Summer Essentials

There are a few things that have saved me from the Arizona heat summer after summer, and while these exact products won’t last me forever, I plan on using and repurchasing similar essentials in years to come!

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What I have been loving:

  1. Flavored water — The day this photo was taken, I had this Suja Probiotic water in the flavor “raspberry.” I loved it! I’m a sucker for a refreshing drink in the summertime to keep me hydrated, especially when it is low in sugar!
  2. Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets — Alright, if you haven’t tried these yet, I would honestly be SHOCKED! These are amazing, especially because my skin is oh-so-oily in the summer time. While there are similar products from different brands, Clean & Clear’s product stands above the others.
  3. Aviator sunglasses — Up until earlier this spring, I wasn’t a fan of sunglasses. I thought they made me look weird, to be honest. Then I found these and another pair during a sunglasses sale at Francesca’s and I am in love! For only being $10 a pair, they are awesome quality and seem like they will last (at least) this season.
  4. Leave-in conditioner — I don’t know about you, but my hair can get pretty tangly after a day at the pool or beach. To combat this in advance, I have been hooked on using leave-in conditioners. This one was in my Ipsy bag from May, and the brand is Briogeo. While I have tried a ton leave-in conditioners, and loved many of them, this one in particular smells amazing!
  5. Magazines — Whether you are lounging by the pool or jetting off on your next adventure, I love browsing through lifestyle and fashion magazines, especially Real Simple. I love their recipes, organization tips, and their helpful life hacks!
  6. BB Cream — Again, I got this one in particular from my May Ipsy bag, but as I am nearing the end of the product, I am seriously considering repurchasing it. It provides the perfect amount of coverage and blends into my skin perfectly! The brand is Pur-Lisse, but regardless whether or not you try this specific product, I would highly recommend BB Creams for the summertime.
  7. Lastly, one of my essentials would have to be this highlighter pallette from Elf in the shade Golden. I recently repurchased this because I hit pan on my previous one! This product, while being around $3, is great quality and is the perfect amount of shimmer for a highlighter. DSC_0008

What are some of your summertime essentials? I am always open to trying new products!

Love,

Jennifer

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

 

 

 

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

April Endeavors

To be honest, this past month, the words “self-control” have not been in my vocabulary. I’m hoping this next month looks a little different.

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I have two things that I want to challenge myself with:

  1. I will not eat any sweets in the month of April, besides two pieces of dark chocolate a day. (Dark chocolate is medicinal, so I can’t take that out of my life.)
  2. I will not buy anything “new” in the month of April. (This refers to retail stores. Thrifting and consigning is okay, because the pieces are not “new,” but they are just new to me!)

I chose to challenge myself in these two things for a couple of reasons:

  • I have a sweet-tooth right now and I cannot seem to get a hold of it!
  • I need to save money and watch how much I am spending.
  • I have recently wanted to establish a general practice in my life of only thrifting for clothing pieces, to not only to push past my comfort zone in style but also for the environmental aspect.
  • I want to focus on what I do have, rather than what I do not have.
  • I “reward” myself by eating sweets and going shopping, and I want to learn how to do that in a healthier, more practical way.
  • I want to be challenged and uncomfortable in order to rely more on the Lord.
  • I want to know that I can do these things, for a month, or longer.

I will keep you all updated. How do you want to challenge yourself this next month?

Jenny 🙂