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?