Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 6th Day After Christmas: Top 13 Life Moments of 2013

It is day 6 and the final day of the countdown to the new year! Thank you for following along with me as I reminisced on some great times throughout this year, but now it is time to count down my top 13 life moments of the year!

It is safe to say that 2013 was a year of change, not only in myself, but in the world around me. I've met so many people, done so many things, and had so many great memories this year, and it is time to reflect on my personal life in a more holistic way before closing this chapter and moving onto next year.

1. Valentine's Day

Valentine's day was actually a big deal to me this year. It was my most memorable and most fun Valentine's day yet!

In the past few Valentine's days before this year, Darell never really bothered to do anything for me because he didn't think it should've been a big deal. This year, I was in my first year of college (at the time) and it was the first holiday that we had a chance to spend together after not being able to see each other for the past few major holidays. I think that this day represented a shift in our relationship for the better, that we were maturing.

Darell had hinted around visiting me for Valentine's Day, but I couldn't take it too seriously, otherwise I'd be disappointed if he didn't. However, the day before, as I walk out of my last class of the day, there he is, standing at the door with a bouquet of roses! I could not have been more shocked! He later told me, "I felt like my heart was going to burst because I was so nervous... when I saw you I couldn't see anything else"

Aww! What a sweetheart! The rest of the day was simple after that--he gave me my favorite chocolates and I gave him my gift to him before we went off campus to eat Flame Broiler for dinner. When we came back, we hung around campus for a bit before going to Shine, my school's weekly worship night. It was an amazing day indeed.

2. Journalism Conference in San Francisco

Monday, December 30, 2013

The 5th Day After Christmas: Top 13 Love Lessons of 2013

We are almost there! Tomorrow will be the last and final day of 2013; I can't believe it. I'm just about ready to get onto next year because it's killing me waiting for it!

Well, today is all about love. I learned a lot about love outside of a romantic context, but this post is about relationships specifically, but many of these things can apply to other relationships as well.

Here's what I learned about relationships this year:

1. Be confident in your relationship. 

I am one to naturally compare myself to others, so it's sadly transferred over into my relationship at times and had me insecure about my relationship for different reasons. There were times when I didn't even tell Darell because I was so insecure about different aspects of our relationship. It wasn't until an eye-opening conversation I had with a professor that I realized that I have no reason to be compare myself to others and have other relationships dictate what I should or shouldn't be doing in mine.

This year has taught me to be confident and be okay with my relationship, imperfections and all. It's the good and bad things mashed up together that equal the crazy relationship I have with my boyfriend, one that I love and am happy with.

2. You are going to fight. 

No healthy couple that is expecting to be together for the long-run is going to be completely fine with each other all day, every day. Don't go into a relationship thinking you guys won't fight. If you guys never do, someone isn't speaking up about issues they may have with the significant other. It actually is healthy to fight and argue and disagree every now and then, as it shows that you two aren't robots but have different interests and can enjoy them in one another. Once it becomes an every day then, that's when it becomes an issue.

3. Compromise is necessary. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The 4th Day After Christmas: Top 13 "God Things" of 2013

Whew, day 4 of my countdown to the new year! That means that in 3 days, it will officially be 2014! Are you just as excited as I am?

Among all the clothes, makeup, and food I had this year, my faith had also gone through lots of trials and tribulations, causing for many revelations and lessons learned for me. I've learned the term "God thing" this year when lots of friends of mine would refer to amazing acts of God or crazy situations working out as a "God thing." "It's a God thing." I had some awesome moments with God this year, and I want to share them! It also happens to be Sunday today, haha. 

1. Money. 

I know that it's a cliché thing to say "he's provided for me financially," but it's true! Paying for school has been a huge pain for me (and crap I just remembered I have to financially register for school soon), but I've always been able to somehow come up with the money for it. And I was blessed enough to have two paying jobs for this year. They don't pay as much because they're not paid by the hour, but just having my own income to help with my day to day expenses is really nice. 

2. My relationship with Darell, my boyfriend.  

I'll talk more about this tomorrow when I talk about love lessons I've learned this year, but I firmly believe in the concept of grace and the impact it plays on us. God's grace has truly covered Darell and I because we definitely don't deserve the blessings we have together. Darell has been such a blessing to me, and while God is still working on both of us, he is still definitely using us in each others' lives in crazy ways. 

3. Vanguard's amazing community. 

I'm pretty sure I've talked about my school's community before. I've met some of the sweetest and most people in my life there! Whether I was stressing about school or other personal issues, you can always count on the people to be there for you. Spring semester earlier this year, I found comfort in my floor sisters and a couple upperclassmen girls, including one who just graduated this semester. This past semester, I got to know one of my professors really well, and she was a great source for knowledge and advice on anything if I needed it. 

I had left my old home church earlier this year to find one that I could be more actively involved in with school and a few other reasons. Leaving the church was hard because of the relationships I had developed, and having to look at other churches to go to was hard because I seemed to find a hard time finding where I fit. I thought I found my church for a while, but I soon realized how hard it was to get connected to the people of the church and other aspects of it, even though I enjoyed the church. I found the church I'm at through Darell, and it's been such a blessing to be part of the community there. I feel so much like myself and feel like I can be honest about myself without judgement. 

5. Getting the chance to go to Peru!

Okay, so my story with Peru is a little weird. After coming back from a mission trip to the Philippines three summers ago, God had put it on my heart to South or Central America for my next mission trip, I just didn't know when.

When my school announced the mission trip locations for this past summer during fall of 2012, Peru and the Middle East immediately stood out. (There was another Central American country on the list and I'd always had a heart for missionaries in the Middle East.) I got an application to go, but I soon got busy and forgot about the application and the deadline. I'd missed it and was sad but didn't think much of it.

Before the end of that semester last year, a friend had told me that the Global Outreach Department was still looking for people to put on the mission teams. I picked up an application and signed up for an interview time to be placed on a team.

The view of Cusco

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 3rd Day After Christmas: Top 13 Foodie Moments of 2013

Although I don't write about it on here as much as I should, if you know anything about me, it should be about my love for food! If you were to look at my expenses, most of it would point towards eating. Why? For Filipinos (or even Asians in general), any kind of gathering or time spent with friends isn't complete without some food! This year I tried a few new foods and enjoyed even more of old time favorites of mine, and today I will be counting down my top 13 foodie moments of 2013!

1. Cuy & Anticucho - I decided to start off this list with Peruvian food. I went to Peru this past summer, and the food was some of the best food I'd ever had but these two dishes were probably the most interesting. These two dishes are pretty crazy and unusual... to the average American. However, to most Peruvians, these are actually pretty normal.

Any guesses on what this is? No?

Me trying the cuy for the first time!
Yummy Anticucho -- found on peruviandelights.com
If you're still stumped, well here are the answers. Cuy is what Peruvians call guinea pig and anticucho is another word for cow heart. 

Some of you may own or may have owned a guinea pig at some point in your life and most of you probably don't think about eating the heart of anything (except probably an artichoke). The looks I got when I told people I ate guinea pig weren't as bad as when I told people I tried dog the last time I went to the Philippines in 2010 (I wanted to spite people by fitting the Filipino stereotype--plus I wanted to say I'd tried it). Cuy was a little too fatty for me, but it was definitely an experience! As for the anticucho, it tasted like any other delicious piece of beef, but knowing what it was made it just a little more difficult to eat. Yum!

2. Maracuya - Another Peruvian favorite, my team and I would drink this any time we were eating, no matter the meal or time. The English name for maracuya is passionfruit. All juices in Peru are freshly squeezed and very natural, making this exotic drink the choice of drink for us (unless it was Peru's beloved Inka Cola. hahaha). I've been searching around here to find it since then, even if it's sugared up, but I still haven't found anything!

All juices in here are of the passionfruit - courtesy of my friend,  Madi
3. Frosted Cupcakery - Over the summer, one of my friends introduced me to a local cupcake shop called Frosted Cupcakery. There are three locations in Hermosa Beach, Long Beach, and Hollywood. (But they do online orders too!) I have so far been to the Hermosa Beach location twice and really enjoy their red velvet cupcakes. The store itself is very cute and gives off a 50's vibe to me. I hope to try some of their other flavors someday [:

Friday, December 27, 2013

The 2nd Day After Christmas: Top 13 Beauty Moments of 2013

On the 2nd day of Christmas... I looked back on my top 13 beauty moments of the year!

This year was actually a huge deal for me as far as beauty and makeup and all of that goes. I slowly got into wearing foundation more regularly towards the end of 2012 last year and started catering to my eyebrows and applying all I knew from watching Youtube videos this year.

With that being said, let's go!:

1. I am a BeautyInsider with Sephora and while walking around San Francisco earlier this year, I decided to redeem some of my points to get myself some new goodies! I got this BareMinerals pack for 500 points and a Clinique mascara for 100. The BareMinerals mineral veil (setting powder) was amazing and I was so sad when I ran out a couple months ago.

The pack came with:

  • bareMinerals mineral veil (valued at $20)
  • bareMinerals PrimeTime Foundation Primer (sample valued at $1 and full-sized valued at $23)
  • bareMinerals blush (valued at $19)
  • bareMinerals Well-Rested Highlighter (valued at $22)
  • Clinique High Volume Mascara (full-sized valued at $16)

2. Another one of my favorite beauty moments: my "debut!" Back in October, my roommate and my friends threw me a 19th birthday party for me since I didn't get to have one for my 18th, and my lovely friend, May, did my makeup and I did my hair. I curled my own hair and by the end of the night this picture is how it turned out [:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The 1st Day After Christmas: Top 13 Outfits of 2013

This is Day 1 of my New Years' countdown, and on the first day after Christmas... I counted down my top 13 outfits!

I've always loved clothes and fashion and with this year being my first full year with Instagram, I've been able to share my outfits throughout the year as well! I don't see myself as a top-notch fashionista, but I am definitely a fashion enthusiast who enjoys dressing up and experimenting with what I have.

My favorite outfits of this year:

1. This outfit was my first one of 2013, taken on New Year's Day! Living in Southern California has its perks, like allowing me to wear these sheer black tights with my high-waisted shorts.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Difference Between Clingy & Healthy

A term that I started hearing this past year to describe the winter time was "cuffing season." What does that mean? I'm not sure of the exact definition, but it is to describe the ideas of people coupling up during the cold winter months.

As someone who has been in a relationship for three and a half years, I have definitely gone through times of being extremely attached and times of being very detached. I feel like I have gotten to a happy medium, especially throughout this past year.

This is the season where couples want to spend all their time together and be mushy-gushy or even where singles just try to find someone to cuddle with for the sake of "cuddle weather."

Now I know I shouldn't be one to talk much but it honestly is a little irritating to hear couples complain about not seeing their significant other enough when they see them everyday. That is one of my pet peeves. I mean, I understand if you two are in the beginning stages of dating, but please do not talk about that to me all the time. It may not be much, but I can go anywhere between 5 days to 6 weeks without seeing Darell. I know couples that have gone whole semesters without seeing each other because of distance. Not getting to eat with your significant other for a meal won't kill you.

With all that said, this post isn't a vent on what irritates me about couples (that will be for another post later). I just have a couple of tips on staying happily and healthily independent this season (or any season), regardless of if you're single or not.

  • Don't sweat the small stuff. If that person doesn't text you back or can't hang out on one day, it is not the end of the world. Keep yourself busy with other things, like hanging out with other friends or relaxing on your own. You will be glad you did. 
  • Don't ignore your friends for your s/o. I've made this mistake before and it really takes a toll on your friendships with the people you really care about. Your friends will stop asking to hang out with you because they already know you'll say no for your boyfriend or girlfriend. 
  • This person is not your whole world. They cannot and will not be able to fulfill every. single. one. of your needs. It is humanely impossible. You need other people in your life. 
  • There is a way to spend lots of time with that special someone without being clingy or annoying about it. Spending lots of time with your crush or significant other isn't bad until you start complaining about not seeing them for a day or obnoxiously post about you two all the time. Find the happy medium!
  • Don't neglect that person. Don't go to the opposite extreme and act like you don't care about that person. If they mean something to you, show it! You just don't need to tell us every day on Facebook or Instagram. 
  • Remember: YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON. I know that this sounds a little cliché or even obvious, but when you are pining for your crush's attention or craving it from your significant other, it is easy to think that you can't/aren't complete without them. It is always annoying when you are so dependent on someone else for your happiness or enjoyment. 
Wow, that sounds a lot angrier than I intended it to be. I don't mean to be so negative, but I do think that learning to become/stay independent despite a crush or significant other is so important. I see too many people either obsessed with getting someone or obsessed with that special person. It's not bad to love or care about that other person, but do it tastefully (and not in such an annoying way)! 

Did I miss anything? 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Girl Expo Winter 2013

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to my first-ever expo! It was entitled the New Girl Expo, hosted by fashion blogger Roxy Limon and presented by Klix.

The expo was all about anything beauty and fashion--there was an eyebrow bar, free body/face art and makeovers, fashion shows, panels with beauty/fashion bloggers/vloggers, and so much more! I had the opportunity to go as a blogger just visiting (not part of the panels), and I still thoroughly enjoyed my experience.

The bloggers/vloggers that were at the expo: Jaime Walsh of @GlamLatte, Kasheera Hickson of @KashTV and Wild Sunshine Bliss, Melanee Shale of @Melanee, Dawn McCoy of @BeautyFrosting, Melissa Rodriguez of ModanistaJunkie, Joann Doan at Love Fashion | Live Life, Laura Yazdi at lauralilly.net, Kier Mellour of Fashion Addict, and Elizabeth Keene at A Keene Sense of Style blog. I was able to quickly stop by for one of the vlogger panels, but I focused mostly on the vendors for the expo.

I had the opportunity to meet with and talk with Kasheera (better known as Kash) of @KashTV within the first few minutes of my arrival. I'd just started looking and walking around the booths when I ran into the booth she had for her shop and website, Wild Sunshine Bliss. I talked with her and her boyfriend about what they do, how living in SoCal is like (they're originally from Philly), and of course, blogging related things. I found out that we both had quite a few things in common other than blogging, like boyfriends who help us with photos and videos. I hope we get to keep in contact and that I get to work with her or meet up with her again sometime in the future.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Wedding Planner

Before I had decided I wanted to do journalism, I wanted to do lots of things when I grew up. One of them was to become a wedding planner. Like any of my old dreams, they're all things that I still wouldn't mind doing or trying out, but for now becoming a journalist/magazine writer is the type of thing I want.

Anyway, last Saturday I had a great opportunity to see what it's like to help out/work behind the scenes of a wedding because a friend of mine just planned and coordinated her first wedding herself! She interned for a couple years at a wedding planning company and since it was her first time heading out on her own, she asked for some help and wanted to show what weddings are like the day of. If any of us helping out wanted to look into wedding planning, this was that experience that could either scare us away or make us want more of it. This wedding was not what I expected, but I do want to work more weddings to see a wider variety of weddings and styles of weddings. (If you want to see my experience first-hand, watch my video about it!)

Our day started by meeting up at 7:30am to get Starbucks and head over to the venue, the Newland Barn in Huntington Beach. The setting up process was a little slow at first but once the decor came and more friends of the bride and groom showed up to help, we were getting things done! For the first three or so hours, it was also raining so that also delayed us and caused for us to set up the venue for rain even though by the time the ceremony started it was all gone.

It didn't take long for me to realize that the theme of the wedding was Australia! The couple is moving to Sydney soon because the husband won Australia's "Best Job in the World" contest and won the position of Chief Funster. Because they're moving to Australia soon, they wanted to theme the wedding after their future home for the next year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Season of Change

Like this picture? My lovely friend Tammy took this for me last year!

Even though it's December, it is technically still Fall, and while the semester has not ended yet, it is definitely getting there and this season has definitely had a lot of change. I feel like it's an appropriate time to reflect on this semester. I know I will do this again in a couple weeks to reflect on 2013, but as far as my sophomore year of college, there is still a lot to process.

A couple things I've learned/realized this semester:

  • Friendships change. Well, this is a concept I've been dealing with this entire year but as far as my college friends go, I definitely don't hang out with the same people I did last year during my freshman year of college. I've grown up always staying close with friends even if I didn't talk with them for long periods of time, so the concept of just not even talking with friends or they stop asking me to hang out when we see each other has been a weird thing for me to get used to. Sometimes, you're friends with people for only a season and then you move on. I'm still getting used to that idea. 
  • I have a lot more introverted tendencies than I ever expected. I am usually an extrovert, and last year I was one of those people that needed to be around people all of the time. I was pretty obnoxious about it, I'm sure. I remember almost having a panic attack when I couldn't hang out with my friends or couldn't be around anyone, for that matter. I'm not sure if it's the building I live in (it has a rep of being more isolating) or if I'm just growing up, but this whole semester I've spent most of my free time in my room, preferring to be alone. And don't get me wrong it's not that I hate people now, I guess I just appreciate my alone time more. But because I'm embracing my introverted tendencies I'm finding it much more difficult to maintain my friendships. 
  • It's okay if you're not in a perfect relationship. If you didn't read my last relationship post about perfection, I've been dealing with accepting that it is okay that my boyfriend and I fight and argue and that we're not perfect. I mean obviously I know we're not perfect, but I guess it's a matter of being okay if people know that you two aren't perfect. We've grown up a lot together this past year and it's been our best year together yet!
  • Time management gets harder as you get older. At least that's been the case for me. Maybe it's because I've been putting so much time into this blog that it's affecting my school habits, but regardless, I want a new planner that will be aesthetically pleasing so that it can make me more motivated to take out my pretty planner more [:
  • If you know what you want, go for it. This one sounds very cliché but we live in a very judgmental world, and that can scare many of us away from doing things we really want to do. For example, as someone who is slowly getting into Youtube and vlogging and whatnot, it is very intimidating to get into because there are so many girls on youtube who do beauty and fashion blogging and all that, and also because people I know could easily look at my stuff and say that I suck at it. I've learned that if you want to do it, just do it, regardless of what people say. You never know where your persistence can take you one day. 
While all of these things can relate to this entire year, I think that it is safe to say that this semester has been crazy for me. From getting a new roommate a couple weeks ago to managing this blog with school, to so much more, I'm so happy that the semester is coming to an end. 

Finals week, bring it. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Black Friday Haul!

Sorry that I haven't posted in the past couple days. I am currently in the middle of Fantasia week, something that music students at my school call the week we have Christmas Fantasia, our annual Christmas concerts.

But anyway, I finally have my Black Friday video up on my Youtube channel! (Subscribe!) If you didn't know before, this year was my sixth year doing Black Friday shopping. I prefer to do it in the early morning hours of Friday and refuse to go on Thursday night. I don't know why; it's just a preference of mine.

What did I get?

Purple Crop Top - Urban Outfitters
Black Maxi Skirt - Cotton On
Gray Coat - Cotton On
White Crate - Typo
Scrabble Mug w/ Initial - Typo
Cross body bag - Forever 21
Cream and Gold scarf - Forever 21
(This doesn't include the gifts I bought)

I didn't include the gifts I bought for people in my video due to the possibilities of the people I bought for seeing the video. Two gifts on this list are gifts, actually, but whatever. Haha.

Including the gifts I bought, I spent just under $165. I never usually spend more than 20 or 30 dollars on one trip so spending that amount was really a lot for me. I spent $100 at Cotton On alone! But I did budget and set aside this money for Black Friday so it was planned. I didn't impulsively buy all this stuff. If you weren't as prepared for Black Friday this year, bookmark my tips on prepping for it! There's always next year!

Did you go black friday shopping? What did you get?

Friday, November 29, 2013

My Only (Few) Wishes This Year

I hope all of you had a restful and blessed Thanksgiving! Now, it's almost December, meaning that Christmas is coming up soon! That being said, I decided to make a wish list because it's an easy way to tell certain people what I want without telling them *ahem, cough cough*

Haha, I'm just kidding. But I did create this to mostly remind myself what I do still need (want) for myself. There are a couple other things I'd like, but this is my main list.

From the top-left going down through the columns:

Army Green Double-Breasted Coat: currently on sale $29.95 // H&M
I have like three coats: two black, one red. The two black ones are faded and the red one fits me weird. I've also had all three of these coats since my freshman and sophomore years of high school, so a new coat is a little fitting, right? (Get it? haha). I also want a coat that could potentially be longer on me so I can wear it as a trench. I'm short so this isn't so hard to accomplish. This coat looks thick and the right length for me, so I'm aiming for this one or one like this!

Corduroy Skinnies: $34.94 // Old Navy
I think I definitely have enough jeans, but sometimes they're too uncomfortable for me and I want something different, whether the color, texture, or both. I also just feel like corduroys make you automatically look more comfortable, except they are more acceptable to wear out than leggings.

Fuzzy Cable Knit Sweater: $15.80 // Forever 21
I need more layering pieces! I also need some more plain sweaters like this one to wear comfortably, whether at home or out with friends. A friend of mine just gave me a black one she didn't like anymore, and I just noticed how many dark pieces of clothing I have in my closet. Forever 21 also makes this sweater really cheap.

Black Maxi Skirt: currently on sale $14.97 // Cotton On
I love skirts and dresses, and while I currently have one maxi skirt already, it's more of a tribal print that seems more appropriate for summer. I just like having neutral versions of any piece I have in my closet. Cotton On is also my favorite store, ever!

Black Crop Top: $17 // Foreign Exchange
I don't currently own any crop tops, but I want one because I like the effect of wearing it with something high-waisted (which are all of my skirts/most of my shorts). I simply chose this one because it is really simple but has cut-outs on the shoulders. I actually don't mind if it isn't black, but I chose it for this specific style. It can be printed or another look, but for the sake of this post, I'll show this simple, but notable one.

Lace-Up Boots: currently on sale $36 // Cathy Jean
My last pair of lace-up boots were from Forever 21 that I had for a couple years, but my dad threw them out over the summer because the soles of the shoes were coming apart, and I couldn't even wear them in the rain anymore because water would seep through. Since then, I've been wanting a new pair to replace those ones, and I like these ones.

Wooden Crate: currently on sale $14 // Typo
You're probably wondering why there is a random wooden crate on my wish list. Well, I'm always trying to find ways to reorganize my things, and a wooden crate would help store some stuff near my desk, and another one could also help organize all the food my roommates and I have on top of our fridge! We always like to stay stocked on food, but sometimes it looks really messy and it blocks our tv, so having a wooden crate to store all that would be nice and make our room look less cluttered.

Canvas Satchel: $108 // Anthropologie
This is definitely the most expensive item on this list by far, but that's why it's a wish list, right?
Anthropologie is one of my dream stores to shop at, simply because their home furnishings and clothes are just exactly everything I would want in my life. As you can tell from the price of this really nice bag, the prices aren't exactly in my range. I remember looking at baby clothes from there once, and a dress for a baby girl was 78 dollars. Really?! That is waaaaay too much for a baby dress. But anyway, that is beside the point. I own a couple large tote bags, one really small one that can't even hold my wallet, and the one that I use all. the. time. It's time to change it up with the size and style, so why not want myself a satchel?

RGB Oxblood Nail Polish: $18 // Otte
I actually put this on my wish list to represent the fact that I am currently obsessed with the color oxblood! It's a really deep red that looks maroon-ish. I'm not sure why I like it so much, but I would love getting anything in this color, whether it be a bag, shoes, pants, a hat--anything!

So that is it! I'm hoping that I'm able to get something like these things on my list for myself or for Christmas sometime during the next month.

What do you want for Christmas this year? (If you're my friend and you're reading this, I'm seriously asking hahaha)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Black Friday Prep: Making the Most of It

Thanksgiving is coming up, so that means a break off of school (and usually work), tons of great food, and... Black Friday shopping!

This consumeristic tradition is going on its 6th year with me! I started doing this during my freshman year of high school to experience shopping early in the morning and scoring some great stuff in the process. I've always been one to try and get some great clothes, accessories, anything for a great deal, and people always ask how I do it! Black Friday is one of those reasons.

These tips are what I've learned through personal experience, and while they don't guarantee 100 percent success (since Black Friday is so unpredictable), I hope that they can help make your time easier! 

1. List EVERYTHINGI mentioned in a previous post how much I love lists and how great of a help they are to me. My mind is already so scattered, so creating lists of what I need when I go shopping is therapeutic for me, even if I don't actually take the list with me. I always keep a list of what I think are classic pieces that I need on my phone, so if I'm shopping and run into a great deal for a certain piece, I buy it and cross it off my list. Whether it's listing what you want to buy, where you want to go, or even who you are going to shop for, creating a list helps organize your thoughts and gives you an idea of how much money to bring, what you can afford to buy, and all that good stuff. 

2. Have an idea of what your plan is going to be. Black Friday shopping isn't usually something people decide to on the spur of the moment (especially at 4am that morning), so it is always good to have a general idea of what you are going to do. Are you going to shop right after Thanksgiving dinner, or are you going to wake up at 4am to go shopping? What stores do you plan on shopping at? What do you need and what do you want if there's a good deal or some extra cash? How much money do you plan on spending? Writing this down helps (see tip #1). Keep this in mind when planning:
    • Check store openings! Make sure you know what time they open so you can make sure to get there early.
    • Do you want to shop at a mall or go to stand-alone stores like Best Buy or Target? (As for me, I personally prefer malls).
    • Are you willing to drive to multiple locations? 
    • Are you going to buy gifts or splurge on yourself? (This is an important one). 
    • Be prepared to spend more than you planned. You know it's going to happen when you see that item you just need to have!
3. Now that all being said, HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. Like I said, Black Friday is unpredictable. We've all heard those stories of crazy ladies being trampled on at WalMart or BestBuy on that Friday morning. If that thing you needed (or wanted) to buy is sold out, be prepared to check out another store. If you realize you've spent too much, you're going to have to decide what needs to be returned (and if it can be returned). 

4. Patience. Yeah I know it's easy to get excited then cuss out the person who takes the last parking space in the parking lot right as they're opening the store. Just beware of things like that and know that things aren't going to go your way, as much as you try. (see tip #3). 

5. My final tip for now: Go shopping with a friend! Shopping at 5 o'clock in the morning isn't fun alone, especially when everyone is going crazy and lines are really long. It helps to have a friend to keep you sane and help you out when things change. Plus, they can help keep you company when you're waiting in all those long lines to check out or enter a store. Besides, you can always hang out with them after all the shopping is done! I think they help make the experience fun. Unless you're a control freak and can't stand to have anyone help you. Then please, go by yourself and don't hurt anyone around you. 

Haha, but seriously, have fun with it! Whether it's your first time or tenth time going along for this official start to the Christmas season celebration (as I see it), just have fun and don't sweat the small stuff. You don't want to start the holiday season holding a grudge or getting high blood pressure from Black Friday. It's a fun experience, so just go with it! I hope these tips help you score some great deals and deal with all the madness that comes with Black Friday. Good luck! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November BirchBox

I've been so busy this week! I'll write about that in a later post; however, I must say that I've been slowly starting to get into using my November Birchbox that I received earlier this month.

If you don't know what Birchbox is, well it is a (mostly) beauty subscription box, where you can get samples (and sometimes full-sized) products for only $10 a month! There is even a subscription for men!

I subscribed to Birchbox last month so this is my second box. I got my October Birchbox really late in the mail and last month was so busy for me that I wasn't able to write about it! So, I decided to start with this month.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Maybe Perfect Isn't so Perfect?

Have you ever had that awkward moment where you ask someone about their significant other and they tell you, "Oh, uhm actually we're not together anymore..."


Well, this unfortunate situation has happened to me a total of five times now since I've gotten back to school. Unfortunately, it doesn't get any less awkward every time it happens either.

Other than those five people that I have been directly and awkwardly told of their breakups, I've seen and heard of another four couples at my school break up.

While the breakups themselves are tragic, that is not why I have felt so disturbed. It is the fact that I thought ALL of these couples were perfect. Well, at least they looked perfect.

You know exactly what I'm talking about. Those couples that look like they have it all together or at least look like they've solved any problems they may have had, if any. Those couples that post really adorable pictures on Instagram or Facebook or hang out with each other all the time. Those couples where the male seems to be a total gentleman (not that he isn't now) with his girlfriend and they both look so attractive together.

Oh, those couples.

I see couples like that around me all the time. I look at my poor boyfriend and I and think, "Wow, we are so messed up compared to them."

When we're not having fun and laughing with each other like best friends, we're weird, we fight a lot, he gets angry, and I like to cry. He doesn't always like doing things with my friends and I hate that he plays lots of videogames. We're extremely rude to each other. That's the simple, honest truth.

Sometimes I look at those couples around me and think that they probably don't have as many issues or problems as I do in my own relationship. But yet they're broken up and I'm still in a relationship.

I'm not trying to rub my relationship status or someone else's lack of relationship in anyone's face, but all this is just causing me to think. I don't know these people's stories and what they go through, but I guess that for whatever reason, things just don't work out for them.

That all being said, I'm brought back to the thought of the amazing grace that saves me every single day. I am humbled to know that it is only by grace that I can be where I am today because I have so many issues and don't deserve what I have. But then again, who does?

I guess looking perfect most definitely doesn't mean perfect. It's a difficult concept to wrap my mind around, that maybe those people that look perfect together may not end up being so.

I talked to my New Testament professor about this post after class yesterday, and I asked her opinion on it. She basically told me that I don't need to compare my relationship to others and that I shouldn't. Society gives us a standard that we feel like we need to follow but who's to say I'm doing things wrong and that someone else is doing their relationship right?

I'm trying to say that as long as no one is being abused or battered in any way, shape, or form, and as long as you both aren't trying to live as a "perfect" couple, than I guess that means you're alright. Just keep doing what you're doing and growing they way you are and you'll achieve satisfaction, not perfection.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HUGE Elf Haul!

I don't wear much makeup daily, but that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it! Last week, I got a package in the mail for a huge order of Elf Cosmetics that I got in the mail! If you don't know what Elf stands for, it's EyesLipsFace. It is one of the cheapest, but still great quality makeup brands out there.

I decided to buy a whole bunch of stuff, plus the 100-piece eyeshadow set for free if you entered in a coupon code. 

So what did I get? 

  • Elf Essentials Professional Complete Set of 12 Brushes // $12 // They consist of:
    • Eyelash Brow & Wand, Smudge Eye Sponge, Defining Eye Brush, Blending Eye Brush, Eyeshadow Brush, Lip Defining Brush, Concealer Brush, Eyeliner Brush, Brow Comb and Brush, Foundation Brush, Bronzing Brush, Total Face Brush

Last but not least, I got the Elf Everyday Eyeshadow Palette (not currently for sale). If you want it, use the coupon code BDAYFREE on purchases $15 and over.

I'm so excited to get into using all of these products and try out some makeup looks with them!

What do you need in your makeup collection?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Giveaway With AR! (CLOSED)

Fall means that it's time to bundle up and be cozy! This post is extra special because I'm doing a giveaway collaboration with my lovely friend Adriana over at With Love, AR which is good news for you guys! Giveaway = FREE STUFF!

Enter to win this scarf and beanie!
Kriselle @ Livin' and Lovin' // Adriana @ With Love, AR

We were talking one day and decided that we wanted to do a giveaway together to celebrate the coming of fall. Check us out as we talk about the giveaway on Youtube here. As a result, we're giving away a sea green colored scarf and a golden-studded gray beanie to one lucky winner! We love our readers so much that we bought these with our own money! Just enter through the giveaway below and you'll be entered to win! The giveaway will end on Monday, November 18th at midnight Pacific Standard Time. Unfortunately, this giveaway is only currently available to residents of the US and Canada.

Both the beanie and scarf are from Target, and we both chose items that we would like for ourselves if we weren't doing a giveaway. So we both love the pieces and hope that you do as well! Good luck, and happy entering! [:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 9, 2013

God is a Little Crazy... Isn't It Great?

There are so many days that I feel like I'm a terrible Christian and that I cannot comprehend why God loves me and blesses me in all the ways that he does.

This past week, the Holy Spirit slapped me in the face and reminded me that I'm not alone.

I've just been learning a lot about myself and the Holy Spirit lately, and it's really cool, actually. Earlier this week and even last week, he'd been pushing me to invest in a new study Bible, and I finally did. It's coming in next week, so I'm excited to dive back into the Word and have a Bible with all the notes and trivia that I love. Yay! 

Another thing is that I've loved getting to know my friend, Hilary, lately. She works in Orange County, so on Thursday nights when there's worship practice, I carpool with her home and back to the OC the next morning. These car rides have allowed for lots of time to talk and get to know each other. I've really enjoyed being able to spend this time with her and just get to know her in general. I've loved getting to know bits and pieces of her story throughout the weeks, and she's become a really great girlfriend, and I can't wait to get to know her better [: Shout-out to you, Hilary! 

I think the craziest thing of all started in choir recently. Before we started rehearsing for our choir festival we were going to be performing at and my choir director wanted to take prayer requests. I didn't think there was anything that I felt needed to be prayed for, but once she started praying over everyone's prayer requests, after praying over a girl's sister who had been depressed and suicidal, I lost it. 

I started bawling my eyes out, and I didn't know why. I actually still am not completely sure why, even now. I was depressed back in high school and definitely did not feel that way now. As my choir director kept praying, I just kept crying to myself, even as we went into a time of worship. I felt a great sense of peace and calmed down a bit until after choir. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to check my mailbox even though I didn't know why, but I did. There was no mail, but when I turned around, one of my good friends, Jacob, was standing there and asking how I was. As I started to tell him, I also started tearing up again. I began telling him through sniffles and tears about all the stress of school and life hitting me and he was just there, listening and encouraging me. He prayed for me before he headed off to work, and I once again felt at peace. I couldn't believe what God had so blatantly done in my life right then and there. It's true that a genuine desire to draw near to God will draw him near to you. I ran into my friends Kaciny and Sierra later and took a few pictures for them before they asked me the same question and I responded in the same way--in tears. I couldn't believe how emotional I was being, but I felt a sense of relief in releasing all those tears (and fears) to people I trusted. 

God is so good, and I mean those words with every bit of my being. He knows exactly what he's doing, even if you think he's crazy. Shoot, I know I think he's crazy sometimes. Regardless of it all, God is just so much more amazing and awe-inspiring than we could ever even comprehend. And you know what? I'm okay with that. At least I know that I'll be taken care of. 

How's God been working in you lately? I love hearing stories. Email me, if you'd like at: kriselle@livinandlovin.com. 

I hope that you are encouraged and that God bless you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's in My Back to School Survival Kit

A couple weeks ago, I received a package in the mail, courtesy of Her Campus. In it was my very own Back to School Survival Kit! I thought it was pretty cool to receive a package full of cool, free stuff just because! I always love getting things in the mail, so if you'd like to show me some love, let me know [;

Anyway, back to the Survival Kit:

My box full of goodies!
When I opened my box, I was surprised to find all of the goodies I found in it--there were things from Her Campus, Neuro, Luna, Poppin', Chipotle, and a box of SK Energy Shots that came in the day after this package!

My collection of Poppin' notebooks before giving them out to some friends!

These really cool purple gel pens, also from Poppin'!

Two of the really awesome things I got in this care package were a surplus of Poppin' gel pens and mini notebooks, both in purple! I really love school supplies so getting these were like having an early Christmas for me. They have all sorts of school and office supplies that are simple but stand out because of all the bright and fun colors they come in! My personal favorite are the orange supplies, of course. You can get $5 off your next order with the code: DORMSTYLE. What are you waiting for? Go check them out and get some Poppin' stuff. (Get it? haha). When you do get your new Poppin' supplies, post them on Instagram with the hashtag #dormstyle for the chance to win a dorm makeover as well! 

I also got some things from Her Campus; they were the ones who sent out these packages, and I am also part of the Her Campus Blogger Network, also through them. 

I received some cool HC stuff, like this HerCampus.com sticker (sorry that it's backwards), the "Have Fun, Stay Young" gym bag, all the Her Campus pens (I have an obsession with pens), and the Her Campus clipboard!

Back of the clipboard
Front of the clipboard

Another great treat--a buy one, get one free coupon from Chipotle! Chipotle is so popular and almost a staple to any college student's diet. They have great-tasting food that fills you up really well. I am so excited to use this! 

Another cool product that I received with my package--Neuro SONIC! This specific wild berry flavor is said to help boost mental performance, something necessary for every college student, especially at this time during midterms and preps for finals. There are other colors depending on your needs, but Neuro SONIC is meant to increase alertness, sustain energy, and support mental performance, everything you need when you're studying! 

Luna bars were another treat that I got from the package that are really good for healthy snacking! They're meant to help get things done and give you the energy you need in a healthy way. Luna is there to help you get from class to class each day.

The last and final gift from my survival kit were the box full of SK Energy Shots! These are another thing you can turn to when you need a boost of energy to get through the day (or night)!

I am so thankful to have gotten all of this cool stuff for free, thanks to all these brands and Her Campus for putting it all together. I've already shared and enjoyed these with my friends, you guys should definitely get some for yourselves! Everyone needs something to help them get through school. 

What's in your school survival kit?