Food, fashion, fun: ice cream and Levi’s

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Hey hey friends! I’m starting this new blog series called Food, Fashion and Fun where I feature two of my loves (food and fashion) in one post!

Food: The weather has been super nice lately which is a perfect excuse for a cold treat! So I headed over to Village Ice Cream and grabbed a banana spice coconut milk ice cream. And yes, this is a vegan-friendly flavor! It tasted a bit like pumpkin spice to me and I really enjoyed it. So I would definitely recommend it to all of you Starbucks fanatics out there.

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Fashion: I decided to go on a bit of an adventure through downtown Calgary after putting together a super cute outfit fitting for the occasion. I wore a pair of high-waisted Levi’s (which added so much length to my already long legs haha), a classic Levi’s t-shirt (can you tell I love their stuff?), and a pair of fuschia strappy block heels. It was also a bit windy so I threw on a little bomber jacket! I appreciate how a few seemingly simple pieces can come together to create a pretty classic outfit. If you want to be a little less formal, instead of wearing the block heals, throw on a pair of sneakers instead.

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Fun: So this was more like work than fun but I helped my brother film an intro to his vlogging channel and in return, he took some bomb photos of me! I spent the afternoon roaming the streets of Calgary visiting a few hotspots like the downtown mall and Stephen Avenue!

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I hope you enjoyed this post, until next time!

LOVE

Jasmine

Seasons

Hi friends!

Thanks for tuning in. Apologies for my absence, I’ve been going through a really rough season. I needed a break from unnecessary stimuli and instead, channel my energy into my close relationships and myself. I’m not going to get into the details of what I have been going through but I am going to share with you what I have learned/ am learning.

If your winter was anything like mine, you can attest to the fact that it has been a long one! And now we are finally getting some sun! Can you say dress and sandals weather?!

On that note, I think this winter is a fitting metaphor for the current state of my life -hardship, after hardship, and one thing causes another- will it ever end?! I’m generally a happy person who puts on a brave face most of the time but the consequences of doing so can literally be fatal. I hope that sharing what I have learned can serve as a tool for some.

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But before I jump in, I would like to open with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote:

“One illusion is the myth of time… “And time will work that out.” You’ve heard that I’m sure. These people fail to see that time is neutral and it can be used positively or negatively. The fact is that segregation horns have made a much more effective use of time than some other sources of good will, even the federal government.  I’m afraid that we may have to repent, not only for the blatant, vitriolic words of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” 

I know what you’re thinking, “Jasmine, Martin Luther King Jr. is great and all but what does his American Dream speech have to do with seasons?” I think, in this speech, he highlights an irrevocable fact about time- that it maintains a neutral position, therefore each individual has the freedom to choose how they will use it and merely doing nothing with will not suffice. So with each difficult season don’t just say to yourself “it will pass”, consider what you will do amidst it.

So here are a few of my reflective points during this heavy period.

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Get supported

One of the best things that I ever did was get a mentor. She has supported, advised, and celebrated with me during my setbacks and milestones. If you don’t already have a mentor or two (or three), get one! When you’re going through a difficult time the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out who you can talk to. You need to be able to talk to someone who is intentionally invested in your life, familiar with your situation, and detached enough to give you sound advice. Another huge source of support, besides my family, has been my friends. There are quite a few people that I know will be there for me when I am in need of some emergency TLC.

Sometimes getting support looks like seeing a professional. This can be extremely beneficial especially considering that they are well-equipped to help you deal with your situation. I understand that there may be a monetary deterrence but most professionals in these fields take your financial circumstances into consideration, using a sliding scale to determine the cost. If you are a student, your school may have free resources such as counselors, “boot camps”, and support groups.

Be grateful 

The last thing we want to do when we are going through a rough time is write down all of the things we can be grateful for. It’s tough, I know, but it’s so necessary especially if you want to remain remotely sane. When we choose to dwell on the negative (and sometimes we will) we must remember that it is our responsibility to take every thought captive and decide whether or not we are going to let it weigh us down.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -if anything is praiseworthy or excellent, think about such things” -Philippians 4:8 

I have a tough time doing this consistently so a few things that I do are: 1) Pray– tell God what you are grateful for. 2) Keep a gratitude journal -before you go to bed every night write down at least three specific things that you were grateful for that day. It can be something as simple as hearing the sound of the birds chirping when you woke up. It’s also great to be able to look back on your blessings. 3) Talk it out with friends- My friends have shed a positive light on my tough situations. Sometimes what I need is an external perspective.

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Use the quieter seasons to equip you for the stormy ones

Quiet/ reflective seasons are opportune times to do some introspection and consider what areas in your life need some revision. Something I personally need to work on is my self-talk. A lot of the time I can be my own worst enemy -choosing to internalize negative beliefs about myself and replaying them in my head over and over again. I know that when things get busy I almost immediately revert to this type of thinking. So when I find myself in a position where I have a little more time on my hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up my bible and fill my heart with truth, go to life-giving events, and work on cultivating positive relationships. Again, it all comes down to what you choose to do with your time.

A few books that have really helped me combat this cognitive disposition are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies and Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. Both books have challenged my way of thinking and provide practical ways to equip myself when these negative thoughts come to mind.

Another thing I have been challenged to do is intentionally rest. This looks different for everyone, whether it be sleeping-in a few days a week, hanging out with people you haven’t seen for a while, or reading a book or two. This is something I’m still learning to do but it has been a rewarding process.

Do the exact opposite of what you want to do

When I find myself in a rut all I want to do is stay in my bed and sulk in self-pity. But in no way is that helpful. It ends up turning into a self-perpetuating cycle. For example, I neglect exercise and become more prone to stress and anxiety. More often than not, the best thing to do is that healthy habit you’re neglecting.

So what is it that you don’t feel like doing today that you know will benefit you after it’s been done? Is it going for a walk? Eating a good meal? Hanging out with friends? Go do it!

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This too shall pass

I can’t take credit for this last point. One of my good friends constantly reminds me that a season is just that, a season. She told me “You may be upset now, but you won’t be upset forever, you may be anxious now, but you won’t be anxious forever.” With this insightful perspective, I can now see the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.

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I don’t think that my season has ended just yet but after winter does come spring so I’m hopeful. Stay hopeful friends.

LOVE,

Jasmine

 

A few things I learned in 2017

Over time, I have grown to appreciate the new year more and more. To me, it represents a new start for all of us regardless of where you are. It makes us stop and think just how fragile and precious each year is. Every interaction we have, every decision we make, everything we do matters! I’m realizing the importance of intentionality in everything we do -why are we doing what we’re doing? Who are we serving? Does it benefit you (or anyone else) in the long run? What is your goal? How is this helping you get there?

As we all go into this new year, I write down what we hope to achieve in 2018. But it’s important to look back before we move forward. So I have decided to share with you 17 things I learned in 2017.

 

Walk with God – I notice a difference when I pray, read my bible, engage in fellowship with people of the same faith and when I don’t. When I do, I’m energized, confident, reassured and equipped. When I don’t I’m run down, easily tainted by the world and discouraged. Every day, I get to choose what I want my day to look like and it’s so much better when I decide to move forward with the Lord on my side.

Make your bed every morning – Your mom probably already told you to do this and like the saying goes “mom’s always right!”. This year, I made it a point (and a habit) to make my bed every morning and I noticed how much better I felt starting my day. Our brain loves accomplishing tasks no matter how small and making our bed is a simple way to get us in the right mindset for the day. Also, your room just looks a lot more put together and inviting when you make your bed!

Suffering produces character – this year was tough to say the least. I lost a loved one this year and it was tough for me to accept it and make myself vulnerable by seeking support. I feel I am a lot stronger and appreciative because of it. We need to learn to embrace suffering in a world that so desperately desires to avoid it. Gold is refined through the fire my friend, stay strong.

Be realistic – as we set our 2018 goals we must keep in mind to be practical. Life throws unexpected situations at us that we need to adjust to. The advice I’ve heard is to prioritize your goals, this way, when you’re stuck in a conundrum you know what achievements are a must and which ones can afford to fall through the cracks. Secondly, set your goal within a realistic time frame – you may not learn all the dialects of twi this year but you could in 3, 4, or 5 years so consider what you can do this year to achieve it. Lastly, set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive) goals. Consider making them so the goal isn’t so daunting. For example, I will read 3,650 pages of books for leisure in 2018. Instead, the goal can be: I will read 10 pages a day, every day in 2018. Same goal. Different perspective.

Don’t just “be yourself” – this is something I learned towards the end of the year, it really forced me to stop and think how many times I use “that’s just who I am” as an excuse to be complacent about my actions. A lot of the time I use my personality as an excuse for avoiding confrontation, staying in my comfort zone, overreacting, you name it. Whatever it is there’s an excuse

Be intentional with your relationships – Relationships take effort! Whether it be starting one or continuing one, time and commitment are required. Good news is that it’s not as burdensome as we think! If I want to spend more time with my family, I’ll join them as they watch the NBA finals instead of being cooped up in my room, or help my mom in the kitchen. I take time to plan dinner dates, annual friend brunches, or even do something productive with my friends. Even sending a funny text message regularly and asking for advice, and making FaceTime calls where you catch up. These are all simple and practical ways I found, I can be intentional with my relationships. I’d love to hear your ideas too!

This also includes deciding what relationships are worth keeping and what relationships you need to let go of. I’m not a huge fan of cutting people off and I’m not insinuating that we should. But I think we have to realize that certain relationships can’t withstand distance or busyness, etc. and if it doesn’t add value to your life at this point (or won’t in the long run) then we should allow it to naturally take its course.

Be committed – only commit if you’re dedicated to whatever you are doing. I have seen the value of deciding to do something and then have it come to fruition – very rewarding. But this only works if you have decided to keep your eye on the prize regardless of what obstacles you may face.

Be grateful – gratitude is a habit we should all adopt. In a world of “me, me, me, now, now, now” we become so entitled and unsatisfied. I have a gratitude journal where I write down three specific things I am grateful for each day. Sometimes I forget to do this so I set a reminder entitled “gratitude time” on my phone. It serves as a reminder to stop complaining and morning take a moment to be grateful for what God has given me. EVERYONE has something to be grateful for!

Seize opportunities – especially when you’re young! There are so many things that can be thrown our way that can change the course of our life! A way to apply this practically is by always asking -the worst you can get is a no!

Hone and own your skills –there are certain things that we are all good at -our God-given talents. There’s a reason you’re good at them. Channel that, refine it, and own it *snap*.

Find balance -life is more than exercise and food. That’s been something I’ve struggled with for years. I’m not allowing myself to be so restrictive or obsessive about those two things in particular and just allow myself to a live! I’m noticing how rich life can be when I seek to find balance between what I do, what I eat, who I am, and how I manage it all.

Share your struggle –All too often we feel like we are battling things alone, whether it be depression, anxiety, an eating disorder. If you have overcome something (or even are going through it) we should empower others by sharing how we’ve overcome and offer a shoulder to lean. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, so many people are willing to support you, you just have to ask.

Be present -this is something I have a tough time doing. Time goes by so fast! Every moment counts and every moment should be appreciated.

Set an example -this is one of my resolutions this year. Strive to be the kind of person you want to grow up to be. 🙂

I would like to leave you all with a quote:

“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.” –C.S. Lewis

Happy New Year!!!

LOVE

Jasmine

The Gift You’ve Been Given

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What’s the best Christmas present you’ve received? Was it a handmade sweater? That MacBook you begged your parents for? A loved one’s presence?  A pair of Beats headphones? A vacation?
So often when we’re asked this question we leave Jesus out of the picture. To a lot of us, His coming is comparable to that questionable gift we get from grandma every year -unwanted, unopened and underappreciated. But we should not treat it as such. It is imperative that we grasp the value of this gift; it is not something that we can afford to take lightly. Famous philosopher and atheist turned Christian, C.S. Lewis, summarizes this point very well:
“If Christianity is false, it is of no importance and if it is true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. ”

Accepting the Gift

Okay, so you see this gift under the tree. You think to yourself “I wonder what it is?”. So you shake the box, think of what it could potentially be, you inspect the wrapping, the tape, and even smell it. You feel like it’s something special but you decide to set it back down and leave it under the tree.

In order to fully receive a gift, we must accept it. We have to be humble enough to take something from someone else, especially something that we cannot obtain on our own. Of course, we have every right deny whatever is given to us but this is not a gift that we can afford to refuse. This gift that has been given to us will soon die on a cross to pay a penalty that we cannot afford.

Okay, let’s say you chose to accept the gift. Now what?

When we get a gift we appreciate, it’s not likely that we put it away and forget about it. Instead, we honor its value by taking the time to cherish it and use it as intended. When it comes to Jesus, so many of us neglect to meet with Him daily in prayer, honor Him with our actions and read His word. Immanuel means “God with us”, He came here to BE WITH YOU, all He asks is that you be with Him also… I encourage you to show your gratitude this Christmas by acknowledging the gift that has been so graciously given to you. I challenge you to start with the Christmas story (Matthew 1-2). Read it, internalize it and consider what Immanuel “God with us” means to you.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. -John 1:12

The best part about this gift is that we don’t have to wait until Christmas to open it.  It is a gift that brings eternal joy and should be shared and cherished.
So family, as we open our gifts today let us not forget about the one we have already been given.
Merry Christmas!!!
LOVE
Jasmine

White After Labor day: Fashion Faux Pas?

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Just to clarify, labor day is in September, marking the final days of summer and the beginning of fall.

Okay, so first off we need to address where this whole “don’t wear white after labor day” came from. Well, allow me to give you a bit of a history lesson.

This entire concept started in the 1800s where wearing white allowed for differentiation between classes. Those of a higher caliber would wear white during the summer months because the weather was poppin’ and the rich people enjoyed it by sipping their iced teas and taking part in leisure activities. On the contrary, those who worked for them would wear black because they were working away. When the cooler months rolled in, the “rich people” traditionally, would no longer wear white. However, there are practical implications of this faux pas. During this time of year, it starts to snow and typically, it’s not that thick beautiful white snow that just stays as is. It more often than not becomes very slushy, dirty, and gross -not really an incentive to wear white pants… 2017-11-14-PHOTO-00000068

Caught up in the midst of this fashion crisis I texted my friend who gave me well-founded fashion advice: “wear whatever you want” she said. So I did! I had bought these pants over the summer wanting to wear them but just never really had the opportunity as there were many other outfits that I also wanted to rock.

I must say, that I made it through most of the day without getting those pants dirty but then… In the evening after I hopped out of my friend’s car, I noticed dirt marks on the back of my pants 😦

So would I wear white pants after labor day again? Yes, but I would just be a bit more careful next time. As one of my friends likes to say “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit!” (Don’t I have wonderful friends?)

All in all, in fashion, rules are made to be broken so question the norms and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries a little 😉

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Outfit details:

Gloves and toque: Spring

Poncho: Topshop

T-shirt: H&M

Jeans: Levis

Booties: Softmoc

“Fashion is not about the price tag of the clothes, but the style of the one wearing them” -Gma ❤