what're you saying

bracelets // mantra bands 

"I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious." - michael scott

I'm a big believer in the power of words. I think the way you vocalize your life has a huge impact on how you experience it. I like positive affirmations, and overused quotes, and having personal mantras. I also like gold jewelry that makes a lot of noise. I've had a couple of Mantra bands throughout the last couple of years, but this is my favorite stack. They're reminders, accessories, and make a very satisfying clank every time I wave my arms.

+ You're My Person.
I have a lot of very important people in my life, and this reminds me that as much as they're my person, I'm theirs too. I don't have a big crew, but we roll deep, and I will never stop appreciating them.

+  It Is What It Is
My dad says this all the time, and as frustrating as it is sometimes, he's right. I'm a type A straight laced perfectionist, and I always want everything to work exactly as I planned. I am also stressed 99% of the time.

+ You Got This
This is the big one: we've got this. Everything will get done, everyone will be where they're supposed to be, and this is gonna be fine. 

Do you have a personal mantra or saying? Do you just hum "Hakuna Matata" to yourself every morning? Tell me about it. Better yet, wear it.

But do not tell your mother I condoned tattoos.

x Justina 

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flower power


 photos by jordan

I love fresh flowers, especially sunflowers. Unfortunately, in the dry heat, Sunflowers dry up very quickly, so our plans for photos in a sunflower field did too. But Jordan had a plan. About 45 minutes away from my house there's a zinnea field taken care of by an older couple. They let anyone who'd like come and pick as many flowers as they'd like, just to brighten up the world a lil bit. You also have to really want it, because 10am temperatures in my part of California can be above 100 degrees. But out we went, into the direct sunlight, to find some flowers for our mason jars. It was absolutely beautiful. There aren't a lot of very simply beautiful things left that aren't wrapped with a fence, or a toll, or a ticket booth. We stomped in the muddy beds and came home with carefully chosen bouquets of bright orange and red zinneas, mostly un-wilted.

Jordan also got a sunburn,
but it complimented the flowers I put in his hair. 

x Justina

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spin me up

dress : modcloth
ring : modcloth
shoes : converse

Last week, I went out for a spin at the California State Fair. It was the Thursday before it officially opened, so I was free to roam among the ferris wheels as I pleased. Empty, and without all the people, the fair looks it's 50 years. But to be fair, so does this dress, and it's fresh in from Modcloth. It's weird how some places are so much made up of the people in them. 

Over my 10 years in 4-H, I spent a considerable amount of time wandering the fairgrounds, and I never got over the smells, the people, or the immense amounts of chili cheese fries available to me. It's a place where everyone fits in somewhere, even though it's populated by an incredible cast of individuals. I've decorated cakes, shoveled horse poop, and surprisingly, sold market animals. I've developed a love of overalls, lost a sense of smell, and built an integral part of my identity. I also learned that pockets are to be valued wherever they can be found. (This dress has two of them, and they're DEEP.) 

Speaking of this dress: As someone who routinely participates in return policies when things don't fit, I appreciate that Modcloth has a really cool thing where they show how their clothes look on a diverse group of humans, so you can get a better idea of what it'd look like on You, not "____ who is a 5'11, 108 pound Elf from a far away land." When this dress arrived, it fit perfectly. YAY ACCURATE SIZING.

I'm going back to the fair this week, this time with all my friends, and thousands of other people,
and try to not melt while we're eating our deep fried food.

x Justina

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why don't you just brush it?


To have natural curly hair is to have a cabinet full of failed hair treatments, all promising moisture and definition and bounce and a pot full of gold. It builds a kind of cynicism that one should really not feel in an aisle full of plastic bottles. But that means that when something works, I absolutely lose it. 

I've been slowly integrating Devacurl products into my life ever since I saw Nesrin's hair makeover, and oooooh boy has it been fun. It's also been effective to the point where when they sent me a box with their new Matcha Butter Hair Treatment, I didn't even question it. I just slathered it straight on.

MY HAIR LOOKS DAMN GOOD. And it smells even better. But here's the real clincher: I didn't have to put my hair in braids or twists or any of the other protective styles I usually do straight out of the shower. I just...let it dry. To those of you with nice, easy, friendly hair that can dry in an hour and just look the way it's meant to, this probably doesn't sound revolutionary. But to those of you with natural curls? You get what I'm saying.

The treatment isn't on sale yet, 
but you can sign up to be on the pre-launch list so you can get it right away +
 get your curls on some next level buttery goodness.

I'm off to find a fan to stand in front of. 

x Justina

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where to next?

  my new traveling sweatshirt: mnkr

I love airports. Especially empty ones, with only one or two lone people waiting for their best friend to get off a plane from somewhere far away. I like the feeling of being in a rushed limbo. In an airport, you're not quite here or there. You're just in-between.

I was raised by two people who love to travel, and have, between the two of them, been around quite a bit of the world. As a kid, I was obsessed with travel and cooking shows, and took my Rosetta Stone much more seriously than I did math. Consequentially, I speak three different languages fluently, but still can't do algebra properly. It wasn't about fun beach trips with my family either. (No, I've never been to Hawaii.) I was never taught that travel was something one did "for vacation" or "when you're older". It was more of a "go when you can, wherever you want". And so I did. I realize that to many this sounds or looks really flippant and privileged, but that's because I'm skipping over the hundreds of hours of working minimum-wage retail I put in to pay for the whole thing. It's a fun life, not an easy one.

What is easy is living in Germany for three months (I'm sure many of you remember that chapter), eating pretzels every day. Or driving to Joshua Tree in the middle of the night, and seeing the sun set over the desert. Or climbing up 10 million year old basalt rocks and nearly falling into the Irish Sea. I've run through the halls of the Met, the Albert and Victoria, and the Smithsonian's. I've been on Ferris Wheels in London, Vienna, and in two months, Las Vegas. I've gone on adventures that scared me to the bone (hello, Carrick-a-Rede) and taken the people I love to places that felt like home (high tea in a castle, anyone?). The world has so many cool things, and even though my bank account despises it, I feel obliged to see them all.

So no,
 I don't get air-sick.

x Justina

ps. ALL AIRPORTS IN THE WORLD HAVE THESE CHAIRS, RIGHT? I got really curious about where they come from. If you're interested in weird design things like I am, click here. 

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camp in the past tents

my beloved lemon dress: show me your mumu
my cute as hell swimsuit: aerie

Camp is where I'm my happiest, most exhausted, croc-wearing self. This was my 10th, and ostensibly last, year at 4-H camp. 10 years may seem like a long time, but camp is the greatest thing my allergic-to-the-outdoors self has ever gotten to work on.  I'll talk to a brick wall about how much I love this program and these kids. 

When I was 9 years old, I got on a bus with a bunch of strangers headed to a place full of mosquitoes and things that went bump in the night and a new kind of family. Ten years later, I'm the adult director, and I have the privilege of making sure that 80-something kids get that very same experience, and I'll never take that lightly. Every summer, I learned more about being a better human and am reminded of just how incredible the world can be, because 9 year olds won't let you forget. 

 I do have a couple of things to say for my walk-off speech:

To my twelve year old girls deck, thanks for still liking my bedtime stories and thank you  for not getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

To my 15 year old brothers, you guys are the worst and I wouldn't trade you for anyone. 

To my logistics crew, hammock life is truly the best life.

To all 82 children, 22 staffers, 10 chaperones, and Jen - 

who am I kidding,

I'll see you guys next summer.

x Justina

ps. to see more photos of my camp aka THE BEST TIME EVER click here 

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go get your bae-rrito

You would think that after like 6 years (phwoar) I'd have figured out how to set up automatic posting properly. But alas, I haven't. I have, however, lived the last week in absolute bliss, thinking this post went up while I was away at camp. All sense of comfort is a lie, it's fine.

A few days ago, Jordan and I randomly had a weekend day off, which never happens, and a new burrito we wanted to eat, which happens fairly often. So we got in the car, and promptly got caught in traffic for three hours. Eventually though, we got to San Francisco and spent a very nice afternoon doing whatever we wanted. That means bubble tea in Chinatown, a late night showing of Wonder Woman, and a supreme burrito from La Taqueria in the Mission District. As I explained to my mother several times ("You're driving all the way there for what??") this burrito is special because...IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY RICE IN IT. For those of you not heavily invested in the burrito trade, this may not seem like a big deal, but it IS. No rice means more meat, more guac, more flavor. It all lived up to the hype.

More importantly, this day was about taking a break to spend time together and not really worry about anything. It's weird but I'm now one of those people whose life gets so busy and hectic that they need to schedule time out to chill and talk about superheroes. If I were going to write a self-help book (we'd all need therapy after that) I'd make ~making time~ the number one tip.

And eating burritos. 

x Justina

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where are the doors on this thing

shot by jordan + I, fujifilm x30 + goPro Hero4

I've had my head up in the clouds, but never like this.

LITERALLY TWO MONTHS AGO: AirBnB invited Jordan and I to go test out one of their new Experiences. If you haven't heard about these yet, they're basically activities you can book to do with a local from wherever you're traveling. They cover a range of things, from cooking and flower arranging to HARDCORE WILDERNESS CAMPING and, you know, helicopter flights with world-renowned pilots who, like you, are willing to do whatever it takes to get the perfect Instagram shot. 

IT WAS SO COOL YOU GUYS. I have always loved flying, and along with a 45 minute flight, we also got to explore Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum, which is a facility + community improvement program founded by our pilot, Robin. He's doing pretty cool stuff for Compton, the kids that live there, and a lot of our favorite rappers. His skill is in getting everything the first time around, and the minute I told him I was a lifestyle blogger looking for some classic "I'm-In-A-Helicopter-Mom" shots, he knew what to do. 

Since I didn't fall out, I'll have those photos forever. 

x Justina 

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hiding out

photos taken with an iphone 7 because sometimes your batteries die

Finally, finals are over. I'm happy to report a 4.0 that only cost me a large chunk of my sanity.

That's kind of a joke, but also not really. I love school, and learning, but I also don't know when to take a break, and tend to run myself below the ground, all the way to the molten core of the earth, where I proceed to burn out. So I make up for it by going on little adventures whenever I can to do things just because I want to. This week, we took one of those trips, and headed a little ways outside of Reno to the Animal Ark Sanctuary. They rescue exotic animals that people buy off Craigslist/Walmart parking lots/their cousin's girlfriend's uncle's buddy and then dump once they realize there's a reason that's illegal. Especially on the West Coast, that's a big thing, so it's nice to support a place that's tackling a massive issue. It was also nice to get out of the car and be completely surrounded by nothingness and no signal. It was just me, Jordan, my new Teva's (which were making a very satisfying squishy noise in the gravel) and a couple of tiger cubs.

There's a lot of pressure all the time to do all of the things and document them with the perfect filter, but sometimes you just need a long drive and some sunshine.

x Justina

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show me the world

entire outfit: american eagle

I love sweeping views, sunsets, and slides, so when I found out all three collide at Skyspace LA, I knew I had to visit. They invited Sallie and I to come ride during the sunset hour, and after an unfortunate interaction with LA traffic, we were in an elevator headed to the 70th floor. 1,000 feet above LA, the views don't disappoint, but I was mainly impressed by how finger-print free the glass was. The slide itself only goes down a floor, so there's not too much opportunity to consider that you're on a slide made of glass suspended thousands of feet above some very aggressive drivers. Instead,  for approximately 30 seconds, you're in awe of how cool it is. Then, you land on a giant pillow, and you're on the tallest open-air observation deck in California. It's not the only place to see the city from above, but it's the only place smack in the middle of the city, where you get to see LA happening around you. There's also plenty of other people forcing their partners/friends/stranger they just met on the elevator to take masses of photos of them, so you won't stick out when you do the same.

You might if you start to dance to the Sean Paul soundtrack though. Just a heads-up.

x Justina

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