Saturday, July 26, 2014

THE BLOG HAS MOVED!

Unfortunately, I'm saying bye to Blogger and have decided to move the blog to WordPress! 

Follow me here now: http://amandamlim.com/

See you there! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DIY Grad Ribbon Leis

Hey everyone!!

Wow has there been a lot going on lately. I know it's been a while and I haven't been updating lately but I promise there are a BUNCH of posts that are overdue. I have lots of recipes I want to share and other random stuff. But for this post I want to focus on what consumed my life for the past two weeks!! That's right. TWO WEEKS. And I'm not joking either. This took about 5 trips to Michael's and all my time outside of work.

Some of my dearest friends graduated this past weekend and rather than buying flower leis or flowers, I decided to make ribbon leis using tutorials online. If you remember what I did last year, I made simple ribbon leis featured in this blog post. However, I wanted to step it up a notch this year. And man, was it a lot of work. But it was totally worth it for the people that I love!!


Alright, enough small talk. Let me go through all the ribbon leis I made and how I did it and how much each cost.
  1. WHITE / TEAL
    • Tutorial here
    • Instead of making loops the length of the needle, I created loops 1.5 lengths of my needle. I didn't realize this til later but this takes longer to measure!! Next time, I'd probably rather buy a longer needle to make this one.
    • *TIP: It's easier to do this with the ribbon loops bunched up right at the bottom of the needle. Don't pull the needle and thread all the way through; follow this tutorial and keep the needle at the base near the looped ribbon. 
    • White ribbon - 5 spools 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Teal ribbon - 5 spools 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Total cost = $5.00, Total time ~6 hours
  2. TEAL / GREEN
    • Tutorial here
    • I made loops the length of my needle.
    • For some reason, with smaller loops, the loops don't seem to be as randomly placed. So I decided to go with a spiral pattern. Every time you loop, nudge the loops to either the right or left and continue pushing them in that same direction throughout the whole lei.
    • *TIP: It's easier to do this with the ribbon loops bunched up right at the bottom of the needle. Don't pull the needle and thread all the way through; follow this tutorial and keep the needle at the base near the looped ribbon. 
    • *TIP: If I were to do this style again, I would probably need 2 more spools of each color to make it a longer, fuller lei.
    • Teal ribbon - 5 spools 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Green ribbon - 5 spools 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Total cost = $5.00, Total time ~5-6 hours
  3. PINK / CORAL ORANGE
    • Tutorial here
    • I made loops the length of my needle.
    • For some reason, with smaller loops, the loops don't seem to be as randomly placed. I did this one half spiral half random.
    • *TIP: It's easier to do this with the ribbon loops bunched up right at the bottom of the needle. Don't pull the needle and thread all the way through; follow this tutorial and keep the needle at the base near the looped ribbon.
    • *TIP: If I were to do this style again, I would probably need 2 more spools of each color to make it a longer, fuller lei.
    • Pink ribbon - 5 spools 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Coral orange ribbon - 5 spools 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Total cost = $5.00, Total time ~5-6 hours
  4. BLACK / GREEN
    • Tutorial here
    • I tried doing this with 1.5in ribbon and 1/4in ribbon but the color of the 1/4in ribbon barely stood out and I wanted it to. So I opted for 7/8in ribbon and 5/8in ribbon to make both colors stand out.
    • Black ribbon - 2 spools 7/8in thick, 7yd long - $3.99/spool
    • Green ribbon - 1 spool 5/8in thick, 20yd long - $3.99/spool
    • Total cost = $11.97, Total time ~5 hours
  5. BLACK / RED
    • Tutorial here and video here
    • This one is the same style I made last year so this took the least amount of time. 
    • Black ribbon - 1 spool 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Red ribbon - 1 spool 3/16in thick, 6yd long - $0.50/spool
    • Total cost = $1.00, Total time ~2 hours
  6. BLACK / ORANGE
    • Tutorial here and video here
    • This one is the same style I made last year so this took the least amount of time. I'd say about 2 hours because I used really thin ribbon.
    • Black ribbon - 1 spool 5/8in thick, 10yd long - $3.99/spool
    • Orange ribbon - 1 spool 5/8in thick, 10yd long - $3.99/spool
    • Total cost = $7.98, Total time ~30 minutes
  7. BLACK / BLUE
    • Tutorial here
    • I made loops the length of my needle.
    • For some reason, with smaller loops, the loops don't seem to be as randomly placed. I did this one half spiral half random.
    • *TIP: It's easier to do this with the ribbon loops bunched up right at the bottom of the needle. Don't pull the needle and thread all the way through; follow this tutorial and keep the needle at the base near the looped ribbon.
    • Black ribbon - 3 spools 3/8in thick, 10yd long - $1.79/spool (on sale)
    • Blue ribbon - 3 spools 3/8in thick, 10yd long - $1.79/spool (on sale)
    • Total cost = $10.74, Total time ~3-4 hours
Well now you know what kept me busy for the past two weeks. It does take time for the more complicated leis, but I feel like a gift says way more when you put more effort into it. Oh and here's a snapshot of the really simple, quick cards I made for my friends. With leis taking up all my time, I didn't have time to make anything fancy.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you find it helpful for future graduation ideas! Also, congratulations to everyone who graduated this spring!!! Here are two of my favorite verses for you all:

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wishing all of you recent graduates all the best!! :)

     Love,

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekly Faith: Week 20

Hello everyone!

I know it's been a little while since a real Weekly Faith post, but I just had to share these two songs that I've been hearing on the radio lately that I've been really liking. They're really encouraging and I hope they help you start your weekend on a positive note :)

Press On - Building 429 feat. Blanca Callahan

Remain - Royal Tailor

Seriously, I hope everyone has an amazing long weekend. I hope these songs start your weekend off right! Also, don't forget the real reason why we have a holiday on Monday. Don't forget to remember those who have risked their lives fighting for us.

     Love,

Friday, May 9, 2014

Easy Mother's Day Gift Idea for <$20!

Hello everyone!!

It's May 9th. Mother's Day is May 11th. Need a quick, last-minute Mother's Day gift that won't hurt the wallet too much? Or a Mother's Day gift for your boyfriend/girlfriend's mother? I have an idea that's less than $20! My boyfriend and I went shopping for each other's mothers and we coordinated to get gifts that turned out to be about $17 each. I think the coordination was key though because we got to split good deals but Bath & Body Works has great deals going on right now so you can probably figure out how to make it work whether you go with someone to split or on your own.
Here's what is included in each gift:
  • 1 3-Wick Candle (retail: $22.50)
  • 2 Foaming Hand Soaps (retail: $13)
  • 1 Pocketbac Sanitizing Hand Gel (retail: $1.75)
What it would normally cost per gift: $37.25
What we paid per gift: $16.50!

How we got our deals:
  • 2 3-Wick Candles for $22, making them $11 each
  • 4 Foaming Hand Soaps for $18, making them $4.50 each
  • 5 Pocketbac Sanitizing Hand Gels for $5, making them $1 each
  • $10 off a purchase of $30 or more (email coupon or found on their website), bringing the total for 2 gifts from ~$45 down to ~$35.
For quick and easy wrapping, we found clear gift bags and ribbon on one of the displays at Bath & Body Works. And there you have it! An easy, Mother's Day gift that will most likely be used! If you want some scent suggestions, the ones we went with are Peach Bellini, Japanese Cherry Blossom, and Cucumber Melon for the hand soaps and Bloom for the candles. Hope this helps. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! :)
     Love,

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Graduation Photography

Hi guys!!!

I'm so excited about this post. I've never done an actual photo shoot before but I had the honor of taking one of my best friend's graduation photos!! They're not official photos with a cap and gown but these were for her graduation announcement cards. This was her first time modeling and my first time taking photos of a model so bear with us both :)

Overall, it was A LOT of fun though. We got the afternoon sun in SF, clear skies, of course some wind, and great views and backgrounds. I ended up taking about 250 photos within the span of 2 hours. These were taken at the Legion of Honor and SF State University. Here are some of our favorite shots.
This was a little different than my normal blog posts but I hope you enjoyed the photos! I know, she's so beautiful isn't she?? :)

P.S. If you have any tips on doing photo shoots, leave them in a comment below!! For example, I definitely had no idea what to do with stray hairs. Do I photoshop them out and how or do I keep them in? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

     Love,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Simple Chicken Jook (Porridge/Congee) ~2hrs or less

Hi guys!!

It's been FOREVER since I've blogged. Just a lot going on and I haven't been feeling too inspired lately. But this week I had the (not so) great opportunity to get sick which prompted me to try to make Chinese jook/porridge/congee with ingredients I already had at home. I never feel like going out or going grocery shopping when I'm sick! 

Here is the recipe I used: http://chinese.food.com/recipe/easy-rice-congee-76014.

Ingredients vs. What I Actually Used:
  • 1/2 cup rice (not quick-cooking) - I used 3/4 cup rice
  • 3 - 4 cups water (may use chicken/veg broth) - I used 2.5 cups water and 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut to thin slices - Just used a pack of Foster Farm (contains 2) chicken breasts from Costco, sliced thin but not down to shredded chicken size)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced - I used about a tsp of crushed garlic from Trader Joe's
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced - Didn't use
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 dash black pepper (according to your taste) - Didn't use
  • 6 pieces shiitake mushrooms, julienned - Didn't use
What I Did:
  1. Put everything (except the rice) in a large pot first and boil on medium heat. Once all chicken pieces didn't look raw anymore, put in the rice. 
  2. After it starts boiling again, turn it down and simmer on low heat until all the water is absorbed. This took me about 45-60mins.
The finished product
Quick Notes:

  • This made about 4-5 meals worth? I've eaten it for 3 meals so far. I'm usually not as hungry when I'm sick so my portions are smaller so I'd say 4 normal-sized portions. 
  • I thought it was really flavorful! Probably because of the cup of chicken broth and the chicken boiled in it. 
  • I have to be honest; I tasted a lot of the soy sauce flavor so I would put a little less next time. 
  • I also would cut the chicken to shredded chicken size because that's just how I'm used to eating it in restaurants and home. The bigger chicken chunks weren't as appetizing personally.
  • It took me about 2hrs because the first 30mins I was defrosting and cutting up my chicken. I forgot to let it defrost on it's own so remember to take your chicken out a few hours prior to thaw on its own. I'm sure it would take less than 2hrs with the chicken all ready to be cut up and boiled.

Hope you enjoyed this quick and easy recipe!! It really made me feel like I was home again and I love eating jook when I'm sick. Plus, I only used the pot, a cutting board, knife, and measuring tools. Not too many dishes required! Who doesn't love that? Maybe you can cook this up next time you get sick :)

     Love,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Weekly Faith: Weeks 14-18

Hi everyone,

You may be wondering what in the world happened to my Weekly Faith posts (or not haha). I know I said I'd try to get them out every week and honestly, I say a lot of things and I fail a lot. For example, I told myself to publish my Weekly Faiths at the beginning of every week and they tended to come out on Saturday or Sundays--at the end of the week. I said I'd post Commute Blessings or photography posts every month and I forget or get lazy to go through my hundreds of pictures to figure out which ones I've used and which ones I haven't. As for the book I started called Loving The Way Jesus Loves, I hoped blogging about it would help me read it regularly, but it did not help at all. I'm still on the second chapter. Also, I told my friends I would read Proverbs with them throughout the month of April and stopped after the 9th day.

My last Weekly Faith post was exactly a month ago. Lately, I've been feeling very dry, very lazy with my faith. In the past month, I've only been to church once and that was Easter Sunday. It definitely was a great reminder of the sacrifice Christ made for me but the message delivered in church was only okay to me and didn't hit me hard like I hoped it would. I haven't been too into the songs that play on the radio in my car from K-LOVE. I feel like I could be more loving toward the people closest to me.

Bottom line: I've just been feeling really lazy. Not only with my blog, but with my faith and life.

I'm definitely not perfect and I'm still trying to figure things out as a working professional. It definitely helps not having a long commute to work anymore, but I still haven't found that balance of managing time after work between cooking, eating, cleaning, working out, watching YouTube, blogging, webcamming. There's just so much I want to do and so little time. And notice how doing something God-related didn't come out in that list at all. That's how I've prioritized my life so far and it's like it's hard to fit God into my schedule of so little time.

And how ironic. It's been exactly one year since I got baptized and on this anniversary of my declaration of faith, I am feeling quite dormant.

But it's okay. I know God will pull me through this sluggish period, and He will bring me back to life. So until then, I won't post another Weekly Faith until I feel I have something to post. I don't want to post Weekly Faiths because I said I will; I want to post Weekly Faiths because I really want to.

     Love,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Workouts of the Week: 4/1-4/6

Hello everyone!!! You're probably thinking, "Whoa, Workouts of the Week?? Haven't seen that in a while." And yes, it's true. I took a long break from working out. That is, until last week! I was very inspired by my friend, Joy, to start working out again. If you were wondering how the squat challenge went for me back in February, I went halfway through the month and got a little worried about my knees and if I was doing the squats correctly since I heard you can hurt your knees if you do squats incorrectly. I might've been doing them right, but I just felt like 150+ squats a day was way too much. However, squats have a really good pay off and more noticeable results than normal workout moves! If you want, I'm sure doing 50 squats a day would be a good butt workout.

Anyway, as to what I started doing last week...I started doing the Blogilates #AprilAbs challenege. You can find the calendar here. If a password is needed, it's burnbabyburn. However, I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter for future workout calendar passwords! This calendar is full of set workouts for every single day created by YouTuber, Blogilates (aka Cassey Ho). For easy access to the videos for the day, go to this blog post, scroll to the bottom of the post to the Workout Playlists table, and click on the day. It usually consists of 4-5 videos unless it's Recovery Day.

So last week, I followed the calendar pretty closely. I'll link the videos I did each day:
Four days of 40-60 minute workouts...not a bad way to get back into working out! Actually, that's even better than most (if not all) of my previous Workouts of the Week posts. I highly recommend these workouts. Some are more intense than others, but if you have an hour to spare, these workouts push you and they can be done right inside your home without paying gym fees :) A yoga mat is recommended but I've been doing the workouts on carpet so far and it's not too bad (but I will get my yoga mat from home very soon). Definitely feel free to join me in doing #AprilAbs!!! Start on the videos from the beginning of April or go ahead and start on today's videos. Join me in moving toward "the fit life" and become healthier and stronger and let me know in the comments that you're joining me! Take that step and motivate yourself to treat your body well and get more fit. As Blogilates would say, "train like a beast, look like a beauty!"


     Love,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Treasure Island Photography Attempt #1

So two weekends ago, my boyfriend and I decided to try to take photos from Treasure Island of the SF skyline and Bay Bridge. It was a little bit of a fail though because 1) I wanted to capture the Bay Lights but I totally forgot we can't capture them from Treasure Island because the Bay Lights are strategically facing toward the Embarcadero and 2) It was so cold and windy so even with a tripod, the camera was still shaking minimally (which makes a difference) and holding the camera with our hands made our hands freeze!! So we didn't take many shots, but here are the better ones we took. The first two are unedited and the last one of course is.
28mm, f/2.8, 1/6 sec
28mm, f/3.2, 1 sec
28mm, f/16, 20 sec

We are definitely going to try again. I really want to do photography from this same location around sunset or dusk because the sun sets behind the city and I'm sure it looks amazing. I hope you enjoyed these couple photos. Until next time!

     Love,

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekly Faith: Week 13

I have just started a new book called Loving The Way Jesus Loves. If you were wondering why a lot of my Weekly Faith posts revolve around love, it's because I know I am nowhere close to loving perfectly or being a really loving person and think that's a really important part of being a follower of Christ, not to mention the toughest part. If you reach deep down, you can probably admit you don't love perfectly either.

I've decided to make some of my Weekly Faiths about this book as I read it. I'll be sharing the sentences, paragraphs, or thoughts that stood out to me. May it help us all understand our flaws in loving and as a result, be able to love better and closer to the way Jesus loves us.

Chapter 1 - Nothing Without Love
  • If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    1 Corinthians 13:3
  • And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
    Mark 10:21
Notes:
  • There is nothing I need more in my life than more of the love of Jesus.
  • Everywhere I go, and in every relationship I have in life, I need more of the love of Jesus. 
  • Are you loving the way Jesus loves? Or do you need more of his love in your life--more love for God and for other people?
  • Paul wrote about love in Corinthians chapter 13 not to prepare people for marriage, but to show a church full of self-centered Christians that there is a better way to live--not just on your wedding day but every day for the rest of your life. The "Love Chapter" is not for lovers primarily, but for all the loveless people in the church who think that their way of talking about God, worshiping God, serving God, or giving to God is better than everyone else's.
  • Rather than being encouraged about love, 1 Corinthians 13 sets the standard for love we should know we can never meet. Start with verse 4 and insert your own name into the passage every time you see the word "love":
    "Amanda is patient and kind; Amanda does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude. She does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful; she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Amanda bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Amanda never fails."
    You will then feel not very loving at all afterward.
  • No one can hear the gospel from the life of a loveless Christian. To bring the metaphor up to date, "If I network for the gospel but have not love, I am only a noisy blog or a meaningless tweet."
  • No one cares how much we know unless they also know how much we care.
  • By the grace of God, faith is able to accomplish the impossible. But even that kind of faith is nothing without love.
  • No matter what God has given us and no matter what we have done for God, it means nothing without love.
  • We are so selfish that it is even possible for us to do something that looks like it is for someone else when it is really for us--to enhance our own reputation or feed our satisfaction with ourselves.
  • The Scripture says, "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Since this is true, the only way for us to become more loving is to have more of the love of Jesus.
  • None of us is good enough to be saved by the good things we do. No one is good. Only God is perfectly good.
  • Considering the commandments from a slightly different perspective, they are not just the laws of God, but they also display the love that God demands. (i.e. When God says "Do not murder," he is telling us to love our neighbors by protecting their lives.)
  • We always want to place limits on our love. We are ready to give, but only when we have something left over. We are willing to care as long as it isn't too inconvenient. We are able to love provided that people love us back.
  • The rich young man in Mark 10 is an example of someone who thought he know how to love. One of the hardest people to love is a self-righteous sinner who thinks that he has his spiritual act together, or a know-it-all. Most of us would not have liked this man at all. But Jesus loved him. This detail gives us a glimpse of the love that Jesus has for us. We are not any more lovable than the man who thought he knew how to love. But Jesus still looks at us with a heart of love. He helps us see that we are not the lovers that we think we are. But he does not stop there. By his death on the cross he offers forgiveness to our loveless hearts. Then he sends us the Holy Spirit so that we can start to love the way that he loves. 
  • Jesus does nothing without love. 
  • Earlier, we saw how ridiculous the Love Chapter sounds when we fill in the blanks with our own names. It reads very differently when we put Jesus in the picture instead:
    "Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails."
  • Jesus is everything that I am not.
  • The love of Jesus is so big that he loves even me. 
  • Because he loves me, he has promised to save me, to forgive me and change me. We are nothing without love. But when we know Jesus, who does nothing without love, he will help us love the way that he loves.
  • Try to confess that you are not the lover you ought to be and ask Jesus to change your heart. Say something like this:
    "Jesus, you are everything that I am not. You are pure love, and I am only the loveless sinner that you always knew I would be. But in your perfect love, I pray that you would forgive my hateful sins and teach my loveless heart to love the way that you love."
I really enjoyed this first chapter. It made me feel pretty convicted about the way I love others and I think it's important that it made me understand that I don't love perfectly and admit to it. Let me know in the comments how it made you feel and I hope you continue on this journey of exploring this book with me :)

     Love,

Friday, April 4, 2014

Makeup Haul from Grandma's Part 2!

It's time for another makeup haul!! If you remember my last makeup haul full of items I got from my grandma, you might remember that most products are Estée Lauder or Shiseido. The bulk of this haul is Estée Lauder and I don't mind it at all!! Now here are close-ups and details of everything I got this time. Enjoy! :)
Lilly Pulitzer for Estee Lauder Cosmetic Bag
Estée Lauder Cosmetic Bag
Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask
Estée Lauder High Gloss
Estée Lauder Makeup Remover Lotion
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Estée Lauder Resilience Lift
Estée Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara in Black
Estée Lauder Pure Color Gloss in Magnificent Mauve Shimmer
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer
Estée Lauder Pure Color EyeShadow Quad
in Tranquil Moon, Iridescent Violet, Tempting Mocha and Amethyst Spark

LOVE this palette. It's small so I can easily take it with me and I just love the shades. Picture an off-white shimmer as a highlight color, a light rose shimmer, shimmery bronze, and dark matte brown. I also use Tempting Mocha and Amethyst Spark to do a quick 2-color smokey eye instead of eyeliner for work.
Estée Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick 
in Sugar Honey Shimmer, Rose Tea Creme, and Crystal Baby Creme

The Crystal Baby Creme actually turned out to be an amazing MLBB (my-lips-but-better) shade for me! So I can always quickly add that to my purse if I want some subtle lip color throughout the night.

Hope you liked this quick haul! If you want to know more details about these products or want a review, let me know in the comments below :)

     Love,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Commute Blessings: March Edition

Ahh, one day late! Where did March even go!? It seems like it was just the middle of March and I told myself that I had a couple weeks to get this post out. Now look, it's already April. Happy April Fools Day everyone!! But unlike everything that happened today, this is no joke. These commute blessings are the real deal! They may have been taken months back, but it doesn't make them any less beautiful in my eyes :) So enjoy!
Can you tell I'm obsessed with the sky and clouds yet? Haha. Have a great rest of the week guys!

     Love,