Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PHILIPPINES IN A NUTSHELL


Helloooo everyone! 

Pulilan, Bulacan -- A field in my mom's hometown

I'm finally back from the Philippines and have been settling back into reality. It's always hard to settle back into daily life after a long vacation, but it's been nice slowly getting back into it. 

I'll be writing more in-depth posts about different aspects of the Philippines such as food, provincial life, Coron Island, and many more as time goes on but I just wanted to post a quick update on how things have been! 

The husband created a recap vlog of our time with my mom's family, and hopefully, there will be more vlogs of the rest of our time because our time with my mom's family was only 2 weeks out of the 5 weeks we were there! This vlog documents our time in La Union, Mt. Pinatubo, and Coron, Palawan. Of course, there will be more photos and info on all of these places to come in the future, but until then, enjoy this short vlog :)







love always, Kriselle


Sunday, January 1, 2017

HELLO 2017!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Can you believe it? It is already 2017! 

I love the start of the new year because it always represents new beginnings and fresh starts. & even though you can technically refresh & restart any time throughout the year, the new year itself is great because everyone is doing it as well. It serves as motivation. 

As I've done for the past few years on this blog, I've documented a few goals I want for the year, both blog-wise and personally. This year will be no different. Here are my goals: 

Blog goals: 
[] Post consistently every week, regardless of frequency
[] Make new business cards
[] Attend as media to one event
[] Attend at least one blogger/networking event
[] Venture out beyond this lifestyle blog :) 

Personal goals:
[] Travel to a new part of Australia
[] Travel outside of Australia (not counting California) at least once
[] Go back to school for something I am passionate about (I am actually working on this as we speak, please pray for things to work out the way they need to!)
[] Get into doing devotionals either by myself/with my husband, doesn't have to be daily
[] JOURNAL
[] Read at least 3 novels for pleasure
[] Physically create (paint, draw, sculpt, etc) 
[] Enroll in a creative fitness class (dance/silks) 
[] Learn to cook at least 2 Filipino dishes really well (so far I can cook 3) 

I write my goals down every year to keep myself accountable, to see how I change by the end of the year, and also to encourage anyone who may be on the fence or thinking about any specific goals as well. With my blog goals, because I failed so miserably with what I had for myself last year, I am keeping my list fairly short and simple this year. With my personal goals, I just hope to keep exploring and growing more and more. This will also be my first full year married (CRAZY) so that will be new for me as well. 

Here's to new starts! I hope you have a strong one to your new year :) I'm excited to see where this journey takes us. 



love always, Kriselle

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Overview + Looking Back on Goals

Hello from the Philippines! I've been having such a great time here, hence the lack of posts (which I warned about haha) but at the same time I'm also getting new ideas for future posts, and potentially... videos? 


Anyway, 2016 was a huge year of transitions for me. I moved to Australia, I got married, and I've been pretty much adulting for the rest of the year after that hahaha. Although a good chunk of my life wasn't documented here as it happened, I was still pretty active on social media (ahem, Instagram), and don't worry, many things I've experienced this year can also be saved for separate posts next year ;)


With the blog, I took a purposeful hiatus this time. Last year it was accidental and this year, while it was initially unintentional, I decided that I can't apologize for living my life in the moment. HOWEVER, I have gotten back into writing more regularly and it's been good (despite me being on vacation & slacking here haha, but you understand). Instead of pressuring myself to get straight back into my old schedule when I'd write 3 times a week, I now just have one post up a week until I feel comfortable to get back into more frequent posting. 
As I've done with previous years, let's look through my goals for this year: 


Blog Goals: 

[] Get back to at least 2 posts per week 
[] Send out a biweekly newsletter
[] Have Instagram following hit 1500
[] Have Twitter following hit 1k
[] Meet up with at least 4 other bloggers/influencers
[] Start selling something (whether physical or digital)
[] Make the move to self-hosted
[Does my wedding count if I use the photos for my blog? haha] Pose in at least one full-on photoshoot (with a makeup artist/hair stylist, photographer, etc) 

Personal Goals:
[] Go on a road trip with friends (carry over from last year)
[x] Take at least two major trips (domestic or international)
[x] Move. away from SoCal (; 
[] Read at least 6 novels for pleasure
[x] Go on a trip with Darell to anywhere
[x] Become fully self-sufficient (parents do not financially support in any way at all)
[] Take some kind of creative class (dance, crafting, etc)
[x] Regularly attend a small group



Okay, so I clearly slacked in my blog goals but like I said, I'm not going to apologize for living my life! That's the hardest part about being a content creator, I think. It's the fact that while it's something you love, you always need to be thinking about the next thing. When you're out with friends, it may be taking photos or videos for a blog/vlog post. When you're at home with your partner relaxing, you might actually be writing instead or planning out what to do next. It's a hard thing to do, but it is definitely worth it when you can nail it all down. For me personally, having a full time job also really drained me from being able to write as much as I wanted to, but thankfully I'm done with that so I can focus more here!

Having said all that, I am pretty proud of myself and my personal goals, however! I accomplished almost all of them, which is really great. I went to Gold Coast, Australia and here now to the Philippines for my two major trips. I moved away from Southern California. On my trips I went to this year, I went with Darell, my new husband :) I have become fully self sufficient financially. And I also finally began regularly attending small group at church, something I hadn't done for maybe two years or so until this year. 

I've been seeing a lot of memes about people saying 2016 wasn't that great of a year, it wasn't anyone's year, etc, but honestly it was my best year yet! Yes, it was the hardest and most emotionally draining for many reasons (hello, US election) but I wouldn't change anything I did this year for the world. I'm excited (but kinda shocked) that 2016 is done already, and I cannot wait for whatever next year brings! 

I hope you are able to celebrate the end of this new year on a positive note even if the year itself wasn't very positive! Happy new year, and I will see you next year ;)

love always, Kriselle

Monday, December 5, 2016

Next Stop: PHILIPPINES!

Hey y'all! So the last two weeks have been crazy with me finishing up my full time job, moving into the master bedroom of our home, and now packing for the PHILIPPINES!



I briefly mentioned it on Instagram a couple weeks ago but yes, it has finally come. We are heading to the Philippines for 5 weeks!

To be honest, we wanted to stay in Australia and work this holiday season because they pay so well in the holidays, but this year is also my family reunion for my mom's side of the family. I haven't been to the Philippines in 6 years (& Darell 5 years) so we decided to just take this time to enjoy with our families. Besides, we don't know when is the next time we'll be able to do something like this again!

We will be spending some time with Darell's family, as well as both my parents' families. When my family from America arrives just after Christmas time, we will pretty much go hard on doing touristy stuff for two weeks because it's part of the reunion celebrations and because my family is from there, we are less likely to do touristy things when we visit. We are even visiting the island of Palawan this time around, and I haven't island hopped in the Philippines probably since I was 3 or 4, so this will be a treat!

And then outside of those crazy two weeks, anything can happen! Our schedule is mostly free for the other 3 weeks that we'll be there without my American family so who knows what Darell & I will end up doing!

Having said that, we most likely will have some down time since we won't be in a hurry to do things most of the time that we're there, so I may have a blog post once a week while we're there, I might not. I will definitely try to do an end of year/new year post on the 31st and the 1st like I've done for the last few years since those don't usually take too long, but we will see! Hopefully I don't sleep our entire flight to the Philippines & maybe I can get some work done. 

We will also be vlogging our trip! Not sure how many vlogs it'll be but they will most likely go up after we come back. And of course, after the trip I will be posting specific posts about visiting the Philippines, the food, and so much more :) So until then, follow me on Snapchat (@duhhkrisellee), Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook where I will be posting updates!





love always, Kriselle


Monday, November 21, 2016

How to Move Abroad in 4 Months: A (Somewhat) Simple Guide




So it's official, I've lived in Australia for just over 10 months now, and it's safe to say that I've adjusted pretty easily and quickly to living here. Jobs pay well here, housing is cheaper (at least cheaper than LA/Orange County), and it's definitely safer here in the most "ghetto" suburb than anywhere else I lived in America.


I actually didn't intentionally mean to write this after the US election! It was a post I'd wanted to write for a while and it's been a little over a year since I made the decision to move here, so this time last year I was finishing up my last semester of school while also slowly transitioning myself out of America and into Australia.


Lots of people talk back home talk to me and tell me how jealous they are that I'm living in a place that is on so many peoples' bucket lists (although my hometown of LA is also on tons of peoples' bucket lists... haha) and how much they wish they could move out and do the same.


If you're one of those people, I say DO IT! As Nike says, JUST DO IT.


I know that it's never as easy as talking about it, but I was able to make the decision to move and take the steps toward doing so pretty much from the end of October/November-the first week of February. That's roughly 3 1/2 months. & it's not like I was working a full time job either! I was still a full time student for almost half that time, and I worked 2-3 part time jobs in the meantime. On top of that, I still had financial things to deal with (which I will go into later in this post).

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Here are the things that I considered in the process of moving abroad:


LONG-TERM COMMITMENTS: Do you have anything that will potentially hold you down or cause you to hesitate in moving abroad? Is it a really good paying job that you may have to leave without guarantees of getting it back when you return? Do you have car or house payments to make? Or maybe there are children or older family members in the picture that need your care? 


If you answered yes to any of these questions, see if there is any way to get around these things. See if there is someone that can take care of that family member or if there's children, see how you can take them with you. If it's long-term payments, see your options for those, whether it's selling, deferring payments, or if you can rent out either of those things to someone who will pay for it while you're gone (I don't know much about these things so I am not an expert on this stuff). With work, see if you can be transferred to an international branch or if your job can be set aside for you until you come back (this may only work if you'll only be gone one year/have seniority at your job). I know I've also heard stories of people moving to doing remote work for their companies as well! Even if you have these things holding you back, I definitely believe that it is still possible to move and travel!


If you answered no to any of these questions, then you're one step ahead! 


Thankfully, I made this decision when I finished my biggest time commitment: my college degree!


+ HOW I DID IT: This was me for the most part when I decided to move. The biggest obstacle for me was finding a roommate to take my place in my apartment (that was a nightmare). When my family questioned me wanting to move so soon, I said to them all of these things: I'm not physically or financially tied down to anything or anyone at that moment. Many suggested that I get a full time job first to save up a lot before moving but I said then I would be tied down and I wouldn't be able to pick up and move as freely as I wanted to. 



LEGALITIES: What are the laws for people who want to move into the country you're looking at? What kinds of visas are available for foreigners who want to move and work there, whether temporarily or permanently? Do you even have a valid passport? Please make sure that you are indeed, moving to your desired country legally and that you are eligible to do so. 


+ HOW I DID IT: For me, the easiest option was the Work and Holiday or Working Holiday Visa (WHV). It's a visa that allows foreigners from certain countries to live and work in Australia for at least one year. The WHV specifically for Americans (Work and Holiday) does not allow us to renew it for a second year, while for those who have the Working Holiday can if they work on a farm for at least 3 months of their first year.


While the WHV is relatively easy to get, especially for Americans (I got approved right after submitting my application), the downfall is that you cannot work at one company for more than 6 months while on your visa. This is because the visa is meant to allow you to travel around so they don't want you tied down to one job if you desire to move around the country. For someone like me who wanted to settle in one place, this was pretty sucky, but it's been pretty good still nonetheless. If you are interested in learning more about the WHV, I can definitely do a whole separate post on this in the future!



COST OF LIVING: Have you looked into what it would cost to realistically live where you want to move to? How is rent for a house or apartment in the city or suburbs? How well do certain jobs pay? What is the average cost of groceries? 


+ HOW I DID IT: My visit to Australia last October really put it in my mind that I was meant to live here for my next season of life. Because I had visited before making my decision (on top of my then-boyfriend/now-husband already living here), I already had an idea of what living here would be like. 


The US dollar is stronger than the Aussie dollar, making it easier to save up money for initial moving costs. With that considered on top of me wanting to live in the suburbs vs. the city, renting a room in an apartment or even renting out a room in the house I currently live at is at the same price/cheaper than what it costed for me to live in a less safer suburb back in America with less space. *Please also take note that I am from the LA area and lived in Orange County for the last 4 years so I am also in a more expensive part of the US.* 


Honestly, the most expensive part about living in Sydney is mostly American makeup brands, but that's for obvious reasons.


Next Steps to Moving Abroad:


SAVING UP/CLEANING UP: What is the plan? How much do you make per week? Can you do more to make money? What can you sell that you don't need anymore? What can you cut out of your daily

/weekly expenses? 

After considering all of the above, the biggest thing to do next is to save up. A lot of this means working more hours and potentially getting a second job (especially if you don't have full time work) but it also means starting to clear out your life so you can have less stuff (and also have some extra cash). This also means cutting out other things so that you can save up even more. Most of this is eating out and cooking your food/bringing your own food. If you also tend to do things like getting your nails done, you may have to cut down on that as well. 


+ HOW I DID IT: As I've stated before, I didn't have a full time job during this time. From October until early December I was in school full time so I pretty much just had one main retail job and for the month of November I interned at a marketing agency (paid). At some point I got a second retail job as well (I can't remember if it was during or after my internship) and worked those two jobs for pretty much the rest of my time in America. In between both jobs, however, I picked up random gigs, like babysitting, cleaning, and taking a friend's kid to school once a week. I also began selling my things. I worked my butt off to save up as much as I could. 


On top of that, I still had my bills and got into a solo car accident (thank God) plus a parking ticket (because I was scared to drive my car after said accident) that set me back a little bit as well. I got a credit card during this time to slowly build my credit and pay for some expenses until I could reimburse them (don't worry, despite all my financial setbacks I have never made a late payment & my credit score has risen 100 points in the last year!). 


PLANNING LIFE ABROAD AHEAD OF TIME: Do you have an idea of the city/suburb you want to live in? Have you started looking for jobs/a place to stay? Do you know anyone over there that can help you?


+ HOW I DID IT: This one was actually easy for me because my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) was already living here and I also have a cousin and aunt who live here as well. I was able to find a place to live through a Facebook group for people who attend or are involved somehow with my husband's school, but it was also nice to know that I could stay with my family or even some friends I made through my husband (he lived in a house of all guys, no girls could live there) if I absolutely couldn't find anything. 


Finding a job was much harder, as I did not secure a job before moving. On a WHV, it's much harder to secure a job ahead of time since most job postings online expect someone on a more permanent visa. HOWEVER, I did end up finding a job a week after arriving. For Sydney specifically (as I cannot speak for other places) it's much easier to get a job by going somewhere in person with your resume rather than applying online. However, do still try just in case!


*Travel pro tip: If you don't know anyone in the area you are moving to and are struggling to find a place to live, I recommend joining travel groups on Facebook. That way you are able to connect with and find people in your desired area before you head out there! Of course, as with all online friendships, use your discretion in meeting people. 

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So once you work out all of these details, you're good to go! You can book your plane ticket and head on out. I had a goal of moving to Australia within the first or second week of February, and I bought my one way plane ticket 3 weeks before I planned on leaving. I was cutting it close, but I knew that I would somehow be able to make it happen. 


+LAST THOUGHTS: This period of time in my life was quite honestly one of the most difficult and most trying times of my life. There were times where I would just drive and cry heading from work to class or class to church or whatever because I was so stressed. I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for my bills or if I'd have enough to last me in Australia in case I didn't find a job right away (thankfully I had family generously help me out with some extra cash before I left). I had lots of obstacles in my way but everything somehow worked out great. I would think to myself, "When will I ever get out of this" and feel like I wanted to just crawl into a ball and cry but once I got to my terminal at the airport, all the pain and stress was worth it. 


So have you considered moving abroad but didn't know where to start, wasn't sure if it was possible? If you answered yes, I say go for it! If you have any questions about anything please shoot me an email or call me out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!
love always, Kriselle




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Why Christians Should Care About Race-Related Issues

Happy Monday to everyone in America, and happy election week! This is the week that will change the course of history of our country forever, regardless of the outcome.




Indirectly in honour of election week, I wanted to talk about an issue that has been on my heart for a very long time now, maybe even a year or so now: race in a Christian context.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time or even if you snoop around a little bit, you'll quickly find out about my faith. If you share that faith with me, welcome, fellow brother or sister in Christ! Make yourself at home. If you don't share that faith with me, welcome, fellow brother or sister! I will not treat or care for you any differently.

I'm just going to cut to the chase. Christians are some of the most racist and most exclusive people that I've ever met. And you know, that's pretty sad, considering that we are supposed to love as Jesus did.

It wasn't until going to a predominantly white, Christian university that I ever heard the term, "colorblind." Growing up in a lower class, immigrant/minority community, you knew very well what the race of the person next to you was, and you acknowledged it. There was no denying that. Especially when you grow up in a place where there were, in fact, gangs, based on racial/ethnic background.

When people use the term "colorblind," it's not usually out of malice. People who say this are probably not trying to hurt the person of color they're talking to. However,

it hurts.

& it's not just that. It's saying "but I'm not racist" when a person of color talks about their negative experience with white people. It's saying to "get over it" when venting about a race-related issue. It's talking about how people of color get scholarships for their race when white people don't. It's saying that race isn't important because "God created us all the same."

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Obviously, you don't have to be a Christian to think this way, but I address Christians in this post because this is the group of people I notice this the most from. I grew up in the church, but I grew up in a secular community. College was the first time that I was fully immersed in Christian culture, white Christian culture, to be exact. So with my very contrasting experiences, I'm fairly familiar with how these two different groups of people tend to think about certain issues. 

It tends to be Christians who dismiss issues about race because it's racist to talk about it, or we are in a "post racial" society, or it's our fault that things are the way they are. 

I'm telling you right now if you've said any of the above things, STOP IT. 

You are not helping the problem by shutting down people and their experiences. The book of Genesis talks about how we are all created in His image, and that includes our racial/ethnic backgrounds as well. God wasn't colorblind when he created us otherwise we would all look the same, skintone wise. 

And I know that many Christians are against things like #BlackLivesMatter, but instead of going against it, why don't you mourn with your Christian brothers and sisters? If you hate Black Lives Matter but can say Blue Lives Matter, then the word "black" was the problem. 

I've said this before on my personal Facebook and I'll say it again, 

Jesus spent time with and cared for the people that society hated, the people that society oppressed. 

When Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman (a group of people that Jews never associated with), he did not ignore her or insult her. He spent time with her and cared for her, which eventually led to her salvation and belief in the Messiah. When a prostitute came to Jesus and washed his feet with an expensive oil and her hair, he looked past her past instead of shaming her for the kind of life she lived. In fact, many times, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the people who were considered to be "good" because they did everything about religion "right" for that time period. 

I can talk more in detail about anti-blackness and prejudices we have as a result of how our society was built and so much more, but that would just be babbling. If you've made it this far in the post, please just take this away from this post: 

As Christians, we need to be on the forefront of the hard issues such as race. Our brothers and sisters in Christ may be part of the very groups of people who are oppressed, and when your brothers/sisters are hurt, you don't get angry with them while they're down, you love them. You stand up for them. You care for them. We lay our lives down as Jesus did. And as Christians, we need to do the same. 


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween in Australia

Happy Halloween! This year was my first year doing Halloween in Australia, and I have to say, it's much less than it is back home. In general. 

I love Halloween. I know there are still a good number of Christians who don't believe in anything pertaining to Halloween, but dressing up is fun and candy is good (sometimes). No one is participating in pagan rituals or doing anything with the paranormal (at least I'm not cause heckkkkkk no). (Remember when I was Snow White and Pocahontas?)

Halloween got started in America so I can see why it's such a big thing back home, but it's only barely starting to pick up steam here. 


Halloween in Australia vs. America 

1. Halloween anything started popping up in shops pretty late/people started thinking about Halloween pretty late. 

I started seeing Halloween things around the second week of October, and it was really only this past week at work that I started seeing people really shop for/talk about Halloween costumes. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen ANY houses decorated for Halloween AT ALL (although I know very few stores sell stuff for it as well). 



To be honest, because of this mentality I didn't even think about anything Halloween related for myself until two nights ago. I decided to use a colour I don't typically use on my eyes (purple) and drew a spider web on the side of my face.

IN AMERICA: Halloween stuff can go up in stores as early as September and people (including myself) usually take months to plan out or come up with a costume!

2. Any kind of Halloween celebration is pretty much either a house party or a costume party at the club. There *might* be kids trick or treating on Halloween. Maybe.

IN AMERICA: It's more than just house parties & clubbing. While yes, we Americans definitely have that, there are more things that are more kid/family friendly as well. There are corn mazes, scary-themed theme parks (I'm not even sure if the theme parks here do that), pretty much every church doing a Harvest Festival of some sort haha, my friends & I even made dressing up to go to Chipotle for cheap burritos a thing! 

Granted, it's almost summer here in Australia so a lot of the fall-themed/Halloween themed things don't/can't apply here, but still! They need more choices!

3. In some places, they don't care about Halloween so much that they already start decorating FOR CHRISTMAS before October is even over!



Okay, so I get that Thanksgiving is not a thing here so they don't consider that, but to skip over Halloween, which is such a fun day to dress up & get scared (if you like that kinda thing cause I don't) & not to mention a potential real money maker for retailers if they choose to participate in it only to skip directly to Christmas is completely foreign to me! It's literally foreign because I am living in this foreign country compared to America. 

The local mall that I work at literally has Christmas garlands (for lack of a better word) up around the center already, & even has Santa's chair where you take pictures with him all set up already. Even though the sign says he won't come until DECEMBER. 

IN AMERICA: Although many people are thinking about Christmas before Halloween, no one even thinks about putting up Christmas decorations before October is over. 

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I'm really hoping that Halloween continues to become a bigger thing here in the upcoming years because I will seriously be sad if it doesn't. Aussies, do you like Halloween? Do you think it's a stupid American holiday or do you want it to get bigger here as well? 



love always, Kriselle