This Is How I Officiated My Best Friend’s Wedding

This Is How I Officiated My Best Friend’s Wedding

A few weeks ago, I did what I thought I never could or would. I officiated my best friend’s wedding! That’s right, I’m an ordained minister.

*wedding march plays in background*

Ok ok, enough chuckling. It’s true.

And while, officiating a wedding wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, having led a ceremony for my best friend and now husband is something I will forever cherish and remember. That of course, wasn’t always how I felt about the whole thing. I mean, you could only imagine how shocked I was when I first heard the word “officiant”. To be exact, I believe it was “Jo! You’re going to marry us!” My reaction? “OMG. Ok…is this legal?” After some googling, I quickly learned that not only was it legal and totally legit, but that it was in fact, very common.

Excited and honored, I still couldn’t shake the nerves. Could I really do this? I had experience with public speaking, but my emotions were not something I could easily control. How could I prevent myself from being a total wreck the day of? I had yet to hear of a sobbing minister performing a ceremony and I wasn’t about to be the first.

So, here’s how I did it. Step by step.

1. Let It sink In

It took a few weeks and a Friends episode (Monica and Chandler’s wedding) for me to feel a sense of relief. I told myself that if Joey could do it, so could I! I spoke to my bestie and to family and friends about it, hearing others have confidence in me gave me the confidence I needed.

2. Make It Official

Before proceeding with the script ceremony, making it official seemed appropriate, and if you’re into obeying the law; necessary. Becoming a legal officiant was probably the easiest step in all of this and after consulting with my friend Google, I learned of a few different sites that could make me official. I went with American Marriage Ministries and after a few minutes and at no cost, it was a done deal.

3. Do Your Research

There are all kinds of wedding ceremonies out there. Traditional and non-traditional, some follow a longer script and others are short and simple. Will there be a bible verse or a special religious ceremony? I started off by doing research with the idea that I’d present options and ideas to the couple.

4. Talk to the Couple

Talking to the couple clarified a lot for me. We agreed on an overall theme for the ceremony. In this case, it would be bilingual (English and Spanish) and it would be around 20 minutes in length. While following a non-traditional ceremony, we still wanted to incorporate some religion to the script and after some research, we learned of the cord of three strands or unity braid ceremony that fit the theme perfectly.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Only thing left to do then was practice, and we all know, practice really does make perfect. Having a finalized script written down, word by word, I began practicing it any way I could. I went over it with my family, my fiancé and even some friends. Feedback all really helped in tuning it all up and I made sure to time myself, knowing no one wanted to be standing in 100 degree weather while I preached on.

5. Breathe

Public speaking is never easy. Feeling the pressure to lead a ceremony perfectly is beyond stressful. Taking the time to breathe and relax all up until the day of the wedding was what helped me get through it successfully. The trick really is to enjoy the experience and let things happen as they will. I didn’t cry during the ceremony, but I did choke up a bit towards the end…and looking back, I don’t think anyone ever realized it as they were in tears themselves.

All in all, it was beautiful and in my bestie’s own words,

“Having one of my best friends marry my husband and I will be a memory I will cherish forever. Not many people I know can say that. I will always have a special bond with her that will never be broken.”

XOXO, Jo

Eating Meat Again…Pros & Cons

Eating Meat Again…<b>Pros & Cons</b>

April of 2017, I would have reached my six years as a pescatarian (yikes)…and based on the title of this blog, we all know that didn’t happen. Boo! I blame it on the carnivore bf. 👎🏼

Just kidding…

Real talk now. I’m still not sure if my decision was the right or wrong one or if giving up meat was ever really necessary. What I can say however, is how the past few years and now months have been, how changing a diet so drastically affected me in a good and not so good way. What not eating meat and now eating meat again has done for my body, mind & lifestyle. ‘Cause, let’s be honest…it wasn’t easy! Not when you grew up eating meaty meals and delicious Mexican food (tacooooos 🙌🏼)! It’s still not easy.

So, if you’re thinking about it…if you’re curious to know, I share some of the pros and cons of switching up the diet & trying something new below. Let’s go!

PROS

Restrict Yoself, Girl

Portion control, it’s so so very important. Giving up meat meant I had to explore new ways of eating…new places to eat & that meant no fast food. #winning

Luckily, I was living in Los Angeles at the time…looking for vegetarian places to shop and/or eat also meant shopping at healthier spots, this was all for the good. While it may be a little bit pricier, you do learn to pick and choose what you eat and therefore skip out on unhealthy snacks and unnecessary foods.

Learn About Your Bodyyyy

What fills you up, what makes you and your body happy…these are all important. Every year I completed as a pescatarian, I felt more educated on the topic of food and diet, even fitness. I needed to know what gave me the right energy to perform and tone up. For example, the first year I ate a lot of soy and tofu, I learned how to substitute it for meat and complete meals as if I was eating the same…this wasn’t the healthiest idea and I quickly learned it wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing; I then learned what I wanted to substitute as protein and that sometimes food wasn’t enough, I needed supplements.

Get Down in The Kitchen

My first month as a pescatarian, I dropped ten pounds. I wasn’t planning on losing weight and I hadn’t given up meat to lose any either. What happened was that I was cooking, two or three meals a day instead of eating out and not knowing what was going into my body. I am no chef (ask around), but I can get by and thanks to a change of diet…I know how to prep some stuff without a recipe or without having to go completely out of my way.

final2323

CONS

Blah…Low in Energy!

The second or third month of my new diet, I had moved to a new city and I was riding my bike a lot. I clearly remember having to take one or two naps a day…whaaaaa?! I had never been the type of person to nap, I actually kinda hate it. I did some research, spoke to a few people & I learned that by simply taking some B12, I was giving my body the fuel it needed…but, I went three or four months without knowing that. It was tough!

Give Me Carbs

Biggest problema any vegetarian or pescatarian will face in the first month or so of giving up meat…substituting protein with carbs! Nooooo, SMH! Luckily, I’m not big on eating bread at all times of the day, but even after the first or second month of my diet change, I would find myself craving pastas to fill my tummy…so not the thing to do. Still something I’m working on.

No Meat? Mo Problems

It’s as if giving up meat means you will forever be the topic of conversation at any dinner party… “What? Why? How? Are you sick? No…” aaahhhh…it’s a bit of a challenge doing the no meat thing and then going over to any dinner party or any party for that matter. Then, there’s traveling.  When you’re used to finding vegetarian spots to eat at, you’ll find yourself a little lost when you’re somewhere where there aren’t any. No meat can be mo problems. 

So, there you have it…the pros & cons. While I didn’t make it to my six years as a pescatarian, can’t say for sure I never will. I am grateful for having tried something different, regardless of the challenges and for making it soooo damn far. As for now, I have learned that cooking is always a better option, and everything is best when balanced. My goals to be healthy are the same…I try to only eat good meat (grass fed) & I’ve been staying away from carbs and any processed foods. As for advice, I always say “give it a try” and you’ll eventually learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

Until next time.

XO, Jo

Side Hustling & That Full-Time Job 🙅🏻

Side Hustling & That Full-Time Job 🙅🏻

Working a full-time job and trying to get your hustle on is no joke.

Plain and simple…

On top of that, you’re trying to live a balanced life, look good, and stay sane. I mean, “Geeeeezus!” (exclamation, exclamation). I started my blog in 2010, I didn’t think much of it…I was graduating college and I wanted a job doing what I loved. I had no experience and I needed it…so, I started my blog. I wrote, kept writing, and the more I dedicated to it, the more visits my blog got. Slowly but surely, the emails started coming in, the questions and the opportunities. What I first thought of as a hobby, quickly became a side hustle.

Flash forward to an older me, older reality and a full-time job…I took a few months off recently. Not too long ago, I shared an Instagram post with a caption that read “you really do need to be passionate enough to dedicate so much time to a side hustle (the blog)”, that’s no lie. So, how does one do it, especially when you have a full-time job? As Gary Vaynerchuk recently explained in his latest You Tube vid, “you have to start documenting instead of creating…start”. His motto, just do it! So, below I share a few tips that may or may not help. If you have any questions after this, please feel free to reach out. If I can’t help, I promise to direct you to a person that can.

Do It, Mess up, Fix It, Do It Again…

When I first started blogging, blogging wasn’t what it is today. There wasn’t much help out there. So, in my case…I did a lot of trial and error. Now, you have tons of free resources out there. Still, I’d say take it as an example but find your own way of doing. What may be the “recipe to success” for someone may not work for you. First step, start doing, start trying…mess up and try again.

Commit

Those who are doing it and doing something good with it, aren’t putting in an hour a week. It takes a whole lot of commitment. Lately, I’ve been working on skipping a day at the gym to focus strictly on brainstorming and writing. Another day or two a week, I’m dedicating to photographing. What’s your work flow like and how much are you willing to commit?

Find Your Flow

Everyone has a different schedule, different goals in mind…what are yours and what will work for you? Try a few different things and I’m sure you’ll eventually come to a flow that works for you. Along with that, find the niche you’re most passionate about and find your voice and vision. Imitating is easy and the easy route is usually short-lived.

Ask for Help

You may or may not have made it this far down my blog post…if you have, you’re clearly looking for help and finding ways to get started or improve (yay!). Personally, I also study others’ work and see ways I can do it myself. Facebook communities for blogging are a great way to connect and ask questions to those with more experience…seminars and conferences are my fave though. Never stop learning, never stop asking for help. I am also constantly asking my friends, sisters, boyfriend for help in brainstorming and editing my work. It’s never really only one person doing it.

Take It Day by Day

My personal blog and brand are what I have put the most work into…along the way, I launched two, three, four different projects and blogs. Some did better than others, my personal brand is just the one I cared about the most, the one where I was able to be my genuine self and the one that’s given me the most satisfaction. I constantly tell myself this one thing, and so I’ll repeat it to you… “take it day by day”.

Questions, comments? Show me some love in the comments or shoot me a tweet, @Joanna_Renteria. XOXO