IYQ. Say it. Yes, out loud. That’s how I feel about LA + LB. IYQ.

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los angeles lessons

I learned three things in LA. Don’t things always come in threes?

1. i like fit friends.

it was my first full day in LA. my girl alex goes… so you wanna run three miles tonight. you can imagine my face. there would have been zero had she implanted the words lift  or hike  or netflix  or even bike  instead of run three miles. because with those words the piccolo-playing 7th grader in me – you know, the one with one of the slowest mile times, peeked her little head out, shivering with fright. i’m pretty proud of how quickly the 25-yo woman that i am today assured her that the jump-squatting, high-kneeing, kickboxing badass that she is would do just fine.

so at 10pm that night (with some reservation), we headed into downtown LA with the bLAcklist to run 3.5 miles with a massive heard of high vibing lovelies to a mural and back with the help of pacers, music, and even a pitbull leading the pack. [yep, you read that correctly. he kissed me.] i haven’t ever been one to qualify myself as a runner, but in the words of alex, “fuck that shit.”

with the ocean blasting in my headphones, i almost cried. #catharsis emotions were running high, but in a good way. like fucking rocky or something. conquering this crazy fear i’ve had forever. a testament to how my fitness has changed my mindset + how my mindset has changed my fitness. i felt like a fucking warrior.

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and it was on the way home that i realized how much fit friends mean to me. seems like it should go without saying, right? but the T R U T H is that in rva, i don’t have fit friends. and fit friends make a H U G E difference. i am surrounded by coach babes on the interwebs day and night, but to have alex right there in person ready to hike and run and GET IT. #priceless.

2. trust your intuition.

i felt this need to hike the Hollywood Sign. it’s the ONLY thing i really wanted to do in LA.so boom goes the dynamite, i drove all the way up to hollywood to hike and had zero expectations. i just wanted the picture. #vain

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the first part of the hike is like, straight uphill. y’all. booty be working! i bet this is all the Kardashians do. they just hike that one hill. cause DAMN. but then i came to the overlook and my jaw dropped. it was this moment frozen in time – like this is exactly the place i’m supposed to be in exactly this moment. i can’t explain it more than that. but it felt so right. so i accepted it from the universe with lots of gratitude.

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3. downtown LA is BEAUTIFUL.

i could never live there. too busy. too fast. but i definitely wouldn’t be opposed to living closer. you can take that as an official hint. 😉

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long beach living

so, when i was a kid, i loved baywatch. WEIRD, right?! i liked the storyline. and david hasselhoff. when we’d go to the beach i’d pretend i was a lifeguard saving someone. i’d try to run into the water really fast – the way that the babes did. i like yasmine bleeth. cause my name is jasmine. see the connection?

anyway, i meandered on down to long beach for a day to sit on the beach and watch the waves. and i found a lifeguard stand. and i might have had a mini photo session. i’m not mad about it. 🙂

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mad love,

jasmine

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I’m sitting on a couch in LA wanderlusting about a city two hours to the South. San Diego. We had an unforeseen relationship, sd and I. I came into town fully expecting to enjoy it like a friend that you love and leave for your true home. I *didn’t* come into town expecting to find a space of peace and freedom. It’s kind of like when you get knocked over the head with a love that you hadn’t even considered, that you didn’t even know existed. Breathless.

 

what to do.

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go to the beach.

i know you were expecting that. there’s something spiritual these beaches that i’ve never felt on the east coast. y’all know i’m a sucker for the outer banks, but this was different. maybe it’s just my headspace right now, but this felt more grounding, more in tune with the earth. here are the ones i made it to.

Ocean Beach

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my local friends qualify this as the ‘hippie beach,’ which i’d have to agree with. surfers and dreadlocks abound. there is a fantastic farmer’s market on wednesdays where you can get your produce alongside your handmade turquoise jewelry. the beach is also right by all of these cute little local shops | clubs | restaurants | coffee shops like nest where i met up with my gal pal meredith.

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best part of ob though… people watching. i’ll have to share more about that later. 😉

La Jolla

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i pretty much 100% went to Scripps Park in La Jolla for the Truffula Tree. i taught the lorax so many times while teaching, that the idea that ms. jonte found the last truffula tree was just too good to pass up.

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i also made it out to the la jolla pier for this Instagram worthy shot at sunset, and was pleasantly surprised to find the beach pretty empty. it was here i dipped my toes into the pacific for the first time, and felt really small. it’s really hard to not be happy and grateful and blessed and in awe in such a humbling place.

Ho Chi Minh Trail | Black’s Beach

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i took this ‘secret surf trail’ that’s totally discoverable on google maps. it’s super easy to miss the entrance. but as i traveled down this crazy trail between two massive smooth rocks, i knew it was worth the hunt. i’ll admit though, i wasn’t QUITE prepared for the trek. so, two tips. backpack over bag. boots over sneakers.

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i got down to the beach and walked north. and all of a sudden there were naked men in front of me. i tried really hard to avert the eyes. i was unsuccessful. all the goodies. my friend shared that this was originally a gay beach back in the 60s, and the men out here, and the men that started the dang thing. hence, no ladies going out in their birthday suit.

i headed up the steps to the parking lot of black’s beach, figuring I’d take the road back where i parked. good thing i made some friends and got a ride, because it wasn’t as simple as i thought. we’re talking like an hour of walking. shout out to shawndrea + indee. <3

sunset cliffs

are words even necessary?

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go to balboa park.

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balboa park is this amazing complex of sorts. i don’t think the word ‘park’ is fitting. it’s home to a ton of museums, a *massive* organ, an art village featuring local artists, a botanical garden, and even a hidden forest. oh, and the san diego zoo. it’s a really big place, y’all. i took an afternoon to just walk around. i didn’t go into a museum, but i did love love love just getting the chance to look at the architecture, listen to the local performing artists (digeridoo anyone?), and soak in the san diego sun.

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celebrate a holiday.

halloween isn’t something that i ever really celebrate. but when my girl kaja was like, “want to go to a day of the dead party?” i was like, “hell yes.” when you celebrate a holiday while out of town, it’s going to feel crazy. everything was last minute. you’re going to make fast decisions. you’re going to have to go with the flow. you’re going to just let it be. and for an A Type like me, that’s 100% liberating.

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we left the celebration to blare music while driving around downtown, sit on the beach and get offered all the dope (refused. we got goals.), and dance to ‘walk it out’ OB. girls night to a T.

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where to eat.

trilogy sanctuary

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this rooftop yoga studio|cafe combo felt so good. again, breathless. there was so much to choose from, but being the good little health coach i am, i opted for a salad, so that i could also get carrot cake. #balance

peace pies

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i hopped of the plane, picked up the car, and headed here. this was the most adorable little hole-in-the-wall. i wish i could be friends with the guys i met here running the kitchen. they were just good people. so calm and chill and zen. such beautiful energy. and you can taste it in the food. nori rolls with cucumber dill sauce + a maca chocolate treat.

where to stay.

with friends

this just goes without saying, right? but staying with kaja, who has no wifi, haha, was e x a c t l y what i needed. i needed to unplug. i needed this girl. there are just NO words. we vibe SO hard. love you, babe.

airbnb

i stayed in this lovely airbnb for a few days while kaj and her hubs tay were working. it’s in pacific beach, which my local friends tell me is a younger area. it was just the spot i needed. it was close driving distance to all the sites, but walking distance to groceries, food, and coffee.

i know some people that are wary of staying in an airbnb as a solo traveller, and i understand. we all have to be smart. use your head. trust your gut. i had the hardest time picking an airbnb for my time in sd, but my intuition told me this one, and it was right.

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so, here i am in LA.

i’m in a space of wondering… north? or south? part of me wants to turn up ingrid’s new celebrate, and cruise back down to the city that took my breath away. and the other side of myself just wants to hold onto that spark and carry it to big sur. the soul adventure continues either way.

stay sexy, san diego.

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img_2942 It took me an entire year to find Juniper. That’s a LOT of time with my friends Petfinder + AdoptAPet. (Ok, maybe even a little Craigslist.) I could match the name every pitbull with an online profile in the Detroit area. I’d ace any face recognition check imaginable. I was #obsessed. If you’re doing this, then it’s just a good sign that you actually want it bad enough, because you’re overcoming the mom in your head that’s saying, “You don’t have enough time.” or “How will it get exercise?”

So, here are my top 5 tips for those first-time adopters out there, you potential #DOGma or #DOGpa.

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Number One. Have patience.

I was too hungry for a dog when I first gave the idea some real thought. I was wishing myself into finding the right dog. I thought I found the right dog in Bandit in March of 2014. I paid the deposit and brought him home from the foster-based rescue despite his label – SLIGHT SEPARATION ANXIETY. I picked him up on a Friday and had dropped him back off by Sunday night. That separation anxiety wasn’t slight. I tried to pick up groceries on Saturday, and it took him about 10m to shake himself out of the metal wired crate, and make his nails bleed clawing at the door.

Don’t take this lightly. Do some research. This was my gut check to be sure I was as ready as I believed myself to be. If you haven’t read a couple dog training books before adopting, then you’re not ready. It’s a living breathing life that can bring endless joy to your days, but only if it’s the right fit for you.

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Number Two. Know what you want.

After Bandit, I waited. I waited until I found JUST the right dog. Ask yourself these questions.

Here was my ideal dog.

  • I want a pitbull. I love that they are people dogs first. I want a lower level of energy in my dog. A dog that can go on a hike, but also snuggle in a snowstorm. I like that they are smart and intellectual, because I’d like to do a lot of obedience training.
  • I want a medium pitbull – a traditional APBT. I’d like for him to be under 50lbs. I understand that that means more food, but pitbulls are generally healthy dogs! I don’t forsee any major medical issues like skin allergies or cancer…
  • I want a submissive male. I grew up with boy dogs, and can’t imagine having another kind. I think it just makes sense. I’m a girl, so I have should have a boy dog to balance the energy out!

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Number Three. You may end up with something different.

Hah. So Juniper is a 56-lb DOMINANT FEMALE. What was most important to ME was the breed and energy level. Take a second to prioritize what’s most important to you. Maybe it’s size? Your apartment only allows dogs under 30lb. Quirky behavior? You can’t STAND dogs who bark. Gender? Your family has a male dog who only gets along with females.

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Number Four. RESCUE.

I feel like if you’re reading this, then you’re on my team here. But please, rescue. Don’t just go to a breeder. There are MILLIONS of dogs without homes. ONE of them currently sitting in a shelter will fit your needs. WAIT until you find them. SEARCH diligently.

  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner. [ASPCA]

But, a quick word about rescues… they are not all created equal. They’ll do what they think is right to adopt out dogs, and that may or may not align with what YOU think is right. Listen to your gut and think about the DOG first. You’ll have that moment when the DOG chooses YOU. Trust that over anything else someone says or doesn’t say.

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Number Five. If you are unsure, then FOSTER.

I fostered Juniper first! It made me feel at ease knowing that I had the chance to bond with this animal to be sure. My heart knew, but fostering gave my head a chance to catch up. What was the worst that could happen? I give this pup a place to stay for a while! It took about a week for me to have reasoned through it. It took about a day for her to become my best friend. It took an instant to feel the spark. And now we get forever.

Mad love,

j+j

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Halloween. 2006.

I was a junior in college at good ole’ Indiana University of Pennsylvania. My girls got together to celebrate, but we’re not you’re typical college girls. There were no nurses or schoolgirls or [enter stereotypical skimpy costume here] among us. Our typical Friday night included a Beauty + the Beast followed by an interpretive dance of “Baby” by Justin Bieber and some hot chocolate. Don’t get me wrong – there were a few rare occasions that we could be found dancing on a table, but 90% of the time, we were sober while doing it. No judgment! It’s just who we were/are!

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Most of these gals were a year ahead of me, so I was a h o t  m e s s this Halloween – crying, red-eyed, and just generally not cute. I already had separation anxiety already creeping in, because I knew these girls wouldn’t be around anymore come May. They were like 100% of the reason I had any fun in college with my workaholic tendencies in full force. {[1] music major in the [2] honors college with a [3] catering job and a [4] cymbal tech position} So I had to figure out fun without their guidance, which was oddly scary for me as they just were so effortlessly social!

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Take this night for example. We covered the floor in black trash bags and went to TOWN on some pumpkins. I was on seed duty (picking the seeds out of the pulp to be roasted) probably because it helped me avoid my drummer ex-boyfriends who were on carving duty. As we passed around the warm pumpkin seeds, I was hooked. Ermahgerd, y’all. Maybe it was just the crappy college food I had been eating, but they tasted so crunchy, earthy that my hippie heart just felt fulfilled!

So I dedicate these lil recipes right here to my girls. Sweet like Sarah. Warm like Kerry. Fun like Ashlee. Salty like Megan. [This is a reference to your sarcasm, but also a sexual reference that I thought you might enjoy.] Happy Fall, girls. Miss you.

 

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Girl Power Pumpkin : Oats + Seeds

ingredients – 1 sugar pumpkin, oats, honey, cinnamon, fruit of choice

instructions

  1. P U M P K I N – cut the top off, as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. cut the remainder in two. hull out the seeds. place on aluminum-lined pan. drizzle with evoo, s+p. roast at 450 degrees for 80-90 min.
  2. S E E D S – rinse seeds through a mesh colander. spread on paper towel to dry. toss with evoo, honey, and cinnamon [be generous] in a bowl. spread on aluminum-lined pan. roast at 300 degrees for 45 min.
  3. O A T S – make oats on stove or microwave as per directions. mix in roasted pumpkin. top with seeds, honey, and fruit of choice. if i did this again, i’d make a blueberry compote by heating up frozen blueberries in a saucepan.

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note – this is super flexie. here are some ideas to make it more beaYOUtiful.

  • use as much or as little of any ingredient you like. make it your own! have fun with it!
  • you could use canned pumpkin puree if you didn’t want to roast the pumpkin!
  • you’re going to have leftover pumpkin if you choose to roast a whole pumpkin. i recommend baking the leftover in dog biscuits, adding to a salad, or creating a pumpkin risotto! it’s beautiful plain too. and hey… it’s a veggie! yay!

do you take your pumpkin with a side of girl power?

mad love,

j

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dear-men-of-bumble

dear men of bumble,

first off, let me just say you’re a cute an attractive bunch. truly. you may have seen me somewhere within the swipe left, swipe right rhythm that you get into late at night. i’m here today to thank you + help you.

let’s get to the thanking. this year i ended a 4 year relationship, and i so appreciate you for giving me a space to dip my toe into the water of this dating-in-your-mid-20s thing with zero intimidation. it’s lovely. i swipe, mostly left. i see what’s out there while doing things like waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for the tea kettle to whistle, or waiting for the gas to pump. it these empty moments i can begin wrap my brain around legitimately getting back into the dating pool with one slide of the thumb to the next. so, thanks fellas. it brings hope to see there are men out there who seem to be legit. #seriously

as an act of gratitude, i’m here to help you land the lady of your dreams. i’m going to go ahead and friend zone myself for now and tell you what you might be able to do a bit better, assuming that you’re a nice guy looking for a nice girl with whom you’ll spend your days [and nights. bow chica wow wow].

  1. your first photo has to be on point. for real. it has to be a stellar, clear photo of you in your current age, and preferably clothed. no one wants to date someone with an ego, even if the ego has a bangin’ bod. if that first pic isn’t fresh, we swipe left.
  2. your other photos need to share who you are… like…
    • do you have a dog? no? ok, then borrow one, cause those puppy pictures work.
    • do you like to travel? share a pic of you at the beach, cause it’s way less creepy than a mirror pic of your abs. also, note, you don’t HAVE to share a pic of your bod. i don’t.
    • do you like to eat? take a snap with your fave food. be honest. if you only eat pizza, then share a photo of you with pizza. you’ll find the girl out there who only eats pizza too.
    • do you have a sister? pics with the sis are a big win! just make sure it’s a pic where i can clearly tell it’s your sister. or i’m thinking it’s an ex- who i already have to measure up to. #nofun
  3. you need to have a bio. for real. don’t feel like you have to say something witty or charming, but if you do, that’s a perk! just say SOMETHING. my favorites bios include…
    • ‘bumble bumble butt, bumble bumble bumble butt’
    • looking for a running buddy/travel partner/wedding date/soulmate
    • i like early 2000s chick flicks
    • a claim to fame/cool story
    • mention of your insta or fb acct – it’s nice to see how legit you are

oh, and bonus, for the ladies currently nodding their heads. i have immediate swipe left triggers. like, doesn’t matter how fine the bumbler is – it’s a no-go for me. here are mine, and i’m curious to know what yours are!

  • a bumbler has more than a couple pictures with alcohol, because i drink very little (so little so, in fact, that I needed spell check to spell alcohol just now)
  • a bumbler who has a gun or dead animals in his photo (#imavegan)
  • a bumbler who is a drummer of any way, shape, or form
  • a bumbler has nothing written in his profile
  • a bumbler who doesn’t respond back with a question after i’ve asked them a question in chat. if the bumbler can’t communicate, it’s a no-go.
  • a bumbler that sees my fb linked and then adds me as a friend on fb… that’s not the purpose.

so, men. go get her. go get that lady of your dreams. go rock her world. i believe in you. like i said, you’re a mighty attractive bunch.

with love and rare right swipes,

jasmine

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