How to Host an Effective Meetup

TGIF, GUYS!! I am beyond grateful and excited to share my experience hosting my very first blogger meetup this past weekend. There was so much anxiety and anticipation for this event to run smoothly and also effectively, and let me tell you, this day went far beyond my expectations! For quite some time, I had been tossing around the idea of organizing a blogger/creatives meet up. Considering this is the industry I aspire to work in, networking and creating real life connections are so important to me. Just as in any profession, bringing together like-minded individuals not also enriches that community but also generates purpose. I wanted to share with y’all the steps I took to approach such a meetup and hopefully encourage you to facilitate one of your own ūüôā

Pick a date: 

  • I wanted to choose a date that¬†ensured optimal attendance. However, I made the rookie mistake of pushing back the meetup date every time a person could not attend the prior date. After two months of push backs, I finally made an exec decision on a date. At that point, my only option was to hope that people were able to attend. Luckily, 4 amazing ladies joined me!

Find a venue:

  • This is also a tricky decision to make because you can never be 100% sure with exactly how many people are going to attend. Even for those who confirm, usually only a fraction of them actually follow through. With this in mind, I made a cap of how many were in our reservation. Oh yeah, make a reservation! I decided on one of the most Instagrammable brunch cafes in LA:¬†¬†The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker. I knew the food was yummy, their outdoor seating space was amble for a larger group, and that we would be served quickly, (ya don’t want a bunch of hungry people all together, ha!). I also made a reservation a bit earlier in the day, so we could actually talk intimately vs having to yell over the noise of a packed restaurant. The cafe was flexible with the reservation and they even allowed me to arrive a bit early to decorate our booth.

Decide on your focus of discussion:

  • Although, I wanted the conversation to feel natural, I also wanted to go beyond the surface level. Nothing too structured, but as we had bloggers, YouTubers, and a photographer in the group, I wanted everyone to share a bit of their journey, their intents, and expectations thus far. We all shared our achievements and struggles in this social media world and turns out we all had sooooo much in common. Not kidding, by the end of the day, we legit felt like a bunch of best friends. (I will touch on this a bit later.)

Prep for the event:

  • I wanted to put together fun little goody bags as a token of my appreciation for those who made it out! I went for a¬†Breakfast at Tiffany’s teal and gold theme. I made sure everyone had fun succulent stickers, succulent notebooks (you’re not a blogger if you don’t love succulents, ha, JK) pens, and lip balm.¬†For some reason I was more nervous of the reception of the goody bags than the actual event itself but all this to say, the girls loved them!

The day of the event:

  • Get to the venue early to make sure everything is ready
  • The morning of, send a quick reminder to all attendees with the meet up time and/or parking info.
  • Have a positive mindset that the meetup with be a success! I know for me, I had a moment of doubt right before I left; “what if no one shows up?” AHHH, but once I accepted whatever will be, will be, the day seemed to progressively get better.
  • Exchange contact information and actually keep in touch!
  • Plan for the next meet up! I wanted to gauge how well this meetup went before I planned for the next one but like half way through our breakfast, the other ladies had already suggested we meet up once a month! So that is our plan!

*I could not have asked for a better day! As different as we all were, we connected on SO many levels. I am entirely grateful for this group. Like legit, so grateful. I really did not know what to expect for this meetup but honestly, it was enriching, fun, helpful, and much much more! Xo 

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5 Ways To Keep Negative Energy Out Of Your Relationship

Heyyy guys! So with the demands of the 9-5, social media, our nation’s climate, and so on, it can be very easy to get sucked into these negative vortexes. Especially when you share your time with another person, it’s so important to understand how these negative energies can detract from the happiness within your relationship.

The spread of these negative energies invites toxicity, annoyances, and unhealthy behaviors into the dynamic. But through stimulating the flow of positive energies/practices, you’re creating an inviting and appealing environment.

Here are my top 5 favorite practices.

1. Pray/Meditate together

  • If even for two minutes, pausing the chaos to center your thoughts can¬†trigger the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain as well as calm the fight or flight reactions. For us, prayer is huge. We ask for direction and clarity but also extend our gratitude.

2. Identifying the negativity 

  • Is the attitude, behaviors, tone, etc. caused from outside tensions (the media, work, friends, family) or is it stemmed from something occurring within the relationship? Regardless of the catalyst, it is important to acknowledge/pin-point the issue.

3. Address tension(s) then and there

  • Super important! I am a firm believer in voicing what issues are at hand and working through them, ASAP. My biggest advice is not to go to sleep upset. We all know the couples who prefer to sweep issues under the rug vs confronting them head on with their partner. But this is soo problematic, because if you’re feeling your energetic connection is out of whack, it is likely that there is healing to do.
  • When there is lack of resolution, this can slowly lead to the demise of a relationship. So all this to say, even if the conversation is uncomfortable, it’ll be worthwhile in the long run.

4.  Experience new adventures together

  • I think the best way to free of negative energies is to travel! If you feel this thickness around you, plan a day-trip together and head that way. Seeing new stimuli is incredibly healthy. I know for us, our worries melt away once we see something new.

5. Build together

  • Working towards a common goal helps create commonality and trust. Whether it is a passion project, DIY home fix, or even the desire to move up in your respective companies…¬†depending on each other for support, creates a focus for an even stronger dynamic/bond.¬†For us, my boo is my photographer and go-to for shoots, blog ideas, etc. He believes in my content just as much as I do, and we work together everyday in attempts to build my social media presence.

 

*Okayyy, enough blabbering. I hope these tips are helpful and provide some sort of relationship Feng Shui or Spring (welll, Summer) cleaning of your relationship interactions. 

For Those Of Us Missing A Dad On Father‚Äôs Day

Hey, guys! With Father’s Day approaching, I thought it was fitting to share this piece. I know, just as you do, that there are no words that can truly fill this void. Maybe like me, you’ve lost your dad to death, or maybe you have never known your father to begin with, or just maybe you have a severed relationship with him. Whatever the reason this holiday affects you – I’m right there with ya. And believe it or not, so are many others! Although this day is just like any other day that will come and go, that doesn’t mean that it won’t sting any less.

There has not been one day in the past year and a half where I am not reminded of my dad. But this particular holiday (at least for me) has the ability to creep up on you. Last year, I woke up treating the day as I would any other Sunday… I felt fine, just scrolling along, laughing at memes, watching my shows, double tapping on friends photos with their Dads. As I had already told myself not to put too much value on this holiday because after all, when the day ends, I’d still feel the void. So, all was well….until it wasn’t.

Between the calendar notifications, Groupon emails, TV ads, Facebook reminders, and of course Instagram showing you your inability to take a new photo (or Boomerang) with him…it all can leave you with overwhelming sadness. By the end of the evening, I just broke down. And you begin to think, “how lucky are these people out and about celebrating with their Dad’s?” Ugh, well, almost one year later and it all still stings the same. When it comes to accepting such a massive loss in your life, it is hard to say that time heals all.

But as for this weekend, I am going to (try to) surround myself with all that I do have in my life. As a way of avoiding all of the social media posts, I have decided to refrain from using social media to the extent that I usually do and instead celebrate the happy memories.

But this day will suck, there is really no way of sugar coating that.

But I feel your pain, y’alll!!! I really, really do!

And if you‚Äôre fortunate enough to hug your dad this Father’s Day, cherish those moments…

Because life is short and one day something as simple as a “Celebrate with Dad this weekend,” TV ad, might have the ability to hit you in the feels.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! Missing you forever & always ‚̧¬†

 

How to Feel Inspired When You’ve Lost Motivation

Heller, friends, Happy Thursday! I find it well suited to touch on this topic as it is one that has been so powerful in my life. Ever since I launched this blog, I’ve felt my creative juices flowing more than ever! There are days where I’ve had so many ideas for shoots and/or blog posts that I’m just like, “whoa, this is pretty bad ass”. But on the contrary, I’ve met days where literally nothing comes to mind and all inspo is lost. This feeling of being stuck is entirely frustrating because I know what I’ve been capable of creating. But its almost as if my own psyche gets in the way. This being said, I wanted to share my tips in how to feel inspired, when all motivation is lost.

  1. Channel your energy within
    • For me at least, my mind is always in a million places at once! During breakfast, I’m already thinking about what to make for dinner. If I am stressed at work, I’m thinking ahead to all that still needs to be done before the end of the week. If yet another stupid decision is made by our government, I’m already thinking of its’ repercussions. All this to say, my mind can be so hyperactive sometimes, which leaves my energies are all over the place. And when you try adding content curation to the mix, it’s obvious that the creative energies are either shot or not of quality.
    • It is in these moments where I have to acknowledge both the chaos internally and externally and simply focus within; freeing my mind of worries and opening space for the creative juices to flow in and out. You know, be in the moment!
  2. Take a Break
    • Due to the heavy demands of our day to day, by the time we sit down with the intent to create, often times we are just too exhausted to do so; creative block.¬† As much as I love to be productive, there are some days when, it just won’t happen. I’ve had weeks where I’ve tried to jam pack my day and almost force some sort of content to come out, but all I was doing was leaving myself discouraged. Once I accepted that I needed to just rest and pick it up another day, I then allowed myself the time to gain inspiration.
  3. Venture to a New Location
    • My room is usually my work space. A place where I am relaxed and clear minded. However, there are days where I don’t exactly feel inspired in such a familiar/quiet space. The best way to break this, is to step outside of your comfort zone and head to a new location. Whether that be a local coffee shop, nearby park, beach, museum, etc. You will be introduced to new stimuli and hopefully new inspo.
  4. Keep Your Head Up
    • Its easy to feel discouraged when you dedicate so much time into your content and it does not get the feedback you were expecting. I am so guilty of this. There was one time in particular where my stats were so low that I thought, “ugh maybe people are getting tired of my content” and I literally laid there, felt defeated, and could not sleep. Instead of allowing this to propel me to work harder for the next one, I allowed those numbers to crush my spirit. For following day, I had 0 motivation to work. By the end of the day, I just had to remind myself that not all content will be received in the same way. This being said, I had to shake it off and keep on going! I legit had to inspire AKA talk some sense into myself, through positive affirmations…
    • For example: “Gurrrrl, look at all of the content you have put out lately, you’re a bad ass B- Keep it up!”
  5. Turn to Creative Outlets
    • Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Moodboards- are all great outlets for inspo. If I have an idea of a location, but am not sure what props, outfits, aesthetic I’m trying to achieve, I will look up related posts, narrow down my options, and of course put my own spin on it.
    • But this can be dangerous at times. I think at some point or another, we have alllll compared our work to those we find already published. If we think too much about it, we can start to doubt our own work. So in short, focus on finding the inspiration you were looking for vs comparing their content/success to your current state of work. I have to remind myself, that there is room for everyone as we each bring something different to the creative table.

 

In short (not really, lol) I hope that these tips are helpful in times of need! Xoxo

 

How to Combat Bloating…Or Try To

Last week on Instagram, I shared a very personal and honest struggle I deal with behind closed doors. I touched on my main symptom in the videos I shared, but chose not to go into detail, until now. For as far back as I can remember, I have suffered from IBS. IBS is¬†a painful gastrointestinal condition.¬†The main symptom I suffer with specifically is severe bloating. There has not been one full day in the past, let say, 10 years that I have not suffered from sharp pains or intense stomach pressure. My bloating is very predictable. The only time I feel comfortable throughout the day, is early in the morning before I eat anything. From breakfast to bed time, my stomach gradually bloats. With the intent to share my story with my followers, last week I decided to take before and after videos to compare the drastic difference of my pre-bloat/bloated tummy. By doing so, I¬† gained some insight into what others who are also suffering do, to alleviate their pain.¬† Below, I will share a little bit more about my story and what has/hasn’t worked for me as well as list the recommendations I received.

There is little research surrounding IBS and hence, no cure. In fact, I had been suffering for years before I was even diagnosed with the condition. I have been prescribed countless medications, undergone numerous invasive procedures, and tried several diets,  but the severe bloating still persists.

In all honesty, the side effects caused by IBS are a constant disruption to my quality of life. There are afternoons/evenings that the pain is so bad, I have no other choice, but to lay in bed in fetal position until the pain passes, and often times it doesn’t. Even if I am stressed out from something completely unrelated, I see a simultaneous reaction in my stomach. Turns out, stress can affect your nerves, making your digestive system overactive.¬†My diet is so restrictive that planning meals or eating out can seem like a chore. Finding restaurants that cater to such delicate stomachs are not easy to come by, y’all! Although I have a general idea of the specific foods that heighten my bloating, there are times when it can be completely unpredictable.

What frustrates me the most about the condition is that IBS tends to be a paradox. We are told that increasing our fiber intake can treat symptoms of IBS but yet one of the biggest causes of bloating is dietary fiber -____-  Due to necessity/desire to stick to a healthy diet, I ate a lot of fiber so tons of oatmeal and quinoa/brown rice. Turns out, I had been consuming way too much fiber, and after cutting the fiber sources out completely in this past week, my bloating has gone down significantly. But again, this is a catch 22.

Okay well enough about me..

Foods I stray away from:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomato
  • Spices
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Oatmeal
  • Dark Meats
  • Fried Foods
  • Cow Milk
  • Beans

Remedies I find helpful w bloating: 

  • Green tea w Honey & Lemon
  • Fresh pressed juice: Carrot, OJ, Ginger
  • Alka-seltzer
  • Pho (believe it or not, the ginger in the broth helps settle down my stomach)
  • Hot compress/water placed directly on my tummy
  • Reduce fiber intake

Recommendations my followers have believed to have helped them:

  • Rx Select- Turmeric Capsules
  • A shot of Apple Cider Vinegar in the AM
  • Warm water w honey
  • Digestive Enzyme
  • Ginger Pills
  • High fat/protein / low carb diet
  • No gluten
  • Salt water

 

Now, I’m obviously not a doctor, but I hope to have shed some light on this incredibly frustrating condition. Remember ya’ll, if life gives you lemons, add some to a warm cup of water, ha! Xo

How to Create the Bubble Braid

Within the past year, I have challenged myself to step outside of my stylistic comfort zone. Now, I’d describe my overall style as either¬†minimalistic and simple or eclectic. That being said, my hair styles are evolving as well.

I saw a single bubble braid style while scrolling on my Explorer page on Instagram and thought it would be cool to style them as two bubble pigtail braids.

This entire look took me less than 10 mins to complete and all you’ll need is a comb, 8 small rubber bands, and a few pumps of hairspray.

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I first divide my hair down the middle.

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Next, I gather each half to form pigtails.

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Then, I tease about 3-4 inches of hair (depending on your length).

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Once you see volume added, comb it neat, and tie section.

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Mirror the other side…

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Keep alternating halves so that you can make sure each section is even.

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Add a few pumps or hairspray.

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And…

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And Voilà!

I hope you guys found this tutorial helpful!

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy braiding, fam! XO

How Being With the Right Partner Should Boost Your Confidence

Recently I had a conversation with an old friend which compelled me to write this piece.

As we were catching up, she was expressing how happy she was to see me happy. And not the fake illusion of happiness some of us display on social media, but the recent genuine confidence she saw in my smile the few times I’ve posted with my man. She explained that before in my past relationship, she sensed “something was just off.” And she was right. As I mentioned in previous posts, I was not in a healthy relationship. In simple terms, we just were not the right fit for each other, and to almost overcompensate for what we lacked, I guess, I tried to convince myself and others (through my posts) that things were alright. And this is something, I think that many of us have unknowingly done at one point or another. It’s just that some people are able to call “BS” on this illusion we put out. Back then, I felt as if my passions were not important. My ambitions were knocked down at times and hence, the value I thought I brought to this world was suppressed. I began to analyze myself differently and double think on essentially anything I stood for.

I was not only lacking confidence on an individual and creative level, but also on a relational level. When there is instability and uncertainty in the relationship, it is hard to  maintain confidence in the relationship. You wonder how much longer either one of you can take.

I think it is not only important to be with someone who is supportive in all of your ventures, but also with someone who shares the same interests and morals as you. In this way, your partner can appreciate the avenues you decide to take on and even find enthusiasm in joining you in some of them! In addition, finding a partner whom you have built stability and cohesiveness with, enables an environment where both partners can feel fulfilled and assured. When your thoughts and feelings are validated, you are reminded that you are important and cared for, thus your partner is helping nurture the relationship.

In short, my friend was right! In retrospect, I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. And although, this process begins within, meeting the right person can most definitely compliment and boost your overall morale.

Our Road Trip to Solvang

It is no secret that the boo and I love exploring nearby towns! We try our best to jam pack our weekends with road trips, site seeing, and of course a good time! This week we decided on Solvang, CA. We both went to college nearby but surprisingly, I had never visited this quaint town during my time in the Central Coast.

Abundantly rich in the culture of the Danish settlers, this village is historically preserved with gorgeous architecture, tasty bakeries, authentic restaurants, wine rooms, flowers galore, and some of the warmest people I have ever met! It was truly a utopia of its own.

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We ventured for the day but with so many activities to enjoy, we decided to plan for a weekend getaway in the near future!

I had always heard great things about Solvang and now I know why! I would definitely  suggest planning a trip to this picturesque historic village as soon as possible! Xo

 

Vegan Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! Now usually on this holiday, I would be overly indulging in yummy chicken burritos, packed with cheese and rice! But this year will look a little bit different for me. Within the past month, I have made the decision to *attempt* to fully transition from first a vegetarian diet to eventually Veganism. This being said, I reached out to my brother who is extremely strict with his diets, in hopes of him sharing his secret recipe to one of the best dishes I have ever tried in my life! In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I would encourage anyone who is looking to spice up their diet with this super healthy, easy, and quick dish!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive/grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 apple, chopped (optional for crunch & tartness)
  • Walnuts, Cranberries (optional)
  • Sprinkle of Feta or Queso Fresco (optional)

 

Directions:
  1. Prepare the quinoa. Bring the pot to a boil with 2 cups of water, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has sprouted out.
  2. Simultaneously, mix your oil, cumin, garlic, lime, and salt together in the bottom of a large bowl to let the flavors mix while the quinoa cooks.
  3. Chop the veggies. Add the cooked quinoa, beans, apple, and veggies to the bowl and gently mix in all ingredients with the dressing.
  4. The quinoa can be warm, room temp, or cold when you serve the dish. To better set the flavors together, I suggest letting it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I prefer the salad cold but have also ate spoonfuls while preparing it, so it is entirely up to your preference! Without this step, cook time is about 20-25 mins.

And Voilà!

If you are ready to experience a healthy Cinco de Mayo inspired dish, I urge you to give this recipe a try! For fun, add cheese, avocado, and tortillas to finish the meal off!

 

 

Quick & Easy Everyday Curls

Hey y’all! After some recent requests, I thought I’d write up a quick post on how I curl my hair.

So technically, I don’t curl my hair in the traditional fashion, rather, I go for a more – boho loose wave look.¬†I wrap my hair around the curling iron just like you would a curling wand but I don’t use the clamp. Throw away your expensive wand and invest in the ~ $15.99 curling iron I swear by,¬†Conair Hot Sticks Curling Iron, 3/4 Inch.¬†

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I first divide my hair into sections. I put the top half of my hair in a high bun and then split the bottom portion down the middle. Starting from the bottom sections, I point the curling iron downwards for more control and wrap each section of my hair away from my face.

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Once I get to the middle of my head, I switch directions. I hold my hair around the barrel for about 10 seconds and once released, I spray one pump of hairspray to that section from a distance, then, I gather the entire wave in the palm of my hand and finally release.

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This was a trick I learned to set the curl, before it cools down, for a longer lasting look.

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Once, I’ve locked in the bottom portion of my hair, I continue to use this same technique to the top portion of my hair.

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Now typically if you were curling with a clamp, you would have to let the curls sit and then wait to run your fingers through to loosen up the curl; but with wrapping, you have avoided this step ūüôā Once completed, your waves should now look effortless and last until the next day!

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PS:

Even though, my hair is on the longer side, I am still able to wrap the entirety of each section (from root to ends) around the barrel in one try. So there is no need to retouch or recurl any section. I found that regular spiral curls, did not last even through the initial curling process. For example, if I had moved onto the top portion of my hair, the bottom section curls would already be falling out. Also I noticed that hair-spraying and holding each section of hair before releasing vs waiting until the entire head is complete to spray, really does help for longer wear! Of course every person is different but this is what has worked for me and just shifting the way I curl my hair, made all the difference! The best part is you can style these waves for both a day or night time look!

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy curling, fam! XO

Knowing You Are Enough

“Am I enough?”

A notoriously toxic question yet one that is often still asked.

Recently I went through an experience that made me come so close to question, if I was enough.

Unfortunately, many of us at one point or another, have had the tendency to focus on what we lack versus taking inventory of what we already possess. It can be extremely easy to do so, especially, when we use social comparisons to determine our own worth based on our perceptions of how we stack up against our peers.

I felt compelled to share this experience because we all need a little reminder every now and again.

About a week or so ago, I was a runner-up for an opportunity I was anxiously awaiting for quite some time! I literally put forth (what seemed like) my blood, sweat, and tears into this as I knew just how many doors this would have opened up for me. I prayed, manifested, and worked my butt off to make this potential opportunity a reality. Even though I had the green light throughout the entire process, I was told last minute that they decided to go with the other individual. Now initially, I was in shock. And for a brief moment, the insecurities set in.¬†I had to stop myself from asking “So what was wrong with ME? Why wasn’t I eno…?” But then I had to quickly remind myself that I gave this my all. No matter their decision, I’m still very much enough.

I think many of us gauge our worth based on certain situations but we must remember that regardless of others’ perspectives of us, regardless of where we are in our lives, and regardless of the way relationships unfold, we must give ourselves internal validation that we are more than enough, as is. When we give life our very best, I am certain it is recycled back to us tenfold later down the line.

Even though, this other person was a “better fit” for this opportunity, it by no means meant I was lacking. We have to realize we hold all that we ever will need, within ourselves.¬†My worth should not be and is not contingent on this opportunity. Knowing we are enough is the first conversation we should be having with ourselves every morning. If we allow ourselves to look outward for qualities that can only be found within, we will be searching for a lifetime. I think situations like this one, are designed to mentally strengthen our perceptions of our inner-selves. They are reminders that no matter what disappointments come our way, we should have no other option but to love and accept who we are, for all that we are and for all what we have and know. By doing this, we will be able to find inner peace.

Tips that have helped me:

  1. Love yourself always, always, always!
  2. Have daily conversations/positive affirmations with yourself
  3. Learn/appreciate the value you bring to this earth
  4. Let go of toxic relationships/situations that make you doubt yourself
  5. Spend more time with yourself- be mindful of who you really are

XO

Collab with Caseapp + Giveaway

If you know me, you’d know I am on my phone and/or laptop 24/7.

On this Earth Day, I’m pretty excited to be partnered with Caseapp to give away a custom iPhone case or laptop skin on the blog!

*My phone case and laptop skin were provided by CaseApp, but all opinions are my own*

Since Caseapp has been kind enough to reach out, I’d like to share my experience with their amazing choices and built quality. Caseapp provides endless possibilities for customizations and default designs. Just like any accessory, phone cases are crucial to compliment a given outfit and make it all come together. That’s exactly why I went with a more minimalistic look and a phone case that can offer versatility.¬† I searched through Pinterest for inspo of potential case/skin art. For some time now, I’ve been a sucker for succulents and the power of plant therapy. I feel like plants and greenery all together really combine well to add a genuine relaxing atmosphere whether it be at the office, home or when you are out and about. Similarly, with blogging, I think it’s important to create a space where you are inspired aesthetically. My iPhone case and laptop skin channel that for me.

Now through May 11th, you can save 20% with the code¬†JASMINVANESSA20 during checkout at¬†caseapp.com¬†ūüôā

Also, I will be hosting a Giveaway! It is open¬†internationally and the winner gets one free product from their site. All you have to do is comment on my latest Instagram post or in the comments below and I will randomly select the winner this upcoming Wednesday, 4/25 ūüôā Goodluck, yall XO

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Frolicking in the Flower Fields

For my 25th birthday, I wanted to celebrate in a setting that exuded beauty and tranquility.

Naturally, the besties and I took a mini road trip to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

An Instagrammer’s dream really, this place was pure perfection! The fields spread across farther than the eye could see and the aroma was to die for!

Prior to frolicking around, we brought some picnic food, bubbly, laid out a huge blanket on the grass and soaked up the sun!

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I would definitely recommend this gem to anyone who is looking for a cute day trip, ideal photo op, date idea, etc. You can literally wear any color outfit because there are an array of colorful flowers for your liking! The fields are open for only one more month so go out and experience this beauty for yourself ‚̧ Xo

How to Cope with Anxiety

In recent days, I’ve seen fellow bloggers and friends share their stories and it has inspired me to share a little bit more about myself…

Now before I give my take on the issue, I would like to just preface with that I am obviously not a doctor nor am I speaking on behalf of everyone who has suffered from anxiety, I am simply sharing my story and what has worked for me (:

Ever since I was young, I’ve favored structure and set plans, very, very much. I’ve been known to overthink many situations in my life but figured I was just more of a worrier than others. But the thought of labeling that worry as a “disorder,” never crossed my mind.

5 years ago, I was beginning my first week as a college sophomore. The work load was light and all was well! I grabbed my first coffee of the school year and headed to the library. About half way through my cup, I noticed my heart rate was accelerating by the second. A few moments later, my throat felt like it was closing in, and my chest tightened. I thought, “whoa, okay maybe I’m just getting jittery because I drank too much, too fast.” Unfortunately, for the next 12 hours, I experienced this same ugly feeling. Throughout each class, I could barely hold my pen up to take notes, I had to step outside several times to get some fresh air, and my stomach was in knots! By 8PM, I was legit scared. What the hell was going on? It couldn’t have been the coffee, because coffee was my lifeline freshman year! I wasn’t stressed about school or really anything in particular so it couldn’t of been a panic attack, right? I was left so confused as I never experienced something like this.

The next day, I figured I would try a new Green Tea the¬†caf√© offered. And within the hour, BOOM! The same sh*t happened for hours on end! At this point I couldn’t help but to feel frustrated and wonder what this was?

For the next three days, the symptoms came in waves…3 hours here, 5 hours there. It was pure misery. I literally could not take it anymore.

I went to see a doctor and explained my symptoms and past history. Since caffeine was a common denominator in the past week, she explained that caffeine has the ability to exacerbate anxiety¬†and other¬†stress-related¬†signs. The symptoms I was experiencing was in fact panic attacks but she was surprised I had never experienced one prior to this week. Since she was unsure herself why this was, she suggested I try this¬†antidepressant medication (one, I can’t remember the name of) which, “would alleviate all of the symptoms”. If I continued to have the symptoms after two weeks of use, she suggested that I continue with it. Now I did zero research prior to going in but was so desperate to feel “normal” again, I agreed on taking it. I was so ignorant on mental health and pharmaceutical drugs I had no idea what I was in for. Those following weeks were some of the darkest days I’ve ever experienced.

I believe it was around day 3 when my entire mood shifted. Naturally, I am a social extrovert. Especially in school, I loved being outdoors near our beach and meeting up with friends in between classes. I remember as each day passed on this medication, I found it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. I was becoming sad and found little to no energy to go to class or work. Since mental health or antidepressants were such an unfamiliar topic to me and to be honest, taboo, (especially 5 or so years ago) I did not share what was going on with me to my friends or even my roommate. I would hide my medication and take it only while she was not home. I remember cancelling on friends with a BS excuse, all because I simply did not have the energy to get out my apartment. I had difficulty in explaining how I felt to my mom and told her I just did not feel myself. But I kept with it for a number of days after because I legit feared of having another attack.

It was day 12/14 when I woke up in the AM, to dark thoughts. I could not take it anymore. This was not me. I rushed myself to urgent care and told the doctor what I was thinking and how terribly awful I felt while on the medication. I demanded I was taken off of it and at this point did not care if an attack came on. These thoughts were not worth it to me.

She then explained how medication may not work for everyone and then suggested I try alternative methods like meditation, counseling, outdoor physical exercise, journaling, and of course, ditching caffeine altogether.

Just the very next day, I felt back to myself again. As happy as I was because of this, I was also just as upset that this mental health professional immediately prescribed me medication. As I did further research and educated myself on the matter, I found that the alternative methods the Psychiatrist suggested to me after the fact, should have been the first line of treatment.

All this to say, since then I have not experienced panic attacks to that capacity. Every few months or so, however; I do still feel an attack coming on so¬†I will now share what I’ve learned from those few counseling sessions and what has worked for me with dealing with the constant “worry” or anxiety of the day to day.

  1. Cut out all caffeine: coffee, decaff coffee, green tea, iced tea, Matcha, etc.
    • This one has been so hard for me, lol! I miss coffee sooo soo much but an 8 hour attack is not worth one cup of goodness.
  2. Meditate: In your own space, group classes, outdoors, etc.
  3. Briefly talk yourself out of it: May seem easier said than done, but I just talk to myself in third-person in attempts of centering myself again.
    • For example: “Jasmin! You will be okay, just breathe. Relax, take a walk, you’ll be fine.”
  4. Spend more time outside: Going outdoors, especially in the midst of an attack, def distracts me in the moment and without realizing, the attack often goes away.
  5. Distract yourself: I found that by focusing all my energy and efforts into an attack, often times makes it worse. Acknowledge it but still try to move on with your day and plans.
  6. Realize that worrying will not change a situation: This one, of course is a work in progress for me but it is pertinent to remind yourself this.

 

The list can go on and on, but I wanted to highlight those that have helped me the most.¬†I’m aware treatment¬†is by no means, a one size fits all solution, and that I do not suffer from crippling anxiety or have even faced severe mental health issues, but my hopes are by sharing my experience, I can at least start a conversation. On a general basis, I think our society focuses so much on physical health yet the topic of mental heath still remains in the shadows. Let’s all be proactive in looking after our own mental health as well as educating ourselves on such a sensitive topic. Xo

What To Wear For a Desert Road Trip

Hey, guys! If you follow me on IG: @_jasminvanessa you might have seen that I went on a weekend getaway to Joshua Tree National Park, a couple of weeks ago.

Considering Coachella season is upon us, I thought I would share some looks I brought along with me to the desert.

Packing for the desert presents a specific set of challenges… during the day it can be either windy as hell or dry AF. During the night, prepare to experience almost freezing temps, ha!

Luckily, you can pull off a range of your favorite outfits as long as you come prepared!

*I have also attached the links of where you can find these items*

What to pack:

Fedora Hats & lots of em!¬†Macy’s

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Sunnies!! H&M

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One thick coat for the frigid nights! ZARA

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Denim – I’m a sucker for Wide-Leg Jeans. Higher waist and wide, flowing denim – screams desert boho vibes.¬†ZARA

Comfortable booties for the long trails and rough terrain. Forever 21

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Long/short sleeve crop tops for the winds but also #fashion. Forever 21

Sheer Embroidered LongLine Kimonos. Forever 21

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Props for the aesthetics. I picked up flowers, some pretty fruit (not pictured) and my Polaroid camera!

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And of course, you can’t forget the Long Sleeve Dresses with Ruffle Trims!¬†Forever 21

Hope you find inspo in some of these looks! Xo