Hello 2018

Hello everyone! (Or, at least, anyone who reads this blog)

I can sense some awkward silence on behalf of my hypothetical audience as I type my first words again on this page. I haven’t written since December 10 of 2017, which was pretty much the last time I said that I should start writing more. Well, I have been writing. I wrote 2 complete songs in the past month, with melody, rhythm, and piano chords, but I have not recorded them – so I guess it’s not really complete yet.

But new year, new me. Just like I say every year.

This 2018 my first agenda, and most likely the agenda that summarizes all my agenda for the year, is to be more knowledgeable and cultured.

Here’s a photo of me and my love, Lawrence, celebrating the new year.

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JB Hook’s

After a tiring hike around Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, MO together with my younger sister and my mother’s friend, who offered to give us a tour while my mother was at work, we went to JB Hook’s, a steak & seafood restaurant known to be the best around the area.

Apps and entrees

The restaurant was suggested by my mother’s friend. It was quiet around 4pm, the time we arrived, but the bar and tables started to get packed up by the time we were leaving. The place is popular for its steak and seafood and for the fact that it’s overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks. Because I was soooo tired and hungry from the hike that we did earlier that day, I was fortunate that I gave myself a chance to take photos of the food before eating.

Crab Rangoon

For appetizers, my sister and I shared a dish of crab rangoon. Yes, it was fresh, as compared to most that I had from Chinese restaurants around New York, but it was mediocre. If I picked the right time to order a lunch special in my local Chinese place, I could’ve gotten the same dish for a third of its price.

Not to simply “dish” out comments about this dish (lol) but I’ve had better and I’ve always disliked overpriced food. 

Fried calamari with homemade sauce

With the calamari dish, I just can’t stop snacking on it! Given its bigger portion compared to the crab rangoon, I wish I ordered this with my sister instead of what we originally got. I’m not sure if I’ll come back to this place the next time that I’ll be around Camdenton, MO but I appreciated that my mother’s friend brought us to a high-quality restaurant with great views and extraordinary customer service. I also like fish and seafood in general so this was definitely a good treat for me after a long morning of hiking.

My dish, Fish ‘N Chips with coleslaw (not in the picture) and a raspberry chipotle sauce

Since I started my transition into minimalism, I’ve been meaning to turn my diet to around and be pescatarian. While I’m not being too strict on myself, if given the option between fish and other meat, I always pick fish or other seafood. It wasn’t a decision based on health but more on wanting to gain more weight and I found that I am more likely to eat more when I’m having food that I like (duuuh) and I just happen to like fish and seafood.

What’s your favorite (kind of) dish? Is it something that you cook at home or order from a restaurant?

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my other posts about food:

About Me (update!)

Hi! I am Cassela Mendoza. My friends call me “KC” while my cafe name somehow became “Kitty.” Apparently, “KC” is not such a common name in the US, unlike in the Philippines.

I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. My family consists of my mother, who single-handedly raised 4 daughters, which I was the third of. We all grew up in Manila, where I went to elementary and high school. I went to the University of Santo Tomas, attempting to pursue BS Psychology. My 4-year college experience was cut in half, and I moved to New York in 2013.

I cannot think of a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. I have been in love with writing, songwriting, and a bit of poetry. With all my intentions of being published someday, I do not have any finished product that I am ready to show to the public. Only my low key blogging is currently in public, which you somehow stumbled on today, and brought you to this page.

Through the help of FAFSA and my employers who’ve been very lenient with my work schedule, I have recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from CUNY Queens College. My career aspiration is heavily influenced by my college motto, “I learn so that I may serve.” Currently, I am a medical assistant to a neurologist in his physician’s office on Long Island while also completing requirements to pursue a master’s degree in the healthcare field.

My WordPress blog, by the time anyone will ever see this page, has less than a hundred posts in it. By the time I hit my 100th post, I hopefully have updated how I described myself above, not by necessarily changing what has happened in the past but by innovating who I am – to a person that I can be more proud of.

I went to a farm + No Make Up Day

Gehlert’s Farm @ Belle, Missouri

My long-distance friend and PS4 playmate, Jim, owns and tends to this amazing farm in Belle, Missouri, which is an hour drive from Jefferson City. Jim gave me, my younger sister, and my boyfriend a tour around his family’s x-acre field, where we saw a number of wooden bridges made by Jim’s father as well as some hunting spots built up for the hunters’ protection and a better view of their preys.

Yes, everything in this photo is still part of Gehlert’s Farm

Coming from NYC, everything here was refreshing to see. It was a peaceful scenery. Speaking for myself, I was a bit scared of the unfamiliar sounds that I heard. A nearby herd of cows, a sudden rustling of leaves from not too far away, buzzing noises near my ears but were definitely not coming from bees, etc. It was definitely not something I will come across to on a normal day in the city.

I feel like I play too much video games to the point that the real world scares me. When I hear sounds that I’ve heard from either the National Geographic Channel or from Skyrim or Monster Hunter World, I freak out. My mind starts imagining a giant rock from afar as a bear instead. This trip (and the whole vacation in Missouri, in general) made me come to realize that I should spend more time outdoors and with the real world.

Before our trip, Jim warned us to wear clothes and shoes that we’d be willing to get mud on. As usual, I wasn’t dressed up properly for the location and the activities that we did on the farm. My sister and my boyfriend went inside a chicken house (where the hens lay eggs) but I couldn’t go inside because I was wearing sandals and it was muddy on the doorway getting in. I was wearing an ankle length leggings which would’ve been fine for most occasions but we were trailing on grassy fields where the grass brushed against my ankles and so it was very uncomfortable. Also, I was wearing a black shirt on a very sunny day.

Moral of the story: DON’T BE ME.

One thing I wore that day was a bare face! Totally no make up all day. Except for sunscreen with SPF 30 without BB cream, my face completely bare. There were some breakouts on my face which I’m still not sure why/how but it didn’t seem to bother me because it was such a fun day to be myself, face my fears of being outdoors, and learn the hard way to always listen when being told of what to expect in an unfamiliar setting.

Hello y’all from Gehlert’s Farm! (w/ @LawERod)

Friday Favorites # 15

Last weekend, I went to DHAVEN in Woodside, NY to watch my sister and her band, Q32, perform Filipino songs for a diverse group of people. It was bizarre in the best way to watch and listen to OPM songs that I’ve heard as a child as the entire audience sang along to it. The Q32 band also sang English songs, but the contrast between the two types of music made me appreciate OPM even more.

Carel Mendoza (@carelmendoza) vocalist of Q32 (and my sister!!!)

While Dua Lipa’s song, “IDGAF” talks about how she doesn’t care about her ex anymore, Kitchie Nadal sings, “Wag Na Wag” which basically talks about how she loves her ex so much and that’s why she was willing to give him his freedom. Beautiful.

I’m not saying that Filipino music is better than the US’. No genre is better than any. Music is music, and it is a matter of preference. Because of the band’s amazing performance that night, I’ve redeveloped my interest in OPM.

Last, last week for my Friday Favorites entry, I talked about how I was looking forward to a “Treat ‘Yo Self” Day with my girlfriend/twin from college. The day went SUPER!!! I found out that my friend is pretty much living the same life that I lived in the past two years, watched and loved the same shows, read the same books, likes the same stand-up comedians, AND THE LIST GOES ON. I did alright with the shopping part of our day having spent way less than budget. For some reason, it felt like I didn’t know how to spend money anymore because I haven’t done it in a while (which is a good thing).

Uniqlo top and bottom, Marc Fisher sandals

I didn’t buy everything on the same day but they’re all bought this summer. What I love about this outfit: (a) everything that I’m wearing goes with my capsule wardrobe in the process, (b) top and bottom are highly versatile and go with any weather condition, (c) the shoes are comfortable, and it’s my first pair of its kind.

Friday Favorites # 14

Hello everyone! Welcome to another segment of Friday Favorites, courtesy of my lazy self who – if I followed the original posting schedule I planned – should’ve been posting Friday Favorites # 31.

First and foremost, I didn’t want to be too hard on myself anymore. When I started my transition into minimalism, the goal wasn’t to get rid of material things. It was more of a mental minimalism. I wanted to have a more peaceful way of life, and I thought that the way to do that was to deal with fewer stressors. I am in the process of creating a capsule wardrobe by getting rid of some pieces of clothing, NOT buying which I believe can make me get ready in the morning faster and stress-free! Then when I realized (through the 4 apartment moves that I did in the past 4 years) that I owned way too many items big or small, I know that I didn’t want to deal with that kind of distress anymore and so I started purging my closet and my desk space. Second and last, I created Friday Favorites as my new year’s resolution for 2018, and I read somewhere that most new year’s resolutions are dissolved by the 14th week of the year (I read that from a book, but I forgot which one because I kept up with my new year’s resolution of reading at least 1 book/novel for fun every month lol). I don’t feel too bad that I wasn’t as consisted as I planned, and it’s not like I totally abandoned what I started strongly at the beginning of 2018.

If you want to see more of my Friday Favorites entries, I separated them into a category in this WordPress blog called “Friday Favorites.” DUH

For this new FF entry, I want to talk about my recent purchases. Most of my money goes to everyday food and groceries, according to Spendee app. I particularly looooove this app more than the other budgeting apps that I tried before because in Spendee I can add cash transactions. You can connect your bank account to the app if you prefer that better, but I didn’t like using Spendee this way because it seems like I’m doubling my monthly transactions when I pay my credit card bill using my debit card. Besides, adding transactions manually (and daily) gives me a better sense of how I’m using my money.

My July 2018 transactions as of today

For July, mainly because it’s summer, I did spend more on the “Friends Hangout” (31.8%) category. This category consists of entrance tickets, activities, cafes, jello for jello shots and vodka that I made for my friends, etc. On top of usual things that I spend when I hang out with friends, I also put in this category food/dinner transactions when I spend more than my usual budget because I was having a meal with a friend. I’ve always been a social eater and drinker, so I really do tend to overspend on food when I’m enjoying the company that I am with. (AND I’m also trying to gain weight.)

My most recent purchase as of today is a clay eyeshadow palette “necessary nudes” and an eyeliner pen from Elf. While I was shopping with a girlfriend today, I realized how badly I need new makeup. The ones that I’ve been using are more than a year old already and I guess I was waiting for an excuse to buy new ones (I moved again and I cannot find the old ones yet) because I would hate myself if I were to waste the ones that I already have.

A total of $9 for makeup combo that I’m positive I’ll use every day in the next 2+ months.

These purchases, among others that I’ve made, aren’t totally bad purchases. Suddenly I’m being too hard on myself againMy transition to minimalism is backfiring. I am now getting stressed out before making ANY PURCHASE because I want to be absolutely sure that each new purchase is something that I NEED and not just something that I WANT.

Tomorrow I am going out with another girlfriend and we’re going to make tomorrow a “Treat ‘Yo Self” Day. (Like myself, she’s also a big fan of Parks and Recreation.) We’re going to a huuuge mall on Long Island. I’m planning to take her to Uniqlo and Muji, two of my current favorites store that both coincidentally happen to be Japanese stores, and I’m also going to show her my “minimalistic” ways because it took her interest the moment that I started talking about my “journey.”

I really hope I don’t get stressed out tomorrow as much as I did today.

Floral Park Diner

Today, my boyfriend and I went out. It’s been a while since Lawrence and I went out without having the main purpose of doing chores like groceries or buying stuff for the house, or to Home Depot to buy home improvement equipment and materials, etc. I wore a nice summer dress, and he tried to match my color scheme with his gym shorts and a pair of comfortable pants.

It’s our one-month anniversary in our new place. We decided to visit Floral Park Diner because we figured that since the move we haven’t really found a go-to breakfast spot for those mornings when cooking is barely an option. After our sumptuous breakfast, we walked around The Village that kind of looked like Downtown Jefferson City.

They have the Irish Breakfast, almost the same one that we always get from FAME Diner!!!!

The food was great! Although it might take some getting used to or some more exploring since this is the first diner that we’ve tried near our new place, it was a good experience. The hostess was extra nice despite the number of customers coming in every 5 minutes. The wait time was decent considering how busy they already are before we even arrived. Google says that the average wait time in Floral Park Diner around the time we were there was 15 minutes but it didn’t feel like we wait that long. Although the servers were not as attentive as we were used to in Fame Diner, it was okay..? Like I said, maybe we should give ourselves some time to get used to it. Or there’s always another diner within 5-10 minutes away.

The previous night, my boyfriend and I watched a movie titled, “Dismissed,” starring Dylan Sprouse. He played the role of a psychopath high school student who’s aiming for a 4.0 GPA and is willing to do whatever it takes to “manipulate” anyone who gets in his way. AND IT WAS GREAT! Given its themes – high school student, GPA, psychopathic tendencies, manipulation, suicide, etc. – I figured that it could’ve been something that I wrote. My boyfriend said the same thing when we dissected the movie while we were having breakfast today. I’ve always liked the dark theme in movies, and the suspense that a “mentally wrong” person could add to the film. Psychology and the human’s mind have always had a special place in the core of my interests, and incorporating facts into the fictional movies and books that I like automatically makes it one of my favorites!

Today was pretty packed with outdoor activities. After breakfast, we also did a short walk around The Village. Then we went to Green Acres Mall – the mall that is our new equivalent to the Queens Center Mall. There’s still a lot of places to discover in eastern Queens and I cannot wait to have more free time to visit them all!

07/16/2018: Midterms & Other things happening right now

I’m sitting on an armchair in a room of the Science building that is directly facing the Benjamin Rosenthal Library. Yikes! My exact location at this exact moment might be one of the last times that I’ll be in this exact position. I used to be here all the time. Alone. I used to put my phone on the window ledge to take selfies. During my Sunday classes, I would take pictures of myself because there are very few people around who could see what I was doing. Frankly, I don’t think I would’ve cared if people actually saw what I was doing.

Halfway through my final semester as an undergrad. A month from now, I will be officially a college graduate. I cannot wait to start applying for jobs that I already qualify for, but I can’t because I don’t have “that piece of paper” yet. Maybe technically I don’t qualify because I don’t have that piece of paper yet. Oh well. A month from now, I could healthily sustain a full-time job.

This trail of thought got me thinking that pursuing higher education can give me brighter opportunities in the future, but at the same time pursuing education kinda drags me down in terms of pursuing a higher paying job now. I had a great job before that I had to let go because I wanted to focus on school. I’ve always felt like it was unfair that I had to choose between two things that equally make me satisfied with my life. Oh well. Wait till I’ll need to decide between pursuing a career and starting a family.

Oh. Right. I was supposed to be talking about my midterms. I think it’s safe to say that I got A’s on both of them. I tried to answer the extra credit questions in my first midterm for the day but I horribly failed. It’s an all-or-nothing question and for the first time, I actually regret even trying. My second midterm today consisted of 80 questions! I was asleep during the first hour but I woke up and finished it in the next hour. Our professor gave us 2 hours to complete the midterm exam, and then another hour of break. I wonder what the students who finished the test within 20 minutes are doing right now? Did they go home? Should I have gone home, too?

Over the weekend, I also experienced a remission of my insomniac tendencies. I figured it’s because I redeveloped my consistent study habits back when I was in a pre-med program in the Philippines. Technically I am in a pre-med program now, and I am also studying harder than before, so maybe that’s why again I cannot seem to sleep peacefully even when I am tired and sleepy. I remember talking to my friends at UST Med who complain about having no sleep, and yet they feel fulfilled with what they do and what they accomplish daily. I feel good just thinking about how I could someday be like them, too. Weirdly, I associate sleepless nights with feelings of satiety. Very weirdly.

Speaking of UST, I heard some pretty disturbing news about a student who abused his partner and all he got was community service and revoked rights to march during the graduation ceremony. I don’t know how true this is but I read that the woman who reported the abuse was asked to apologize for her statement..? I didn’t really read any official reports. It was too disappointing. I got the news from Twitter and all I could think of is… “Happy Monday!”

I’m in this summer session’s Psychology of Gender class, hence the notes on “sexism” is on the screen.