Thursday, September 24, 2015

Transitioning into Fall || #ootd

Today is officially the first day of fall! Fall is my favorite season because the weather is always just right, the colors are my favorites (yay for the color orange), and of course, it's my birthday season. 

Although I love summer mostly for the long days, I'm really tired of the weather and am excited for fall to come into full swing. 

The best way to transition into fall for me? No, it's not Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I like fall outfits. 

Black Shoulder Cut-Out Shift Dress: c/o Lyss Loo // Wide Brimmed Hat: Cotton On // Black Purse with Gold Chain: Forever 21 // Snow White Statement Necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique // Brown Peep-Toe Booties: Cathy Jean

I received an adorable shift dress with shoulder cut-outs from Lyss Loo recently, and I have a feeling that it will be my go-to piece this season with some booties and maybe even tights depending on how the weather is. The fabric itself is light enough to wear on warmer days, but because it's black, long, and has some sleeves, it can also easily be worn as the weather cools down with a scarf or boots as well. 

Shift dresses are so great no matter what the season because they are so easy to dress up or down or even according to the weather. I have a shift dress that is spaghetti straps, perfect for the summer. I have another one with long sleeves, perfect for winter. & now I have this cute shift dress with a trendy aspect to it--the shoulder cut-outs--that I can wear for fall and even the spring, as well as the other seasons as well. 

I am so excited for all the layering, the pants, the scarves, and just being able to put more clothes on as fall season comes around! Yay! (Plus, just 3 more weeks until my birthday!)

What are you most excited about for fall? 

Chau for now

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Live, Love, Lead Wherever You Are

We all have dreams, but many times people in our lives bring us down and our dreams are limited as a result, or we just give up on them. It kinda sucks, doesn't it? 

Well, for the past couple of weeks I've been reading Live, Love, Lead by Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, the Sydney church that has made a huge impact around the world. 

He encourages those reading the book with his own life experiences, some very real, raw, and sad, but he always talks about how faithful God is when we trust him. He talks about the humble beginnings of Hillsong Church and how never giving up on that dream and keeping his focus on his vision (and lots of reliance on God) got him and the church to where it is today. He talks about how as servants of God, loving unconditionally and with a heart wide open is how we should approach others. He talks about his wife Bobbie, and he talks about some very deeply rooted emotional struggles he has been through and how he has turned that into something encouraging to others. 

I am not finished with the book yet, but I am so excited to read it. Every time I read a new chapter I feel empowered and encouraged. I want to keep going and keep reading what he has to say. 

I received this book to share with you my thoughts on it and to help promote it (this post is not sponsored by the way. I'm not getting paid to do this). But I think that for myself, God wanted to do something more with this book for me. 

You see, because my boyfriend, Darell, is attending Hillsong College in Australia, as a welcome gift, all the students received advanced copies of this book as well. He & I have both been reading it together and sharing what stood out to us in each chapter and what our dreams are for our lives as well. We both firmly believe that it is not an accident that we both received advanced copies of this book at around the same time, and this book is bringing us closer together and closer to our Creator. 

I just had to share that because the tagline of the book is "Your best is yet to come." I firmly believe that for myself, for Darell, and for both of us as a couple as well. I think it's true for all of us. If we continue fighting the good fight, great things can and will happen. 

This book is an encouraging reminder for all of us to live life, love others, and lead others (as well as ourselves) wherever we are. You will be able to relate to Brian Houston's pain and you will be encouraged by his stories and the little tidbits about where God comes in all of this. It's such an intensely inspiring book and I highly recommend for you all to read it if you get the chance!

If you are interested in more information about the book or would like to buy it, check out

What are your favorite inspirational books to read? 
Chau for now

Saturday, September 12, 2015

DIY Sugar Skull Pt. 2

It's barely mid-September, but it's seriously never too early to start thinking about Halloween. I mostly like Halloween because it's a day to dress up and be something (or someone) different, and for me, I like transforming myself into different things to see how much different from myself I can look and how closely I can get myself to resembling whatever (or whoever) I am. 

I decided to paint myself as a sugar skull from Dia de los Muertos again (see my first skull from last year) because I was inspired by a couple sugar skull designs that Paper Source carries on some of their Day of the Dead products. (However, please note that this post is not sponsored by them. I simply work in one of their retail stores and stare at these products every time I work!)

 So it's pretty simple. 

+ Start with a clean face, with no makeup (I had my eyebrows done in this photo & realized I had to wipe them off after). 

+ Use a sponge and apply white face paint all over your face, or half of it, whichever is comfortable with you. I did half of my face last year, so I decided to go full face for this look. (Forgive me for looking so creepy). 

+ I did the eyes next, & unfortunately I got so into doing my face that I forgot to stop & take photos at each step. I painted my eyes as red hearts using a paintbrush and then I filled them in before outlining the outside of the heart. 

+ I took yellow paint afterwards & painted flower petals & also outlined them with black paint.  

+ I did the teeth next by simply drawing a line through the natural line of my lips & slightly extending them past my natural lips. I filled in a little bit of pain in the inner portions of my lips to show a slight space between the teeth.  I then drew lines through it to represent teeth. 

+ I painted the flowers at the top of my forehead next, and they were the part that I was most excited about. I simply used a sponge to create a space of orange or pink (I demonstrated an orange rose in this case). I then took my brush and did an uneven spiral to represent rose petals. For the pink flowers I did in this look, you simply paint a circle for the center of the flower then paint the petals coming out of that. 

+ You can really customize the look doing whatever you want after this. I did a few squiggly lines, a few petals, a few dots under my eyes, and a purple heart for a cool color to balance out all the warm colors on my face. 

I'm still working on my face painting skills so my face doesn't look as perfect as a lot of the photos that come up on Google, BUT the good thing about that is to let you know that it's okay if your face doesn't come out as picture perfect and evenly spaced like what you come across on Google, because chances are if you're reading this you typically don't do face painting or makeup for a living. You're probably just someone looking for an easy but cool look for Halloween, and that's totally fine. 

I got at least one more Halloween look coming up on the blog, but that won't be until next month, so keep an eye out! If I get inspired, I might do some more looks :) 

I still don't know what I'm gonna be for Halloween though. Do you have an idea? 
Chau for now

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Music with Nichole Nordeman + a Giveaway!

Something that I've been doing lately is trying to listen to more Christian artists. Now before you assume that I'm one of those Christians who think that secular music is of the devil, I don't think that. In fact, I enjoy secular music. I don't enjoy all of it, especially a lot of what is mainstream today, but I do like listening to it. 

The point is, I've been trying to be more intentional with the music I'm listening to and trying to limit listening to secular music mostly for the messages that a lot of them have. I do still listen to it, just not as much as I usually do. 

Enter: Nichole Nordeman. 

Capitol Christian Music Group, the same record label that manages artists such as Kari Jobe, Hillsong, and Jeremy Camp, reached out to me and introduced me to Nichole Nordeman. 
She's a Christian artist who has been in the industry for a while and she released her first album in 10 years just recently, entitled The Unmaking. It's a relatively short album with only 6 songs so they're nice to listen to in the car for short trips. I play her songs on the way to school in the morning. 

I will say first that I'm pretty picky with Christian music that I listen to. When I listen to Christian music or partake in any kind of Christian media, it is very easy for the content to be very cheesy and stereotypical in its message. With Christian music specifically, while I love the message of pretty much all Christian songs, it is the actual melody and arrangement that makes it or breaks it for me. 

With Nichole Nordeman's songs, there were definitely a few of her songs that stood out to me. Something Out of Me, Name, & Unmaking were my two favorite songs on the whole album. 

Something Out of Me & Name both talk about our value in God's eyes and talk about different aspects of that. Unmaking is about being broken down spiritually and finding God through that. These songs were the most catchy and upbeat to me which is why I liked them so much, and Something Out of Me is the most reminiscent of some early 2000's pop songs as well, which is something I also enjoyed, haha. 

So if you want to take a listen for yourself, I'm giving away a copy of the "Unmaking" CD to one lucky winner! Nichole's album is also available for purchase if you can't wait to listen have it for yourself:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Chau for now

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Oceans Apart: Let's Talk About It (Communication & Long Distance)

Regardless of whether or not you're in a long distance relationship (or LDR for short), communication is hands down the most important part of a relationship. And when you're away from your significant other, it becomes that much more important because if you two slack on communication, limit communication (as in how much you tell each other), or just don't do it at all, then your relationship is doomed for failure. In an LDR, communication becomes that much more important because most of the time you can't see or physically be with that person, so what you say (or don't say) makes that much more of a big deal. 

It has been almost 2 months since Darell has left to go down under, and I have to say that we've been pretty well lately! The first couple of weeks were tough because we weren't talking much mostly due to Darell adjusting to his new schedule and just being very busy, but now that he has settled into his new home and now that I am getting back into the swing of school and work, we both have developed our system when it comes to talking. 

Now while we don't have a set schedule for when to talk, we usually communicate throughout the day as we can like how we normally would. With the time difference I basically go through my mornings & sometimes afternoons with him sleeping while for him, it's his evenings that are when I'm sleeping. I have school and work to keep me busy while he's usually just hanging out with his friends at home or sometimes at church/school. 

My biggest recommendation for communication in long distance relationships: Don't get butthurt if your partner is too busy to talk every now and then. 

Now I say this for myself as well because there are definitely times when Darell's schedule is so busy or he goes long periods without wifi (we can only talk if he has it) and sometimes, being the person that I am, I overthink the situation way too much and I think the worst of it. 

I'll admit, sometimes it definitely is hard enough that I can't talk to him whenever I want because of the time difference, but because of international charges we are also even more limited when we talk. However, I think the biggest positive out of the situation is that when we do talk, our conversations are usually cute and fun! It's safe to say that we both appreciate them that much more. 

Some other tips for successful communication in LDR's: 
- OPENNESS AND HONESTY. Darell and I make it a point to be open and honest about everything, even if it might hurt. We try our best to be transparent with each other, because we all know that hiding things even if its to protect that person usually does more harm than good in the end. 

- DON'T STRESS TOO MUCH ON EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG. This was me in the beginning right after Darell left. If you keep bugging that person and getting on their case about everything that could go wrong, it just doesn't make for healthy or productive conversation. It will most likely end in a fight and because of the distance, it's so much easier to ignore the other person. I'm not saying it's the best, healthiest, or right way to handle this kind of situation, but we are human and do things without thinking when we're mad sometimes. 

- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. I think I'm going to write a completely separate post detailing how much social media helps in long distance relationships. It's such a blessing for us to be living in this time where you can instantly talk to or even "see" someone on the other side of the world through a portable device. It's pretty great. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or even Periscope, use these platforms to help your relationship not feel so far away. 

- KEEP ROMANCING YOUR S/O EVEN IF YOU'RE APART. For me, when Darell leaves me sweet messages to wake up to, that's his way of making me feel loved and it's a cute surprise to wake up to. For me, it's a little bit harder to speak his love language but when I do something for him here at home or keep him updated with everyone back home, he still feels very apart of life in the US, sorta. Haha. So whether it's surprising them with unexpected love posts on social media, or sending a care package, or whatever you know they will love and appreciate, do it. Don't just get comfortable, keep loving them and keep showing it too, because it's very easy to forget that when you're both apart and on completely different schedules. 

Those are my tips for now! The biggest struggle is just not being able to hug or kiss him when I want. Other than that, the open and constant communication makes us feel like we are both still apart of each others' lives, and that's how it should be in an LDR. They are still part of your life, they're just not physically there, and it's important to show them that they still mean something to you. 

Anything else about communication in LDR's I missed? Let me know! 

Chau for now

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Last Semester of College: A Time of Transitions

As you may know if you follow me on social media, I just started my last semester of college this week! It is such an exciting time for me, but at the same time it is quite scary with so many question marks and unknowns. 

I like to think of this time as a time of transitions. What most of that entails is my transition out of college and into the real world. For example, I'm living in an apartment off campus. I made my schedule as light as I possibly could to set aside more time to work. I am starting to look for jobs more in the field that I want to go into, rather than just looking for a retail job just for the sake of getting paid. Shoot, I even changed my hair color again to match the season (yay for fall! But mostly I just love the color rose gold). 

I will say that if you are in the Orange County area or even LA/San Diego & are willing to drive for good service & great prices, check out The Loop Salon in Costa Mesa! Chelsea owns the salon & she has done some amazing things with my hair in the last 6 months! 

I just finished my first week of my last semester and I don't think it could've gone any better. I got to catch up with friends and I really like my classes this so far (although I'm not sure how I'm feeling about my senior capstone class... 40 pages for my senior thesis woo). 

And amidst everything happening, I have to remind myself to stay grounded in my faith as well. I mean, I go to a Christian university but this semester I want to do more with my faith than just flow with the rest of the school. I want to (and need to) continually renew myself everyday and have my own time with Jesus, even if it's as simple as a conversation on my way to and from school. The last couple of weeks before school was really good in my one on one time with my Creator, but with school starting and late nights starting to affect my sleep, I am going to have to work that much harder to make God a priority. Of course, it will always be worth it. Knowing that I will be taken care of and am seen as valuable in His eyes will always be worth it. 
It is so crazy and exciting to believe that I am almost done with my traditional undergraduate career, but I'm in a very fun time in my life right now. I fully intend on living it up before I have to go into the real world!
Chau for now