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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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.

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.

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.

Day 3 // Set Email/Phone Boundaries | Birchbox Challenge

Christmas came early. #iphone6 #goforthegold #aphotoaday #215of365

A post shared by jennifer (@jenniferjou) on

With the start of the new year the challenge is not only the act of keeping resolutions, but understanding how to permanently change the behavior by making good habits and breaking the bad ones.

The Day 3 Birchbox Challenge is to Set Email/Phone Boundaries. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve passed out with my phone in my hand (even though I always laugh at my brother for doing the same), wake up in the middle of the night to check Groupon deals and texting under the table during family dinner time. Horrible, I know. It’s the many habits I’ve been meaning to break.

I’m taking a different approach with the help of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness ProjectRubin recommends using what she calls the ‘strategy of clarity’ to create some guidelines for when you won’t check it or phone placement.

First, identify why you want to set boundaries, like “I want to be present and engage in meaningful conversation” or “I need better sleep at night.” Then set a shut down hour (say 30 minutes before dinner) or the phone placed far away from the bedside table (to avoid an arm’s reach.) Clearly establishing why you’re not checking your inbox will make it much easier to power down during those times.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!

joining the Birchbox Challenge | day 1 // eat dessert for breakfast (really!)

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways.

Let’s do this!

Day 1 // A favorite motto of mine is Dessert First! What a great way to ring in the new year with a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie for breakfast. It’s a wholesome update on a favorite summer treat that makes for a slightly decadent on-the-go breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.

I made a few alterations to the recipe based on preference and what I have available. I used coconut oil (instead of cashews), vanilla soy milk (instead of almond milk) and honey (instead of maple syrup). The smoothie will be very thick (spoon-able, even!). I added an extra half-cup of ice and thinned it out with more almond/soy milk. I added more honey and soy milk accordingly to texture and taste.

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

Makes 2 large smoothies or 3 smaller ones

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups frozen strawberries OR 1 cup fresh strawberries 1 cup ice

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cashews (I used coconut oil)

1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla soy milk)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used honey)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use 3/4 tsp since 1 tsp is too strong)

Directions: Add ingredients to blender. Blend until fully combined.

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

What is Birchbox? Read a previous post written.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers curated beauty products tailored to my preferences. For just $10 a month, I receive 4-5 hand-picked, deluxe beauty samples from the best brands—popular luxe brands I covet, to the new and niche brands I have yet to discover. I’ve been a loyal subscriber for the past few years and this is hands down the best beauty box and offers the best incentive programs.

2015 New Year via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1015

2015 // New Year… New Growth

2015 New Year via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1015

By God’s grace and generosity, 2014 was magical. Too many blessings to count: The physical ability to enjoy the every day, being first-time home owners, meeting our extended families on our trip to Asia while traveling with our immediate families, taking on a new position at work, adopting a fur kid, running a half marathon injury-free, experiencing God’s creations while climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome, safe travels, being married to a generous, selfless, humble man (my better “It’s Jou Life” half), hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, the best family and girl friends one can ever ask for and most importantly, my spiritual growth with the Lord and feeling His sheer love every day. I thank God everyday for the gifts He’s bestowed upon Wayne and me and His constant faithfulness. Everything we have and everything that is good in our life is because of Him.

Cheers to 2015. A new year filled with honoring the Lord and getting to know Him more.

2015 New Year via It's Jou Life blog // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1015

{ events } A Labor of Love — Harvest Moon Festival 2014

Harvest Moon Festival 2014 - Free event 9/7/14, Arcadia, 11am-5pm | http://wp.me/p3cljj-fd

Free Event | Sunday, September 7, 2014 | 11am – 5pm | Arcadia County Park (405 S. Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia, CA)

Drawing large crowds from across Southern California, LA 18 hosts the most exciting festival of the season.

Equivalent to Thanksgiving, the Harvest Moon Festival is a holiday celebrated by many Asian communities and revolves around the family, the provision of bountiful food and the full moon. Enjoy a family-filled FREE event with Asian street foods, live entertainment, cultural activities, shopping and prize giveaways. Entertainment includes performances by Quest CrewDavid ChoiJason Chen, Dan aka Dan, Joseph Vincent, Johnny HiFi and cultural dance performances. There will also be cash prize giveaways every hour starting at 1pm! 🙂 You can win up to $500!

The HMF holds a special place in my heart. This event was a labor of love when I worked at LA 18 KSCI-TV (Channel 18) many moons ago. I was the Entertainment Stage Manager for several years and I’ve seen it grow in attendance, sponsors and helped introduce food trucks (before they came in every color) and invigorated the talent line-up to include fresh, local and popular performing artists like Quest Crew, Far East Movement, David Choi, Jason Chen, Jennifer Chung, Clara C, Melissa Polinar, just a taste. (I LOVE their music/dance!) I’m a big fan girl of all these artists and have been humbled to have had the priviledge to work with them in past years. 

I return this year not as an employee, but as the volunteer day-of Entertainment Stage Manager. I’m filled to the brim with excitement and to dive back into collaborating with the emcees, cueing the performers, ensuring the stage is smoothly running on time (I hope!), catching up with local (and incredibly talented) Asian-American performers and working alongside former colleagues that I’ve always respected. The months leading up to event day haven’t always been easy, but come festival day with the tireless efforts of the festival team and volunteers, everything finds its place and the long days of meetings, crunching numbers, researching, writing, finalizing details, soon become a distant memory. There’s something truly beautiful about planning an event for the community. It’s creating a vision with our audience in mind, working towards goals and seeing the fruits of our labor in action. Best of all, it’s executing a free event that attendees of all ages can enjoy and are appreciated by those who make our great city diverse and cultured.

I know the day may not go smoothly as planned. There will be last-minute changes and unforeseen surprises, but I know God will provide me the strength and energy to power through all obstacles no matter how big or small, while allowing me to take a breather and appreciate Southern California’s gorgeous weather, the people and enjoy the festivities. 

For those in the area, please stop by! Feel free to text me, I’d love to see you and share a moon cake together. 

Last year’s HMF 2013

tips: wedding inspiration using google images

wedding inspiration via it's jou life http://wp.me/p3cljj-bmMove over Pinterest, there’s a new inspiration board in town. My new favorite source for design inspiration is Google Images. Google is not only a noun and a verb, but also moonlights as an inspiration board of beautiful images to suit any style. It works sort of like an image search engine. Smartie Google uses algorithms to track down “visually similar images” that the user drags or uploads into the search box on Google Images.

This revolutionizes the way we search for photos or images.

I’ve been on a kick lately and looking for design and color inspirations for my wedding. I’ve been researching into color schemes and seeing what are the options for decor and florals. From the Google Image search above, possibilities are endless!

yellow gray wedding via it's jou life http://wp.me/p3cljj-bm

Take this lovely photograph taken by Brandon Kidd. All you have to do is open Google Images in a new window, and then drag the photo above from this window into the search box. (If you’re not using Chrome, have to right-click on the image, save it to your computer, and then use the camera icon on the right side of the search box on Google Images to upload the picture.)

google image via it's jou life http://wp.me/p3cljj-bmHere’s what you’ll see next:

using google image search via it's jou life http://wp.me/p3cljj-bmThese are your image search results. Easy. You didn’t even have to describe in words of what you’re looking for in Google search. Just drop in/upload a photo you’re inspired with and Google delivers you with exceptional images and a wealth of design options! I’m going to make a Google-inspired wedding.