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She Wore an Itsy-bitsy, Teeny-weenie, CJ's Custom Rhinestoned Bikini

If you were around in the 1960's, you may understand the play on words for the title of this post (from the song 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini'). You may also remember its revival by Yoplait in 2007 with a faster version designed to get your attention focused on how eating yogurt could get you into the bikini-shape you've always dreamed of. If you've never heard the song, you can give a listen here:

There are so many titles I could have given to this post - the crowning glory of my blog so far - as I finally did something I had been dreaming of for 40 years. I remember when I first put my competition bikini on and even though I had already come so far physically, I felt completely exposed and suddenly unsure of my decision to compete: Who was I kidding, to put this old body in these tiny fabric pieces and purposefully get on a stage under BRIGHT lights and try to pull it off?! The song just popped into my head, probably because I could relate to the angst described by it:

She was afraid to come out of the locker She was as nervous as she could be She was afraid to come out of the locker She was afraid that somebody would see

She was afraid to come out in the open And so a blanket around her she wore. She was afraid to come out in the open. And so she sat bundled up on the shore.

Now she is afraid to come out of the water. And I wonder what she's gonna do. 'Cause she's afraid to come out of the water. And now the poor little girl's turning blue.

From the locker to the blanket, From the blanket to the shore, From the shore to the water Guess there isn't any more.

This girl didn't want to be afraid anymore! This girl wants to live and be brave and feel the joy and exhilaration of facing down fear. I don't want to stay on the beach hiding under a towel. I've spent years in the gym to become strong mentally and physically and because:

Doing this competition was a wonderful experience. I had such a blast the day of the show! In addition to the friends I had made during posing practice with Rich Alvarez, there were so many beautiful people there to compete. Yes, one would expect that but I am not referring just to appearance. One might also presume for there to be a lot of hopped-up ego to contend with but this was not what I observed. Total camaraderie and support, kindness, smiles, generosity, humility, humbleness, helpfulness - some of the best qualities of the human spirit were on display. So much laughing and joking with each other! And why shouldn't it be this way? Regardless of age, sex, competition category or reason for competing, we all have so much in common. While we may take a lot of ribbing from others for what we do, we should feel right at home with each other: we all get the lifestyle and understand what it takes to live it and completely embrace that.

There are things I will do different next time (yes, I will do this again!). After critiquing my performance, I know I was not the best I could be. While I didn't feel nervous in the least bit, I also wasn't where I truly wanted to be with conditioning. I will be able to pull it together for the next go (November 2017) as I plan on staying leaner. I didn't take the day, or myself, too seriously and this may or may not have been the best approach but I will get more serious next time. Probably not with my attitude but with paying more attention to the Peak Week timing. I sort of let it all go when I got the news that my mother had died. Hurricane Irma was unfortunate enough but death makes everything else fall away. I stayed the course though there was a leveling of emotion that caused a numb distraction in my mind. I kept it inside and moved forward, telling myself that I could cry and mourn later, that this was NOT a reason to ditch the show. That said, look out girls cuz I'll be bringing it next time! LOL...

I entered 3 divisions and took a First place and 2 Second place awards

Cynthia James (the infamous CJ of CJ's Elite Custom Suits) was in attendance and having her behind the scenes helping competitors with adjusting their suits and Bikini Biting them into proper position was awesome! She does in 10 seconds what many of us can't do in any amount of time, which is perfectly position a competition suit. While I saw some beautiful suits, you can see the difference in a CJ suit where it makes the greatest difference: perfect fit. If you have never tried one of her suits and you want the best for your next show, you must go see her. She also guarantees her suits. I got a ton of compliments on mine and once again CJ, I thank you for my beautiful creation!

I want to give a shout-out to Nelly who I think was the darling of the show. I am so glad I am not a bikini competitor because it would be hard to stand next to her on stage if you only care about winning. This girl is truly blessed with an amazing physique. We train at the same gym and while our times don't often match, I'm sure that most of the men (and probably women as well!) that train when she does do so just so they can keep an eye on her! She may be quite intimidating to a lot of the ladies but I can tell you she is a sweet angel. Nelly - I hope you keep going. No more 4 or more years hiatus! I want to see you at the Olympia! Nelly took First place in her division and First overall in Bikini! Duh! Click on any photo in the gallery to open it in full screen and start slide show.

Here are additional photos from the event:

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