2019

Wow, life’s been crazy since the last time I wrote here (over two months ago!) And there’s lots of changes happening in my life, too.

Changes to this online space

You’ve probably already noticed the major change in this online space, it looks way different than it did a couple of weeks ago! That’s because I’m shifting my focus and taking a step back from blogging, ads, paid and sponsored posts. Instead, this site will now primarily be my digital portfolio with a side of “personal” posts here and there (aka this blog). Since moving here to Oregon, I’ve really lost my spark for blogging and I’ve instead found new passions offline, which is a breath of fresh air.

I started a new job

A few days ago I joined the Bowtech team as their Marketing Programs Coordinator, and I’m pumped! I’ll basically be in charge of the marketing programs and events, manage their celebrities/ambassadors, and run their social media. I also get to attend their events (one of which I’m heading to in a couple of days!). I’ve been a huge fan of this brand for over a decade, their American-made, and they support everything I believe in — I’m so proud to be working my dream job for an incredible company!

I bought my first car

If you know me, you know how hard it is for me to spend money. I’m so cheap and I love saving my money that I work so hard for. But, since I know this is my home now, I knew it was time for me to buy my own car. After doing tons of research on things like safety, handling, cargo space and fuel efficiency, I landed on a Volkswagen Tiguan and I love it!

Celebrated my first holidays here in Oregon

Moving to Oregon just in time for the holidays wasn’t planned, but it was perfect! I got to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in my new home here in Oregon and it was different, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I was with family, and it was great! We didn’t get snow on Christmas, but it’s been a pretty mild winter which I think is a blessing in disguise (I don’t think I’m ready for freezing weather quite yet!)

Rang in the New Year in San Francisco!

For the New Year, my boyfriend and his parents and I road tripped down to San Francisco to watch the Ducks Bowl Game (we won, of course). Then we rang in the New Year together and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge the next morning. It was by far the best New Year’s I’ve had yet!

Fell in love

Since being back here in Oregon and spending more and more time with Dave and his family, I’ve fallen more in love. We’ve known each other for 8 years, but only reconnected in the last 6 months. He’s the type of person who makes you want to be a better person and reminds me how important it is to live life in the moment and have fun — and I’m so thankful for that. He’s everything I needed, and I didn’t know it. He makes me laugh until I hurt, and he’s made me the happiest I’ve ever been. And in being with him, I’ve learned what a loving, trustworthy, honest and healthy relationship is supposed to be. We’re 8 years in the making, and I’m excited and hopeful to see where God leads us in this new year!

Published
Categorized as Life

Easiest Cherry Apple Pie Recipe (Chapel Pie?)

During this holiday season, I got really into baking. I spent hours in the kitchen learning new recipes, trying to master techniques and appreciating the art-form that IS a perfect pie crust.

One of my most favorite pies I made was a makeshift cherry apple pie (with a homemade crust!)

This was my favorite pie to make because I didn’t follow a recipe! I had one can of apples and one can of cherries so I decided to wing it. And this delicious pie was the outcome.


Cherry Apple Pie Recipe

What you need:

Pie Crust: I used the same recipe as the last pie I made! Find it here.

Pie Filling:

Pie Topping:

  • 1 tbs melted butter
  • 1 tbs sugar (I used turbinado, but any kind of sugar will work!)

How to make it:

  1. Make your pie crusts using this simple recipe.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, and allspice in a large bowl.
  3. Add apples and cherries and toss until mixture is well coated.
  4. Heat oven to 400°F.
  5. Place pie crust dough into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Press the dough firmly against the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
  6. Roll the extra disk of dough on your floured surface. Slice the dough to create ribbons to weave across the top of your pie.
  7. Pour the apple mixture onto the crust in the pan.
  8. Add your dough ribbons to the top of your pie. You can weave them, braid them, or lay them randomly like I did – it will all taste the same! 😉
  9. Press the dough strips into the sides of the pan so that they adhere to the crust edge.
  10. Cover the edge of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent the crust edges from burning.
  11. Bake 35 minutes. Remove aluminum foil. Brush the crust with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  12. Continue baking for 10-20 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  13. Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes, so the filling can set.
  14. Then enjoy!

If you decide to make this, tell me! I’d love to hear what you think! This was one of my favorite pies I’ve made so far, and it inspired me to get more creative in coming up with my own recipes!

2018

 

It’s here. A brand new year. A fresh page. Clean sheets. New eyes. Open book. Empty road. Endless possibilities.

2017… Never before have I been so moved by a year. There was good, bad, blessings and a whole lot of questioning, “Am I doing the right thing?” It was love and loss all wrapped into one. It was discovery, turmoil and awakening. It was a year I’ll never forget, because it was a year that shaped me, yanked me, nurtured me, changed me and ripped me apart all at once.

But 2018? 2018 is the year that puts me back together. 2018 will be my rebirth. And I’m ready, oh so ready.


Things that will be mine this year:

Before I get into my personal goals, I’m going to preface this: What do the words, “want” and “hope” mean to you? For me, they’re empty. They don’t tell me anything. You can “want” all you want, but as long as you don’t DO something, you’ll never achieve anything. When I hear people talking about their New Year Resolutions, all I hear is “I want to do X” or “I hope to achieve Y” or “I want to quit Z.”

How about we rephrase our goals a bit? What if instead of:

I want to eat healthier this year.

We say:

I WILL eat healthier this year.

Doesn’t that just sound 10 times better?

Food for thought. Okay, now here are some things that will be mine this year.


Happiness & Strength

This past year was extremely rough on my overall happiness and personal strength (emotionally, mentally and physically). I endured so much during that time, and it has been a long drawn out process getting back to ME again. But I’m determined!

I’m determined to find happiness in the little things, in every day life, in myself. I’m determined to not seek happiness in anyone or anything else – because I know it all starts within ME.

Vibrant Health

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d know that I used to be really sick. But over the last two years or so, I haven’t been! In this new year, I am going to kick my health up a notch. Say goodbye to sugar (for the most part, let’s be real), cut down on unhealthy foods, and figure out a workout that works for me.

But that isn’t all. I need my body to make me proud. I don’t want to do this to “look good,” I just want to feel good. (Of course, looking good is great too! So I’ll take it 😉)

My First Book (!!!)

About a month ago, I started writing my first book! I’ve had ideas floating around my head for years, but I finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I am determined to finish it this year to get it ready for publishing in the next year!

New Surroundings

Late last year, I relocated back from Canada to Hawaii. This is a temporary, “long vacation,” if you will. I’ll be moving again in June, but the exciting part is, I haven’t decided where I’ll be going yet! I just know the new year will bring new surroundings, new adventures and yet another brand new start.

A Better Blog/Brand

This year will be the year that I officially up my blog and brand. This will be the year I turn a profit from this blog, make it a secondary income (or main income? Wishful thinking…), and increase brand sponsorships/collaborations.

Another huge thing that will be happening this year, is my freelance consultations! If you take a look at my work page, I’ve listed some services that I will offer come the new year! I’ve been working in this industry for 5+ years and I’m proud to say I’m pretty good at it (semi-professional, if you ask me). SO! All that to say, I will be offering services in the new year and I’m so thrilled!


Lastly… Thank you.

I want to wrap this up by saying thank you. If you’ve been with me since I started back in my college dorm room, or if you joined me while I was in China, or when I moved to DC, or if this is the first blog you’re reading, THANK YOU. 

These last few months has been the hardest time of my life, and sharing my thoughts here on this blog and reading your comments serves as an escape.

I’ve gotten lots of warm messages from readers over the years, and it warms my heart to know that my words mean something to you. That I can inspire you, or uplift you, or bring you some sort of comfort, advice or entertainment, means the world to me.

Writing is all I know, and the fact that you are here reading this right now brings me so much joy.

I’m so grateful for this space and I’m so grateful for this teeny tiny community of incredible, beautiful people. Here’s to another year together!


What are you going to achieve this year? Tell me, I’d love to know! 💛

Blue Christmas

This year’s Christmas was full of love and I was so lucky to be surrounded by family and people who love me. However, that doesn’t mean the holidays weren’t hard on me, because they were.

I think it’s tough on anyone who just got out of a relationship to celebrate the holidays because of all the memories associated with them. Also, ’tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, I’m sure we can all agree it’s hard to be jolly when everything is so different.

This year, I didn’t have a sappy caption under an adorable photo. I didn’t kiss anyone in front of the tree. I didn’t buy gifts for my “future in-laws.”

This year, I’m alone. But it’s okay.

Sure, I still find myself fighting back tears when all the memories start to weigh on my heart and the loneliness seeps in like a blinding fog.

But with each day, it’s getting easier, and I know it will only continue to get easier as time goes on and I become stronger and happier.

The holidays were exceptionally hard for me this year. And now, I finally understand why there are so many people who dread this time of year.

And if you’re one of them, I truly hope you find comfort in the coming New Year – a time to start fresh, push the past year aside, and move toward your future.


Now that I’ve got that off my heart, here are some photos from my Christmas this year.

I was lucky enough to spend it with my family and loved ones. We cooked, baked, laughed and shared memories. It was a wonderful day, that I’ll miss next year when I’m somewhere new.

Here’s what my Christmas looked like.


How did you celebrate this year? ❤️

Trusting His Timing When You’re Impatient

I’m impatient.

I’m the type of person who wants results, wants to get things done, and I don’t like wasting time or waiting around for things to happen. And I certainly don’t like waiting on other people to do something for me.

The kicker? Christianity tells us to trust in God’s timing.

So, this led to me to share this today.

This is easily one of the hardest parts of being a Christian. Being patient and trusting that He knows what He is doing and He knows what is best for us.

So how can you trust in His perfect timing when you’re impatient like me? Well, I’ve gathered a few of my favorite verses that have helped me be more patient, trusting and faithful during times when I’d rather not be patient.


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. (Ephesians 4:2)

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. (Romans 12:12)

The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)


What are your favorite bible verses for staying patient and trusting God? ❤️

Brighten Your Monday With A Little Maui Magic

Happy Monday! I spend some time this weekend organizing (and reorganizing) my photos, and I found so many of these beautiful photos of Hawaiian skies. So I figured, what better way to brighten someone’s Monday than with these shots?

If you’re dreading going into work today, just remember that we live on a planet full of beauty. And even if you don’t live in a place like Hawaii, simply remembering that places like this exist is reason enough to smile through your day.

Spread the “Aloha Spirit” today and make someone smile, do a good deed, be positive, brush off negativity and just be happy. Have a great Monday! 💛

P.S. You’ve got a whole team of friends and family who love you and are rooting for you. And no matter what you’ve got on your plate, you can handle it. Give it your all. Try your best. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing all you can. And no one can ask for more than that.

My Faith Journey

I’ve been wanting to somehow incorporate my faith into this blog for a long time now. I touch on it here and there and I occasionally throw a few verses on Twitter now and again, but I want to go more in depth. So I thought: Why not add a section to my blog dedicated entirely to my faith? There’s so much I want to discuss and talk about and offer advice on, but I figured I should start with a little backstory on my journey through faith. So that’s exactly what this is!


I was raised in a Christian home. God was mentioned. There was a cross on the wall. We went to church on the big days (Christmas, Easter, etc). I attended a religious school. But growing up, I never felt a true connection to God and faith. It was always there, but it wasn’t really there.

When I went off to college, that’s when my faith really started to slip. And no, it wasn’t because of college life, parties, boys, staying up late, and faith not being the “cool” thing. That wasn’t it at all. During college, I went through some of the toughest times of my life. I lost a friend in a drunk driving accident, another drowned in a lake, another committed suicide, my grandfather was killed by a speeding driver, my stepmother lost her battle to cancer, and my uncle lost his battle to cancer, and I was also sexually assaulted toward the end of college.

All of this left me questioning where God was and why He would allow these things to happen. I fell out of my faith. I didn’t completely stop believing, but I just fell away from it all for a while.

It wasn’t until I moved to China a few months after graduation, that I cracked open my bible again. I was homesick and feeling extremely lost living in a foreign country, that I felt all that could help me was scripture. So I started daily devotionals, and they brought me peace, but still I didn’t feel that connection to Him.

When I met my last boyfriend, God was everywhere. We met because of a bible scripture. When we were long distance, we prayed together every night. I got a job with a lady who went to their church. I started going to church again and really getting involved with volunteering and I joined a bible study group. I even had a bible study group at work, and we met at lunch to go through bible studies together. And there were just so many other incredible things that had God’s name written all over it, but basically I actually felt God.

Through this, I felt His presence. I felt a strong connection with Him. I finally felt like I developed a strong, real relationship with my faith. And now, I read the Bible every day. I do devotionals and bible study plans every day, I read my Christian bloggers, and I talk with friends about faith.

Right now, I’m at such a great place with my faith and I owe it all to the hardships I faced. I think sometimes, it takes getting to a really low point to realize the only way to go is up. I was at one of the lowest points of my life and after straying away from my faith, I was pulled back to it in a completely unexpected way that can only be explained by God.

One of the things I love so much about religion is that faith aspect: Believing in something without even seeing it. Because if you can believe in that, anything is possible, and so far that’s proven to be true for me and my journey.

I love my journey because it’s so uniquely mine, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me and my faith.


Are you religious? Have you ever strayed from your religion? I’d love to hear your stories of how you came to faith! ❤️

Pecan Pie and Homemade Crust

I love eating pie, but I’ve never baked a pie.

Sure, I’ve picked up a frozen pie from the grocery store and heated it up in the oven… but I’ve never actually baked one from scratch.

So this Thanksgiving, I wanted to challenge myself. I baked a pie, but not just any pie. I baked what is probably the sugariest pie in the world: Pecan Pie (and I made my own crust!).


For the pie and the crust, I followed recipes from The Pioneer Woman (I love her!)

Pie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable shortening)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough in half. Form 2 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

See original recipe here.

Pecan Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (salted)
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. I made this mistake and took my pie out while it was too jiggly and my pie turned out very liquidy! 

Allow to cool for several hours. Serve in thin slivers (because it’s super sweet, although I had a huge piece because it’s so good!)

See original recipe here.

Thanksgiving at Home

The last two Thanksgivings have been very different. Last year, I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving because I was in Canada (so I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October). The year before that, I was living on my own in DC, and I spent Thanksgiving by myself.

So this year when I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was over the moon.

We spent the day baking and cooking, watching the parade, playing board games, and of course… napping. It was perfect. Here are some photos from that day!


Spending the holidays with my family will always be my favorite thing to do. Did you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family? How did you spend the day? 💛

Thankful

I love the holiday season, because it has a special way of reminding us to show gratitude and make family time a priority.

So much has happened this year, and I think it would be strange if I wasn’t thankful for it all.

It’s been filled to the brim with ups and downs. I’ve been at my highest and I’ve certainly been at my very lowest. But you know what?

I’m very thankful for everything that I’ve gone through over the past year, because all of it has helped me grow in one way or another. And, if I hadn’t experienced the things I had this year, I wouldn’t be where I am – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Before I get into what I’m thankful for, I feel like I need to preface this by saying I’m the type of person who is simply amazed by everything, I’m grateful for everything, and I think everything is beautiful. So picking and choosing just a few things to add to a list is difficult. But here we go…

Here are just a few things I’m thankful for 🍂

A perfect & loving support group

Right now, I’m at a place in my life where I feel like I’m constantly overwhelmed with love. Since moving back home, I’ve been supported non-stop. Being back home again helped me realize that family really is the only constant, and no matter what happens in life, no matter how far I move, no matter how big the mistakes I make, my family and close friends will always, always be here supporting me and lifting me up when I need it the most.

My health

If you’ve been following my story for a while, you’d know I used to be very, very ill. (Like, almost needing a transplant, almost being put onto an IV drip twice a week, taking oral chemotherapy sick). But over the past year, my health has drastically improved. I’m happy to say I’m no longer on medications of any sort, and I’m just happily living my life, pain-free!

My faith journey

Over the past year alone, my faith has gotten so much stronger. I’ve been a huge part of my church, I dive into the bible every day, and I live each day with a more christ-centered focus. I was raised a Christian, but never really had a strong, personal relationship with Jesus until this past year and I’m so glad I found it. I look forward to continuing my faith journey and getting deeper into the bible and gaining more fellowship and community!

Sunsets, waterfalls, beaches, rainbows (you get it)

Since being back in Hawaii, I see everything with a fresh pair of eyes. And I have a newfound appreciation for all the little things. I never thought I’d miss Hawaii so much, but after being away from my islands for over two years, I realize now that this is my home and my heart. Every day, I’m given a new piece of beauty to be thankful for. Yesterday, I was given not one, but two rainbows! The night before that, the skies were painted purple and pink. And even though it’s raining and storming outside today, Maui still has its magical way of turning a gloomy day into a beautiful one. I’m grateful to live in paradise, but I truly believe there’s beauty everywhere. Wherever you are in the world, find the beauty in it. Seek the wonder and be thankful that this is your home.

The opportunity to live all around the world

Over the past few years, I’ve lived on two continents and on a rock smack dab in the middle of the pacific. I’ve gone from Oregon to Hawaii to China to Hawaii to Washington DC to Canada and back to Hawaii. (And I’ve got something in the works for the next place I choose to live, but I’ll wait to announce that one… Hint: it’s going to be huge, like really huge)

Anyway, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to live all over the world. And I even lived out my dream of living abroad!

The ability to plan for the future

I’m thankful for the ability to make plans for the future. I know lots of people who are so stuck in their lives or limited by jobs, debt, finances, or family situations that prevent them from even dreaming. And that’s heartbreaking. So, I make sure to show gratitude when I make plans for my future, because I know there are so many people who are unable to do that.

My last relationship

This one is a bit tricky, and you might be thinking: “Why would you be thankful for a relationship that ended?” And well, I’m thankful for it because it taught me a lot about love, life, and ultimately, myself. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ve read all my posts about my relationship as it was unfolding – all the good, the happiness, the love, how we went from long distance to living together. But I haven’t spoken about how it all came crashing to a halt, and I don’t intend to. It’s private, personal and out of respect for others involved, I’ll keep it all to myself (and my journal).

But there are some things I do want you to know.

Sure, it was tough, it was heartbreaking, it made me an emotional, anxiety-ridden wreck.

Even so, I am unbelievably grateful for it all.

I’m thankful for all the fights we got into – how minuscule or colossal they may have been, for all the nights spent crying and alone, the yelling and driving off, the anger, the frustrations. I’m grateful for it all because they all taught me something about living with someone, loving someone else, and most importantly, they taught me things about myself, too.

I’m also thankful for all the good, happy memories we made together. I’m thankful for the laughter, the slow dancing in the kitchen at midnight, the banana bread baking on a Tuesday afternoon, movie nights with his family, and making plans and promises together. I’m thankful for being loved, and being able to love so greatly.

It’s because of this relationship that I’m in a place right now where I’m focusing on myself, my happiness, my overall well-being, my growth.

For that, I’m thankful.


What are you thankful for this year? Tell me, I’d love to hear!

And, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!  ❤️