Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Overview + Looking Back on Goals

Hello from the Philippines! I've been having such a great time here, hence the lack of posts (which I warned about haha) but at the same time I'm also getting new ideas for future posts, and potentially... videos? 

Anyway, 2016 was a huge year of transitions for me. I moved to Australia, I got married, and I've been pretty much adulting for the rest of the year after that hahaha. Although a good chunk of my life wasn't documented here as it happened, I was still pretty active on social media (ahem, Instagram), and don't worry, many things I've experienced this year can also be saved for separate posts next year ;)

With the blog, I took a purposeful hiatus this time. Last year it was accidental and this year, while it was initially unintentional, I decided that I can't apologize for living my life in the moment. HOWEVER, I have gotten back into writing more regularly and it's been good (despite me being on vacation & slacking here haha, but you understand). Instead of pressuring myself to get straight back into my old schedule when I'd write 3 times a week, I now just have one post up a week until I feel comfortable to get back into more frequent posting. 
As I've done with previous years, let's look through my goals for this year: 

Blog Goals: 

[] Get back to at least 2 posts per week 
[] Send out a biweekly newsletter
[] Have Instagram following hit 1500
[] Have Twitter following hit 1k
[] Meet up with at least 4 other bloggers/influencers
[] Start selling something (whether physical or digital)
[] Make the move to self-hosted
[Does my wedding count if I use the photos for my blog? haha] Pose in at least one full-on photoshoot (with a makeup artist/hair stylist, photographer, etc) 

Personal Goals:
[] Go on a road trip with friends (carry over from last year)
[x] Take at least two major trips (domestic or international)
[x] Move. away from SoCal (; 
[] Read at least 6 novels for pleasure
[x] Go on a trip with Darell to anywhere
[x] Become fully self-sufficient (parents do not financially support in any way at all)
[] Take some kind of creative class (dance, crafting, etc)
[x] Regularly attend a small group

Okay, so I clearly slacked in my blog goals but like I said, I'm not going to apologize for living my life! That's the hardest part about being a content creator, I think. It's the fact that while it's something you love, you always need to be thinking about the next thing. When you're out with friends, it may be taking photos or videos for a blog/vlog post. When you're at home with your partner relaxing, you might actually be writing instead or planning out what to do next. It's a hard thing to do, but it is definitely worth it when you can nail it all down. For me personally, having a full time job also really drained me from being able to write as much as I wanted to, but thankfully I'm done with that so I can focus more here!

Having said all that, I am pretty proud of myself and my personal goals, however! I accomplished almost all of them, which is really great. I went to Gold Coast, Australia and here now to the Philippines for my two major trips. I moved away from Southern California. On my trips I went to this year, I went with Darell, my new husband :) I have become fully self sufficient financially. And I also finally began regularly attending small group at church, something I hadn't done for maybe two years or so until this year. 

I've been seeing a lot of memes about people saying 2016 wasn't that great of a year, it wasn't anyone's year, etc, but honestly it was my best year yet! Yes, it was the hardest and most emotionally draining for many reasons (hello, US election) but I wouldn't change anything I did this year for the world. I'm excited (but kinda shocked) that 2016 is done already, and I cannot wait for whatever next year brings! 

I hope you are able to celebrate the end of this new year on a positive note even if the year itself wasn't very positive! Happy new year, and I will see you next year ;)

love always, Kriselle

Monday, December 5, 2016


Hey y'all! So the last two weeks have been crazy with me finishing up my full time job, moving into the master bedroom of our home, and now packing for the PHILIPPINES!

I briefly mentioned it on Instagram a couple weeks ago but yes, it has finally come. We are heading to the Philippines for 5 weeks!

To be honest, we wanted to stay in Australia and work this holiday season because they pay so well in the holidays, but this year is also my family reunion for my mom's side of the family. I haven't been to the Philippines in 6 years (& Darell 5 years) so we decided to just take this time to enjoy with our families. Besides, we don't know when is the next time we'll be able to do something like this again!

We will be spending some time with Darell's family, as well as both my parents' families. When my family from America arrives just after Christmas time, we will pretty much go hard on doing touristy stuff for two weeks because it's part of the reunion celebrations and because my family is from there, we are less likely to do touristy things when we visit. We are even visiting the island of Palawan this time around, and I haven't island hopped in the Philippines probably since I was 3 or 4, so this will be a treat!

And then outside of those crazy two weeks, anything can happen! Our schedule is mostly free for the other 3 weeks that we'll be there without my American family so who knows what Darell & I will end up doing!

Having said that, we most likely will have some down time since we won't be in a hurry to do things most of the time that we're there, so I may have a blog post once a week while we're there, I might not. I will definitely try to do an end of year/new year post on the 31st and the 1st like I've done for the last few years since those don't usually take too long, but we will see! Hopefully I don't sleep our entire flight to the Philippines & maybe I can get some work done. 

We will also be vlogging our trip! Not sure how many vlogs it'll be but they will most likely go up after we come back. And of course, after the trip I will be posting specific posts about visiting the Philippines, the food, and so much more :) So until then, follow me on Snapchat (@duhhkrisellee), Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook where I will be posting updates!

love always, Kriselle

Monday, November 21, 2016

How to Move Abroad in 4 Months: A (Somewhat) Simple Guide

So it's official, I've lived in Australia for just over 10 months now, and it's safe to say that I've adjusted pretty easily and quickly to living here. Jobs pay well here, housing is cheaper (at least cheaper than LA/Orange County), and it's definitely safer here in the most "ghetto" suburb than anywhere else I lived in America.

I actually didn't intentionally mean to write this after the US election! It was a post I'd wanted to write for a while and it's been a little over a year since I made the decision to move here, so this time last year I was finishing up my last semester of school while also slowly transitioning myself out of America and into Australia.

Lots of people talk back home talk to me and tell me how jealous they are that I'm living in a place that is on so many peoples' bucket lists (although my hometown of LA is also on tons of peoples' bucket lists... haha) and how much they wish they could move out and do the same.

If you're one of those people, I say DO IT! As Nike says, JUST DO IT.

I know that it's never as easy as talking about it, but I was able to make the decision to move and take the steps toward doing so pretty much from the end of October/November-the first week of February. That's roughly 3 1/2 months. & it's not like I was working a full time job either! I was still a full time student for almost half that time, and I worked 2-3 part time jobs in the meantime. On top of that, I still had financial things to deal with (which I will go into later in this post).


Here are the things that I considered in the process of moving abroad:

LONG-TERM COMMITMENTS: Do you have anything that will potentially hold you down or cause you to hesitate in moving abroad? Is it a really good paying job that you may have to leave without guarantees of getting it back when you return? Do you have car or house payments to make? Or maybe there are children or older family members in the picture that need your care? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, see if there is any way to get around these things. See if there is someone that can take care of that family member or if there's children, see how you can take them with you. If it's long-term payments, see your options for those, whether it's selling, deferring payments, or if you can rent out either of those things to someone who will pay for it while you're gone (I don't know much about these things so I am not an expert on this stuff). With work, see if you can be transferred to an international branch or if your job can be set aside for you until you come back (this may only work if you'll only be gone one year/have seniority at your job). I know I've also heard stories of people moving to doing remote work for their companies as well! Even if you have these things holding you back, I definitely believe that it is still possible to move and travel!

If you answered no to any of these questions, then you're one step ahead! 

Thankfully, I made this decision when I finished my biggest time commitment: my college degree!

+ HOW I DID IT: This was me for the most part when I decided to move. The biggest obstacle for me was finding a roommate to take my place in my apartment (that was a nightmare). When my family questioned me wanting to move so soon, I said to them all of these things: I'm not physically or financially tied down to anything or anyone at that moment. Many suggested that I get a full time job first to save up a lot before moving but I said then I would be tied down and I wouldn't be able to pick up and move as freely as I wanted to. 

LEGALITIES: What are the laws for people who want to move into the country you're looking at? What kinds of visas are available for foreigners who want to move and work there, whether temporarily or permanently? Do you even have a valid passport? Please make sure that you are indeed, moving to your desired country legally and that you are eligible to do so. 

+ HOW I DID IT: For me, the easiest option was the Work and Holiday or Working Holiday Visa (WHV). It's a visa that allows foreigners from certain countries to live and work in Australia for at least one year. The WHV specifically for Americans (Work and Holiday) does not allow us to renew it for a second year, while for those who have the Working Holiday can if they work on a farm for at least 3 months of their first year.

While the WHV is relatively easy to get, especially for Americans (I got approved right after submitting my application), the downfall is that you cannot work at one company for more than 6 months while on your visa. This is because the visa is meant to allow you to travel around so they don't want you tied down to one job if you desire to move around the country. For someone like me who wanted to settle in one place, this was pretty sucky, but it's been pretty good still nonetheless. If you are interested in learning more about the WHV, I can definitely do a whole separate post on this in the future!

COST OF LIVING: Have you looked into what it would cost to realistically live where you want to move to? How is rent for a house or apartment in the city or suburbs? How well do certain jobs pay? What is the average cost of groceries? 

+ HOW I DID IT: My visit to Australia last October really put it in my mind that I was meant to live here for my next season of life. Because I had visited before making my decision (on top of my then-boyfriend/now-husband already living here), I already had an idea of what living here would be like. 

The US dollar is stronger than the Aussie dollar, making it easier to save up money for initial moving costs. With that considered on top of me wanting to live in the suburbs vs. the city, renting a room in an apartment or even renting out a room in the house I currently live at is at the same price/cheaper than what it costed for me to live in a less safer suburb back in America with less space. *Please also take note that I am from the LA area and lived in Orange County for the last 4 years so I am also in a more expensive part of the US.* 

Honestly, the most expensive part about living in Sydney is mostly American makeup brands, but that's for obvious reasons.

Next Steps to Moving Abroad:

SAVING UP/CLEANING UP: What is the plan? How much do you make per week? Can you do more to make money? What can you sell that you don't need anymore? What can you cut out of your daily

/weekly expenses? 

After considering all of the above, the biggest thing to do next is to save up. A lot of this means working more hours and potentially getting a second job (especially if you don't have full time work) but it also means starting to clear out your life so you can have less stuff (and also have some extra cash). This also means cutting out other things so that you can save up even more. Most of this is eating out and cooking your food/bringing your own food. If you also tend to do things like getting your nails done, you may have to cut down on that as well. 

+ HOW I DID IT: As I've stated before, I didn't have a full time job during this time. From October until early December I was in school full time so I pretty much just had one main retail job and for the month of November I interned at a marketing agency (paid). At some point I got a second retail job as well (I can't remember if it was during or after my internship) and worked those two jobs for pretty much the rest of my time in America. In between both jobs, however, I picked up random gigs, like babysitting, cleaning, and taking a friend's kid to school once a week. I also began selling my things. I worked my butt off to save up as much as I could. 

On top of that, I still had my bills and got into a solo car accident (thank God) plus a parking ticket (because I was scared to drive my car after said accident) that set me back a little bit as well. I got a credit card during this time to slowly build my credit and pay for some expenses until I could reimburse them (don't worry, despite all my financial setbacks I have never made a late payment & my credit score has risen 100 points in the last year!). 

PLANNING LIFE ABROAD AHEAD OF TIME: Do you have an idea of the city/suburb you want to live in? Have you started looking for jobs/a place to stay? Do you know anyone over there that can help you?

+ HOW I DID IT: This one was actually easy for me because my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) was already living here and I also have a cousin and aunt who live here as well. I was able to find a place to live through a Facebook group for people who attend or are involved somehow with my husband's school, but it was also nice to know that I could stay with my family or even some friends I made through my husband (he lived in a house of all guys, no girls could live there) if I absolutely couldn't find anything. 

Finding a job was much harder, as I did not secure a job before moving. On a WHV, it's much harder to secure a job ahead of time since most job postings online expect someone on a more permanent visa. HOWEVER, I did end up finding a job a week after arriving. For Sydney specifically (as I cannot speak for other places) it's much easier to get a job by going somewhere in person with your resume rather than applying online. However, do still try just in case!

*Travel pro tip: If you don't know anyone in the area you are moving to and are struggling to find a place to live, I recommend joining travel groups on Facebook. That way you are able to connect with and find people in your desired area before you head out there! Of course, as with all online friendships, use your discretion in meeting people. 


So once you work out all of these details, you're good to go! You can book your plane ticket and head on out. I had a goal of moving to Australia within the first or second week of February, and I bought my one way plane ticket 3 weeks before I planned on leaving. I was cutting it close, but I knew that I would somehow be able to make it happen. 

+LAST THOUGHTS: This period of time in my life was quite honestly one of the most difficult and most trying times of my life. There were times where I would just drive and cry heading from work to class or class to church or whatever because I was so stressed. I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for my bills or if I'd have enough to last me in Australia in case I didn't find a job right away (thankfully I had family generously help me out with some extra cash before I left). I had lots of obstacles in my way but everything somehow worked out great. I would think to myself, "When will I ever get out of this" and feel like I wanted to just crawl into a ball and cry but once I got to my terminal at the airport, all the pain and stress was worth it. 

So have you considered moving abroad but didn't know where to start, wasn't sure if it was possible? If you answered yes, I say go for it! If you have any questions about anything please shoot me an email or call me out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!
love always, Kriselle

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Why Christians Should Care About Race-Related Issues

Happy Monday to everyone in America, and happy election week! This is the week that will change the course of history of our country forever, regardless of the outcome.

Indirectly in honour of election week, I wanted to talk about an issue that has been on my heart for a very long time now, maybe even a year or so now: race in a Christian context.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time or even if you snoop around a little bit, you'll quickly find out about my faith. If you share that faith with me, welcome, fellow brother or sister in Christ! Make yourself at home. If you don't share that faith with me, welcome, fellow brother or sister! I will not treat or care for you any differently.

I'm just going to cut to the chase. Christians are some of the most racist and most exclusive people that I've ever met. And you know, that's pretty sad, considering that we are supposed to love as Jesus did.

It wasn't until going to a predominantly white, Christian university that I ever heard the term, "colorblind." Growing up in a lower class, immigrant/minority community, you knew very well what the race of the person next to you was, and you acknowledged it. There was no denying that. Especially when you grow up in a place where there were, in fact, gangs, based on racial/ethnic background.

When people use the term "colorblind," it's not usually out of malice. People who say this are probably not trying to hurt the person of color they're talking to. However,

it hurts.

& it's not just that. It's saying "but I'm not racist" when a person of color talks about their negative experience with white people. It's saying to "get over it" when venting about a race-related issue. It's talking about how people of color get scholarships for their race when white people don't. It's saying that race isn't important because "God created us all the same."

Obviously, you don't have to be a Christian to think this way, but I address Christians in this post because this is the group of people I notice this the most from. I grew up in the church, but I grew up in a secular community. College was the first time that I was fully immersed in Christian culture, white Christian culture, to be exact. So with my very contrasting experiences, I'm fairly familiar with how these two different groups of people tend to think about certain issues. 

It tends to be Christians who dismiss issues about race because it's racist to talk about it, or we are in a "post racial" society, or it's our fault that things are the way they are. 

I'm telling you right now if you've said any of the above things, STOP IT. 

You are not helping the problem by shutting down people and their experiences. The book of Genesis talks about how we are all created in His image, and that includes our racial/ethnic backgrounds as well. God wasn't colorblind when he created us otherwise we would all look the same, skintone wise. 

And I know that many Christians are against things like #BlackLivesMatter, but instead of going against it, why don't you mourn with your Christian brothers and sisters? If you hate Black Lives Matter but can say Blue Lives Matter, then the word "black" was the problem. 

I've said this before on my personal Facebook and I'll say it again, 

Jesus spent time with and cared for the people that society hated, the people that society oppressed. 

When Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman (a group of people that Jews never associated with), he did not ignore her or insult her. He spent time with her and cared for her, which eventually led to her salvation and belief in the Messiah. When a prostitute came to Jesus and washed his feet with an expensive oil and her hair, he looked past her past instead of shaming her for the kind of life she lived. In fact, many times, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the people who were considered to be "good" because they did everything about religion "right" for that time period. 

I can talk more in detail about anti-blackness and prejudices we have as a result of how our society was built and so much more, but that would just be babbling. If you've made it this far in the post, please just take this away from this post: 

As Christians, we need to be on the forefront of the hard issues such as race. Our brothers and sisters in Christ may be part of the very groups of people who are oppressed, and when your brothers/sisters are hurt, you don't get angry with them while they're down, you love them. You stand up for them. You care for them. We lay our lives down as Jesus did. And as Christians, we need to do the same. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween in Australia

Happy Halloween! This year was my first year doing Halloween in Australia, and I have to say, it's much less than it is back home. In general. 

I love Halloween. I know there are still a good number of Christians who don't believe in anything pertaining to Halloween, but dressing up is fun and candy is good (sometimes). No one is participating in pagan rituals or doing anything with the paranormal (at least I'm not cause heckkkkkk no). (Remember when I was Snow White and Pocahontas?)

Halloween got started in America so I can see why it's such a big thing back home, but it's only barely starting to pick up steam here. 

Halloween in Australia vs. America 

1. Halloween anything started popping up in shops pretty late/people started thinking about Halloween pretty late. 

I started seeing Halloween things around the second week of October, and it was really only this past week at work that I started seeing people really shop for/talk about Halloween costumes. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen ANY houses decorated for Halloween AT ALL (although I know very few stores sell stuff for it as well). 

To be honest, because of this mentality I didn't even think about anything Halloween related for myself until two nights ago. I decided to use a colour I don't typically use on my eyes (purple) and drew a spider web on the side of my face.

IN AMERICA: Halloween stuff can go up in stores as early as September and people (including myself) usually take months to plan out or come up with a costume!

2. Any kind of Halloween celebration is pretty much either a house party or a costume party at the club. There *might* be kids trick or treating on Halloween. Maybe.

IN AMERICA: It's more than just house parties & clubbing. While yes, we Americans definitely have that, there are more things that are more kid/family friendly as well. There are corn mazes, scary-themed theme parks (I'm not even sure if the theme parks here do that), pretty much every church doing a Harvest Festival of some sort haha, my friends & I even made dressing up to go to Chipotle for cheap burritos a thing! 

Granted, it's almost summer here in Australia so a lot of the fall-themed/Halloween themed things don't/can't apply here, but still! They need more choices!

3. In some places, they don't care about Halloween so much that they already start decorating FOR CHRISTMAS before October is even over!

Okay, so I get that Thanksgiving is not a thing here so they don't consider that, but to skip over Halloween, which is such a fun day to dress up & get scared (if you like that kinda thing cause I don't) & not to mention a potential real money maker for retailers if they choose to participate in it only to skip directly to Christmas is completely foreign to me! It's literally foreign because I am living in this foreign country compared to America. 

The local mall that I work at literally has Christmas garlands (for lack of a better word) up around the center already, & even has Santa's chair where you take pictures with him all set up already. Even though the sign says he won't come until DECEMBER. 

IN AMERICA: Although many people are thinking about Christmas before Halloween, no one even thinks about putting up Christmas decorations before October is over. 

I'm really hoping that Halloween continues to become a bigger thing here in the upcoming years because I will seriously be sad if it doesn't. Aussies, do you like Halloween? Do you think it's a stupid American holiday or do you want it to get bigger here as well? 

love always, Kriselle

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Our Engagement Story

So first things first. I am now married! & like I said in my previous post, I wasn't even engaged when I had written back in May. So before I get ahead of myself and talk about the wedding, I'll talk about the much requested engagement story. If you are knew to my blog or don't know us very well, check out our love story & how we came to be as a couple!

The week leading up to our engagement, Darell was acting very weird. He would do things like casually getting down on one knee to pick something up or tie his shoe, and when I would ask him about potential wedding dates (we were originally planning to elope) all he would say is "you'll find out soon," which is a weird response to when one should have their wedding unless they were planning something themselves...

Another thing about this: it was also our 6 dating year anniversary coming up, so the idea of getting engaged on our anniversary seemed very likely & something that I was lowkey hoping for. I mean, it makes sense, right?

We had gone on a date into the city the Friday before our anniversary, and part of me kept thinking that he would pop the question then, but when he didn't, I was also surprised, but still suspicious of the following Sunday.

So when the day of our anniversary came up, Darell was acting even WEIRDER. He was always pacing, always fidgeting, which he never is that way. Like at all. We've been together for 6 years, he doesn't have a reason to be that way unless he was planning something.

Our original plans for the day was to attend Vivid Sydney, an event every June where Sydney lights up in beautiful lights and and everything just seems magical. Pretty nice place to potentially get engaged, right?

Well the day of our anniversary was also probably the day for one of the worst rain storms of the season. It was pouring rain really hard and flooding in some places as well. When we got to church that day, he was pretty bummed out about the weather and kept leaving me to "go to the bathroom" or go with one of his friends to "check out gear" (when in reality he was meeting up with people to try & figure out what to do in lieu of our original plans).

Church ended & we decided to get lunch at a nearby mall. He said he really wanted us to go to the city but the weather would just make it really difficult (and on top of that when it rains like that they cancel the light shows anyway). You could tell that his mind was elsewhere. He is usually on his phone always checking things out, but today he was checking it with a sense of urgency. I was very suspicious of him at this point, but in an attempt to play stupid, I kept asking him to pay attention to me as it was our anniversary.

We killed time at the mall by walking around, buying polaroid film, and eating Mrs. Fields cookies with a hot chocolate. When it was almost time for the church night service, we had decided to head back to church. I know that we had just attended church in the morning, but we usually also attend the night service too unless we are in the city. Plus the night services have a MUCH more different vibe than the morning services. Sunday mornings are more like traditional church services, Sunday nights are like massive parties.

So we get to church and it's like any normal Sunday night service. Towards the end of the service, Darell decided to check his pulse on his phone (he has a cool app that lets him do that) and his sitting heart rate was 90 bpm (we also had been sitting for 20 minutes at that point). He showed it to me & I asked him, "Babe, are you okay? Why are you so nervous?" He couldn't answer me, haha.

The service ended & I could see that he was scrambling. He brought me out to the church cafe and we had "run into" one of his friends (that I later found out he asked her to be at that very spot). He & I hadn't taken a nice photo that wasn't a selfie yet & he asked me if I still wanted a photo. I said yes of course!

He took a look outside & the rain was still pouring pretty hard. We wanted to take a photo at the Secret Garden, a really pretty garden at Hillsong Church with twinkling lights hanging all over from a tree at the end of it. It's really romantic.

We hung around for a few more minutes as Darell was running around talking to people, then when he came back to me he asked if I was still down for it & I just said yes, we could just make it really quick. Then, not even thinking about the engagement, I almost felt bad that I was insisting on taking a photo in this garden in the rain.

But like God's hand over our relationship (which would later also happen on our wedding day), the rain let up to a sprinkle, the lightest the rain had been all day. As we were walking to the garden we were amazed at our timing.

There was a family taking photos at the garden so we waited for them. One of our friends, who had sat with us with her husband during the service & already said they had to go home & we said our byes, showed up at the garden & told Darell to angle ourselves in such a way. I was 95% sure he was going to propose to me at that point.

Darell started talking to me about things we deserve in life. He really struggled to get the words out, but long story short, he said that we get what we don't deserve, and he didn't deserve me.

By this point we were standing at the tree already, and the family before us had hung around & yelled, "now all you need is a ring!" & Darell & I both wished they would leave haha.

He finally got down on one knee & pulled out the box & opened it (upside down, hahahah he was verrrry nervous), and asked the question, "Will you marry me?"

Even though I had suspected it, I was still surprised & teared up a bit. It happened so fast but I vaguely remember nodding my head & saying yes.

Darell's other friends had reappeared and we all took photos & celebrated. We couldn't say anything on social media yet as we wanted to make sure we told our parents before anything. But yeah, the rest is history.


Fun fact about where we got engaged: when I first learned about the garden when I first arrived in Australia, I joked with Darell about getting engaged there because I loved the twinkling lights. I always told Darell that I wanted him to propose to me however he wanted, I just wanted the moment captured so we could remember it forever. He did just that :)

Anyway, so there is our engagement story! I know that many friends & family wanted to know what happened so here it is :) I will be writing about our wedding eventually but that will be for another time. Until then xx

Sunday, October 16, 2016

10 Things I Learned at 21

Happy birthday to me! So yesterday was my birthday Australia time, but back in the States it is technically my birthday so I think a birthday post is still pretty relevant.

The year of 21 felt unreal to me. I started off 21 super sick from jumping into the ocean in 50 degree weather, then went on to finish my Bachelor's degree, move to another country (and continent), get married, and pretty much adult to the fullest. I'm sure you get the picture of what this last year must have been like for me.

I've learned A LOT. I've learned a lot of practical things, but I've also learned lots of "life lessons" and things about myself as well. So without further ado, here are 10 things I learned at 21 (I originally was going to do 21 at 21 but this post would go on forever):

1. I learned how limited my alcohol intake is (BUT I've also enjoyed the journey of trying different things).
Okay, so I kinda already had an idea of this before 21, but since I then officially became legal to drink, I've drank and tried a few different drinks this year, but I've experienced first-hand that I really cannot handle too much alcohol. I don't like most of it anyway, but it's been fun trying different drinks and feeling so grown up in doing so as well, haha.

2. If you want to move to another country, you need to be committed to it.
Around this time last year I made the decision to move to Australia this past February. I decided that I would move not long after finishing school and surprisingly and miraculously, I made it. In about 4 months I managed to clean up my life in America, save up enough, and move to Australia.

I will be honest, it was probably one of the hardest times in my life. I had prayed a lot about moving & God had confirmed it in so many ways, but once I jumped on board with the plan fully, everything seemed to be going wrong. Issues with my classes in my last semester of school, not working as much as I had wanted in one job, forcing myself to have 2 jobs plus tons of extra side gigs at one point, roommate situations not working out, getting into an unexpected car accident, plus so many other things. It seemed like everything was going against me but I also knew in my heart that it was where I was meant to be. I'll talk more in depth on my journey getting here in a future post.

3. Just because people may disagree with a decision you make doesn't automatically make it wrong.
As a journalist, I would hear this quote that was something along the lines of, "if there's no controversy it's not true journalism" or something like that. Pretty much, it's saying that everything you write (or in this case, do) should say something and get people talking. If people are talking about what you're doing or saying (good or bad) you are getting people to think and have conversations about certain things. It also definitely means whatever you're doing isn't boring which suggests that you're doing something with your life.

Anyway, what I was trying to get at was that lots of people questioned the decisions I made this past year. Around this time last year I made what seemed like an impulse decision to move to another country that my then-boyfriend was living in right out of college with no money. I mean when people on the outside look at it, it can seem really cool but when you're living it or someone close to you is living it, it may look foolish. Especially if you're not even engaged to your partner.

I definitely didn't do things "traditionally" after college (aka get a full time career) which worried a few people in my life, mostly family. But in my perspective, I always did things "right"--I did really well in school, I participated in tons of extra curricular activities, I was involved with the local church, and I didn't party/smoke/drink. So to me, I wasn't doing anything wrong, it was just different.

I had to learn to be confident in my decisions because at the end of the day no matter what anyone said, I would be the one living with the direct consequences of my actions. & for me, I felt in my heart & soul & from God that I needed to make this change, despite what outsiders may have thought of it. It's been a long journey this past year learning to be more brave, but it has been so good, so healthy for me.

4. Marriage (so far) isn't as scary as people make it seem. 
Okay so granted, I've only been married just under 3 months, but I feel like the scariest part of the whole process from boyfriend/girlfriend to engaged to married has been dealing with backlash for getting married as young as I am (which honestly isn't that bad).

Maybe Darell & I are still in the "honeymoon stage" or maybe it's just because Darell & I have been together for so long already, but the adjustment period to marriage has been easy so far, and other than bickering that we do every now & again, we've been doing great!

I know that lots of people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but someone once also said it's healthier not to have that mentality because expecting it may actually make it more likely to happen. And it's stuck with me because my whole life, people have tried talking me out of marrying young (this was even before I met Darell and even before I ever considered marriage). People always said to me growing up that marriage meant that you couldn't do the things you wanted or it meant that children would happen not long after so marrying young would pretty much end my independence as we know it.

I will talk more about this in a future post but marriage isn't, nor should it be like that. Maybe it was the people in my life just trying to get me to accomplish something greater than myself, but maybe it was also their honest thoughts on how they view marriage, but either way it is not a healthy way of thinking and I suggest that you should learn to develop your own ideas & attitudes on marriage on your own as you grow & experience relationships & life.

5. Trying not to eat out every day when you work full time is actually really hard!
So I bring my lunch to work about 4 out of 5 days a week, give or take a day depending on the week.

Darell & I are trying to save money for major expenses we have but also just in case something comes up & we need it, so we've been setting aside a huge chunk of money every week & limiting eating out so that we can save.

It's pretty fun & I feel really accomplished bringing my lunch to work every day & saving myself $10-$15 a day because I'm bringing my own food, but the temptation to buy "freshly" (depending on where you're getting food from) made food, or even a snack or dessert to go with my meal is still there!

Sometimes I still buy a chai latte or a hashbrown from McDonald's in the mornings because I get whiny & antsy when I don't eat anything in the morning, especially if I have lots of time to think about it. I work in a retail store that is VERY SLOW in the mornings (like sometimes I'll be lucky if I can get people to even walk into the store before lunchtime) so if I don't eat, I'm just standing there thinking about my grumbling stomach until I can shut it up with a drink or some food.

Don't be like me. Save money. BUT, having said that...

6. It is very possible to live on half your income (if you work full time) as a married couple. 
Darell & I both work, but since he's in school most of the time, I work full time. To save money faster, I set aside almost half of my income into savings right when I get paid. I also set aside a small portion of what I get paid to tithe.

If you aren't familiar with tithing, it's the Christian ritual(?), for lack of a better word, of giving a portion of your best to God. This is usually what most people refer to when they think churches are just conning people to give money to the church. & unfortunately, some churches do that, but most churches will never force anyone to give money to the church. It's supposed to be about your heart & not how much money you give.

ANYWAY, with the income I have left over from setting aside all that money, I am still able to pay rent (in Australia it's weekly), buy groceries, & if Darell & I want, we can eat out a couple times a week. We can't eat nice food, but we can still eat decently if we get lazy one night. & what Darell gets paid pretty much goes to gas & anything he may need during the week. Or it can go towards us eating out as well.

So technically, we aren't *poor* or living that broke life at all, but we choose to so we can save up. If we didn't have to pay for school or bills that come every few months or whatever, we could live a pretty nice life. But I think we're just fine with how we live.

Shoutout to Buzzfeed for the inspiration for this recipe!
It got really sweet after a while but omg it was amazing.

7. Buzzfeed Tasty is my best friend for cooking.
Since getting married & moving into our home (that we share with roommates), I've been experimenting so much more with food since the kitchen we have is the kind of kitchen I've always wanted. It's not my dream kitchen but it sure is the nicest kitchen (and house in general) that I've ever had.

Listen, if you need recipes for anything, Buzzfeed Tasty is AMAZING! & their recipes are pretty on point & easy to follow if you keep replaying the parts you need over & over again. They have saved my life & also helped me really get into my desire of wanting to bake/make desserts from scratch.

(btw, this is in no way affiliated with Buzzfeed or Tasty at all, I just love their recipes!)

8. Many people actually think they're very entitled. 
I pretty much do the work of a store manager at my work, and from spending so much time with so many people, I've realized just how entitled people think they are.

People will damage a shoe because they walk a certain way & say it's a manufacturer's fault. (There isn't even anything wrong with the shoe beyond a couple scratches!)

Our return policy is that you can't return for choosing the wrong shoe. We have a sign in the store that says this & our receipts say you can't return. You can exchange, but not return. But people still come in demanding refunds because a shoe didn't go with an outfit. Sorry, not our problem!

Don't worry, I have a whole list of these that will also go into another post.

9. The best friends are the ones that you can go months without talking to but once you do, it's like nothing has changed. 
This is something I've always known, but moving away from my closest friends has really emphasized this & brought this to light. Because of differing schedules and time differences, it gets pretty hard to talk to some of my closest friends, but when I do get to talk to them, things feel so normal & it's great.

10. How to drive on the opposite side of the road.
As many of you probably know, Australia drives on the left side of the road while America drives on the right. I've had to learn how to drive on the other side of the road & while it's a little frightening because laws are slightly different here & roundabouts are everywhere, it's actually not that bad. I think it's good to be able to drive on both sides of the road so that no matter where you are, if you need to, you can navigate things yourself.


So I know this was a long post but 21 was a very pivotal year in my life, probably one of the most pivotal so far. So many changes, so much growth has happened in the last year. I only hope & pray to continue to grow & learn in all aspects of my life this upcoming year. Here's to 22!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hi, My Name is Kriselle G, Nice to Meet You

Hello! It's been a while since I've been here, but with good reason! You might be able to tell by the title that a lot of things have changed for me since I've last logged on, and I wanted to share a little bit of that. 

First of all, I'm married! I wasn't even engaged when I last wrote a couple months ago but Darell proposed to me on our 6 year anniversary and we got married 6 weeks later. (& for those of you wondering, no, we are NOT pregnant). 

I won't go into too much detail about the last few months right now because that'll be for another post at another time, but pretty much it was the perfect timing to do so. It may have seemed a little fast but the rest of our relationship wasn't (I mean it's been 6 years) and in so many ways, everything kinda just fell into place for us and we knew that getting married when we did was perfect for us. 

We are still living in Sydney. Darell just started his second year of school and I've been working full time since the time we got engaged, and since the wedding is done, we are settling into our daily life together as husband and wife. 

I'll be posting about the wedding and the wedding planning process soon, but for friends and family in America reading this, don't worry, we are going to do a big wedding down the line. The Aussie wedding was intimate and simple, but we of course want to share the love with our huge families and friends back home. 

This is like my 50th time "restarting" the blog so I won't guarantee a certain number of posts per week and what not but I will say this: I will be working on this blog and my business as a content creator. I will say that even if you don't see any content up here on the blog, just know that I am still working on something behind the scenes. 

There are a couple ideas I have in mind that I need to sort through and work out, and I may or may not get back into Youtube in the future! These are all dreams of mine that I hope to accomplish with the help of some blog friends & my handy dandy husband :) 

Also, this blog will be shifting a bit as you will see in my content. This blog is meant to help others (mostly myself) live & love life better. & one way to do that is to talk about serious topics. So sometimes, you may come upon a post regarding race or different aspects about marriage that may not be easy to talk about. I believe that talking about the hard stuff is so important, and change can't happen without it. I will still share things in regards to food or fashion or whatever, but I am going to take a stance here and let you know right now, it's gonna get real. 


So I hope that you sit back, relax, and stay tuned for what is to come! I'm excited to share this journey with you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I am Officially Graduating: 4 Lessons Learned in College

This week I'll be back in America for my graduation! As you're reading this, I'll already be back in the States! It's such a bittersweet time for me so I think it's a perfect time to reflect on some of the things I've learned over the years. I have changed so much.

#1: Find something to believe in, and fight for it with everything.
College is a really great time because you are newly an adult and for most of us, newly on your own so it's a perfect time to explore your interests. I think it is also a very important time for us to think critically because it is during this time that we encounter so many different people and so many different viewpoints that we should be thinking about what is really important to us. As they say, if you don't stand for anything, you'll fall for anything. 

For myself, it was in my sophomore year of college when I was the representative for all the Asian/Pacific Islander students at my school that I discovered my love, passion, and need to be a voice for all the Asian Americans out there because there is still so much injustice yet silence surrounding the Asian American community. I realized that there was still a stigma of Asians not sticking up for themselves and just letting things pass without doing anything about it. I realized for myself that I needed to be part of the change to change that. 

#2: Being alone doesn't mean you're a loser.
I am an extrovert. I love people! When I first started in college you couldn't leave me alone for more than an hour or so before I started to freak out about being by myself. I didn't like going anywhere on campus by myself especially at such a small school (especially going to the dining hall alone) and the times that I was alone felt like I was a loser. It seemed like the "cool" kids were never alone & that if you were alone even though no one would ever say anything to you, people would treat you almost like an outcast in the sense of they'll be cordial to you when they see you but that's about it. 

Well, in my sophomore year (that year was pivotal for me in my personal development haha), I lived in a dorm that was very isolating by nature and I also got into binge watching tv shows, so I spent a lot of time alone that year. However, it ended up being good because I learned to be okay being by myself. Even as an extrovert, I realised just how healthy it can be to have time to yourself, not only to rest, but to also just focus on your own. I also learned to love going places by myself because it made me feel more independent. I enjoy & actually take advantage of time that I get to myself now. 

#3: Everything about how we were raised comes up real quick when you're living with roommates.
Freshman year was the first time that I ever lived with other people outside of my family. Although my roommates & I generally got along great, we realised just how much our habits are affected by our pasts and how we were raised. With the 3 of us, we were all raised very differently & the results of that meant that we definitely clashed at times, which is very normal in roommate relationships. I just think it was a wakeup call for all of us to evaluate different aspects about ourselves in regards to how we affect the people around us. It has definitely been (and still is) a growing experience to be living with people from so many different backgrounds. 

#4: Burnout is real. So is time management and rest.
I am one of those people that has a lot of interests so I want to be involved in as many things as I can. Ever since high school, I've always done advanced classes plus being involved with clubs in school plus a sport plus being involved in church. And I always still managed to do well. I wasn't expecting much different of myself in college, however it wasn't until my junior year that it really was finally catching up to me, and when it hit me, it hit me hard. 
If you've been following my blog for a while now, then you'll know that 2015 was a little rough for me blog-wise. I really slacked on it last year because my time management was off and I also had burned myself out packing on the units while still working between 2-3 jobs at any time and still being involved at my home church as well. So when I did have time to rest, I did instead of blogging. It was necessary, but with how much I love and put an effort into my blog, I wanted to stay on top of it. But now, I'm hoping to really be back with the help of Darell plus some friends that I recently found out here in Australia that blog as well! 
I've learned so much in the last few years in college, especially at a private, Christian university (I'll save that post for another time). I'm very sad that my time is over, but I am also very happy to be done and move onto the next part of my life in Australia. But no matter what, I will always cherish this time of my life for teaching me so much about myself when I thought I had already known myself so well. So here's to that. Let's celebrate!! 

Chau for now

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Most Heartbreaking Reality About Working in Makeup

Okay so my 30 day writing challenge was a bust, but a big chunk of it was because of this post that I've had on my heart for so long, and the thought about waiting until May to publish it really kept me from writing. Yet it's almost May. Woops. 

So anyway, as I've mentioned before, I work in a makeup store. It's called Gloss, and for those of you who aren't from Australia, think of it as a Sephora-meets-drugstore-brands. It means that you can test basically any product in the store, but the prices are ridiculously affordable. 

& of course, as with most makeup stores, we sell foundation. Sometimes I'll get asked to match a foundation for someone's face and it's actually one of my favorite things to do, because a well-matching foundation can do wonders for someone's overall look. Usually, these women aren't wearing makeup already (or they're wearing very little) so if this is the case, I ask if I can apply one shade to half of their face then we can apply another shade to the other side if it doesn't match perfectly. We also have face wipes handy so that they can wipe the makeup off their faces after. 

Sometimes, I'll match a person and they'll take every suggestion I give them in regards to the foundation, makeup, anything really. It makes me feel good because although I am no professional by any means, it's cool to know that maybe I actually do know a thing or two about makeup. 

However, many times we will also get many women of colour (usually Indian women) where I will match them to the perfect, and I mean PERFECT shade on them (it looks like they're not wearing makeup!) but they don't like it. 

*looks at other foundation colors* "Can we go lighter?" 

*looks at self in the mirror & turns to me while I am smiling at myself in accomplishment* "Ahh, it's too dark!"

It is usually at this time where I'll tell these women my honest opinion & tell them how amazing they look with the foundation & give them my honest opinion about what putting on the lightest shade of foundation (while they are my skin tone or darker) would look like on them. I try to be polite, but still brutally honest in saying that it won't look flattering on them. I then continue to try and encourage them in the way they look with the correct matching foundation. My coworker has even used powder highlighters on customers' faces to show them how these ladies can brighten their faces while still wearing the correct shade of foundation. 

Now look, I know that a woman should be able to look however she wants to look. BUT, if she is using makeup to hide behind it, it isn't healthy at all. Especially if the woman who looks perfectly beautiful & fine in her skin tone is saying, "I want to be whiter/fairer." 

This is a result of colonialism. 

Because in history Europeans have invaded so many countries, many of these people in these places see those with the lighter skin as those with power. They see the treatment that people who are darker get for no reason other than their skin tone, and they want to be lighter. 

In Asia, skin-lightening is a BILLION DOLLAR industry. Like what?! Even my parents have contributed to this industry by buying whitening products for my sister & I when we were younger so we could become lighter. I remember them coming home from the Philippines with whitening soaps, whitening lotions, whitening deodorants, anything you could think of for us to lighten ourselves with. If you look at media in Asia, most celebrities are really pale & with westernized features. Hell, people even get eyelid surgeries so they don't have the defining Asian feature of a monolid. 

& it's really so, so sad. 

So many women all around the world think that their value, their worth, their beauty is less just because of their skin tone. & it really frustrates me & breaks my heart when I come across these kinds of women at work. & it really sucks because many of these women are actually older than the age of 30. You would think it would be younger women but no, it's the older ones. So this mindset is engraved into their brains. 

What can we do about it? 

We are beautiful no matter how we look. Photo cred: Hannah Bernabe
We can start featuring women of colour in media, & a wide range of women (dark and light skinned Asians, dark and light skinned black women, etc). We can start with the younger kids, the younger cousins/nieces/daughters/students that they are beautiful just the way they are. We can start setting the examples ourselves by loving the skin we're in (or learning to do so if we don't already) so that other women can see that it is possible to be confidently beautiful even if you're not as white as a piece of paper. 

I've learned quite a few things while working in the world of makeup, but this, by far, has been the most frustrating & heartbreaking thing that I've realized. I can only hope & pray that someday women won't feel the need to use makeup to hide behind, but rather use it to enhance their natural beauty. 
Chau for now