About This Site

“Jill of all trades, master of Some”

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

-Philippians 4:8

My name is Melissa. My good friends call me “Leese.” 

I’m one to “fake it ’til you make it.” I see something and can quickly copy it. That’s how this site all began…

I started blogging in 2007 when my friends and family would call or email me for dessert recipes or instructions on how to make certain crafts. The common statement was, “Ask Leese, she would know.” Back then, I borrowed ideas from Martha Stewart, the Food Network, or other food/craft-related sources and make it my own. In the process, it became a learning experience and I decided to keep a repository of all the things I’ve learned on a blog.

Then it evolved…

Since the blog reflects my life, so too, must it evolve. My family grew bigger—starting with one child at the beginning of my blog, to having three children today.  I started adding some DIYs (because things break), sharing our travel adventures (there’s a lot of DIY in traveling), and opening up about my faith and how it’s the driving force in everything I do. The verse posted above (Philippians 4:8) truly reflects how I live my life and raise my family.  The sweetness of God’s love and presence in my life has been unmistakeable. 

Jill of all trades, you say?

I’m a wife, mother of 3 girls, 1st generation Filipino-American, Roman Catholic and I’m old enough to know what life was like before the internet but young enough to be on the forefront of all things digital. During the day I’m programming and hacking code, developing web UI/UX, and designing graphics and print materials. At night, I take care of my family and fit in a blog post whenever I can. I’m also an on-staff and on-call musician/vocalist.

Ever since a young age, I’ve been interested in the how things were made. I was that kid who took things apart and put them back together – sometimes (or most of the time) unsuccessfully. I still carry that curiosity today except this time I’m more careful to put things back as I found them.

Before the internet, my nose was always in baking, cooking, sewing, natural health and home repair books. My parents allowed me to use the kitchen (been cooking since I was 8) as long as I cleaned up after myself. I had free rein with my dad’s tools as long as I put them back. 

Growing up in a Filipino household taught me a few things…

  • Fix things before replacing them. New things can get costly. If it “mostly works” why not fix what doesn’t work?
  • When you’re sick, try the natural route before taking medicine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been wiped down with vinegar to bring down a fever. I smelled like chicken adobo whenever I got sick. 
  • Try it, you might like it. In terms of food, that is. I’ve always been an adventurous eater because of my roots. Yes, I’ve had balut (look it up) and if someone offers you “chocolate meat” be aware that it is not chocolate. As long as you have rice, it’s all good.
  • “I can make that.” I’m a petite person. Clothes don’t always fit the way that they should. My mom always made our clothes. One time she tried to make us “Cabbage Patch” dolls since they were too expensive to purchase. My dad built a bookcase once because… I really don’t know why. He just built one. He probably spent the same amount of money on the tools to make it as it would have cost to buy a bookcase!
  • Have a flair for the dramatic. Filipinos are encouraged to have a background in some kind of art. They either play an instrument, like to sing,  dance,  act, or draw. I did three out of four (I’m a bad actor) and I’m very thankful that art played an important part in my life.
  • Get it done. Masipag is the Filipino word for industrious / proactive.  If it’s broken, fix it. If it tastes bad, make it better. If it’s dirty, clean it. Either way, get it done. Be masipag.
  • Give God the glory. I was raised Roman Catholic, never missed Mass, and prayed the rosary daily at 5pm. Our life was centered around our faith. While I’m still working on loving the rosary (being forced to pray it kind of pushed me away) my parents demonstrated why we praise God for all our “haves” and “have nots.”

I’m a mom, I love music and dance, I love to eat, I love desserts, I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, and I like to explore. I like to share that all with you!

Some companies, brands, and organizations that I’ve worked with:

Dr. Browns
Fresh & Easy
Hewlett-Packard
Influenster
Kampgrounds of America
Legoland
Macy’s
Melissa’s Produce
Polaroid
The Dailey Method
The Mass Box
San Diego Quilt Show
San Diego Rep
Specialty Produce
The Bouqs
Whole Foods

However, I’m not a numbers person…

While I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, I’ve grown tired of the numbers game when it comes to followers and influence. I’ve found that the more I worry about who I’m working with and who reads my articles, I lose the ability to be my authentic self. This is why I don’t place pop-up ads on my site and would rather use affiliate links and pick sponsors who I want to work with.

For those of you who have stuck with me for all this time, THANK YOU (all ten of you). I will still continue to work with brands/products I have genuine interest in and that will be helpful to my readers.