Life goals

I have always believed that setting goals for yourself is a necessity in life. Goals are something that have gotten me to where I am today. They have helped me overcome obstacles growing up and given me something to believe in. We all face problems in life, but not everyone is able to overcome them. I think that if we all have something to work for, we can succeed to make the best lives for ourselves. I make sure that when I accomplish a goal I set more, so I can always look forward to something.

The goals in which I have set for myself thus far are mostly career-based. I decided that I need to make more goals in my life that are “experience goals.” Therefore, I have created a bucket list. So far, this is what I have come up with:

1. Attend a Miss Universe Pageant (hopefully going to achieve this on Jan. 25 of next year in Miami!)

2. Attend a music festival.

3. Get cast in a film, t.v. show, or commercial. Even if it’s as an extra and I don’t have any lines.

4. Travel to another country: Australia, South Korea, Ireland, Spain and Costa Rica being my top choices.

5. Go on a cruise.

6. See a Broadway musical in New York City.

7. Meet an A-list celebrity (as in shake hands.)

8. Make a gourmet home-cooked meal.

9. Be an audience member on a talk show like Ellen!

10. Write and publish a book about my life.

11. Go skydiving.

12. Go on a hot-air balloon ride.

13. Fly first class.

14. Pay for a stranger’s groceries.

15. See the Chicago Bears play at Soldier Field.

16. See Beyonce in concert.

17. Attend a top designer fashion show.

18. Go wine tasting.

19. Read a book before the movie.

20. Get VIP backstage passes to a show.

21. Participate in The Color Run 5k.

Things that would have been on my bucket list, had I not already accomplished them:

Get a full body massage- It was amazing.

Become a mentor for a child- Just signed up for Big Brothers Big Sisters!

Run in a 5k race- Especially For You Race Against Breast Cancer 2014.

Fund-raise for a charity- Raised $500 for Children’s Miracle Network through Cedar Rapids Dance Marathon.

Go on a road trip- Vegas! 25 hours! Went through Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Incredible scenery!

Take a limo tour around the island of Hawaii.

Give up drinking for a month- Went 2 months without a sip of alcohol!

Attend an art show- Moberg Gallery in Des Moines.

Attend an MLB game besides the Chicago Cubs- LA Dodgers.

Go on a dinner cruise- Ate delicious lobster on a dinner cruise in Hawaii.

Start a modeling portfolio.

Take a spontaneous weekend trip- Pensacola, Florida.

Sign with a modeling agency- MMG in NYC.

Create my own website.

Start a blog- You’re reading it!

Do a shot of wheat grass from Jamba Juice- YUCK!

See a Las Vegas show- Cirque du Soleil “O” and the Jabbawockeez!

Go on a submarine ride- Hawaii.

Go white water rafting- Colorado.

Hike a mountain- Kauai, Hawaii. 12 miles!

Learn how to surf.

Jet ski in the ocean.

Talk in front of a crowd of 5,000 people.

Go to a big concert- Lil Wayne w/ Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross in Chicago.

Ride on a subway- NYC.

Go on a double decker bus tour- Washington D.C.

See The White House in person.

My First 5K Run! (that I planned on running)

Yesterday morning was the 24th Annual Especially For You 5K Race Against Breast Cancer. I participated in this race a couple years ago as my first 5K race. However, a couple years ago I didn’t plan on running. I signed up to walk the race, and when I saw a bunch of other people running around me, it motivated me to run the rest of the way. I decided that I would do the race again, but run the full time instead.

Since I ended up having plans on the date of the race last year, this year was the year I would complete my first 5K run…AND I DID! Although I am so proud of myself for completing the run, there were many things I wish I would have done to prepare better. I knew nothing about running in a 5K race, but yesterday I definitely learned quite a few things I will do in the future.

1. Dress lightly but according to weather. I am only used to ever working out in a gym. Therefore I did not have the proper outdoor running attire. It was 38 °F that morning and I ran in compression capris, my Especially For You Race long-sleeved t-shirt and a heavy fleece jacket. The jacket definitely weighed me down and I was frozen from the knees below. Next time, I will make sure to invest in an Under Armour Mock Turtleneck.

2. Start closer to the front of the starting line. Since I didn’t know how fast of a runner I would be, and how fast others around me would run, I started a little further away from the start. This caused me to get stuck behind a lot of slower-paced runners. I felt that I could have gotten a better time if I didn’t have to shuffle through so many people.

3. Check your route before you run it. I had no idea where I was running so I didn’t know when to start speeding up. If I would have known where the finish line was, I could have probably started speeding up at an earlier time and ended with an even better result.

4. Eat a light meal about an hour before the race. I am not a morning person and usually eat my breakfast on the go so I don’t have to take any more time away from my sleep. Bad idea for race morning! I decided to eat a bunch of grapes on the way to my race and my stomach felt full the entire time I was running. Next time I will make sure to eat at least an hour before my race, and eat something that’s higher in carbohydrates like a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.

5. Take more time to stretch after running. I was so cold and focused on getting back to my car that I didn’t take enough time to stretch after my race. Another bad idea. I now have a sore leg and I know it’s because I didn’t stretch it good enough.

Although I am sure there are a lot of other important things to know before running in a race, I know the ones I listed are the first I won’t forget for next time. I do have to pat myself on the back, however. For my first 5K I ended up placing 10th out of 2,029 people in my division! I was also the 37th female and 131st person to finish out of almost 14,500 people! Not too shabby for a first timer! My overall time ended up being 23:36.8 with a pace of 7:36. With the help of some better preparation, I am hoping to beat this time next year!


A Hui Hou Kakou! (Until we meet again!)

Back in Iowa and feeling very refreshed after a much needed week of vacation in Hawaii. I have visited almost every year since I moved back to Iowa from Hawaii in 8th grade. During visits I have done everything from going on a limo tour across the island, spending a day at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, going on a submarine ride, eating delicious lobster on a dinner cruise, enjoying marine life in a BOB (scooter underwater breathing observation bubble), visiting Dole Pineapple Plantation, touring Pearl Harbor and so much more. You would think I might have done it all? However, this time around I had many new experiences, as there is so much to do on Oahu.

This visit might have been one of my favorites, if not my favorite trip to Oahu. I felt like I did the most bonding with my mom this time around because my older brother did not come along on this trip, and my younger brother was at work or school most of the time.

The first two mornings in Hawaii my mom and I went hiking in Moanalua. I had never gone hiking in all my visits or while living in Oahu. The scenery was incredible and we hiked for about 4 hours both times. My mom picked fresh mountain guava that we enjoyed during our hike. Apparently you can’t buy them in grocery stores so we filled a plastic sack to bring home.
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The third day my little brother and I spent the entire day together. We went hiking at Koko Head Crater which was completely different from hiking the trail in Moanalua. This one was a short trail, but a lot more challenging with an elevation rise of 1,000 feet and hiking up 1,048 steps to get to the peak. There was also a 30-foot section suspended above a gully with nothing underneath to catch you. After taking a few breaks during the hike to catch my breath, I beat my little brother and finally made it to the top. (I realized once I had gotten to the top my little brother, who was only 3/4 the way, had all the bottled water in his backpack. I almost passed out because I was so thirsty.) Once again, the view was incredible and overlooked Hanauma Bay.
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My little and brother apparently thought we didn’t get enough exercise. So later that afternoon we went to Makapu’u tides pools and had to walk along a rocky trail to get there.

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The next couple of days my mom, aunt, little brother and I stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. My mom knew I wanted to relax on the beach, and I had never stayed in a hotel before in Hawaii . It was another great experience and the view from our hotel room was beautiful. We did a lot of walking around and shopping while staying in Waikiki. We also enjoyed some delicious Japanese food, Korean food and Hawaiian during our stay. For the second time in my life, I did yoga through the hotel activities and also went for a run along the beach.

The last couple of days I got to see some friends who I hadn’t seen in two years and have kept in touch with since 7th grade. I also spent more time with my family. The weather was perfect the entire trip–sunny and in the 90’s. It was very hard to leave and come home to 50 degree weather with cloudy skies. Talk about a climate change!

Although it is always good to be back home in Iowa, I will always think of Hawaii as my second home. I can’t wait to go back, but that probably won’t be for another year or two. With that being said, “a hui hou kakou, Hawaii!”

A work-a-holic summer!

According to a school calendar, summer is coming to an end for many. Even though I am out of school, it feels like summer is coming to an end for me too. At the radio station, summer is our busiest time with all the events and remotes we attend. Working in radio is more of a “6 days a week” kind of job because many events take place on weekends. Although it doesn’t feel too much like work, I have spent almost the entire summer working. I think a better way to say it is- I spent the entire summer being very involved in the community and experiencing so many cool opportunities! Whether it was broadcasting live downtown at the Cedar Rapids Farmers’ Market, being at every Uptown Friday Night at the McGrath Amphitheatre, attending a Matt Nathanson & Gavin DeGraw concert (yeah real hard work huh?), or broadcasting live for clients, I enjoyed it all! I think I attended so many community events, people started recognizing me when I would be out and about. I have had a number of people come up and ask if I’m the Jenny Valliere that works for Z102.9. I would often think, “how on earth did you just pronounce my last name correctly?” and, “WHO ARE YOU!?” Then I remember my job and that I’ve been everywhere from the Paramount Theatre to the U.S. Cellular Center to the McGrath Amphitheatre speaking to large crowds and using my name.
Apart from working, believe it or not, I still made time for my own personal interests! To name some:
I attended my first art show to see the work of my second cousin- Tom Jackson,
had some photos taken by the lovely Mari Doan to add to my modeling portfolio,
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volunteered to be the emcee for the first ever Asian Cultural Festival in the corridor (and shook hands with the mayor!!),
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was an optional contest judge for a national pageant, “World’s Glamorous Miss”,
was the emcee during finals for the same pageant (it streamed live which was very cool!),

attended many CR Kernels baseball games,

and SO MUCH MORE! The highlight of my summer will be going to Hawaii in one week to visit my mom and little brother for a week. I can’t wait for a nice vacation and much needed relaxation time on the beach. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share all about that experience! ;)

Goodbye fellow vampires!

After 15 months of being the full-time overnight disc jockey, I am both excited and sad to say I am leaving the graveyard lifestyle for a more “normal” life. I was promoted to be the full-time afternoon air personality for Z102.9 radio from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays! My first shift is Monday and I am very excited! Although there are things I will miss about the overnight life (no traffic, quiet building, getting away not having to attend meetings), I can’t wait to see what the afternoon drive on the air has in store for me!

Z102.9 has definitely brought me many learning experiences and opportunities thus far. Since I started two Mays ago, I have learned how to voice, edit and produce commercials, develop content for our website and social media, I have welcomed crowds at the McGrath Amphitheatre, the U.S. Cellular Center and the Paramount Theatre, I have emceed events such as the first ever Asian Cultural Festival in the corridor, I have broadcasted at live remotes and much more!

This job has been a blessing for me and I am very fortunate to get to work for one of the top radio stations in Eastern Iowa! I believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. Some people didn’t think I would last in the overnight life, but I lived and I enjoyed every minute of it! You always have to keep in mind that you have to start somewhere. For me- it was doing overnight shifts on the weekends part-time. I like to remember that Ryan Seacrest also started as a weekend overnight DJ, and look where he is now! ;) Now on to a new lifestyle and many more opportunities!


A look back at some of my time as Jenny Valliere, Live All Night!

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Dating my career

Lately, I have seen a ton of old schoolmates, either from the grade above me or from the same grade as me, get engaged. A lot of my friends have boyfriends, or are in serious relationships and right now I am single, by choice.

My mother always told me that if I wanted to be successful, I shouldn’t worry about dating until later in life. She tells me to focus on my career, and eventually I will find the right time to have a man in my life. I thought she was just saying that to protect me from getting hurt.

I have had moments where I think to myself that I should probably start dating or worry about having a guy in my life, because I don’t want to be 30 and single. I was afraid that by the time I finally decide it’s time to settle down, there would be no decent men left out there! I do eventually want to be married and have a family, and I don’t want to feel lonely when all of my friends start to have families. I know I am still young and have plenty of time to look for a man, but it doesn’t help when everyone else around me seems to have found their perfect match.

Then I thought about the board game: “Life.” In the beginning of the game, you had to choose career or family. I realized that in real life, I chose career. I have to realize that family will come eventually, but with the path I chose I need to focus on my career for now. I chose this life and chose to make my career my priority. My little car will fill up with more passengers later. For now, I will keep going down the career road!

My Journey to Miss Iowa USA

Recently I have decided to compete for Miss Iowa USA 2015. This will be my fifth consecutive year vying for the title. This has been a long-time dream of mine, and I am very determined to accomplish it. I started competing in this system when I was 19 years old.

Miss Iowa USA is a preliminary pageant to Miss USA, which is the preliminary to Miss Universe. In my opinion, Miss Universe is the “Super Bowl” of all pageants. (Not to be confused with Miss America. Two completely different systems. No, this one doesn’t have a talent portion. Think Donald Trump.)

My placement has varied over the years.

In 2011, my first year competing I was 2nd-runner up.998864_1391570850.2992_multi

In 2012, I placed 3rd runner-up.

In 2013, I placed Top 15 as well as won Miss Photogenic.

The photo that won Miss Photogenic.

Competition has only gotten bigger and fiercer. Last year there was a whopping 60 girls I competed with. Although I did not place, it did not make me want to give up. It made me want to try even harder. This is a very subjective pageant, and each year there is a new set of judges. Last year just wasn’t my year! I am more than excited to get another chance to compete for Miss Iowa USA, thanks to all my generous sponsors.

Here are some head shots that I have taken for this year’s pageant in Newton, Iowa in October.
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California Dreamin’

No need to dream anymore! I have been to California numerous times, but only to the airport on my way to Hawaii. It has been a wish of mine to actually visit the land I have only seen from flying over. My wish was finally granted last August. Although August was quite a while ago, it’s never too late to share another experience of mine.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so here are some highlights of my trip.

My second MLB game besides the Chicago Cubs! The LA Dodgers!

The hand prints of the Harry Potter trio! We walked all around Hollywood and enjoyed the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

My first time at The Boiling Crab. Also the first time I’ve ever seen eyes still on my shrimp. Very tasty, but wouldn’t recommend eating here if you’re starving. The amount of work to peel the shrimp is just not worth it to me!

My first time to Disneyland! Had to buy the Mickey ears to get the whole effect of the experience I was deprived of as a child.

Beautiful beaches. Manhattan Beach Pier. Although it was so hot, the ocean breeze kept you cool.

A touch of Venice! 


An outdoor concert in San Diego!

A lot of first time experiences in California, which I LOVED! I hope to make it out there again sometime in the near future!

The Graveyard Lifestyle

I am nearly approaching one year of being a full-time overnight DJ. People were worried that I would not make it! Well, I’m happy to say that I am still here and have the same thoughts on how much I love my job!

I have learned so much about this “new” lifestyle.

1. There are more people awake during the wee hours than I thought! I have had all kinds of listeners call me with requests: college kids staying up late, overnight nurses, newspaper carriers, janitors, factory workers, people who wake up at 4 a.m. to go on a morning jog, etc.
2. There is a bar specifically for third-shift workers! It’s called the Green Gable Inn. Although I have never been there, I think it’s neat that not all third-shift workers are forgotten about.
3. I don’t have to use my “lunch break” to make appointments before offices close at 5 p.m.
4. NO TRAFFIC! This is something I really enjoy, especially when the weather is crappy.
5. You wake up each day with about 5 new emails, 6 social media notifications, 3 text messages, and at least one missed call. People tend to forget that I usually don’t wake up until half their day is over.
6. You’ll need to invest in some room-darkening blinds/curtains if you don’t want the sun to bother you when you sleep.
7. It gets a little tricky when people ask you to go to lunch. It’s their lunch but your breakfast, so you might as well go to Perkins to be able to satisfy the both of you.

It might be a different story if I wasn’t young and if I had a family, but I am a survivor for now!