Leading with Your Gut, with Tropicana Probiotics

Thank You so much to Tropicana for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.


“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair.  We’d never have a friendship.  We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical.  Well, that’s nonsense.  You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” ~ Annie Dillard

Once upon a time, I was a girl who strongly disliked (“Hate” is probably a better word here, but I try not to use that in any capacity, because it just promotes bad vibes, all around, you know?) her job.  I’ve talked about this before and I probably will again.

When I graduated from college and moved to New York City immediately thereafter, I wanted to become a magazine editor.  I wasn’t entirely sure what that would entail, but I was certain that I loved to create and write, and that thinking about things like branding, packaging, colors, and layouts very much excited me; they still do.

To get my foot in the door so to speak, I began temping at magazines like GQ and Lucky.  I would work at each for 2-3 days at a time doing very glamorous things such as organizing fashion closets and stuffing PR mailers.  I really enjoyed those tasks though, in part because I always felt that in doing them I was getting one step closer to my dream of becoming an editor.  We all have to pay our dues.

Eventually, I landed a full-time position at another magazine…in sales.  I had never considered working in sales before, but I was young and naive and above all, reasoned with myself that I would do this particular job for a year or two at most, and ultimately cross over into editorial as planned.  Right.

You might guess by now where this is going.

Without me even realizing it, one year turned into almost ten.  Time is good like that; it flies.  I did a lot of things in that period of my life, of course.  I moved back to Boston and got my MBA.  I traveled as much and as often as I possibly could.  When I graduated from Boston College once again (I also did my undergrad program there.), I moved to Los Angeles.

In all that time, I continued to work in sales in spite of the fact that my heart was never in it.  What I know now is that I was never cut out for sales, and if I am being honest, I was never very good at it either.  Yet in every new position that I accepted, I continued to reason and make concessions with myself as to why I kept on keeping on.  I suppose I had decided that I would make a change “someday”.


Before I go any further, I want to say that in the handful of jobs that I had in that decade, I met some incredible people and made some of my very best friends.  While I was not once particularly thrilled about the work in front of me, I was learning; a whole bunch.  I will forever be grateful for those two things if nothing else.

The truth is, however, I knew deep down that for as long as I continued to work in sales, I would never be genuinely happy.

That realization practically smacked me in the face by the point at which I landed in L.A.  The company that I was with at the time had numerous internal problems.  Those problems definitely made me feel worse off, but – that aside – what the situation boiled down to is that I was utterly unfulfilled.  Not even a new job with the coolest company, or the kindest people, or the best perks, (insert superlative here) etc., etc., etc., would change that.

What I still wanted to do was to create.  I spent my free time taking photos of random objects and scenery.  Where I could, I planned adventures and road trips.   I invited my friends over for dinner parties.  On the weekends, I wandered from farmers’ market to farmers’ market obsessing over the pretty produce California had to offer and dreaming up new recipes.

I also found that age old thought running on repeat in my mind “There has to be more to life than this“.


“The things you are passionate about are not random.  They are your calling.” ~ Fabienne Fredrickson 

As equal parts desperation and outlet then, I started posting on this blog.  My first entries were laughable, but the simple act of putting them out there was enough to make me think…”Hey, maybe I can do something with this”!  My gut told me that I had to try.

And now, here I am.  This is the Cliffs Notes’ condensed version of the story, so obviously a million and one different things have happened to get me to this place.

I’ve had my struggles (as we all do).  Frustrated tears and late nights were the norm for me in the beginning.  I’ve sacrificed a lot in my personal life to be able to do this.  There are many things that I want to fix on the blog and there are professional goals that I want to achieve.  Nothing is – or ever will be – perfect.  I am sure of that.

Another thing I am sure of is that I keep going because my gut tells me to.  I feel it nudging me every time I take a photo that I love, write something that resonates, or hear from one of you that I inspired you in some small aspect.  That right there is my ultimate goal, by the way.

My gut is the thing that leads me in the right direction, but it’s the key to my overall health and wellness too.  This is something that I think about a lot and is a link that I plan to talk about more in the future.  That fact is part of the reason that I decided to partner with Tropicana Probiotics on this post – and to tell you a bit of my story – to kick things off today.

Tropicana Probiotics is a new product, made from 100% juice with no artificial flavors or sugars.  I can get behind that.

Every 8-ounce serving delivers one billion live and active cultures to your gut, in 3 delicious flavors including: Strawberry Banana (My personal favorite; give me all of the strawberries, please!), Pineapple Mango, and Peach Passion Fruit.  You’ll be able to find Tropicana Probiotics in refrigerator sections, in multi and single serve sizes nationwide, in the new year.

I can’t promise that drinking Tropicana Probiotics will land you your dream job, but I can wholeheartedly promise that a healthy gut will always lead you to where you need to be!



2 Responses to Leading with Your Gut, with Tropicana Probiotics

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a sincerely inspirational revelation of how “JJ Begonia” came to be – and how “listening to your gut” propelled you there. As an advocate of probiotics and how essential a healthy gut can be, I can’t wait to try these new products from Tropicana. Thanks so much for posting this!

  2. Anonymous says:

    A sweet story, with a beautiful presentation. I’m excited to try all three flavors!

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