Get In The Game|Millennial Entrepreneurship

Once you’ve found that coveted euphoria that good credit bestows upon you, it’s time to set your sights on that dream of business ownership you’ve been having for a while. You know it’s true. If you Google ‘millennial entrepreneurship’, you’ll find countless articles and stats supporting the fact that we are thee most business-minded generation, EVER. We are popping up left and right with innovative ideas and monetizing them to the max. Whether we’re influencers on social media, app developers, bloggers, personal trainers, salon owners, boutique owners or network marketers, many of us have begun to nibble at our piece of the American pie-and for most of us, it’s the beginning of something beautiful.

Here’s why. We’re all-consumed with pursuing our passions, no matter the cost or sacrifice. I personally think that freedom to pursue your passion is a HUGE part of well-being and so do most millennials.  We’re also the first generation with access to technological platforms that make marketing as simple as 1-2-3. We live in a time where simply being your regular, likeable self, can translate into dollars…lots of them. Our beloved smartphones have made it nearly impossible to disconnect from one another so we’re super collaborative and we always jump at the opportunity to “link up”. It’s amazing, exciting, awesome and it makes me all googly-eyed when I think about how dope we are as a generation. The only barriers we face are the illusion of simplicity and the business savvy it takes to sustain our businesses ideas. A small business can easily turn into an expensive hobby if you have no real clue what you’re doing. Yeah, its super cute to say “I’m an entrepreneur” but it’s another thing to actually get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

That brings me to why I decided to write this post. I wanted to share with you all the Small Business Workshop series hosted by Operation Hope’s Baltimore team. Of course, I’m signed up and ready to get it in and I want you guys to have access to this resource. They’re hosting a FREE 12 week Entrepreneurship Training from June 9th to August 25th. They’ll be covering feasibility, market research and development, advertising, capital, financial statements, business plans, suppliers, distribution and credit. I’m so excited I could just pass out! EEEEK! I mean, I’ve researched, and programs like this could easily run you $2,500-$3,000 and this is all FREE! They’ve partnered with several banks and financial institutions to bring us the hard facts that are “need-to-know” for business owners. They also offer free home ownership and credit repair programs. Did I mention that they’re FREE?! Oh.

Sign up with Robin at robin.haynes@operationhope.org or call her at (443) 488-0126

Don’t say I didn’t put you on!

-Jazz

 

Here’s Why Your Stability Ball Is Your Friend

You grabbed it during a one off trip to Marshall’s. It was sitting there…shiny, pink or maybe even purple and the price was within your budget. You thought to yourself, let me be cute and get in shape with this trendy ball thing. It started out wonderfully. You used it to work out here and there, and sometimes you sat in it for good posture. You had every intention of spending more time with your stability ball but over time it grew into new age home decor that got the most attention when your nieces and nephews visited. “Where’s the handle?”, they asked. Every now and then your pet would roll around with it. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t let that thing collect dust and pet dander in the corner of your living room any longer. It’s probably the cheapest, whole body, at home, workout system. At first glance, it looks like an elementary play thing that could never give you an effective workout. But, if you commit to using it consistently, your stability ball can help snap your whole body into beach-ready condition.

For starters, the stability ball helps to build your pillar strength. What is “pillar strength”, you’re wondering? It includes our hip flexors, our core, anterior (front), posterior (back), obliques (sides) and our shoulders. All body movement flows from this region. You can see the importance of strength training this area, right?! There are many exercises that involve this area. Especially if or when you decide to lift, you’ll need a strong pillar before you even venture to that arena. It’s my educated suggestion that you master your body weight before you add any additional weights (20+ lbs) to your workout. The stability ball is a great option for strengthening your pillar and can be combined with an array of body weight workouts to modify the exercise to your skill level. Here’s a breakdown of what I did today. Sorry, I couldn’t record the entire workout but I put them in terms that are simple to understand.

  • Wall squats with the ball resting between your lower back and the wall
  • Single leg wall squats with ball resting between your lower back and the wall
  • Lunges with one leg suspended laterally on top of your stability ball
  • Single leg lunges with rear leg suspended on top of the stability ball
  • Bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
  • Single leg bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
  • Side planks with stability ball in between feet
  • Leg raises with stability ball in between feet
  • Hamstring curls with feet rested on stability ball
  • Plank with feet rested on top of stability ball
  • Push-up planks with feet rested on top of stability ball
  • Sit-ups with stability ball
  • Bridge hold with neck rested on stability ball
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Oh, Hey. I’m just here tightening up my glutes, hamstrings and core with one piece of equipment! 

The key with each exercise is to take your time. Form is everything. You want to make sure you’re taking time to get into the proper position. You’ll probably fall off balance a few times but it’s important not to rush through.

Remember that everyone starts somewhere!

I hope this read was helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUNKFIT Baltimore “Sweat Sesh” Sunday May 22nd

Join us for JUNKFIT’s first ever “Sweat Sesh” this Sunday, May 22nd. We’ll be pumping it up just in time for Summer ’16. Meet at the YMCA at 33rd Street Field in Baltimore, MD at 1:00 pm. Don’t forget to bring your mat, water and small weights if you have them. It’s free so tell your girls and get with us!

All fitness levels are welcomed 😉

RSVP at junkfit@gmail.com.

-Jazz

 

The Gym Class Dance Party With DCWKLY + Reebok

My Saturday started out as regular as can be. That was until I scrolled down my Insta timeline and found an awesome event hosted by, the popular lifestyle blog, DCWKLY. The first ever Gym Class DC went down in a super dope space with even more dope giveaways!

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Safe to say I’m now slim-thick…or nah?

This was my first time ever hearing of the artistic space, Blind Whino, so it was kinda cool that my first visit was fitness-motivated. It couldn’t have come at a better time because I was literally suiting-up to head to my gym (the YMCA in Central MD). While I love my normal gym, there are always very old and wrinkled women in the gym and most of the classes are catered to their age group (think aquatic workouts and seated bicep curls with 2 lb weights). I very seldom get to workout alongside young, hot and fun young women like myself. So, of course I hightailed it to Southwest DC to get in on the fun. Needless to say, I had a good ass time.

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With my main, Faviola.

Booty exercises were in abundance, which is consistent with the fact that millennials are obsessed with uplifting the almighty junk in the trunk (hence JUNKFIT). I’m talking bridges, single leg bridges, pulsing squats, jump squats, lunges and pulsing lunges. It was just what the doctor ordered because my legs had long grown tired of the mundane leg press and squat combo I’d been lazily doing for the past 6 weeks. Yesterday was just the wake-up my body needed. Speaking of what my body needed, did I mention the free sneakers from Reebok?! Yess, honey. You missed it! Lol. Reebok literally laced your girl with new Mauve Woven Classic Furylites. They retail for $75 (I had to look it up). I hear the event will be a monthly thing, so stay tuned and next time come get you some!

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Footwork 😉

I’m corny so you know I had to share the fact that Reebok tweeted my yesterday…

Have a blessed week and if you’re in B-more, join me for my first ever Meet-Up at the Y at Waverly, Saturday May 21st @ 10 a.m.! More info to come!

my 10 Tips For Transitioning Vegetarians

The last time I tried to go vegetarian, I did it “cold turkey” – no pun intended. I was really impressed with my cut-off skills. However, I only lasted a measly two months. It’s no small feat for a 30 year old, carnivorous, Jamerican girl from the “Buffalo wing” region. I gave up milk, butter, eggs, meat, fish, cheese…everything! It was such an extreme transition for me that it turned out to be too much at once. The thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m either all in or all out. In true gemini fashion, I don’t really have a middle ground. This characteristic is both beneficial and detrimental depending on what I need to get done. In this case, the goal is becoming a vegetarian. This time around, to do it right, I’m setting small goals for myself towards a lasting and successful transition.

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The first phase of my transition was the elimination of poultry, beef and pork. I’m not a huge meat person anyway so my first few meatless days weren’t all that hard. If you’re always checking for the meats with every meal, you might want to eliminate one animal at a time. One week you stop eating cow, the next week you give up chicken etc. However you decide to begin your journey, you’ll need to know what lies ahead. Here are my findings:

1. Avoid settings where the aroma of meat can penetrate your nostrils. Breaking a lifelong habit like eating meat is similar to beating any other addiction. You simply cannot place yourself in environments where meat is being prepared, served or eaten. This is cruical especially if there isn’t a vegan alternative available.

2. Meal prep is life. Realistically, none of us can avoid the temptation of meat all the time. You can have way more control over your cravings when you’re PREPARED with your own meatless goodies. This saved me a few times. Whether it’s work or a friend’s house, bring your meals and snacks to avoid eating whatever’s around.

3. Give your circle a heads up. One mistake I made this time around was keeping my transition on the low. Because last time was a bust, I was apprehensive about sharing my goals with anyone. So when I went to my sister’s house and she placed mashed potatoes, green beans, rice and a juicy chicken breast in front of me, it took all of my willpower to kindly and sadly reject the meal. Instead, I ate mashed potatoes, rice and green beans when she could’ve made me the salmon that was in the fridge. Share your lifestyle change with others so they won’t inadvertently sabotage your goals.

4. Never let your stomach hit rock bottom. Meaning, don’t allow yourself to get so hungry that you’ll “eat anything”. In those moments of brief starvation, your fatigue will compel you to eat whatever is at hand.

5. Try meat alternatives. Nowadays, there are grocery isles full of tofu chicken tenders, eggplant breakfast sausage, veggie burgers and much more. The possibilities are super exciting. I had fun experimenting with a tofu stir fry. Although it wasn’t quite the same texture as meat, the flavor was very similar.

6. Check your existing diet and swap the old for new. If you normally eat eggs and sausage for breakfast, you might want to swap your animal  sausage for a vegan sausage and later swapping out your 1 egg for 2 cups of oatmeal (same amount of protein). This way you match not only your taste bud’s desires, you’re also keeping up nutritionally.

7. Create a list of likeable, plant based proteins. Most of us don’t keep track of our daily protein intake but many of us get way more than we actually need. The average person needs 45-65 grams of protein every day (fluctuates based on gender and age). We can easily meet the recommended daily amount using plant based foods. My list includes various nuts, oatmeal, legumes and for now, yogurt and fish.

8. Look for the “V” stamp. Lots of the hassle of “what’s safe to eat” is simplified by a teeny, tiny V for vegan label on packaged foods. Right now, advertisers are eager to please the quickly growing number of vegan consumers. If it has the “V”, it’s good to eat. There’s soups, microwave dinners, sauces and much more that are entirely plant based. Good for your tummy and time!

9. Do not attempt to convert others. As opposed to forcing your new ideology onto your friends and family (which normally backfires), just tell them YOUR story. Normally, your peeps will want to know what’s new with you anyway and the argument for vegetarianism ends up speaking for itself.

10. Do it for the right reasons. In a day where folks without celiac disease are bragging about eating gluten free, it’s easy to get wrapped up in food fads. There are two things that are the true driving forces of going vegetarian (for me). My health and for the poor animals. When you care enough and are passionate enough about either of these issues you can be successful and achieving  vegetarian, and maybe down the line, vegan nirvana.

Good luck!

P.s.- Do you have any tips for those of us who want to go vegan? Do share!

XO

Jazz

Required Reading | “By Any Greens Necessary” Author Tracye McQuirter, MPH

When I peeled back the wrapping paper on what felt like another token Christmas gift (yes, I’m childish), I had no idea that my brother was gifting me something that would alter my perception of the American food industry forevaaa (Cardi B voice). I’ve seen plenty of vegan and animal rights films but the deeper impact of a good ole paperback just cannot be debated. “By Any Greens Necessary” by Tracye Lynn McQuirter is a must read for all African Americans–especially black women. You can hear this same message from a gazillion different sources, but hearing it from a sista just makes the message so much more personal and tailored to our needs and interests.

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Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH

We have the highest rates of many chronic diseases, most of which can be prevented by adopting a plant based diet and eliminating animal foods. It’s common knowledge that animal products are packed with cholesterol, saturated fats, antibiotics, fecal matter, mucus and many other substances that these poor animals encounter during their filthy stay at the barn house. Regardless of all that we’ve read about the American meat industry we are still so reluctant to adopt a vegan lifestyle because we think animal flesh is an essential component to our diets. What most of us don’t know is that our bodies do not need animal products to lead a healthy lifestyle.

In “By Any Greens Necessary”, you’ll learn that contrary to what the USDA nutrition guidelines advise, 70% of African Americans cannot safely digest lactose (big shocker there).  I can’t even look at milk without shuddering. As a child, I digested milk like a champ. As an adult? Not so much. I, like many other black men and women, developed a lactose intolerance with age. Milk simply hurts these days. Hurts my stomach and gives me painful cramps that last for hours if I’m lucky. Sometimes the pain has side affects like constipation and nausea. So why on earth does the USDA recommend 2-3 servings of dairy per day? They essentially ignore the fact that we cannot safely digest it. In fact, many Asian, Native American and Latinos have a hard time digesting lactose as well. The only group that can digest lactose with ease is Caucasians. Yet, it is required that cafeteria workers place a carton of milk on each school lunch tray–whether the child wants the milk or not. It begs the question WHY? How on earth does dairy merit inclusion on the USDA’s 5 food groups? Why, when meat has been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol and many outbreaks of deadly viruses, does the government continue to allow excessive marketing, cheap and unhealthy production, despicable conditions and deceptive labeling to lead the masses to literally eat themselves to death? The recommendation of animal products on our guidelines is a sad and villainous representation of all that is wrong with our country.

If that little tidbit of information wasn’t compelling enough to make you go out and grab the book, maybe this will. My eyes nearly rolled out of my head when I read that dairy had been linked to the dreaded uterine fibroid. That’s plural for most of us. Two summers ago my 3 little fibroids landed me a stay in Brooklyn Hospital for a week on an ice and water diet. I was so miserable. That’s when I learned that a whopping 90% of Black women will develop uterine fibroids between ages 20 and 50. In numerous studies, the growth of fibroids have been linked to dairy, ham and beef consumption. Complications with fibroids can lead to hysterectomy which means no little chocolate babies for you and hubby.

Ladies, please, please, please do yourself a favor and grab this book. It is in fact a matter of life and death. Sista to sista and with love, you owe it to yourself to go out and get all of this knowledge!

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xo,

Jazz

 

 

Operation Babyface: Turn Back The Clock With Proper Hydration

While it might not be the most tasty beverage available, water is undefeated in not only quenching thirst but it also does wonders to quench those thirsty little skin cells of yours. Most of us think of water in terms of digestion and organ function but we often dismiss our epidermis (our skin is an organ, remember that from grade school?). As we age, our bodies retain less and less water. This can leave our skin cells, shriveled up if we don’t hydrate properly. Skin is often the first indicator of dehydration so it figures that when we are properly hydrated, our skin takes on a youthful appearance.

My water intake used to fluctuate on a daily basis and it took me a while to figure out why on some days I had the face of a newborn and on others I looked like a dried out baseball mitt. It was really bothering me. The first thing I did was cancel out coffee. I did some Google research and found lots of articles pointing to coffee as an acne trigger. If you know me, you know coffee is bae. But, it had to go if I was going to figure out what was haunting my skin. Next I began eating hella carrots. I always noticed that my complexion would brighten after eating carrots with rabbit-like fervor. In the midst of all this no coffee  and baby carrot torture, I figured I’d take that extra step and guzzle some water. The next day I noticed a HUGE difference in the texture of my skin. It was very moist and supple whereas the day before, both my skin and lips were super dry. I will admit to faltering on my water intake a few days in and what do you know, my skin began to get dry again. My lips began to peel. Most of us think that our lips are dry because we haven’t used chap stick or lip balm. But what about the ancient humans who didn’t have these things. How did they hydrate their lips? They drank water! How’d they manage to do all that back-breaking farming, hunting and pyramid building? They went to the Nile and sipped! Ha!

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In all seriousness, drinking the proper amounts of water can assist in digestion, organ function and not to mention our muscle function. You don’t know dehydration until you’ve worked yourself into a quad cramp, which usually comes from overworking the muscle in the absence of proper hydration. Did you know that water makes up a whopping 75% of your muscles? Imagine what you’re doing to your muscles when you don’t hydrate before your workouts! Check the image below to see more ways water impacts your overall health.

yesiknowthatIf you’re struggling with drinking your daily water, try creating a water alarm/reminder in your phone. Or you could try carrying a bigger water bottle instead of a smaller one. Many people opt for fruit infused, homemade water as a tasty alternative. There are plenty of ways to get this done! As always, sharing is caring. Drop some feedback or share some water drinking tips below!

xo,

Jazz

Here’s Why Biometric Screening Is So Crucial To Your Life…

So I’ve been fiending to get a biometric screening for a while. It’s been about 5 years since I’ve gotten one and I wanted to know how I was doing now that some time has passed. Luckily for me, Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem hosted a free  Health and Wellness Town Hall Meeting in conjunction with 100 Black Men, Inc. The screenings offered were blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, hemogloben, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, HIV, hepatitus C and I got a 1-on-1 on site sit down with a physician who, might I add, said I scored way better than him in all categories.

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A+ readings!

Some of you may be wondering “What is a biometric screening?”. Simply put, they’re a series of tests that provide information on present or future medical problems. In other words, these screenings tell you if you need to get your act together before something becomes un-fixable in your body!

Understanding You Screening Results (click to enlarge)

Biometric_Screening_junkfit1 CaptureMy interests were mostly staked in my blood glucose and cholesterol levels which I had good reason to believe might’ve been compromised because of my eating habits prior to becoming health conscious. To my surprise, both my blood glucose and cholesterol levels were in a very good range. For those of you who don’t know how these screenings impact us, Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. The cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that occurs in all parts of our bodies naturally. However, when there is an excess of it via unhealthy fats, it can cause heart disease.  These screenings allow us to know when we’re on the brink of severe damage while there’s still time to reverse it.

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*Systolic: heart pumping out *Diastolic: heart filling up

Just like having too much sodium or cholesterol can lead to hypertension or heart disease, having too much glucose (sugar) in your blood can lead to diabetes, which is the 7th deadliest disease in the US. I often snack on sugary foods and I have since I was a kid.  It wasn’t until my early twenties when my sister began having diabetic complications that I began to scale the sugar back. It has been an uphill climb as I believe I suffered from sugar addiction (a real thing). That lifestyle change is probably the reason I am not pre-diabetic. Whew!

There are so many small steps you can take that will lead you away from chronic disease destruction:

  1. Engage in 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
  2. Limit your intake of trans and saturated fats.
  3. Watch your sugar intake.
  4. Reduce the amount of salt you cook with.
  5. Sanitize machinery before and after use in the gym.
  6. Make vegetables half of every meal you eat.
  7. Use protection during sex.

There’s soooo many ways! They say the real primary care is SELF CARE. YOU are your FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE against disease, NOT your doctor or your bae. Take responsibility for your health starting today.

The amazing panelists included Dr. Bert M. Peterson, JR. MD, FACS, the leading breast cancer surgeon in America, Kevin Shippy, Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association of Greater NY and Georgina Osorio, MD, Attending Physician for the Division of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt hospitals just to name a few because I’m too lazy to type the entire pamphlet. Lol.

I encourage you all to seek out biometric screening if you haven’t already. In lots of cases, these screenings are the difference between life and death. Drag your family with you. They will thank you for it.

xo,

Jazz

Life Lessons: Because I Know Second Chances Are Rare, I Am Not Afriad

Big risks have their rewards. I’m not talking about running a stop sign to make it to the movies on time. No. That is dumb and dangerous. I’m talking about investments, career changes, love, etc. You know, life things. I want to take a moment to acknowledge my own risks and to encourage those who might be on the edge of jumping. You can never know where a road will lead to, unless you take steps to explore it, right? In my case, there were a series of abrupt pushes that led me to my big leap. Risk
On recognizing the need for a drastic change in direction: It was the 3rd installment of lay-offs in the 3 ½ years I had been at HOT 97. I thought it was just a customary process…until it was my turn. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just come from a doctor’s appointment and was smitten to have missed the first half of the work day. I strolled in leisurely with my box braids plopped in a bun atop my head. I was wearing a silk, hot pink blouse from J. Crew and my new Jessica Simpson wedges. I was feeling easy, breezy, beautiful and LAZY. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything and I do think I made that quite clear to my constituents in the preceding months. I was like one of those stubborn mules that had been overworked and at a certain point just refused to budge. Anyway, when I walked in the office, my boss skipped his normal salutations and directed me to HR. I knew what was up. “Could it be?” I thought to myself. “Am I getting laid off?” It was quick and painless. I think I dropped a few tears for the memories but that was it. I was sooooooo over the work I was doing there. The truth is I had known I wanted something different for myself for quite some time, but I failed to go for mine. I lingered for a bit, said my goodbyes and proceeded to the exit. For the sake of this article, I’ll say it was the cliff. For that is where I expanded my wings and began to fly.

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On recognizing and seizing the opportunity: The first person I spoke to was my mother. “Mommy, they laid me off.” Her reaction is something that will stick with me forever. “Congratulations!” she cried. “I’m so happy for you!” she said. You know how babies sometimes cry and you can do a weird and silly face to shock them and it will stop their tears in their tracks? That was precisely my reaction. I had complained a million times about feeling unfulfilled to her and here I was crying over what I failed to see as a blessing. This was my chance to start over. Who knew when I would be presented with the time and freedom to pursue whatever I wanted again? Who knew when I would finally act on my desires? My mother’s wisdom was probably the first beacon of light that broke through my internal darkness. I wiped my tears away and for the life of me that day, I could NOT stop smiling.

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On persevering through obstacles: Starting over was HARD. My degree was totally unrelated to what I wanted to pursue. My experience was only personal and I had a finite amount of time to bust a move before problems started to pile up. The gradient wasn’t consistently upward. If you know me, you might have gotten a distress call from me during this time. There were dips and twirls that sent me plummeting but I never hit the bottom. That’s the thing about risks. You have to see it through.

I began studying for my PT certification. That was the quickest way to get into the health arena. After getting certified, I set out to snag an entry level job where I could work in both the fitness and non-profit realms while building my training repertoire. To my surprise, there was an abundance of opportunities in that field and I actually landed a specialist position at a highly respected non-profit. From there, I sowed. I sowed and sowed and sowed until it just became automatic. Like a stylist or model loves to wear clothes, so do I love the gym and imparting my wellness knowledge on everybody and anybody. I sent out positive energy. I did things pro bono. I offered my help. I went above. I went beyond. I set out for things that many would say were out of my league. I applied for jobs that required a masters degree, I interviewed and put my best foot forward and opportunities began appearing. People began to hit me with the “I see you, Jazz.” People recommended me for things. It’s the law of the universe. What’s yours is yours. But you have to go out and get it. You have to take a risk or you will definitely take regret instead. This is only the very beginning but my risk is paying off tenfold. I feel so much better about my work. I actually go into every session and shift with a smile. I am happy to be doing the work, helping people and being of service to people in need.
My regrets? I have one. My only regret was the wait. Why did I wait so long? It wasn’t that I was a lazy person, I simply hadn’t internalized the possibilities that were there. People always told me “Stop being so hard on yourself.” I have always been my own worst critic and I had to stop that sh*t! That was like poison! You have to trust and believe in yourself. You have to believe in your goals. You have to go for yours!

What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Are you planning on stepping out on faith? When? How? Why?

Drop your stories below. I wanna hear!

xo,

Jazz

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