Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting Crafty!

I've recently gone on a jewelry making binge! Here are some of my creations:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blissfully Not Busy

I'm the kind of person who loves being on the go, thus I pack my school schedule with everything I possibly can. With a full course load, extra dance classes, and as many clubs and extracurriculars I can fit in, somehow I manage to get everything done, and digest anything life throws at me with a smile. Yet, when I got home one week ago I faced a new predicament: I had nothing to do. Slowly but surely I filled my schedule with organizing my room, seeing friends, movies with Mom, and sharing books with my brothers. I admit, I forgot how enjoyable relaxing can be!

my summer reading list 
However since I can't stand sitting still, I prefer having a to do list of relaxing activities.
Here is part of my to do list for the next few weeks:
--Read all those books I'm to tired to read during the school year
--Organize the attic!
--Do something great for Father's day
--Reunite with my high school friends
--Bake something delicious for my family
--Cook myself yummy vegetarian foods
--Fix the sewing machine
--Sew something
--Work on my screenplay
--Find more pieces to complete my tea set

thats all for now, but I'm sure I'll find more things to fill my current blissfully not busy schedule!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Horrors we hide

Horrors we hide

"Would Americans eat less meat, and would animals be treated more humanely, if slaughterhouses were made with glass walls and we all could see the monstrous killing apparatus at work?"

Would we buy goods made from slavery if we knew the individuals who made them?

Would we look a child in the eye and say, your pain is worth my cheap $12 dress from Forever21?

We don't even have to close our eyes or turn our backs, society does that for us by hiding atrocities with glamourous products, and delicious foods. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


"Dance is bigger than the physical body. Think bigger than that. When you extend your arm, it doesn't stop at the end of your fingers, because you're dancing bigger than that: you're dancing spirit." -Judith Jamison

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eggs, Birth, and Life

I recently happened upon on a nest of robin's eggs, and am now determined to watch these little birdies hatch. I've been visiting the nest every day, and am hoping they'll be ready to experience life outside the shell sometime next week. 

How cool will it be to witness new life be brought into this world? 

This is something I've yet to experience, but I realized that an even more profound experience, must be bringing that new life into the world oneself.  I'm not a mother yet, I have no idea what it will be like to give birth, but the concept of the way humans (and animals) create new life fascinates me. Isn't it amazing what our bodies can do? Isn't it awesome that we don't have to think about it? Our bodies take care of everything themselves. Or as I believe, God takes care of everything. 

Life is such a miracle. I was sharing my thoughts on birth, bird eggs, and babies with some friends in the dining hall, when one of the women who works in the dining hall turned around and shared a remarkable story with me. When she was 17, she was told that she would never have children. She accepted that this is the way it would be, and eventually married a man with two children from a previous marriage. When she was 27 she felt sick often, but didn't think much of it, until one day it was particularly bad and she decided to go to the doctor. He told her she was 6 months pregnant! She barely gained any weight, but the baby was born perfectly healthy three months later! Almost exactly a year earlier, her father had passed away, so she says the birth of her son was God's way of giving her new life in exchange for the life he had taken away. 

Life is precious, birth is beautiful. Its such a wonderful gift that we have the capacity to share in the creation of life. I know I'm probably romanticizing it a bit. I can't quite fathom the pain that is also associated with birth. Yet, I think the pain is a gift too. The deepest part of love is the willingness to suffer, to sacrifice, and still love unconditionally. God planned that part out too. 

As much as I look forward to a future involving my own motherhood, for now I'm completely satisfied waiting for Mama Robin's baby birds to hatch. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Do not what is evil. Do what is good. Keep your mind pure. This is the teaching. -Buddha

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Family is the school of love. Its where we learn what it means to love unconditionally, sacrificially, and happily. I want to take the time to thank my mother for all the ways she's loved me, my siblings, my dad, and her own parents. Throughout my life, my Mom has constantly brushed her own needs aside for the sake of loving others. My mom is one of the most creative, talented and artistic people I know, but she gave up many of her own dreams in order to be a mother. Not a day goes by when I don't think of all the ways she sacrifices for our family. I guess thats what being a Mom is all about: putting others before yourself, loving your family enough to make them your number one priority. I'm not a mother, but I hopefully will be one day. I don't think I'll ever fully be able to understand the heart of a mother, until I am one myself. But I do know and understand that it takes a lot of love to do what my mother has done throughout my life. It takes a lot of patience, faith, prayer, hope, ingenuity, and positivity, to be the kind of mother that I have. For all this, I am so unbelievably grateful.

I love you Mom!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Musings on Mutli-faith

A few day ago my college hosted Eboo Patel as a speaker on religious pluralism. I was lucky enough to be invited to a special reception for Mr. Patel at the house of our college president, and a dinner and discussion after the talk. After spending about five hours of my day around Eboo, I am extremely grateful for many of the ideas he shared.

Between quoting Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Rumi and many others, he spoke of his own personal experiences growing up Muslim, and engaging in interfaith work. What stands out to me most is a story of how after failing to stand up for a Jewish high school friend who was facing antisemitic bullies, his father told him he had not only failed his friend, but also his own faith. What a powerful notion: when we fail to love and protect those of other faiths, we fail our own faith. Inherent in all religions is a sense of love, and compassion towards others.

Love doesn't have to be agreement, but it does have to be acceptance. A common misconception with interfaith work is that we have to establish that all our religions are true. I think we can have mutual respect for each other's believes while still holding our own faiths dear. I do believe there is one universal truth, but small pieces of that truth can be found in different cultures, traditions and faiths around the world. My life has sincerely been enriched by the multi-faith dialogues and experiences I have had. My own faith has been strengthened by learning about others, and I do right by my faith by loving those who have different views.

Above all, Eboo Patel called our campus to action. He called us to put aside our differences to make the world a better place. In a world facing a lot of religious turmoil, persecution and prejudice we need to use our common ground to build a more peaceful world.

“To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite your tradition but because of it, is the heart of pluralism.  ~ Eboo Patel 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wise Words

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." 

- Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, April 27, 2012

Relay For Life

Last weekend I participated in Relay for Life at my college. My housemates and I had a booth where we did purple manicures and face paint as people walked along the track. 

It was a simple gesture to show our support for cancer victim and survivors. It often seems that efforts like this aren't enough to make a difference. Yet, seeing all the different people from our campus community come together to love others, gives hope to those in need.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Someone is looking out for me

As a college student, I tend to get caught up in the details of my life. Homework assignments, papers to write, social engagements, club meetings, classes, scholarships, applications, more classes, rehearsals, going to the gym and finding time to eat meals, all consume so much of my time. This can feel awfully overwhelming, but on a morning when I felt particularly stressed, the universe left this message in my inbox:

The real reason your brain is so large, Jasmine, compared to most of the other blessed creatures dwelling in time and space, is so that you can vividly imagine all the exquisite, exciting, and enthralling details of your heart's desires; not so that you can figure out who you need to meet, when you need to meet them, where you need to be, or how you're going to pull it all together. 

Your brain's not nearly that big. 

But mine is, 
    The Universe

p.s. Actually, that's just one of the reasons, Jasmine. Some of the other reasons are so that you can take notice of the miracles in your life, feel the joy when you visualize, and, of course, so that you can laugh at yourself whenever you temporarily forget these things. Ha ha.

Its nice to know the Universe is looking out for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Special Promotion!

I'm having a special sale, only for those who read this blog.

Visit my etsy site and use this coupon code: JAZZYSONGBIRD55667

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Poem By Maya Angelou

This poem was inspiration for the title of the screenplay I am writing in my screenwriting class so I thought I would post the whole thing.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
Can you see the bird? 
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I've always thought it was important to have passion. Whether thats passion for a cause, passion for people or passion for an activity. People who are passionate about something are engaging, interesting, and energizing, because they've found something bigger than themselves to love.

To me, I'm passionate about my faith, my artistic and theatrical endeavors, and making the world a better place. But what exactly does it mean to be passionate about something? Is it simply to love something to an exuberant amount?

As Easter was a week ago, I've been reflecting on the way christianity portrays the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The crucifixion is usually called the Passion of Christ. Why passion? This word is clearly being used in context that I don't usually associate with passion. So I looked up the etymological roots of the word.

Passion comes from the latin word passus which is the past participle of the word pat, which means to suffer. The Passion of Christ refers to Jesus's suffering. Yet, Jesus suffered out of love for the broken world. With this new definition passion becomes a mix of love and suffering. To be passionate about something must mean you love it enough to suffer for it.

So what are you willing to suffer for? What are your passions?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless. ~Charles M. Crowe

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Half the Sky

This is a trailer for a documentary series that deals with woman's rights around the world. Social justice issues of human trafficking, education, and health related issues are effecting women of all ages. Its certainly not enough to just have these few celebrities make a film, but its inspiring that hollywood is actually paying attention to these issues. Its inspiring that some of these women will have the opportunity for their stories be told. Through awareness we can bring understanding, and through understanding we can change the world.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How can we love the whole world?

“Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” 
 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mother Dearest

"To live a happy life, you have to start by apprieciating and being grateful for it" ~Cheryl Roth 
"There is no failure, only feedback and learning" ~Cheryl Roth 

These are quotes from my mom, whose wisdom is always a guidepost in my life.

My Mom's birthday was on wednesday, and I've spent every day this week trying to write a post to honor her for her birthday. Its so difficult to sum up in one quick post how much my mother means to me. Whether or not she was my mom, I would find this woman to be extremely inspiring! I admire the way she deeply looks at the world and her heart of compassion towards others. I am grateful for the way she's loved me unconditionally, sacrificed for our family, and lived a life of service to God. I love the way she listens when I cry, laughs at my jokes, and shares in my joys.

Having Tea with Mom 
A mother's love is truly incredible. I hope one day to be a mother myself, but for now I strive to be the best daughter I can be for this truly remarkable Mom.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break

I writing this post as a lounge on a blanket of hot sand in the Caribbean...

Ok just kidding...

I'm really spending my spring break backpacking through Europe....

Ok just kidding again.

I'm actually sitting in my room at my house (which I haven't been back to since Christmas). Maybe this is slightly less exciting than warm beaches and trips to Europe, but honestly its really great to just be home.

This is actually something I rarely do. I love adventures and exploring new places. I love traveling and being independent. But sometimes I just  need the peace and quiet of my own backyard. The simplicity of cuddling on the couch with Mom, or the tranquility of sleeping in my own bed.

Although, lets be honest, that could get boring pretty quickly... UNLESS I keep myself busy.

So here is my spring break to do list:
--Give my mom a fantastic birthday
--Fix my sewing machine
--Star gaze at least once
--Buy a tea cup that matches my tea pot
--Spice up my spring wardrobe
--Read a book! preferably in the sunshine :)
--Spend time with friends
--Play a board game with my brothers
--Apply to scholarships for school

That should probably give me enough to do, but I'm sure I'll find more and more ways of entertaining myself.

It can be just as easy to enjoy life whether at home or on some fancy vacation. We create our own fun, our own adventures. Theres always something to do no matter where you are.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fair Trade Fashion

Two things I love a lot: fashion and fighting injustice.

These two loves combined drive me to do a whole lot of fair trade shopping. Human trafficking happens all over the world and many of the items we take for granted were made by the hands of slavery.

Did you know...
An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labour at any given time
as a result of trafficking 
(International Labour Organization, Forced Labour Statistics Factsheet (2007)) 

32 Billion dollars are made annually because of Human trafficking according to the UN

So here is Jasmine's guide to Fair-Trade Fashion 

 Be a conscious consumer!
Know the facts! There are any online resources about not buying certain products from certain countries because of the child or forces labor that is involved in making the product.

The organization Not for Sale, has a great site that has rated hundreds or companies on an A-F scale based on their policies on and use of forced labor. Company Ratings 

Find the fair and trendy market
There are tons of stores and organizations dedicated to fashion and engaging in fair trade. It sometimes takes a little digging to find them but they definitely exist!

Heres a list of places that I've found: 
Fair trade and trendy:
Unique Batik - Not only do they sell gorgeous clothes, jewelry, hand bags, and other accessories, but they also sell beautiful fabric for those of us who love to sew! 
World of Good- as a branch of ebay, this site supports the philosophy that our shopping shapes the world and offers a wide assortment of fair trade and eco friendly products
Sevya as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, Sevya Fair Tade gets all of their products from artisan community in India. 

Indigenous Designs- free shipping everyday and all organic materials!
People Tree- since the 90s People Tree has been working to ensure the availability of beautifully crafted fair trade garments, and support the artisans who create such products. 
Fair Indigo- A great selection of classic looking outfit pieces, and a great collection of alpaca winter wear. 
The Revive Store 

Revive- an independent boutique located in Ohio (but shopping can be done online) Revive features clothes for men, women, children, and tons of home decor products! 

A lot of these places are fairly expensive, and that is to be expected since fairness costs more than slavery. So do we have to be rich to change the world? of course not! There are plenty of ways to shop conscientiously and still not break your bank.

  • Try local thrift stores, consignment shops etc. Even if the original source was not 100% fair, its better to reuse that buy something new from a source that supports modern day slavery. 
  • Shop etsy for hand made items, and material. 
  • Look around your town for local fair trade boutiques, the locally owned places are sometimes cheaper than the larger companies. 
  • Participate in a clothing swap with friends 

Be Proactive
There are several organizations out there that not only sell fair trade products, but also use the proceeds to benefit others or fight human trafficking. 

FEED- it says it all in the name, every purchase helps feed the world! 
Not for Sale Store- The mission of Not for Sale is to end human trafficking. Buying hand made jewelry and accessories from their online store supports the organization and artisans who craft them. 
Krochet Kids- There motto is "Buy a hat. Change a life" each hat helps support a family in Uganda or Peru. 
Warby Parker- a glasses company that gives a pair to someone in need each time someone buys a pair for themself. 

There are many ways to combat the issue of human trafficking. Making informed decisions when shopping is a small way of letting our actions align with our beliefs. Every purchase counts to making a better world because every human life counts.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about how much we desire validation from others. I think it goes back to the basic human need of needing to be loved and appreciated. I recently signed up to receive "Notes from the Universe" which are short emails of encouraging words from our biggest admirer: the Universe. Even though I know these emails are kind of like a glorified fortune cookie, its made a big impact on my daily thought process. Starting each morning with a few really kind words helps me to look more positively at the world, and value my own worth in every moment. It also makes me realize how important kind words are, and inspires me to validate others more.

This is the note I received from the universe this morning:

Jasmine, the need to criticize 
simply belies a longing for recognition, 
appreciation, and validation. 
None of which, however, 
can be obtained through criticism.

I'm sure it's just a 
phase they're going through. 

    The Universe

If we can all strive to turn every criticism, of ourselves or others, 
into positive thoughts and words, then we can create a more 
supportive, encouraging, world for others and ourselves.

Along the same lines, this short film 

is a fantastic depiction of what the value of validating others. 

When has validation made a huge impact on you?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Sunday!

"Prayer is the bridge between my unconscious and conscious life. Prayer connects y mind with my heart, my will with my passions, my brain with my belly. Prayer is the divine instrument of my wholeness, unity and inner peace." -Henri J.M. Nouwen

Saturday, March 3, 2012


“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
-Maria Robinson 

I really thrive when I see and create beauty. I love when my room is clean and decorated perfectly. I love when the flowers are blooming and the sun is shinning. This winter has been difficult for me because we haven't had much snow, but its still been cold, so we've been stuck in a state of mush for about three months. But the other day a fresh blanket of crisp white covered my college campus. I was all of a sudden in awe of the beauty that surrounded me. I often forget that winter can be just as beautiful as any other season. Every so often the universe likes to remind me that everything about life can be beautiful. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pausing Amidst Chaos

Life is hectic. Life is chaotic. Life is often tragic. Life is busy and complicated and dramatic.

But life can also be peaceful, beautiful, adventurous, simple, lovely, loving, and lighthearted.

Amidst all the chaos of life I feel drowned in, I'm taking this moment to remember a few small things that make me happy:

1. The man who makes me omelets at my college dinning hall, doesn't take my order anymore, I just say surprise me and he always makes me something delicious!

2. A bouquet of roses currently sits on my bookshelf, they were a gift from a friend who came to see my latest play.

3. My dorm room window faces where the sunrises, so I always wake up with the sun streaming through my blinds.

4. I've heard the first birds of spring chirping recently

5. Although they're far away, I know my family loves me.

6. Moments spent in prayer

These are only a few things that brighten each of my days. I know there are countless more.

What little things make your day?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Return of the Blogger

I decided to start blogging again. Me and blogging, have had one of those on again off again relationships. This time I think I'm ready for something a bit more serious.
I was one of the those overindulgent bloggers in middle school. You know, the ones who posted thousands of pictures of me and my best friends at the mall, and felt the need to tell the entire world about all the super OMG overdramatic details of my WHOLE life. I was also an HTML pro but somehow I've managed to forget everything I used to know about that.

Then post high school, on a warm sunny day I decided to try round 2 of the blogger world. It kinda worked for a little while, but then the chaos of college life took off. But blogging was always a source of catharsis that I seem to be lacking right now. So I thought why not try this again!

My mom, whom I love dearly, happens to be an avid blogger, and her blogs are another reason I thought I'd create a new one for myself.

Mom's blogs:

This blog is going to be about life, creativity, happiness, and so forth and so on.
I'll certainly post some DIY craft articles and promote my etsy site.

Heres to many great blogging adventures to come!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Ghandi