Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

Magnolia Bakery’s Delectable Banana Pudding // Recipe

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

The dessert that left a sweet handprint on my heart. After coming back from our New York trip, first on our list was to make that fluffy, yet ooey-gooey Banana Pudding dessert from Magnolia Bakery. Although this easy recipe doesn’t involve baking, this dessert does require some planning. One of the beginning steps involves at least 4 hours (or overnight) for the pudding to firm and 30 minutes as the last step to set the dish. Just make sure to read this recipe from beginning to end before inviting your guests over for dessert night.

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

Makes 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups water

2/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 cups heavy cream

1 (12-ounce) box vanilla wafers

4 bananas, sliced

DIRECTIONS

Mix together the water, pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight until it sets up.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Working in thirds, fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well incorporated.

In a trifle bowl, layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding mixture; continue until you’ve used up all the pudding mixture. Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes before serving.

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

The first layer of fluffy pudding goodness, sliced bananas and Nilla wafers

Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipeMagnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/magnolia-bakerys-delectable-banana-pudding-recipe

 

This recipe is exclusive from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey. Photograph copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Jou.

 

 

What's in my beauty bag? Paradise edition // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/whats-in-my-beauty-bag-paradise-vacation-edition-beauty

What’s in my beauty bag? Paradise vacation edition // Beauty

What's in my beauty bag? Paradise edition // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/whats-in-my-beauty-bag-paradise-vacation-edition-beauty

I sure soaked up the sun during my recent vacation in Hawaii. Between the hours of hiking to explore waterfalls or snorkeling along the Napali Coast, I’ve gotten several shades darker and have gone through most of my sunscreen products I packed for the trip.

These are my favorite products I used during my outdoor adventuring. Some are oldies and I have a new found love (Leaders Too Much Fun in the Sun? Mask from Petaluma & Co)!

  • Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 // When I’m on vacation I like to keep my beauty bag at a minimum, so I stick to this multi-tasking genius of a product that provides advanced brightening and anti-aging properties. I use it on its own , its natural-looking coverage minimizes the appearance of imperfections and evens the skintone. I even wore this at a wedding I attended in Maui. My skin is left looking smooth, perfect and natural. This is an everyday product I use in my day skincare regimen.
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Wetforce For Face // This is my go-to product when I know I’ll be sweating during my hikes and snorkeling for hours. The waterproof formula keeps my face protected. Just remember to reapply every few hours.
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Sunscreen // This does everything a broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen should do… and this smells fresh and beach-y clean. I love that it’s lightweight and fast-absorbing.
  • Honest Company Bug Spray // I didn’t get bit once! I just make sure to spray directly on to my palms, dab on my skin and reapply after a few hours. Best of all? It’s all natural and safe for babies.
  • Leaders Too Much Fun in the Sun? Sheet Mask // My after-sun remedy in a pack. I am so in love with sheet masks right now. There are so many beauty benefits and a cult favorite in the K-Beauty scene. After spending hours at the beach, my skin had some mild inflammation and was pink. This mask saved my face from the embarrassing redness! The olive leaf extract and moisturizing aloe soothed, protected and firmed my skin to help heal and hydrate. It was fun and easy to use too. I left the mask on for 15-20 minutes, ate some chocolate haupia pie, took it off and gently massaged the excess serum into face and neck until fully absorbed. Talk about pampering while on vacation. It instantly relieved my irritated skin and healed my overexposed skin.

 

What's in my beauty bag? Paradise edition // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/whats-in-my-beauty-bag-paradise-vacation-edition-beauty

The Dr Jart+ and Shiseido products are from the Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit 2016. Read more about this in a previous post, here.

The Leaders Too Much Fun in the Sun? Sheet Mask can be bought from Petaluma & Co., here.

 

mourning // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/a-whirlwind-week-racism-love-cancer-weekly-thought

a whirlwind week // racism, love, cancer // weekly thought

mourning // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/a-whirlwind-week-racism-love-cancer-weekly-thought

Last week has been an ever changing rush of feelings–a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts and confusion in response to the chain of events that has happened in our nation. As I try to make sense of it all, tears fill my eyes when I think of those who are suffering  and those who are mourning.

Hatred and racism breeds from places of fear and insecurity. And it’s clear as ever to be reminded we must practice love, empathy, patience and understanding with one another. We must continue to stand with those who are marginalized and oppressed and raise our voices to be heard.


Over the weekend Wayne and I celebrated the marriage union of our good friends, Kelsey and Dave, at an elegant outdoor ceremony in Newport Coast. Their officiant, Pastor Kim, gave a beautiful speech. What resonated with me is his wish for them to keep Christ at the center of their marriage and hearts. That is the perfect advice for a long-lasting marriage. When you have true Union with Christ, that is when you understand what it’s like to have Christ in you and you in Christ that you start asking WWJD and He guides you in life’s decisions with confidence. Just as long as the intense love for Jesus and the gospel is hearts center, the marriage will be just as everlasting. Because God is love.


My heart broke again hearing the shocking news of my high school friend, Chelsey, pass away from breast cancer. She was diagnosed just two months ago and left this world too soon. She was a kind soul with a spark inside her. She is my symbol of hope and strength as she never once questioned her circumstance and was always the foundation for her family. She has a strong community behind her. The outpouring of love and support for her is beautiful. Chelsey–you are dearly missed and your spirit lives on in our hearts. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with your family. Please keep her husband and 9-month old daughter in your prayers.

If you know Chelsey from Cerritos High and/or want to help in any way, feel free to donate to her GiveForward page, here. Anything helps.


It’s always difficult to find comfort when we’ve been rattled by violence and tragedy, but it sure is comforting that it’s our community who comes together, looking for hope and healing.

$30 off ClassPass // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/30-off-classpass-bargain-fitness

$30 off ClassPass // Bargain + Fitness

$30 off ClassPass // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/30-off-classpass-bargain-fitness

Happy anniversary ClassPass! In honor of this celebration you’ll get $30 off your first month! Hurry (!) because this offer is for a limited time.

ClassPass a new kind of fitness membership that lets you enjoy diverse and exciting ways to work out. It’s a brilliant business model and suits my interests because I like variety and trying out new things. Each workout is a good sweat leaving me recharged and refreshed. It’s challenging and I’ve learned to push myself physically and mentally. I’m stronger, more toned, built endurance and always leave feeling I can conquer the day.

Catchup with my love and obsession for ClassPass and why it has transformed my mind, body and soul, in a prior post, here.

Deal

$30 off your first month special – Join me on ClassPass and you’ll get $30 off your first month of group fitness classes. From yoga and barre to cycling and Pilates, ClassPass lets you try the best boutique studios in your area. One monthly membership, endless options, all up to you! http://class.ps/d4g9x

Do something good for your mind, body, soul this 2016. Cheers to good health!

You must be a new ClassPass subscriber and must purchase a membership using this unique link (http://class.ps/d4g9x) by July 29, 2016 11:59pm PT to receive the $30 reward. After July 29th the reward will be $20. Offer ends July 29, 2016.

Free first SoulCycle class at DTWN LA studio // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/free-first-soulcycle-class-at-dtla-studio

Free first SoulCycle ride at DTLA studio

Free first SoulCycle class at DTWN LA studio // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/free-first-soulcycle-class-at-dtla-studioJumpstart your July summer festivities with some SOUL in Downtown Los Angeles! For the month of July, all SoulCyclists can take their first DTLA class FOR FREE*. That’s right. If you’ve never tapped it back at their 888 S. Olive Street studio, now’s your chance to catch a complimentary class there!
Here’s how it works:
• If you’re new to SoulCycle, sign-up for an account to ride for free, here.
• Click HERE to find a class that works for you between 7/1 and 7/31.
• Call the studio at 323-463-7685 to book your seat and mention this offer. They’ll look you up by your mobile # on your account.
• Drop the beat at DTLA!
And to make it even easier to find your SOUL, you can park for free for two hours with SOUL validation at the Level Building Garage. Enter on Hill St. (between 8th and 9th St.) then follow signs for Retail Parking.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend and come check out their DTLA studio in July!
*Please note: This offer is valid for existing riders as well as new riders. FIRST ride at DTLA only. One redemption per account. Sign-up for a new account to ride for FREE, here.

Strength. Integrity. Community. DTLA.

Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2016 via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/sephora-favorites-sun-safety-kit-2016

Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit 2016

 

Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2016 via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/sephora-favorites-sun-safety-kit-2016It’s that time of year again! The popular Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit hit the shelves-just in time before my summer trip to Hawaii.

I love everything about summer and that means enjoying the great outdoors and cool waters responsibly. I’m an avid believer and user in using a broad spectrum (UVA + UVB) sun protection of at least SPF 30 for my face and SPF 45 for my body.

So naturally as a lover of Sephora + SPF I always buy Sephora’s annual Sun Safety Kit. It’s a curated collection of everything SPF to protect from head to toe. This is a perfect introduction to try various products carried at Sephora, like tinted sunscreen, primer, self-tanner, BB cream and makeup setting sprays. It’s also a wonderful way to try different types of sunblock products–physical (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) and chemical-based (oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate) sunscreens. The sizes are perfect–airplane-friendly and compact enough to place in my purse.

I picked up the Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2016 at Sephora and it is packed with favorite oldies and new products I look forward to trying. This year it’s $32 (retail value $127) for 15 products. Best part? Sephora will donate $20 from the sale of the kit to the Skin Cancer Foundation. For more information about the charity, visit http://www.skincancer.org.

Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2016 via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/sephora-favorites-sun-safety-kit-2016Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2016 via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/sephora-favorites-sun-safety-kit-2016Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2016 via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/sephora-favorites-sun-safety-kit-2016IMG_6971

// Products in the Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit 2016 & Reviews

St. Tropez Tanning Essentials In Shower Gradual Tan  // I received this product in last year’s bundle and still haven’t tried it. It sounds convenient–apply in shower and rinse in just three minutes. It can be used daily to gradually build the color.

Murad Invisiblur™ Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++ // This primer creates a smooth canvas on my skin before I use my BB cream or foundation. Best yet, it’s SPF 30!

Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 // This is all I use on my lips. The Rose tint is the perfect hint of pink, provides moisture and sun protection. What I don’t like about this mini-size tube is with a hard hand or on a warm day it tends to get soft and either breaks or “melt” on my lips and smears alongside the edge of the tube.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Wetforce For Face // This is my go-to product when I’m going to be playing sports under the sun, lounging at the pool or snorkeling in the ocean. (Perfect for my upcoming Hawaii trip!) The waterproof formula keeps my face protected. Just remember to reapply every few hours.

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 // If you didn’t know, SPF needs to be re-applied every few hours. This innovative product is a mist that sets makeup, helps control shine and refreshes your defense against UVA rays with an uplifting scent of rosemary and mint. It’s perfect for a touch-up of SPF without having to mess up your makeup or rub white lotion onto your face.

Tarte Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 // A new product for me and I look forward to trying this!

COOLA Makeup Setting Spray SPF30 // An SPF 30 spray that provides a weightless matte-finish while keeping makeup looking fresh all day. As wonderful as this sounds, I didn’t like the sticky feeling it left on my face.

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 // A cult favorite in the K-Beauty scene. I rediscovered this product recently as I used to think it left my skin looking pale and white. Perhaps I got a few shades lighter, but this is the perfect BB cream. It’s a multi-tasking product that provides advanced brightening and anti-aging properties. It’s perfect under makeup (I use it on its own), its natural-looking coverage minimizes the appearance of imperfections and evens the skintone. My skin is left looking smooth, perfect and natural. This is an everyday product I use in my day skincare regimen.

Kate Somerville Daily Deflector™ Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ // I’ve heard raving reviews about this product and looking forward to trying it.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 // This product definitely protects my skin from the UVA/UVB rays, however I don’t know if it really lightened my dark spots on my face.

Algenist Sublime Defense Anti-Aging Blurring Moisturizer SPF 30 // I adore the products from this brand, but haven’t tried this item yet.

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion // This is a regular item in the Sephora Sun Safety Kit and I’ve tried it multiple times. It’s a good ultra-light, two-in-one antioxidant sunscreen and hydrator. I sometimes mix this product with my foundation if I want some sheer color.

Boscia B.B. Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 27 PA++ // This BB cream is moisturizing while providing sun protection, however the color doesn’t seem to match my skin tone.

Clarins UV PLUS Anti-Pollution Sunscreen Multi-Protection Tint SPF 50 // This broad-spectrum sunscreen is sheer, ultra-lightweight (more on the watery side) and offers high SPF 50 protection. I also like mixing this with my foundation for a sheer wash of color.

MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB Sunscreen // I look forward to trying this SPF 50 mineral sunscreen that can provide 80-minute water-resistant protection.

Yelp2

How to become yelp elite + stay elite

Yelp2

 

My Motto: Camera Eats First. I consistently stuff food photos in my honest Yelp reviews and on the growl for eclectic events and delectable dishes. I Yelp to give back, to try the hippest or hole-in-the wall establishment and to meet vibrant people.

When I started Yelping back in the end of 2010 it was to give back to the Yelp community since I always referenced the app for new discoveries. It wasn’t until my good friends became Yelp Elite and told me about this secret society (but totally accessible for influencers willing to put in the effort!). I continued to be diligent with my reviews and received my first Elite badge within three months.

Now going six years strong as an Elite (and Elite Gold), being Yelp Elite goes beyond fancy invitations to exclusive free events at restaurants and complimentary tickets to the hottest shows in town—it’s the sense of community and deeper love for the city I live in. I’ve met one of my good friends at an Elite event, discovered favorite dining establishments and opportunities to explore beautiful Los Angeles.

This is how I became Yelp Elite within three months and stayed Elite for six years.

Create a Yelp profile with accurate information. To qualify to become a Yelp Elite, you must post a clear face photo of yourself and use your real first and last name (it’ll display as your first name and last name initial). You’ll be asked fun questions about yourself, so be real and genuine.

Download the Yelp app to your smart phone. This is for convenience so you can browse easily, check-in at places, write tips and directly upload photos from your phone to the business. Convenience helps me interact and I even write reviews directly in the Yelp app! Check-in at places also has its perks. Some establishments offer discounts and free items when you check-in. Also you can become the Duke or Duchess when you’re the top person checked in at that place.

Write honest and candid reviews you’d want to read.

What do you look for when reading other people’s reviews? This will help structure and focus your review to be useful for others.

Be descriptive, but not lengthy. Choose your words wisely. I’m sometimes guilty of writing lengthy reviews (such a hassle to scroll down forever to read on the phone), but lately I’ve been more mindful to include the most important information in the first couple paragraphs and then go into detail. Readers can decide to read further if they want more information.

Build credibility with your readers. If you make a bold statement, be prepared to back it up. Take writing reviews seriously. Sometimes a 1 star review and description of “parking was hard to find” doesn’t validate the rating. If you give a low rating, provide a valid reason.

Take photos of your food and ambience of the business. I love taking photos. Camera eats first! Photos help people make better decisions that align with their expectations. I’m a visual person and prefer to know what I’m getting, especially if it’s something I haven’t tried or someplace I haven’t been before. (Eg. Taking photos of the buffet selection or inside of a gym and its equipment)

Avoid using a Yelp review to hide behind your complaining words. If you aren’t satisfied with service or food, take the time to talk to your server or the manager, in person. This is always the best way to resolve issues. It helps improve the business, and in turn, provide a better experience for others.

Quantity vs Quality. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think it’s about how many reviews or how many friends you have on Yelp that makes you Elite. I became Yelp Elite with around 60 reviews, but I spent time and effort on each of them. I was descriptive and honest with my reviews, posted photos of what I ate, got creative with some of them (wrote a haiku about a favorite ramen shop) and added bonus tips like best places to park, whether the gym had towel service, etc.

Be active within the Yelp Community. Show some love to others! Whenever I enjoy reading a helpful or funny review, I always click the “Useful, Funny or Cool” buttons below the review and send a Compliment to the reviewer.

Keep in mind every year status is up for review, so no slacking! If you found this helpful, please comment below and add me as a friend on Yelp, referencing this post!

My Yelp page // http://msjennifer.yelp.com

 

NewHope

Growing trends of the natural and organic products industry // Natural Products Expo West 2016

IMG_6632The US-market of natural and organic products is a $153 billion industry and showing no signs of a slow down. Mainly driven by the consistent growth of consumers demanding natural, healthy and eco-conscious products, it’s no surprise that this mega industry has a plethora of new companies emerging every year.

Last month I had the delightful opportunity to attend the 36th annual Natural Products Expo West, the the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event. It was like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. As a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, I grasped all the natural product consumer trends, channeled my inner Augustus Gloop meets Michelle Phan–indulging in food samples while swatching beauty products. It was a weekend filled with tastings, education and meeting wonderful brands. I was among 77,000 attendees perusing more than 3,000 exhibitors at the Anaheim Convention Center. I didn’t have my Fitbit on me, but I’m sure I logged some serious miles that weekend.

NewHope

Photo courtesy of NewHope.com

Below is an overview of some consumer trends surrounding the healthy lifestyle products industry.

Back to Our Roots: Quinoa, chia, acai, Kombucha, raw, sprouted, coconut oil–superfood ingredients and preparation techniques that date back to the days of pre-industrialized foods. Brands are focusing on natural, whole and nutrient-dense ingredients. The skincare industry mirrors this trend with using pure ingredients like argan and coconut oil. I met a brand, Cocokind, an organic skincare line centered around using virgin coconut oil and superfoods. Consumers are conscientious with ingredients they eat and use on their body. They are staying away from genetically modified foods, artificial colors, preservatives, parabens and products tested on animals.

The Busy Individual: The always on-the-go individual lacks time, but craves smart and nutritious fuel in-between meals. Think hand-held snacks and drinks that are convenient, delicious and healthy. I like to kick-off my morning with drinking my greens with a Suja Juice cold-pressed juice. On a side note: I’m thinking of doing a juice cleanse to reset my body. Any advice or recommendations for which juice brand to try? A new product I’ve discovered are meat and veggie bars from Wild Zora and Wilde Snacks. It’s healthier than conventional jerkies because they are free from nitrites, nitrates, MSG, not too salty, contain vegetables, use grass-fed, free-range and hormone-free meats. I’m a big snacker and sometimes crave a meaty snack high in protein and low in sodium. Read my favorite snack discovery last year here.

The Socially Conscious Shopper: The today consumers have conscious living woven into the fabric of their lives and making informed decisions by keeping the environment and mission-backed products in mind. They choose purposeful brands with ethical practices and sustainable packaging over its conventional counterparts. I met a brand, This Bar Saves Lives, that donates a life-saving food packet with every snack bar purchased. It’s the “buy one, give one” philosophy, fair trade practices and donating proceeds to non-profits that allow consumers to make an impact with each purchase.

Over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing with you my tried and true favorite products from the expo.

IMG_8938

Lion’s Head Meatballs, Chinese Food // recipe

 Lion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeServes 4

A favorite dish of mine from childhood, it’s perfect comfort food for a cold winter night and surprisingly easy to make. It’s traditionally made with fatty ground pork, but I opted for ground turkey. The dish is sort of a stew but lighter: The meatballs, greens, and a little broth are all spooned over rice noodles. It’s commonly known as lion’s head meatballs, because the wavy greens or noodles ringing the meatballs look like…a lion’s mane? In Chinese, they’re called shih tzu tou, so maybe they’re really supposed to look like little shih tzu lapdog heads. Even if they are taxonomically ambiguous, they are inarguably tasty and incredibly easy to make.

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork (I opted for ground turkey)

1 C chopped scallions

2 T soy sauce

1 T sugar

1 T Shaoxing wine

1 T minced garlic

1 T minced fresh ginger

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t sesame oil

1 egg

2 T cornstarch

Neutral oil

1 lb napa cabbage or bok choy, leaves separated, chopped if desired

2 C chicken broth

White pepper

Cooked rice noodles or rice, for serving

Directions

  1. Put the pork in a large bowl and break it up with your hands. Add the scallions, soy sauce, sugar, wine, garlic, ginger, salt, and sesame oil and work the mixture to combine. Add the egg and cornstarch and vigorously mix, picking up and slapping the mixture back into the bowl a few times to create a tacky texture. Roll the meat into eight 2-inch balls. (Note: Keep in mind if you opted for ground turkey, instead of pork, it doesn’t hold its shape as well. Be gentle when forming the 2-inch balls and searing them in the pan. Don’t worry, it’ll taste just as delicious)
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven and add enough meatballs to fit comfortably in a single layer. Sear them until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with any remaining meatballs. Remove the pan from the heat and wipe out the pan.
  3. Line the pan with the cabbage or bok choy, arrange the meatballs in a snug single layer on top, and add broth to come within 1/4 inch of the tops of the meatballs. Cover the pot and set over medium heat. Gently simmer until the greens are tender and the meatballs are cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over rice noodles or with steamed rice.

Lion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeLion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeLion's Head Meatball Recipe via It's Jou Life Blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/lions-head-meatballs-chinese-food-recipeThis recipe is exclusive from LUCKY PEACH PRESENTS 101 EASY ASIAN RECIPES. Copyright © 2015 by Peter Meehan. Photograph copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Jou

My Transformation Process // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/how-i-deal-with-struggle-weekly-thought

Through my transformation, I excel // Weekly Thought

My Transformation Process // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/how-i-deal-with-struggle-weekly-thought

When I think I am content with life, my earth shakes. I struggle. I fight. I learn. I adapt. I change. Through my transformation, I excel.

Life is never certain, but what I know for sure is that I’ll never have life figured out. It’s ever changing and I’ll continue to adapt and evolve with my experiences. Life is a series of lessons learned and struggle isn’t always a curse. Struggles, whether they’re physical, emotional or intellectual, build character and determine my success and make me uniquely strong.

There are times that I’ve been shoved, stressed and slammed against immovable forces too strong to fight, yet through endurance and the Lord’s strength and His belief in me, I push harder and stand taller every time. It’s about learning to adapt in whatever circumstance I’m in and having the courage to seek opportunity, embrace change and be my best.

Looking back I’m always in wonder how I struggled, fought, learned, adapted and changed. It reminds me I can do anything in life if I put my mind, heart and strength in the Lord. He is the creator of all great things in my life and I owe it to Him for my transformation.

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Image: Jennifer Jou // Half Dome, Yosemite // July 2015