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.