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

 

Nutty Nola bars

There are weeks where I don’t really get the chance to go grocery shopping which means, I’m left to my own devices when it comes to snacks. So as a backup plan, I’ve developed a quick and simple granola bar recipe made from items I usually have in my pantry.

It was super easy to create. I literally just threw stuff in a bowl that I thought would work well together! I hope you can make use of this recipe when you find yourself in a snack shortage.

Nutty Nola Bars

-vegan, refined sugar free

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 cup of instant oats
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup of ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • Extras/ optional: cranberries, almonds – I would add no more than 1/4 cup of each.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix it all using your hands until al of the ingredients are well combined. In an oiled tray spread the ingredients in the pan so that it is about 1/2 an inch thick. You want to be sure you really even out the edges as they can get quite crumbly.

Place the bars on the oven for 20-30 minutes to bake or until they are slightly golden brown (it may take less time).

Once they are done, take the bars out of the oven and spread melted coconut oil overtop using a brush.

Let the bars cool for an hour. Cut into the bars but cutting off the edges first (I like to use that part as granola) then cutting the rest into 12 even bars.

Store in an air tight container and place on the fridge to keep them fresh! Enjoy!

Yields: 10-12 granola bars

LOVE,

Jasmine

Cafe Mosaics

So my fellow blogger/ friend and I did a thing and went to a cute little vegan/ vegetarian restaurant in the humble city of Edmonton, Alberta called Cafe Mosaics.

I love going to these types of restaurants because they are #inspo for food I would like to make at home. Let’s face it, without creativity and flavor, vegan foods can be quite bland, but with those two components, I think Kendrick Lamar says it best, DAMN.

And y’all, the lighting was really poppin’ in that place, perfect for food photography! Check out a few photos of the set-up. It’s definitely got more of a rustic, hipster vibe.

As we were taking pictures, a guy walked into the store and nonchalantly asked us if we were blogging. Why yes, yes, we were. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get those 10/10 pics, am I right?

Their menu has a lot of options. I would say, enough that you don’t feel like you’re limited in any way but not too many that you end up feeling overwhelmed. They have salads, soups, comfort foods, burgers, wraps, and more! It’s a pretty diverse menu, especially considering that it’s a vegetarian restaurant. I find that when I go to these types of restaurants, I get to try something new especially compared to generic restaurants. I don’t know about you, but to me, a chicken wrap is basically the same in one restaurant as it is in another but a veggie burger or even mac and cheese can be done so many different ways when you decide not to use the standard ingredients.

Anthonia and I started off by ordering a couple of juices. Anthonia got the one that matched her lipstick, while I got one that made me look like I was super healthy. Jokes aside, Anthonia got the Scarlet juice which has beets, strawberry, celery rib, apple, and pear. I got the Green Goodness juice which has kale, spinach, cucumber, and lime. Guys, the juice was soooo good and refreshing. I would give it a solid 8/10.

Our food has arrived!

I ordered the mystery burger with a kale salad and Anthonia ordered the mystery burrito with hash browns. (Well, aren’t we being a little ambitious or should I say, mysterious? 😏) . I wasn’t the biggest fan of the burger as a whole. The patty was delicious -crunchy and flavourful. But I wasn’t a fan of the bun (super plain) or the toppings (also very basic). With that said, I’ve had other foods from the Cafe that I enjoyed much more than this, like their falafel wrap!

I’ve been to many vegan restaurants so I have pretty high expectations. I know how delicious vegan food can be! So overall, I’m giving the burger a 6/10. If you want to know what Anthonia thought about her wrap, check out her Blog.

I had a super fun time taking pictures around the restaurant and eating all of this food! Oh, and the company wasn’t bad either 🙂

So whenever you find yourself in Edmonton and you want something a little less meaty, swing by Cafe Mosaics, maybe we’ll see you there. 😉

LOVE,

Jasmine

Cinnamon bun recipe

Hi all,

Who likes cinnamon buns? I love them! I probably made them around 10 times in the last couple of months 🙈 I’ve received so much positive feedback so I thought I’d share my recipe!

I kind of just took what I liked from different recipes and made it into something that was simple, easy and quick! They really take no time to make as most of the time is dedicated to the rising process.

So without further adieu here we go!

Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients:

  • 1tbsp of traditional yeast (none of this quick rising nonsense)
  • 1 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 3/4 cup of melted margarine (for dough, filling, and to spread on top)
  • 1 cup of cashew milk
  • 2 1/3 cups of white flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon

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Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Add traditional yeast, sugar, and

warm water in a large mixing bowl. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast!!! To check if it’s too hot stick your wrist in it. You should be able to comfortably have your wrist in the water.

Let sit for 10 minutes. It should appear bubbly and give off a yeasty scent.

In a pot, melt: 1/4 cup of margarine, add cashew milk and let it cool.

Pour into yeast mixture. Add in white flour -stir in 1/2 cup of flour at a time until it forms a dough ball.

Knead dough ball for 2 minutes.

Place it back into a bowl and cover with a warm towel.

Let rise for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out flat with rolling pin.

Spread 1/4 cup melted butter over top with brush.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of cinnamon mixture over top.

Roll dough into a log shape.

Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Place pieces in buttered (10×4) tray.

Place a warm towel over the top of cinnamon buns and let them rise for 20 minutes (you can skip this step if you’re in a rush, it just makes them a little fluffier).

Spread melted margarine overtop of buns.

Put cinnamon buns in the oven for 25 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown.

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Icing

Ingredients: 

8 tbsp of icing sugar

2 tbsp of cashew milk

1 tsp of vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp of allspice

Directions: 

Place all icing ingredients into one bowl Stir until all the white clumps are gone.

I multiplied this icing recipe about three times when I was making it. How much you make really just depends on how much icing you want!

Take cinnamon buns out of oven, let cool for 30 minutes

Pour icing over top

Serve and enjoy!

Yields: 12 cinnamon buns

LOVE,

Jasmine

Very Berry Bucha!

Hey guys!

True Buch, a local kombucha company in Calgary gave me a growler of their ‘Very Berry’ kombucha to try for you guys!

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I’m sure you’re all wondering, what is kombucha? Well, it’s a fermented drink made out of tea, bacteria, sugar, and yeast. I’ve heard a bit about probiotics but I’m not 100% sure how effective it is so I’ll let you guys do your own research on that!

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Those of you that know me know that I’m slightly obsessed with kombucha 😉

The obsession is so “subtle” that I line up kombucha bottles ontop of my cupboards as decor…

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Anyways, I digress.

I (and my family) very much enjoyed the kombucha. So much so that we finished 1/3 of the bottle by the end of the photoshoot.🙃 I usually drink kombucha as a replacement for soda because it still gives me that fizzy feeling with just a hint of sweetness (without all of the sugar and additives).

I must warn you though, kombucha isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It has a smell to it that some people can’t tolerate (it’s fermented! What else would you expect?) and others just simply don’t like the taste. It’s also a little pricey, the cheapest bottle of kombucha I’ve found was around $4. It makes sense though since a lot goes into making it!

This growler had a bit of a stronger taste, which I liked because I was often satisfied with just one glass! Overall, I would give this flavor an 8/10! They have other flavors too like mint mojito, ginger, and blueberry (which is my favorite!)

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Did you know, that for every bottle of kombucha you buy from True Buch some money is given to support local initiatives? A few examples include Mealshare, Pet Access Leagues Society (PALS), and Leftovers Calgary! I think that’s pretty cool! And it makes me feel a little better sipping on my expensive bottle of kombucha knowing that the money is being used for something good!

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I hope you guys go try out a bottle for yourself and tell me what you think. Pick one up at True Buch and tell them I sent you! 🙂

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