mixing it up

boots: CAT
shorts: H&M DIVIDED
shirt: Style & Co 
bag + sunnies: TOMS

The aesthetic of this outfit is definitely vodka mom in LA. You know, the one who has a solid colored Starbucks cup, enrolls her kids in "crystal therapy" at the local yoga studio on the beach, and takes out all her frustrations with life at SoulCycle. For further reference, check out my favorite instagram account, overheard in la

I'm not usually a patterned shorts person, mainly because until H&M intervened, I A. owned one pair of Levi's cut-offs that were getting the job done and B. always felt like they were too difficult to style for me to bother with. Also, due to my icy black heart, I am cold all of the time, and excessive skin exposure under freezing AC's is not a winning scenario for me. But now, the tables have turned. Mixing them in with my excessive chambray collection has led to a series of outfits that are summer-appropriate, but don't make me look like I maybe got dressed out of my laundry pile. (shh)

It's getting to that point in the summer where we're too far along to do "summer stuff" but also there's still another month until we go back to college. Honestly, I'm ready to get along to sweater weather and piles of pie. Or at least, I think I am right now.

Just wait until that first puddle soaks into my shoes.

 x J

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gotta stash it all

overall dress: cotton on
t-shirt: cotton on
sneaks: converse
sunnies: TOMS

Overalls and I go way back, and most of you have witnessed it firsthand. As much as I love them though, there is always the slight chance that you look like a five year old. That's my usual day-to-day aesthetic, but sometimes even I feel pressure to dress like an ~adult~ occasionally. Hence, an overall DRESS. All of the pockets, with none of the playground jokes. 

I found this one from Cotton On a thrift store for $6 and if that's not a true American success story, I don't know what is. I've dreamed of wearing an outfit like this since I started blogging and first found my fashion alter in Swedish minimalism. Light wash denim, and monochromatic stripes are a match made in heaven, and I've been pursuing perfect combinations of  them this whole time.

Other things I've been pursuing: Pokemon. I only downloaded that stupid game to make fun of Jordan, but six days later I'm nine levels higher than I expected and have taken way too many walks to my local poke stops. It's problematic. I'm getting a TAN.

Although, I suppose if I actually were catching Pokemon, this would be an ideal outfit. All those pockets to stash 'em in, you know?

x J

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trust me, it's in here

eye palette: stowaway cosmetics

Anyone who knows me also knows that at any given point in time you can find snacks, chargers for a range of electronics, the electronics they plug into, two smaller purses, and at least three Starbucks cards in my purse. It's very big, very heavy, and could support my entire life for up to two weeks. There's no base uncovered. There's also no relief for my poor shoulders, or the people I routinely smack with it. So every once in a while, just for laughs, I'll switch to my Small Purse. It's the exact size of a pocket in my regular bag, and forces me to "prioritize", aka dump the full cosmetics range I'm hauling at any given point.

That's where Stowaway got me with this eye palette. Not only am I always down for ~innovative  makeup solutions~, IT'S SO TINY AND CUTE LOOK AT IT. It's literally the size of a business card. I've managed to save several looks from slipping off completely with it, and it saves me having to explain my gel eyeliner at TSA ("no ma'am, it's not a liquid. swear.").

I was also pleasantly surprised by the color range. As a person whose skin tone is regularly described using a variety of coffee based-drinks, it can be really hard to find individual products, let alone palettes or collections, where I can use more than one color without looking frosted. The lightest color here is a shimmer, and worked as a bomb last-minute highlight. Major key to The Justina Look.

While writing this, my brother meandered out of the house with his keys, phone, and wallet in his pocket. Because he has real pockets on his clothing.

Life is unfair. 

x Justina

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TRAVEL | it's how far up

This was maybe one of the scariest things I've ever done for a blog post, and I never saw it coming. I'm not scared of heights, so the 8k foot ascension above the Sonoran Desert on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram sounded like a great idea when they invited Sallie and I aboard. Then suddenly, I was in a glass bubble that was slowly rotating up a cable into the San Jacinto mountains, and....it was incredible. 

Somewhere along the way up, the terrain changes from dusty desert to a heavily wooded forest, closely resembling those where I live, far in the north of the state. It was an oasis unlike what you'd typically expect in a place where average temperatures can, and regularly do, reach 116 degrees fahrenheit. An alpine forest, the state park is significantly cooler than the land below it. Walking into the ground lobby, where you board your tram, and then the lodge at the top of the mountains, I almost forgot where I was. It reminded me of lodges in Europe, with their rickety wood paneling and dark restaurants. Outside, you feel like you're in a National Park ad, with the few tourists who found this gem, and the regulars who know where to locate a good hike meandering among the meticulously maintained paths. 

According to the guide, you pass through five different biomes on the way up, and it's easy to believe. The landscapes change drastically. Or maybe it just looks like that because they're getting smaller and smaller.

10/10 would recommend taking a bit of a hike up to the Tramway if you're looking for something different to do - or even just the slightest bit of a cool breeze in Southern California.

x J

ps. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway runs year round, minus holidays, and tickets can be purchased online up to 24 hours in advance. 

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go to camp

all photos taken with fujifilm x30

I realized today that every year around this time I disappear for a week, but don't really talk about why beyond saying "I'm going to camp". I've been saying that for eight of the last ten years I've been in 4-H, and I decided that this was the year in which I share with you all why it's so special for me. 

Four years ago, after occurring every summer for decades, my camp did not exist. Three years ago, we endured a stomach virus, rain, loss of electricity, and over three quarters of our staff, campers, and adult volunteers falling ill. Two year ago, we barely made the minimum attendance for campers. This year, Sacramento County 4-H Resident Camp had a full staff, a waitlist of kids wanting to attend, sunshine every day, and I was Camp Director. 

When you’re a kid, like I was (a long time ago), getting off the bus at camp, it’s all fun. You make icebox candles, play in the lake, and throw water balloons at your group leaders. You lie in the crunchy grass next to your new best friend and look at the stars you can’t see from your home in the city.  When you’re a staffer, getting out of your car two days before the campers arrive, you can already feel the fun and sunburn setting in. When we unload the hundreds of pounds of food we need, you hear the clamor of two hundred happy people sharing a delicious meal. You shove your co-leaders into the not-quite-swept-out corner of the cabin with the spiders. You sleep deep that night, knowing you won’t again for a while, not without at least five little hands shaking you awake for a bathroom run.

At the start of the week, you don't know the kids those hands are attached to. Some are 4-Hers, some aren’t (yet). They come from different neighborhoods, different socioeconomic backrounds, and vastly different lives. Camp is a special place where all these kids come together and learn a lot about life without even realizing it. Through our programming, we teach them not just arts and crafts, but about healthy relationships, self reliance, and the importance of engaging with your community. We also instill a sense of pride in their program, which is seen when the camper becomes the staffer. I’ve been attending camp since I was 10 years old, and have served on staff since I was 15.

There’s a reason camp is special, and it’s different for everyone. For me, a city girl who is severely allergic to mosquitoes and doesn’t like to go camping, camp is a family formed in a program I love. Camp is starting committee meetings in December, and spending hours interviewing staff to add to that family. Camp is having serious discussions with nine year olds about the importance of the bedtime stories we tell at the end of the day. Camp is knowing that every morning, for one week, I am given the privilege to shape a childs life. Over the years, that has shaped me as person. 

I consider  4-H Resident Camp my project of excellence, aka the best thing I've done as a 4-H'er because it hasn’t just changed me - it’s changing a child, a community, and itself, every summer.

It's also drastically changing my skin, because hundreds of bug bites over the years have left me looking rough man

x Justina 

ps. if you want to learn more about the California 4-H Program, or my camp, feel free to email me or click here. 

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palm summers + joshua tree

watch in 1080hd for best view of my face

 I'm pretty much down for whatever happens when I'm traveling,  but there's an intense satisfaction in a place being exactly like you'd thought it'd be.  I always imagined Palm Springs as the golf course of southern California, full of old people and pastel colored condos in gated communities.  When sallies and I rolled into town at midnight, I was pleasantly surprised to be completely right. 

Everyone knows I love pretentious little outposts of humanity, and Palm Springs was no different, filled up with overpriced boutiques and water sucking trees. To combat that, we headed forty minutes south into the desert to visit Joshua Tree. (And no, the irony of purposely driving into a landscape that has killed thousands of people for the sake of recreation doesn't escape me.) It was incredible. Very quickly you're hit with this sensation of being a very small part of something bigger. About ten miles in, you can stand in the middle of the road, turn in a circle, and see nothing except more road and the desert spreading out around you. There's also this quiet. It's very heavy, and very present in its complete absence of the everyday noises of society. You begin to realize what an intense impact we really have made on nature, and what it must have looked before we trampled through. It also makes you realize how truly insignificant humans are in terms of the entire planet. I'm an exceptionally loud person, but standing in the middle of the desert, screaming just to see if I could make a dent in the quiet? I doubt you could hear me even thirty yards away. 

The heat was intense, ("sunny and 70" was more wishful thinking than accurate statement) but we had juice boxes and The Life of Pablo to help us chill out. I also had read about a bajillion travel articles about this particular patch of California history and was READY.

If you're planning a trip into the desert, here are some quick pro-tips:
 - make sure you bring snacks
- take all proffered bathroom breaks. Eventually, you get to this point when you're driving where you're not far enough in, but you're too far to turn back.
- pre-load any maps/playlists/apps that need data because it's not real once you turn off the freeway
- don't touch nature unless it rose up to touch you

I also want to mention that standing/sitting/leaping in the middle of roads is not a safe practice unless you can see three miles down it in both directions and are CERTAIN you will not be flattened.

x J

ps. in september, jordan + I are going back to joshua tree to vibe with childish gambino/see Jesus/join a cult maybe, and it's going to be LIT. #pharos

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oh she's a camping queen

We've gotten to that time of year, folks. It's camp

This means no Justina in your internet for the next  seven  days. I know, it's going to be hard on all of us. But like always, I've got your back. Posts and tweets are scheduled, and if Sallie still loves us, Instagram will be on fire. Much like me, in the 103 degree heat of nature that I'm about to subject myself to. 

See you next week, if my mosquito allergy/a sticky child doesn't drag me to my death first.

x J

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sourdough and succulents

photos by Sallie DeYoung and Jordan Schauberger

Sometimes you just gotta pack up your homies into a shiny new Audi and roll out to the city by the bay. We bought baby succulents, sourdough bread, and dim sum. We also took photos of our legs in a Photobooth we were unprepared for, ate said sourdough after it was repeatedly dropped in sand, and stood in line at the succulent festival for a solid two hours with no food. It was a little traumatic.

I think it's important every once in a while to take a trip like this, for no reason other than the sheer enjoyment you get from the people you're with. San Francisco is a really cool city, but what made this day perfect was...well it was Sallie sobbing after Colton dropped her sourdough directly into the sand, to be honest. But also having a day where nothing needed to happen at all, other than the occasional snack break.  That's when the real fun happens.

Pro tip: If you drop bread fluffy side down in sand, it can still be salvaged by ripping that part off and feeding it to your local teenage boy.

x J 

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where are they taking you

photos by Jordan Schauberger 

shoes: tevas x jhene aiko

HI GUYS wow it's been ten days. That doesn't seem like a long time, but it was long enough for like a thousand people to die on Game of Thrones. I've been out adventuring with my squad, from San Francisco to LA.  In the first part, we bought succulents, listed to TLOP, and - well that's all for another post. I'll be writing a lot in the coming weeks - but first, much like gym class, we need to talk about footwear.

This post is about what I wore on my feet, because I'm trying to improve lives here. On this particular outing to SF, I broke in my brand new Teva's in a very serious way. I'd had vague blister-related reservations about wearing new shoes on a day where I'd be walking approx. a million miles up hill, but they're also very ~funky~ and if not San Francisco, where else?

THESE SHOES ARE INCREDIBLE. I don't why I've never gotten pair before. I mean, I do, because velcro, but I'm over that now. Not only are they squishy and comfy, but they're v stylish. I, and more importantly, Jhene Aiko say so, and you can't argue with it. I like to move wildly, and climb things and stand on my tiptoes, and these shoes just let it all happen. In the past, I've shied away from the "pretty ugly" shoe trend because A. it seemed like a lot of work to style and B. I didn't see a huge benefit. After clambering all over California in these, I can distinctly say that the benefit far outweighs the amount of "90's dad on vacation" jokes your friends will make.

I will, however, be concerned if you start sporting these with Tommy Bahama and a fanny pack.

x J

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get glow

dress: american eagle
bralette: aerie

You guys know how much I love makeup. You've seen the snapchat hauls and the highlighter swooshes. I had bad cystic acne back in the day (a year ago), and in the process of healing it, taught myself how to sparkle my face to cover what were some truly horrendous scars. (Mad props to Cat, my former LUSH queen, for hiring me/saving my life there.)

But I passionately love my eyeliner. Especially my dramatic blackest-black wingtips that extend further than is probably entirely appropriate for any given situation. It makes me feel ~intense~ and ~fashion~. But during the summer, it also has a tendency to droop more towards the bottom of my eyes by the end of the day, and gives me this rather sad look. It is also very hard to go to a pool party and keep your eyeliner intact. That was the deal breaker. Something had to give.

So, as an experiment, I stopped wearing eyeliner. And then suddenly, stopped contouring. And strobing. And all those other -ing's that take up so much money and space in my makeup bin. Very quickly it went from an experiment in my ~self image~ to an extra thirty minutes in my day and I was like HEY nice. I got used to my face again. Not to say I'm putting away the eyeliner for good, because that would just be nonsense. But I had gotten to the point where I didn't really remember what I looked like without it. (Five years old.)

Also, Aerie? Makers of all things pretty and lace-y? STILL not photoshopping their ads.  Just because they're still trying to spread the word: the real you is beautiful. Not saying the you in false lashes and full contour isn't beautiful too, because  that version is actual fire, but you don't need it. I know that's a very mom-ish thing to say, but some(most)times, mom is right. I love glossy and no-hipbone having high fashion as much as the next blogger, but I'm not trying to buy a bralette off it, you feel? I think it's hard to go out and let the world see you, but once they do, they're down.

Other things I'm down for: swing dresses. It's too hot to be clingy in any way, but especially with fabric. I don't even care that I got called ""ma'am" today. Much.


x J

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