Monday, October 31, 2016

My Favorite Tita Bun

I have the same nightly routine that signals "I am not leaving this house until morning": put on comfy shorts, take off my jewelry and throw my hair in a tita bun. On an everyday basis I style a half-up tita bun/chomage (which I wrote about here) but when I'm ready to get work done i.e.: cook dinner, finish homework, watch Netflix, blog, etc., I need all of my hair out of my face. Tita buns are common in Hawaiʻi because it removes any hair from adding excess heat to the neck and because it's a cute and easy look! To create my tita bun I simply gather all of my hair at the top of my head and randomly wrap an elastic band around the pieces of hair. The most successful tita buns are messy but secure, so make sure that the rubber band is tight and is pulling the hair in different directions. When I'm running late I like to sport this hairstyle with a smokey eye for a girly touch, but it's ultimately the best 'do for working out!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Baylor vs. Texas Recap

Although the Bears had nearly three consecutive bye weeks (including a blow out against Kansas), their extensive preparation time wasn't enough to secure a win against Texas. Baylor received their first loss of the season from a fiery Longhorn squad who played arguably their best game after dropping four over the past five weeks. The game showed strengths and weaknesses for both teams but ultimately, UT played for their head coach's job security and Baylor couldn't seem to find their groove. Baylor's 34-35 loss revealed the holes that need fixing and who will provide the leadership to drive the team through the toughest part of their schedule.

QB Seth Russell was hands down my impact player of the game. Although many of his passes were over or under thrown, Seth almost literally put the offense on his back. After last year's offensive masterpiece comprised of a 100% healthy Russell, star WR Corey Coleman and one of the top O-Lines in the nation, it's easy to see the communication errors and overall lack of experience with this season's group. Seth hasn't looked like himself since the season opener (which was of course, an easy win), which we could contribute to many different factors such as HIS (previously) LITERAL BROKEN NECK, miscommunication with receivers, lack of trust in himself, etc. He completed 14 of 28 attempts for 226 yards and two TDs and had 21 carries for 138 yards and one TD. OC Kendal Briles' offensive playcalling obviously favored rushing over passing as the Bears gained 398 yards on the ground vs. 226 in the air. RB Terence Williams (along with Russell) was the most successful ball carrier as he recorded 24 carries for 180 yards and one TD. The essential takeaway from Williams' stats was that he didn't lose any yardage throughout the game. Some fans questioned why RB Shock Linwood didn't see much playing time, which we later found out was because of a tight hamstring + Williams' impressive plays. Another questionable call was putting RB JaMycal Hasty in the game when Williams was still hot. Hasty fumbled the ball when the Bears were in the redzone, which was a huge loss as they could have turned that play into points. Hasty has become a powerful tailback over the past six games but his fumble was a rookie mistake that we could have avoided. On the receiving end, KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora led the team with one TD apiece, but were otherwise invisible throughout the game. Russell opted for short passes as opposed to longer ones and when he did attempt a deep ball, there were drops galore. Our receivers need to step up their game if they want to compete for another Big 12 title. The last revealed weakness was among our O-Line. For a group of young, inexperienced men, they haven't had many problems during the season. However, it was like their brains turned to mush and they forgot that their main objective is to protect their QB. Russell was sacked six, I repeat, SIX times by a mediocre defense. That number is way too high for any QB to achieve success in the game. RG Blake Blackmar had an especially difficult game where he received holding penalties (one of which led to a safety) galore. I know that both of the lines are young, but they will need to work on cohesiveness and discipline in order to lose the penalties game and ultimately do everything they can to protect Seth.

The defense was the more successful core, but they missed many tackles and needed to regroup in order to put pressure on Texas QB Shane Buechele. RB D'Onta Foreman is an extremely fast and strong athlete who continuously broke through any pass rush we had. If Baylor DT Bravvion Roy wasn't injured, this would have been the game to incorporate both him and Ira Lewis in the mix. CB Ryan Reid has had a great season so far and he broke up a momentous UT drive with an interception. The defensive MVP of the game was LB Aiavion Edwards who totaled 13 tackles, two for a loss of nine yards and one sack. DE Xavier Jones forced a fumble while Lewis and LB Taylor Young each recorded a sack. Although I was disappointed that NBs Travon Blanchard and Pat Levels didn't throw down as much as usual, it was exciting to see sophomore DEs Greg Roberts and Jamie Jacobs included in the mix. My favorite defensive play was when Edwards and Blanchard stopped UT QB Tyrone Swoopes from entering the end zone as the Longhorns attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion. Edwards' heroic move was reminiscent of his forced fumble in the end zone during the Russell Athletic Bowl.

While the Bears have their work cut out for them, they're still in the running for a Big 12 championship and are already bowl eligible. All they need is better communication skills, discipline (penalty wise) and the fire they had at the beginning of the season to finish the year strong.

Final notes:

Ira Lewis has shown his star potential and will continue to get better with more experience
Linebackers are still one of our biggest strong suits
Terence Williams is going to be a firecracker in the upcoming seasons
I can't wait to see what Seth records as his high jump at Pro Day

Saturday, October 29, 2016

5 Things

1. Home is where my heart is

2. Facetiming the puppies

3. Sunsets aren't too bad here

4. The best view in Waco

5. Constantly craving Hawaiian food (miss you Kamehameha lunches)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Why You Should Volunteer with College Guild

I recently discovered College Guild after discussing my post-undergraduate plans with my best friend Kaiʻolu. I shared with her my passion for social justice with an emphasis on crime. Maybe I've watched too many "Orange is the New Black" episodes, but I truly believe that (almost) everyone deserves a second chance. The criminal justice system is broken and doesn't serve its inhabitants fairly. I've read too many stories about private prisons, corrupt correctional officers and how mass incarceration is The New Jim Crow. Instead of focusing on rehabilitating prisoners, the system treats them like animals locked in cages. College Guild is a non-profit organization that gives incarcerated peoples a chance at a unique education. Their company is entirely based on volunteers, so they can only accept a certain amount of prisoners into their program. I volunteered to become a "reader", which means I will receive weekly course units from different inmates and I can edit their work and provide feedback. The program isn't designed to create pen-pal relationships, but to administer some of the only positive words that some of these people will ever receive. College Guild is highly underfunded and needs as many volunteers as possible so I recommend volunteering an hour of your time to bettering these men and women. Maybe with the right amount of kindness, compassion and course work, they will receive a second chance too.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Write Like It's Your Job

My sister has always been the writer in the family. My earliest memories are of us carrying around similar notebooks for different purposes- mine contained clothing sketches while she crafted a new world in hers. Over a decade later I've given up my dreams of fashion design (while still loving fashion) but Megan is still the same author we always knew she would become. My notebook of today isn't covered in glitter and stickers but instead consists of football statistics, player profiles, original song drafts, letters, cards and the deeper thoughts I can't publish on this blog. Bound in Italian leather and the stains of life experiences, these pages have become a time capsule where my stream of consciousness can run free. The biggest piece of advice I have for keeping a scrapbook/journal is to just write. Jot down that non-profit idea you have even if it seems impossible to accomplish. Keep track of every song that makes you feel like you're floating in a vat of chocolate pudding. Record that experience that you want to forget about forever and then burn the page. Just write like it's your job. I promise you won't regret it. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Baylor Football 2016 | Runningbacks

The Bears' most solid core of players isn't under center or a part of #WRU, they're the agile tailbacks who've snuck their way into a whole new football playbook. While some refer to Baylor football as a participant only of the simple pass-happy offense, those critics couldn't be more wrong. Over the past few seasons, OC Kendal Briles has curated a mixed playbook that utilizes players' talents both in the backfield and battling defensive backs toward the end zone. Last year's tumultuous QB season could have become a disaster had the running backs not stepped up in Wildbear formation. RBs Shock Linwood, Johnny Jefferson, Devin Chafin and Terence Williams were all key members of the highly successful 2015 offense and while a few of those players are no longer with the team, a new face has stepped up to the plate (or rather the line of scrimmage).

Shock Linwood is the most experienced of the bunch and has recorded multiple Baylor football records over the past six games such as the career rushing record (previously held by BU great Walter Abercrombie) and touchdown record. Linwood's small stature and physical dominance allows him great control over his body while being tackled by pass rushers. After a couple of mediocre games, Linwood exploded on the field and redeemed his status as one of the greatest Baylor football players of all time. For more information on Linwood's records, refer to this blog post. Terence Williams (no, not the Cowboys wide receiver) aka T.Will 2.0 is one of the tallest tailbacks I've seen. His lengthy body controls how far he can get the ball. When the team is on third down and needs to gain yardage, Williams is the guy for the job. He's extremely strong and breaks tackles with his branch-like arms as he shoves his way down the field. With Linwood graduating this year, expect the sophomore to step up as a 2017 starter. The last and youngest of the bunch is redshirt freshman JaMycal Hasty. Hasty was a top 300 recruit in 2015 and redshirted to retain eligibility. While his presence wasn't known on the field last season, Hasty had standout performances during spring practices. He reminds me a lot of Jefferson and Chafin- disruptive and extremely quick on his feet. Hasty likes to juke out defenders as he flies down the field. Watching him play is like observing a gazelle in his natural habitat. Of the three, I'm most excited to watch Hasty's "second-season" act.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Heathers The Musical

I'm always searching for exciting new show tunes and I instantly fell in love with Heathers The Musical the moment I heard their opening track. The show is based on the 80's cult classic movie with the same title which stars Winona Ryder. HTM stars Barrett Wilbert Weed as Veronica Sawyer, a teenage misfit who earns a spot in the popular clique of "Heathers". While Sawyer is at the top of her reign, she meets the dark and mysterious J.D. and soon finds out that he's more dangerous than she expected. The play's plot swiftly takes a dark turn and many deaths follow. I'm in awe of the depth and complexity of the songs and am a huge fan of "Seventeen", "Beautiful", "Meant to Be Yours" and "Our Love is God". While the play had a short run off-Broadway, I'm hoping for its revival on on Broadway. For now I'll just binge-listen to every song on the soundtrack.

Monday, October 24, 2016

NARS vs. Estee Lauder Concealer Combat

When I first started to blog about beauty, I decided to purchase every new makeup item or skincare product I saw on Sephora's website. I scoured beauty blogs and YouTube channels for hours as I watched girls apply luxury creams and foundations to their skin. YSL brought out a dewy highlighter? I'm buying it. Nails INC created a high-tech top coat? It's already in my shopping bag. It got to the point that I was buying so many products my bathroom countertop looked like I had just returned from a beauty counter heist. As I've grown older, I developed a routine of tried and true skincare and makeup products. I don't need the newest 'it' item, even if it has Victoria Beckham's name sprawled across the lid (okay, I do really want her Estēe Lauder line). One of my holy grail beauty items is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard. When I first heard about this concealer I thought it would be thin and glow-giving, so I was delighted to find that it's the exact opposite. The concealer is a thick liquid that conceals blemishes and under-eye circles flawlessly. I recently discovered the exact same formulation in the Estēe Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer in 03 Medium. One of the lovely ladies at the Macy's Lauder counter gave me a deluxe sample of the concealer and I fell in love with it. Double Wear is $5 cheaper than Radiant Creamy, but the formulas are identical. The only difference between the two is Lauder's lasts a skoshi bit longer. Both are fabulous concealers and work double duty on dark circles and spots. If you're in the market for a new cover-up, head to the NARS and Lauder counters and compare the two for yourself!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Notable CFB Games of the Weekend

#6 Texas A&M vs. #1 Alabama

The top ranked team in the nation proved why they're the best after a 33-14 win over A&M. Bama's freshman QB Jalen Hurts threw for two passing TDs with one rushing against a competitive defense. However, any scheme the Aggies drew up just weren't enough to stop the Crimson Tide. Alabama is the best simply because they are able to consistently recruit the top players in the nation. Even the worst coach could win games with Bama's talent. A&M will likely drop a few spots in the next AP rankings, but they still have a shot at the CFP.

TCU vs. #12 West Virginia

West Virginia is one of, if not the scariest Big 12 team of the season thus far. The Mountaineers are undefeated and 3-0 in conference play after defeating Kansas State, Texas Tech and TCU. Head coach Dana Holgorsen has a talented group of receivers and a QB with star power, not to mention one of the best defensive cores in the nation. The 'Eers trounced the Horned Frogs as TCU HC Gary Patterson wasn't able to pull together a playbook quick enough to stop them from winning 34-10. TCU is now 4-3 while WVU is undefeated.

SMU vs. #11 Houston

Arguably the most exciting game of the night occurred between Chad Morris' Mustangs and Tom Herman's Cougars in Dallas. Herman is the most sought-after coach in the nation, but his play-calling weaknesses were exposed as unranked SMU destroyed Houston at every turn for a 38-16 loss. SMU hasn't been competitive all season, so another loss to a mediocre team should leave Houston questioning their offensive and defensive plans. Look to a mighty fall for the Cougars in the next poll.

#16 Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech

Oklahoma hasn't looked like a playoff contender all season and their performance against Kliff Kingsbury's Texas Tech wasn't any different. Tech's defense is notoriously poor, but OU showed similar fragility as both teams gave up 854 total offensive yards. The Sooners scraped by with a 66-59 win, but Tech QB Patrick Mahomes was the true star of the night as he recorded 734 passing yards and five touchdowns. Although both teams showed excellent offensive stats, they should worry about their lack of a pass rush.

#2 Ohio State vs. Penn State

Penn State completed the upset of the night after defeating No. 2 Ohio State. A touchdown and field goal early in the fourth quarter kept Penn State in the race before the Nittany Lions' Grant Haley returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown with less than five minutes left in the game. While Ohio State should be stunned by the game's outcome, I highly doubt the CFP committee will keep them out of the top-four discussion come November. However, right now let's just celebrate PSU's victory.

Kansas State vs. Texas

My favorite game of the day was Kansas State's 24-21 decision over Texas. The Wildcats are known for their clock-control and back-to-back scores kept them in the lead going into halftime. An 80-yard Texas TD by Devin Duvernay wasn't enough to come back from K-St's edge and an unrelenting Wildcat defense continuously stopped the Longhorns. Although Texas scored with two minutes left in the game, the Snydercats recovered an onside kick to seal the deal. UT is now 3-4, which leaves many questions surrounding HC Charlie Strong's status, while K-St is 4-3.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

5 Things

1. Witnessing the greatest documentary of all time

2. Always face timing Brandon

3. One of the largest homecoming features

4. Breakfast with dad

5. Missing home

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hamilton's America

Tonight PBS aired the documentary special featuring years-old clips of creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's writing process; original cast performances; actor excursions to historical monuments and interviews with President Obama, Hamilton biography author Ron Chernow, Questlove, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Steven Sondheim, Nas, Jimmy Fallon, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and more. The documentary was created and produced by Miranda's college classmate Alex Horwitz who began shooting film before LMM even decided to write a play. Intimate videos of the creative process between Miranda, musical director/composer/conductor extraordinaire Alex Lacamoire and director Tommy Kail give the audience a special perspective on how much time and energy it takes to create a piece of art. The film develops chronologically with clips from Miranda's first performance of the title song at White House in 2009 and includes special interviews and song performances throughout the length of the play. For those of us who have never and will never witness the beauty and greatness of the original cast's artwork, this documentary gives exactly what we needed. Watch the full-length film on the Great Performances' Facebook page before it's immortalized on PBS!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Privacy Please Wishlist

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

I've previously spoken about my love for Revolve Clothing and the assortment of clothing and accessory brands they house. One line I'm particularly fond of is Privacy Please. The brand specializes in skin-tight tops and flowy dresses. I'm partial to a beautiful wrap dress (I grew up lusting after DvF wrap dresses and the classic Chanel 2.55) and I would love to invest in a Privacy Please maxi for my birthday gift to myself. The only problem I have is that I love them all! They bring out the same styles in different patterns so it's difficult to choose a favorite. If I had to choose between the nine featured above, I would probably go with the maxi black Plaza Kimono Dress because I love its versatility. Most people wouldn't think a patterned maxi dress could be styled different ways, but I see great potential. For a dressed-up dinner, I would pair it with an oversized clutch and strappy sandals. On a regular day, I think it would look incredible over a baby tee and straight jeans with ankle boots and a floppy hat. Can't you see that outfit too? Who knows, maybe my next paycheck will go to making those plans reality! Can I take a raincheck on "treat yo self" day?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Football Focus | The Coaches

When people think about the members of a football team, they usually refer to the men who carry the ball, catch passes, block opposing lines and protect the end zone. However, the most crucial element of a team is the coaching personnel. While players execute on the field, their success depends on the leadership of their staff. The number of coaches varies from team to team with each school employing at least 10 including the head coach and coordinators. The standard staff is comprised of a head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators and an assistant coach for each position. Most teams also employ a performance/strength and conditioning staff as well as assistant directors of football operations and an equipment staff.

The head coach is the most essential member of the staff. While it may seem like his assistants carry the brunt of the responsibilities, the head coach is in charge of directing recruitment, planning overall game strategies, providing a face for the football team, delegating tasks to assistant coaches and keeping track of compliance. He or she also must execute everyday tasks such as interviews, press conferences, media appearances, administration meetings, etc. The head coach's right hand men/women are the offensive and defensive coordinators. The OC calls all of the offensive plays and is arguably of equal value to the HC. OCs work with quarterbacks to develop passing and rushing strategies, especially when one is difficult or unusual. DCs have the hardest job of any coach in my opinion. When your main task is to stop the opposing team from scoring, I can imagine every DC's gameday is full of stress. Quarterback, runningback and receivers coaches all work with their position players in the passing and rushing game. They don't necessarily develop plays but rather help the players to execute them successfully. The offensive line coach works with his/her linemen to protect the QB and tailback during the running game. It is extremely difficult to have a successful QB if his line doesn't protect him from sacks or tackles. The defensive line coach is in charge of developing pass rushing and run stopping techniques to keep the QB from connecting with his receivers. A linebackers coach works with the players who are in charge of tackling the ball keeper and close pass coverage. The secondary coach works with defensive backs in preparation of pass coverage and quick footwork. The special teams coach has a difficult job as most of the players on kick coverage are younger players on the roster. He/she must develop the kicker, holder, snapper and the reserves who are making their debut. The strength coach is the most underrated member of the staff. He/she must train the players in strength and conditioning while making sure they are safe. Their responsibilities also include off-season training and tending to on-field injuries.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Importance of Properly Fitting Clothes

The most important fashion advice I could ever give is to purchase clothes and accessories that fit and flatter. Our society focuses so much on what size you're wearing, that that number or letter may seem like the only aspect of clothing that matters. We are taught to idolize Kardashians and Victoria's Secret Angels because they have ideal body types instead of praising our own. When I try on clothes in a size I know won't fit me, I'm left feeling discouraged and unhappy instead of excited to purchase new pieces. Fashion is a significant part of who I am and I never want to it to become a negative social ideal. Over the years I've learned to accept all of my physical attributes, even the ones I don't like. I've found that celebrating and enhancing the parts I love such as my eyes, chest and hips makes me feel better than I would wearing a piece in a size I covet, but doesn't actually fit me. We need to stop focusing on the sizes of our clothing and instead on how they make us feel. I love this outfit because jeans are my go-to piece and this J.Crew jacket is my favorite outerwear item of all time. I feel the most comfortable and the most myself because every clothing piece fits me perfectly. I don't care that I had to size up on my denim for a better fit, because when I do wear them, I feel amazing. Remember that sizes vary between brands and the least important part of shopping is whether you're choosing a small or medium. Once you begin filling your closet with pieces that represent who you are in a plethora of sizes and colors, you will find an inner courage and strength. Fashion is an extension our ourselves, so show yourself off in the outfit you love!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Getting Back into Fitness

I've always hated sweating, so exercising is my enemy. Correction: was my enemy. I am heading straight toward the eye of the storm and learning how to tackle my fear of fitness and workouts. In my current state, I don't eat as healthy as I should and whenever I cut "bad foods" out of my system or attempt to binge-workout to Blogilates videos, I only end up doing it for a couple of weeks before going back to my old habits. As I don't have regular access to beautiful mountains to climb or the ocean to swim in, I decided to grab some gear and turn my home into a private gym of sorts. I hate working out in public (that's the hypersensitive in me) so having the tools I need at home will motivate me to actually get off my butt and get moving. I also purchased a few new pieces of workout gear that are cute enough to wear on a daily basis. I know function should trump fashion in this case, so I'm glad these items are both stylish and comfortable. The tools I bought are a workout matt, two 15-pound kettle bells and a jump rope (thanks to Miss. Tagami, I will always know how to do a double under or the heel-toe routine). I've been watching kettle bell workout videos online along with my Blogilates favorites to create a customized everyday workout that's perfect for me. Now where's that frosted sugar cookie?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Baylor vs. Kansas Recap

After a comeback win against Iowa State and a bye week to follow, the Bears were ready to take the field for the homecoming game against Kansas. Although the Jayhawks nearly upset TCU last week, four interceptions and a breathtaking Baylor defensive performance sealed the deal for BU's 6-0 record and their seventh consecutive bowl game appearance.

While our offense has slowly improved over the past few weeks, it's our defense who has truly shocked and amazed me. This week I witnessed one of the greatest defensive performances over the past few years that I couldn't have expected from a young and inexperienced group. QB Seth Russell and co. scored quickly within the first three minutes of the quarter and once Kansas received the ball, they marched down the field. While in the past I would have grown anxious over the thought of the opposing team rapidly gaining yardage, this new defense gives me hope. And boy can they perform. At Baylor's 36 yard line, CB Ryan Reid picked off the ball and ran it back for a 64-yard TD. Reid hasn't always showed star potential, but his handwork is starting to pay off in his senior season. On Kansas' next drive, QB Ryan Willis was sacked by DT Ira Lewis for a loss of eight yards before LB Raaquan Davis tackled the Jayhawks' RB on the following play. Davis was flying all over the field throughout the game as he collected 15 solo tackles, 2 for loss, one QB hurry and one sack. The second Kansas drive of the second quarter saw another Reid pick, this one returned for 52 yards. Interceptions will be key for our defense going forward as we challenge teams with stronger O-lines who can manhandle our pass rush efforts. Two more sacks by Davis and LB Taylor Young followed by a fumble recovered by Lewis left Kansas scoreless and Baylor up 42 points at the half. The Jayhawks got the ball back at the beginning of the third quarter and a few rushing yards were no match for a third interception, the first for S Orion Stewart who returned it for 11 yards (credit to DE Greg Roberts for his QB hurry). Kansas saw their first score of the night after the worst pass interference call in history (IMHO) on BU CB Tion Wright and 68 rushing yards. Most of Baylor's reserves were on the field by the fourth quarter and they had their chance to perform in front of one of the largest student turnouts in school history (even though the stands were mostly empty after the half). LB Clay Johnston (wearing #44 and looking a lot like the great Bryce Hager) picked off QB Stanley Carter and returned the pass for 65 yards. Kansas' offensive efforts were brought to an end with the fifth sack of the night and the first by LB Jordan Williams. LBs Lenoy Jones Jr. and Young had themselves a night with six tackles a piece, a forced fumble by Jones and two sacks by Young. However, Ryan Reid was the MVP of the night as his two interceptions totaled 116 yards and one TD. If our defense continues to keep up the tempo and find turnovers, I have all the faith in the world that they will keep winning games.

Our offense was a little less shiny and didn't record the best stats; however, Seth Russell was fearless and showed the nation why he is the just the next man up in Baylor's history of outstanding QBs. Russell's passing stats don't accurately represent his performance as he completed just 9 of 22 passing attempts for 144 yards and two TDs. Where his canon of an arm doesn't translate, he can (and will) use his legs. He led the team in rushing yards and TDs, totaling 68 yards and two TDs. At one point, he was sprinting toward the end zone and a Kansas defender knocked him in the side before he spiraled in the air and landed on his back. Having a dual-threat QB is important to Baylor's future success because it leaves defenses guessing whether he'll be on the keeper or not. Let's just hope for a little less flying in the air so he doesn't hurt himself again! RB Shock Linwood broke another Baylor football record as he scored his 36th rushing TD. Fellow RBs Terence Williams, JaMycal Hasty and Wyatt Schrepfer all saw playing time but didn't record as many stats as Russell. WRs KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora each grabbed a TD pass, but my A+ receiver of the game was Lynx Hawthorne. Hawthorne struggled to find his place last year and needed to work on his consistency. He hasn't seen much time on the field so far, but was extremely reliable against the Jayhawks, similar to that of former WR Jay Lee. Hawthorne had two grabs for 42 yards and made Russell's job easier when he needed him.

Right now Baylor's greatest weakness is still their special teams, at the kicking position in particular. While no fans should ever boo their players, there needs to be an improvement at kicker. P/K Chris Callahan saved us against TCU in 2014 and again last week against Iowa State, but his lack of reliability and the fact that he can't make a field goal over 30 yards is troubling. We need to start training Drew Galitz or Connor Martin for the starting kicking spot in order to be as competitive as we can.

Final Notes:

I really love having a good defense
Praise the old gods and the new for our core of linebackers
I shed a few tears watching our coaches laughing and smiling together at the end of the fourth quarter
I can't wait to see how QB Zach Smith develops

Saturday, October 15, 2016

5 Things

1. Discovering new eateries with dad

2. My Saturday view

3. My favorite part of the homecoming parade

4. The only meal I would wake up at 6 am to eat

5. The worst football game I've ever seen

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Weekend with Dad + Memories of Past Homecomings

Homecoming weekend means football, bonfire, parade, campus activities and a visit from my dad! I went to my first Homecoming with dad four years ago when I was a sophomore in high school. McLane Stadium didn't yet exist and I was so excited to see the campus with fresh eyes. Besides falling in love with the school, the biggest moment of that weekend was when I discovered college football. Prior to that trip, I wanted nothing to do with the sport and had resisted watching any games, much to my family's dismay. Going to the lightning and hail-stricken game at Floyd Casey is one of my favorite football memories of all time. Fast forward two years and I found out I was accepted to Baylor the week before Homecoming. Mom, dad and I flew to Waco for the weekend even more excited knowing that this was my future school. On that trip I met some of my favorite athletes, toured the campus and watched Andrew Billings chase down a Kansas RB (a football moment I will never forget).

This weekend will be my second Homecoming as a college student and I'm so grateful to have my dad here. So much has changed since my first visit to Waco: I'm a sophomore, working two jobs in athletics, living in an off campus apartment and enjoying my independence. However, one thing will always remain the same: my dad and I will alway share Baylor and the memories that come with it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Holy-Grail Broadway Playlist

Satisfied from Hamilton

One Day More from Les Miserables

Goodbye Love from RENT

Masquerade from Phantom of the Opera

With You from Allegiance

The Winner Takes It All from Mamma Mia

Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You from The Last Five Years

Beautiful from Heathers

Non-Stop from Hamilton

A Little Fall of Rain from Les Miserables

La Vie Boheme from RENT

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera

What Makes A Man from Allegiance

Our Last Summer from Mama Mia

If I Didn't Believe in You from The Last Five Years

Seventeen from Heathers

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

For Justice, For Peace

I've always had a passion for homeless people and animals. I used to cry when I saw someone sleeping on the street and urged my mom to buy a meal for them. Homeless people are often disregarded as lazy or addicts, which is not only false but also unfair. In my mind, when I see someone in need, the question of what they will do with my spare money doesn't even register in my head. I just want to see a world where a safe and loving place to live isn't a privilege, but a human (and animal) right. My passion for the homeless has led me to a devotion toward social justice and humanitarian work. Following along Bernie Sanders' political movement opened my eyes to the issues of mass incarceration, unnecessary war, marriage equality, LGBTQ rights and environmental concerns. I've become extremely invested in justice and equality for all, which has sparked my interest in humanitarian and criminal law. I discovered many different organizations that are devoted to the same causes as I am and they are all worthy of your support.

The Innocence Project

One of the greatest injustices in this day and age is the imprisonment of innocent people. America's democracy is supposed to house one of the greatest legal systems, but that could not be further from the truth. The Innocence Project is comprised of legal experts and lawyers who work around the clock to exonerate wrongly convicted people currently in prison. The organization was founded in 1992 and uses DNA testing to save those who are innocent, yet locked behind bars. To date, TIP has exonerated 344 people including 20 who served time on death row. Without TIP, hundreds of innocent people would die in prison before seeing the light of freedom.

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian aid organization that helps people affected by natural disasters and violence regain stability and safety. They provide people with financial resources, education, healthcare and safety during times of extreme crisis. Currently, they along with their legal assistance and partner organizations are helping the people of Aleppo and others fleeing the dangers of ISIS.

Equal Justice Initiative

I began to research the statistics of mass incarceration after reading "The New Jim Crow": Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. The book is incredible and it changed my life. The Equal Justice Initiative works to end excessive punishment and mass incarceration, combat racial and social injustice and protect everyone's basic human rights. The organization also helps to exonerate prisoners and fight to end poverty and discrimination. If there's any group that I would like to get involved with, it's this one.

College Guild

While I was discussing my newfound love for criminal justice with my best friend Kaiʻolu, she suggested I volunteer for College Guild. College Guild is a non-profit based in Maine, which provides non-traditional education to prisoners through volunteer teachers. Their aim is to decrease the recidivism rate and engage with the prisoners in a healthy academic way. As a volunteer, I would sign up to read through and edit an incarcerated person's homework to provide feedback for them. The program gives the prisoners a chance to pursue educational tasks and increase their chance of easy socialization back into society.

The UN Refugee Agency

A global crisis facing Middle-Eastern citizens, specifically Syrians, is the threat of war and ISIS. Many people have fled their homelands in search of a safe place to live. They have left jobs, families and the home they once knew to seek passage on a rubber boat, in the back of a container or on foot from country to country. The refugees only want one thing: safety. The UNHCR provides asylum, financial support, advocacy, education and protection for those who simply want to take back control of their lives and give their families a home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Big XII Midseason Update

We're five-six games into the season and it's clear that the Big XII is not the same conference it was last year. The preseason polls listed four teams in the top 25: Oklahoma at no. 3, TCU at no. 13, Oklahoma State at no. 21 and Baylor at no. 23 (with everyone else unranked) and while I rarely pay attention to polls, the initial AP one could not be any further off. Oklahoma, arguably the frontrunner for the 2016 Big XII championship, dropped their season opener to Houston and again two weeks later to Ohio State. While Houston has ridden the media wave (for good reason), their loss to Navy makes OU's loss more of a big deal. A 21-point deficit against Ohio State is OU's "good loss" (I still hate this phrase) and could make the Sooners back-to-back champions if they win out and everyone else loses at least two games. TCU's defense, or lack thereof, has contributed to their 4-2 record with losses to Arkansas in double overtime and against Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs struggled immensely in their season opener against South Dakota State but couldn't overcome their overtime struggle with Arkansas. The biggest surprise was watching them nearly fall to Kansas, who is one of the easiest opponents in the nation. TCU scraped out with a 24-23 win at Lawrence, but will need to step up during the rest of their loaded schedule. Oklahoma State proved that they're still a tough team under the reigns of head coach Mike Gundy featuring Mason Rudolph, and when Rudolph has an open James Washington and a fresh arm, they can accomplish anything. Unfortunately, their first loss of the season occurred after a horrible officiating call gave the win to Central Michigan. Their second loss to Baylor came with three forced fumbles, one game-winning interception, five pass breakups, four sacks and seven QB hurries; not exactly a game plan for winning. Besides Baylor, the only other undefeated Big XII team is West Virginia, but they haven't yet played any major competition (besides my beloved Kansas State). If WVU continues on their path of quiet dominance and Baylor wins out, we could see a Big XII "championship game" on December 5th. The college football fandom went crazy after Texas' overtime win against Notre Dame (I'll be damned before I ever praise Brian Kelly) but the Longhorns have dropped three consecutive games against California, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Even if they win out, it's almost impossible for UT to be a Big XII title contender this year. Kansas State finds itself side by side with Texas Tech in the middle of the conference. Both teams are 3-2 and neither have any quality wins yet. KState head coach Bill Snyder (aka the god in my holy trinity) is in his 25th year of coaching and doesn't show any sign of slowing down. Although his teams haven't been in the running for a Big 12 championship since 2012, he always knows how to produce great results with the talent he is given. This year is no different and the Wildcats are sure to give a few teams a run for their money. Tech is another monster as QB Patrick Mahomes is one of the greatest players in the nation. I'm a huge Mahomes fan and desperately want him to do well, but Tech's lack of a defense and strong O-line means they'll end up exactly where they've been for the past few seasons. Iowa State recently found their rhythm under new head coach Matt Campbell, but haven't yet proved that they can be title contenders. They nearly upset Baylor a couple of weeks ago and repeated the process against Oklahoma State, but couldn't seal the deal even with two fourth-quarter leads. With more effort and practice, I'm sure we'll see the Cyclones earn a higher bid within a few years. And then there's Kansas. David Beaty's squad is 1-4 despite their close TCU upset. They snapped their losing streak with a season-opening win against Rhode Island, but haven't won a game since. No game is guaranteed, however, and we'll see how Baylor holds up against the Jayhawks on Saturday. At this very moment, the Big XII conference frontrunners are Baylor and West Virginia, with Oklahoma holding on by a thread. Here's to the rest of the season! Let's hope it goes by extremely slowly.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall Wardrobe Wishlist

I've recently had the urge to add new pieces to my wardrobe for the changing weather so I headed to Revolve. Revolve is one of my favorite online boutiques because it houses dozens of mid-range and high-end brands with the most gorgeous clothing items. This fall, I'm looking for feminine pieces in neutral shades. The wine-colored Privacy Please Goodwin Romper is a tiny one-piece that packs a bold punch. The deep v-neck makes a huge statement so I would style the romper with black wool tights and gray booties. I don't have many simple black blouses and the Susana Monaco Casey Tank is the perfect basic top to style with denim and sneakers. The top would look amazing with the GRLFRND Naomi High-Rise Stretch Jean because the girly peplum balances the casual denim. Another essential piece is the white Amuse Society Morrisyn Dress, which I would pair with a duster sweater and over-the-knee Stuart Weitzman boots. The Privacy Please x Revolve Avena Romper isn't a typical fall selection, but I can imagine it with taupe accessories to transform it for the season. I would top the romper off with a rag&bone floppy hat to take it to the next autumn level. My two favorite pieces out of the bunch are the Somedays Lovin Chloe Sequin Top and Hoss Intropia Long-Sleeve Ruffle Blouse. Both are fancy blouses that I would keep in my wardrobe for all of eternity. I would style the nude sequin top with dark gray jeans and chunky flats, while the ruffle blouse would look amazing with high waisted denim and a red lip. The Bailey 44 Highly Selective Sweater is a classic item that I would wear with black shorts and tights for an effortless look. I love the shade of this sweater- it's a mixture of nude, blush and taupe, which is perfect for fall! Last but not least is the showstopper: the Privacy Please x Revolve Delta Dress. I love the brand Privacy Please and this dress is my pick for my 20th birthday outfit! I would dress it down with pink flats, gold accessories and a simple clutch.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Baylor Football 2016 | Quarterbacks

Baylor football has been blessed with a legacy of outstanding quarterbacks over the years. From RGIII to Nick Florence and Bryce Petty, our range of pass-happy, dual threat QBs have taken the Bears from the bottom of the CFB pool to the very top. Last season, starting QB Seth Russell led the Bears to a 7-0 start with 2,506 total yards and 35 TDs before breaking his neck against Iowa State. Russell was a Davey O'Brien award semi-finalist and earned an All-Big honorable mention in 2015. Not only does Russell have a canon for an arm, but he's also extremely quick on his feet. Dual-threat is in his description as he's often able to gain yardage by keeping the ball. The most successful QBs are the versatile ones and Russell is the best of the best. Even a broken neck couldn't hold him back as Russell has continued to keep the ball and speed his way out of danger. Russell has followed in the footsteps of former Baylor QB Bryce Petty in his community work. His laid-back and humble personality makes him the best spokesman for Baylor football. Russell spent a few weeks in Brazil on a mission trip this past summer and has continued to speak highly of his teammates and coaches through all of the trials this offseason has presented.

After Russell, true freshman Zach Smith is number two. Smith is a massive kid- measuring in at 6-4 and 235 pounds. He was a top 300 recruit out of high school where his 10,217 passing yards and 113 TDs rank among the top 10 in Texas high school football history. ESPN named him the number 10 QB nationally and he has collected high school football honors all throughout his career. Smith made his college debut during the Northwestern State game where he completed five of seven pass attempts for 60 yards and one TD. He collected a few snaps against SMU and Rice, but hasn't yet had the chance to showcase his talent and natural abilities. Keep your eye on Smith over the rest of the season as he will indeed be the 'next man up' in 2017.

RS FR Zack Bennema and true freshman Preston Heard are mostly unknown but are not unimportant as we've learned from last year. After the Iowa State game in 2015, my friend Stephanie asked me who would be our QB other than Seth. I noted that Jarrett Stidham was next and then Chris Johnson (both of whom departed during the offseason) and Zack Bennema. After the first two went down in injury, I had no idea what the coaches were going to do. Luckily their brains were smarter than mine and the Wildbear was the new love child. Hopefully we won't have to use that formation too often, but it's still important to keep tabs on who's under center next. I'm hoping for a full healthy season for Seth but if there's a need for the second (or third, or fourth...), these are the men!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

5 Things

1. The cutest dog in all of history

2. An accurate representation of me on a daily basis

3. The best of the best

4. My favorite shirt ever

5. Two more months until I see this view again

Friday, October 7, 2016

My Favorite Mary Jane Flats

While I was browsing Old Navy's website a few weeks ago, I discovered these simple Mary Jane flats. I'm a huge sucker for comfortable flat shoes and these are an everyday gem. While Old Navy's shoes don't typically look well-made, these draw inspiration from Fall's suede trend and look similar to those worn on the runway at NYFW. I love how soft the fabric is and how easy they are to wear with any outfit. Although the blush shade seems difficult to style, I've paired the shoes with every color from navy to green. I like to wear them when I'm walking a great deal because they're extremely comfortable and don't rub the heels of my feet. I know the shoes won't last forever so I'm treasuring all the time I have left with these new favorites!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Shock Linwood - Baylor Football Legend

Fifth-year senior RB Shock Linwood has created a legacy in Baylor football history. The athlete played nearly every position on the Linden-Kildare football team, lining up at RB, QB, DB, LB and kick returner to earn a ranking of 34 nationally. During his redshirt freshman year, Linwood earned All-American honors after he rushed for a freshman record 881 yards and totaled eight TDs on 128 carries. A promising 2013 year paved the way for Linwood's sophomore first-string season where he was named first-string All-Big 12 recognition by ESPN, nationwide coaches and other sports publishers. He totaled 1,252 yards with 16 TDs on 251 carries and set the Baylor record for sophomore rushing yards. Linwood continued his football career success with second-team All-Big 12 honors as a junior where he recorded 1,329 yards with 10 TDs on 196 carries and 71 yard with one TD on nine catches. Linwood had a rocky start to the season after he was outperformed by fellow RBs Terence Williams and JaMycal Hasty. Despite a lack of star results on the field, Linwood surpassed Walter Abercrombie's career rushing record by totaling 3,916 total career yards in only the third game of the season. He also passed the Baylor touchdown record and totaled a career high 237 yards during the Iowa State game. Linwood has at least seven more games left on the Baylor football team and he's sure to succeed after such a remarkable performance. Look toward Linwood on the field throughout the rest of the season and spot him in Baylor record books alongside Walter Abercrombie and Mike Singletary.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Noelle Listens | October 2016

Beautiful from "The Heathers"

You Won't Know by Brand New

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from "The Phantom of the Opera"

Bird by Billie Marten

Drifters by Patrick Watson

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Wrongful Conviction Day

Today marks the Innocence Project's annual Wrongful Conviction Day, which raises awareness about the suffering that innocent people experience when they are imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. The Innocence Project uses DNA testing and other methods to prove the innocence of convicted prisoners who have spent decades in cells. Without the legal help from the Innocence Project, most of these people would never have the chance to step foot outside of a prison ever again. Some were even on death row. Wrongful Conviction Day is an opportunity to not only spread the word about thousands of innocent people currently imprisoned, but also to call out the justice system (or rather the injustice system) and campaign for improved laws and policies that give people a chance to prove themselves honest. Unlawful imprisonment affects both the prisoner and his/her family in an emotional, physical and financial way. Some innocent prisoners never have their record wiped clean, which means they struggle to earn a job and re-socialize themselves back into society. Their families deal with a daily battle between believing their loved one's innocence and trying to move on from the conviction. Our justice system is broken and needs a complete overhaul in order to rehabilitate prisoners, which will help them ease back into a life outside of four walls. On this Wrongful Conviction Day, I hope that you will join me in remembrance of all those who have been redeemed from an unfair conviction, and those who are still sitting in cells waiting for their day of justice.

Please watch Mr. Marvin Anderson's story to gain a better understanding of why I am honoring this day.

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Easy Everyday Rope Braid

I'm back with another hair tutorial and this one is sure to please anyone who wants a unique and easy everyday look. Rope braids are easier to achieve than french braids, but they both have similar techniques. I started by grabbing a two inch section of hair at the top of the right side of my head and split that into two pieces. Holding both pieces, I started twisting the left part toward my face and crossed it over the right piece. I twisted the right piece, grabbed a section of hair and added it to that chunk, twisting the new bunch as well. I continued twisting the left section, crossed it over the right section and added a new group of hair to the part in the same way I would french braid my hair. I added more sections of hair and kept twisting them toward my face before crossing them over toward the back of my head until I got to the ends and secured them with a hair tie. The rope will stay as long as you make sure to twist your sections in the same direction (toward the face) and then cross them over each other in the opposite direction (toward the back of the head). This completed look takes about 10 minutes to achieve and lasts all day long with only a few minor touchups. Try out this french rope braid instead of a french braid whenever you want a fresh hairstyle!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Baylor vs. Iowa State Recap

After a remarkable defensive performance against Oklahoma State last week, Baylor struggled immensely at Iowa State before a late fourth quarter comeback continued the Bears undefeated streak. Iowa State has greatly improved under the direction of young head coach Matt Campbell, but their upset attempt wasn't enough to steal the game from Baylor. A last second field goal from Chris Callahan (reminiscent of the 2014 TCU game) led to the Bears' 45-42 victory in Ames.

Baylor's star of the game was undoubtedly RB Shock Linwood, who recorded a personal best 237 rushing yards with one touchdown. After a mediocre start to the season, the first-string fifth-year senior rediscovered his spark on the field- one that sets him apart from every other tailback on the field. Linwood shoved his way through any gaps the O-line opened for him and juked past defenders left and right. He showed up when the team needed him, grabbing first downs and setting up the offense to score even if he was to switch out with RB Terence Williams. With a chance to rest over the next few weeks, I'm excited to see how Linwood will continue his record-breaking senior season with fresh legs. QB Seth Russell's last encounter with the Cyclones was at the seventh game of the 2015 season where he broke his neck. This memory didn't slow down Russell throughout the game as he completed 12 of 22 pass attempts with one passing touchdown and two rushing scores. If anything, Russell was even more brave this time around- scrambling all over the field and often choosing to keep the ball himself. While the RBs kept the show going- Linwood with one touchdown and Williams with two, young WRs Blake Lynch and Chris Platt had their own star moments: each catching a 57 yard and 46 yard pass, respectively. The offensive line has to be praised for their hard work throughout the game, allowing Russell and the tailbacks chances to push through to Cyclone territory. While the line is still young and inexperienced, more time spent in the trenches will eventually pull them together into a unified unit.

Oh, our precious defense. How they not only anger me but also extract all of the love out of my heart.  Last week, I witnessed a fresh core of pass rushers and DBs who lit up on the field, taking away every opportunity for the enemy to score. Turnovers abounded and my favorite dynamic duo tackled and sacked to their heart's content. This week however, that defense disappeared and we were left with a group who could not for the life of them, seem to stop Iowa State QB Joel Lanning or his receivers. The Cyclones scored six touchdowns on all six of their possessions before our defense found a way to force punts in the fourth quarter. Iowa State's offense was lucky enough to not feel the presence of NBs Travon Blanchard and Pat Levels who at this game, did not exist. It's one thing to allow the opposing team to score on one possession but to score on all six is a nightmare for DC Phil Bennett. The defense sure will have some explaining to do as they watch game film this week. Not all of their performance was bad though, as they didn't allow any points and held the Cyclones to only seven yards in the fourth quarter.

Overall, I'm extremely proud of our team for fighting through till the end of the game. Most people would have given up down 42-28, but the guys kept playing and putting in the work. That kind of discipline and strength shows the ultimate strength and talent of a team. With more practice and drills, I'm confident that they will be as solid of a team as possible when they face Texas in four weeks.

Final notes:

Shock has secured a spot as one of the greatest Baylor football players of all time
Bless Ira Lewis for his fourth quarter sack (maybe the only Baylor sack?)
My faith in Chris Callahan was extremely low- my bad
I'm extremely excited for Blake Lynch's breakout moment

Saturday, October 1, 2016

5 Things

1. Missing my puppy pillow

2. Work privileges

3. An inside look at me during the first Presidential debate (ft. uncle Bernie)

4. Homemade oyako don!

5. Me and Meg

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