Friday, June 27, 2014

7 Tips for Maximum Instagram Engagement

Instagram is easily my favorite (and strongest) social media platform out there (right next to Pinterest, that is). Although I don't post on it every day, I am definitely always on it, checking out other peoples' posts.

As a blogger, Instagram becomes more than just a place to showcase your life. It also becomes a way to promote your blog (and potentially other businesses/brands), depending on how strong your Insta-game is.

Depending on the type of blog you run and your own personal preferences, you can also choose between using your personal Instagram for your blog or creating a separate account for your blog. For myself, because of the nature of this blog and my own preferences, I've chosen to keep my personal Instagram even for my blog.

Regardless of whether or not you have a separate account for your blog or even if you're a blogger or not, let's face it: we all want more followers and likes. It's a natural thing to desire, since as human beings we want to be affirmed, and Instagram can be a space for that, if used in a healthy context.

But that's not what I'm talking about today. I'm talking about my tips (based on personal experience) on gaining more followers and engagement on Instagram.

I've read blog posts and articles where they say things like "use a ton of hashtags" or "use _____ filter" or whatever. I'm here to say that based off of my own experiences with Instagram, those don't work. 

With that being said, here are my top tips for Insta-engagement.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Discovering Delirium [Guest Post]

So today, I have the pleasure of having Lauren, one of my sponsors on my sidebar, post for me today. Although I don't talk about it enough, I'm truly a bookworm and love to read! I just recently finished reading Shopoholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella. But today, Lauren will be reviewing a book from a series she just started! I'm always looking for new book recommendations, so I hope you enjoy :]


Hi everyone! I’m Lauren and I blog over at Sassy Sweetheart. I’m so glad Kriselle let me take over for the day to share with you one of my new favorite series! I picked up Delirium by Lauren Oliver without having any idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I just knew I had seen it places before so I figured if other people liked it, I might too. Spoiler alert: I did.

Summary from
Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure. In this powerful and beautifully written novel, Lauren Oliver, the bestselling author of Before I Fall, throws readers into a tightly controlled society where options don’t exist, and shows not only the lengths one will go for a chance at freedom, but also the true meaning of sacrifice. --Jessica Schein

My Thoughts:

I was immediately hooked. What I really loved about this story was that Oliver makes the world her characters live in so believable. Not only does it focus on the elimination of romantic love, but also more platonic love. Friends don’t greet each other with hugs and parents don’t comfort their children when they fall. I can’t imagine living in a world where relationships don’t mean much, which made this whole concept that much fascinating to me.

The first half of Delirium drags on a little bit. Lena starts out counting down the days to her cure. She can’t wait to be cured because she believes in her government’s ideas. She truly believes that love is a disease. Lena gets upset when her best friend Hana listens to unauthorized music and wants to go to forbidden co-ed parties. Even when Lena meets Alex, she still firmly believes in the process and tries to ignore him.

It isn’t until Lena starts to form a real relationship and romance with Alex that things start to pick up and get interesting. Lena has to make up elaborate lies to be able to get out of the house to see Alex. And when Alex tells Lena about life in “the wilds” outside of all of the government regulations, she starts to contemplate running.

I found myself initially annoyed with Lena for believing so firmly in her government, despite the fact that she had no reason not to. But after Lena meets Alex I found myself rooting for her and their love. Lena doesn’t let Alex take care of her. She is strong, independent, and so brave. She’s not the typical damsel in distress who needs a man, but instead learns from Alex as an equal.

The ending is such a cliffhanger. I immediately started Pandemonium when I was finished because I couldn't wait any longer to find out what would happen to Lena. I don't want to spoil anything for you by telling you about Pandemonium, but I will say things start to get very interesting when we're not in Portland anymore.

Bottom line: You'll love this series if you love Hunger Games, The Selection, or Matched. After you start to get into Delirium, you won't be able to put it down!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your Story Blog Hop: Your Food

Welcome back to the Your Story Blog Hop, where you get to share and read about other peoples' stories! Here is this week's prompt:

This is more than your typical "what's your favorite food" post. What kinds of food did you eat growing up? Do you still eat it now? If you ate any cultural foods, what did you eat? Tell us about it!

People always ask about your favorite food, but this post is meant to be more than that! You can tell me what your favorite food is, and if you do, tell us why or how it became your favorite food. It can be a specific dish or a certain type of food, like Mexican or Russian food. 

If you grew up eating cultural food, whether of the country you live in or wherever you trace your ethnic background to, do you like that type of food? What kinds of food did you eat? Tell us all about it!


Growing up, I mostly ate Filipino food. If you're not Filipino, you're probably thinking of Lumpia (egg rolls) or Pancit (noodles), and although I ate all that growing up, it's more reserved for parties instead of daily meals. 

If I wasn't eating Filipino food? Well, I was still eating rice with it! Other than burgers or if we were at a restaurant, my mom made my sister and I eat rice with everything, whether it was bacon, steaks, or fried chicken. 

One of my favorite Filipino dishes ever is sinigang na baka (see-nee-gahng nah bah-kah). In English it's tamarind stew with beef. If you're Filipino or grew up with Filipino friends, you are probably familiar with this. However, a stew that is so near-and-dear to my heart that I definitely don't eat enough of anymore is a lesser known dish called sinampalukang manok (see-nahm-pah-loo-kahng mah-nohk). In English, it's a tamarind stew with chicken. (Note: I made a mistake and put baboy (bah-boy // pig) in the tweet above, but I meant to put baka!)

The two have very different names but seem very similar according to the English translation, but there are, in fact, a few differences. The biggest difference is that sinampalukang uses tamarind leaves and ginger, while the sinigang is just a tamarind-based stew. And the words at the end of each stew are the types of meat used in it. Baka is beef, and manok is chicken. If you change the meat, then the stew changes too in smell and taste, like if you use hipon (hee-pon // shrimp) or isda (eess-dah // fish). 

This is what Sinampalukang basically looks like.
Source: Kawilang Pinoy

June Sponsor Spotlight: Raewyn + Lauren!

Today I'm spotlighting two of my sponsors for this month: Raewyn from Be a Warrior Queen and Lauren from Sassy Sweetheart Blog! The best part about having wonderful people sponsoring your blog is that you get to know them through their blogs and as people as well. I've really enjoyed talking with these two wonderful ladies!


Raewyn is a newlywed from Southern California, like me! (The SoCal part, not the newlywed part.) Her blog, Be a Warrior Queen, is all about self-empowerment for women! She writes stuff about herself and her new hubby as well of course, but I think the whole basis behind her blog is great. We live in a society that puts down women all too often, and it's good to have a place where you can be encouraged.  

She's awesome. I hope to meet her one day soon, especially since we live less than half an hour from each other!

Lauren is just like her blog--Sassy and a sweetheart! She and I both sponsored each other's blogs the past month or so, so it's been great getting to know her! She's a bookworm (like me) and has been spending a lot of time just enjoying summer these past few weeks! I recently guest posted on blog about the e-books vs. print books debate, and I had so much fun doing it!

Follow her around and check her out! 


Want to be featured like these ladies here? Want some love for your blog? Check out my sponsor page for more information! Livin' and Lovin' Blog is growing every day!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Getting Lei-d at Graduation // Giveaway Winners!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter at all, you probably saw my tweets/Instagram post about my younger sister, who just graduated highschool last week! I'm so proud of her, as she is now a freshman at San Jose State University starting this fall.

Before coming to college, when I went to high school and middle school graduations, people would go CRAZY when it came to getting their graduate lei-d (get it? haha).

Trust me, my sign of my sister was not that bad (or big) compared to others. 
Throwback to when I graduated high school with my Filipino-Hawaiian sister!
Friends and family of the graduate would print out larger than life posters of that person's face, they would blow up floaties, they would create leis out of chips or ramen packs, and Pacific-Islander families typically created elaborate money crowns for their grads. All of this, on top of the candy, flower, and ribbon leis, graduates from where I'm from would be covered in leis, so much so that sometimes you can't even see the bottom half of the person's face.

When I got to college, I'll be honest and say I Facebook-stalked a lot of my new college friends (don't act like you never have!) and of course stumbled upon many of their recent graduation photos. Most of them weren't covered in leis, and they'd be lucky to have more than two.

When I went to my college's graduation last year, the only people that were covered in leis was a Filipino girl from Hawaii, and the only Pacific-Islander guy in that class (if you want to know, he was Tongan, and if you have never heard of Tonga before, look it up :])

Even my roommate during my freshman year of college (bless her heart) innocently asked me one day,
"Is it a Filipino thing to get covered in leis at graduation?"
I wondered, why is it that Asians and Pacific Islanders are typically the ones who go crazy like this at graduations? I grew up in a heavily Asian/Pacific-Islander community before college, so if non-Asians were doing it, it was typically out of influence from the Asians/PI's. If I ever see people at schools where it is not predominantly Asian/PI, the people who got lei-d were Asian/PI.

But the question is, why? 

To be honest, I'm not really sure, but I can make a few guesses.

They're just really proud of their accomplishment. They might've just been so happy and wanted to go all out for them. Simple as that, and completely understandable. More understandable for college especially.

They're very creative. If you see some of the posters and leis people make for their loved ones, so many of them are soooo nicely done and neat. For many people, they're just really creative and making beautiful signs and banners are just part of their natural way of expressing themselves.

They want to show off their graduate and their pride for them. This is pure pride. Not in a bad way, but pride as in they want to represent their graduate and show everyone that they did it. They want to show everyone how much they love them and how awesome they are for graduating. That's why if you go to a graduation in my hometown, everyone and their mom is almost having an unspoken competition for which family can be the craziest and loudest for their grad.

It's cultural. I don't ever remember learning about all the leis and stuff being cultural for Asians, but for Pacific Islanders there are the shell necklaces, the intense islander crowns and all that good stuff. It may be cultural for them to celebrate that way, but I'm not too sure.

What do you think? Does your family do this? Are you not Asian/PI and your family still does this? I might talk more about this in a Youtube video sometime soon or graduation season next year because I think it's such an interesting phenomenon.

GIVEAWAY WINNERS: So if you entered my blog's anniversary giveaway, I announced the winners on the Rafflecopter widget already! Did you win? And even if you didn't, thank you so much for entering!

Until then,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

Okay, so I have to admit that I watch a lot of tv. I didn't watch much when I first went to college but when my roommate brought a tv this year, I knew that I'd be going back to old habits. And it also doesn't help that you can stream everything online.

Everyone talks about shows like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, Parks and Recreation, and so much more. Maybe even The Office if you go to my school.

Well, I'll be the first to tell you (and probably one of few) to say that I don't watch any of those shows. I have a very interesting and different taste in television, and sometimes I'm still figuring out why I like some of these shows. But if you want to get an idea of what I normally watch or keep up with on tv, here are a few of my favorites:

Baby Daddy: A guy unknowingly knocked up a girl and dropped the baby on his doorstep not too long after she was born. He's living with his brother and roommate, and along with his childhood best friend, Riley, and his mom, they all help him out in raising the child.

Source: ABC Family

Ben and his brother Danny are hot, and baby Emma is so cute! On top of that, I just think that all the characters together are hilarious. Tucker, Ben's roommate, always ends up doing crazy things with their mom and you also see lots of Riley, Ben, and Danny exploring different relationships, even with Riley ending up with Ben at some point. And Bonnie, the mother, is a cougar. Enough said.

Awkward.: This is about a girl at Palos Hills High who had an unfortunate accident her freshman year, going through high school. Well, let's just say that the show truly lives up to its name.

Source: MTV
This show is actually loosely based off of a high school not too far from my home town. They even reference the same cities and everything! The major change with the location was the high school's name from Verdes to Hills. When I first found out that this show is based off the local high school, I laughed because I could see why.

Switched at Birth: Two babies are switched at birth, and one of the mothers who knew for a long time finally fesses up and both families are learning to live together as a family for the sake of the girls. Oh and the girls? One grew up in a preppy, wealthy home, while the other grew up in a not-so-wealthy neighborhood that is predominantly Hispanic. That girl is a natural redhead and deaf as well.

Source: ABC Family
I really enjoy sign language, so I appreciated the show's use of it. This show is more of a drama while the previous two are more comedies, and this show is a nice change for me. Enough drama, but not too much, unlike Pretty Little Liars, which I gave up on a few months ago after getting too impatient (and scared) with the storyline.

America's Next Top Model: This is basically a reality show to see who becomes "America's Next Top Model."

Source: The CW

Lots of people wish for this show to be done with after having 20 cycles, but as someone who is really into fashion and wishes she were tall enough to model, I enjoy this show. I mostly watch for the photoshoots, but hating on a little drama doesn't hurt either.

Legend of Korra: This is a spin-off series to "Avatar: The Last Airbender," a series that ended a few years ago. Legend of Korra continues with Korra as the new Avatar, the one person in the world who can master all four abilities of water, air, earth, and fire, and she is navigating her abilities with the help of the previous Avatar's family and friends, as well as her own.

Source: Deviantart

I binge-watched ATLA before the second season premiered last September. I loved the series before, but I loved it so much more after watching through it all again, because Korra as a strong female lead gets me so excited! She can really kick some butt!

What Not to Wear: This show ended last year, but I love it so much I put it on my list. WNTW was a show that took some of the worst dressers in the country and gave them a free, full-on makeover, with a new wardrobe, new make-up routine, and many times a new-found self confidence.

Source: TLC
This is one of the first shows that got me into fashion when I first saw my niece watching it back in 2007. I haven't kept up with the last few episodes of the series due to being away at school, but I loved the valuable fashion lessons I learned from Clinton Kelly and Stacy London.

Other than WNTW and ANTM, all of these shows are either premiering a new season or ending a season this week. What are your favorite TV shows?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Importance of Rest: 2 Tips to Remember

Hey, everyone! As you probably noticed, I unintentionally took a blogging break these past few days. It was hard to step away from writing for the blog for a while, but it was much needed.

It was hard because I had my #LNLblogturnsone giveaway running so I was receiving new followers left and right and I also wrote a lot the week after my blog's anniversary because it was my anniversary with the boyfriend. Last week, it was my sister's graduation on top of many other graduations and birthdays. I've also been interning at my church and working with them as well. I even had to do an all-day training for the camp I'll be working at next month. After all of that, I've just been too exhausted to write, quite honestly.

Two main tips to remember when taking a break:

Breaks can be healthy. With anything, it's always hard to step away from the position or situation for a few days or weeks, especially if you have an obligation to it and there are certain expectations placed on you. However, it is always so healthy (and okay) to take a break, especially if it is something you love and are passionate about. You don't want to burn yourself out and feel forced to be doing whatever it is you're doing. Besides, what's the point of loving something if you don't love doing it?

Quality over quantity: I love to blog and want to always put out quality work. I'd rather take a break then come back with some amazing content than continue writing less-than-great work just to stay consistent with stats. And the same goes with anything that you love. Of course if it's a paid job or school, you'll have to find ways to work around that without getting fired or failing your classes, but with anything else, taking a break is always good and many times preferred if it means that you'll come back with more energy and motivation.

With all of that, be ready for more awesome and quality content as I get back into blogging! If I ever disappear again for more than 3 days, please know that while I may not be on my computer, I'll still be active on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And don't worry, I didn't forget about the #LNLblogturnsone giveaway! I will be announcing the winners later this week. Stay tuned!

By the way, don't forget I'm still collecting questions to answer in a future Q&A post! Be anonymous or leave your link to be featured!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gamer Girlfriend Problems

I've talked about my boyfriend, Darell, quite a few times on this blog. I've talked about him in a few posts, and he helps out with my Youtube channel most of the time, although you almost never see him on camera.

If you have ever read any of my tweets, you'll occasionally find a few of me complaining of having a boyfriend who is a gamer. Growing up, I always wanted to be able to play videogames with the boys, but it was always games from the Mario and friends series, like Super Smash Bros. and fighting games, like my personal favorite, the Dynasty Warriors series.

When I was a kid, my cousins tried teaching me how to play Halo because I like videogames and I wanted to learn. However, with the pressure of playing live and with all the different controls to shoot and check your map and trying to hide from other players, I always got really overwhelmed and I sucked.

When I started dating Darell, he decided to teach me Call of Duty when he was still into those games. Needless to say, even years later, I still sucked.

He's been over those first-person-shooter games for a couple years now and has a new favorite game.

It's called League of Legends.

Basic premise of the game: In case you didn't know, League of Legends (or League or LoL as gamers call it), is a free computer game that you can download onto your computer. You play a certain "champion" (that's your character) and you play on a team of 5. Your ultimate goal is to destroy the enemy team's base.

League is one of the most widely played games if not the most (Darell will probably correct me on this one) in the world. For starting out within the past 3 or 4 years, the game has grown at a very impressive amount, by having over 32 million players.

I don't play the game myself, but Darell taught me how to play last week. The game is pretty interesting if you ask me, but you have to understand what is happening in order to do so. Especially if you're not much of a gamer like I am, you just think it's a dumb game that is taking your boyfriend away from you. I still suck at the game like I do with all live games, but I'm okay just watching.

Even though I have a much better understanding for the game, doesn't mean that I still don't have issues with my boyfriend playing the game as often as he does.

Some gamer girlfriend problems:

1. He ignores you for the game.
This is a classic move for the gamer. You try to call or text them to talk to them, but they'll either ignore you tell you they're busy (points if they tell the truth and say they're playing the game). Even if you were with them in person, you could do or say whatever you want and they still won't pay attention to you.

2. You think it's a phase, and two months later you realize this "phase" won't be going away anytime soon.
Before Darell got super into League, this was only a phase. He started playing it when it first came out, then he'd get over it after a couple months and I was happy. He repeated this cycle about two more times before becoming super addicted to it. His addict level has simmered down since then and it's a more healthy balance of playing the game and doing other things. It could be a healthier gaming time limit, but considering how bad it was before, his time spent playing now is much better.

3. He references it in real life.
Darell has taught one of the little boys at church to call me one of the champions' names. They'll occasionally make other references with the way the game is played, how strategizing works and other things like that. It can get annoying if done excessively.

4. If he's in the middle of a game, whatever you want to/need to do has to wait.
It's pretty self explanatory. It has kept me from filming more Youtube videos for my channel because of it. We have even gone so far as to go to a meetup to meet one of Darell's favorite PROFESSIONAL teams! This community is only growing and I don't think it will stop anytime soon.

Have I missed anything? Can anyone relate? (Please, I hope I'm not the only one haha.) What games do your boyfriends play, if any?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your Story Blog Hop: Your Favorite Holiday and/or Tradition

Hey, everyone! It feels like I haven't blogged in forever, but it's been a busy, but nice past few days spent mostly with my family. I'll talk more about that in another post, but until then, it's time to get onto the Your Story Blog Hop, number 2!

This week's prompt is pretty self explanatory from the title of this post:

What is your favorite holiday and/or tradition?

If you link up, please feel free to elaborate as much or as little as you like. Of course, me being as curious as I am would love if you did elaborate as much as you can! I can't wait to read all about it!


Growing up, my favorite holidays were always Christmas and New Year in the Philippines. As a kid I travelled there every year for winter break and my family always went all out. 

For Christmas, when I spent it with my dad's side of the family, I remember going to my cousin's house and we went to the house next door (it was some distant family I was related to by marriage) and I remember there were a whole bunch of different bills of different values in the bag. The uncle who lived there shook the bag around and all the kids had a chance to go up and try to get some money. You can't look in the bag and you can only get one bill, so every kid's dream is to get the most they can from that bag. 

With my mom's family, on top of one large gift exchange at Christmas, there is also loud fireworks and bingo around the time between Christmas and New Year. Those were some of my favorite memories growing up. 

I don't think my family did any traditions that were particularly Filipino growing up. I mean of course we practiced common customs (which I will get more into at another time), and I guess most Filipino traditions are based off Catholicism. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but because I'm not Catholic myself, I don't exactly practice many traditions unless I'm with my family (basically my entire family on both sides are Catholic except me). And many other "traditions" that weren't based off Catholicism I feel like were based off of Chinese superstitions and traditions. Maybe that's just me. 

One of the traditions of a debut: the 18 roses! I got 19 instead!
However, the one Filipino tradition I really loved but never fully got to experience myself was the debut. It is the coming of age party for 18-year-old Filipina girls. I got my own version of it last year thanks to my roommate, so that will do for me. 


So what are you waiting for? Hoda and I can't wait to hear from you! Before you link up your favorite holiday/tradition, here are some rules to make sure everyone is having a good time!


1. Respond to the prompt of the week, sharing as much or as little as you feel comfortable! We encourage using photos and would love to see photos integrated in your posts!

2. Link up! (Make sure you are linking your blog post, rather than your blog!) using the widget below. 

3. We encourage you to read and leave comments for everyone’s posts, but we only require you to do so for the person who linked up immediately before you! 

4. Follow your hosts, Kriselle and Hoda on Bloglovin'. 

5. As an added bonus, your hosts will retweet/share any of your social media posts that you follow and tag us in (Twitter: @hodakatebi and @krisellerhiax) (Facebook: Joojoo Azad ~ Free Bird and Livin' and Lovin'). Don’t forget to use the hashtag #yourstorybloghop!

Livin' and Lovin' Blog

Take our button and link up with us!

This link-up will be open until next Monday, June 16th, at 11:55pm PST, so if you weren't able to link up with us last time, DO IT!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ask Me Anything + Another GIVEAWAY!

So yesterday was mine and my boyfriend's 4 year anniversary, and to celebrate it here on the blog, I wrote out our love story of how we happened in the form of a short story/novel-type of writing. Although I write blogs and articles and stuff, I have such a love for writing stories and making them up in my head, except this one was real. (I may or may not have had to improvise the dialogue towards the end of the story but oh well.)

Anyway, I love that kind of writing and hope to write a book one day. It could be a memoir about what Darell and I have been through over the years (we went through a lot of rough patches before this blog) or it could be a fiction book. Who knows?

Anyway, so I'd love feedback from you! Did you like the novel-type of writing? Should I share more stories like that? And I have been meaning to do a FAQ-type of video/blog post lately, and I want to make sure I answer any questions anyone may have!

You could seriously ask me a question about myself or anything. You could ask me to do something, like use sign language to communicate, or whatever it is you want to see on this blog or my Youtube channel. I want your feedback and questions! And you can be totally anonymous or leave your Youtube/blog link if you want me to feature your link along with your question. If you're anonymous, as long as it is appropriate, I am an open book! Ask me something like we're on Tumblr, haha.

If you have a question for me, you can ask here.

I'm also currently hosting/co-hosting two giveaways as of right now! One is my blog's first anniversary giveaway, and the other is Alicia of Alicia Tenise's blog rebranding giveaway! The prize for that is a $150 gift card to J. Crew! Preps unite!

These ladies and I are helping out Alicia here by co-hosting with her :] Don't forget to enter below! Good luck.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Love Story

I met him in January 2010. I remember when he came to church for the first time. I knew he was coming because his cousin really wanted him and his other cousin to come to church, and they finally did one Sunday morning. I already knew bits and pieces about who he was at that time, and I knew that I didn't want to be a part of that.

However, when I saw him at church, I, of course, wanted to make him and his cousin feel welcomed for being there for the first time. My then best friend's twin brother and I went up to meet them after worship was over. 

I still remember how he looked like clearly: he was wearing a snapback in church with a black jacket and his iPod headphones in his ear. His cousin was sitting next to him listening to music with him. You knew that they didn't want to be here. 

I said hi anyway. 

"Hi, I'm Kriselle," I said, with a smile. 

"Hi, I'm --" he got cut off. It was so loud in the room that I couldn't hear what he was saying. I embarrassingly asked a few more times what his name was before just saying "okay" so he didn't think I was stupid. His cousin introduced himself as well and that was that. 

I didn't pay much attention to him after that until he started getting involved with the youth group over the course of the next few weeks. I started noticing a change in him--he started talking differently, he started hanging out with our youth group more, and he said that he had stopped doing the things that he used to do. I started observing him from afar--we were friends, but we weren't best friends or even close friends by any means--but there was something about him that made him stand out to me out of all the other new people in our youth group at that time. I was intrigued by his testimony and how quickly he turned his life around. 

He was so nice to start inviting me to hang out with him and other people from our youth group. He was the oldest in the group and the only one that could drive at the time so if people wanted to hang out, they all looked to him. It started off with my best friend and I going with him and a couple others to Target on Friday afternoons before church to kill time. Then we started getting invited to group chat rooms and I started to get to know him on a more personal level and as a better friend.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Watercolor Fantasy (Ootd)

I haven't done a full-on #ootd post in a while (though I have included them in other posts), so I decided to dedicate today to an outfit that I really liked!

To start off the month of June, I decided to dress with a bright pattern (see what I did there?). My dorm had a clothing swap/yard sale type of event where everyone donated unwanted clothes and you could get whatever donated clothes you wanted at the event for free, and I found this really cute pink, red, purple, indigo, sky blue, and white watercolored shirt dress at the event and had been wanting to wear it for a while but didn't know how to wear it.

I decided to belt it, add a bandeau underneath (the v-neck was pretty low), some booties, and a bleached cropped denim jacket to tie it all together. It's a mix of many different things but I felt that the outfit still worked.

Actually, except for the belt, I didn't pay for anything in this outfit. I either got it from someone (one I borrowed and forgot to give back, woops, sorry Madi if you're reading) or it was given to me courtesy of that brand.

Watercolor T-Shirt Dress: Clothing Swap // Bleached Cropped Denim Jacket: From a friend // Dark Purple Skinny Waist Belt: Forever 21 // Nude Lace Bandeau: From sister // Jade Necklace: Borrowed from a friend // Blue Hair Tie: c/o Knotty // Leather Infinity Bracelet: c/o A Touch of Grace Jewelry // Gray Booties: c/o Macy's

Monday, June 2, 2014

I'm Hungry For: Korean BBQ

If you look at the Instagrams of almost any Asian person in Southern California (or people that associate with them), you'll come across quite a few posts depicting meat on grills. If you don't know what that is, it is Korean Bbq, or kbbq as you'll see most people post for short.

How it works: When you go to a kbbq restaurant, there are usually different levels to choose from, obviously with the more expensive levels having more meats and many times seafood as well. One of the main attractions of Korean bbq to people is the All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) aspect that many kbbq joints have. Not every restaurant is AYCE, but many are. On top of that, depending on where you live, it can cost as little as $10 for all the meat you can eat.

You can see why people go so often.

Another unique aspect about kbbq is the side dishes, called banchan. At every Korean restaurant, whether it is kbbq or not, it is customary to have banchan served with your meal, and you can have as many servings of banchan as you want.

On top of that, you also cook your own food, as you've probably noticed from the pictures. There are some kbbq places that can cook the food for you, but let's face it: it's always more fun to cook food yourself. The only downfall is that you smell heavily of meat afterward.

Types of Meat: Kbbq can have a wide array of different meats/seafood, but there is two types of meats that I have noticed at every kbbq place that I've been to. Those two meats are beef brisket and pork belly. Other meats included in AYCE packages can include anything from chicken to pork to beef cheek to prawns.

Sauces: On top of the typical Sriracha, Chili, and Hoisin sauces, there are two sauces that you could dip your meats in. One is brisket sauce, this sweet-tasting sauce with a thin consistency that is amazing with the beef brisket, hence the name. The other one is oil with salt. It's probably not the healthiest thing for you, but it's still good.

NOTE: Don't go to Korean bbq if you are on a diet! I've watched my boyfriend fail his diets by going to kbbq haha. (Sorry, babe!)

I reviewed a local Korean bbq restaurant last year too, if you are interested in some of the foods I ate while there.

I think I've gone over just about the main gist of the way Korean bbq works. Have any more questions? Leave a comment below!

Oh, and HUGE tip: TIP. I haven't been to many Korean bbq restaurants but all of the ones I've been to will practically chase after you if you don't tip. I know that we are technically not obligated to tip, but Asians want their tips haha. I've only not tipped once (woops!) because the people I went with and I only had enough to cover the bill without tip. They chased us out the restaurant and said we'd be banned from the place if we ever did that again. However, I think if you go to more expensive places they won't do that. That place is one of the $10 places so I can see why they do it. It may not be right, but hey, that's just how they do it. It's up to you if you will go back or not.