Wellness

No such thing as Chaos?!

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Chaos is a word we attribute to situations which are beyond our grasp or comprehension.

I’m sure we’ve all had a time in your lives, when simply put, just felt like a series of unfortunate events.

In these times of disruption, we tend to ask ourselves, “Why did this have to happen?!”

We like continuity in our lives. We like order, it’s almost as if we demand it.

Just when we think we have grabbed life by the horns, BOOM! Blind sighted and all, “chaos” derails our personal expectations and normalcy.

And, while continuity in life is an illusion, we still tend to believe that when things go awry…we are truly in the midst of pure chaos.

I, out of all people, must constantly be reminded that, everything happens for a reason…in its own timing.

Oftentimes, when an unexpected outcome is presented to us, our immediate reaction is to respond. To sit idly and not “do” is something many of us are not comfortable with. But our tendency in wanting to know everything that’s going on is detrimental to our mental health. We grow impatient and forget to merely experience this unknown state. Sometimes we have to learn to leave things alone and let whatever “that reason” is, manifest higher order in our lives.

If it were not for the bad, we would not know its contrast.

For us Millennials, I think the most prevalent example of this is in our post grad careers. Many of us are still trying to climb the totem pole. Sometimes a killer opportunity seems to knock at our door and… suddenly, it’s gone. We question it. We then self doubt. And more likely than not, we begin to panic.

But as we all know, there is an ebb and flow of life. We will never remain in this stagnant state. As much as we’d like to know everything that life will throw at us, it is simply not realistic. We have to trust in the process. Once we learn how to put forth trust in these trying time, I think ultimately, we will begin to see that all things work together for the better good…BUT only to those who work with them.

Once we learn how to truly go with the flow, we will begin to understand life’s rhythm, working and resting along side of it. When things seem chaotic and out of control, we have to remember that God or whatever higher power you believe in, is still in charge. We sometimes worry about what’s happening to us because we genuinely do not know what is best. But God (or whoever) does.

And although, I am still struggling with this understanding, I think ultimately, once attained, we see the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, each unfolding into a meaningful future.

We have to take the good with the bad. Our victories and struggles are essentially building blocks into a destined life.

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Once we accept and reflect upon this “chaos” we will usually see why it had to happen the way it did!

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”- Steve Jobs

 

 

 

 

Relationships

Why it is Okay to be Single

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Dating…oh the joys! As many of us singles are navigating through our 20’s, we are bound to face the inevitable question of, “why are you still single?” I believe that this societal pressure to find a mate has inadvertently pushed the idea that being single is unfavorable, so it’s easy for us to fall into that habitual line of thinking.
 
But aside from outside influences, there is the fundamental human need of companionship. The idea of being alone, can seem like an uncomfortable thought.
 
During the demise of my past relationship, the thought of being alone scared the hell out of me. I had shared every moment with that person; the good, the bad, and the ugly…how would I be able to manage all that life throws at us, without him?
 
The thought of starting over again, almost scared me into staying in an unfulfilling/toxic situation. And as ridiculous as that sounds, I know I am not the only one who has considered this. I’ve met countless of individuals who have admitted to staying with their partner for convenience and emotional security.
 
I mean, there are so many benefits of having a companion in life. A true partnership can enhance quality of life, giving more meaning to one’s existence. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that you have someone you can rely on, someone with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. But what happens when that partnership is no longer fulfilling or compatible?
 
I went into singlehood extremely reluctant and bitter. I loved being in a relationship. But I made a decision early on. I could a) feel bad for myself or b) use this time to discover who I am as an individual and figure out what gives my life meaning and purpose. I decided on the latter.
 
And it was in that moment that my perspective on singlehood shifted. This is where the quote, “Don’t be bitter, be better,” applied to my life. I began to embrace and enjoy my solitude, realizing that in doing so, I was more likely to make better choices about who I decided to spent my time with.
 
I now had the time and energy to invest solely on myself. Over a year later, I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed being single. I am a much more fulfilled person today, than I was a year ago. I think in order to sustain a healthy relationship with another person, you must first, create one with yourself.
 
I also think it is important to remember that we can also find companionship outside of romantic means; whether that may be in relationships with friends, family, pets, and most importantly, yourself. Learn to be your own bestfriend. Learn to love your time with yourself.
 
So next time someone asks you, “why are you still single?”… I say to embrace that freedom. Personally, I’ve responded with, “because I can be and it is actually a lot of fun.” IT IS OKAY TO BE SINGLE. In fact, I encourage it! 
 
This is our time to be selfish. Make yourself a priority! Nurture yourself and your energy, explore your interest and passions.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe in soul mates and in time, we will all find our person – but until then, learn to fall in love with yourself! 
Relationships

Uncensored Guide to Understanding Women

With the surge of mobile dating apps, looking for love in this digital age, can seem utterly impossible. I mean, when there are a plethora of options just waiting at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that we encounter so many individuals who make a piss poor effort in creating real relationships. And although there are plenty of us who aren’t on dating apps, I argue this culture of convenience and the paradox of choice has influenced our dating experiences in some adverse way. On the contrary, when we meet someone who puts forth the effort and time, it likely feels like a breath of fresh air.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying there is this general lackadaisical dating ideology. Why put forth true effort into a person when there will always be more options? It’s almost as if this burden of choice has taught us to treat each other like disposable objects, rather than beings who feel.

My girlfriends and I are constantly sharing our experiences, discussing what we like and don’t like when it comes to dating and often times we find ourselves saying, “If only we could make a PSA about this!”

Well….this post is by no means intended to bash on men, but rather a guide into women’s dating preferences.

I can’t even count the amount of times, I’ve heard men say, “Women are so complicated, what even pleases you guys?”

So, I conducted a small survey to gather varied responses from ladies my age.

The question posed: Based off of your dating experiences, what male behaviors do you appreciate/can do without?”

Appreciated behavior:

  1. When plans are made 
    • Whether it be a formal dinner date or even a casual hang out, taking the initiative – shows us that there is interest and direction in the “relationship”
  2.  Manners, chivalry, compliments
    • “Please” and “thank yous”  – aka basic etiquette can go a longgg way.
    • It’s actually quite refreshing when doors are opened, the meal is paid for, and when pleasant comments are given.
  3. Tons of eye contact/ not easily distracted
    • It is especially appreciated when phones are kept tucked away during the date
  4. Remembering the little things 
    • This is just a simple indicator that you’ve taken the time to listen.
  5. Reciprocity 
    • Returning the kindness in any capacity is so attractive!
  6. Common courtesy/open communication
    • MAJOR KEY!!!
    • Letting us know if you can’t make it out for dinner or whatever the plans are, totally okay!
    • Expressing your feelings and intentions towards the “relationship”…yaaas!
    • Being vulnerable and open in sharing personal details/struggles

Behavior we can do without:

  1. Surface level conversations
    • Regardless of the extent of the “relationship,” this is a huge red flag. If you’re not concerned with getting to know who your “partner” is on a deeper level, then that’s a clear indicator of your intentions.
  2. Flakiness
    • Don’t be that person who commits to something, then changes plans last minute. What is especially infuriating is when it is done without notice. If you can’t make it, don’t commit.
  3. Not responding in a timely manner 
    • THIS! THIS! THIS! The way you communicate with someone is very indicative of how you prioritize them in your life. If you’re into someone, you’ll find the time to respond to them, appropriately.
    • And if you’re going to be tied up throughout the day, a simple text will suffice.
  4. Lack of self-awareness 
    • This can be so apparent in literally the first minute of a conversation.
      • (e.g.) Mentioning your ex on the first date
        • Taking up the entire conversation
        • Speaking as if you’re hanging out with the boys
  5. Insecurities
    • We all know that people who are insecure tend to sabotage a healthy relationship…
    • I’ve met multiple men who have openly admitted to suddenly ending a “relationship,” solely because “it was going toooo well.”
  6. Social media etiquette
    • If you are single and dating, there is no reason why you should still have posted pictures with your ex…not cute
    • Liking and commenting on other girls’ photos while actively seeing someone else

Whoo! Fellas! Now that you’ve heard the ladies’ input, my hopes are that you’ve somehow been enlightened. You may disagree with some of the points listed, and that’s totally fine, but the aim of this post was to visualize the dichotomy of dating behaviors. Hope this helps 🙂

Travel

Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany

am.JPG‘Tis the season to throw on your lederhosen or dirndl, grab a fat pretzel and stein and prost at the world’s largest Volksfest.

In honor of the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, I thought I’d share a little bit about my crazy experience while there.

Two weeks prior to Oktoberfest, we bought a package from the tour operating program, Bus2alps, which coordinated our travel and stay accommodations. Finding an authentic traditional dirndl was tough and rather expensive (~ €100), so I decided to find pieces that were loosely based on the dirndl look.

We took a 12 hour bus from Rome to Munich and arrived at our camp site, (thats right, we slept in tents in 45° weather), around 7am. We settled in and began to have some fun before entering.

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Doors opened at 9am, so we had a bit of time to mingle with other Americans who were also in the campsite. We were advised to arrive as early as possible, because seats in the beer tents were either reserved online (which we didn’t do) or were on a first-come, first-served basis. In other words, our best option was to make friends with others who had a table.

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One of my favorite things about this festival is that entry is entirely free! As you walk through the gates, you literally enter foodie, thrill-seeker, beer-enthusiast, heaven! There are food vendors set up all along the main entrance. As you continue walking, there are a total of 14 beer tents, waiting to quench your thirst. Venture outside the beer tents where a ton of fun also awaits. There are numerous carnival rides, shows, and parades all there for your enjoyment.

It took us a few attempts to find open seats, but we had the most luck in the largest tent on the grounds, Schottenhamel. As you enter, you are greeted by such a cheerful atmosphere, there are literally thousands of festival go-ers waiting to loosen up and sway together with the music. With each song that is played, its only tradition, that you stand up, clap, chug, clink your stein with your neighbor and of course, sing along.

To the best party in the world 🇩🇪🍻🌎 #Oktoberfest

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(Press play)

We were served fairly quickly, but I’d advise, to pace yourself! Beer is served in one-litre glasses for about $12 a pop. To soak up that 6%, I consumed A LOT of food. Pretzels, turkey legs, hotdogs, chocolate covered EVERYTHING, pastries, and more pretzels.

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We joined tables with locals and from people all over the world! I was pleasantly surprised with how welcoming and generous everyone was with us!

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(A few of the kind locals who shared their table)

Each day, we made our way from tent to tent and ended the night riding as many rides as we could. The gates close at midnight, but luckily for us, the party kept going, back at the camp site.

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Free entry, high-percentage craft beer, amazing food, and cheerful music, all while sharing good vibes with people from literally all over the world…COUNT ME IN! This experience was one that I can only describe as: EPIC.

If you are considering going abroad, I would definitely recommend making a stop in Munich, for…

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Wellness

Keeping Memories Alive: The Value of a Photo

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Us, Millennials easily receive the most flack over our digital media consumption; You know, our desires in taking selfies, posting pictures of our food on Instagram, and snapping aspects of our day-to-day…just to name a few. But I say, there’s nothing wrong in doing so!

Ever since I can remember, I have always been in love (or to some, obsessed) with both being the photographer AND subject of a photo. At the end of every school year, I would find myself piecing together scrapbooks, making space for even more photos in my giant albums and handing out those ridiculous classic mall glamour shots.

 I truly enjoyed looking through my albums from time and time and recounting all of my childhood shenanigans.

Once I discovered Photobucket, I was livingg. A digital photo album? Yaaas.

But it obviously didn’t stop there. When Myspace came about, I was shoooook. You know the standard duck lips and peace sign, angled selfies? Well, those were kind of my thing. Updating my profile with photos of my summer, after school activities, etc. was literally a pastime.

But wait! Come social media and iPhones….O  M  G!!!

Finally, there was a forum for photo taking lovers to share and connect with others. With the explosion of social media, there is of course the critique/truth that it has the ability to disconnect us from the real world. But in moderation, I think capturing the moments we experience, is quite incredible! Like yeah, sure, memories do last a life time but sometimes yo’ girls memory is not that good.

To this day, I find myself constantly looking through my feed/photo library. I get super nostalgic, looking back at the different phases of my past, the changing trends, friends, and life events. And more often than not, I think, “OMG, I totally forgot about that!” Like you know, those crazy nights, sleepovers, travel adventures- that you reallly can’t remember (b/c of the bubbly) or even try to forget (again, b/c the bubbly).

Like guys! I truly truly believe in the power of a photograph. Photos do much more than document. They have the ability to heal, capture raw emotion, and transcend us into unseen worlds.

Speaking of healing, photos really helped my family cope during the passing of my dad. Obviously, his generation did not grow up on smart phones or social media, so finding photos of him throughout his life was tough. My dad was in his mid-forties when I was born, so I had hardly seen photos of him prior to that. Luckily, his aunts and siblings dug up a handful of Polaroids they kept in albums over the years.

We pieced together all of his photos and created a video montage for his funeral. As heartbreaking as it was to watch it all come together… it was equally as cathartic and beautiful. We all got a glimpse into his sense of style, (which included: wacky 70’s & 80’s outfits – and lets not forget- those infamous 90’s dad jeans), his groups of friends throughout the years, his hobbies, and of course his everlasting smile!

I’m also equally as grateful of social media for allowing me to document some of the final memories between my dad and I. We would play around with the different Snapchat filters and laugh over the ridiculous ones. Whenever I would ask him to take a picture with me, he would always preface with, “Now, Jas, I’m only taking a couple, alright?!” And that statement made me laugh every time because even with his illness, he still remembered how annoying I could be with pictures.

Every now and again, when I feel down, I look through our photos and they instantly bring a smile to my face. And… I’d like to think that is the beauty of pictures… they literally bring memories to life.

I know of a lot of people who hate having their picture taken or who are opposed to posting much of their personal life. But in 20 years, their kids may be interested in who they were as youths and not to mention memory worsens over time. Photos provide that instant recollection of some of the best moments of our life. I say, SNAP AWAY, PEOPLE!

Travel

Kauai Recap

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Aloha and welcome to paradise!

Kauai, aka the “Garden Island,” truly lives up to it’s name. There was so much surrounding beauty, I’d hardly seen anything like it. Laid back vibes, tropical landscapes, amazing cuisine…it was like walking on a dream (que song). This family vacation was uber special: we celebrated not only two birthdays but most importantly, we witnessed my sister walk down the aisle!

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. This resort was top notch in every way!  For starters, the ocean view as soon as you enter into the lobby, is effing majestic.

Image result for THE LOBBY VIEW TO GRAND HYATT KAUAI

It is literally, a window (view) to the sea, talk about a “Grand” entrance!

How do you describe 50 acres of meticulously maintained beauty, manicured landscapes, and 360 views of Hawaiian paradise?!

Well, as you walk down into the courtyard, there are like 10 river like pools that wind into grottos, waterfalls, and lagoons. We floated from one pool to the next during the day, at soaked in the jacuzzis at night. Not to mention, the lagoon was feet away from the ocean!

On our second day in Kauai, my family had the great idea (sarcasm) to bike the island. I thought, “Oh well, this doesn’t seem too bad (WRONG). This will be pretty rad!”

Bruhhhh. This damn ride made me question my entire existence. I legit asked myself, “could I actually die from exhaustion, right now?” The terrain was insane, there were crazy inclines, and such unpredictable weather BUT you know what? I would suffer through it all over again, just to see all of the surrounding beauty! We navigated through the neighboring towns, beaches, greenery…and it was absolutely breathtaking. One of the coolest spots we hit was the Spouting Horn: With each wave, water shoots upward when it is forced through this opening, like lava would.

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IMG_0673View from Balcony

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img_0863.jpgDinner at one of the yummiest restaurants I’d ever ate at: Tidepools – serving Hawaii cuisine in open-air thatch huts along the lagoon.

IMG_0681Biking throughout the resort

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IMG_0691Rico, (1/2) residential Parrots at the resort

IMG_0694Endless Piña Coladas by the Lagoon

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Wedding day!

As the days grew closer, my sister was (to my surprise) extremely calm. Everything went exactly as planned, the morning of the wedding. The wedding party understood their roles, the decorations were set, and vows were written. As she and I were getting ready, I couldn’t help but to think of the moment, right before she walked down the aisle, where I  would be assisting her with her dress and train. I mean, isn’t that like a rite of passage between sisters?!

WELLLL. We laugh about it now, but that moment did not go as imagined. We had barely finished her make up, and when we checked the time, we had 5 minutes to get down to the ceremony. We quickly changed (her without even checking how she looked) and literally ran through the entire resort in efforts of arriving on time. She had her train bunched up in her hand, and booked it. I could hardly keep up with her in my 5 inch heels. She was yelling throughout the lobby, “excuse me, excuse me, out of my way, I can’t be late for my own wedding!!” The stares we got were hilarious… someone even yelled out, “RUNAWAY BRIDE!!” Sweating and all, we had about 4.5 seconds to regroup and then walk down the aisle. I wish I had this on video! By far, the funniest moment of my life!

Luckily, the ceremony and reception went perfectly! Open bar, tons of laughs, and THE best lighting for selfies!
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The fab bride

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FAMILY ❤

21369141_352173068546327_2151345020693273320_nMr & Mrs!

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 Helicopter Tour over the Island!

A couple of weeks before we arrived, my family and I booked our tour through Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for ~$220 per person. If you are planning to head to any of the islands, I would suggest booking in advance and in a larger group (ours was 6) so that you can have your own private tour. This 1 hour tour, takes you over the “Jurassic Park Falls,” through the Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and right along the Na Pali Coast. Each heli ride is equipped with multiple microphones so you and your pilot can communicate throughout the ride. I think the most surreal moments were when our pilot circled around the various hidden water falls! This tour was hands down the coolest activity I have ever done!

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IMG_0787Breakfast with a view!

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This family trip was for real, a trip of a lifetime! I am so grateful I was able to experience true bliss with them ❤ Xoxo

Wellness

Practicing Gratitude

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Post-vacation blues has hit me like a ton of bricks! Like for real, I low-key cried today while looking through pics. My time in Hawaii was more than magical (will be posting my trip very soon), so coming back to the monotonous office life was dreadful, to say the least. In the past couple of days, I’ve found myself in an extremely negative head space. I’ve fixated on what I don’t have at the moment (financial freedom to travel year-round) and have overlooked how fortunate I really am.

As I was in the midst of complaining, I remembered a story my mom shared with me.

We were originally talking about how sweet of a father my dad was to me. As an infant, I developed a nearly fatal disease which caused me to stay in the ICU and Children’s Hospital for almost a year. For most of that time, I was not expected to recover because of the illness being so rare, even the DR’s did not know exactly how to treat it. My mom explained that my daddy would sing to me everyday.

I shared a room with a little girl who was dying from brain cancer. My parents noticed that she rarely had any visitors but they were so preoccupied with my illness, they felt there was not much they could do to help. After some time, on a random day, the little girl opened the curtain that divided the room and softly asked, “Jasmin’s daddy, can you sing to me too? You have a beautiful voice.”  This took my parents by surprise because thus far, she had kept to herself.

Her sweet demeanor immediately touched my parents, because all along this little girl was listening in on my visits, and was yearning for any sort of affection.

From then on, my dad began to sing to both of us. There even reached a point where she felt comfortable enough to be held by him every so often.

Once Disney’s, “Aladdin,” came out on VHS, my parents repeatedly played the movie. The little girl, once again, asked for my parents’ permission to watch it with us.

Of course, I was too young to remember her but according to my mom, her presence was unforgettable. Less than a year later, this sweet angel passed away. Babygirl’s life was stolen from her way too soon. Her short life consisted of being stuck in a hospital room, alone.

I had to sit on this story and reflect on it. Like holy shit, I made a full recovery…I’ve had the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and just live…how am I still complaining?

Although there may be real shitty days, stories like this remind you of how fortunate you are. For some reason, my life was spared. And instead of sulking, I should be counting my blessings.

I know we’ve all had experiences where we have found ourselves lucky to come out of the situation “alive,” so to speak. So in troubling times, if we try to refer to those instances and practice our gratitude towards that outcome, maybe we can find some inner peace.

To the little angle in heaven, may you rest in love ❤

Lifestyle

How to Pack for Hawaii /Shopping Haul

Screaming of excitement because your girl is going to Kauai! For the past year, I have been day-dreaming of sipping on Piña Coladas under the tropical sun. This will be my first time in Hawaii, so you knowwwwww, I have to bring a new wardrobe with me!

Since our trip is so jam packed, I have compiled a list of items I plan on putting together, as a way of prepping my outfits. My style is typically minimalistic and simple but I’m alllll for showing some skin. I like neutral tones with the occasional pop of color. But for this trip, I decided to brighten it up! I’m not huge into patterns but I’m a sucker for floral print!

Dinner Date:

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Halter Wrap Dress- ANGL

Red V-Neck Dress- H&M

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Maxi Dress – Lea

Beach Day:

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White Bikini Set – H&M (Btw, can I have her abs?!)

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Bralette Bikini Top – Forever 21

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Tropical Print Bikini Bottom – H&M

Bardot Bikini – Asos.com

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Floral Print Bikini Bottom- H&M

Day Out: 

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Halter Crop Top – Lea

Image 8 of HIGH-RISE CULOTTE JEANS from Zara

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High-Rise Culotte Jeans – Zara

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Button Front Corduroy Mini Skirt- Macy’s

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Floral Maxi – TJ Maxx

Night Out: 

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Choker Neck Faux Suede Bodycon Dress – Charlotte Russe

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Bodycon Midi Dress – Lea

Accessories:

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Round Sunnies – H&M

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3- Pack Choker – H&M

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Boho Breaded Bracelets – Tilly’s

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Sandals- Target

I love getting style inspo from anywhere I can! So hopefully these items give you some too, for your next trip! Xoxo

Events

Why We Should NOT ‘Stay Out of Politics’

Let’s face it, we are in the midst of political polarization and divisiveness in America. During the presidential election, I noticed a rise in political consciousness/involvement amongst my generation. The election was far more than who would take office; instead, it would become the forerunner of the future state of our society.

Since then, there has been a media frenzy! TV coverage seems to be virtually continuous, social media posts are endless, and in short, it is nearly impossible to ignore our nation’s climate. Every few weeks or so we hear yet another news report of racist bigotry and hate crimes committed throughout the U.S. We are alerted when the President tweets his latest thought, when he fires a member of his administration, or when he denigrates a certain group of people… it’s EXHAUSTING to say the least.

I know a lot of us have stopped checking the news, purposefully avoided social media, or shut down when politics are mentioned. And although it may seem easiest and most comfortable to do this, we CAN NOT turn the other cheek to what is going on!! This everyday negligence is dangerous! We CAN NOT afford to “stay out of politics” because this is OUR future on the line.

This!! Repost @sarahthyre

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Most of us are so fortunate to have the choice to not get involved, but this disinterest needs to be shifted. This past weekend, many Millennials were marching with tiki torches in hand at the White Nationalists rally. This hateful ideology was shared among individuals our age!

So don’t think for a minute, that we are powerless to what has transpired. It is our duty and responsibility as Millennials to speak up, stand up, and show up, in opposition to such hate and backwardness. As Obama quoted on his final address to Armed Forces:

“Remember what that flag stands for. For we depend on you, the heirs to that legacy, our men and women in uniform, and the citizens who support you, to carry forward what is best in us. That commitment to a common creed. The confidence that right makes might. Not the other way around. That’s how we can sustain this long struggle.”

Talking politics should no longer be taboo. This is the time you and I should be talking about our sentiments toward the current state of our nation. If you don’t know about something, ask. Educate yourself. Acknowledge what is happening. Engage with your peers. Share videos/spark discussion on social media. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP! Remember, silence and ignorance is complacency. We have the ability to use our voice and platform to bring the better good of society to the forefront.

Taste

Spinach & Feta Turkey Burgers

For this week’s meal prep, I wanted to keep it healthy but still somehow give into my cravings. Since we are in the thick of Summer, I’ve had this hunger for burgers (and for me… Summer = grilling).

Sooooo, I decided to try out : Spinach & Feta Turkey Burgers with Greek yogurt avocado spread.

And let me just say: THIS MEAL IS SO YUMMY and most importantly, EASY!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of Ground Turkey Breast (1-2 LBS)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5 ounces of Feta
  • Half box of spinach (8 oz), squeezed dry
  • 1 Avocado (optional)
  • 3 TBS Greek Yogurt (optional)
  • Mustard (optional for spread)
  • Whole wheat Lavish bread or burger buns (optional)
  1.  Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add in spinach and toss with tongs until wilted. To avoid sogginess, roll up cooked spinach in a dishtowel and wring out the excess water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, crack and beat in two eggs, add feta, cooked spinach, and turkey, until well combined. Form into 8-10 patties.
  3. Cook on preheated grill or stovetop until no longer pink in the center, 10-20 minutes,
  4. Toast your bread or bun. I prefer Lavish Bread because of the longer shelf life, higher protein, and hearty crunch.
  5.  Slap on your spread!

Voilà!

The blend of zest this meal offers, is unreal! The patties turn out super juicy and flavorful! If you’re up for a ridiculously easy dish, and I MEAN as easssyyyy as mixing, forming, and tossing your patties on the grill…then this recipe is for you. This meal is definitely Mediterranean inspired, so I like to add a Greek Salad on the side!

Trust me, this is a household favorite….and yeah, sure… I only cook for myself, but you get the gist! Enjoy!

Taste

DIY Wine and Cheese Date

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Not too long ago, my girlfriends and I headed to our local winery in hopes of unwinding over a few glasses of wine. Turns out, everyone else in LA had the same exact idea! There was a wait of over 2 hours long with a minimum purchase of two bottles per group. This seemed pretty ridiculous to us so we decided to create our own picnic by the beach.

We stopped by Trader Joe’s and picked up a ton of finger foods and of course, WINE.

What we bought:

Cheese: Brie, Blueberry Goat Cheese, Cheddar, and Gouda

Fresh Fruit: Strawberries & Grapes

Carbs: Crackers, Pita Chips, & a Baguette

Meats: Calabrese Salami & Italian Dry Salami

Sweets: Chocolate Almonds

Wine: Red (Merlot) & White (Pinot Grigio)

[Previously to heading out, we packed our own cutting board, utensils, napkins, cups, and plates]

We drove around until we found the ultimate spot to set-up shop.

We parked our car in a turnout road which overlooked the surrounding mountains and ocean. It was literally an ideal place for taking photos plus we were also able to get away from all the crowds. We opened the doors, blasted some music, and feasted!

This was the perfect alternative to wine and cheese tasting, at a fraction of the cost. If you’re indecisive on what to do with your weekends, I hope this date idea comes in handy!

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*Malibu, CA*

Relationships

How to End a Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationships come in many shapes and forms. I’d say, it’s pretty safe to assume that many of us have been in one at some point or another. They are destructive and poison our health and well-being from the inside-out.

I’m clearly not a relationship expert but from shared experiences with friends over the years, there is the commonality that we often times stay in certain relationships longer than we should. There seems to be great difficulty in acknowledging/recognizing that we are in an unhealthy situation. I think the reason for this is because we like to minimize and justify the current state of the relationship while we fixate on what was. I mean, “love” in any capacity has the potential to be blinding. Thus, walking away is the hardest part.

It’s only natural that we have the desire to sustain any relationship that we’ve invested time, emotion, and effort into because the thought of letting go of all of that can be intimidating. But what I’ve learned is that it is okayyyy to admit that a relationship has run it’s course. The most liberating feeling is breaking free from the toxicity and starting fresh. But of course, there is no “easy” way around this.

I think there is this blurred line (which could be called denial) between a relationship going “through a rough patch,” and a relationship turning toxic. Once you find yourself feeling emotionally exhausted more often than not, this is a clear indicator of the relationship’s demise. Not to mention, it is very likely, you too, are dishing this same negativity onto your partner.

I found it helpful to journal those days where I felt down and look back as the week progressed.

I would ask myself, “am I a happier person since this individual has came into my life?” And most importantly, “Am I a better person because of this relationship?”

I had the hardest time answering these questions. But I had to be honest with myself.

I’ve noticed, we like to romanticize the relationship and our partner with hopes of tricking ourselves into believing we should stay and that we are fulfilled.

 Life is so damn short! Why waste time with any person who is inhibiting us from true happiness?

Cutting off a relationship can feel like an amputation, but it is very likely both parties will be better off .

As my mom likes to sing to me, “Let it go, let it goooo.” (Frozen Version)

 

Taste

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Pizza

New week = new meal prep recipe idea! I finally took the plunge and decided to take my large shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. & UMM, why have I been wasting my time & money at these other markets?!! I was in foodie heavennnnn. I heard great things about TJ’s pizza crust options so I decided to build my meal prep around it. I mean, a load of veggie toppings counts as salad, right?

I tried a gluten-free/organic dough crust as well as a cauliflower crust.

What you’ll need:

  • Regular or cauliflower crust
  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 Asian Vegetable Stir Fry pack
  • 1/2 bag of spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbps feta cheese
  • 4 tbps tomato paste
  • 2 tbps pineapple (obvi, optional)

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Dice chicken breasts and grill pan over medium heat, 6 minutes on each side.

*If using cauliflower crust: Bake crust first for 15 minutes then let cool.

(Do not skip this added step or else your crust will crumble like mine did -____- )

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*oops*

Prep your crust with a touch of EVOO and tomato paste/sauce. Carefully, spread the cheese, herbs, chicken, and veggies.  Bake once more for 20-25 minutes or until crust and veggies are golden brown.

*If using regular crust: Prep your crust. Add toppings. Bake for 20 minutes. Let pizza cool before slicing.

Voilà!

*Disclaimer*

Cauliflower crust is absolutely delicious, however, it did cause me some discomfort. Cauliflower is in the family of Cruciferous veggies, which b/c high in fiber can lead to bloating. But, I would def recommend either version of this recipe to all!

 

Travel

Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

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Indeed, an Instagrammer’s dream, this vast land is made up of a mix of Joshua trees and dramatic rock formations. This oasis of sorts, transports you into what (in my mind) would look like another dimension. There is this eerie feeling to this colossal landscape. It is peaceful, it is lonely, it is unbothered by the city chaos we are surrounded by.

Visiting all 59 U.S. national parks is for sure an item I’d love to check off of my world travel bucket list. So far, I have been fortunate enough to explore Yellowstone, drive through Zion and camp in Yosemite. For the longest time, I had been wanting to take a trip to Joshua Tree, especially considering how close it is to Los Angeles.

This past weekend, my bestie and I were feeling mentally worn out from the week and felt this getaway would be the perfect remedy (& we were right).  Expected highs were 114°– 117 ° so we planned on arriving mid-afternoon to try to beat the heat. But boy, were we wrong here, we arrived at 3pm and it was still 115°! Luckily, we had a full cooler stocked with water, foot-long subs, superb air conditioning, and tons of snacks to keep us fueled. There is an entrance fee of $25 but for some reason there was not an attendant on duty so everyone enjoyed their stay fo’ free (yaas).

We made our first stop at the visitor center (Black Rock Campground) to get assistance in mapping out the certain landmarks we wanted to hit along our drive. This seemingly endless span of land offers a plethora of routes and pullouts you can choose from. But if you plan to make this a day trip, I’d suggest confining your sightseeing to the main park roads.

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Due to the extremely high/dry temperature, we decided to take a more scenic route vs hiking our way through. I did bring my pup but I would only suggest this if you are planning a scenic visit (at least in these temps).

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Start at the North Entrance (Twentynine Palms). This area reminded me of Radiator Springs shown in Disney’s “Cars.” Again, untouched and beautifully lonely. Only about 15 minutes into our visit, a Coyote approached our car. So, do travel with caution.

As the sun set, we took some beautiful shots.

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We decided to set-up shop at the east side of the park for stargazing. We opened the hatch of our truck and laid out. Slowly but surely, a crowd of people began to form with their telescopes and professional cameras. Little did we know, it was prime season for Milky Way viewing. We met some awesome people and together watched the sky light up. By 9-10pm the sky was litttttt. I had never seen so many stars at once in my life…it was magical. Our friendly neighbors agreed with me in that out of all the national parks we have visited, Joshua Tree offered the best celestial show.

Whether you are looking for a weekend escape or a quick turn-around trip, 10/10 would recommend Joshua Tree. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and become one with mother nature and her starlight.

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Travel

The Willingness to Explore Unfamiliar Terrains

 

Whether it may be intellectual or land, we must be willing to explore new terrain.

Roma. O, Roma. La Città Eterna. The zest of this city made me feel so full. In fact, Italy was by far my favorite European country out of the eight I visited. From Venice -> Cinque Terre-> Florence -> Tuscany ->Amalfi Coast-> down to Sicily… Italy is simply a dream. The language, scenery, cuisine, literally EVERYTHING was as if I was living in a postcard. It has almost been two years since my travels abroad and I’ve never felt more nostalgic.

Once we arrived, culture shock hit us like a ton of bricks. But as time passed, I finally felt at ease. I would notice how much more welcoming the locals were with me as my time there proceeded. On my walks to school (4 miles altogether), I would develop rapport with the local market/cafe/restaurant owners. Closer to the end of my experience, I was greeted by name, a few times a day by these individuals. This by far was the most satisfying feeling. I felt as if I was not just considered another turisti Americani but instead recognized as if I were a local. I tried to immerse myself in the culture, the best I could… so this was everything to me. I actually envisioned myself one day settling down in Rome, as I wholeheartedly fell in love with the culture. There were days I would walk past the Roman Forum or Colosseum and feel as if I was transported back in time but then I’d blink and feel the whiff of air zooming past as nuns made way on their Vespas.

Lately, I’ve been finding my days very monotonous, daydreaming at work, ready for adventure…craving something new. As the days have passed, I’ve invested actual thought into the possibility of moving back to Rome for a year or so.

I feel it’s time to push my boundaries yet again and expand my universe. I want to feel as whole as I did while abroad. Becoming familiar with the unfamiliar, that’s the feeling I yearn.

Part of me wonders if this is just another one of my wild ideas, but then again, is it? At this point in my life, I don’t necessarily have anything holding me back. I still have the liberty to pick up and go. This is something that has been eating at me for a while and I feel it’s only right to act on it. I encourage any young adult/post-grad to consider the same. If the idea scares you, it’s probably something you should do!