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!

2019

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!

Easiest Cherry Apple Pie Recipe (Chapel Pie?)

5 Steps to Help You Finally Get Started On Your Book!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wanting to write a book for a long time. In fact, I actually found my 6th grade yearbook, and I wrote that I wanted to be an author as my “dream job”!

However, it’s been 14 years since then, and I still haven’t written anything. Why? It’s simple.

It’s hard to get started.

And if you’ve ever thought you wanted to write a book, you know first-hand how hard it is.

But I have awesome news: I finally started! And here are 5 things that have helped get my butt in gear. ⚡️

1. Dig deep into your passion

Ask yourself why you want to write a book. What’s weighing on your heart? What story do you want to tell? Don’t write a book to sell. Write a book to write.

Once you figure out exactly what you want to write, everything else will almost fall into place.

2. Nail down your genre, topic and style

This one is a bit trickier, and I’m still working on this myself. But before you really get down to business (to defeat the huns 😉), you really need to solidify exactly what your story is, which genre it falls under, define your writing voice and the style in which you want to present your story.

As I’m writing, I find that I keep going back and forth between writing styles, and I know this will make it very difficult in my editing process. So, to save yourself the hassle, try as best as your can to nail down the following:

  • Topic – What do you want to write about? What is the story you want to tell? And WHY. Answering the WHY is probably my favorite part about writing, because it helps me refine my topic. Ask yourself why you want to tell the story you’re wanting to write, and everything else will be much more clear.
  • Genre – After you nail down your topic, you can further refine it by placing it in a genre. For example, you could want to tell a story about a young woman who moves to a new town, but it could take so many different turns depending on the genre. If it’s a sci-fi, she could encounter a fifth dimension. If it’s a romance, she could fall in love with the mayor’s son. If it’s a thriller, she could be running from her ex-husband. You get it.
  • Style – How do you want to present your story? Do you want to paint a big picture in the beginning and slowly get into the nitty gritty? Or do you want to start your book off with a bang? Do you want to structure your chapters in short segments, or long ones? Will your story incorporate flashbacks throughout? These are all important things to think about and consider before you begin writing, because they can change the whole dynamic of your book.

3. Outline, baby!

Remember dreading writing essay outlines in high school? Guess what! They’re actually super useful (and necessary) when it comes to planning your book.

I’ll admit, when I was still in the “I’m thinking about writing a book” phase, I almost skipped the outline step because I couldn’t even be bothered with it.

BUT, once I finally sat down and forced myself to outline my ideas, I felt so much better.

Jot all your ideas down, and then organize your thoughts into a structured outline. From there, you’ll have a much better direction for your book, and you won’t lose track of your grand idea!

4. Join communities (online & offline)

Once you begin your writing journey, reaching out to other writers can be really helpful to you! Having a group of fellow writers and authors at your disposal can help keep you accountable and motivated, and it can provide you with tons of insider tips for the writing and publishing process.

I’ve found helpful writing communities in Facebook Groups, Pinterest, Twitter and even Reddit! (A separate post on my favorite writing communities is coming soon 😊)

5. Create your writing space

I once read somewhere that you should write in the same place every day, because it will help you to…

  • Establish a routine
  • Associate a certain space with writing
  • Help you keep the same voice

Whether or not these things are true, you should still take the time to create your own special writing space. Why? Because if you think about it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time writing your book, so you may as well be comfortable!

(Note: I feel like I have to mention, I haven’t even done this yet! I’m still hunched over at a desk with bad lighting and a hard, wooden chair. But hey, baby steps!)


I hope these tips help you get closer to your dream of writing a book! Are you in the process of writing a book, or want to get started? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!

5 Steps to Help You Finally Get Started On Your Book!

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! 💛

2018

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? ❤️

Blue Christmas

I’d Wear This Dress Every Day If I Could

What’s the one item in your closet that you’re obsessed with? The one thing you reach for again and again because it makes you feel comfortable, beautiful and confident? For me, it’s this dress right here. My mom passed this on to me, and I love it!

I was also able to track it down and discovered that it comes in tons of other prints! (And it’s on sale right now!) So it’s safe to say I’ll be buying one in every color under the sun… 😊

I hope you have a great Monday! ☀️

 

I’d Wear This Dress Every Day If I Could

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? ❤️

Trusting His Timing When You’re Impatient

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.

Brighten Your Monday With A Little Maui Magic

10 Blog Topics That Generate Tons of Traffic (and how to promote them!)

Whether you’re just starting out with your blog, or you’ve been blogging forever, everyone can use a few new ideas here and there. I write for a living, but even I need inspiration sometimes! So I put together this list of my favorite traffic-generating blog post ideas. Happy writing!


1. How-To

What do you do when you need to know how to do something? You Google it. And guess what? So does everyone else.

This is basic SEO: If tons of people are searching “How to bake a pecan pie” and you write a blog about baking a pecan pie, they will land on your site!

Side note: When I wrote my blog on Pecan Pie, I wrote it because I had just done it and I was proud of myself. Ironically, the next day, “Pecan Pie” was trending on Pinterest! Win-win!

So, the best way to make sure you write posts that will generate a lot of traffic, is to make sure you know what is trending at the time.

2. Recipes

Since I mentioned it above, I figured it would be a perfect segue… Recipes are fantastic traffic generators because they can be shared to Pinterest!

If you spend a lot of time on Pinterest like I do, you’ll know that recipes are one of the most popular pins, which means if you write a recipe blog and share it on Pinterest, you’ll likely have a viral blog on your hands in no time! (Or you’ll just fall into a deep Pinterest black hole of no return. It happens to me daily, it’s fine)

3. Guides

Are you an expert in something? Whatever it is (baking, gardening, business, childcare), if you have tons of tips and expertise, putting together an essential guide can land you tons and tons of traffic.

People are always looking for “ultimate guides” online, so creating one will guarantee a spike in traffic and interest.

Tip: Want to increase your traffic AND email subscribers? Offer your guide as a download that your followers can receive via email! 🙂

4. Questions

Do you know what the top Google search is? (No, it’s not Jeffrey Dean Morgan… is that just me?) The top Google search is posed as a question!

If you center your blog post around frequently asked or commonly asked questions, your blog will go traffic crazy.

Why?

Because Google has this fun thing called a knowledge graph, and if you answer a common question in your blog, your site might be posted in this nifty little box!

Here’s a crackin’ example of Google’s knowledge graph:

5. Product reviews

I love working with brands and I love reviewing products, because it’s fun and helpful to readers. Product reviews are a high traffic generator for two reasons:

  1. Shoppers constantly search for reviews and testimonies from real people (aka bloggers)
  2. Brands often repost product reviews or sponsored content

6. Contests

Who doesn’t love free stuff? If you’re lucky enough to be hosting a contest, you will also be lucky enough to reap the benefits of more blog traffic! Everyone loves contests, and if you host one on your blog, it will be clicked on, engaged with, shared, reposted. You get it.

7. Advice

Just like the How-To and Questions blog topics above, “advice” blogs are extremely popular. A few weeks ago, I was actually searching for advice online and instead of finding news articles or medical journals, the first things that popped up were blogs!

If you have advice to offer, post a blog about it! Chances are, there are a bunch of people who need to hear what you have to say. And even if it doesn’t go “viral,” you’ll still be able to sleep easier at night knowing you helped at least one person with your advice. And that makes it worth it, right?

8. Travel

Have you recently gone on a trip? Are you in the middle of planning a trip? Are you a full time traveler (or at least trying to be?)

Then write about it!

When I mentioned that one of the most popular type of pins on Pinterest are recipes, the other types are travel-related. Everyone wants first-hand knowledge and tips in regards to travel, and these posts can never go wrong!

So if you’ve recently traveled or are planning to, posting a blog about it will result in traffic galore for you.

Tip: Bonus points if you write about how to travel cheaply!

9. Gift ideas

Since we’re right smack dab in the middle of the holidays, it would be wrong for me not to include a “gift ideas” blog topic.

BUT the amazing thing about these type of blogs is that they perform well any time of the year, making them evergreen (aka they never go out of style).

People are always searching for the “perfect” gift, and they’re always searching for gift guides and gift ideas, so create a really awesome one and get those views!

10. Personal posts

This is my personal favorite, and although it won’t get you the viral, crazy traffic that you’re looking for, it does give you loyal readers that keep coming back for more. By being open and letting your readers into your personal life, you’ll soon create a solid community, which is the most important thing in this blogging world.


These are my favorite traffic-generating blogs, and after working in the marketing world these are the topics I’ve found that have always performed the best for my clients, too.

Do you have any blog topics that have driven tons of traffic to your site? ⚡️

10 Blog Topics That Generate Tons of Traffic (and how to promote them!)

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! ❤️

My Faith Journey