Aries Midheaven

I guess it’s time to reflect.

It’s been quite a journey, this past year. Revelations, separations, and far too many nights spent listening to subliminals on YouTube, praying that I’ll wake up in the morning with a straighter nose. Yes, I admit, the last one is kind of odd, but it’s pretty telling of my past 365 days around the sun.

There’s something to be said about growth, isn’t there? Little by little, the Universe sent me moments of growth, often masked as hurdles I was far too scared to tackle (but I took them on anyway). I wrote poems about open doors masked as stop signs, and the funny thing is, I’m still experiencing them today. Because that’s growth, isn’t it? It doesn’t stop. And that’s not a bad thing, not really. A scary thing, sure, but definitely not bad. We never really stop growing, and I think that’s the hardest notion for me to wrap my little head around.

I was so confident going into this fall, riding the high of this past year (I was a new person, didn’t you know.) Was it naïve of me to assume that I was better than before? No, not at all. Because I was. But I ignorant to the idea that I wasn’t finished in my growth, and those launching pads disguised as speed bumps were still there, hidden on the horizon.

This past year had taught me to love myself. Whether that was through consuming 3 albums by a group of 7 inspirational men, all of which possessing that exact same message, or through extracting my heart from situations that did not serve it–I focused on me and what my soul needed. I made life-long friendships, went on adventures 2016 Jasmine couldn’t even fathom, and sought out the pieces of this existence that made me feel alive. I really took care of this sunshine heart. Truly.

But where I failed myself was in thinking that this was the end of that journey. It wasn’t, and, even as I cross the finish line in my current marathon, it still won’t be over. Growth is just that–continuing to get better, improve, and reach new heights. Growth is not stagnant, not in the least. So why did I ever think it was?

I’m in this position where I have to constantly remind myself of this. It’s a daily struggle not to revert to my old ways, compare myself to others, belittle my achievements in order to fit a social norm or rule. But I can’t let 2017 Jasmine back into my life. I love her, flawed and all, but I can’t let the position she was in a year ago shift the focus from where she is now. I’m stronger than that. You know it and I, somewhere in this deep heart of mine, I know it, too.

Remember that.

Until next time,

Jasmine.

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Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V

I did it.

Just a few short days ago, I graduated. Parchment in hand, I set foot not only across a makeshift stage, but also into the world as a freshly bloomed alumni. Does that feel as weird to hear as it does to say?

Time, as I’ve talked about before, is such an interesting concept. Man-made, it sets the pace for our lives, keeping track of virtually all aspects that make up who we are. It even dictates and cultivates its own set of vocabulary, it’s own linguistic rules and regulations. Think about it–without time, where would we all be? Words such as yesterday, today, and tomorrow wouldn’t exist. The days of the week, our months, our minutes, our seconds, our hours–all would cease to be. Not only that, but even phrases as “the early bird catches the worm” or “beating the clock” would mean nothing. Crazy, isn’t it?

You know, I once read a book about the man who invented time. It was a fiction novella, of course, but the lesson it provided me with was anything but. The story followed the lives of several individuals, all of whom time had, for lack of a better term, screwed over in more ways than one. The father of time witnesses these individuals’ distress over their lifetimes, and comes to realize that his creation of time and measuring our existence on this planet was more of a hinderance than a crucial aid. While the characters of the book inevitably deal with time’s harsh blows in their own individual ways (with some taking much more serious measures than others), the novel’s message is that time, as much as we loath it, exists and must be perceived as a precious thing.

But the book got me thinking. What is time, really? They say as we get older, time goes faster, and boy, do I believe it. How am I 23 already? How have I graduated university? Sometimes, I just wish I could stop time, you know? Live in that moment. Go back to periods of my life that brought me joy. But then other times, all we want is for time to hurry the hell up and go faster already. We can never be satisfied. But isn’t that just so human?

The book’s message is exactly that: we always want time to act in our favour, but we never want to acknowledge it for what it is. Hours and days pass by at the same rate. Even if it seems long or short or somewhere in between, there are only 24 hours in a day. We may graduate, travel, work, live, play, or whatever it is we do with our time, but it is precious, and unlike that cheesy Adam Sandler (*shudder*) movie, we don’t have a magic remote control to stop, pause, rewind, or play when we feel the time calls for it.

In just the same way, I only had 15 seconds on that stage to transition from student to graduate. But it was those 15 seconds that changed me. Because time is a funny, wonderful, terrifying, unstoppable force that we cannot control. But we can control how we enjoy it and revel in its splendour.

Until next time,

Jasmine

Fashion Inspiration

Some days, I literally cannot think of what to wear. 

I will stand in front of the closet before me for half an hour, and still be unable to come up with a decent looking outfit. And I know I am not alone on this.

When moments like these arise (which is much more frequent than you might expect), I tend to turn to certain websites and people for inspiration. Not only does this help the wheels start turning, but it also gives me some direction on how I’m feeling that day, and what style I want to channel in order to express my mood.

First and foremost, there are celebrities. Now, for me, these tend to be Korean or Japanese celebrities, as I love East Asian fashion the most.

Here are a few of my favourites:

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This is Jung Eun Ji from the girl group Apink. I honestly love her style so much, both off and on screen. I especially adored her wardrobe in the drama That Winter the Wind Blows. It was so edgy and eclectic, just like her. 

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SooYoung from SNSD (aka Girl’s Generation) is next on the list. She just oozes femininity and class. I love looking to her when I am in that girly, minimalist mood.

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No, your eyes do not deceive you; that is a boy. (If you thought otherwise, shame on you and your family). It is the love of my life and the fashion king himself, Kwon Ji Yong, aka G-Dragon. He–usually–is dressed in the most unique and interesting ways that make it impossible for me not to want to recreate them. The way he pulls off most of his outfits leaves me stunned. He is the forerunner in those that inspire me fashion wise. I look up to him so much.

Now, as for websites that are my go-to for inspiration, there are only a select few.

To start off, there is, of course, Lookbook.

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Honestly, if you have never taken the time to visit this site, you should do so now. It is amazing. Real people, all over the globe, showcasing their style and taste for the world to see. I get so many ideas each time I log on, and I love wasting hours browsing the endless amounts of photos. I should really start my own, but I am way too intimidated. They’re all so… flawless, for lack of a better word. 

Next is Yesstyle.

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Both a blog and a clothing store, I always find cute outfit ideas and fashion advice for any occasion. I tend to stay on the blog side of things, as they always have advice columns and cool interviews with popular Asian fashion companies or celebrities. As well, they sell well-known brands from all over Asia, as well as the ever-coveted circle lenses that everybody and their grandma want to wear.

Finally, there is, of course, YouTube! 

I have my favourite fashion bloggers that I follow on there, but the number one girl I always go to is miss Jennifer Im. Honestly, this girl is amazing. She’s gorgeous, and has a wicked sense of style. Her videos always inspire me to be fearless with fashion, to try out new looks, and to step out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. Check her out! Her YouTube channel is called clothesencounters and I’m pretty sure she has a Tumblr, too (but don’t quote me on that).

Other YouTubers who are great are Chriselle Lim, Amy from shopvagabondyouth, Sammie from beautycrush, Steph and Mel from fashioncitizen, and Vanessa from balletandpinkroses. 

So there you have it! These are the many people and places that help influence the tedious decision of “What do I wear?” every morning. Check them all out and comment if you have any favourites of your own! I would love to hear about them!

Until next time,

Jasmine.

Instagram: @harubelief
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YouTube: pureaffectionfashion