Monday, August 18, 2014

Baked Potato Salad Recipe [Guest Post]

So while I'm moving back to school today, I have Pam from Hodge Podge Moments sharing her recipe for baked potato salad! As a college student, easy recipes are a must, and this fits the bill! Hope you enjoy!


Hey everyone! I'm Pam from Hodge Podge Moments and I'm excited to be sharing my go-to recipe for potlucks and picnics. It's super easy to make and always a crowd pleaser!

Red Potatoes
Ranch Dressing
Bacon Pieces (salad topping size)

I'm not listing the amount needed because that will vary depending on the number of potatoes you use. I tend to buy a bag of potatoes, bottle of Ranch, package of bacon pieces, and a bag of cheese. I always have leftovers of the other ingredients when I use the whole bag of potatoes.

Step 1: Buy your ingredients.

Step 2: Wash & dry your potatoes. 

Step 3: Wrap each potato in aluminum foil.

Step 4: Put the potatoes on a tray.

Step 5: Bake the potatoes at 375 degrees for one hour.

Step 6: Put potatoes in the fridge to cool for several hours. (I usually do overnight.)

Step 7: Cut each potato into small squares. (This is the most time consuming part!)

Step 8: Put your cut potatoes into the pan(s) you plan to use for serving.

Step 9: Add in ranch dressing, bacon pieces, and cheese. Stir until the salad is well coated.

Step 10: Serve your creation!

Don't forget to smile!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

I'm Hungry Pho: Pho-ntastic Phood

All the puns.
I haven't done an "I'm Hungry For" post in a while, and so today I decided to talk to you about one of the most popular/well-known Asian dishes and also the punniest of them all (hehe): pho. As you can see I also went a little overboard in the puns for the titles for this post.

Pho is a Vietnamese soup that consists of a basic broth, meat (that is sometimes raw), rice noodles, and vegetables like onions, green onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, and jalapeƱos. There are a few different variations depending on the region of Vietnam that the pho is from, but that is is what the basic pho consists of.

Pho on a summer day is still just as good under the cool shade!

What's in it: Typically, pho is served with just the rice noodles, the meat, onions and green onions. The bean sprouts, cilantro, and other veggies are served on the side so that you may put as much of it as you want in the broth. There is also usually a lime served with the pho to add a nice sour flavor.

As far as sauces go, the two most commonly used/mixed sauces are hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce. Hoisin sauce is a sweet and salty tasting sauce and Sriracha is a type of Asian hot sauce. It's like the Tapatio for Asians, except the spices used are widely different.

How to eat it: As you can see from my photo above, I have some chopsticks and a soup spoon. Typically the chopsticks are to pick up the meats, noodles, anything that isn't broth. The soup spoon is obviously for the broth. But some people like my boyfriend take the meat or veggies or noodles with chopsticks and put it into the soup spoon so they can have it with the broth at the same time. I say it's pretty genius. I do it sometimes too, but not all the time.

Cost: For the most part, pho usually costs between $6-$9, and the portions are HUGE. I'm not sure if you can tell by my photos, but the bowls are quite large and so getting some pho is well worth your money (especially if you get it between $6-$7).

Best time to eat it: Most people say it's best to eat pho when it's cold or rainy because it's so hot that the broth cooks your meat (yes, the meat is typically raw because of the hot broth but you can request cooked meat if you're not comfortable). For me, I'll eat it no matter what time of the year, as long as I'm craving it and won't be dying of heat from eating it. Whatever your preference is with eating soup is up to you!

So, what are your thoughts on pho? Have you tried it before?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

3 Tips to Prevent Travel Plans from Failing

7 Tips to Prevent Travel Plans from Failing

I love to travel. Since I was a kid, I've always loved to travel because my dad would take my sister and I with him and also because both my parents and a few other relatives worked at the airport growing up so I was always around it and that atmosphere. 

This summer, I had plans to travel; I didn't care if it was across the world or across the country. I just wanted to get out of California for a bit and explore a new place!

I first intended on going to London around this time, and then decided on New York City when plans fell through. Now, I'm sitting here typing this out as I get ready to go move to school next week. 

I never posted about my plans on Twitter or any other social media sites just in case things didn't work out, but I had talked to people about it and even prepared for it (like telling my internship supervisor that I wouldn't be around the last two weeks of summer). I'm bummed that things didn't work out, but I really hope to get somewhere next summer! 

Here are my tips to prevent travel plans from failing: 
1. Make sure you have your plane tickets ready! My dad has a connection to get my ticket at a great deal, but he never got the ticket because he just really lagged on it and he wanted to make sure that I had a decent amount of pocket money to travel with. With all of that, he kept putting it off. 

One of the biggest things is to make sure that you have access to get yourself a ticket! Whether that means having enough money or having a way to actually get the ticket, make sure you have a surefire way to make that happen! 
2. SAVE MONEY. Obviously, have enough money for the ticket. But beyond that, you're also going to need to have money for housing and food, and maybe souvenirs if you really want it. 

Because I didn't have a car for the first half of the summer, I couldn't have a job because I wouldn't have a stable form of transportation. On top of that, if I wanted to travel, I probably wouldn't have worked at the job long enough to request vacation time. Although I got a couple jobs now, it is the end of the summer and too late for me. 

SAVE! You can plan your trip all you want, but if you don't have money, then you can't make it happen! I just recently opened a savings account, so I will be using that to save up money for traveling and other things as well. 
3. Plan your itinerary. Even if you just want to go with the flow and figure things out as you go, I think that it's still a good idea to have an idea of the areas you'll be in and places you'll be staying throughout your trip. That way, even if you get lost or something goes wrong, you have an itinerary to go off of. This also allows for you to know how much money you need to have saved up by the time you get to your travel destination.

I was honestly really sad once August rolled around and I wasn't boarding a plane to London or NYC. But due to poor planning, things didn't work out. I hope that you learn from my mistakes and use these tips to keep your plans from falling through the cracks! 

Good luck in travel planning!

Have you ever had travel plans fail before? Are you planning going on a trip soon? 
Chau for now

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Makeup by One Direction: First Impressions and Honest Review!

One Direction is currently the most popular boy band in the world, and I just so happen to be a fan of them. I didn’t get into them until early this year, and up until then, I just didn’t care much for them. However, when I first got into them, I first noticed how talented they were… and then I noticed how attractive they are not too long after, haha.

I also always thought (and still think) it’s so weird how crazy girls go for them! I’m a huge fan of them too and follow them all on Twitter and all that, but it still mindblows me how much of an influence they have over the 12-15 year-old girls of this generation.

So when I first heard that 1D was coming out with #Makeupby1D based off of their 3 albums, I was intrigued. I’ve never really been into fan merchandise for any band/artist other than T-shirts, mostly because of how corny fan merch usually is, so I was curious as to how the boys would approach this makeup line when the announcement was first made.

And then, I received the opportunity to receive and test out one of their 3 collections courtesy of Markwins and BrandBacker, and I just had to jump on it!

The boys have 3 different collections, one for each of their albums. I got to test out their "Up All Night" collection, which is a mostly blue color palette with cool neutrals and nice pinks to balance it out.

My first impression of the collection is that the makeup itself and its presentation was pleasing to look at. And although it is pleasing to the eye, now that I think about it, the tin itself and the plastic cover with the boys feels a little young and childish. If friends saw the tin, I felt a little immature with it. Even though I’m not yet 20 years old and I’m the same age as Harry, I definitely am one of their older fans.

Anyway, back to the makeup.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

College Packing List [Guest Post]

So today I have a guest post for you today, and it's all about moving to college. I briefly talked about it last year, but this year I'll be having more posts about it, hopefully! I have Olivia from Liv Love Laugh talking about tips for packing up for college. Check her out and follow her on Twitter and Instagram as well: @livlivinglife


Hey there Livin and Lovin readers! I don’t know about you, but moving in to college—especially freshman year, but also every time I move—can be very stressful. To reduce the stress, here are eight tips to make packing a little easier, so you have more time for living and loving.

I hope that helps you as you get ready to move! In August, I’ll be moving in for the last time in my college career, and it really does fly by. Here’s to a relaxing and stress-free summer and move for all of us! 

Start early.

Seriously, if you have the space, it can’t hurt to start a month in advance. As you collect things you’ll need in college—at graduation parties, with gift money, on shopping trips—start organizing it in a corner of your room. If you’re planning to take stuff from your house, like batteries or lightbulbs, begin to gather it as it comes to mind.

List it.
Speaking of which, you should have a master list. This website was very helpful to me and a lot of people I know as we got ready to pack, or you can make your own list. But having one will make packing so much easier, and lessen the chances of forgetting things.

Lay it all out.
A week or so before you leave, take the time to lay everything out on the bed or the floor and evaluate what you have. What are you missing? What’s there? Are there things you need to grab from the laundry or the basement?

I don’t have a ton of clothes, so I usually end up packing things as they get clean and wearing old jeans and t-shirts during the last few weeks of break. That way, packing my clothes is easier and I’m not up the night before doing laundry like a maniac.

This is also a great time to evaluate if you need to run to the store to pick up anything, and then you can do it in one swift trip…rather than trying to do it while you do laundry the night before you leave. (I’ve been there, can you tell?)

Use smart packing tips.
Packing for college is a lot like packing for any other trip, just on a bigger scale. Use your usual packing tips and tricks, like rolling clothes and packing in reverse order of what you’ll need, to make packing—and unpacking—go more smoothly.

Use containers that are easy to carry.
Don’t overload them. I’ve found that duffels are my personal favorite—so easy to carry and they flatten down to store. If you use Rubbermaid totes, they’re easy to pack but make sure you have room in the closet or under the bed to store them! I also love those large reusable bags from stores like TJ Maxx or Ikea to collect odds and ends in. A roommate once packed books in a wingspan box—like you use for shoes—and it was almost impossible to carry due to the weight and awkward size.

Don’t overpack.
As long as you don’t forget something essential—like toothpaste or underwear or a computer charger—you’ll be fine. You can live without almost everything, I promise. Also, it’s usually pretty easy to replace what you forgot, have it sent to you, or get something new. You’ll probably collect a lot of things during the semester, as well, so don’t worry too much about what you bring, and when it doubt, try to leave it behind.

Label everything.
Labels and lists are my favorite, can you tell? Anything to stay more organized!

Label things for you. Know which box goes where and what’s in it. I sometimes even put a list on the very top saying exactly what items I have. Also, knowing where your bedding is makes it easy to make the bed first thing, which is what I always do.

Label things for others, too: if you’re moving into an apartment-style dorm, write what room things go in on the label. That way, your kitchen supplies and your clothes are easily separated and easily unpacked. Also, if you’re moving in with the help of a few people (and keep in mind that a lot of universities have volunteers on hand to help you carry things), label each box with your room number to ensure nothing gets lost.

Don’t pack at the last second.
Seriously. You’re going to want to spend the last few hours you’re at home saying your goodbyes and relaxing, not stressing over what you haven’t packed yet. Get it all done the day before, especially if you’re leaving early, so that on move-in day all you have to do is throw your toothbrush and PJs in your suitcase and head out!

Chau for now

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fearful Habits and Creepy Stares

A little over a month ago, my dad fixed his car, making my car (he'd been using it for over a year) completely my own. Because of that, I'm able to go places without depending on him or my boyfriend by myself. 

I was able to drive myself last summer, but it was usually just to church and school (for mail and financial aid stuff), but not much else. 

So when I received my car back to use for myself, I noticed some interesting observations and habits that I quickly developed when I'm driving by myself... 

  • Whenever I leave a location, I make sure to take my keys before I even get outside of the building so that I'm ready by the time I get to my car. 
  • I lock the doors whenever almost immediately whenever people leave my car or once I enter my car by myself. 
  • The first time I went to the bank by myself since getting my car back, a man literally stopped in his tracks (he was leaving the bank building as I was heading in) and stared at me as I walked towards the building and even as I walked in until I got in line before he left. 
  • The next day I had to go to the bank again and asked my dad to come with me (out of paranoia) but he went in his own car because he had work. He left once I got to the bank because he was running late and I went to the ATM and as I was about to get into my car a man called out to me from his truck and tried to hit on me. 
  • Just yesterday, as I parked my car in front of my dad's house, I was on the phone with someone but one of the neighbors who had been creepily staring at me for the past two weeks was in his car (possibly with someone else) and looked out his window and tried to get my attention by smiling at me and waiting to realize that I was busy as he almost rolled down his window to talk to me, but luckily being busy on the phone saved me. 
Do you see a pattern here? 

This is honestly one of the things that I really hate about being a girl. I feel like we constantly have to be aware and be careful with what we do when we're alone or we're at risk for getting into some trouble. I know that there are things like pepper spray and all that, but why do women have to try so hard not to get kidnapped or raped? Why do so many men think that it's okay to just creep on women like they do? Like with my first experience with the man at the bank--who seriously stops what they're doing to stare at you as you walk into a building?! The man wasn't close to my age either--he looked like in his late thirties/early forties. 

With the 3 weird experiences I've had that I talked about above, my dad only agrees that the first situation was inappropriate. I'm not sure if it's because he is a man or if it's a cultural reason that he's downplaying the significance of those events to me (Asians tend to do that with a lot of things, like health issues too, that's why). 

I was talking with my girlfriends about this recently, and they all just suggested that I buy me some pepper spray to casually pull out in case I encounter a situation like this again. 

I just don't think that it is fair that women have to be so conscious about these things, but if you're hypersensitive about it, you're overreacting, and if you're not and something does end up happening to you, you're suddenly "asking for it." 

I can see why people make the argument about even if you aren't asking for it, short shorts and revealing tops can cause a guy to think a certain way about you. But I say that if he is going to act upon it and make a move onto you, that is his fault for not controlling himself. There are many people out there who see people dressing or looking a certain way and don't do anything about it. Just because you can't, doesn't mean you should be putting other people in danger for yourself. It is honestly one of the most selfish things a person can do, which is taking advantage of a person in a physical/sexual way. Even if you just try to call out a person (a woman specifically) and try to talk to them, you're not complimenting them. You're just creeping them out. 

I obviously know that most guys aren't like this. I mean I hang out with guys most of the time. But for those that look at girls in a creepy (and not slick) way or try to "holla" at girls from their cars, it's better if you just keep it to yourself. Chances are, she's not going to want you, especially if you approach her in that way. 


Chau for now

Friday, August 1, 2014

Must-Have Apps for Your Tablet

I'm so ecstatic and thankful to have gotten the Dell Venue 8 from Intel! I've had it for almost a month and I still get excited to use it! I've loved being able to take it with me everywhere so that I can work or just stay distracted in general. I especially love that I'm even writing this post on my tablet right at this very moment :]

Of course, one of my biggest struggles have been figuring out what apps to download for my new tablet. I already had the usual apps that most people have, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I also had a few other apps that I'll be mentioning later, like Evernote and the Bible app, but I wanted to try some other stuff that I wasn't familiar with before or that would be better suited for a tablet instead of a smartphone.

I asked a few blogger friends for their opinions and I took some of their suggestions on top of apps I already had. Here are my must-haves:

1. YouVersion Bible App

Verse of the Day!

When I don't have my physical Bible or don't feel like looking for it, I go to the YouVersion Bible App! It has some great features, like a bunch of different biblical translations, devotionals to choose from, and even sermon notes from churches in your area. My church uses it for that too, and it's cool so that you can follow along with the notes right in front of you when you're at church!

Oh, and the Dell Venue 8 also allows for you to install widgets for most of your apps right onto your tablet screen for easy access. I decided to download the Verse of the Day so that it's right there in front of me without having to open the app itself!

Available for: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows

2. Evernote

I downloaded this app on my MacBook so that I could take notes on it for class. I read lots of great reviews but didn't think it was amazing. I kept reading about how this was a must for people to have to take notes but I never really (and still don't really) understand why people think it's the greatest app ever. Don't get me wrong, I'll be honest and say that I do really enjoy this app and I recommend it to all of you, but it's not spectacular like Disneyland fireworks. It's just really user-friendly. Maybe that's what it is.