Friday, May 30, 2014

Let's Get Sentimental: A Look Back + New Blog Goals

So yesterday was my blog's official first anniversary date. I decided to keep yesterday's post pretty short because I know people wanted to enter my giveaway and not read about past posts from my blog! Haha shoot, I probably would be the same way too if I were on another blog.

Anyway, so today I wanted to get a little sentimental and talk a little bit about my blog from the past year. No, I won't go into some emotional rant, but I just want to share some of my favorite blog posts from the past year then look at what I've accomplished through my blog and what I want to accomplish in the next year.

My Favorite Blog Posts by Category: 


DIY: Denim Shorts from Dad Jeans: I had a lot of fun with this DIY and it is also one of my most popular posts of all time! If you want to turn your old jeans into denim shorts, check out this post!

Two Ways to Wear: Tribal Print Crop Top: I wrote this post back when I was part of Macy's Campus Tour a couple months back, and I just had so much fun with it! I loved putting the outfits together and writing the post. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Blog's First Anniversary + A GIVEAWAY!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BLOG! Livin' and Lovin' Blog is finally a year old! I can't believe I've already made it to one year with this baby of mine, and it's amazing. It's been an amazing first year with this blog, and I'm so thankful to every single one of you for supporting me over the course of the past year despite the many changes this blog has seen.

I started getting back into blogging and taking it more seriously a little over a year ago on Tumblr. I quickly moved onto Blogger and recreated my blog as Through the Eyes of a Cali Girl a year ago today. At the end of October I changed my blog's name to Livin' and Lovin' Blog because I felt like it fit me better. Long story short, that's how I got to where I am today.

Livin' and Lovin' Blog banners throughout the past year

Unfortunately, I don't have screen shots of my blog in the past year, but here are the three banners I've had (including my current one) to show how my blog has changed throughout the past year.

It's always pretty awesome to get to a birthday or anniversary and reflect on how far you came in the past year. And with this blog, it's really been a rollercoaster and I've really fallen in love with this blog and all the hard work I've put into it.

But anyway, enough of the sentimental stuff for now. I'll save the rest of it for tomorrow. Now it's time for the reason you are all probably here: A GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why I Write

On Day 3 of my blog's anniversary celebration, I thought it would be fitting to talk about why I write. I've been writing this blog for a year, and I've written such a wide variety of posts about a bunch of different topics. I've been a newspaper writer for over three years, and I've also kept a blog (different from this one) for even longer--5 years to be exact.

Before getting into writing and journalism, I was a little all over the place on what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to do fashion design, interior design, visual communication (design in-store displays), and I also went back and forth between wanting to be a singer and attempted to audition for singing shows so many times and even knew someone who could get me in a recording studio, but things always got in the way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Your Story Blog Hop: Your Family

It is finally Week 1 of the Your Story Blog Hop! Hoda from Joojoo Azad ~ Free Bird and I have been planning for the launch of this link-up for the past few weeks and I am so excited to finally launch it!

Hoda and I have been talking for the past few weeks about how much we so badly wanted a way to incorporate our cultures, religions, stories, and backgrounds in a way that we could also get to know other people and they, in turn, could get to know us! That was when we came up with the Your Story Blog Hop.

This week's first prompt was announced last week to get people excited and thinking about doing this with us, and hopefully you will join us! This week's prompt is all about your family:

What is your family like? Do you have siblings? Were your parents married growing up? Who do you consider your family?

Of course, you didn't have to answer all of the questions in this order or anything like that, but they were just a way to get you thinking about your family. All you have to do is tell us about your family! You also don't have to go into deep and serious aspects about your story with things like rape, abuse, or anything like that if you are not comfortable. I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable; I just want to get to know you a little better.

Monday, May 26, 2014

So You Want to Start a Blog? Part 2

My last post on starting a blog, "So You Want to Start a Blog?" was so popular, here are 5 more tips for starting a blog! If you want to follow these tips more in-depth with some freebies, check out my FREE "I Want to Start a Blog" course!

*Note: this post was updated April 2017.

1. Decide where you want to go with the blog.

By this, I mean that you should have a clear vision with what you want to do with your blog, whether you want to turn it into a business someday or if it is simply just a hobby where you share your interests.

Knowing from the start what you want to do with your blog in the future will affect the types of things that you post and the way you are going to run your blog in the future. And if you decide you want to turn your blog into a business someday, you don't have to start that now. Building up a blog takes time, and for everyone, the time it takes to start using their blog as a business is different.

**Another note I want to add is that if you want to blog for business, do not forget to have some authenticity in your posts. People will see right away if you are just trying to make money or if you really care about what you are talking about.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day Beauty Favorites [Guest Post]

Hello, everyone! So I don't normally post on Saturdays (unless I forget to post on Fridays... whoops), but today I have a special treat for you all by having Jordan from The Spontaneous Idealist guest posting once again for me! Today she is sharing her favorite beauty products for this Memorial Day weekend! (I'll have to keep these in mind for me, too!)


Hello y’all! I am so excited to guest blog over here at Livin’ And Lovin’. I am so excited to continue this Memorial Day Weekend: hello sunshine and tanlines. Am I right?

I love sun kissed skin. It is the ultimate gift from summer. But if you are like me, there is no break from work and school these next few months. A little help may be needed – don’t be ashamed of that!

There are three products I have fallen in love already that are sure to give you that “I spend all my spare time at the beach” look we all crave. {This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.}

1. Victoria’s Secret Self Tan. I have never been a fan of “fake tans” or tinted lotions, but this product changed my mind. The avocado oil based lotion goes on so smoothly and easily, creating a nice glow. Tips: rub it in really well; wash around your ankles, wrists, and hand very thoroughly, be sure to let it dry and set before you get dressed; and rinse off in the shower a few hours after application to remove any excess lotion.  It lasts a good while and comes out of clothes and sheets very easily. Best self-tanning product on the market.   

2. Jergen’s Natural Glow Lotion. I apply this religiously after showers. Combined with the VS Self-Tan, and some good ol’ sun, you will be flawless. 

3. HAIR by Victoria’s Secret. I have very straight, fine hair. This product makes my hair voluminous and wavy (some things I never thought my hair would ever do). Just spray liberally on damp or dry hair, scrunch it up, and enjoy the smell and look of beach hair. It is a miracle.

Those are just a few of my latest favorites that I hope will give you a little boost to look your best this Memorial Day weekend! Stay safe and have fun!


Jordan has been all over my social media lately! She is truly a beautiful and awesome girl, please check her out!

Friday, May 23, 2014

May Sponsor Spotlight: Harper + Jordan

Today is about two of my sponsors, Harper from Harper Honey and Jordan from The Spontaneous Idealist! Harper has my medium ad spot, and Jordan has my premium ad spot, and Jordan will have her own post dedicated to her very soon! 

If you would like to be featured on my blog like them and sponsor Livin' and Lovin' Blog, please head over to this page! Sponsoring this blog allows me to do more things to help improve this wonderful blog, and in turn, you guys!


Say hello to Harper of Harper Honey!
This is Harper! She is one of the first bloggers whose blog I followed when I first started to blog, and over this past month, I've actually really gotten to know her super well! And I will say that she is a pretty awesome human being. Asian bloggers unite!

On her blog, Harper writes about anything from fashion finds, career tips, and sometimes she'll include some personal posts as well. She has a very well-rounded blog and I love reading it. 

See her for yourself and follow her around!

My other sponsor is Jordan! You might recognize her from guest posting about breakups back in March, but this month she came back as a sponsor! 

I won't say too much about Jordan since I will be highlighting her more in detail in another post, but for now I'm just putting her out there for you to check her out! 

My blog anniversary is coming up very soon! Stay tuned for all the goodies coming up! If you don't know what will be happening during the week of my blog anniversary, read more about it here. Until then, 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blog Anniversary + Giveaway + New Link-Up Announcement!

This is me being excited for you guys.
So I have a few very exciting things to share with you all regarding my blog.

ONE: My blog's anniversary is next week on Thursday, May 29th! In honor of this huge milestone, I'll be having a week of posts about my blog and all that jazz.

TWO: On top of that, I will be hosting a giveaway with tons of other bloggers to give away a total of 5 prizes! Keep an eye out for that because blogger or not, guy or girl, there is a chance for everyone to win!

THREE: I will be hosting my first-ever link-up! This announcement is a huge part of the reason for this post because I will be explaining the gist of it and previewing it here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Posts to Read (and Watch)

So today I decided to write this post for you guys because other than my lovely sponsors on the sidebar (you can be on there too if you click here), I definitely don't talk as much about what stands out to me in a blog post or Youtube video. I will occasionally post something on my personal Facebook or twitter, but not always.

That being said, here is a list of a few links I think you should at least check out! I'll divide them into different categories so that you can easily find what you're interested in.

Asian-American Culture, News, & Media

Angry Asian Man Links to other Blogs - Angry Asian Man is a blog I recently discovered and started following that talks about anything happening in the Asian-American community, and no that doesn't just mean Chinese and Japanese people. They talk about EVERYONE who is considered Asian, even lots of South Asians (Asian Indians, Indonesians, etc). I like that because people tend to think only about people with chinky eyes when they think of Asians. Anyway, this specific post links to other news currently happening concerning Asian-Americans, including the new tv show set to premiere this fall, "Fresh of the Boat."

Fung Brothers - This is a Youtube channel that I've been following for a few months now and I LOVE their videos! They do videos about Asian culture in a way that is both entertaining and informational. If you ever wanted to learn more about Asian culture in a light-hearted but non-offensive way (aka no having to ask awkwardly racist questions to your Asian friends), then I say check these guys out! And if you are Asian and want to watch a video and point to it and yell "OMG, THAT'S SO ME!" then I also say check these guys out! Here's one of their videos on what Asian girls like below: (it's funny but it also has a lot of truth!)

Fashion & Beauty

Harper's Bazaar's 16 Makeup Tricks Every Girl Should Know - Found this through Pinterest and felt like it was really useful for me! When I pin tips and stuff like this, I normally do actually revisit the pins later. I know some people pin just to pin, but when I pin something, it actually is of use to me in the future.

How to Assess the Quality of Garments: A Beginner's Guide - This post is SO useful in helping to figure out how good (or bad) quality your clothes are and to help you decide how much you really want something based on the quality. The blog that wrote this, Into Mind, is my favorite fashion blog ever and it is the most underrated but well-written fashion blogs that I have ever seen. Anuschka (the girl who writes the blog) is so detailed and so knowledgable in wardrobe building, wardrobe organization, and minimalist style. I love it. Please check out her other posts, besides this one.

Stylish Ways to Style a Skater Skirt - I love my skater skirt, so I am always looking for other ways to style it! (Photos above show a couple ways I've styled mine!)

15 Booties to Rock this Summer - I love shoes. As much as I love clothes, I'd go more crazy over shoes, in my opinion. I especially love booties. And dresses. And booties with dresses and shorts where the leg is exposed but the foot isn't just gives off such a cool vibe that I love.


Tame the Tum: Spare Tire or Stress Bulge? - I randomly came across this through Pinterest, and I actually really liked it because I, myself, have a bit of a tummy, but it's obviously not because I'm fat. I know that I have a very thin frame, but my tummy makes me look pregnant at times. So this post was really useful for that. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spending Time with Mommah

As you know, Mother's Day was this past Sunday. Of course I spent it with my sister and my mom. It was a really simple day, really. We went out for lunch at a dim sum restaurant, and we got so much food it was amazing. If you don't know what dim sum is, here is a video that explains the basics of it, as told by a favorite Youtube duo of mine, the Fung Brothers. They explain Asian culture in an entertaining and informational way.

After getting food, we went to a local spa, called Spa Serene, where my mom had her one-hour massage, compliments of my sister and I. The people there are great, and the prices are so cheap for a spa that I am planning on returning there sometime soon to do a more thorough review of the place. (That's why I have no pictures).

My mom and I after her massage -- iPhone 4s front camera quality
I don't normally have much for my mom on Mother's Day because I'm normally broke, but I'm happy I got to give her a little something and show her that  do appreciate her, even if she doesn't see it. Plus she's always asking my sister and I to massage her so I figured that giving her an hour-long massage was the most perfect and practical gift for her. I'm glad you enjoyed your day, mommah!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm Hungry For: BOBA

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see my occasional posts about boba, or bubble tea or tapioca pearls as other people may call it. It is the starch from the cassava plant and is most commonly found in milk-based teas and smoothies.

At first glance (or taste), the concept of boba is disgusting and many people don't like it at first, but it is usually because most of us aren't used to drinking drinks with stuff in it. On top of that, boba is really chewy as well, which throws people off. However, I can assure you that if you drink it enough, you will grow to like it!

My family LOVES boba!
I used to hate boba but started getting it with my drinks because all my friends loved it, and I eventually loved it. Every person that I have met that used to not like boba ended up liking it after a few months and getting used to the taste. Boba is really an acquired taste.

Popular boba drinks: The most popular are the milk tea type of drinks. The two most common ones that I've seen and heard and that are at most places that serve boba (and even at places that don't specialize in boba) are Thai Tea and Milk Tea / Black Milk Tea /Earl Grey Milk Tea (but the tea isn't black or gray, it's pictured above). There are also smoothies for those that don't like the teas, but I highly suggest trying at least one of the tea drinks (there are more than just those two I mentioned) before going to the familiar smoothies.

Milk tea is my fave. 
My favorite: I'm not sure if you can tell by my pictures of boba, but my favorite boba drink EVER is the classic Milk Tea Boba drink. It's simple and I like it that way. If that kind isn't around, I go for the Thai Tea. I stay pretty simple and classic as far as boba goes.

If you aren't sure where to find a boba place, go to any location that has a heavy population of Asian people/Asian restaurants. Chances are, at least one place will have it. Boba originated in Taiwan, which is why it is so heavily associated with Asians/Asian-Americans.

I'm not too sure about other Asian cultures, but I know that Filipinos have their own version of boba and boba drinks, and for us, we call it sago (sah-go). I don't mind sago, but I would much rather prefer the Taiwanese version of boba.

Yum. Talking about all this boba is making me want some.

Have you tried boba before? What's your favorite drink?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blog Tour

I really love to write, and writing a blog has really kept my writing consistent because I'm always trying to write. Sure, it isn't stories or diary-type of entries all the time, but I like that I'm still writing nonetheless.

Ever since I started blogging, I've realized how much of a community there is within the blogging world and just how connected everyone is in it. Lauren of Lauren Elyse CAN tagged me in her Blog Tour last week, and I'm really liking her blog, especially the name. It's really motivating! And if you aren't familiar with the Blog Tour, it is basically what it says it is: a tour of different blogs, and if you want to get specific, you are touring different blogs and how the people behind those blogs work and how their writing process goes. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sophomore Slump Wasn't Really a Slump

Well before I get onto my actual post, Happy Mother's Day! I won't be actually posting about my mom until later in the week, so that's why this post isn't about her.

Saying goodbye to my room. It was depressing.

Anyway, so last Friday, I moved out of my sophomore dorm. I was sad because although I love change, I hate moving out of a place that I've developed an attachment to, and plus I'm going to miss the air conditioning and walk-in closet that my dorm had.

Now that I look back on it, my sophomore year was pretty amazing. I learned how to be okay with being alone and by myself this year, which was something that I had always struggled with, given my extroverted nature.

I also went on a lot of trips this year and had quite a few memorable moments with the people that mean most to me. From leadership retreat to my 19th birthday to the Hillsong Conference to adventures with my friends to Oregon and Washington to anything and everything with my church to putting on one of the most successful events that I'd ever planned to cutting off all my hair, well this year was a great one.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

DIY: Denim Shorts from Dad Jeans

Summer is upon us, and for girls, that means one thing: less clothing.

I don't mean that in a dirty or mean way or anything, but if you think about it, it's true. Shorter shorts, shorter sleeves, even your shoes show more skin (aka sandals haha).

Something that has always been a classic is the denim short. The style of denim shorts that are most commonly worn (and wanted) by women/girls are cut-off shorts, otherwise known as Daisy Dukes. If you didn't know already, Daisy Dukes are basically any kind of cut-off shorts, usually made from jeans.

That brings me to today's DIY: Denim Shorts from Dad Jeans!

My dad is very small, standing only at 5'3", so naturally that would mean that he has a small body frame as well. I was looking through his clothes one day (I wear some of my dad's clothes) and stumbled upon an old pair of Levi's. He said he didn't wear them anymore so I took them for myself to turn into shorts after seeing if they fit me!

Tip #1: So if you want to create cut-offs like these, it's best to start with a pair of old jeans, whether they were your parents' jeans or you found them at a thrift store. You don't want to go out and buy a new pair of pants only to ruin them. That's a waste of money, and if you get the jeans used, there's always that sense of vintage flair that everyone is looking for these days.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Hardest Part About... Finals Week

So it is finals week at my school this week and if it isn't finals week at your school, you know that it's coming. Finals week is already taking such a toll on me by making me super lazy and neglecting some last-minute school things I have to do (don't worry, I got all my final tests/papers in check) and my blog! But no worries, after this Friday when I'm moved out and back home, I'll be good for the summer!

Anyway, so people are always talking about how hard it is to study or write papers during the last few days of finals week, but I can beg to differ. I think that there is something more difficult and draining than those tests.

So what's the hardest part about finals week? Packing.

Packing is seriously the hardest part about this time of the year. It seems totally unrelated to finals because packing up and moving out isn't a test or anything that you could be graded on later, but if you really think about it, it has everything to do with finals week.

Think about it: Finals week not only means final tests and projects, but it also means final days in the place you've made home for the year and depending on where your friends live, with your closest friends for the next few months. Of course this doesn't apply if you're a commuter or if you live in an apartment (or maybe it does if your lease is up), but you know what I mean.

Maybe it's just because I love unpacking and decorating and I hate packing and moving around. Maybe I've just gotten too lazy to clean that now that I'm forced to, I'm dreading it. Or maybe it's because I'm going to miss the air-conditioning and walk-in closet that my dorm currently has (my dorm next year won't have either of those, unfortunately). Maybe it's because I was the absolute last person to move off my floor last year and it was so weird living on an empty floor and in an empty room by myself.

How to deal with it: Tackle packing up your stuff little by little. Try not to cram it all in one day or one night. Unless you hated your roommates and where you lived, it might get overwhelming and possibly emotional if you wait til the last second. You don't even have to do much. Just slowly start taking things off the walls or cleaning out your fridge every day. Then as you finish up finals, start packing up your books and desk stuff. You'll probably be packing up your clothes last. Last year, it took me at least 3 or 4 days to pack my stuff up if not more. It'll take me longer this year, that's for sure. I've already started packing but it's pretty overwhelming.

How's finals week for you? What do you struggle the most with during finals week? What's your packing strategy?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Become a Careeranista Today!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book complimentary for review. No monetary compensation was given, and all opinions are my own. 

Although I'm not a college senior, graduation is right around the corner. I know that for most of my friends who are graduating, there is a lot of uncertainty about what to do after graduating college. However, even if you're not graduating college yet, I'm sure that so many people are still worried about what happens next.

Well, now there is no reason to worry!

Careeranista: The Woman's Guide to Success After College is a practical career guide that helps women (sorry, men!) in navigating the "real world" after graduation. The book covers a wide variety of topics, from applying for jobs to handling rejection, from negotiating your salary to working around office politics, and even from where to live and dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.

The book is filled with so many resources and expands even beyond the book as well! More resources and stories about women's experiences post-graduation are also on the Careeranista website.

Chaz Pitts-Kyser, the author of the book, provides so much insight into what happens and what to do to help you. The book goes into so much detail and shows specific examples of what to do and what not to do in different situations. It really is a book that all women should read!

Even though I still have a couple years until I graduate, I definitely am keeping this book under my radar as a resource! I can even use these now to prepare myself for the job market, like managing my social media and practicing professional email-writing.

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can get it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon or the Careeranista website. There are even preview pages on the Careeranista book's website if you're still not sure!

What are you waiting for? Start prepping for your future and become a Careeranista!