It’s Jou Life has moved // New site address: itsjoulife.com

It’s Jou Life has moved! New site address:

http://www.itsjoulife.com

It’s Jou Life | a DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

Go to our new site and join our mailing list by entering your email (top right column section) and receive an email each time we post!

New It's Jou Life site // https://itsjoulife.com/

Go to our newly remodeled site // itsjoulife.com

 

Friends of Ours.

Hello, and welcome to It’s Jou Life! We’re Wayne and Jennifer, a (relatively) newly wed couple who found love in the most unexpecting place. This is our DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

We started this blog because our family and friends always ask us how we grow our own organic vegetables, what is Wayne woodworking on now, to send over our miso black cod recipe, what snacks stock our pantry, a tutorial on that cute zippered pouch, tips for marathon running, where do we worship, what to bring for a camping trip, what’s Jennifer’s skincare regimen… you get the idea. This is our way to share life’s loves.

Wayne of all trades is an engineer by day and a woodworker/gardener/chef by night. Jennifer is an activist, artist, actress, and an alliterations addict. You would often find us dancing to our own beat, exploring the great outdoors, at home watching Netflix, and hand crafting everything we own. We find the beauty in our every day, with each other, and in the Lord our Savior.

We both live to create with purpose and hopes to inspire. Thank you for joining us as we try to do all things with love. Here is a glimpse into our quirky lives.

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We’ve refreshed and re-launched our It’s Jou Life blog to streamline and create more content that is relevant in our lives.

It’s Jou Life has moved! New site address:

http://www.itsjoulife.com

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Friday Favorites // Stranger Things via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/friday-favorites-stranger-things-happy-centennial-bday-nps-stamps-lynda-com

Friday Favorites // Stranger Things, Centennial NPS Stamps, Lynda.com

watch // Stranger Things // Babies of the 80s, rejoice!

Friday Favorites // Stranger Things via It's Jou Life // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/friday-favorites-stranger-things-happy-centennial-bday-nps-stamps-lynda-com

As a child of the 80s, this Netflix-original series was not only incredible in storytelling and acting, but nostalgic for me. It’s as if The Goonies, E.T. and Goosebumps all made out and Stranger Things would be their supernatural thriller baby. It’s about a little boy who goes missing in a small Indiana town in 1983. And as the town looks for answers, they unravel extraordinary secrets and confront mystical forces. It always kept me huddled, on edge with my fuzzy reindeer socks and left me begging my husband to binge watch the series.

What I love most is the bond between four young boys and a special girl, and their adventurous shenanigans. Do yourself a favor. Watch the first episode and before you know it, you’ll be hooked and your science-fiction world will be enhanced for the better.

On a side note: Well done, Netflix! Netflix is definitely changing the landscape and proving to be a power player on a platform that was once dominated by cable and broadcast TV. Love this show. What do you think is going to happen in season 2?

thing // National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Forever Stamps // Explore my inner wild

Friday Favorites // NPS Forever Stamps via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/friday-favorites-stranger-things-happy-centennial-bday-nps-stamps-lynda-com

Happy 100th Birthday, NPS! The US Postal Service is celebrating the NPS Centennial by issuing 16 new stamps featuring national parks. These picturesque images will get you to find your hiking shoes, book a camping trip and get back into nature! I miss those vibrant, unreal colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park and the serene ceremonial sunrise on Haleakala National Park.

NP bucket list: Acadia, Arches, Glacier Bay, Yellowstone (w/ Wayne this time), Zion. My favorite moment is ascending on top Half Dome in Yosemite (recap post, here). The best yet? These are forever stamps and you can share the love of national parks forever, just like all the memories you’ll create when you get out there and explore your inner wild. #letsgosomewhere

learn // Lynda.com Online Learning // Learn a new skill online, on your time

lynda.com

Want to be a Graphic Designer, an EDM Producer or just got promoted and want to learn the fundamentals of what makes a good manager? As a self-help book enthusiast and advocate of continual education, I geeked out when I learned about online learning sites like lynda.com. Lynda.com is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.

Some awesome courses I want to tackle: Photojournalism and Photo Essay Fundamentals, Getting Started with Final Cut Pro, Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses, Time Management Tips, Improving Your Memory and Sketching for Product Design. There are loads of courses of all varying levels and interests and definitely something for you.

Want free access? I went bananas when I learned my County of Los Angeles Public Library card gives me free access to Lynda.com. If you don’t have a library card, sign-up for a free card here. Find your local County of Los Angeles Public Library, here.

$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).

How to be yelp elite + stay elite // tips

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

 

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

$20 off ClassPass // bargain + fitness

CPAs a long time fitness fiend, spending time training for marathons and even owning memberships at two gyms, I finally found my groove in a consistent workout routine. All thanks to ClassPass.

I LOVE ClassPass. It’s 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. I’ve been doing hot yoga, spinning, circuit training, ballet barre, stand up paddle boarding and been meaning to try boxing and surfing.

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. I recently ran a half marathon in hilly San Francisco and set my personal record (!) and I owe it all to spinning and the motivational energy of my favorite instructor, Rene. During that race I just kept pushing myself. My lungs burned and legs were tired, but I knew I had it in me.

I can’t stop talking about it to friends. CP doesn’t have promo offers often, but I just came across a $20 off your first month of unlimited group fitness classes. Note: I pay $119/month and max three classes at each studio. This is an awesome deal because sometimes a month membership at a fancy gym or studio runs $120+/month. This way I can jump around and get diversity and cross train at various studios in different cities.

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 More details on the $30 off deal in a new post, here.

$20 off your first month special – Join me on ClassPass and you’ll get $20 off your first month of unlimited 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!

why i write // weekly thought

I have a friend who once asked me why I find my writing so important to me. Why I get the urge to write a letter to myself. Why I have post-it notes with phrases on the back of my phone. Why I analyze and interpret a song, book or movie.

On why I write: I write as my authentic form of creative, self-expression. Reminding me of how I felt at that moment. It immortalizes and serves as my time capsule into my thoughts, my loves, my beliefs, my hopes, my feelings. It’s how I learn from life. It’s an intimate relationship. Feeling my most vulnerable is when I’m most creative. It’s to be understood. I’d liked to look back to what I’ve expressed and be reminded of the fire within me, the obstacles I’ve overcome, the growth I’ve experienced and relenting to the fact that I’m still learning and will never stop changing.

I want to capture all the feels.

2016 // new year… new strengths

2016

This year is already feeling like a momentous year, even more so than 2015. Last year were moments filled with exhilaration, inspiration, discovery and transformation.

Cheers to 2016 – A new year filled with setting daily intentions, welcoming challenges, creating opportunities, a purposeful mindset, developing new strengths, all the while feeling grateful for my every day.

Join me in creating this community cultivating continual growth and happiness!

2015 recap // my transformation

2015

2015 has been a transformative year. I’ve been on a personal and spiritual journey since my epiphany in March. I’m learning what it means to be a follower of Christ and discovering the path to true happiness and contentment. I’ve been challenged physically, intellectually and spiritually. The Lord has opened my eyes to the beauty around me, the fears that have enslaved me and the hunger for life within me.

Throughout 2015 I’ve composed phrases that have sparked compelling thoughts within me, about me.

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.

Embrace change. I hope I never stop learning and changing.

Happiness isn’t something you capture, it is something you create.

You are far more lost than you ever imagined and you are far more loved than you ever dare hoped.

Stop sleepwalking through life. Do great things with God’s gifts given to you.

 Live and Love with Purpose, Passion and Perseverance.

Pain is mental. Struggles build character. Challenge yourself to be the best you.

Fear is a friend who is misunderstood.

Work hard. Everyday is a new opportunity to be better.

Everything I have and everything that is good in my life is because of Him.

I’m thinking of starting a Weekly Thought to be published every Wednesday. Topics will range from growing up to body image to life’s lessons to passion and everything in between. Hope you stick around to hear what goes on in my brain!

My recap of 2014.

// 2015 photos

Hipster Bentley with homemade mustache cookie

Yosemite view at Cathedral Lakes hike

LACMA Lamps

Seattle city view

Yosemite

Oregon coast at sunset

Kauai

Succulents at Terranea

Wildlife Deer at Yosemite Valley

Thank You for My Every Day

Thank You for My Every Day // http://wp.me/p3cljj-jg

Yosemite // July 2015

Thank you for my Every Day.

Thank you for my first breath this morning.

Thank you for giving me my two legs to do the things that I love.

As easy as it is to get caught up in the busyness of life and its demands, I always start out my day with this daily prayer. It’s my breath of fresh air. My morning coffee. My Me Time.

It not only calms my heart, opens my mind and sets my day for what lies ahead, but a constant reminder of the fragility of life. It’s being thankful for the simple daily pleasures as waking up to another beautiful day, loving and being loved and physically able to live life.

The Lord has truly blessed me with an eventful 2015 year filled with new adventures, new loves, new friendships, new happiness, new chances and new challenges. It is He who gives me the strength, the power, the courage to push myself beyond my limits.

Thank You, Lord, for my Every Day.