Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I don’t know about you (but i’m feeling 22. There I did it for you.  I know you were thinking it.), but some days I feel like curling up in a ball, on my bed, with a blanket draped over myself.  Other days I feel great about who I am and what I look like.

Self-Image:  the idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself. (Dictionary.com)

Too many of us let this and its number define who we are or how beautiful we may be.

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Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of this too.  But along with this, the mirror is probably my biggest weakness.

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Growing up, I had a very low self esteem.  I was bullied about the way I looked when I was younger and some of those bullies included my own relatives.  They would mainly criticize my weight.  I am the tallest girl on both sides of my family and I am also the biggest one.  Most of my female cousins did dance or other sports and they are super petite.  Literally all of my female cousins could become models if they wanted to.  Not only was I the biggest among my family, but I was also the biggest among my friends.  I have friends that are really petite.   I have always felt out of place and ashamed of my body.

Taking pictures was my worst enemy along with the mirror.

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There would be days in middle school and high school where I would starve myself all day until dinnertime (and that’s only because my family and I all eat together).

It is still hard for me, to this day, to accept compliments from people.  When I look in the mirror or try on clothes, I get so discouraged and wish that I was skinnier, or a bit taller, or toner. But at the end of the day, I am who I am.

My self-esteem has gotten better as I have grown older, but there are still days where I feel really, well, “blah”.  I am starting to work out more for the benefit of getting myself into shape and becoming healthier and I have slowly accepted the fact that there is only 1 me in this entire world, and there is only 1 you.  We are all created differently and perfectly in the eyes of God.  It’s okay to love yourself, believe me.  I know it may be hard, I know it is for me, but I am trying and you should too.

Don’t be afraid to stand out, don’t be ashamed if you are anything bigger than a size 2, but don’t be ashamed if you are anything smaller than a size 2.  I know that self-esteem issues happen for those who we perceive as being skinny as well. Society has screwed up the true meaning of beauty to the MAX.  Beauty isn’t about how expensive our clothes are or how much makeup we can cake onto our faces, or even our size.  Beauty is WITHIN (corny I know, but it’s TRUE).  Don’t let anyone define how beautiful you are.  You can have a nice face, but an ugly personality…and guess what, the personality even makes your face ugly  🙂

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A way that can help you develop better self-esteem or a better self- image is to stick post-it notes on your mirror that point out the things you love about yourself.  You can put encouraging quotes or even pictures to help get you motivated and happy.

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Before I end this post, I just wanted to say a quick “thank you” to those who have helped me and my self-image: Natalie, Misa, my twin, Paul, my mom (she is my rock), my sister, and especially Peter <3.  You guys bring a smile to my face everyday! Thank you!

May God bless and watch over you always ❤

-Jen

P.s. I do not own any of these pictures. All credit goes to Google images 🙂

Food for Thought

Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past.

-Homaro Cantu
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Food is so universal and can send many messages.  To some people, a plate is like a blank canvas and food is their medium.  Making food can be a way to show love to someone you care for.  It is the sign of hospitality, love, warmth, comfort, fulfillment, and even joy.
Certain foods, do in fact, transport me into a realm of happy memories and preparing food gives me immense joy!  I used to be in a culinary arts class my senior year of high school as well as a home economics class.  Growing up, I loved to cook and I still do to this day!  I originally wanted to grow up and be a chef.  My dream was to be on the cooking channel and even do certain shows liked Chopped.
Here are some pics of meals that I have prepared:
I prepared eggs benedict and fruit for my mom one Mother’s Day.
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Food that brings back memories:
The concept of food is so fascinating because this simple word represents so many cultures and a wide array of ethnic backgrounds.  Everyone has their own way of preparing food.  Some families and restaurants use recipes  that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Food is more than just something you eat, it is life sustaining and brings back memories!
To end this blog, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite recipes!
Apple Crumb Pie
Ingredients:
  • 1 unbaked pastry
  • 5 to 7 tart apples
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 t. cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 6 T. butter or margarine

Preparing:

  1. Pare apples; core and cut into eights.
  2. Combine the sliced apples with 1/2c. sugar and 3/4 t of cinnamon or nutmeg.
  3. Arrange in the unbaked pastry.
  4. Make the “crumbs”: mix the 1/3 c. sugar with the 3/4 c. flour.
  5. Cut in the butter until crumbly
  6. Sprinkle over apple mixture

Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until apples are fork tender.  If the pie browns too quickly, cover with a loose tent of foil.

Pastry for a One-Crust Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. + 1 T. shortening
  • 2 to 2 1/2 T. COLD water

Preparing:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender (I use a potato masher) until evenly distributed.
  2. Sprinkle in cold water, 1 T. at a time, mixing with a fork after each addition. The dough should be just moist enough to stick together when gently pressed with a fork.  It should NOT be sticky!
  3. Use hands to form the dough into a ball.
  4. Roll dough on a floured surface.  Work from the center, out until you have a round circle that is 1-inch larger than an inverted pie pan. The dough should be about 1/8 thick
  5. Transfer to a pie pan and flute the edges!

Red Monstrosity Fruit Smoothies (great for summer!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 C. frozen mixed berries
  • 2 C. orange juice
  • 4 t. honey (optional)

Preparing:

  1. Cut the banans into chunks and remove the peels.
  2. Put 1/2 of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Repeat step 2 until all ingredients are used

(Note: You can substitute soy milk or plain yogurt for the orange juice for more of a milkshake quality!)

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple and Red Lentil Soup (My all time favorite soup!!!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c. red lentils (or any kind of lentils)
  • 1/4 t. ginger powder
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. ground cumin
  • 1/4 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 2 1/2 c. vegetable broth

Preparing:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the chopped vegetables.
  2. Cook and stir over medium heat until the onions are translucent (limp and see-through) roughly 10 minutes.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to low.
  5. Cover and simmer until vegetables and lentils are soft, roughly 35 minutes.

The soup may be served chunky or smooth.  If you prefer smooth soup, work in batches to blend it.  Fill the blender no more than halfway before blending.  Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded towel and pulse, then puree.  Pour soup into a clean pot while blending the remaining soup.  Once all of the soup has been pureed, heat it through. Add more water as needed to thin to your preferred consistency and enjoy!!!

Happy cooking and eating ❤

-Jen

It’s the Little Things in Life <3

Today is my parent’s 25th anniversary.  I don’t know how they did it, but they did!  My parents have been through a lot, but they never cease to amaze me.  I have been beyond blessed with the family that I have.  There is never a dull moment in our household.  I love my family so much!

Here is a throwback pic of my family and I:

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Growing up there were really hard times between us all, but by the grace of God, we managed to work past even the darkest of storms.  We are far from a picture perfect family, but to me, I think the hardships that we have been through are what made us stronger and our bonds a little tighter.  It was the little things/moments within our family that really mattered.  The silly stories of our childhoods, family movie nights, crazy inside jokes, etc.

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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about little things/moments in life.  Memories and photos from the past have been hitting me pretty hard lately.  The good, the bad, and even the ugly.

Life is full of moments; some moments are sad, some are happy, some are frustrating, etc.

As I grow older, I have been learning to appreciate every little thing and every precious moment. Time can never be stopped and we are getting older each second of every minute (scary I know).

We may relive each moment over in our minds, but they can never be replayed out side of it.  Believe me, there are many phenomenal moments that I wish I could go back to, but when I come to think about it, I feel as if I take those moments for granted when they are happening and don’t really indulge in it while it’s happening.

In this day and age, we have phones and go-pros to capture every moment, but how many of those moments do you actually take the time to soak it all in to its full potential?  Personally, I know that there have been times where I am so caught up with trying to capture every moment through photos, that I don’t live in the moment.  Photos are great, don’t get me wrong, I take them all the time,  but I feel like when I take the time to actually be in the moment and be fully present, whether it’s alone or with someone else, I tend to appreciate every little detail that a photo cannot capture.  For example, the sounds of laughter, the awkward silences (we all love them, don’t lie to yourself), the feelings that you get when you are with someone you love (friendly or romantically), every touch and sound.

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Some of the little things in life that I have learned to appreciate lately are: the cute good morning texts that I receive from a special  friend of mine that lives on the other side of the world, silly texts and snaps from my “sister”, friends who really care about me and my health, crazy moments with my family, video chats with some amazing friends, nature/ God’s beauty, all the blessings that God has provided me with, quiet time with God, lighting a candle and taking the time to relax and rejuvenate, reading for pleasure (call me crazy!) and so much more.

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I challenge YOU to take the time to appreciate the little things in your life and maybe take the time to count some of your blessings.

I have become so much more grateful for all the people that God has put into my life and for the family and home that I have.

Yeah, there may be some moments that totally suck, but those are the ones that you end up learning something from and perhaps even grow stronger from.  Life is what you make of it.  You can choose to learn from the horrible moments and take them with a grain of salt, or you can choose to sit and wallow in them.  Either way, only you can choose what you want to do.

Don’t take this life for granted.  You only get one shot at this crazy thing called life.

-Jen ❤

My Kitty From Heaven

Before I begin this post, I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all the support that I received on my last post.  I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me! ❤

Today I wanted to make a cheerier blog post, so I will be talking about my kitty!

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This munchkin is named Baby (really clever, I know).  She is my kitty that was literally sent from heaven.  Before I go any further, I have to be honest and tell you all that I hate cats.  I have grown up with them all my life and at one point my family had 6.  I did not like ANY of them.  I do not know why I hated cats so much, but I did.  My mom and sister, however, are another story.

Story Time!

During my senior year in high school, things started to slowly spiral out of control.  My stress levels were through the roof and I was also grieving at the time (this will be another post).  I was having difficulties keeping my GPA up and there was a bunch of drama between my friends and I.  There were nights when I would just cry myself to sleep.  One night, however, I decided to open my bedroom window to let some fresh air in (I never open my window, so this was a rare action for me).  As I was laying in bed watching netflix, all of a sudden I heard a cat crying outside my window.  I brushed it off and tried not to think anything of it, but low key, it started to annoy the crap out of me.  Once my sister was done with her shower, I told her about the crying outside, and since my sister is addicted to cats, she decided to go and investigate the situation.  Me being me, I just continued to watch netflix in bed.  A few minutes later, my brother came out of his mancave (aka his bedroom) and headed downstairs and then my mom shortly after.  My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to go see what was going on.  When I opened the door to my garage, this precious face was staring at me:

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I literally could not contain myself.  I grabbed this stray kitty and started to cuddle it to death; my mom, sis, and brother could not believe their eyes.  I fell in love with this kitty instantaneously. I did not want to leave her side.  We could tell that she was domesticated because she tried to get inside our house at any chance she had and she knew what a litter box was.  It was so weird.

The next morning, I went inside the garage to get my shoes on for school and there she was, staring at me with her big green eyes. My heart literally started to melt and then my brother had to drag me out of the garage in order to get me to school on time.  When I came home from school, I went straight to the kitty and stayed with her for an hour.  She jumped on my lap and licked my nose, I knew I had to keep her.  I called my dad and told him how much I loved this cat, but my dad was set on having my brother call the local shelter to come and get her.  My dad did not want any more cats.  Our family decided to wait an extra day, and that is when all heck broke loose.  Apparently, according to my sister, when she opened the garage door, this little kitty sprinted past her and into our house.  At the time we had 3 cats and they did NOT like her.

When I returned home from school that day, I saw this black little furball running all over our house.  I got so excited and begged my brother to not call the shelter.  I ended up calling my dad and I begged him to let me keep her and told him how much I loved her even though I hated cats.  Luckily my whole family thought she was adorable and since it was rare for me to even like a cat, we decided to keep her, however, there was a catch. We had to put up flyers around our neighborhood.

A few weeks passed and we got no response from our flyers, so my mom posted on a local shelter site and we finally got a call.  My heart sank.

Praise be to God, however, that the woman lost a male kitty, not a female kitty.  At this point I was jumping for joy, I knew that I was going to be able to keep her.  We waited a few more days until we finally took her to the vet to get her checked and fixed.  Come to find out, she had a tattoo on her belly indicating that she had already been fixed and she was super healthy.

I believe that she was sent from heaven.  Her tattoo was made by the hand of God and she was put on our doorstep for a reason.  She was too sweet for anyone to not want her or look for her.  She has been with us for a little over a year now and she has impacted my life in such a positive way.

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My mood totally changed.  I was happier and school didn’t stress me out as much.  She was and is my cuddle buddy and she would sleep on/with me whenever I was crying or upset.  She knew me so well and her presence brightened up my life.  My family even noticed a difference in the way I reacted towards life and they believe she, in a way, saved me.

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I have never loved an animal so much in my entire life.  She is my Baby, literally.

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She is the one thing I look forward to when I come home from college (other than my family) and she just brings me so much joy.

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That is all for today! May God bless and watch over you always! ❤

-Jen

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Warning: This topic is really close to my heart and it gets kind of dark and deep.

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I got this tattoo to show my support towards The Semicolon Project.

But not only did I get this tattoo to show my support for those who suffer from these various circumstances such as depression, suicide, loss of a loved one/ones, self harm, etc, but I got it for myself as well. I personally suffer from depression and know how hard it is to deal with this illness. This tattoo represents a promise that I have made to myself to never give up.

During my first year of college, there were a couple of times where I actually contemplated taking my own life.  I felt hopeless, sad, and unmotivated.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have the most loving and supportive family ever created and friends who loved me unconditionally, but there was something inside me that was just….well….done.  I never told any of my friends how severe my depression got, only my family and my school counselor knew.  I was never admitted into a facility because I knew I could never kill myself due to the fear of  being taught that you would go to hell if you did.  This made me feel extremely trapped and I knew there was something wrong.

Depression may result from chemical imbalances in the brain, which may cause individuals who suffer from depression to not really understand why they feel the way they do.  There were multiple times where I did not know why I felt so sad or angry or unmotivated, I just did.  I would just sleep all the time. I was so afraid to ask for help, but I eventually mustered up the courage to do so.  I went to my college’s counseling center and had a total of ten sessions throughout the year.  I have to say that, that was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.  Despite the feelings of being embarrassed to ask for help (especially because of the field of work I want to go into) I don’t believe that I would be where I am today without it. It helped me open up to my family about the severity of it and it ultimately helped me get better.

As a side note, if you need help other than counseling, such as anti-depressants, it is okay!!!! This doesn’t make you abnormal or weird.  Some people need the medication in order to correct chemical imbalances.  The chemical imbalances are not your fault! Do not sell yourself short of happy days.  I was weary of medication, but eventually I just said, “okay.” I have been on anti-depressants for a little over a year and a half now.  It will take time for things to get better even with medication, you have to give it a chance to work, but do not get discouraged if you need to change anti-depressants more than once, everyone is different and unique, you just need to find your perfect match!

I still have low days, but I know that they are temporary.  The action of taking your life is permanent.  It does and will get better, trust me.

If you are suffering from depression, please….please don’t feel like you are alone.  Do not ever think that someone doesn’t care, because I know for a fact that someone does, I know I care. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are loved.  If you need someone to talk to, my email is nobuko333@yahoo.com.

I thank God for the support system that I have and for the prayers from those around me.

Semicolons represent a sentence the author chose not to end. You’re the author, the sentence is your life.

-Jen ❤

Featured

Starting from the Beginning

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Hi!  My name is Jennifer and I am 19 years young.  I am a newbie to this blogging world, but I am super excited to try something new! I really just wanted a space where I can express myself, share some of my stories and hopefully help people along the way.  I know I may seem young to some people, but I have been through a lot during my nineteen years of living.

I am currently a sophomore in college and my goal is to get my Master’s Degree in Psychology.  My focus is Marriage Family Therapy with an emphasis on counseling teens dealing with depression and suicide.  I personally struggle with depression and have since around my sophomore year of high school.  My hope is to be able to help others through my experiences and be able to relate to them.

My goal through this blog is to share some of my stories and poems in hopes of shedding light to those who may be living in a very dark world.  Believe me, I understand what it feels like to just want to give up and throw in the towel.  Those days, weeks, or even months, where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. But I also understand that there is a light at the end of even the darkest of tunnels.  I also love giving advice and helping others, so if you have any questions or need any help, please feel free to leave a comment below!

-Jen

Youtubers

So just a heads up before I begin this second post, these posts are not going to have any certain connection or order.  I am pretty much going to be writing about what I am thinking or feeling at the time. 🙂

This post is going to be about Youtubers!  I watch YouTube everyday and I have fallen in love with multiple Youtubers.  I watch Joey Graceffa, Connor Franta, Dan and Phil, Shane Dawson, Zoella, Alfie, Tyler, Troy, Markiplier and soooo many more!  I love YouTube and these specific individuals because they are super relatable  and their life stories are inspiring.  It is crazy how close you can feel to a person without even having the chance to meet them in person.

One of my all time favorite Youtubes, Joey Graceffa, has recently released his first book called, In Real Life.  He has started a tour for his book and I was blessed enough to be able to go to his first stop of his tour.  The first event to kick everything off was held at the Grove in LA and I was so excited to be able to meet him in real life (no pun intended).  I have to admit, I was so nervous and anxious.  My mom kept telling me, “he is just a person”, but to me, he is more than that.  I have looked up to Joey for so long and he is one person that I knew I could turn to whenever I felt upset or down.

Anyways, I arrived at the Grove at 10:30 in the morning, his event did not even start till 7 p.m., but I had to make sure I was able to purchase his book and get a wristband to secure a spot in meeting him.  After I got my book, I watched Pitch Perfect 2 with my mom and sis and had a wonderful lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I eventually got into the line to meet him about an hour before the event started and I could feel the butterflies rushing around in my tummy.  About 45 minutes later, all you hear is screaming, “Joey! Oh my gosh it’s actually him!”  Right when I heard all the screaming my heart literally stopped.  I was on the second floor of the three story Barnes and Noble and when I looked up, my heart started to race again.  It was him.  He was walking across the balcony, vlogging.  I became so excited and nervous, my palms began to sweat (tmi? Oh well, it’s the truth lol).  As the line continued to move, all I could think to myself was, “Don’t cry, don’t freak out, just stay calm.”  Needless to say, once I saw his beautiful face in person, I started to well up and have a “severe allergy attack”.  I hugged him and all I could say was “I love you!”  Smooth Jennifer, real smooth.  Joey just looked at me with the most sincere smile and when I gave him a gift that I made, he said, “Wow! Oh my gosh this is so cool! Thank you so much, you are so sweet!”  Having him say that to me over something that I had made, made me start to well up even more. Before I knew it, the cameraman said “smile”, and well, the picture below says it all.  After the quick flash, I looked up at Joey and just stared in his spectacular and captivating blue eyes and then reached out to give him one last hug.  From this meet and greet, all I have to say is that Joey was the most sweetest and down to earth guy I have ever met.  Joey, if you ever come across this, thank you for everything. I love you!

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Not only has Joey impacted my life in a massive way, but so have all the other individuals that I listed above.  I tend to go to them when I am having a bad day or not feeling 100%.  They keep everything between their viewers and themselves really real.  It is refreshing feeling being able to watch someone who can relate to what you are going thorough and be honest about their feelings.

I guess I will end this post with a short story.  I have been watching Joey for over 5 years now and about 2 years ago I had to get all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted.  The anesthesia that the surgeon used caused me to wake up super emotional (it was apparently normal for girls to wake up crying) and I literally cried the whole way home.  When I finally got home, my brother and dad helped me to my bedroom and my family was freaking out because I would not stop crying.  My brother eventually had a brilliant idea, he turned on my Xbox and went to YouTube.  He found a two hour video of one of Joey’s livestreams and right when I heard his voice, I immediately stopped crying.  I became entranced by his video and eventually passed out.

Well, that is all for today! ❤

-Jen