Guatemala 2017

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The island where the camp was is called El Faro, which means The Lighthouse.

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My team–I came to love these boys and their unique, gentle, and rowdy spirits
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My team ended up being in 2nd place in the tournament! They were incredible soccer players and they played well together.

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The rich history, the ruins, and the architecture made me fall in love with the city of Antigua!

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Just a heads up, these pictures don’t do the trip justice. Nor will my words, but I’ll give it a try.

Early in January of this year, the topic of going to Guatemala and partnering with a non-profit organization, Champions in Action, for a week was discussed within my church congregation. I went to the informational meeting, and I found out that we would be helping with a soccer camp for at-risk youth for a week, but more importantly, we would be talking to them about who Jesus is and how much He loves them. After hearing about this opportunity, I was left with an overwhelming desire to go.

In my opinion, the best part about this organization and the camp is that the kids on the teams go through a year-long mentor ship program in the year following the camp. The mentors act as their soccer coaches, but they also get to know them well and lead them towards Christ. More often than not, these kids are not offered the support, encouragement, and guidance by adults in their lives that they deserve.

In fact, they are expected to grow up and have responsibilities at an early age. Many of their birth parents either neglect or abandon them, leaving them to take care of themselves and potentially their younger siblings. Many of their family members and friends struggle with alcoholism, use illegal drugs, and are involved in gangs. Champion in Action’s mission is to break the perpetual cycle of Guatemalan youth of getting involved in gangs, using drugs, and participating in harmful and violent activities. The mentor ship program has been proven to promote a healthier and better lifestyle for the kids.

A short five months later after first hearing about the trip, a group of 15 adults from my church and I were boarding the plane to go to Guatemala. Over 25 other volunteers came from Pennsylvania and a couple came from Ohio and Texas.

There were 10 soccer teams, with 10 students each, and 5 volunteers were assigned to each one. On each team, there was also one interpreter and two mentors.

On Monday through Wednesday, our schedule looked liked this:

6 AM: morning run and conditioning
7 AM: devotions
8 AM: breakfast
9:30-12 PM: morning training
12-1 PM: beach time for the boys
1 PM: lunch
2:30-5:30 PM: soccer games
6-7 PM: free time for volunteers and nap time for kids
7 PM: dinner
8:30-10:30 PM: chapel

Thursday was a day full of soccer games, as we had our semi-finals and final game of the tournament. Although my team didn’t win, (lost 2-1 in the final game), I was incredibly proud and happy for them! They played their hearts out!!

On Friday morning, many of the kids got baptized in the Caribbean Sea. As the boys had previously made decisions to follow God earlier on in the week, this act served as a symbol that declared their love and desire to have a relationship with God. It was incredible to be able to watch as over half of the kids, who were so timid, angry, and hard-hearted towards others at the beginning of the week, make this decision.

Shortly after baptisms, it was time to say goodbye. While leaving these children was incredibly difficult and emotional, it was comforting to know that they have trustworthy adults who are investing their time and their lives looking after and caring for these young boys. The week at camp was not the end of an life-altering experience, but only the beginning.

The next day, the volunteers were able to visit the city of Antigua for a few hours. My group and I explored the ruins of old Cathedrals and buildings, admired the architecture and history of the old capital of Guatemala and ate yummy food. I hope to go back and really explore the city, as I feel I barely scratched the surface! Hopefully I’m able to.

A few take-aways from my trip to Guatemala:

1) God can use the simplest things, like soccer, to bring people to Christ
2) being uncomfortable and out of my element is okay and freeing
3) the best way to learn Spanish is to be immersed in it
4) only in Christ is lasting joy able to be found–not in athletic ability, success, money, possessions, intellect, or anything else that we so often turn to
5) Kids are still kids and should be able to act like kids, even if they live in extreme poverty, hunger, and broken homes and neighborhoods
6) being on mission doesn’t have to end once the trip does

If you made it this far, thanks for reading this lengthy post!

Jenny

 

 

 

Making a Simple Statement

I’ve been obsessed with statement jewelry lately. And while I will always be a fan, the bright-colored tassel earrings and layered, beaded necklaces are difficult to incorporate into my everyday outfits.

However, I have become so accustomed to wearing jewelry, that I feel like I am not completely ready for the day without it. A dainty necklace, a simple bracelet and gold stud earrings can make me feel and look polished. That’s why I am loving these jewelry pieces from Castillo & Co!

I’ve worn these necklaces non-stop–to work, to the grocery store, to the gym, to photoshoots…EVERYWHERE! I love layering dainty necklaces and that is how I styled them here.

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Faux Suede Bracelet/Necklace $12 

This two-in-one braided piece is so fun! I chose to wear it as a wrap bracelet for this outfit, but it could also work as a chocker. I’m loving the different shades of blue and the gold clasp–it makes it easy to take the bracelet on and off!

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Swarovski Crystal Birthstone Necklace Bar $15

3 Tone (Silver, Rose Gold, Gold) Necklace (16″) $15

 

I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of these pieces and how well-made they are! I have not seen any signs of wear and tear, and like I said, I’ve been wearing them a lot lately.

Due to their great quality and their versatility, I would say that they are worth much more than they cost! But to top it all off, with the code Jennifer15 at checkout, you can get 15% off your purchase, for orders placed from now until June 30th! Woohoo!

Happy shopping, and happy Wednesday!

Jennifer

*These pieces were sent to me, but all opinions are my own*

P.S. Not wearing makeup to photoshoots is weird, but it is also very freeing. 10/10 would recommend. 🙂

 

What I Wear: Summer Edition

In the unbearable and harsh 100+ degree Arizona weather (doesn’t that make you want to come visit me?), the main goal is to dress with pieces that are lightweight and comfortable. When you find and wear pieces that are cute and follow these two guidelines, you know you are winning at life.

This is one of those outfits that helps me deal with the summer heat, while still making me look and feel presentable. I would totally run errands, go to lunch, hang out with friends, and even go to my desk job in this outfit!

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Purse (old): similar

This purse is my favorite purse that I own, and it probably will always be. I got it a couple years ago for my birthday, and it still makes me so happy every time I wear it out. Nothing like a cobalt blue stunner like this one to brighten up your outfit, and your day!

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My top is from Old Navy and I got it early this spring. I absolutely love how simple and basic it is, and how many outfits I have already created with it! In this outfit, I chose to wear it less as an off-the-shoulder top and more as a slouchy-neckline top. It’s up to you to decide whether or not I did this on purpose.

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Ever since I have started working at Anthropologie, I appreciate statement jewelry more than I ever have–especially the statement jewelry that is neutral and can be worn with different patterns and colors (AKA these earrings). These earrings jazz up every outfit that I put with them!

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In conclusion, this outfit helped to declare me as a winner against the summer heat. Current score: AZ: 0 — Jenny: 1

Stay cool my friends and happy Thursday!

Jennifer

Mindful Morning Routine

The first thing that I am trying to be intentional about is setting up a routine for myself, even for the summer. As the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, it makes sense to be to have this be the first thing I try to think more mindfully about.

The first couple weeks of summer I’ve woken up at different times everyday and I’ve often felt rushed to leave for work. I didn’t leave any time for myself, a quiet time, or even enough time to sit down and have a cup of coffee. After a couple of weeks of this, I feel exhausted and to be honest, a little lost.

I am a creature of habit. I love a good routine and I feel less stressed when I have my schedule established. I also know that I feel more rested if I go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time every morning. This is where the “morning routine” comes in.

I intend for my mornings to look something like this:

  • set my alarm for 6:15 every morning, except on two select days a week (I could sleep in those days!)
  • do not look at my phone first thing in the morning
  • eat breakfast at the kitchen table, not in my bed
  • make myself coffee
  • write for 5 minutes–how I’m feeling, praises, reflections, etc.
  • read at least one chapter in any book of the Bible
  • write about my thoughts on the passage
  • pray for 3 people/circumstances
  • pack a snack or two just in case
  • make my bed
  • leave my room clean

This morning, the start of my day looked something like this, although I didn’t get around to making my bed or picking up my room. This is most likely because I woke up and immediately looked at my phone, which encouraged me to stay in bed for another 10 minutes, mindlessly catching up on social media.

But, in the end, this morning was a lot greater than a lot of the other mornings I’ve had in the past couple weeks. I feel more awake and more able to tackle the rest of my day. I feel more encouraged and more inclined to think on things above.

Of course, making this routine a reality is ONLY possible when I am getting plenty of rest, so I plan on being more intentional about when I go to bed, which would be around 10 PM or so.

What would you like your morning routine to be? How do you plan on making this a reality?

Love,

Jennifer

Patriotic Pattern Play

Memorial Day: the three-day weekend that marks the start of summer! Whether you are lounging by the pool, having a barbecue with your neighborhood friends, or enjoying your time off work, it’s always fun to break out your red, white, and blue pieces in your wardrobe!

I absolutely love playing with patterns and mixing prints, and this striped shirt from Buffalo Exchange makes it so easy to do so! Also, shoutout to Thredup for having these Old Navy cream espadrilles on sale, new with tags!

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I’m a total stripes fanatic, but I love a good pair of floral shorts–especially when they have embroidered details and a tie-waist! These shorts are from Loft, and I got them on major sale. While these specific shorts are sold out, their selection of shorts is to DIE FOR right now! (Shopping tip: never shop at Loft unless there is a sale–they have sales almost every week!)

 

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What will I be doing tomorrow? Working on creating more content for the blog, going to work for a few hours, hanging out with friends and having a Bible study potluck, and of course, wearing this cute outfit as I reflect on those brave men and women who have served our country faithfully and courageously.

Love,

Jennifer

Taking Steps Towards Mindful Living

A goal of mine, which will realistically ALWAYS be a goal of mine, is to be more mindful. While you may think mindfulness is just a current phase or word that is buzzing around the “blogosphere” and Pinterest, I believe that mindful living is worth giving a try.

The best way that I have seen mindfulness explained is when the exact opposite, or mindlessness is defined. Mindlessness is, “a state that we often refer to as autopilot,” (Mrs. Mindfulness).

Mindfulness then, on the flip side, can be described as being present, aware and living intentionally. (Why don’t we do this already?!)

A few personal reasons as to why I want to live more intentionally include:

  • I am tired of having or wanting more just to have more.
  • I want to declutter my physical living space and my thinking process.
  • I am hoping to save ‘x’ amount of money by the end of this year.
  • I want to enjoy and savor every thing that I eat.
  • I want to spend time doing what I find important and that I have always dreamed of doing, instead of wasting my time.
  • I want to actively live in the present, rather than hurrying towards what is next.

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Looking through a mindful point of view in all aspects of my life, including how I am spending my time, my money, my energy, my calories, my words and my efforts, would significantly benefit me and my future.

To keep myself accountable and to potentially offer some advice to you all, I am hoping to share the steps that I take in order to live more intentionally.

So, what does it look like to live mindfully day to day? While I don’t (nor ever will) have all the answers, I think the first step is taking the time to notice and appreciate all that is around me. And today I notice that I feel excited and motivated to change the way I think about and do life.

Will you consider joining me in this new and challenging endeavor?

Jennifer

Gift Idea for Grads, Mothers & Friends

If you follow any fashion or lifestyle bloggers on Instagram, it is likely that you have already seen Jord watches and their unique timepieces at least once or twice! In my personal opinion, all the raving reviews have got it right: Jord sells high-quality, one-of-a-kind watches and their wide variety could fit with anyone’s personal style!

This watch is a timeless gift idea, for a recent graduate, a mother or father, or a loved one. While Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I do not know of any moms who would refuse this generous and beautiful gift any time of the year. (Plus, who says mothers should only be appreciated on Mother’s Day?)  Jord watches also gives you the option to engrave your watch, which allows you to make the gift even more personal.

I was absolutely thrilled when Jord Watches reached out to me to review their watch as well as offer a smokin’ deal to all of you!

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My favorite part of this watch is the unique wooden band. It comes in many different handcrafted and natural woods, including Zebrawood, Maple, Bamboo, Sandlewood, and more! Jord watches sells women’s and men’s watches, in a variety of styles and color combinations. I chose the Frankie 35 series watch with a Zebrawood band with the Champagne colored watch face.

DSC_0001I almost always wear a watch for several reasons: it adds a simple accessory to an outfit and makes me feel more put together while being functional. This Jord watch can serve as statement piece of jewelry, but it also goes with everything in my wardrobe! I’ve received several compliments on it and many questions about where I got it, as it is not a watch that you see around everyday.

Let’s stop and take a moment to talk about this packaging! Isn’ it stunning and oh-so-classy? The wooden box serves as the perfect storage for this watch and other jewelry pieces as well. Just from opening the shipping box, it is clear to see how detail-oriented this company is!

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The overall brand and contacts at Jord are also very accommodating and friendly, and it is clear to see how much they value their customers individually. They offer a payment plan at checkout, a print-out size chart to ensure that your watch fits your wrist upon arrival, and free shipping world wide!

Lastly, they are giving you all a chance to get one of these watches for yourself or as a gift, at a discounted price, through such an easy and simple giveaway!

One lucky winner will be able to receive a $100 e-giftcard to spend on any of Jord’s products! The coolest part is that ANYONE who enters the contest will recieve $25 off their purchase of a watch! Yes, that does mean that EVERYONE IS A WINNER!

ENTER HERE: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/herstyledstory
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Let me know what style and color you are thinking of buying, and if it is for yourself or if you are planning on giving it as a gift! Good luck everyone 🙂

Love, Jennifer

*While I am collaborating with Jord watches, this is a review with my unbiased and honest opinions!*

P.S. Thanks to Jord for the support, the opportunity to collaborate with such an awesome brand, and for this gorgeous watch that I don’t ever want to take off my wrist 🙂


Luxury Wooden Watch

One Dress, Three Outfits

While shopping, a new goal of mine is to be able to determine if I will be able to wear the item in at least two different ways with pieces I already own. As I stumbled across this dress in the sale section at Urban Outfitters, I knew that this versatile piece would be great for this spring and summer.

With college and high school graduations, grad parties and other occasions around the corner, I thought it would be beneficial to show how I would style this dress in three unique ways.

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Dress: Urban Outfitters (sold out, similar, similar) Shoes: Saver’s Thrift Store

I would wear this outfit if I were going to a classy event, such as an intimate graduation ceremony or a nice dinner. Plus, this entire outfit cost me less than $50! 🙂

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Necklace: Forever 21 (old, similar)

I would wear this next outfit to an outdoor graduation ceremony or to a grad party! I love this bright color combo and how fun this necklace is! You’ll most likely see me wear it all summer long, as I have already paired it with so many outfits.

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Necklace: Francesca’s 

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I would wear this next outfit anywhere–to church on Sunday morning, to brunch, to class, to work, legitimately ANYWHERE. Nothing like a jean jacket to dress down a classy dress 🙂

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Jean Jacket: Levi’s (Local Consignment Store) Shoes: Target

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What’s your go-to dress this season and how are you styling it?

Three things to remind yourself today: you are loved, you are beautiful, you are capable.

Jennifer 🙂

 

 

“street style”

Blue and white. Again. Whoops! Are you really that surprised?

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This is kind of my “go-to” outfit when trying to look nice. I would wear this outfit anywhere, whether it was out to a restaurant, doing some errands, or even on those days when I want to try a little harder for class. (Doesn’t happen very often…)

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Watch: Timex (Target) Purse: Romwe

Let’s just pause and take a moment to talk about this purse. I was surprised at how great of quality this purse was, considering it was such a steal! I love how it is in a neutral shade, however, with the bright and colorful floral embroidery on the front, it is perfect for spring!

I honestly, whole-heartedly, 100% recommend this bag to anyone who wants a dupe for the expensive Chloe Faye purse that keeps popping up on our Pinterest and Instagram feeds. ($20, or $2000?–your call.)

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Striped Blouse: Francesca’s Shoes: Famous Footwear (similar) Jeans: Loft (old, similar)

I also really love these jeans! Loft jeans are such good quality. I got them on sale for around $30 sometime last fall. When I first got them, they fit a little too tight for my taste. Now, they fit just as skinny jeans should, so I have been wearing them constantly!

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I love everything about this outfit, so you will see these pieces in upcoming posts!

Also, I feel a little stuck with the blog. I will be focusing on it more over the summer, as I will have more time, but what posts are you all most interested in? Fashion? Organization? Lifestyle?

Have a beautiful day lovelies!

Jenny

Spring 2017 Playlist

If you didn’t already know, I am a total music lover! I love going to concerts, discovering new artists, and listening to old classics.

I compiled a list of songs that I have putting on repeat lately. I know that I love looking at others’ song suggestions, so I thought I would share my current faves with you all. If you find a new song that you love, or if you are reminded of a song that you once loved, I’ve done my job.

Also, here’s a bit of self-promo: follow me on Spotify (jenmbello) for even more tunes!

  • Paris by Tiger in the Sky — romantic, soft, yet upbeat
  • The One by The Chainsmokers — my jam lately, whether I am working out or just need a bit of a “pick-me-up”
  • Fight to Keep by Run River North — I love this steady rhythm! To me, that kind of song makes a perfect driving song. Also, I have been obsessed with this band in general lately
  • All Glory Be to Christ by Kings Kaleidoscope — a new spin off an old hymn
  • New Man by Ed Sheeran — This song is hilarious! If you need a good laugh at the superficial things in life, give it a listen.
  • The Love Club by Lorde — Love the different voices/layering effects in this song. Just like Lorde, this song is effortlessly cool.
  • Cleopatra (Acoustic Demo) by The Lumineers — perfect for a mellow morning (another one of my favorite bands!)
  • Girl in Calico by Tow’rs — If I could write their whole album here, I would, but this song specifically is my current go-to pick when I am studying. But, seriously, check out this band!! Plus they are from AZ 🙂
  • My Joy is Complete by Citizens & Saints — perfect song for when I need to be reminded of the joy that I can only find in Jesus (which is every moment of everyday)
  • HARD LOVE by NEEDTOBREATHE — sorry for yelling, that was just the title. This is my current pump-up song. I always have at least one!
  • Four Pink Walls by Alessia Cara — for some reason, I get serious “girl power” vibes from this song, and this artist in general!
  • Summertime Romance by Johnnyswim — This song talks about all things warm and all things love…need I say more?
  • Until We Get There by Lucius — this song makes me want to travel and spontaneously leave my responsibilities behind and go on a road trip
  • A Lovely Night from La La Land — Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling singing a duet and jazzy interludes? yes please.

There is my extensive list! Let me know if you have any music suggestions, or if you liked any that I included! 🙂

Jenny