Fun (and Healthy) Summer Recipes!

Summer break is here!! School is out, the weather is nice, fruits and veggies are ripe and fresh, and you have plenty of time on your hands! If you’re looking for fun summer activities, try making some of these simple and healthy (and colorful!) summer recipes. They taste great and look cool too! And they’re all perfect for hot summer days.

Frozen Banana Pops

A healthier and more fun alternative to eating ice cream in the summer is making and eating frozen banana pops! Bananas have good nutritional value (they contain potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and more), and they taste great too! Plus you can add a variety of healthy toppings.

Easy Summer Treats

Ingredients:
-Bananas (each banana will make 2-3 pops, depending on size)
-Spread (yogurt, cream cheese, dark chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter, etc.)
-Toppings (chocolate chips, oats, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, crushed graham crackers, cookie crumbs, chopped dried fruit, etc.)
-Popsicle sticks, cookie sheet, parchment paper

Directions:
1. Cover a cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper
2. Peel bananas and cut them into halves or thirds (depending on size of banana and how big you want popsicle)
3. Carefully put one popsicle stick in each piece of banana
4. Dip bananas in desired spread (or use a knife to spread if spread is thick)
*Cream cheese must be extra soft to spread, so make sure it’s warm or room temperature. Add honey or cinnamon if you want more flavor.
*For good dipping chocolate, add one tablespoon coconut oil for every 3 ounces of chocolate and heat until melted.
5. Roll each banana in desired toppings (or use hands to put on more toppings)
6. Place on parchment paper and freeze for 2-4 hours
7. Serve or put in freezer bag for up to a week

Berry Lemonade Popsicles

I am a huge fan of anything frozen and fruity. These popsicles taste great and look cool too! Bonus: they’re super simple and easy to make!

Berry Lemonade Popsicles are perfect for summer with fresh strawberries and blueberries!

Ingredients:
-Lemonade (can be from a mix, from a can, in a bottle, etc., and can be any flavor you want)
-Fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
-Popsicle mold

Directions:
1. Put sliced fruit in popsicle mold
2. Pour lemonade into mold until almost full
3. Place top on popsicle mold and insert popsicle sticks
4. Freeze overnight, then enjoy!

For other variations, try coconut water, iced tea or different juices. Or try cutting up other varieties of fruit!

Fresh Herb Flower Cucumber Bites

This is the perfect snack that can use veggies and herbs straight from the garden! The flower cucumber bites are perfect for tea parties, potlucks, or just mid-day snacks.

Ingredients:
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp lemon zest
-2 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
-2 tbsp mint, thinly sliced
-2 tsp chopped chives
-4 ounces softened cream cheese
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 seedless cucumber, medium sliced into 32 rounds
-3-4 medium radishes, sliced thinly into 32 rounds

Directions:
1. Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl
2. Use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the cucumber slices into shapes (or try other designs!)
3. Assemble: place a radish slice on each cucumber slice and top with about ½ tsp of cheese mixture
4. Enjoy!

Rainbow Lemon Sparkling Water

Perhaps you’ve seen the awesome idea of putting food coloring in ice cubes. This is a variation that uses lemonade and sparkling water, making it taste even better and look even cooler!

Frozen kool-aid cubes and ginger ale. Cool rainbow drink

Ingredients:
-Lemonade (can be from a mix, from a can, in a bottle, etc., and can be any flavor you want)
-Food coloring
-Sparkling water
-Ice cube trays

Directions:
1. Put lemonade in ice cube trays
2. Add food coloring to each soon-to-be-ice cube
4. Freeze lemonade ice cubes
5. Put lemonade ice cubes in clear glass and add sparkling water
6. Enjoy!

Rainbow Fruit Kabobs

If you like rainbow, fruit, and SIMPLE, you will love these! They’re as easy to make as they look, and fruit is always a healthy choice!

Looking for something a little more healthy? Try rainbow fruit skewers! Delicious and breathtaking.

Ingredients:
-Strawberries, raspberries, or another red fruits
-Mandarin oranges, tangerines, or other orange fruits
-Pineapple or other yellow fruits
-Kiwis, green apples, green grapes, or other green fruits
-Blueberries or other blue fruits
-Purple grapes, blackberries, or other purple fruits
-Kabob skewers

Directions:     
1. Cut up fruits
2. Put fruits in rainbow order on kabobs
3. Enjoy!

For fun, try other color patterns. Or try sticking a bunch of kabobs in a whole watermelon—it will look great!

Avocado Corn Salsa

I am a huge fan of salsa, so I’m always looking for new recipes! This is a great one, especially for summer when veggies are fresh. Plus it’s super healthy—we all know veggies are good for you, beans are a great source of protein, and avocados provide almost 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:
-1 cup corn (fresh or cooked)
-2 avocados
-1 small onion
-2 limes
-2 medium tomatoes
-1 1/2 cup black beans
-Garlic Salt

Directions:
1. Cut/chop onion, tomatoes, and avocados (and remove fresh corn from cob if necessary)
2. Put into bowl and add other ingredients
3. Toss together
4. Refrigerate for a while (also gives time for flavors to mix together more)
5. Enjoy with any kind of chips!

Enjoy! Let me know which recipes are your favorite.

~Natalie

The 21 Day Challenge To Becoming a Better YOU

It takes 21 days to make something a habit, so for 21 days try these six tips to improve yourself. They will not only make you feel better, but make your days better.

#1- Don’t Complain

Why Complaining Is Holding You Back & How To Stop -> Examine, reflect and be aware. And stay positive.

On average, a person complains at least 30 times a day. How many times do you think you complain on a daily basis? Because I know I complain a lot, whether I am complaining about the rain, how cold it is, how slow people are driving, or even how much homework I have everyday. Complaining is negativity coming out of your mouth. Imagine if instead of saying negative things, you said positive things. Like how much you love the sound of rain, snuggling up in a blanket when its cold, or how relaxing driving slow is. Your attitude and outlook on the day would make a complete 360. So try it! Don’t make any complaints about the events of your day.

#2- Spread Kindness

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti

Be friendly to everyone around you. Compliment a stranger. You never know how someones day is going. Words of kindness could bless someone. Even a simple smile at someone passing by will not only make them feel warm, but make yourself feel good also! So for the next 10 days, make it a point to be kind to everyone you come in contact with.

#3- Avoid Procrastination

What Will You Do Today That Shapes Your Tomorrow? - Muscle & Fitness Hers

Procrastination is one of the biggest things I personally struggle with. Especially when it comes to homework; I refuse to do it until the night before. Procrastination brings a ton of stress on yourself. Make goals and follow through with them. Create a to-do list, give yourself a time to have things done by, and follow through with it. You will have so much free time to do activities that you actually want to do.

#4- Be Accepting

We are trained in this society to reject anything that we don not understand. Elevate your mind.

Not everyone you come across will have the same morals, standards, beliefs, and style of clothing as you. Everyone is different, therefore you should be accepting of all kinds of people. A girl has one shoes that you don’t like, oh well. Just because it is not your choice doesn’t mean its wrong. So accept all people, all situations, and all outcomes.

#5- Volunteer and Serve Others

Often the best way to see the needs of others is to stop looking at our own. -Kristen Welch

Serving others should be a big priority. It goes along with spreading kindness. When you do good things for others with a genuine servants heart, good things will come unto you. You don’t have to go to a shelter to serve, you can serve in your neighborhood, at your school, or you can even serve your family. For 10 days, find a way to bless others.

#6- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Get out of your comfort zone

Most the time people stay in their comfort zone because they are scared to try new things. But it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Do small things, like try food you’ve never had before, or do a new hairstyle. Take baby steps. Getting out of your comfort zone will make your life more exciting. You don’t have to live life on the edge, but lets try not to live life in a box.

Good luck! I hope that you not only try these things, but that you are consistent and it works for you. That you will feel more encouraged and more confident than ever. Here’s to a better you!

– Jasmine

And now I will do what’s best for me…

With the end of the semester approaching, stress is at an all time high. With all the school work and stress of grades, we seem to lose ourselves in the madness. But you have to remember, that you ARE ALWAYS a priority. No matter the day or time, you always need to make sure you have time for yourself. I have learned that through high school and college, time to yourself is just as fun and appealing as time with your friends. Nothing is more exciting than putting on a good movie and painting your nails, or mixing up some DIY face mask cream and reading a good book. Here are some tips for staying relaxed and beautiful during a time of distress.

“Your feet will take you where your heart is.”  Your feet are a very important part to your body. They bear all the weight of the day. So after a long hard day, sit down and soak your feet in this peppermint mix and rid all the ware and tear of the day.

http://thedivinemissmommy.com/diy-peppermint-foot-soak/

DIY Peppermint Foot Soak | The Divine Miss Mommy

 

“Your body will be around a lot longer than that expensive handbag.” Your body is a reflection of your feeling. If you feel good, you will look better. Light a candle, play some calm music, and unwind in the bubbles and bath salts of this delightful bubble bath potion.

http://www.brit.co/picks/treat-yoself-to-this-5-minute-diy-bubble-bath/?utm_campaign=pinbutton_hover

Treat Yo'self to This 5 Minute DIY Bubble Bath

 

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you.”  The first thing people should see is your glowing skin and bright smile. Rejuvenate your skin after strenuous days with these different face masks for all types of skin.

Top 10 DIY Cucumber Beauty Remedies for Glowing Skin

Beauty

 

Hopefully, all these tips will encourage you to sit down, take a break from the fast pace life, and take care of yourself. You are important, too!

– Jasmine

Healthy Dating

Dating someone can be lots of fun. They take you out, and you get butterflies in your stomach when you see them, and slowly but surely you start developing feelings for that special person. They have a way of making you smile and making you feel special. It’s a wonderful feeling to explore a romantic relationship with someone, as long as you check your safety first. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 youth are involved in an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes the person in an unhealthy relationship does not even notice. Do you know if you are in a healthy or unhealthy relationship? There are signs to look out for and evaluate the relationship you’re in, or maybe a close friend is in a relationship and you’re not sure whether or not it’s a healthy one.

 

Signs of a healthy relationship:

 

– Both you and your partner feel respected, supported, and valued

When you are in a relationship you become close and comfortable with your partner over time. This, however, does not mean that you can disrespect or be disrespected. You want to be with someone who values you enough as a person to always treat you with respect whether things are good or bad.

 

– Both have friends and interests outside of the relationship

It can be easy to get sucked in to your relationship. You may want to be with your partner at every possible moment and you might think this is not a bad thing, but it is. It is important that you do not lose yourself in your relationship. You may be in a relationship, but that does not transform you into one individual. You are still two separate individuals with beautiful qualities and differences, and its those qualities and differences that you each fell for. Do not cut off your friendships or stop doing the things you love. It’s important to hold on to these things so that you do not lose who you are, and trust me, it’s okay to do things without one another. It will be fine, I promise.

 

– Disagreements are dealt with through open and honest communication

This goes back to being respected. Disagreements do not need to be settled violently or with raising voices. In any relationship there will be times that you may disagree, it’s inevitable, but how you handle it is up to you. The best way to settle disagreements is to listen and to be heard. We sometimes feel like we have to automatically become defensive when we feel that our point of view is being attacked. Instead, why not listen to your partner, ask questions to understand where they are coming from, and do not interrupt them. This does not mean that you have to agree with them, but it tells your partner, “I hear you”. Moving forward when both parties feel heard then becomes easier and there is a lot less hurt.

 

Signs of an unhealthy relationship:

 

– One person tries to change the other

There are instances where you try and change your partner for the better, and because you see their value and potential and encourage them to push into the amazing person they are, and that is great; but there is also a flip side to that. If one tries to change the other for their own selfish benefit, this is where it becomes a bad thing. It is not about them caring about who you are, but about what they want and what best fits them.

 

– One person makes most or all of the decisions

Relationships are about working together and discussing with one another about decisions that need to be made. If only one person in the relationship is the one who makes all the decisions, it is an unhealthy relationship. One person is not getting their voice heard. There should be equal power in a relationship where both parties are heard and taken into consideration.

 

– One or both people drop friends and interests outside of the relationship

Friendships are very important to hold onto. A relationship should be something that you want to share with your close friends and family, not something that pulls you away and sever the close relationships you already have. It is not healthy because it isolates you from those you love and cherish. It makes it so that you are dependent and feel like you only have your partner to rely on. If things were to not work out, you may feel alone. Interests are also another thing that you should not give up. Do not let go of the things that make you you.

 

– One or both people yell, threaten, hit, or throw things during arguments

No matter what the argument or how mad someone feels, violent outbursts are not the way to handle the situation. If either party is in any physical danger, it is a sign that it is an unhealthy relationship. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you are scared for your safety.

 

– One person makes fun of the other’s opinions or interests

Some jokes and poking fun are okay from time to time, but there is a limit. If one person feels like their opinions or interests are always made fun of or joked about, they may feel embarrassed to share in the future. This can then lead to them not feeling like they can be themselves or share with their partner without the fear of being put down, even if it is in a “joking manner.” Relationships are about supporting one another.

 

– No trust

If one or the other is constantly looking through the other’s phone calls, text messages, facebook, email, etc. because they do not trust their partner, it is a warning sign. There should be trust in a relationship, especially if neither has done anything to make the other not trust them.

 

These are a few of the signs of healthy vs. unhealthy relationships.. Take them to heart and pay attention. Even if you are not in a relationship, it is important that you know the signs so that you are aware the day you do start getting into a relationship. Relationships are meant to be fun and a growing experience. So, make it a HEALTHY, fun and growing experience.

~Kat

 

Put Down the Phone

Phones seem to be taking over our lives… I know that I, too, am guilty of this. We live in a day and age where cellphones seems to grab the majority of our attention. We constantly check our phones for text messages, Facebook notifications, instagram pictures, etc. We seem to invest more time in the lives that are behind our cell phone screen than the ones that are right in front of us.

It’s not that phones and social media are all bad, and that we should completely get rid of them. But it can definitely become a bad thing without the proper boundaries. We take pictures of our destinations before actually seeing where we are, and send a picture of our meal to our friends before even tasting it. There seems to be this need to put the electronic world first before our present  world.

I realized that when I was walking back home from work by myself, I could not just be present; I found myself taking out my phone and checking Facebook and Instagram while I walked to keep myself entertained. Gone are the days where we walk through town with our eyes up, looking around and taking in our surroundings and the people we pass along the street. Instead, our faces are turned down towards our screens answering the last text or checking up with whats new on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve also noticed that when I wake up I check my phone right away. How sad is that?

I have made it a point to recognizing those moments when my eyes are glued to my phone when it really was not necessary. When I walk home now, I put away my phone and actually enjoy my walk and look at what is around me. Every morning, I turn off my alarm and make it a point to wait at least 30 minutes before having any sort of interaction with my phone or laptop. I make myself some coffee, enjoy my breakfast without any distraction, have a conversation with my roommate, or simply take some time to myself by maybe reading a book I like. What I have noticed from these small changes is that I truly enjoy the moment that I am in. You only get to live each moment once. You may have similar experiences in life, but they will all be different in some way. Take the time to be aware of what is going on in your life now and put down the phone for just a moment. Take in your surroundings, savor the food you eat, and delight in the conversations you have with loved ones.

So, do not miss out on the great moments of your life. You only really go through things once. Put down the phone!

~Kat

FUN in the SUN with friends!

Interested in finding some neat new activities to have a little summer fun with your friends? Well here’s a few I found that I know I definitely want to try!

First, I began thinking about the joy that a classic board game can bring friends. Well, how about doing one in the sun? And instead of just bringing a board out and plopping it on a table, what about THIS nifty idea? Yard Twister!

I also came across this idea earlier in the spring, but didn’t get a chance to try it. Who’s ever been a part of a paint war? Cause it looks SO fun! And here are tons of different ideas on how to do it!

You can put paint in squirt guns!

Or in water balloons!

Or you know what, you can just do it however you like! But one tip from me at least… Wear a plain white shirt. Make’s it so much more fun!

But if you just want to cool off from the sun, AND still get a little creative, try a paint Slip n’ Slide!

The last idea I found may very well bring you back to your childhood. I don’t know about you, but I LOVED (well, let’s be real, I STILL love) making a good fort with blankets and sheets. You’d stack up the chairs, hang the corners on book shelves or bed frames, and viola. Nothing tops that… Except maybe a fort OUTSIDE. Sure, it might take a bit more improvising, but maybe with a little string, some clothes lines, whatever you got… Just MAYBE, can you make something spectacular.

I hope these ideas help add a little more fun in the sun for you and your friends! If nothing else, I hope they encourage you to get creative, and find some joy. Cause honestly, I don’t think you’re ever too old to go play in the rays.

~Jaynani

Trouble Cutting Fruit? Fear no more!

Summer’s here. Yup, let the sun rays flow… In my mind, this means BRING OUT THE FRUIT (not that it HAS to be summer to eat fruit, but sweet goodness is it delightful to be grinding on some watermelon chunks or pineapple while basking in the sun). So, I thought I’d address all those who have ever had the same revelation as me… HOW ON EARTH DO I CUT UP SOME OF THIS STUFF?

In college, I came home one day with a pineapple and cantaloupe in hand, and was super stoked to start munching on them. It had been a LONG week, and all I wanted to do was sit back, relax, and chow down on some good fruit. That’s when it hit me. I had no idea how to cut it properly.

So! If you’ve ever had that same kind of moment of panic, OR, don’t want to in the near future if you have a lack of fruit cutting experience, I’ve done some research for you.

FIRST UP: Of course, that darn pineapple. Why does it have to be such a pain… Or is it?

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EASY ENOUGH! Next, watermelon.

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Sweet. (Get it, cause watermelons are sweet?) How about this nifty one with kiwi’s!

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Awesome. Now check this one out! Super neat.

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Cantaloupe time! One of my favorites.

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Can’t forget this. MANGO’S.

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Those are the toughie’s!  But you can also go grab some strawberries, blueberries, bananas, cherries, grapes, pears, and so much more! From there, the options are endless. You can make a fruit parfait, a fruit shishkabob, salad, toss them all in a blender and make a smoothie, or just go with the classic: EAT THEM AS IS.

There are tons of ways to cut all these different kinds of fruit up, but if you’re at a loss like I once was, you can start here! I hope your summer gets a little more fruity with these step-by-step instructions. Enjoy!

~Jaynani

QUESTION of the Day

I was asked the question the other day… “What are you doing right now that is requiring faith?” But don’t just immediately write this one off because of what the religious background (or lack of) that you come from is. Get this: IT DOESN’T MATTER. The question stays the same.

Google’s definition of faith is this: the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction

The question can simply be, “Where in your life do you have to find strength and courage to persevere?” Or even, “Where in your life do you have to truly trust in a friend or a family member, or even your own abilities?” “Where in your life do you have to BELIEVE that something good will happen, or something good will come out of these trying times?”

After some thought, my answer was, “I’m trying to let go of the things I can’t change With that answer, it broke down to three different sub-groupings: past, present, and future things. Certain things on my heart; certain things I felt like I couldn’t do alone; certain people I knew I couldn’t reach out to every day like I’d want to; certain UNcertainties that had to do with my future; and certain memories I knew I just couldn’t change. Those were the things in my life that were requiring faith.

So, I’m keeping this rather short, or at least more to the point. WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW THAT IS REQUIRING FAITH? Right now. At this moment. Dig deeper for this one. Look somewhere in your heart or in your mind that you’ve been avoiding to look at in a while, to confront. Because here’s the deal: When you answer this question, this is the real answer you are giving: I AM STRONG BECAUSE... Think of the harder things. By doing that what you’re truly saying is, “I am strong because I have dealt with this in my past,” or “I am strong because although I don’t know how to go about this situation, I AM STILL GOING…” That’s the key. Still going: A process. You’re not supposed to have some concrete answer. You’re supposed to wrestle with it. You’re SUPPOSED to see how strong you are…

If this question is easy for you, then I challenge you to go even deeper; to try and see even clearer; to try and be even STRONGER.

~Jaynani

Laughter… You’re actually becoming HEALTHIER!!!!

I don’t know about you, but there is not much laughter can’t fix… At least in the moment. I don’t mean the “ha ha, that was a corny pun, Daniel,” kind of laughter. I mean the deep-rooted, snorting-triggered, body-aching belly laugh. There is truly no moment for me that can’t be fixed by that kind of laughter.

But here’s the thing: This isn’t just a personal remedy, it has been PROVEN by research that laughter brings about tons of health benefits! So… Laugh a little more in your day, and become healthier? Now how on earth can that be true? Well, here’s 7 research based proven benefits to laughing.

  1. Laughing lowers blood pressure

Lowering your blood pressure, no matter what starting levels they may be at, helps reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. That should be reason enough to laugh a little more!

  1. Laughter reduces stress hormone levels

The benefit of reducing stress hormone levels are infinite, but the obvious one includes making cuts to the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. On top of that, reduction of stress hormones in your body may result in higher immune system performance. In other words, laughing along with your buddy’s jokes at the end of a long day can not only help reduce some of the stress and anxiety you’ve built up, but also help keep you from getting sick! Sounds good to me.

  1. It’s a FUN ab workout!

Alright, everybody has to have felt this feeling at least ONCE in their life before, and screamed these words during a deep belly laugh… “Stop making me laugh! My belly hurts!” I think one of the coolest benefits of laughing (because keeping you from having a stroke or heart attack or building up your immune system is totally not as cool), would have to be that you are helping TONE YOUR ABS when you laugh! When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach are expanding and contracting, similar to when you are intentionally exercising your abs. So… Laugh and look GOOD. That should be a bumper sticker.

  1. Laughing improves cardiac health

Laughing is also a great cardio workout, especially for those who are unable to do certain physical activities due to an injury or illness. Laughing gets your heart pumping, and burns calories. Again, how is this not reason enough?

  1. It BOOSTS T cells

Laughing boosts T cells, which are specialized immune system cells just waiting to be activated. When you laugh, you are basically giving permission for TAKE-OFF for those cells to immediately begin to help you fight off sickness.  So next time you feel like there’s a cold coming in, try adding in a few chuckles.

  1. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins

The job of an endorphin is this: To be the body’s natural pain killer. So when you laugh, you release endorphins that can help ease chronic pain. You know, like what the medicines that cost the big bucks do.

  1. Laughing all-around produces a general sense of well-being

Research has proven that laughter can help increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a more positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So, when you smile and laugh, you can live longer? That has GOT to be enough reason why you should add more laughter in your day.

 

Yes, the deep-rooted belly laughs are great. But really, just a chuckle, or even a giggle can do so much for you. If I am being literally benefitted health wise by doing something that brings me joy, something that means I am having a good time, well then count me in. So think about this the next time you’re feeling stressed, anxious, like you’re getting sick, can’t be physically active, want to have a more positive outlook on life, or you just want to know you have given yourself a nice exercising touch to your day. Laughter can do the job! So, go ahead and get your giggle on!

 

 

~Jaynani

Searching for beauty? Searching in the wrong places? Just go WANDER!

Being new to write to this blog, I skimmed through a vast amount of the previous things that have been talked about or shared here. It didn’t take long for me to realize what I wanted to contribute first…
A common theme that I have recognized in this blog has been the idea of beauty and what it should mean to us. Beauty that is real, though, rather than a false expectation or image of something that doesn’t exist. In Alyssa’s February 20th entry titled “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”, she stressed true INNER beauty. Beauty that goes far deeper than what kind of clothes you wear, what the shape of your body is, or what color eyes you have. It’s about seeing something honest, something true, something real in a world that has become more and more artificial or engineered.

Well, beauty can be seen in many places. One place I’ve learned to find it is in NATURE. So, I give you this: A rather famous quote that may look short, but can take you the distance…

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Playing video games, browsing your social media, watching great movie hits: These are all things that I do as well. I would be a complete hypocrite if I said to quit doing all those things. But there is only so much of technology you can take before getting caught up and stuck in the false beauties the world offers. It is EASY to look at magazines and wish that was you when you see pictures like that every single day on Instagram. And it’s EASY to feel your body isn’t shaped right when you see women portrayed like mighty goddesses in games or on the internet or in television shows. But when you find time to just wander… To “lose yourself” in a green world of nature that only has and only knows TRUE beauty… Then that’s when you begin to see with a new pair of eyes. That’s when you see what real beauty is.

Here are some pictures I took just last weekend at a place that is 13 minutes away from where I live. A place with infinite trails that allows you to just wander…

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Now here’s the real test: I challenge you. Yup, I said I challenge you. You don’t have to go climb a mountain (unless that’s your kind of thing), but just get outside. WANDER. Even if you’re in a place where there aren’t many trees, go take a walk. Or sit on a bench and watch the clouds. Or find a good place to watch the sunset… Or even the sunrise! (You gotta get up early for that one, which is REAL hard for me, so kudos to you if you can) But just go outside. Find what is bare but authentic, what is simple yet real… Find something that is beautiful.

~Jaynani