including heavy cramping & bleeding, bloating, mood swings, swelling & breast tenderness every one or two days a month to absolutely no period and zero symptoms. nothing. when i first met Sonny in college and had an 'episode', he actually called 911, bless his heart.

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 it was just something i lived with, and something my family (mom, dad & brother when i lived at home) adjusted to. on the first day of every cycle, life stopped.  4 aleeve, vicodin, hot water bottles,  massive overnight - diaper sized pads, and my bed was my life for 24-48 hrs. so, this exercise thing was quite alright in my eyes. it was my saving grace.  can i tell you how happy a camper i was?  to not have to deal with any of that mess anymore was..... LIBERATING. living like a boy was fun. no tampons, pads, PMS, none of that. this went on for months.... maybe over 8 or so...unfortunately i lost count.  i later researched this to be deemed athletic amenorrhea, but back then i just referred to it as AWESOME.  when the time came for Sonny and i to really get serious about bringing some kiddos into this world, well i was not exactly in the best position to house a child.  i have never been on birth control. so after being a married woman and doing married woman things for over a year and never being  'surprised' (which was fine by me) i had to really wonder what was up with me.  ...or Sonny. which one of us needed to be 'fixed'?

i learned along the way that you don't even need to actually bleed to get pregnant...just ovulate. but bleeding helps you pinpoit when to expect to ovulate.  and hello, it just comes with the territory of being a woman!  without a cycle, i'd have to take an ovulation test, well, every single day. that got old and discouraging real fast. and obviously, not bleeding on my own meant that things just weren't right.  Sonny wanted to expand our family from the jump, but his concern grew as time went by without a positive result.

at some point along the way Sonny did wonder what happened to my angry woman PMS symptoms and asked about them.  i explained how they simply vanished completely after i started exercising a lot...along with my period.  he stayed on me about going to the Dr., and i did. eventually.  he naturally felt irritated and annoyed with me for not taking our health seriously and waiting months to see my OB.  i put it on the back burner countless times and kept reassuring him it would come back on its own if i just exercised less and rested more.  gym members were excited about my classes and attending consistently!  slow down? i can't now! i'm in demand!  i made so many new connections and met so many new fit friends during that time. i was simply enjoying the instructor experience and wanted nothing more than to keep it rolling.  but i also knew i wanted a baby...sooner or later.

so i prayed. then i dropped a class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited. and dropped another class. and cried. and waited... for negative result after negative result, and no period.  after several months of this draining cycle, my OB referred me to a fertility specialist.  he prescribed me Provera which brought my cycle back the following month.

just. like. that.

i felt tons better and like a normal woman again. our strength and outlook on the whole baby-making process was renewed and TTC (fyi, that stands for trying to conceive from all the mommy-hood message boards i scoured at the time lol) became fun again, not a timed task.  but after a few more months of ovulation tests and scheduled intercourse, that stick just wouldn't yield a positive result.  so, i had multiple tests run.  an HSG test was done to ensure my fallopian tubes weren't blocked. what an uncomfortable day that was.  turns out they weren't blocked though.  Sonny, on the other hand, passed all his tests with flying colors so he was eradicated immediately.  hopes were high again for the next month. negative.  i've never been a fan of roller coasters and wanted off this stupid ride. then the guilt set in.  i was extremely close to accepting that my negligence damaged me to the point of never being able to conceive a child.  around that time, God made two extremely special friends of mine even more prevalent in my life, just when i needed them.  they prayed for me, over me, and agreed in prayer with me that God would bless Sonny and i with a child in His time...... and under certain conditions.  i had to chill with the exercise.  i had to sacrifice the very thing i could not imagine going a day without.  i kept teaching my classes (i believe i was only doing 3 a week by that point) and did no other form of exercise outside of them except, walk. walk, walk, walk. nothing else.  this was because i would use my class as my warm up, then go do my own intense workout afterwards, every time.  even on the days i didn't teach class, you knew where to find me.  after almost 2 months of sticking to the script, spending more time with the Lord (poof, i had a lot more spare time suddenly) exercising less, and giving my body the break it deserved, i had several friends including Sonny's mom tell me about Clomid. i brought it up to my Specialist at my next visit.

after the very first round of Clomid (+ the self-administered Ovidrel shot, :shock: yikes), boom. our Chiso was on the way.

just. like. that.

35weeks

please read about my 1st fit preggo journey here!

>>fast forward>>

i was eager to return to my regularly scheduled workout program after giving birth..... i could not wait.  i was completely recovered (natural birth + episiotomy) after about 2.5 weeks total.

so, i loaded lil' Chiso up into our new jogging stroller and hit the bricks! just to the mailbox and around the neighborhood though.  i was a good girl and waited the full 6 weeks to hit the gym again.  trust...Sonny made sure of it :roll:

>>fast forward>>

around Memorial day of 2012  (Chiso was almost 1-year-old), some friends of ours competed in a body building competition which intrigued me tremendously.  i've always wanted to be a bodybuilder!!!! always.  this only fueled my fire since it was so close to home.  Sonny has always wanted to compete, but only without the use of supplements.  more importantly to him were the new sleep apnea and blood pressure issues he faced for the 1st time in his life from the added 50lbs he put on after his college track days.  the dr. visit scare reminded him of his late father’s symptoms who passed away when he was 19,  just 1 year before we met.  not wanting to contribute to the possibility of leaving Chiso and I behind too soon, he instantly put his health in the forefront again.  anyway, i would always get crazy looks, comments, blank stares, and 'are you serious?' faces from friends and family about bodybuilding so i never took it seriously either.  not this time- Sonny and i agreed to train for our 1st competition together that would take place 4 months later on our 5th wedding anniversary, September 15th.  i still didn't have a period at this point because i was breastfeeding Chiso regularly.

so we were off!  we committed wholeheartedly to our competition journey and started going hard with the weight training, sticking to our nutrition plans to the T, dropping body fat like crazy, and just training everyday with no breaks or rest days.  the ironic part? after somehow surviving that daily, strenuous, gym, work, home, gym again,  schedule, i was still lactating like crazy.  that was largely due to my diet, no doubt.  no processed or fried foods, only a combo of oatmeal (a big milk production booster), brown rice, sweet potatoes, egg whites, spinach, asparagus, apples, bananas, blueberries, chicken breast, lean beef, tilapia, almonds, and avocado, 5 - 6 times per day. no supplements, shakes, pills, powders were used or wanted because i didn't want to pass any foreign ingredients to Chiso.

read about our 14 week transformations here.

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the end result? well, we made it! we even ended up bringing home some hardware! (hardware = trophies).  what a weekend and what a ride.

afterwards..... i was in love. i was super proud of my body and the new level of leanness i was able to achieve with the help of my former trainer.  i was fitter and smaller than before i got preggo with Chiso!  teaching my classes minimized my recovery time and got me back to my pre-preggo size quickly, but at the time i was convinced that was the best my body could do.  my clothes fit way different or just didn't fit anymore at all, and i was slipping into things i hadn't worn in years  that had been pushed to the back of my closet. my pride wouldn't let me throw or give anything away.

Sonny and i headed to Jamaica to celebrate our wedding anni the sunday after our show and had a blast.  when we got back, i wasn't necessarily interested in doing another show right away because, well, i told myself after i was done i would chill out and prepare my body for baby #2.  that was the plan...that fell through immediately.  from October 12 - June 13 i was living and training like i was about to compete in another show.  i'd wake up claiming that day as a rest day and found myself outside running or at the gym anyway raking up cals on my Polar HR watch.  now, being active is important to me.  i recommend daily movement to everybody.  but unless i burned a certain number of cals or was drenched in sweat, i wouldn't leave the gym.  obsessed & unbalanced.  i was being stubborn and counter productive to my ultimate goal. again.

 let's be real. we all want to look good, all the time.  for some competitors that desire is even more so magnified once we step off that stage.  when we start to look 'normal' again and go off our competition diet in the slightest bit, we feel fluffy, unfocused, and as if we've let ourselves go completely.  so, we flip the competition prep switch on.  in my case, i had no scheduled shows coming up.  since my body was on a way fitter level than before my 1st pregnancy, it was twice, no, quadruple times harder to let go of the exercise reigns.

the journey to baby #2 went in a somewhat similar fashion. this time though, increasing my body fat along with decreasing my workout intensity and activity level was number one on my to-do list. first, Provera brought my period back (after i stopped breastfeeding around 19 months it needed another jump-start i guess), then a round of Clomid.  and another round of Clomid. and another, followed by my very first IUI.  i remember speaking with my good friend by phone and expressing my frustrations as Sonny and i were on the rocky TTC road again.  she felt in her spirit that there was one constant clearly hindering the process. again.  and she was right.  of course she was right!  God was speaking through her because i wasn't listening to Him.  then she politely reminded me about our agreement from my 1st pregnancy when she prolly should have screamed it into the phone instead.  we made the very same commitment with the Lord together in prayer and from that point on i only walked outside of teaching my 2 classes per week.  committing to do nothing but walk... don't even get me started!  one of the toughest mental battles, ever.  i'd glance in the mirror every so often and see more jiggle here, a new softness there, and it would just make me want to say screw it and go sprint outside in the street!!!!  i could not disregard my promise or my priorities, and worrying so much about every little change in this temporary, earthly body of mine was ruining me.   this process reinforced spiritual discipline, submission, and obedience to God.  patience. faith.. the list goes on.  so while enduring the ongoing, daily spiritual growth (which is most important), there is something greater developing beyond my simple sacrifice:

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our 2nd blessing,

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*****

i have stopped asking myself  'why did i wait until 30 years old to finally do a bikini competition?' and accept that the 'delay' was all apart of His plan for my life.  He knows me better than i ever will. He created me.   fitness will forever be my passion. i was born to do this! no doubt in my mind.  but abusing my gift and living an unbalanced, unhealthy lifestyle was never apart of the deal.  if balance is not present in anything we do, the snowball effect takes place.  you may think you can handle it and that things are under control for a few weeks....months....even years... but eventually the scales tip and fall over.  i highly doubt i would have been able to handle sacrificing my body for even one child had i dabbled in the sport of bodybuilding at a much younger age.  i've learned that menstrual cycle issues are such touchy and taboo subjects for women competitors, and some would simply rather not discuss it.  apparently some women never lose their cycle, and some cycles come right on back once that competitor's body fat level rises to a normal range. does that happen for the majority of women competitors? good question. i don't know. i do know that the road to conception is different for every woman...just like the pregnancy itself, labor, and delivery.  every woman's got her story whether she chooses to share it or not.

writingishard

this post was months in the making.  part of me wanted it to come out perfectly, and the other half just wanted it to come OUT already.  i'm no longer ashamed or so secretive of the fertility drug discussions or questions.   7.3 million active and inactive women face infertility, yet it's still such a taboo subject, especially in the bodybuilding and athletic arena.  the sense of feeling like less of a woman for being unable to conceive naturally can be overwhelming and lead to a loss of self-worth.  unfortunately, the same can be said depending on the way a woman delivers her baby!  there is nothing wrong with 'help'. pain meds, epidurals, c-sections, etc.,--  they all go under the same umbrella in my eyes.  infertility is a medical condition, not a measure of who you are as a person.  breaking my silence has been incredibly empowering and played a crazy huge role in eliminating the 'broken' feelings i used to have about my body.  this ongoing journey has reinforced how living as a positive, balanced, realistic picture of health to my family and everyone i reach via social media, my blog, and on the street is such a vital part of my purpose.

yourstory

transparency is not easy. i feel the reader isn't affected nearly as much as the writer spilling their beans and putting themselves out there.  regardless, it sure does feel good to share.

as always, thanks for reading.

le

my 14 week transformation

 remember this?  boooo... *throws a tomato*

- June 2012 -

Chiso had just turned one a month prior to my decision to compete in my first bikini competition.  my weight fluctuated give or take 5-10 lbs in either direction depending on what i ate since i had given birth.  heck, even pre-prenancy.  in a way, i was honestly sorta proud of my post-preggo body...i mean the few extra pounds that i did gain melted off rather quickly and i was back to my pre-preggo weight pretty fast.   but, i was still unsatisfied with myself to say the least.  i still didn't have my goal body.

i'm 5'10 and my starting weight according to my home scale was:

161 lbs.

21% body fat

per my trainer's scale:

156 lbs.

21% body fat

translation = fluffy!

two weeks into my training, i had my very first progress check.  even after just a full week of clean eating, i saw changes instantly and got so excited i made a post about them.

- JUNE  23rd. -

156. 5 lbs.

19.88% bf

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 - JUNE 23rd -

however, i was still super sloppy fluffy and had a lot of work to do. plus a horrible, horrible tan.

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- JUNE 23rd -

  i was still breastfeeding at the time, hence all that boobage.  heavy boobs reeeeally gave me awful posture, but having a great, supportive regular and sports bra helped.  i'd rather just lose body fat though, wouldn't you?!

- JULY 7th. -

153 lbs.

18.5% bf

each progress check was done early in the morning- can't you tell?  and hey now, after two more weeks, you can see i'm a little tighter, specifically in my mid section.  the slim waist i never thought i was built to have was slowly appearing!  i was easily fitting dresses that were purposely hidden in the back of my closet cause they were too uncomfy to wear anymore.  my pride would not let me get rid of them.

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- JULY 21st. -

152.5 lbs.

16.2% bf

the july 7th pics look pretty similar  to july 21st, huh!  i did 50 billion comparisons between them to make sure they really were different.  i thought my trainer had sent the same pics twice for a second there, but my polar heart rate watch gave it away.

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- JULY 21st. -

thigh gap was getting wider and they were slimming right on down.

- AUGUST 4th -

147.8 lbs.

13.5% bf

awww yeeeeeah, big difference there, huh!  why? carb cycling.  yep, i did a post on that too, but there are so many awesome informational sites on the net that go into greater detail as to how it all works.  it's very simple though. don't over complicate it.  i had  three low carb days followed by one high carb day and repeated that over and over again for a few weeks.  i was able to lose fat while keeping my muscle!  seeing progress like this lifted my butt outta bed every morning to do my cardio.

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- AUGUST 18th.  -

142 lbs.

11.11% bf

by my next progress check, i had found my show suit. i had just finished posing practice with my coach, so i took my pics in it.  i was down 2% lower in the body fat and lost another 5 lbs from the carb cycling.

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 - AUGUST 18th -

i've got wings!

 - AUGUST 18th. -

4 weeks away and ashy.  it's important that i note that i was not only feeling slim at that time, but i felt STRONG, mentally and physically.  in the past, i could easily drop a few pounds after exercising my face off for a few days and heavily restricting my diet of carbs, sugar, and fat.   i often felt lethargic, super tired, and moody though.  i didn't understand how women could diet down to a size they wanted without feeling...well, BAD.  this was totally not normal! if i had to feel that way in order to achieve my goal, i felt it was worth it.  it was a very sad situation and a screwed up, unhealthy relationship with food and fitness.  after i hit my 'goal' weight (yes i said weight and not body) i would eventually let those foods back into my diet.  why?  well cause i craved them terribly, that's why!! which equals instant weight gain.  you better believe i know better, now. there IS a better, healthier way.

- SEPTEMBER 1st -

144.4 lbs.

10.6% bf

why did i weigh more here?  water, water, water weight.  i was drinking over a gallon a day at this point...or trying too, lol.

 two weeks left until show time and not able to fit a single thing in my closet.

- SEPTEMBER 13th -

137 lbs.

8.7% bf

two days out here and super slim after peeing my heart out and getting rid of all that darn water.   my diet on this day and show day was full of carbs though which helped my muscles to fill out and 'pop'.

i ended up at 138 on show day.  hadn't seen the 130's in this decade!

the big day!  September 15th.

23 lbs and 13% body fat lost in 14 weeks.

 alriiiiight, time for just a few questions i've received up to this point:

Q: did/do you take supplements?

A: no. no protein shakes, no fat burner pills, no powders.  i started and finished this journey completely natural.  the only 'supplement' i took every morning is the same thing i've been taking for the past two years- my generic prenatal pills.

**i'm not taking shots at or discrediting anyone who used those items along their journey to the stage.  could i have improved my results with them? possibly!  i wanted to remain natural though because i was also nursing Chiso heavily at the time. we are just  now in the weaning stages (any day now) but i never had to worry about him ingesting anything questionable and having a bad/allergic reaction to it.

Q: will you compete again?

A: absolutely! i know the experiences hereafter aren't guaranteed to turn out as amazingly cool as my first one, but that's ok!  i loved seeing my body change and transform in addition to all the information and knowledge i soaked up along the way.  i still keep in contact with some of the amazing competitors i went through this journey with at that.

Q: how was it competing at the same time as your husband?

A: *blank stare* :shock: i don't think i wanna do that part again!  the sugar withdrawals made me ... how should i say.. hard to live with? lol.  sharing my food with Sonny was never a problem before, but because everything had to be precisely measured, 'no you can't have even a spoonful.' *straight face*. omg i was so mean!  it's just that when i have a goal and already racing against time, i don't want to be up on stage telling myself  'see!? if only you hadn't eaten (or not eaten) that  _____'. i wanted to do everything right the first time.  which is also why i didn't cheat on my diet-  no nibble, no bite, no taste of anything that was not on my meal plan.  i wouldn't have been able to sleep at night!!  if we both compete at the same time again in the future, i'll definitely know what to expect...

Q:  how are you adjusting to off season?

A: weeeell, if you follow me on Instagram (fitfoodiele) then you'd know that off-season is going great!  i'm maintaining my current weight and body fat until my next competition.   i'm also experimenting with building a little muscle too.  i'm feeling solid, slim, and strong, not overworking myself in the gym, and enjoying my food freedom to the absolute FULLEST, lol.  i still eat 5-6 meals every 3 hours all day long, and i workout 5-6 days a week including teaching my two gym classes.  i'm following 6 Pack USA for my current workout and nutrition plan- the same program Sonny used to get ready for his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd show.  read more about 6 Pack USA below.

progress instacollage!

what did we learn here?  CLEAN EATING AND WORKING OUT guarantees successful results.  depending on what you got goin on in your life determines how fast you get them though.  remember,  just like you prioritize anything else, fitness has to fit in there somewhere too.  you should never, ever, be too busy to take care of yourself.   now whether you want to use powders, pills, and all that extra stuff is up to you!  just know you don't need it.  some might argue that those things repair joints and aid in recovery etc., but adequate rest can do the same thing.

  6 Pack USA offers both personalized workout & nutrition plans specific to your fitness goals.  before competing, i knew how i wanted to look, and i had the exercise part down!  i even ate what i thought to be healthy and was spot on, however, my portion sizes were not specific to me and the results i desired.  even though i was a group exercise instructor, always active, ran 5 and 10k's often and worked out hard 5-6 days a week, i couldn't out train my diet.

Sonny used 6 Pack USA for his nutrition and workout regiment for his competitions and currently.  his results were phenomenal!  see?

sonny progress 6 pack

2 month progress shot from June 10th - Aug. 21st;  26 lbs  lost using 6 Pack USA.  yes, 8 weeks.

1hdhere Sonny is competing in our first show on Sept. 15th in the male model swimwear round.

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ripped, front to back!

sonny fort worth

he then went on to win 1st place in his second show in Fort Worth a couple of weeks later.

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and at his final show of 2012 in Las Vegas, he place 8th out of 54 men at Fitness America Weekend.  his first international show up against regional winners from all over the world!

if you are interested joining 6 Pack USA, please contact either of us directly via email and send us your contact information:

Sonny.Egwuatu@6packusa.com

or

Leah.Egwuatu@6packusa.com or le@fitfoodiele.com for any fitness or nutrition questions, advice, or tips.

we can also be reached by phone at (281) 912-3804.

whether you want to set a goal to compete in your first bodybuilding competition in 2013 or to live a healthier, fitter, lifestyle, 6 Pack USA can make it happen.  if you have any more questions for me concerning my journey to the stage, ask away!

le

2012 Space City Muslcemania Championships Show / 5th wedding anniversary

*****September 15th, 2012*****

GLORY TO GOD for allowing us to participate in this journey from start to finish. 

my first bodybuilding competition has come and gone! what a weekend/week to remember.  i've been trying to collect as many pics as possible from my friends, family, and even some of the professional photos but i am so backed up with pictures and posts i need to just POST something already!!!

THANK YOU to my posing coach, Christine Anderson of CAC and Food 4 Thought.  She is an amazing woman, exceptional teacher, and most important, a true pleasure to work with.   she is always on time, pleasant, positive, full of energy, and so very passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise with her clients.  i highly recommend working with Christine whether it's your first or 50th show.  she is as professional as they come!  i definitely learned from the best.

Christine and i together at the dress rehearsal 1 week before i hit the stage.

i can't speak for the other girls, but i was waaaay more nervous for dress rehearsal than the actual show!   i enjoyed meeting and making friends with the other competitors along the way.  i loved hearing about their 'story' and why they chose to compete.  that's definitely what i get asked the most too.  as crazy as this sounds, it didn't dawn on me that these girls were my competition until that day lol!  we all worked so hard for the changes we made to our bodies- it was an awesome thing to not only watch my own body transform, but to witness their progress too.

that following friday evening, Sonny and i attended the mandatory check-in meeting for all the competitors.  the administrators gave us the run down on how things would go on show day and other important info we needed to know.

we also got our spray tans done that night as well as our numbers, 21 and 23.  we had to wear dark, loose fitted clothing so that we wouldn't mess up the tan job. it looks like our clothes are swallowing us.

i also met up with and chatted with some of the funniest and coolest girls i've ever met, seriously.  i expected show day to be SUPER long, but hanging out and laughing with these girls backstage all day made it fly by!  the entire experience was that much more enjoyable because of them.

Sonny passing his drug test with flying colors. too bad they don't check for traces of popeyes chicken grease :shock:

show day!

 i know, i know. looks disgusting but it's my big bowl of banana oats with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla creme stevia.  i ate it on the way to get my makeup done and hair curled.

it's a miracle!  after 3 months of looking straight rough, i appreciated this makeover very, very much.  THANK YOU to Tinnell Sloan  for working every single ounce of her magic on me that day. i needed it.

ducklips = feelin myself.

headed to the venue, bright and early.

 but still late :roll:

we all got dressed and ready for the big group photo outside the venue...Sonny missed it by mere minutes!!

however he made it for the guys only pic. this picture SCREAMS hard work, doesn't it!?  among other things, LOL

after that, we took individual portraits outside as well.

Sonny and his washboard abs waiting his turn for his solo shot.

Dani and i waiting to take our individuals! i met this fabulous woman at our first posing camp about 2 months prior.  we exchanged numbers and kept in touch and checked on each other throughout those crazy weeks of training.

after pics, we head back to the dressing rooms to change into our theme wear.  the order of events was posted right outside the door - Sonny started the show and i ended it, literally.  and this was only the morning show order of events, not the whole day like i thought!

in the dressing room joking, taking pics, primping, eating, and just waiting.

 i was an Olympic sprinter and Dani was a pin-up girl. my baton was around there somewhere!

i went out to take a quick peek and was able to catch Sonny heading out to start the show!  this was his club wear. super sharp;)

  when they finally called our class to come line up my heart skipped several beats.

as i watched the girl in front of me take a deep breath and walk out on stage into the lights, i said to myself in my head, 'this is it, Leah, DO IT.'

the stage guy interrupted my thoughts and said 'alright, go, go, go'.  i said a prayer and just went.

  

aaaaaaaaaand 1 minute later, it was over!!!

 

here are a few shots of my Nigerian soccer player doing his thing for the theme wear round.

way to sell it, Mr. E!

my gorgeous buddy Kaleigh (1st time competitor) and i after finishing up the theme wear -tall round. we did it, girl!!  we survived on Walden Farms products (sugar-free, fat-free, carb-free, gluten-free, EVERTHANG-free) to spice up our meal plans lol.

**intermission break **

 we were able to come out and visit with the friends and family that came to support us!  we are so grateful for all the cheers, encouraging words, pictures, videos, well wishes, presence, and love.  THANK YOU sincerely, family and friends!!!

being cheesy for a pic in my runner stance.  my cheeks were so sore by that point.

my bro, Chiso, and i!  during the break, i went home to spend more time with my little guy as i missed his butt so bad and we hadn't even left for Jamaica yet.

@ home taking more pictures.

halfway done-  we then headed back to the venue for the evening show and swimwear/bikini rounds.

and we're back!  all changed and ready to go....to wait some more.

the nerves were all gone at this point- i was just ready to get it over with more than anything.

 no vid for this round, but i do think it went WAY better than my theme wear round. i was comfortable and nerve-free by then.

there's my front pose for the judges,

the back,

and the front again!  how'd i do?

2nd place - bikini tall class!!

this was certainly an added blessing.  my ultimate goal was to just get through this darn training journey and hit the stage for the first time and do my best.  i am so grateful and humbled.

that leads me to my next THANK YOU which goes to my extremely patient trainer, Travis!!!!  thank you for answering my bajillion questions, texts, emails, calls, and emails :lol: .  even when i was dog tired on the way to our sessions, i would always be pumped and re-energized after our workouts.  physically and mentally.  he encouraged and reassured me along the way and promised to have my body ready for this show.  he did just that!  i share this win with him in my heart as he contributed to making my first competition a very special one to remember.  he has plenty of clients but gave me his undivided attention and made my goals, his goals.  he's an awesome, highly recommended trainer to work with!  good luck on YOUR upcoming show, Travis!

Sonny also brought home some hardware too- that's my hubby!!! 2nd from the right in the striped bottoms. i am so proud of him.

ok back in the dressing room, i HAD to snap this of Dani savoring a snickers bar immediately after we were totally done.  she is going to kill me but her face is PRICELESS. but those abs though!!!

 'why wait?'

DON'T.

hahahahahaahaha

few more pics with the ladies before we parted ways for the evening. two bikini girls, two figure girls.

then i went to find Sonny so we could rep for anniversary #5! all natural, baby!

this girl here... my angel.  THANK YOU, Ogechi, for inspiring me to even start blogging in the first place.  you have been with me from the jump!  you have prayed with me, over me, and for me and i'm so grateful to God for blessing me with your friendship.  i was under the impression that Ogechi was all the way in Atlanta that day, but she surprised the heck outta me and was sitting in the audience for the evening show the entire time!!! her support means the WORLD to me and i love her (and her recipes i will be posting more of! ) so, so much. i appreciate you my dear sister and friend.

 what an awesome 1st experience, period.  so grateful to have done this with Sonny by my side and also celebrate 5 years of marriage and counting.

thank you for reading!

le