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

 

 

 

 

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!

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 ❤

Wellness

How to Stay Body Positive Even When you Have yet to Reach your Fitness Goals

In an era of “perfect” IG models and in the new wave of uber-trendy, health-conscious, Millennial products, it’s seemingly impossible for one to look past. Naturally, we want to join the latest fads and dabble into whatever the next best thing is. From meal-prepping (diet-plans), to cycle classes, to Kombucha, to whey-protein, there has been a major social media/pop culture influence on practicing a healthy lifestyle.  I think it’s safe to say, when we double tap on an influencer’s picture, we think “goals,” or “can I please look like that?” I’ve caught myself thinking and saying these things aloud way too often but what’s important to remember is: these bodies we are envying are truly not attainable. Many of these individuals make a living off of their social media accounts and actual job is to maintain their physique…by whatever means possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think it is necessary to set health/fitness standards for yourself, but I’ve realized it’s just as imperative to stay body positive even if you are not satisfied with where you are at. In other words, finding a happy-medium between working towards your goal yet having a forgiving relationship with your current body. I definitely think this association is much easier said than done but once practiced, it becomes liberating.

My journey to finding body positivity began at an early age. I entered the sixth grade with newly developed hips and breasts. Most of my classmates had yet to reach puberty, which made me one of the few girls with curves. I was made fun of countless of times. Older girls would approach me with comments that were meant to almost make me feel bad for how I looked (as if I chose this body!) I’d been called, “wide-load,” asked if I was “cornbread fed,” and was even asked, if I was pregnant (at 11 years old) because of my hips! I specifically remember a particular time during “weigh-ins,” when my P.E. teacher whispered my weight to me instead of announcing it aloud as he did with everyone else…laughter then ensued.

At first, of course, I took offense to it and often times would ask my parents, “why do I look so different than all of the other girls in school?” They advised me that I only had one option: which was to embrace my body. If my appearance was all they could talk about, I was doing something right. In that moment, I decided to stop caring about what those people said about me and flaunt what I was given. S/O to you, girls Image result for hand wave emoji

Once high school rolled around, I had to re-learn this self-love. Stretch marks and cellulite set in and that was different for me. This was the beginning of social media and the pressure to look slim was there. But I had to remind myself, “Jas, this is your body, you can either love it or hate it.” I decided to love it, can I get a Hallelujah?

But of course, I still struggle with my cellulite and am too hard on myself at times, I’ve made comments about my body that I would NEVER be able to say to anyone else. And this is precisely the point of this post. We should still be able to aspire to live a healthier lifestyle without forgetting to appreciate the skin we are in.

I once saw a male friend post this saying on Facebook, “Ladies, dress for the body you have and not the body you want!” And what I say to that is, BS, wear whatever the f**k you want!

I’ll still wear my shorts and dresses, with my cellulite in all it’s glory. I have yet to reach my fitness goals but I think learning to speak and feel positively about your body is the sexiest thing you can do for yourself. Male or female, confidence is sexy.

Wellness

Who Rescued Who? How Adopting my Dog was the Best Thing I’ve Done

Meet Troy aka @troytheshihtzu

God bless this little boy for putting up with me for the past year. Troy is absolutely the light of my life. The amount of joy he has given me is indescribable but man, is he something. He’s basically a social introvert: he loves people, but at a distance. He doesn’t give kisses and when he decides to cuddle, he’ll do so with both arms fully extended for personal space (what a brat)… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He goes everywhere with me: he brunches, he bar hops, shops, flies, & the worst part of it all, has a choice between three strollers, each in a different color.

Shih shih shih shih'n on em' 🌳 #shihtzu #humor #dogsofLA #playday #shihtzusofinstagram

A post shared by Troy the Shih-Tzu (@troytheshihtzu) on

*Click play*

I get shit allll the time for how ridiculous I am with him but honestly, I owe him for so much…

(Will explain later)

Visiting the local shelter was basically a hobby of mine, prior to his adoption.

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*I knew I had an obsession, when this was me with any and every dog, (even the not so cute ones) that I saw*

His adoption: It was sort of fate that brought Troy and I together. I had a random Monday off, so what did I do with my time? Visited a shelter, duhh. Growing up, the family dogs were all Shih Tzus so I had a type. Long and behold, in the very first cage was a scruffy, matted hair, tan, Shih Tzu named Troy.  I was in love. My luck, he was reserved for a kid’s carnival/adoption fair that following Saturday. So I left broken hearted, without him. That Saturday was my birthday and as expected, I woke up with the worst hangover of my life. Out of curiosity, I reached for the adoption flyer in my purse and saw that the event went from 9-5pm. Yeah, no…by this time it was 4pm and I was still in bed. Finally, I was convinced to get up and we decided to see if for some odd reason he was still there. I really tried not to get my hopes up but the thought of him going home with me made me soo entirely happy. It was literally 4:58pm when we pulled up to the park as I saw Animal Services placing this tan thing into the back of their van. I freaked! “That couldn’t be Troy, could it?!” He then turned his head and looked right at me. He was the only dog of twenty that day that did not get adopted!!! LIKE, WHAT?!! As soon as we opened the car door, he jumped right into the seat, and I knew right then, that this shih’ was meant to be.

In the past, I’ve seen dog-owners post the saying, “Who Rescued Who?” And low-key thought that was pretty dramatic. But honestly, finding Troy at the time I did, was truly God’s timing. Literally a couple of months into us being a little family, the ex and I went through our break up and BAM, shit really hit the fan. I needed to find a new living situation, like ASAP. For an entire month, Troy and I were hotel hopping, Air B & B’n, and couch surfing. The worst feeling was not knowing where we’d sleep that night. Finding an apartment, seemed utterly impossible! Many of those nights I would cry and cry but little Troy would do everything he could to help me feel better. I didn’t have my family out here and I did not want to burden my friends, so it was him and I who hit the pavement for hours every evening desperately looking for places. I felt horrible knowing we were basically living out of my car. There were days that I wanted to say, “fuck this” and move back home…but I knew I moved out to LA for a greater purpose. Finallly, we found a place and everything felt right again. Troy was thriving and in retrospect, I don’t know how I would’ve gone through that ordeal without him.

Mom life: It can be exhausting but sooo worth it. His precious face literally gives me life.  There’s never a dull moment with him. He is the most expressive dog I have ever met, not to mention the sassiest! Sure, there are moments that he annoys the hell out of me, but I’ve been blessed with the most chill dog. We joke that hes a cat, b/c he’s so low-maintenance, its amazing. For those who have asked me how I do it or on the cusp of owning a dog, its simple… just love them and they will enhance your quality of life infinitely. He lifts my spirits every single day and even though he doesn’t give kisses, (clearly salty about this) just his presence alone makes all the difference.

The best feeling in the world is…

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&

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But man, if Troy could talk, I’d be in troubbbleee. He judges sooo hard…

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A few months later, Troy and I booked a flight to see la familia for Christmas weekend. But unfortunately, my dad’s health turned for the worst and for 14 days we were in a hospital/hospice room, day-in & day-out. Considering the chaos we were in and how little attention Troy received, he was a freaking angel. Troy was our light and did not leave my dad’s bedside.

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You know how they say dogs have a sixth sense? I truly believe it. In the few moments leading to my dad’s passing, Troy went ballistic: howling, pacing back and forth, whining…but as soon as my dad took his last breath, Troy relaxed and laid back at his feet. This literally shook me for obvious reasons.

In the darkest year of my life, Troy gave me so much. The least I can do is continue to feed him all organic, grain-free, fresh meals, add more outfits to his section of the closet, and throw in a new stroller to the collection.

He is the one constant being in my life and I’ll forever owe him for that. Shout out to you, @troytheshihtzu, you da real MVP, bud.

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Wellness

How to Zen out (or Attempt to) After a Stressful Day

I am the first to admit that I have allowed the stress of one particular situation to completely F up my entire day/mood, like a h a n d f u l of times. It’s something I think many of us have battled as young adults. Whether you need to unwind after a long day of work, school, or just life in general, here are a few tips that have helped me chill tf out.

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  • First things firstblast music during the car ride home. The second I step into my car, it is either EDC on wheels or the most ratchet club you have ever stepped into. Sure, I get looks but especially being stuck in LA traffic, this somehow brings me clarity and helps separate work from home.
  • Pick up your favorite take-out on the way home. Make sure to call ahead!! B/c lets be honest, food always does the trick.
  • Go on a hike. The thought of hiking after a full day in the office or classes may seem daunting but even if it’s for just 20 mins, it’ll mentally do you some good.
  • Stretch– Turn off the lights, burn some candles, get on a yoga mat (I don’t do yoga so can’t recommend that) and play some vibey songs or meditate (can’t do this either)

Recommended songs:

Electric (Marian Hill Remix) – Alina Baraz, Khalid, Marian Hill)

Fantasy-(Felix Jaehn Remix)- Alina Baraz, Galimatias, Felix Jaehn) or the (Mark Ralph Re-Work) or the (Vices Remix) – basically anything Alina B.

Insane – Flume

Inside Out- Chainsmokers

Light – San Holo (He’s amazinggg)

Tennis Court- Lorde

Something About You- (Odesza remix)

Alright-Jordan Rakei

Mask Off-Future (LOL, jk)

Do Not Disturb – Drake

Let Me Love you- Ariana Grande, Lil Wayne

How Did I Get Here – Odesza

Back That Azz Up- Juvenile – (jk)

  1. Netflix & chillFind a show and watch the hell out of it, preferably complex story lines or reality shows to help you feel better about your life.
  2. FaceTime loved ones. God bless my friends and fam for listening to my rants and for feeding me much needed chisme throughout our convos. An instant pick-me-up.
  3. Sip on a glass of wine. Just because.
  4. PrayWhether you are a believer or not, talking to a higher power, whether that be God or a passed loved-one can be extremely cathartic.
  5. Finally, my most guaranteed method…ENJOY MEMES before bed. Get yourself in a feel-good mood before you rest yo’ eyes.

**Whatever the situation may be, remember it is only temporary. As my dad would always say, “there is a solution to everything, besides death.” That being said, I am for sure a work in progress…

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Wellness

The Pertinence of Memes

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God bless the curators of 2016-2017 memes. These viral phenomena have literally touched my soul in ways that even Chinese food, can’t.

You bored? Look at memes. You sad? LOL at memes. You angry? Tag yo’ friends in the comments.

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Have you ever been told “you’re too dramatic,” “you procrastinate too much,” or  “you laugh at the dumbest things,”? If so, memes are for you! 🙂 If you find yourself a reputable meme page, I guarantee, that you have just tapped into a goldmine.

Seriously though, memes have literally helped me through the most painful time of my life.

I experienced a break-up (was notttt fun). BUTTT let me tell you, there were memes for that! Figuring out how to do this “single” thing – there were memes for that!

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Come 2017,  My dad passed away and I literally went numb. That my friends, can not be alleviated by any photo/vid + caption… but I will say, after some time, I was able to laugh again. Like laugh to the point where I’m in tears.

 And it is in those moments when I have to give thanks to the social media Gods,  b/c I’ve found the remedy to shitty times.

Quality memes brought me back to life, literally they giveeee me life. If you are ever having a bad day, do yourself a favor and refer to this gem. xo! (IG: jstlbby)

IT KOST NOTHIN TO SMILE BITCH

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 “Better enjoy life now before its too late!”(*Que lollipop suck*)