and so…it begins.

A CUP OF JEN an intro... Hi guys.  I am FINALLY doing this and I am really flipping excited, but nervous at the same time.

A CUP OF JEN an intro… Hi guys.  I am FINALLY doing this and I am really flipping excited, but nervous at the same time.  I mean, I pretty much just blogged my “running life” away on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jenmaravillas for an entire year (check out #run365withjen) but that was just me rambling daily about my goals and adventures in running and I plan to continue to post on my Instagram & Facebook, but this is a bit different more stories & in depth content.  Throughout the year, I had so many people telling me I should just “start a blog” and I kind of giggled and blew it off.  Yet, I have to say, when I did my final running post yesterday and Instagram made me “cut” my post into 3 separate posts (because it was too long :))  I KNEW it was time to really start this blog that I have been secretly dreaming about for years.  Please bear with me as I get this started, because I really have no clue how to do this, but I know will figure it out along the way.  I hope this blog is something that will bring you as much joy as a cup of coffee-one of my very favorite obsessions, which is where I came up with the name of my site.  For all of my coffee loving people out there, you all know that feeling you get when you take that fist sip of coffee in the morning.  Warmth, Bliss, Joy. Sharing coffee with a loved one or friend is like capturing happiness in a cup…hence I present “A Cup of Jen” to all of you…hoping this blog brings you lots of smiles and a place of connection.

A tid bit about me…
I’m a total lover of people, health, fitness, blogs, inspirational quotes, social media, fashion, and just LIFE in general.  I have learned and shared so much and felt a complete sense of community over the past few years  as the life of Social Media, Pinterest, Blogging, Vlogging and open sharing lifestyle has become quite the norm.  While I openly admit, there are for sure extremely ugly sides to social media and open sharing, I like to focus on the positive parts.  Sharing goals, life’s highs & lows and everything in between can be fun.  It’s a way we can all support each other through this crazy thing we all called LIFE.  You see…I am huge believer in LIVING LIFE every. single. day.  and doing it with passion, purpose and POSITIVITY.  I am not going  to sugar coat it, life can be HARD…but seriously life can be SO beautiful most days, and I find that when I share aspects of my life and dive into the amazing lives of others…my heart is full.
Now…let me get to the meat and potatoes of this first post.

My WHY…

When I visit other peoples social media sites or blogs, I love to know the stories of the people writing them.  There are often unique twists and turns, just like in my own life, and I enjoy seeing where the writers came from and where they are in their journey now.  As new “blogger” (did I just call myself that?!?), I now am starting to know how much goes into blogs (both time and courage) and I look forward putting in the work to share a tips, stories and adventures that might just help someone along the way.  From this very first post, I can tell you on a personal level…I am SO excited because there are no “word count” limits and I can ramble and ramble on without someone telling me I have to cut down on my writing, because of a space limit.  Not that I am saying each of my blog posts will be a NOVEL, but I want the space to be able to share anything at anytime without limits.  Thats the other thing that motivated me to start this blog.  I absolutely LOVED #run365withjen and setting a goal to run 2,017 miles in 365 days and sharing it with so many was SO FUN…but you know what?  I found myself feeling limited at times.  Like I could only share my life as a runner and that is truly only ONE very small piece of me.  SO, my goal for 2018 is to start this blog which will be so much more of me.  I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, Police Sergeant, Stella & Dot Stylist, Realtor, Fitness Enthusiast, Nutrition explorer, Adventure seeking, positive thinking, coffee loving person who simply LOVES LIFE. Therefore, I have decided to share a bit of my life story here so that, if you want, you can find out how I got here and a bit about where I have been.  I would love to get to know you more, too, so feel free to leave an introduction and a link to your blog or social media accounts if you have one!
So where to start… I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area (California) with parents of Irish-Italian Decent and the most awesome big brother a girl could ever dream of having.  I fell in love with this one perfectly imperfect little life we are all given at a young age.  I was born in 1978, 2 months early and was only 2 pounds 2 ounces at birth.  Let’s just say the odds were stacked against me and my parents were told I wan’t going to live.  Thankfully, I survived against those odds and became a stubborn, type A “Fighter” at a young age.  When I say fighter, I don’t mean a boxer or wrestler or someone who likes to actually fight.  What I mean is someone who is DETERMINED.  I am someone who won’t take NO for an answer, and who wants to inspire others to do the same thing.  You see guys, we ALL have the chance to do ANYTHING we want in this precious life…we just have to have the determination and commitment (aka “fight”) to stick with it. At age 23, I married my high school sweetheart and best friend Aram. After a couple years as an Event Planner and Substitute Teacher,  I had landed my dream job (so I thought) as a Kindergarten school teacher. I was also doing personal training on the side, and thought this was “it” for me.  I would teach, have babies and a white picket fence and live happily ever after.  Not. So. Much.  I had this nagging feeling inside of me that this wasn’t at all how my life should go, and I knew I couldn’t ignore it.  After lots of  discussion with my hubby, I decided to go after a secret passion of mine…Law Enforcement.  Yep, I wanted to be a cop.  Let me tell you all, this was WAY outside my comfort zone. This wasn’t my major in college, I didn’t join the military…in fact prior to the Police Academy…I had never; shined a boot, scaled an 8 foot wall, held a gun-done really ANYTHING law enforcement related. Yet, this “girly-girl” was intensely drawn to it and I decided to just GO FOR IT.  This choice is still one of the best decisions I have made in my life.  I overcome a lot of personal doubts, family doubts, public stereo types and crazy challenges…but I have never looked back.  This year marks 15 years strong on this great profession and I look forward to what my future career path holds. Once I got my career started, we decided to have kids.  Little did I know that being a mother would become my truest dream job and one that would TOP all of my life jobs.  I went back to work after each child, but parenting is still my most important job.  It is admittedly tough to balance it all (and believe me I have a LOT of help) but I absolutely LOVE being a Mommy and embrace all of the joys and stressors that come with it.  Like being an Officer, parenting challenges me to learn, grow and do new things every day.  They both allow me to work hard and be creative, and also give me the opportunity to serve others in a very meaningful way, which is most everything I ever wanted in a job.  I am constantly learning and growing and can’t wait to share bits of this part of my life with you as well. On the personal passion side of things, I am a self proclaimed health and fitness NUT.  I have run countless marathons, half marathons and even a 50 mile race (one and done-that was crazy).  This past year (2017) I ran every single day for a total of 2,017 miles and I am always seeking a new challenge in the fitness department.  I have competed in an NPC fitness competition (I can’t wait to do a “throw back” blog post about that crazy but fun experience at some point :)).  I love to play tennis, go on walks with friends, go to the gym and pretty much do anything ACTIVE. I love the way it makes my body feel.  Strong, confident, capable.  I also LOVE to experiment with healthy recipes and am often posting fun new “health food finds” on my Instragram account.  I am a Stella & Dot Stylist and love fashion and all things “girly” which is a complete 180 from my Police job, but becoming a stylist has provided me such a fun life balance.  I love travel with family and friends and sharing new places with everyone.  I love to work, try new things and share it all.  I squeeze a LOT into every day and basically, I am hoping this turns into a place to document/share some of these passions even more. I am inspired to write this blog because my greatest passion is SHARING this one precious life with others and inspiring people who are dreaming of accomplishing anything to go for it. I am constantly saying  “JUST DO IT” and I truly mean it.  Why not?  You will never know unless you TRY.   I am hoping something in this blog at some point will inspire each of you in some way.  If nothing else, I am hoping it will at least bring  smile to your face or make you giggle, because you can relate to something I am sharing. My life is full of many of the same daily tests and trials any working parent might face – too many things to do and not enough time, not enough sleep, a bad day, a bad day for one of the girls, a disagreement with my hubby – but this website is not a place I will be sharing most of those struggles.  However, please don’t assume they aren’t there in my life just because you mostly see awesome mom time, fitness tips, healthy recipes, travel and fun family activities.  Here you will read about only a very small portion of what makes up my life, but I can assure you my days are filled with many different kinds of moments both good and bad.  As lifestyle blogger, I try to be upfront about the image my blog produces which can’t possibly include the full story and I hope this comes across in my posts. I am far from perfect and that is OK, because NO ONE IS PERFECT and I like to celebrate our imperfections! What I really want you all to remember, and will try to share in different ways in my blog, is this, “A Positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, outcomes.  It is a catalyst and it sparks EXTRAORDINARY results.”  And…another one of my favorites that I share with my girls often is, it only takes a few moments to turn a frown upside down and to go from complete grumpiness to complete gratitude.  I hope this blog will help us all do that when we want to change the course of our day, go after a new goal or simply change our life’s direction.  Anything is possible…if you BELIEVE-COMMIT and WORK HARD. Happy 2018…today is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one! May this year turn your dreams into reality and all of your efforts into great achievements.
LET’S DO THIS!
XO, Jen

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