Beauty/Fashion, Sponsored

Is this my real face? {SPONSORED}

This is a sponsored post courtesy of BrandBacker. All opinions are my own.

Ageless beauty has been the quest of mankind for centuries. From Oedipus’ mother’s necklace to Helen of Troy. From facelifts to age defying night cremes. No matter the country or the century, it is the quest of humanity – to elude wrinkles and remain in the body of a vivacious 18 year old, right?

I don’t do many sponsored posts here at The Spontaneous Idealist primarily because I don’t necessarily desire to review products I wouldn’t desire to purchase myself. After researching this product, I was eager to accept the offer.

Valentia was kind enough to send me a bottle of their EVEN GLOW SERUM – 20% Vitamin C – Antioxidant Treatment. Honestly, I was hesitant at first. I was afraid of the oil building up on my skin and leading to a breakout.

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The first morning, I washed my face and applied as directed. The citrus smell was a great sudden burst of energy on that sluggish morning. The serum was absorbed very quickly, leaving a noticeably smoother and more even skin tone. Over the next week, my skin improved every day. Combined with my normal facial moisturizer, my face was clearer, soft to the touch, and had a healthier glow about it.

Originally listing at $85, this product truly does what it claims. With 98% all natural ingredients, I am very comfortable with putting this on my face every morning. (PS: if you have Amazon Prime, it is discounted at $35!)

Thanks to BrandBacker and Valentia for introducing me to this great product. It comes with my stamp of approval, for sure!

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Stories

Look Out Jackson Town

Jackson, Mississippi, has stolen my thoughts.

“Jordan, you will love it here.” Two friends of mine couldn’t stop talking about it. “Trust me. Just come.”

I liked it so much, I returned. And I’m going back before school again.

Then, I’m going back to stay.

When I tell people I’m moving to Jackson, they get a strange look on their face. “WHY Jackson?”

Don’t knock it til you try it, right?

1) Jackson doesn’t believe in bad food. Everywhere you turn, there is a great restaurant selling tasty, quality food (and usually at a decent price). The blooming foodie in me is completely satisfied in that city. The residents will boycott a restaurant if it doesn’t meet their standards – I have seen it happen (Adios M!so).

2) Coffee. I live off of cappuccinos. Between Sneaky Beans and Fusion, my cravings will forever be satisfied.

3) The culture. The residents of Jackson absolutely love their city. They fight for it, improve it, and invest in it. Jackson is a beautiful combination of Southern culture and “big city” art. You can eat a true blue plate at Primo’s then go watch an international ballet competition that evening.

4) Large city. Intimate feel. Residents are involved enough to know each other, but it is large enough to always be meeting new people.

5) The people. I have never in my life met such a great concentration of amazing people. Men and women who love Jesus, are passionate about a full life, and desire to pour themselves into one another. Honestly, this is what sold me on Jackson. I met some awesome people and wanted to live life beside them.

6) The hospitals. I wouldn’t move somewhere I would hate my job. When I was considering this city, I talked to countless respected anesthesiologists, CRNAs, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and education professionals.  I heard nothing but praises about the hospital systems in Jackson. They are top of the line and serve their community well. I have applied to do my preceptorship at University of Mississippi Medical Center – a level 1 trauma facility – in Spring 2015. My life would be amazing if I worked for them.

This is just skimming the surface. If you really want to see some of the great things happening in Jackson, check out the Jackson Free Press and Find It In Fondren (my favorite district). You’ll see what I mean.

It is a city with life, passion, and purpose.


If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

This move is huge. And I’m scared. It is what I want so dearly, yet it is so foreign. Being the first real move of my life, it is uncharted territory. Buying things, finding a place/person to live with, making friends, finding a church – building a whole new life from scratch. It is both exhilarating and terrifying.

But in the words of Johnny Cash:

I’m goin’ to Jackson, and that’s a fact.
Yeah, we’re goin’ to Jackson, ain’t never comin’ back.

Do you have any moving advice/tips you could share? Did you ever move somewhere “foreign” because you fell in love with it? What big leaps of faith have you taken?

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Montgomery, Recipes

A Lovely Menu

As you walk through the door, a loud bell rings in your ear. Seating yourself, you admire the quaint decor of the 6 tabled restaurant. Emerges a woman of medium height, apron on, spring in her step.

Starting out with a big hug of welcome:

“Jordan,” (or ‘mi amor’ as I have recently been named) “I have a lovely menu for you tonight.” 

“You know I love anything that comes from your kitchen.”

“Okay. I know just the thing.” 

“Oh, and a smoothie…any fruit. I’d like one of those, too!

A few minutes later, fresh bread and a homemade dip appear on my table. Devouring it, I hardly realize that my smoothie has appeared, too. Made straight from the fruit (kiwi, banana, coconut, mango), it is just perfection in a cup.

In the past, my Venezuelan Abuela has surprised me with rabbit in a chardonnay sauce with lima beans and broccoli.

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Last night, she brought out one of my favorites – “Pork on a Horse.”

 

Pork on a Horse

Seasoned/stewed pork atop a bed of rice topped with two fried eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Served with green beans and a thin gravy. 

Talk about delicious. And enough for two meals!

I had the pleasure of sharing this meal with a dear friend of mine. She got the “Coconut Chicken.” Breaded/seared chicken atop rice served with a coconut/honey glaze, mushrooms, and green beans. So sweet and savory…all in one! (You can see it in the top right of the picture.)

Located off of Atlanta Highway, you would be missing out on a great experience if you didn’t stop in. If not only for the food, but the fantastic lady who owns, runs, and cooks these fantastic delicacies!

D' Road Cafe on Urbanspoon

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life, Lifestyle

The Ancient Art

As a young child, my mom instilled “tea time” in our house. Anywhere between 3 and 3:30, I would here the kettle whistle. Grabbing a book, I would run down stairs eager to see what new tea she was introducing us to. Sometimes, she would read to us. Other times, my brother and I would delve into our own worlds of stories. At the kitchen table, I was introduced to the ancient world of teas.

A few months ago, I decided that my next “project” was to become educated in teas. With its health properties and fine combinations of flavors, I knew it was worth my time and investment.

I found myself one weekend at Teavana. Walking in, I realized my complete incompetency in this department. A sudden thirst for knowledge over took me. 2 cups of tea & 1 matcha latte later, I was hooked. I knew tea was going to become as much as a passion for me as coffee.

By borrowing kettles from people and gifts of loose tea, I started having about 2 cups of tea per day. It is a whole new world of flavors and artistry I am eager to explore.

Goji Pop: herbal tea with apple, goji, hibiscus, rosehips, honeydew, lemon oil, and marigold.

Goji Pop: herbal tea with apple, goji, hibiscus, rosehips, honeydew, lemon oil, and marigold.

Are you a lover of tea? If so, what are some secrets/tricks I should know? If not, what is your latest passion?

 

 

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life, Recipes, Stories

Indian loves

Back in November, I had my first taste of India: egg appam and goat biryani. The spice combinations and delicacy of the menu made my heart so happy. It was like I had found my newest food lover. When the Indian restaurant re-opened in my hometown, I nearly sprinted to its grand opening. I can’t get enough.

At India Palace, they start you off with some papadum. It is thin, crispy, and doesn’t have any spice until the mild kick at the end.

papadum

papadum

Forgive me for not asking what the two “dips” are.

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naan

Of course, I ordered naan – a thin, unleavened, oven-baked flat bread. It is sweet, flaky, and I could eat it all day long. Of course, many types of naan comes with spices and garlic!

Franky, I love lamb and get it whenever I can. For the table, I ordered lamb kadai (lamb cooked with peppers and onions in a gravy sauce with white basmati on the side) and lamb biryani. Biryani is a dish where the meat and rice are served together. The meat has its own dry rub made up of countless spices and the basmati has been cooked in another set of spices. One biryani I have had had over 20 spices in the one dish. It is not only a spice party, but has quite a kick. Therefore, it is served with a yogurt (typically with spinach, carrots, and onion mixed in) to cut the heat. Just dab it on, mix it in, and you have all the flavor without the feeling of death.

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Pictured farthest from view – lamb kadai (rice served separately). Closest in view – lamb biryani (rice is laid on top of the meat when served).

 

One of the many things I love about Indian culture is that you plate your own food. You can order one or several dishes for the table and have a helping (or two) of any of it.

Just when I presumed the meal to be over, a dessert was sent to our table. Not only was I intrigued by this little dish, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to eat more delicious food. Forget the fact that I was stuffed….psh.

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gulab jamun

Let me introduce you to gulab jamun. It is small dough balls, fried (like only the best are). These were covered in a sweet honey based syrup (or so it tasted to me). I wanted to ask more questions about this deliciousness, but I was too busy stuffing my face to ask.

Oh, Indian food…….I love you.


 

What is your favorite ethnic/exotic food? Also, have you ever had Indian – did you like it?

India Palace on Urbanspoon

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life, thoughts

Soulmates?

If you would have asked me three years ago if soulmates exist, I would have said yes and had great arguments for it.

Now, not so much.

What changed? Life changed. 

For the longest time, I believed there was only one person out there for me. One person that would “complete me.” One person that I was destined to spend the rest of my life with. At one time, I really thought I had found that person – he made me laugh, loved me, and promised to take care of me for as long as we lived. It was a beautiful feeling, and I believe we would have had a good life together.

Then, as time passed, we changed and fell apart. Honestly, I am glad we figured things out before we made life-changing decisions together. But nonetheless, I am grateful for the time we had together. I learned a lot about myself, the world, and what I really wanted out of life.

But I ceased to believe in “The One.” It is a belief that has manifested both from heart break and from long nights of analyzing life.

I think it is ridiculous to think there is only one person that we should end up with. Out of the over 7 billion people in the world, there is only 1? Theoretically, it sounds perfect and romantic. In actuality, it is insane.

I think there are many people we could spend our lives with. There has to be hundreds of people that compliment our thinking patterns, push us to our limits, and spur us on to bigger and better things – many people that would make excellent life partners, lovers, parents.


Here are a few questions I bring up in argument against “The One:”

What happens if you marry the “wrong one?” 1) How do you know? 2) What are you supposed to do about it? Divorce them in search of the ONE?

What happens if “The One” dies? 1) Are you left alone forever? 2) Do you grudgingly settle for less?


So, if “The One” doesn’t exist, what does?

Great loves.

There are people in your life that really love you – sacrificially and passionately. These are people who rip you out of your shell, desire to know every part of your mind, and want to propel you into greatness. Unfortunately, that love can mean letting go. But, you walk away knowing more about yourself and this crazy thing called life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Let’s talk!

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Stories

Living Art

I love to keep the company of intellectual and inspiring people — it pushes and moves me.

Recently, the phrase was used said with such confidence that it was automatically accepted as truth in my mind. But in the midst of the day, I began to fully realize the truly thought-provoking layered analogy this was — one that stimulates a new and changing worldview.

There are many things in this world that are living – they breathe, have brains, move, and eat. But there is something uniquely amazing to homo-sapiens:

People are art.

Living Art

People are living, walking art sculptures with their reasoning minds, complex souls, and limitless forms of expression.

1. We are eternal creatures. There is something instilled in our beings of something greater. Something that lives forever – our souls. Each person we come in contanct will live forever spiritually. Doesn’t that change our view of and how we treat them? This isn’t the last time we will see each other.

2. Humans have intriguing minds. We contemplate, reason, plan, manipulate, dream, and have visions. We can create theories, form goals, push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. We are forever growing and changing into something beautiful.  Our brains are factories of thoughts, inspring ourselves and others to get out and change our circumstances and the world.

3. We are emotional creatures who must self-express. It sets us a part as individuals in the world. We take those idea, thoughts, and emotions are have a desire to know and be known. Through long coversations over coffee, art, writing, music, fashion, body art (and so much more), we share ourselves with the world. Every move we make, every idea spoken, every piece of clothing put on our bodies is a form of self-expression – displaying who we are to the world.

We are orginally a blank canvas. Throughout life, we are painted on by life – heartaches, love, family, close friends, day-to-day interaction, even those uncontollable circumstances. They all help form who we are. “Who we are” changes as we grow. I am not the same I was 5 years ago. I hope I am not the same 5 years from now. We are growning, living art who desire to share our canvas with the world. “Here I am. Admire in all its flaws and beauty.”

This week, let this sink in. If each person is an eternal creature with a reasoning mind and a beautiful canvas to showcase, shouldn’t we treat each other with respect and an open-mind?

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life

Apparently, I like taking unexpected hiatuses from writing. I wish I could say it was a “writing break to explore myself in a distant land” or “the fact that I have such deep and extensive content my mind needed to rest.” Nope. Just going about and living life.

  • Coming to terms with my own brokenness.
  • And my constant need for Jesus.
  • Coming to grips that 100% adult begins in May.
  • What am going to do?
  • Where am I going?
  • Internship…..where and how?
  • And last but not least – procrastination (i.e. reading random articles, hours at the coffee shop reading nothing, staring at the growing pile of laundry hoping it would wash itself).

With that, I do have a lot I will be sharing over this next week with y’all. In the meantime, be sure to check out my friend, Kriselle, and her new post about being a Christian, 20-something blogger.

See ya in a bit!

 

Hello, there!

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life, Stories, thoughts, Travels

Lost in the Right Direction

Have you ever gotten lost?

Physically, emotionally, mentally?

I tend to get upside down and backwards quite frequently. Once, I was orienteering at a nearby state park and misread the legend so terribly I was several hours late to my last checkpoint. Knowing the streets of my hometown by heart, I still find myself disoriented.

With a troubling childhood and several heartbreaks, I have been in the pit of apathy. I didn’t care about myself, others, or my soul. Looking back months and years later, I didn’t recognize myself.

My brain is constantly running. Too many things get packed in there — unsorted, not categorized. Amongst the filth, it just stops working.


But I think there are two different types of “lost:”

There is the lost that comes with stress and confusion.

We all know this one too well. Your heart rate increases; blood pressure goes through the roof. Your head spins, quits, and the world just needs to quiet down immediately so that you can think. You don’t know what to say, how to act, what to think.

But there also is the lost that brings peace and clarity.

It is a strange and intriguing juxtaposition. Lost tends to have the negative sub-connotation of ignorance and failure. But I want to twist that around for you. Imagine yourself in a new city, so beautiful and foreign. You don’t know the language. Losing track of time, you are buried far deep within its heart, you can’t get out. You know you can’t stay, but you don’t want to leave.

By all technical definitions, you are lost. You can’t survive (at least very effectively) in this city; but the peculiar unfamiliarity puts things in perspective. All that has become a part of your daily life is stripped away. You have a clean slate. 

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Street signs and Saints

Mid-March 2011 found me in that exact situation….in Rome, Italy. I was swept up by the romance of the city, and I found myself calm, collected, and at peace while I wondered through these foreign, narrow, cobbled streets lined with butchers, bookstores, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I had no idea where I was going, or what I was going to do when I got there. I just walked.

Having recently landed in Europe, my heart was still heavy from my thoughts. The past seven months had been extremely difficult. My family was going through a difficult divorce, and I was graduating soon. My dreams were falling apart; I didn’t know what I was going to do. Where was my life taking me?

In those moments, my mind was cleared. I didn’t know where I was going to end up, but I was okay with that. In fact, I started to look forward to the future.

To this day, getting lost is one of my favorite things. My soul aches, and I find a hiding spot in the unfamiliar. Always, I come out a better and stronger person.

 

secrets

Secret corridors.

Have you ever had an experience like this? Share it below!


 

For those of you who are wondering, I ended up in a bookstore in search of a cookbook (typical). I didn’t have a watch and was running late to return to my group. It took an hour of winding around the city and some creativity to figure out the time. 
 
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Quotes

The Gift of Time

If love wasn’t complicated enough in all its forms, we have love languages.

Mine are words of affirmation, quality time, and physical touch.

Out of them all, time is the most sacrificial.

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.

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Today, make a point to carve a few moments out for someone else. Take someone to lunch or coffee. Go grocery shopping with them. Go for a walk.

 

Love and invest.


On a completely different note (pun intended), here are my Top 8 favorite songs — just a fraction of my Summer 2014 playlist. Subscribe to it, and comment what you would add!

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