Who can build the best body?


We decided yesterday that it will be a contest. The idea was mine and I made it knowing fully well that he can run circles around me. “Let’s see who can build the best body.”

His eyebrows raised, a sparkle there, a challenge met and agreed upon. “Yes! I like that idea. We need a deadline though. When will judging be?”

“Let’s see what we can do from now until the first of the new year…”

“Three months?” he asked, “Do you think that is enough time to get the results we want?”

I was already winning in my mind. “I’m not worried about it. I know it will be enough time for me to beat you. Three months is plenty…”

8:49 AM Sunday, October 12, 2014

HIM: He had breakfast. Cereal with almond milk, turkey bacon, he had that too.

ME: “Sh*t!” I’ve got chicken broiling.

(pause while I run upstairs to check)

The chicken is not yet burnt, or cooked enough to eat. My boyfriend is doing abs in some stir-up things he has mounted to the beam in my office. I can hear him making sex sounds (working out) behind me. I’ve got no fuel in my body, besides coffee, a bite of an apple that I’ve already decided is too soft, and one piece of candy corn I picked up off the living room floor. I ate it so the dog wouldn’t.

feeling determined at A Smile Like Yours Photography.


My daughter is thinking about college. She’s been asking me questions like I should know and I pretend to because I love that she is engaged in her future. “Stanford? What is that college known for?” she asked on the drive to school this morning.

“Business. I do believe they are known for their business program.”

“Harvard? What about Harvard?” she had moved to ivy league.

I was out of mine for knowing but, “Law, I do believe they are one of the best law schools in the country.”

“A lawyer!” her face lit when I mentioned that, “I would be great at that, but I don’t even know what type of law would interest me.”

I smiled inwardly as I hadn’t noticed any inclining of interest previously. “Sapphire, your career path will open up for you through education. You do not need to have a linear focus yet, in fact it’s almost better to keeping yourself open to every possible avenue for success. Have you considered the tech industry? You could work for Microsoft or Google? The big money seems to be there. In that field.

“Yes, I have actually,” her answer surprised me. “I just don’t see myself in a life like that. I don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer screen all day. I want to be actually doing something. Something more than sitting.”

I smiled again. Computers are a huge part of my business. She had every right to worry about being locked to a screen. I also know that she would never need to be.

“Yes, I can see that and I relate. You’ve got to think of the bigger picture when it comes to time though. You are imagining yourself a slave to your career and I promise you that can happen in any of them. The key is balance. Let’s just imagine that the career you choose is based solely on its ability to generate large amounts of income. Let’s even imagine that you aren’t crazy about the work it entails. People always say to pick something that you think you will love doing, but what would you love more than freedom, more free time? The goal is financial independence. The more revenue you generate the more options you will have in life, including free time that you enjoy. You career is only a small portion of your life Sapphire, but it feeds all the other areas. Imagine yourself traveling the world, and being able to do those things you dream of, even helping people. If you do not have enough yourself, you will not have more to share. Think about those things. There are many factors to consider.”

She nodded, “Yes, I have been thinking about them. I just don’t seem to have any answers. I know what I want though. I want to excel mom. I want to be so good at something that it makes me famous. I want to be known for something. I want people to recognize my name, knowing that it stands for something huge I’ve accomplished, a great success.”

I dropped her in front of her school as her thoughts settled into my heart as motivation to help her find her way. She grabbed her saxophone and the mountain of books she would soon know and went, leaving me to whisper, “Fame should come easily. I gave you an unforgettable name. How could anyone forget a girl by the name of Sapphire Rain.”


Hate is good as any to keep a person going, better than most.―Sandor Clegane to Arya Stark

I’m going to tell you a story about a man I once knew, if he was a man. Some say he was born a beast, birthed dark, a black sheep with its throat cut open to curse us for all the reasons he could not belong to the light.  He wasn’t right to be a man and yet he was. I saw it in his eyes when he died, that one small piece of humanity.

People called him The Hound, but he looked like a pit bull with half his skull torn to hamburger. The flesh was a mangle of meat riddled with meal worms.  His scars looked like maggots forever feasting on face, and then there was his other side, strangely soft, prepubescent to agony, unmarred. The same was true of his soul, but to be twisted and burned. That’s the thing about torture. It’s an adaptation of spirit even before the skin begins to blister and boil. I wonder what part of him cried out first as the hand of his kin held his face to fire, soul or vessel. I see the memory of his maiming in manhood, but he was just a boy when he was mutilated to life.  What an introduction it was, with no courting. Face withered to near death by five. It took one childhood hand to hold his head to ruin, tiny by years but stronger than a favorable fate.  If he’d only been born bigger than the mountain.

Do you know what sound a hound makes? It bays to scent, deep, a prolonged howl. Imagine that howl along with the pitch of rabbit screaming death’s hollow. That is what it sounded like when he changed from boy to beast, that was the sound he made when his brother burned him. The story told near legend with most asking, “Why?”

“Why did his brother burn him?”

I must admit that I’ve heard the story told with so many versions that I can no longer settle on one truth. I believe them all, even the simplest. The simplest truth came from The Hound himself. He said his brother held his face to the fire to burn over a toy, one that wasn’t his to play with.

“Over a toy?”

Yes, a toy, or so it was presumed as punishment. There was no altercation before the tragedy and it was tragic. Little Sandor, yes he had a name before ‘infamous dog’, was only curious when he bent to pick up the toy belonging to his older brother. He had it in his hands long enough to look up and into fire.  He was burnt as quickly as if the toy itself was lit, without word or warning. Jack opened the box, it went boom, and when it did all of the king’s horses, and all of the king’s men couldn’t put poor Sandor back together again. Hell, they could barely free him from the fire and it was but a boy holding him there: in hell’s fire. Gregor was a boy with Lucifer’s strength. It took twelve, a dirty dozen angels, to pull the little pup from flames, the dog Gregor had been roasting like a weenie with baby buns, or was that his baby brother Sandor?

I can only imagine the healing and all the years that happened after to pile on scars, each one a new identity to a forever changing mutiny.  The Hound a mask of horror painted by the nightmare of his brother.  They grew up together after that. I never missed that part of the story by all the ways that I imagined it, even if none of it is real.  Is any part of this story true?

I stopped writing to invite my boyfriend to listen to what I’d written so far. He laid on the sofa next to me with his eyes closed as I read aloud my story of The Hound. When I was done he sat to ask, “That’s from The Game Of Thrones? Are you trying to retell the story in your own words?”

No, I’m trying to tell my own story through fiction. I know The Hound, a man who meets that reflection. He is hateful, near dead save one sliver. I’ve studied this man for the sum of my whole life much like Arya Stark in a goblin squat above her fallen hound. My eyes, glass in an empty head, carved to save sight for the pleasure of hope. This man is my friend and I hate him for all he wants me to hate and he has always wanted that for me.  Hate, the fire to purge pain and wouldn’t he love to spare me from the torture of before. Go straight to hell with the wrath and fury of the unforgiven and they do not deserve it. Forgiveness, once is already too much. They deserve to rot as you rise from ash, and if you’ve been hurt then you deserve it. I warned you. I told you to kill them all, women and children, but you’ve always been too kind. I hope I’m there to ask you how good it feels to die with a knife in your back, how dying feels. How kind will you feel then, when you are choking on good-bye.”

How is it that I’ve known these words in real life and I promise that I have, in this, our most civilized time.  I wondered why my lessons were so brutal. Even know he is preparing for his last breath, my own hound, hoarding food, with talk of compounds and end of days. If only I could be smart enough to see it coming because he warned me to pay attention.

I could get lost in the details of the end except that I am still here and what is real can only be what is before me. Right now I’m sitting in front of a computer screen in desperate need of a shower.  My coffee is cold and near empty and I’m writing because I enjoy it.  As to the retelling of what has already been written, why would I bother to try to see it differently?  It’s what I hold onto by message that I meant to account for.


I see the word and come back to…


I only want one of those to win, but hate is the easiest.  The hound wanted me to hate him before he died. I started writing this blog on the day I killed my dog for protecting my own house, unless he bit the woman for enjoyment. I can’t really say. I only know that the city wanted him destroyed and so he was, by our hand and so it had to be.  It was an honorable thing to do if there is honor in killing a friend and he was that to us. He was our cherished and adored friend, our protector. We loved him for what he was. He was a hound with a beautiful snow white face. Our dog’s name was Oly and he is ached for.

Sometimes I hate to look at myself. The scars looked like maggots forever feasting on face.

Then there are days I feel beautiful, prepubescent to pain.





FACEBOOK: Do you like me?

Good morning facebook friends!!! I have facebook friends again. Someone please like this post so that I feel…..

I feel that most people say too much on facebook and in life: myself included, myself betrayed. My own voice betrays me, and sometimes thoughts too. If only I’d kept my mouth shut maybe I’d still have that friend, or that one, or that one….

Does anybody out there still like me?

“Of course they do Amber!” Don’t be silly….”

Do they?

taking sapphire to school

I question myself on a regular basis and then there are days I accuse, “Why should they like you Amber? You are too loud, too abrasive, too much of everything with nothing near middle. You forget birthdays. You’re cheap, selfish, and lazy…..”

OUCH. Someone stop me before I get to true loathing and I do. I sometimes allow my absolute and total destruction until I am a character in black paint or does that sound racist… f*ck…. you should add that too. I am sure I have that malignancy and perhaps I should get a cancer screening.

“Amber!!! You are none of those horrible things and you don’t have cancer.”

I have friends for that reason. They argue with my fear, worry, and doubt. My best friends tell me I am crazy.

Can you imagine what I would become without friends! Thank you facebook!! What would I do without you….


We’ve only had facebook since 2004 and I’m more than sure I had at least 804 friends before then…. or did I? How can I keep track of people without like buttons?

My life has become a poll of public opinion.


How many people do you think like Donald Trump? He’s doing just fine in the Capital, painted clown that he is.


Do you think he cares how many people like him?

My answer is no. He is successful because he capitalizes on need not likability. People like getting things they need. Simple business. Easy profit.

Walmart is an example of Trump likability. There are a lot of people that HATE Walmart and the Walmatians that shop there. Those same haters are having those ugly judgmental thoughts while they are filling up their shopping cart…. at Walmart.


Hate is a powerful word, especially in bold.

“Did you say hate the people or hate the store because I ain’t no people hater.”

It’s enough to make you stop to consider which side you’d be on. Do you hate Walmart? Are you a hater and if you are do you still do business in their store?  If the answer is yes… why?

These are the things I think about at 7:42 am on a Monday morning. I’m also thinking about brushing my teeth, and that I have my own business to run. I need to take a shower, and then I’m making the bed. Crawling into my sheets tonight will be the reward to a day well earned and loved. I love what I do to the passion of all people who walk through my door, gifts. My days are full of gifts and there is fruit born from that love. My personal training business allows me to help people in their journeys toward and through continued health: creating goals and bests. My life is devoted to that purpose. Proactive health and wellness to the making of the best life.

My best life includes art. I also make a living as a photographer. A Smile Like Yours Photography is a fine art portrait studio. I am known for my high-end gallery portraits though my new business model promotes more of an influx of clientele. My current price structure is seventy-five percent less to my clients mostly on the account that I’m in the mood to see volumes of people. I enjoy them and then I also want them to have and hold their memories. All of my sessions include the images with printing rights. This provides my clientele with the opportunity  to make their own prints, share them online, and of course there is archiving.

We are nothing without our memories…

The beginning and focus of this blog was likability and yes, there are times I allow my own heart to get caught up in the concept of it mattering. Do you like me? It shouldn’t matter but it does.  Likeabilty in life is generally earned by giving and contribution. How much does your life add to the world by the value of what you do?

Like that.

I do.

May your day be filled with smiles,

Amber Garibay



My dearest Kay,Good morning beautiful you,I’m thinking about you this morning. Wondering how you are doing this week walking your 20 minutes a day in the heat? Last week found you unstoppable and you have been. I don’t imagine much of anything will keep you from succeeding on this journey.

Progression by desire and heart with all the time in the world to reach your goals and you have been these months. First we built a foundation, increasing your core strength. We worked with care to prevent injury and there were times you felt stifled for progress and I promised….

“It will come with time.”

It has too, not the weight loss you were so focused on at first (that has come slowly) , but a vessel capable of building stronger mass, a body capable of doing MORE.

On June 21, 2014 you slopped in the mud to celebrate the fact that you can now….



5k’s and Dirty Dashes, feet on pavement, what day will find you the fastest?

and when you aren’t running I’ve asked you to walk.

and when you are walking I want you to understand that even if you can’t always see it those steps are moving you toward something priceless.


I am proud of YOU!

Much Love,
Amber Garibay


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This morning’s post is a shout out to Kay Thurman Cinotto. I logged in to check her progress and what did I read…

“Day #3 of my trainer’s challenge!!! YIPPEE..My challenge this week was to do 20 minutes on the treadmill every day for 7 days ..Over and beyond any other workouts I do each day…Days #1, #2 and #3 DONE! (including intervals of jogging)…WHEW! This is quite a commitment…!! I need to go clean up a bit now, before I sweat all over my keyboard….Thank you Amber Garibay for being the best motivational trainer I’ve ever had!! Love you!”


Yay!!!!  GO! KAY GO!!!

DAY # 1: Mission accomplished
DAY #2: Mission accomplished
DAY #3: Mission accomplished

Thank YOU Kay!!! Thank you for giving me the gift of more time. This time you are giving yourself. It is a fountain of youth. Keep walking…

Walk for your mom. Walk because you are a mom. Walk because you are loved.


I am honored to be your personal trainer. Proud and honored.

Sending a smile,
Amber Garibay






June 24, 2014- day one food journaling.

It should be known that I absolutely despise keeping a food journal and I abhor the idea of measuring my food portions on a scale.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe that food journals have a place. My own clients keep them as I instruct.  I’m still going to tell you that I don’t like them.


The Chehalis Trail June 2014

Photography: Josh Nicholas


Two cups of coffee my way: 2 tablespoons coffeemate and stevia

Raspberry Hybiscus Hot Tea with Stevia (drink as needed which is often)


16 almonds

5 Pringles- They were Ranch Flavored

Hamburger Stir Fry (Breakfast and Lunch)

A Naval Oarange

5 Black Cherries

Spaghetti- whole grain pasta, fresh mushrooms, Italian sausage, and ground beef.

and yes there was garilc bread


I ate more than I should have.

Three pieces of bread

then there was an oreo waffer.

I only ate one of those though.

Not one whole package either,

One waffer.

Shocking I know… I usually eat the entire package.

I love waffers. 


I renamed the title of this blog. It was originally called a food journal but like I mentioned before I really hate writing down the food I eat and further more to be obsessed by what I put in my mouth. Yesterday I ate a big fat d…..


I didn’t have the doughnut but I considered it. There was a time yesterday that I wanted pizza dipped in bacon covered in cheese smashed inside a cheeseburger on a bacon samich.


No,  I didn’t spell it wrong.


I wanted one of those. Ghetto fat fried.

Can I get a side of tots?

Yesterday was my first day of actual commitment. I hired Braden Hamilton of My Cubicle Coach to be my personal trainer  a couple of weeks back but I am only now dialing in to compliance. Fitness is a progression much like a stretch. I have not been very flexible. My priority has been everyone else and then there is pure lazy.  I’ve done a lot of snuggling watching Game Of Thrones. There is usually ice cream involved and an addiction to waffers, Vanilla. Chocolate. Strawberry. Lemon, Coconut. Each package gone the same day I smuggled it home with the idea that I could ration my empty calories.

Braden wants me to enter my consumption to ensure I progress toward my goals.

My goal is to try every flavor of waffer cookies they make. Then I would like to do a taste comparison.

Life should be tasted. I want a fitness program that understands that. My personal trainer understands that. He is building my program as I am building theirs. My own personal training clients are all laser focused on meeting their goals, enough that I am inspired to show them I know exactly how they feel. I can walk the walk and when I can’t I most certainly make up for it by quaking like a duck.My first two workouts with Braden Hamilton as my coach were near too easy as they were meant to be. Assessments… he was making assessments. The smile disappeared from my face when the work began and it did.  My third workout was brutal. He knew exactly what I could handle safely and he pushed me to that.

HIM: “Come on Amber. You can do this. Five more.”

ME: “Nope. This face means I’m done.

bad hair band returns




Amber Fierce



dirty girl















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