Anew

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Reading my final 2018 post from a year ago (LINK) - made me laugh out loud. I was writing from such a space of quiet, solitude, calmness, no stress. Life was chill, and as I said "I am leaving room for the unexpected". Whatever God had for me, I was going to welcome it. I actually posted it 1 day after my first date with my Fiance.

So that room I created in 2018 was really filled to the brim this year...with things and people that made me experience a part of myself that I didn't know existed or a part of me that I used very little of. What 2019 taught me was to be grateful for when God answers my prayers....Because my prayers more or less looked like this - a lot of the unexpected.

I met Aaron in 2018 technically, but we started 2019 with our 3rd date and solidifying our relationship to bring in a brand new year.

In February, I loved getting to visit my bestie in Alaska for her 30th birthday!

I found rhythm at work. I was also promoted from Manager to Director thanks to my supportive supervisor.

This year I inherited 2 roommates - one future brother in law in January and another in October. I also got to meet my future sister in law too who is helping us coordinate for the Wedding.

My niece also lived with us for 6 weeks this Summer. My brother and his fam came to visit in August - I haven't lived at home for 12 years, and this was the first time he came to visit me, I really loved getting to hang with my brother as an adult.

I so happily got to officiate a friend's wedding - We've been friends for 19 years and met at Church camp.

I met my Fiance's Madrina, Tia, Tio, Primas, Sobrina, and Grandparents.

I went to Toronto, Canada for a conference and was reunited with old friends and I got to explore a new city, by myself - Oh how I value quiet time these days.

Made a 16 hour road trip to South Dakota so my Fiance could meet my family and so I could partake in my hometeam's annual 3rd of July reunion. We got to shoot firework, goto the rodeo, ride the four wheeler, and enjoy the best season in my home state. I can smell the yellow clover when I look at photos!

We got to explore Vancouver, Canada, twice, and my Fiance got to meet my cousin living there. We grew up on the farm together!

We had 41 visitors total since I've lived here - All whom we loved, adored, and made so many memories with. We cooked, we belly laughed, we toured Seattle. We love hosting people, and making people feel at home.

I am half way through my conversion into Catholicism and got to experience the Rite of Welcome in December.

I also started to learn basic Spanish.

2019 was also filled with a lot of the hard stuff - illness, medical concerns, racism (interracial relationship, culture shock (adjusting to difference in cultural norms), learning to let go, dealing with people who feel entitled to my life, adjusting friendships and our normalcy with my new normal...it's been a year full of heartache too. But it's what made the other memories so healing, and so sweet.

Each passing year, I grow more comfortable and confident in where my values are. Who I love, who I respect. What I do and what I don't do. What I am not willing to say yes to if it wrecks my peace, and when to 100% say yes, I'll do that with a joyful heart.

For 2020, I chose to focus on the word Anew. I chose Anew because although my heart is the same; my roles and priorities have had to evolve. In 2020, I will be starting year 3 at DigiPen. I will have been with American Pageants Inc. for 22 years. I am getting married to my person. I will become officially Catholic, I will be further learning Spanish.

My life, in many ways feels different from the inside out, but my values, my hometeam, all the things that keep me grounded and blessed are still the same.

This season - Anew - is about rebirth of my self - Spiritually, physically, emotionally, and relationally. It terries me with how many changes have happened, and on the other hand, the adrenaline has completely fed my lust for adventure. Old me would be job searching and looking for my next city to move to. This me, Washington me, is looking at what can I do right in front of me. What does it look like to love fully the life given to me here, even when so many things were unexpected - Good unexpected and tearfully, unexpected too.

My old roomie and friend - We had a day to do vision boards. 2020 - My inspiration for what's to come!





3 years & counting - Side Hustling

Saturday, December 7, 2019


I looked at my calendar reminder for next month that says Jayme Alexis LLC will have been a company for 3 years! These 3 years have legit looked like a line chart that outlines a roller coaster. Productivity has always been my old measure of worth and success. Even if I know and continue to re-learn it's not. When I moved to Washington my client well that went from needing to schedule 3-5 mos out, was more, as long as you told me 3-5 days out I definitely had time. Adjusting from face to face meetings to virtual was also difficult, even with clients I've had for years before I went independently. There is still something about connecting in person!

So between trying to start a new clientele locally, adjusting to my new life roles, I didn't exactly have the capacity to be old me. I always felt like I AM SUPER WOMAN, I CAN DO IT ALL. When really, I learned this year, that I am human, and I can do many things and I can have it all, just not all at once.

I only made half of what I made in 2018...HALF. When I looked at my numbers, it was difficult to accept...and I felt like such a failure! Feeling sorry for myself, I reached out to mentors that I consider people who have invested a considerate amount of time post schooling. Including the one that takes a deep breath when he sees me calling (usually in a panic). Most of them replied more along the lines of..."Welcome to entrepreneurship"...and that "maybe I should be grateful that this year I worked on projects I'd been praying for the year before"...and that "maybe my blessings were in the content and not in my bank account and I am lucky I have a main job to provide for my basic needs and a wedding"....and "Oh so sad you can't travel every other month and you had to stay at home and focus on yourself and your family like an adult".....HA. So now that I was basically told welcome to life and 2018 cannot be 2019 because it's impossible.

I did want to share what made 2019 magical in side hustling. Projects and people who I've become close to. Ones I've been coaching or advising since 2011, and some that are so new that the thrill of a new challenge has kept me up all hours of the night making sure every word I write or say is going to give us that competitive edge because all of this is so life giving.

Pageant contestants that had been a runner up won a state title, participated in their first national pageant and placed, all 3 I worked with. I had pageant companies / partners that I helped double their profits in a quarter and were voted top honors at the Global Beauty awards. I revamped a pageant program that increased their eligibility for $50k+ in scholarship money just by tweaking their criteria and making it more inclusive - something that is a passion of mine. I got to participate on committee for the 4th year in a row for New York Fashion week where one of my former clients/pageant contestants were recognized for being a Rookie to look out for for Alexander McQueens old entourage. Another client renewed their contract with a professional sports team and we've been talking about career changes and transitioning into civilian life because he knows his days in sports are numbered. I also got a year break with a pageant system I've been involved with for 21 years to find out we are going to actually be hosting our national pageant in Atlanta in June where I am recruiting a judging panel that I adore. I am rounding out the year finishing up a judges training for a major pageant system that is new to the state of WA.

This year was a reminder of why I began side hustling in the first place - I love being creative. I love bringing anything good to great. I can't go through the motions of life without feeling like there is purpose. I really enjoy competing in a way that makes myself better, which also makes my work better and my relationships better. I love these niches that make people unique. That bring them joy, and I love being able to tag along and be by their side for their journey. It's beautiful, and wild, and I hope to stay wild.


Widening the Margins

Thursday, September 26, 2019

My last season of life, I was choosing margin. 

Choosing to have few connections, few responsibilities, so that my heart could feel at peace. So I wasn't over working. Or over performing. Or over doing everything. I wrote about it HERE in February.

But after every quiet season - usually comes the season of what you've been preparing for.

And I have felt that in every minute of the day. It's the season I am in now. AND IT IS SO FULL I MISS HAVING A BORING LIFE. It’s a cycle, inhale and exhale years…and I swear they alternate every other year.

This Summer meant widening the margins back in my life. Opening the curtain, getting back to reality from my soul/mind/heart vacation. 

And LOL…Actually nervous laughing…

It's been an adjustment, and that adjustment came into full effect this Summer. Starting off with officiating a friend's wedding who I met at Church Camp from 2000, getting to room with my other friend from camp who I also met 19 years ago, and then getting to meet Aaron's sweet relatives in Southern California on this same trip.



I finally got to go to a new city – Toronto, for a conference and it was one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever visited. My heart felt so full there, and maybe my stomach too ;)

Because this year has been so different for me, not familiar, completely new territory, that I am glad I got to keep some sacred traditions like going back to South Dakota for the 4th of July. There is nothing like the 4th in small town South Dakota. Rodeo, fireworks, bar life, carnival, four wheeling, gravel roads, starry skies...it’s everything a Summer has always been to me. Aaron got to meet my parents, my family, and friends I’ve had since grade school.

We were also lucky this year to have my niece come back and live with us for a month! Living away from my family, the worst part is being a long distance Aunt. So, having her come with us for an entire month made me so happy, and we finished Summer with my brother, his wife, and kids visiting…the first time in 12 years that my brother came to visit me where I lived – Ike, I know you love me :D


Then, came August…Notoriously known in higher ed / Housing that I don’t exist until SEPT. DigiPen has been such a blessing in multiple ways, but I appreciate working there because of the students and people. I also feel heard and advocated for. Enough so that I was promoted.

I feel like I am typing a Holiday Card recapping my year, but I am just reiterating that if life seems slow, quiet, and forcing you to calm down…Maybe you should listen to it. Normally, I’d ignore it. I’d busy my life up so much to the point I’d be exhausted before I got started.

Now? I am so happy I listened to my gut for the first time, and took the calm season to actually relax. It helped regulate my pace for this season of busy and full. I arrived in WA last year, unsure if I made the right move, sad from a break up, never thought I’d be a Mom or a Wife because I was so over relationships and people, didn’t want to take any risks, or talk ever again to anyone….and a year later….this is where I am.

Planning a wedding in Mexico, learning Spanish to speak with my Significant Other’s family, converting to Catholicism, making new connections, and y’all…even keeping some plants alive!


Even though I’ve widened the margins, and allowed life to surprise me - I couldn’t widen the margins without choosing margin first. I am content that I took my unsure season as a time to train, rest, and believe whatever I’m training for, was to widen the margins of life – to gain what I’d been praying and throwing out to the universe. I hope if you are in that season, you do too. It’s not easy living in a culture where we are told to do MORE, be MORE, learn MORE, MORE MORE MORE. And just step back and say no, this is what I need and this is what I don’t need. To prepare intentionally, to break unproductive habits, and bad cycles.


Converting to Catholicism

Thursday, August 8, 2019


A trip to Mexico City to Our Lady Guadalupe in April 2018

Oh my Lord, help me, guide me, why am I such a mess hahaha?

Has been a quick prayer to God in the last 7 mos of my life. I knew early on of dating Aaron, that at some point we would need to talk about our same views of God and faith, but different ways in which we practice, what I refer to as religion.

Aaron is Catholic and I am Christian, and although in the way I was raised, I was taught we are both Christian, but Aaron belongs to a denomination of Christianity. He was taught that Catholicism is its own religion.

But this isn't the place to debate that.

We already have so many beautiful, but definitely differences - country of origin, language, cultural norms, flour vs corn tortillas - you know, the important stuff! The last thing we need going into marriage with the plan to have kids one day is to be different in practice of how we love God, aka our religion.

It boiled down to the fact that it was easier for me to convert to Catholicism in the sense that being a non-denominational Christian, I have more fluidity in how I practice. But Aaron does not, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I think it gives me an opportunity to grow and learn through study, practice, and connection.

I am openly sharing this because I get so many opinions, probably 3-4 messages a day and maybe a phone call a week about all the different opinions of Aaron's and my race, nationality, citizenship, age difference, and all the other things people seem to be experts in our relationship. Also, stop asking me if he is an American citizen; he is a dual citizen of the USA and Mexico, and it's none of your business. Let's not forget that I am the naturalized citizen, NOT born on this soil due to my adoption. I also get "you're so happy", "you're glowing", "you're so in love"...all of which are very true, but all of it has come like anything, with compromise, negotiating, identity forming and reforming...and everything else that goes into both an intercultural and interracial marriage.

So many people I know struggle with these, and I am so grateful they've reached out to me, I have felt less alone in this journey than the beginning.

We discussed at length of what we do agree on in terms of our different religious practices:
We pray to the same God.
We love people and believe and try as much as we can to practice the same scripture, from the same Bible.
We love our faith in God and what God has planned for our life.
We believe in the communion, baptism, and belonging.

So, becoming Catholic, will not change how much I love people. How much I value scripture/literature/devotions/journaling/praying and so forth in my roots as a non denominational Christian. It will not change the way I see the importance of Church in my life or in my future family's life.

If anything, it just enhances it. Academically and socially, I've always aligned with Jesuit values. I believe in assisting those in need, and I believe Jesus would want us to take care of those around us. I believe in heaven and hell...and guess what? Becoming Catholic doesn't change my beliefs in any of that.

Will it change the type of Sunday service I experience? Yes. Will it teach me about rituals, steadiness, and more structured learning? Yes. Will it give me the opportunity to understand the history Jesus has on this earth more? Yes.

I will never understand that in a stereotypical Christian world, Catholicism isn't deemed as "real Christianity", and I do not understand in a stereotypical Catholic world, that Christians are deemed as "Not real believers of Christ".

Me, and others, and probably people you know are living proof that we are tired of this vs them. If we are all of God, our denominations serve God, and speak, teach, and practice love because of God...you think when we get to heaven, God is going to care if I stay non-denominational or Catholic? ...

I believe God is so big that God doesn't put limits on how people worship, but has given people ideas in how to organize it so people can connect to it in modern time. I have found God in a multitude of ways, and it never had a denomination of Christianity tied to it.

Whether it was in college attending mass with a best friend and she would come to Sunday service with me later or post college and I'd attend another mass with another best friend and she would come to church with me later...it was just proof that our Sunday services and day to day practices are different - but our hearts, intent, and love for our Lord was the same.

I am so excited to start my journey here soon. Love may be a motivator for why I am converting, but anyone that truly knows me, my free spirit, and my extreme hard headedness, I don't do anything I don't want to do. No one is forcing me to do anything.

I am choosing to learn. I am choosing to be open for what God has for me. I am choosing to stay true to my values while understanding that a marriage is more than just my free spirit and liberty.

What an honor to live in a country where I can pursue a religion, the freedom to marry someone of a different race and culture, and freedom to marry for love and not for convenience or security.

Cathedral of Aguascalientes - Where we hope to get married!



Engagement Photos: Alki Beach

Monday, August 5, 2019

Aaron and I took our engagement photos this past July with my friend Melissa – Melissa Herold Photography + Design Studio. Melissa was a former student for me who has turned into such a good friend. She has worked for places like Lemonbug, lived abroad, and is an avid traveler. She understands moments and curating happiness. She was the best person to do an engagement shoot with for several reasons – She knew us, knew we weren’t the photoshoot type. But she created moments that made us look like we knew how to hit poses. She also made sure that we had a mix of traditional engagement photos and ones that were authentically us.

Things Aaron and I love to do – Eat, explore parks and nature such as the water, skyline views, and spontaneity. This was very true for our photoshoot with my niece, Gordo (Future brother in law), and my friend V in tow. We were laughing the entire time. We love hosting people and touring them around our city. So the first stop being Alki Beach in West Seattle was such an ideal place. It was gorgeous out that day, and we were able to walk along the coast, breathe in some ocean air, and make a fake engagement where people legit thought we were getting engaged and of course, me being embarrassed, had to yell - I AM ALREADY ENGAGED IT'S JUST FOR PHOTOS. Sweet, I know.

But what makes Alki so special and some of our other photos later on is that one day back in March, Aaron and I had a bad day…just one thing after the next kept piling up, and it became so much that we didn’t get to do anything fun like we had planned. So, as we were headed back to his place in South Seattle, all of a sudden we were on a road that was not familiar. I asked where we were going, and he said it was a surprise. Apparently he told his brother, Gordo, that he promised me an adventure that day, so he was going to keep that promise, even if it was 8pm. A couple hours later, we explored some of the most beautiful view point’s Seattle has to offer of the skyline. We ended up going to Alki at night to walk along the sidewalk and see the bright city lights shimmer on the waterfront. 

Enjoy our first set along the coast! 

Contact Melissa HERE.

Thoughts on being engaged

Sunday, May 5, 2019


Thoughts on being engaged...
I knew for me, committing to someone long term meant giving up some of my free time. To be able to make decisions for myself. To move, go, and be free without having to consider another person. Not that my roaming days are over, I just have more to consider.

So being engaged has caused several thoughts and feelings I wish I heard more about. Other than, "We are so excited!" "Can't wait to marry my best friend!"...I agree whole heartedly with all of these phrases, but I also wanted to post what's been in my journal for other people who maybe took a similar life journey to me - that it may also be normal to be having these thoughts and feelings.

So here it goes...

There is so much out there that tells us we aren't "complete" without a love interest. Which I find to be 100% NOT true, even with someone who I hope to love forever. At this point in my life journey, I know I'd be fine being single and I'd be fine with someone. I love A, he is my person, I don't want to do life without him, but I know I could. Because when your life is whole without someone, you know you actually want to be with them, because you don't necessarily "need" them. That if you build your life - socially, financially, professionally, personally...you have more to give to your life partner. I know that is a privileged statement, not every person has the opportunity to do so...but I am extremely grateful for my family and mentors who have sacrificed and contributed to my development in understanding the difference.

Other perks of focusing on your own life before someone enters it, is that outside opinions matter less, and these days, it seems like weddings are for everyone else except the people getting married. Having time to focus on myself first, also allowed me to experience many life milestones without someone in a positive way, but I'd say being engaged, this is the area that has affected me the most - the change of my identity. Thankfully in Mexican culture & as a bride, I actually keep my last name. So, I was really excited that I didn't even have to have that conversation with A, he already expected that my last name would stay the same.

And I didn't / don't have doubts about my fiance, but I had sadness of the thought of re shaping an identity that I have held so closely for so many years. Most of my home team would describe me as goal oriented, will do anything for my home team, and someone who pursues what I want. Not that I can't and will stop doing any of those, but bringing another person into my life re shapes how I connect to these parts of my identity. Yes, it is growth. Yes, your partner can be supportive and help you achieve and be all of these things, but it's still major change, and a change that you're doing WITH someone.

AND...what I am about to say next made me feel a little heartless, even though I am so overwhelmed with love and appreciation for my fiance. As a society, I think we over celebrate engagements / weddings....honestly...going through some life milestones solo, you know what else has been very fulfilling and life changing? Graduating, investing my time, money, and talent into people & projects, starting a business, getting out of a toxic relationship, my first job, making new friends in a city I just moved to, learning a new hobby or skill, making it through counseling....and MANY other things. So just because I am engaged and it is a major milestone, I also think we could clap a little louder for other life moments that get overlooked.

I wrote this choppily from my journal. Because unlike my fiance who is spontaneous, goes off the cuff, flows with what's next, I have a hard time not being calculated. Like let's eat at 5:35pm, laugh at 6pm, blink at 6:05pm, and let's make sure to dot all the i's, like every single one of them, like they better not look like L's. So, I wanted to take a page from my fiance's book, and be real from day 1 about this whole process.

I love A, he is one of the best thing's that's ever happened to my existence, but I also wanted to put out there that there is something worth celebrating at every mile stone...and there is also more to congratulate at every milestone.

Intercultural Relationships

Monday, April 8, 2019

A: “Linda”...
Me: WRONG GIRL..My name is JAYME (Thinking did he really just call me the wrong name, we've been dating for a week)
A: “I was calling you pretty...Linda in spanish is pretty, cute, etc”

A: “Haina” (Pronounced Hi-nah)
Me:...DID YOU JUST CALL ME A HYENA (Thinking of  The Lion King hyenas)
A: “Haina is Spanish street slang for babe”....

This is just a glimpse of an intercultural relationship with a slight language barrier, we laugh about it now. I’ve been in many interracial relationships, relationships with socioeconomic differences, and maybe slight intercultural differences, but not to the magnitude that my person, A and I are currently in.

A is first gen Mexican, and I am a Korean that grew up in South Dakota with a White family. We were bound to have quite a few differences. There are the days when our language barrier, social norms, gender norms, Christianity & Catholicism, and about everything catches up to us. I remember we had a weekend where we were snowed in days in a row where it seemed like every cultural difference from beginning to end was popping up, including food. We couldn’t even agree on what type of food we could both make that was something in both of our households growing up.

Except pancakes. If anyone ever asks the “Waffles or Pancakes” question to me, pancakes have always been my pick. While A grew up with La Leche dripping off his pancakes and he learned to make them from his beloved Abuelita (Grandma). So that snowy weekend, Pancakes was the food item that made us feel less of a worlds difference, and it also allowed us to shop at either grocery store - because we definitely do not shop at the same grocery places...which that could be its own separate post!

So, we have made pancakes a weekend ritual. Saturday or Sunday you can hear the pancakes on the fryer, or when we don’t know what to eat, or can’t agree, pancakes come in for the win.

I still know/think/feel I have SO much to learn about the world. 30 isn’t a magic number into adulthood where I think I’ve entered this - been there, done that mindset - I hope I never feel like that. There are so many things I haven’t done, so many goals, dreams, and life skills that are still waiting for me to discover. I never thought I’d learn to dance Nortenos, or make tacos that don’t look like taco bell, or learn conversational Spanish and actually understand it. And I definitely never thought pancakes could bridge cultures and solve disagreements, but apparently, the theme of 2019 is, I am still learning :)



Choosing Margin

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Made it to Alaska to see the Bestie celebrate her 30th and to cross it off my list! 8 USA states left to visit!

"Outside of my career, I only love xyz"...this was such a common phrase for me for so long. For years, I kept saying I could only love a few things outside of my career, because my career took the biggest space in my life for so long. I hid behind it, like most ambitious (and insecure/haven't dealt with their ish) people do. As many (not all) are too scared to see if we could be good at anything else. That we could be capable of having lives that we do not feel we need to work to deserve.

Let me tell you, this is the season I've been needing for years, but finally chose to take. 2019 is a year of Rest, Roots, and Progress, and I have been practicing since December. At first it felt weird. Numerous times a week, I would tell home team member and roommate - "I feel so off...I want to rush and do 1,000 things to feel 'normal'"....and she would say, it's the shock to your system of leaving a career of stress, emotional emergencies, and high risks behind...Welcome to life, enjoy it.

And it's true. Nobody is going to force you to rest. No one is going to force you to stop valuing your humanity and self through money and achievement.

It's been such a humbling year, and now that I have 7 months of hindsight of what I was doing to my body, my brain, my heart, my relationships...I can't imagine going back to a life where I am constantly running myself into the ground.

I went from having 0 weekends free for 4 months, to leaving weekends free on on purpose. For the first time in probably ever, I can hear and see things without worry of "Am I doing / being enough". I just know I am enough. I am good enough, doing enough, being enough. And my enough may be a different measure to someone else's enough...and that is 100% okay.

Over the years, my career took precedent over literally everything. I missed my brother's wedding. My nephew's birth. My friend's funeral...All for work...for work I don't even remember, for days I can't even get back.

And this year, I've cancelled workshop after workshop. Even removed myself from a keynote speaker list to officiate another friend's wedding in May. I've declined projects to go to concerts and to attend birthdays and welcome visitors to my home. I've made time for family and the few friends I've made in Seattle.

These days, I am choosing margin. Thank God for home team members that have been blessed with words. KD, thank you for giving my current life chapter a title. I'm choosing margin. Choosing simple. Choosing little. Choosing what I do intentionally, and what I just don't care about, and not feeling guilty about it. I even started telling people who call me in crisis mode that they can set up an appointment with me through my side hustle business. I charge people for emotional labor - I am not your counselor, the person to solve your own issues, and I am definitely not your idea generator because you're too lazy to do the work yourself.

This season, I've enjoyed long drives. Walks. Reading. Writing. Attempting to learn Spanish. My work, but not the point of obsession. I enjoy sleep and water. I love, or try to love the growing pains of my home team and what it means to connect with the people we are today, not the people we were 6 mos ago or even 16 years ago for some.

Because I was "too busy" in my career, my bestie from high school / college has lived in Alaska for 7 years, and I had not visited her once, even though she has visited me twice in California. For her birthday 2 weeks ago, I made it up there. To see her home, the people who make her feel at home, and to meet my nephew kitty. I know I won't forget that trip, but that's a different post for a year when our parents won't read this blog - HA!

I just am enjoying the slowness of life.

My aunt, my friends, my family...said it's the happiest they've ever seen me and the wisest I've ever been.

And even though I am about to turn into another chapter of "busy", it's comforting to know I have a baseline of when I am leaving the margins of what I have chosen for this season.

Slow, steady, and kind. Here is to have Chosen Margin & to keep choosing it.
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