Friday, November 28, 2014

Count Your Blessings: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a day of thanks so remember to be thankful and be blessed. 

There have been so many terrible things happening around the country and around the world so I think that it is so important to remember all the privileges we have that many others don't. 

I'm thankful that because of what I look like, I don't have to worry about people looking and thinking of me negatively upon first glance. I feel so sorry for the people in this world that are racially profiled like that every day. 

I'm thankful for the freedom of speech that I have. Shoot, if I lived in one of those countries that regulated the media we consume, then this blog wouldn't even exist. 

I'm thankful for my college education and the opportunity to live in an upper-middle class area. Compared to where I grew up, where I currently live and go to school is like a dream for me. I'm thankful to even make it out of the bubble of my hometown, where many people settle for what they have. 

I'm thankful for having the problem of working then shopping tomorrow before noon. The fact that I have a job and can shop leisurely for myself and others is a great blessing. 

I'm thankful to be able to go home and spend Thanksgiving with my family, even if only for a little while. I hope that all the people who cannot are able to find some group of people to fellowship and be with on this holiday.

I'm thankful for having a God who always puts me in check and is always waiting me to come back to him, even when I run far, far away. His love is so much more than I could ever imagine or comprehend. 

What are you thankful for today?

Chau for now

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

See's Satisfies My Chocolate Cravings

I have such a sweet tooth! My taste in sweets and desserts vary depending on my mood, but sometimes, I just want some chocolate. 

A couple weeks ago, See's Candies opened up a location at Fashion Island in Newport Beach! If you live in the LA/Orange County areas, then make a point to come to Fashion Island to do some shopping and satisfy your sweet tooth while you're at it!
A photo posted by Kriselle Mendoza (@duhhkrisellee) on

I was invited to visit the store the eve before its grand opening with a bunch of other bloggers and it was great to meet some new people and explore See's Candies more in depth. For example, I got the chance to pack a box full of See's chocolates to get a first-hand experience at what employees at See's get to do. 

I also got to take home a goodie bag full of yummy chocolates. Even though I'm not much of a chocolate person, I appreciate See's Candies more than other brands because it's a brand that my grandma loved. Being around See's Candies reminds me of my childhood and when my grandma would bring home the See's famous Lollypops for my sister and I to devour when my mom wasn't looking. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Working in Retail on Black Friday

I've mentioned before that I work in retail. I have also mentioned before that I go Black Friday shopping every year. In fact, this year will be my 7th year in a row. For the first time in 3 years, I will be working in retail on Black Friday. 

When I was in high school I worked after I Black Friday shopped and this year it will be before. There can be a huge difference in your energy and what you can get when your schedule works out like that. 

When I worked Black Friday for the first time, I was able to get my shopping done as usual from about 5am-10am, but since I didn't have a car at the time, I had to linger around the mall until my shift started at about 1pm. This year, my plan is going to be vastly different. It has to be. 

I will be working the opening shift at work this year, from midnight to 7am! That will be the most crazy time to work because everyone will be pouring into the store for all the deals. I haven't worked in Black Friday for so long so it will be interesting. 

Last year I compiled a list of tips to help with Black Friday so I'll definitely be making sure I check back to that post to get my game plan on point after I get off work. I'm hoping that although I'll be starting shopping a couple hours later than I usually do, I'll get the same great deals like I did last year. 

Luckily, I'm not working on Thanksgiving Day, but that also means that I'll probably have to cut my time with my family short so I can make sure I get enough rest. Besides I'll probably go Black Friday shopping myself afterwards, so I'll definitely need the energy for it. Wish me luck!

Got any other tips for me? 
Chau for now

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One of the Best Ways to Keep the Love Alive

Over the past few months, I have seen tremendous growth in mine and Darell's relationship, especially in the field of communication. It has always been something that we have had and continue to struggle with. 

In the past I've talked about how he and I both have completely different love languages, and while it's still difficult for us sometimes, we have both been trying to actively show love to each other in the ways that we need to be loved. 

Over the past few months, I have discovered one thing that Darell and I do that is really important to do in relationships, no matter your love language. I think that doing what he and I have started to do is beneficial and essential to every couple to help keep the love and passion alive, especially when things may not be going so well.

Regularly remind your significant other why you love them. 

Here is why that is one thing that you can do to improve and maintain the quality of your relationship:

+ If you love language is words of affirmation like me, then being on the receiving end of this simple activity is literally showing you that you are being loved in a way that you understand and appreciate. 

+ You become more observant and intentional with your significant other. You start to really look at who they are as a person and watch them interact with others, and once you become more aware of these things, you start to find more things to love about them, some you may have never noticed before. Even after 4 years I'm still learning things about Darell that I am falling in love with all over again. 

+ Even if your love language isn't words, doing this activity will help you be more intentional and almost force you to express how you feel on the inside to that special person. And since this is not normal or comfortable for you, it will be that much more meaningful to your special person. 

+ When you've been in a relationship for so long, it is easy to forget why you love this person, especially if there are fights always on the rise. This is a good way for you both to take a step back to breathe and as Darell says, "think about why you started in the first place." Darell says that doing this keeps him in check with why he's still with me especially when we're not on the best terms with each other. 

+ What Darell and I do when we do this exercise is at the end of the day or when we're about to go home for the day when the two of us hang out, we will tell each other one reason we love each other and literally say, "I love you because..." I started doing this with Darell mostly because he doesn't feel comfortable expressing love to me with words. This way, he's slowly getting more used to doing this but I also get to think about what really made me fall for him to begin with. This isn't something we do all the time, but doing it at least a couple times a week has really helped us.

+ It puts you both in a good mood. Doing this even when you're not in a great mood will encourage you both and remind you both that there are good things in you that you may not notice that your significant other does notice. 

Since we've started doing this, I've been seeing changes in my relationship with Darell for the better, and I'm very thankful that he's been a trooper in opening up how he really feels about me by expressing it in words. It isn't something he is comfortable with or used to so I really do appreciate that from him. He and I have both grown through doing this, and I think couples at any stage of their relationship would benefit from this. 

So how do you keep the love alive in your relationship? How do you express yourselves to each other?

Chau for now

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My New Favorite Devotional: She Reads Truth

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I recently added two buttons to the "affiliates" section of my sidebar. One of them is The Peony Project, a blogging community for female bloggers who consider themselves Christian. And the great part is that you don't have to be a Christian blogger to join. It's a great community that I think you should join if you're looking for a place to grow in your faith but also be in community with other people who have similar interests as you. 

The other button is for She Reads Truth. It's a site that has devotionals that cover a wide array of topics and specific books of the Bible. I discovered it recently through some blogs on The Peony Project, actually. Since then, I haven't been more excited and interested in reading my Bible in a long time (but that's another post for another day). 

Out of all the plans they have going (there are always new plans going on but older ones are archived too), I decided to start with the "Open Your Bible" plan to get myself back into the habit of doing just that--opening my Bible. 

I'm still not consistent on doing the plan every day, but I'm currently on Day 11 as you're reading this. I like that I don't feel pressure to keep up and that I'm the worst Christian ever for skipping a day or two (again, I'll talk about my past church experiences another day).

On top of the plans, they have photos with quotes or scriptures from that day's devotional that you can either save for yourself or post to social media.

Not only that, they also sell study journals to help you with the devotionals. They sell prints, mugs, scripture cards, and more. It's all so pretty but all so encouraging as well.

She Reads Truth has an app available for IOS and Google Play, where you can currently read the "Open Your Bible" reading plan for free, but you have to pay a small fee for the other plans. That's if you're reading directly on the app! You can even get free phone wallpapers too, which I love. One of the wallpapers are currently my phone's home screen background. 

It's just been a very refreshing and encouraging way to read and study the Bible. It's the exact type of thing that I've been looking for for a long time, and for the first time in a long time I actually am excited to have my one on one time with God. It sounds bad, but if you knew my story and my faith journey, you'd get a better understanding of why. I'll talk about it another time. Until then, check out She Reads Truth because I think there is something for everyone on there. 

What's your favorite devotional? I'd love for you to leave links to other devotionals you enjoy reading and studying!

Disclosure: I'm not affiliated with She Reads Truth at all! I just love them so much!
Chau for now

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wedding Tip: When it Rains at an Outdoor Wedding

My friend Taylor married the love of her life a couple weeks ago! I hadn't been a guest at a wedding since 2011, although I did work at a wedding last December

One thing that Taylor's wedding and last year's wedding had in common: when it rains, it pours.

Yes, it rained at both weddings. With the December wedding, it rained pretty hard before the ceremony, and at my dear friend's wedding, it rained quite a bit after the ceremony and before the reception. At both of these weddings, the ceremonies and receptions were in the same place. (Check out some of the heavy rain from the first wedding in my video above!)

With the first wedding, huge white tents were put up in case it rained during the duration of the wedding. Luckily, it only rained during setup and by the time the bridal party and family of the bride and groom came to finish last minute details, the sun was out. 

With Taylor's wedding, she sent out texts to everyone to bring umbrellas to prepare for the rain the day before. I unfortunately didn't have time to get an umbrella before the wedding, but most of the guests got the memo.
I had also only been to her hometown once before, but it was in the summer. So I had also underestimated how cold it would be compared to the beach city I live in. (Why didn't I consider this?!) I was also sick at the time, which probably didn't help anything. 

I had assumed that there would be tents up to prevent the rain from falling on everyone at Taylor's wedding, but realized that there were only two small ones, not enough to cover everyone and were not covering the tables or anything. 

With that being said, it's always good to over prepare for situations like this.

Two tips to cover up for a rainy wedding: 

+ Bring an umbrella! This one is an obvious one. If you suspect that it will be rainy due to what the weather app on your phone says or heavy rain the night before, then it would be smart to bring an umbrella. Simple as that. I like the ones that Forever 21 sells. 

+ Wrap a scarf around your head. I didn't have an umbrella and was freezing cold, so I bought a scarf at an outlet we stopped at on the way to the wedding. This scarf, as you can see, is super furry, making it very warm for my neck and my cold self. When it rained, I wrapped the scarf over my head to protect my head/hair from getting wet. It did its job pretty well, I might add. 

You never know what to expect at weddings, so it's always good to be prepared so you can focus on the love of the couple for that special day. 

Do you have any interesting wedding stories? Any other tips on how you handled a wedding in the rain? 
Chau for now

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pinterest-Style Typography with Stencils

I love crafting and DIY stuff and always have. Ever since I was a little girl I've dreamed of having my own craft studio and still have every intention of having that when I have my own place. However, I usually don't have time to craft or am out of ideas for what to do. 

I recently got DIY Type: 50+ Typographic Stencils Perfect for Decorating, Crafting, Gifting courtesy of Blogging For Books, and I was very excited to try it out. 

Its style is pretty vintage, which is pretty popular among crafters and people on Pinterest. The stencils include the entire alphabet in large, capital letters, capital letters that are shorter and stubbier (but still vintage looking), and some little embellishments that one could use. 

I decided to paint a canvas with my initial, a "K," to see how it would look like, and I was pretty pleased with the finished product for the most part. 

The stencils are made out of cardboard, which makes them pretty good for tracing outlines and stuff, but when my paint got a little watery (partially my fault), the paint went right underneath the stencil. However, I was able to recover from that so it's all good!

I did a pretty simple design for now and hope to add more to it and really make the stencil shine. These stencils are perfect for the upcoming holiday season so I can't wait for that! My only other criticism with this book is the variety of stencils. I think there should've been lowercase letters, script letters, or something more with the variety of the stencils. Other than that, I approve and recommend this book for all the crafters out there! 

Disclosure: I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own.
Chau for now

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Salmon with Sautéed Mushrooms and Broccoli (Dorm-Friendly Recipe)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love food and my stomach is a bottomless pit. I could eat at an all-you-can-eat buffet and be full but still feel hungry less than an hour later. I am always looking for something to eat, and when you get tired of your school's dining hall, it's always nice to eat something in your room that isn't instant or microwaveable. 

I was experimenting with dinners this week and it was all completely random and spontaneous. Over the weekend I bought some single-serve salmon filet's from Albertson's, 2 for $3. As I was in the dining hall getting a to-go box, I went over to the salad bar and decided to get myself some broccoli and mushrooms to save to cook for myself later. 

I live in a quad-style dorm, where there is one shared living area for 4 different rooms. In the living area, there is a kitchenette where you could keep any electric appliances, like the griddle and rice cooker I have (at my school, it's not allowed to keep these in your room other than microwaves & electric kettles). 

Big tip: If you live on-campus at your school and don't like eating in the dining hall or eating microwave food all the time, invest in an electric griddle! 

I normally cook rice & spam with the occasional scrambled egg for dinner, a typical Filipino breakfast. So when I figured out this recipe, I was happy to eat something healthier and different! I made this recipe in my dorm, but you can make it in a kitchen too, of course! You may also substitute the salmon for another type of fish or the broccoli/mushrooms for whatever veggies you want in your meal! This is a really simple but customizable meal to make. 

Here's the recipe: 
  • 1 Salmon filet any size you want
  • A handful of broccoli
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • 1 Lime or a bottle of lime juice (you won't use up the whole bottle)
  • 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
  • A quarter-sized amount of cooking oil
  • Rice (optional)

* If you want rice with your meal like me, prepare the rice in the rice cooker before you start cooking. *

Heat up the griddle to 350° F. Once it heats up, take the broccoli and mushrooms onto the griddle. You're almost stir-frying them so keep mixing them around on the griddle with a cooking spoon. 

Pour the soy sauce, then squeeze/pour the lime juice onto the veggies. Continue to mix and sauté the veggies until they are cooked to the way you desire it. Plate it. 

Turn off and briefly clean off the griddle. Turn it back on to 350° F and pour a quarter-sized amount of cooking oil onto the griddle. This will keep the salmon from sticking to the griddle. 

Take the salmon filet and put it onto the griddle. Let it cook and flip it over to the other side when the salmon has turned into a lighter pink. 

Once you've flipped it over, you may add some more lime juice to the salmon, but this is optional. 

The salmon is cooked when it is a light pink with some browning on it!

Add it to the veggies and you're all done! Your dinner is ready to eat, and if you cooked rice like me, you can also eat it with that. I like adding the rice to my meals not only because I grew up eating it, but it makes the meal much more filling. 

With this griddle, I'll definitely be experimenting some more with dorm-friendly recipes, and I'll try to share them (with more photos) in the future!

What are your favorite dorm recipes? I'd love some ideas so if you have a link, link to it below as well!

Chau for now

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Find Me Elsewhere!

I love to write. Hence why this blog exists. And while I haven't written one yet, I also hope to write a novel one day. 

Back in June, I talked about why I write and why I love it and why this blog exists. Long story short, I love to talk. It sounds very self-centered but I promise you, there is more to it than that. 

If you're interested in reading more about my writing and the types of writing I do, I write for my university newspaper & for my school's website. I am a section editor and a student blogger. 
If I could, I would totally write for sites like Relevant Magazine or even Brit + Co, but I currently don't have the time to do so. I'm hoping that will change over the next few months. 

Writing is one of the best ways for me to relax. I love the idea of writing down or imagining a full-on story in my head. Reading and writing actually both work in relaxing me any day. 

(By the way, if you've noticed, I've made a couple changes to the blog! What do you think of them? Oh, and I'm relaunching sponsorships on the blog! Check out my sponsors page if you're interested in getting lots of love from me!)
If you're a blogger, do you write elsewhere other than your blog? If you're not a blogger, have you ever considered getting your opinion out there, whether through blogging or social media?
Chau for now

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Scary Movies for Me. // 7 Reasons I Hate Horror Films

Happy Halloween! 

Since Halloween is known for being scary and a reason to watch horror movies, I'll go against the grain and talk about why they most definitely aren't for me. I absolutely hate them with a passion and definitely wouldn't mind if they were banished from the world forever. 

I just don't like scary things. 
I'm trying to think about a moment in my life where something may have contributed to this, but there is nothing that I can think of at the moment. I just don't like scary things. 

Scary movies aren't happy. 
I'm an optimistic person. Now I know that there are certain horror films that end up having a happy ending (aka the protagonist barely survives), but waiting to put that at the very end isn't my cup of tea. 

The anticipation for something to pop out gives me anxiety. 
In an attempt to be less scared, I try to prepare myself for something to pop out. It's counterproductive in my case because I still get scared anyway and I'm already breathing heavily and hiding behind my hands or sweater even though nothing will pop out for another five minutes. 

Example: On one of my first dates with Darell, we watched one of the Twilight movies (don't judge) and a Paranormal Activity 2 trailer came on. I tried to prepare myself, but the shock of whatever had popped out freaked me out so much that I tried to hide myself behind Darell's arm, only to hit my nose on his arm and MY NOSE STARTED TO BLEED EVERYWHERE. What a way to impress a date. I mean, he is still here and that happened 4 years ago so I must've done something right. Haha.

I'm gullible. 
I believe what I see. I try telling myself that it's all just makeup and that they probably laughed and messed up in the takes before coming up with the take that got into the movie, but I'm so freaked out by what's on the screen in front of me that it doesn't help me at all. 

It gives me the feeling of being unsafe. 
The fact that the main characters are unsafe makes me feel unsafe. Part of this is my mom always telling my sister and I to watch out for everything around us when walking anywhere by ourselves growing up, so I was never at ease. I don't like being unsafe because what happened on the news could very well happen to me. And same goes with horror films. 

I'm not a fan of blood and gore.
You don't have to watch a horror film to see blood and gore, but I just hate it in general. Just the idea of blood and violence spewing everywhere is disgusting and sickening to me. I can't even look at my arm when I get blood drawn. What more when it's getting everywhere like a fountain spewing water or paint splattered on a canvas?

With some films, those events are definitely plausible in real life. 
Not everyone may agree with this, but I believe that we live in a physical and spiritual world. Because of my personal faith, I believe that there are forces (good and bad) at work in this world that we cannot see. And another reason that confirms that? If you go to most places outside of the United States, the people in that country are aware of the spiritual realm and are more in tune with seeing spirits and all that. 

So with films like The Exorcist or any film made in Asia, they freak me out all the more because of the spirits that are at work in those films or in similar situations in real life. When I was younger, my cousin and some other family told me of the spirits they've seen in the Philippines. My cousin had one in her house growing up in the Philippines! My sister was too young to remember, but apparently my sister had seen it too when we'd stayed there years later. NOPE. NOT FOR ME. 

See, I actually have some pretty valid reasons in my opinion about why I don't like scary movies. It's not an irrational fear because there is some meaning behind why I whine and complain when my boyfriend (who loves horror movies) tricks me into watching Paranormal Activity 2 instead of Footloose in theaters. (Darell, you remember that nightmare of a night). 

What are your thoughts on horror movies? Do you agree with anything I said? Any counter-arguments against any of it?

Chau for now