A Woman I Know: Joya & Link Up

A Woman I Know is a special theme for my link up posts that only occurs on a fifth Saturday of the month and this month I’m featuring Joya, a fabulous woman I have the good fortune of being related to through marriage. Many bloggers will publish posts on other bloggers, which I appreciate for the introductions to other blogs and the exposure they afford to the bloggers showcased, but I developed this theme to be more personal and to be based a woman from my non-blogging life. This is the second post with the A Woman I Know theme; the first one featuring my friend Amy was published in July.




Joya’s mother and my mother-in-law are sisters so Joya is a first cousin to The Husband. Despite the distance, The Husband has been close with his east coast relatives all of his life and a lot of cross-country travel in both directions has occurred over the years to attend weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs or to just visit and spend time together. Most recently, it was The Husband and I who traveled to attend the Bat Mitzvah of the daughter of another cousin (who is also one of Joya’s brothers).

Back in April when I first thought up the theme of A Woman I Know and drafted an initial list of women to feature, Joya was near the top of the list because she is such an awesome person, beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. Like most women today, Joya wears many hats throughout her day and she responds to each pull for her attention with a smile and a “can do’ attitude.

The Husband and I had a wonderful time with Joya, her kids, and the rest of the family during our recent trip. The photos for this post were taken during one of the afternoons both in Manhattan and in Hoboken. The interview is a mix of Joya’s written responses to questions I sent to her and conversations we had in person.

Questions on Life and Living

Rena: Is the glass half empty or half full?
Joya: DEFINITELY half full. I do not have a defeatist mentality.

Rena: Are you concerned about being age appropriate?
Joya: Yes. I’m always concerned about dressing my age but within reason. I like to have fun with flirty clothes. I think if you feel good in the clothes you choose, then you exude confidence and that’s the best look of all.

Rena: What do you do for you to put a smile on your face?
Joya: I go to watch my kids play sports, watch my daughter sing in her chorus or get a really good workout in.

Rena: What are the top five things on your bucket list?
Joya: I’d love to go on a safari, drive cross country, learn to play the guitar, own a few dogs, and do yoga retreats around the world.



Questions on health and fitness

Rena: You’ve had some health issues. How have you managed them?
Joya: I’m extremely proactive in recognizing that my health needs to be a priority and issues need to be handled and not ignored.

Rena: You are/were a personal trainer … how did you get started with this?
Joya: I’ve always loved fitness. I’ve participated in sports my entire life. I figured I could give my expertise and knowledge to individuals who could benefit from my passion for health, wellness, and exercise. Plus, who wouldn’t like to get paid for working in a job you love. I don’t train full-time anymore due to other non-fitness work I do but I get such pleasure out of it that I will continue with it on a part-time basis.

Rena: What is your philosophy about getting into shape and staying healthy?
Joya: My approach is about setting realistic goals for oneself. I’m very disciplined but really try to stay on an 80/20 formula. 80% I stay on track with exercise and diet, 20% of the time I allow myself to splurge. I don’t beat myself up if I go off track, I just move on. It’s ALL ABOUT MODERATION. I never say no to anything I want to eat, I just don’t eat the entire bag. LOL!!!

Rena: What is your typical weekly fitness routine?
Joya: My typical weeks are a mix of everything. I do A LOT of walking, I do hot yoga, cycle at FLYWheel, bootcamps, etc. I constantly change it up.



Questions on Fashion and Style

Rena: How would you describe your fashion style?
Joya: Relaxed yet not dressed down and sloppy. I love getting dressed up though and love love love shoes.

Rena: What influences your choices on what to buy and/or what to wear?
Joya: My style is based on what I think flatters my figure. I sometimes forgo the trends because they just don’t work for me.

Rena: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to buying clothing and how do you address it?
Joya: I’m very petite so finding pants is a huge challenge. I need to wear petite sizes because they’re more proportionate for my figure but I’m also muscular so my thighs can be a challenge to fit properly.

Rena: What trends are you keen on this year?
Joya: I love the bootie and bell bottom jeans look.



Questions on Parenting

Rena: You’ve got a daughter and a son like I do but yours are twins and now 13 years old. Double the pleasure or double the trouble?
Joya: They are definitely double the pleasure. They are so good and love each other. It’s so wonderful to see the bond between my twins. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to break in. I’m a third wheel in my house.

Rena: There are so many new things in life since you were a teen. What have you learned from your children that you didn’t know previously?
Joya: I think it’s harder to be a teen today. I’m learning that my kids need to know way more about consequences than I ever did. With all the social media and postings, everything is on display, so kids need to be aware of that impact and potential consequences.

Rena: What do you hope that your children learn from you?
Joya: I hope that my children learn forgiveness. It’s a hard thing. And that challenges in your life can always be overcome.

Rena: Are you a cool mom?
Joya: Of course, I’m a cool mom. The coolest!!!!! Just like the song says “Stacey’s mom has got it going on”. My kids’ friends will sing “Ava’s/Cameron’s mom has got it going on”. They’ll die if they read that! Ha!



Let’s Wrap This Up

Now, onto the Fine-Whatever link up for this week. My featured contributor is a relatively new reader and follower of this blog. BiTi, a co-collaborator from Pret-A-Vivre, which translates to “ready to live”. BiTi and her partner love to discover, learn and do new things. Her featured post shows the versatility of a skinny ribbed black turtleneck with five different looks.

BiTi © Pret-A-Vivre.com

BiTi © Pret-A-Vivre.com

I hope that you have enjoyed meeting my cousin Joya. Who are the awesome women that you know? What do you admire about them and how have they influenced your life?  The next month with a fifth Saturday is December and I already have another awesome woman in the queue to introduce to you. However, I’m still looking for my 2017 line-up so be warned my other friends and family, I may soon be calling to ask you for a favor. Please consider saying yes.


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43 thoughts on “A Woman I Know: Joya & Link Up”

  1. What a beautiful woman Joya is….inside and out! How fabulous to have such wonderful relationships with in-laws! I love this series of yours, Rena, and reading about the women in your life who impact you. I think the woman in my life who has the most impact is my big sis. I just think she is the bee’s knees and I am always so proud of her. Perhaps someday she would let me write a post about her, but at this point she is much to private! Thanks so much for sharing these lovely posts!


    1. Shelbee, I am lucky to have great in-laws and the women I know are brave enough to share themselves on my blog. I hope that you’ll be able to convince your sister to let you honor her on your blog.

  2. Such a great series, Rena! I love that you feature women who have impacted and whom you are close to in real life. Joya sounds like a wonderful woman. And how great that your husband’s family is making a real effort to stay connected even though they are geographically separated; it’s not easy…

    Thanks for the link up & have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Andrea, I was lucky to have gained such a wonderful family when I married my husband and I’ve always been in awe of how close they are despite the distance.

  3. Thank you Rena for giving me the wonderful honor to be a “5th Saturday” feature in A Woman I Know. I thoroughly enjoyed my 15 minutes of “Super Model” fame on the blog. Keep up the great work and let your photographer know i love his work. ? Joya

    1. Donna, thank you for commenting and letting me know how you found my blog. I’m glad you liked the feature and doubly glad if it’s given you some inspiration for your own blog.

  4. I really like this series. Real women sharing their strengths and how they navigate This Thing Called Life. They say that you are a some of the people that’s around you. It sounds like you have some tremendous people in your circle, and they are all leading very full lives. I love that your cousin, Joya, wants to make sure her children learn about forgiveness, that is a very hard concept but it is much needed in our world today.

    What a fun link up, I love seeing how others pull their style together, and this link-up has so many different views. Really cool.

  5. So nice to meet Joya, and what a lovely lady. She is very goal oriented and I love her attitude.. I understand being proactive with a health condition, as well as learning to take care of yourself. Love her fashion philosophy too..of knowing what works for one’s body.
    Enjoyed the interview!
    Thanks for linking up with My Refined Style
    jess xx

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