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.


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! :)

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.


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:

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 :)


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.