Today was my last day of classes as a college freshman. It's incredible to think how fast the year has gone by, even though time often dragged. I started my first year at Baylor not knowing anyone (besides a few of my dad's friends) and I was terrified. I had wanted to go to Baylor from the time I was a freshman in high school and it was scary to go to school with high expectations and without any friends. While most of my Kamehameha classmates went to schools on the west coast with fellow alumni, I was starting a new year completely alone. However, I don't regret my choice to come to Baylor and I feel like I've grown immensely throughout the year! Here are 10 things I learned during my freshman year:
Always say hi-I know how hard it is to make friends after going to school with the same people for 10 years, but it's not difficult to greet students you pass by on your way to class. Sometimes, the people you say hi to can become great friends.
It's okay if you decide to change your major-Before I came to Baylor I decided that I would major in journalism in order to become a sports journalist or announcer. After taking a few journalism classes over the past two semesters, I discovered how much I despise journalistic writing. While I can easily write a blog post or essay, I never feel the same sense of excitement when I approach a feature story or event article. After researching my options, I've decided to change my major to professional writing. It often seems like everyone around you knows exactly what they're doing but most times, that's not the case. Everyone doubts their major and their interests so don't feel bad if you're going through the same apprehension! Change your major if you want to and ultimately, do what makes you happy.
Feeling homesick is completely natural-A lot of people at Baylor are from Texas, so they're able to go home every weekend or so. When I would see students packing their cars to go home for the weekend or for a break I often felt extremely envious. It's truly difficult to be away from Hawaiʻi for four months at a time and feeling sad and homesick is natural. The best way to combat the homesickness is by calling your family and friends. You'll feel better after and they'll feel appreciated and thought about.
Get involved on campus as early as possible- My dad encouraged me to join band as that's where I spent most of my time from elementary to high school. Although I protested against doing marching band and complained as much as I could, I'm eternally grateful that he pushed me to do it. I've never been interested in sororities and I'm not an athlete, so I don't know where I would have initially found my place in college had I not joined band. Even though I'm not going to continue next year, I made some great friends and memories throughout the year, which I wouldn't trade for the world. I just think it's time for me to try something new and experience different things in the next three years. I've gotten a job starting in the fall and I'm excited to join a few clubs and organizations focusing on mentoring, community service, theater, etc. (Hopefully a student worker position on the football team opens up soon as well!)
Find the perfect study spot- Most students study outside of their dorm rooms, but I haven't found a better place for me to complete my work. I don't like being surrounded by other people when I do homework, so I've found that the desk in my bedroom is the perfect study spot for me. If you can't study in your room, try a table outside or at the library!
Make time to have fun-Although college is a lot more difficult than high school, it's important to tuck away some time for activities and friends. Going to Baylor men's basketball games helped me power through the long weeks in January and I wouldn't give that time up for anything.
Stay in touch with professors you connect with-I didn't have the best relationship with my first semester English professor but I had to enroll under her supervision again this semester. We didn't see eye-to-eye at first, but she has become my favorite professor who has taught me so much about literature and writing. Even though I won't have her again next year, I will make it a point to stay in touch with her because relationships with professors prove to be invaluable. Their knowledge and mentorship are some of the best parts of college.
Write down every memory and feeling you have during the year-I've always had a journal, but I didn't realize how important it is to collect my thoughts until recently. College goes by so quickly and if you don't record the events that shape you or the ideas you have, it's easy to forget them.
College requires a lot more work than high school-I worked decently hard in high school but I didn't expect college classes to have so much work. I often have a few essays, projects and tests due in the same week and the amount of items on my to-do list is always daunting. During my first college year I've learned how to have better study habits and work harder on my homework. Even if you were a standout student in high school, college is a new beast that requires immensely more work.
Don't feel the need to find replicas of your friends from home-When I got to Baylor I expected to find exact replicas of my best friends, but that's not what happened. It's not fair to compare your lifelong friends at home with people you become close to in college. Treasure both friendships equally.
There are few stores I've been religiously dedicated to over the years but none stand out more than J.Crew. I've been fascinated with the brand from a young age as my sister purchased a lot of their clothes and accessories. Of course I followed in her footsteps and instantly fell in love with the store. Even as I've gotten older, J.Crew continues to hold the No. 1 slot in my list of favorite stores because of the well-made designs, bright colors, and an enviable shoe selection. I recently purchased my favorite Toothpick Jean after waiting five years to buy them. J.Crew nails it every season as they constantly bring out a fresh batch of styles, while staying true to their classic and feminine look.
I've been lusting after the gray Toothpick Jean for a while and am hoping to purchase them for the summertime. Even though the denim fabric is thick, the jeans never make me overheat and I need another neutral pant in my wardrobe. I fell in love with the Summerweight Sweater in Neon when I spotted it on the website a few months ago. I've never been one to wear orange, but this sweater is a beautiful sherbet shade that I can't get out of my mind! Another bright pop color is found in the yellow Cotton Off-the-Shoulder Top. Off-the-shoulder blouses are a staple trend for the summertime (and every season in my opinion) and I would love to add this vibrant top to my mostly neutral closet. These Gemma Leather Flower Flats are the most adorable shoe for the upcoming season. The daisy appliqués are 90's-esque, but I'm obsessed with them!
As an avid sports fan, I've researched ways to stay in the loop throughout the year. While SB Nation websites and ESPN shows are my usual go-to, I've discovered that podcasts are an excellent way to get my daily sports information on the go. Instead of listening to Hamilton 24/7, which I do, I like to switch it up and tune in to one of my favorite online sports series. There are 10 shows that I listen to almost every day, which range from general sports information to just football or just basketball.
Mike & Mike: The combination of sports journalism Mike Greenberg with former NFL lineman Mike Golic is always a hilarious feat. The two sports anchors' opinions often clash, but they always find their way back to each other in a unified front.
The Bill Simmons Podcast: Although I despise Simmons' conversations about the Patriots or Tom Brady, his humor and calm demeanor always draw me in. I love his banter with celebrity and sports guests as well!
Jalen & Jacoby: Jalen Rose and David Jacoby mix sports and pop culture news in the best way. The two men balance each other out perfectly and they know exactly how to make a daily podcast fun and different.
The Right Time with Bomani Jones: I absolutely love Bomani Jones! I used to watch SC Top 10 just to see Jones' fun take on the most exciting plays of the week. I make sure to tune in to his show whenever I can.
SportsCenter: The first ever SportsCenter podcast debuted on April 25th and I loved listening to it. The concept is fresh- an update of all the top sports news in a 15 minute period.
The Herd with Colin Cowherd: I don't always agree with Colin (I actually rarely do), but I mainly listen to his show on the days that Joel Klatt makes an appearance.
Breaking the Huddle: Speaking of Joel Klatt aka my favorite sports announcer ever, his podcast on football strategies and news is the most informational for aspiring coaches like me.
His & Hers: Michael Smith and Jemele Hill both have bold personalities and strong opinions on sports, so it's fun to see them duke it out on television and on a podcast. Although I disagree with Jemele Hill 96% of the time, it's inspiring to see a strong woman who doesn't hold back when it comes to sports.
The Matt Jones Podcast: Matt Jones has a way of talking about sports without sounding condescending as many sports announcers/podcast leaders do. I love listening to his discussions with athletes and celebrities alike.
Sports Without Balls: This podcast was created by my English professor's sister Erin Foley. The concept of the podcast is that women can talk about sports just as eloquently as men can, if not even better.
The path to the Baylor football team was a winding route for linebacker Grant Campbell. A standout two-sport starter at Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, CA, Cambell shined on both the field and the dugout. He played as both LB and RB on the football team and held records for his school's baseball team. Although he made the All-State team during his senior year, Campbell received little attention from Power 5 teams and ultimately decided to play baseball for California State University Bakersfield. After realizing how much he missed football, Campbell transferred to Bakersfield College where in 2013 he recorded 108 tackles; 3.5 sacks for a loss of 17 yards; 8.5 tackles for loss; two QB hurries and one fumble recovery returned for 32 yards. Campbell's performance at BC caught the eye of many D1 schools including Baylor and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett knew that he wanted the linebacker on his team.
In his first season at Baylor (2014), Campbell played as a reserve in all 13 games. He recorded 11 tackles; one sack for a loss of 15 yards and two QB hurries. During his senior year, Campbell thrived in his starting middle linebacker position. He earned All-Big 12 honorable mention and ranked eighth in the Big 12 with 7.5 tackles per game. Campbell totaled 97 tackles (63 solo, five for a loss of 28 yards); 2.5 sacks for a loss of 25 yards; eight QB hurries and two fumble recoveries.
At Baylor's Pro Day, Cambell flourished in every workout and drill. He recorded a 37 inch vertical, 9-8 broad jump, 4.6 40-yard dash, 4.37 10-5-10, 7.21 three-cone drill, 11.64 60-yard shuttle and 25 bench reps of 225 pounds. Although he's a quiet prospect, any NFL team would be lucky to have Campbell's strength and consistency on their team.
My family and I have recently purchased an apartment in Waco for the next three years and I'm so excited to decorate! Although I've never been extremely interested in interior design, the idea of fixing up an apartment with pops of color and a neutral background makes me giddy. I've been scouring the likes of CB2, Oliver Bonas, Target, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie in order to find inspiration and new pieces for the place. The Farm Dining Table is my favorite piece of furniture for the kitchen and dining area. It's a simple table, but the solid wood body makes it a long-lasting addition. This Adjustable Perforated Shelf is a functional way to add color to the living room. Because the apartment isn't too big, I would like to incorporate built-in shelves to eliminate bulky storage. I'd love mixing and matching the pink, mint, and white shelves to create an original work of art on the walls. This Carlisle Sofa Bed is the most gorgeous shade and would combine function with fashion in the living room. A pull-out couch is essential for a small apartment when family members come to visit and this one is both stunning and affordable. I would mix and match a few pastel pillows to tie in more color. When it comes to bedding, I'm all about white. This Georgina Duvet is the perfect base for a maximum comfort bed. White bedding is also great year-round. If you want to decorate for spring, include pastel pillows; and for Christmastime, add a soft red throw and holiday-inspired accent cushions. I instantly fell in love with these mint Carlisle Metal Dining Chairs that I would love to mix and match around the dining table. They're not too big so they won't overwhelm a small dining area and they're affordable! While I won't be mixing drinks anytime soon, the Dolce Vita Rose Gold Bar Cart is a beautiful piece to add to any home. I would use it to serve pupus or fun mocktails to any guests in an easy way. The current lighting fixture above the apartment's dining room table is old and too dark, so I would add this Metal Pipe Pendant for an industrial feel to the eating area. I love a good desk and the Bertie Wooden Desk is the most gorgeous one I've ever found. The mint and white accents would coordinate with my pastel theme and I'm always a fan of light wood. Oliver Bonas makes the most amazing pillows and throws and I love their Prism Cushion either for the bedroom or the living room. Ideally, I would purchase all of the fun colorful cushions for my apartment but I guess I'll have to save and buy one for every season!
The Baylor football team recently released its post-spring depth chart, listing (almost) all of the new starting players in each position. Keep in mind, however, that the chart doesn't list any of the players who aren't currently on campus such as incoming freshmen or JUCO transfers. The main feature worth noting is the starting lineup of offensive linemen. After the team lost 4/5 OL, it's exciting to see young players taking over in the trenches. Two surprising starting players are Patrick Lawrence on RT and Blake Blackmar on LG. Most would think that former JUCO transfers Mo Porter and B.J. Autry would grab the first-team positions, but I have to give credit to Lawrence and Blackmar for earning key spots in the lineup. Seeing so many receivers on the depth chart isn't a shock since Baylor is fully loaded on the offensive backfield. I'm excited to see KD Cannon back on the outside since it's where he thrived during his true freshman year. The QB position is in question since Seth Russell was out with a pelvic injury. Although sophomore Jarrett Stidham took over under center during spring practices, that doesn't mean the position is his come fall. On the defensive side of the ball, the only key points I have are redshirt freshman Jameson Houston grabbing the CB position across Ryan Reid, and Davion Hall shining as S.
When it starts to rain outside, most people reach for dark jackets and rain boots. Dressing to match the weather is common and I used to do the same thing. However, I've recently found that wearing bright colors on a gloomy day helps lift my mood. I love this marigold jacket from J.Crew because it reminds me of Paddington Bear and the color stands out among the typical black rain jacket. I wore the jacket over a sunflower dress I bought from French Connection last year. If you thought yellow and white were enough colors for one outfit, the addition of my pink Kate Spade Saturday bag might be a little too much for your taste. Fortunately, I have a newfound interest in pairing multiple colors to create a fun and girly look. I finished my outfit with my new Cole Haan sneakers.
Hamilton has become more than another interest to me. In the same way that Les Misérables emotionally altered eight year old Noelle, Hamilton is now a full-blown obsession. The play started as an idea in writer, singer, actor extraordinaire Lin-Manuel Miranda's mind in 2008 after he picked up a copy of Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton" biography for 'light reading'. Miranda had just finished performing as Usnavi in "In the Heights"- another play he wrote and starred in. After a year of writing for other projects and for Hamilton, Miranda was invited to to perform a song from Heights at the White House on May 12, 2009. Instead, he decided to take a risk and introduced the idea of a play about Alexander Hamilton comprised of rap and hip hop numbers. The audience joyously laughed at Miranda's performance, as they had no idea the concept would turn into a musical masterpiece and a cultural icon.
Since Miranda's White House performance, he wrote a 2.5 hour long play with 46 songs and a cast composed mainly of people of color. Hamilton showcases the history of a man most modern Americans have forgotten- an immigrant, soldier, lawyer, thinker, writer, and the creator of our financial system. Cabinet meetings turned into rap battles, unrequited love stories, the struggle to make something of one's self, and an iconic rhetorical question: 'who tells your story?' make Hamilton a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
Because ticket prices start at $1,000, Miranda has figured out the perfect ways to give the world a glimpse into what the show is about. Weekly live and digital #Ham4Ham shows are a contest where audience members and people online can enter their names into a lottery. If you win, you can see the show for $10! If not, you can still watch the short performances the cast puts on every week outside of the Rogers theater. Miranda has also made it his goal to ensure that students in underprivileged backgrounds in New York have the chance to see the show. The #EduHam initiative is a chance for thousands of public high school students to watch the show privately and perform their own pieces of history for the Hamilton cast. It's a win-win in both situations.
The "Hamilton the Revolution" book is a nearly 300 page encyclopedia encompassing anecdotes of how Miranda wrote the songs in the play, interviews with the cast and crew, primary source documents, never before seen backstage and onstage photos, and historical stories weaving together the show we all know and love with the events that truly happened. In a generation where history is written by everyone except main character, Hamilton is a refreshing and beautiful story that must continue to be told.
For the second installment of "A Conversation With..." I interviewed former Baylor running back Silas Nacita. Silas made national headline news after he gained stardom on the university's campus as a walk-on extraordinaire. His story continued when he was kicked off the Baylor football team after he accepted free housing from a friend, violating NCAA rules. Although he's gone through many ups and downs in the past four years, his story isn't over yet.
Tell me about your story
“I was born on Thanksgiving day in Bakersfield, California in my house because it was cheaper (laughs). When I was two years old, my dad left. He said he was leaving for three months and then he was gone for three years. During that time, my mom didn’t have a job because she was trying to raise us kids. We moved to multiple different places; lived with different family members while she scrambled to find work. Around ’98, my dad came back and he was really sporadic throughout my life. The longest he was there was six months. So my mom was on her own raising us four kids. She would drive my brother to one school, my other brother to another school, my sister somewhere, me somewhere, and then she would pick us up and take us to practices. I would be at school until five-o-clock and then she would pick me up and then I would go straight to wrestling practice and when I got home it would be eight thirty at night. So I would only see my mom for like thirty minutes at six in the morning and thirty minutes at night. And that’s the only times I would spend time with my mom for years. So my whole point is because she had to do everything for us without any help, we never got to establish a relationship. When I got to high school, things started to slow down a little because my siblings all graduated and left the house. That’s at the point when my mom wanted to have a relationship with me but the problem is that’s the age where every kid starts to pull away from their parents and do life on their own. So we clashed for a long time and it got worse and worse. My senior year I ended up moving out and I lived with my friend Kevin in his duplex. I didn’t have a room, I kept my things in a closet and slept on the couch but I never let anybody know what I was going through so on the outside I was a superstar in town but on the inside I was kind of a mess.”
Time at Cornell
“I knew I wanted to get out of there and the first college that came knocking was Cornell. In my mind I looked at three things: I would get to play football, it was a good school, and it was far away. I visited once and decided to go so that’s what I did. I never resolved anything with my mom, I just left. I hated it at Cornell, it was a lot worse than I expected. Football wasn’t on the level I was expecting, it was really cold, and very isolated. It was there that I first started to realize that life can’t be only about football, there has to be something more. That’s when I first started a relationship with God. That year was a big year for me in that sense but at the same time, I really desired to play football on a bigger level.”
“I had some friends who went to Baylor and they said I should apply so I did and got accepted, I started emailing coaches and went to visit during Spring break of 2013 and that was when I first met Coach Briles. From the first day he was very welcoming, he invited me out to practice and when I went out there he called me over and the first question he asked me was ‘how’s your family?’ I was kind of confused and told him my dad passed away (he died when I was 16) and I don’t have a good relationship with my mom. So not making the wisest decisions, I was like I’m just going to leave Cornell- it was really rash. I didn’t have the finances all figured out but I knew I had to get out of there so I would just figure it out when I got to Waco. I got to Baylor in the Fall of 2013 and from there I practiced all of Fall camp and did well, I lived at University Parks (owned by the school). Everything was going exactly as I wanted it and when school came, I couldn’t pay for school, I couldn’t get a loan and it didn’t work out. So I was off the team and I had to get out of my apartment. I went to MCC and met the President there and got connected really quick. They said I could enroll and figure out payment as the year went on. I took classes online, couch surfed, lived with my cousin, lived with my friend Vance, lived with Glasco Martin (former Baylor running back), and I worked out on my own. I would sneak in to the Student Life Center and worked out there and I also snuck in to a lot of dining halls to eat. After I went through that year I got to a point where I was really unsatisfied. I was really unsatisfied because I couldn’t play football so I thought I have to get out of this place. I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t want to answer all the questions.”
The Monumental Road Trip
“During Christmas break I packed a bag and had Glasco drop me off on a freeway and I started walking and hitchhiking. I met a bunch of people, learned a lot about myself and went on a soul search. But the biggest moment of that trip that I’ll never forget was I was walking in New Mexico somewhere on a road, thinking about my life, thinking about how tired I was from walking and where I was in life and I just thought I want to be at the end of the road. I just want to be at Baylor. I just want to play football and everything will be better. At that point, God just said that’s enough, it’s not about where you want to go, it’s not about what you want to achieve or have, it’s about finding the most joy possible exactly where you are regardless of if you have everything you ever wanted or if you have nothing you ever wanted. And the only way to do that is to find your joy in Christ. That was a game changer. My second semester of sophomore year I really started applying that. I began to think if I don’t get to play football again, I can be completely fulfilled exactly as I am. I took the opportunity to meet with Vance and pray, go on mission trips, and it was huge.”
A Friend for Life + Papa Joe
“I met Grant Campbell in high school, we played against each other. We talked my freshman year because he was thinking of coming to Cornell so I was telling him about it and that was it, we didn’t talk again. The next time I saw him was December 7, 2013, it was the Big 12 championship and he was telling me that he was getting recruited there and he might go. But he didn’t know that I wasn’t at Baylor year. I went home for Christmas break and he invited me to his signing party and so I went and that’s where we became good friends. I met his family, I didn’t tell them my story I just said me and Grant might be teammates next year. The next semester, Grant spending a lot of time with me figured out that I wasn’t going to Baylor yet and over the next couple of months we became really good friends. One day his grandpa called me and said I know what you’ve been doing, I know how hard you’ve been working and I want to help you get through college with a place to stay and what not. I wasn’t even an athlete at that point but I said okay, I’ve worked enough, I have enough scholarships that I should be good without a place to stay but he said you need a place to stay so I’ll get you a place to stay. He would give me money for food and rent and because of him, I had a place to stay and go to Baylor.”
The Best Season
“That brings me to fall 2014 where I played my first season at Baylor and it was so much fun I loved every second of it. Anything that I got to do was fun- I loved waking up at four in the morning to workout and there wasn’t a day that I stepped on to the field that I didn’t thank God for allowing me to be there. But again, it didn’t change who I was and everyone would ask how did it feel to score a touchdown after everything you’ve been through? And it was great but it wasn’t as great as people think because the greatest moment was me understanding that I could have so much joy in life no matter what through Christ. So I went through that football season and after the Cotton Bowl in January, I remember I had a balance in the second semester of $500 to pay for my bill but I didn’t have the money because I was supposed to get reimbursed by the Baylor football team for the plane ticket I bought. It go to the point where I told Papa Joe (Grant’s grandpa) about the overdue balance so he paid for it on his credit card and then I got called in to Compliance and they asked me who paid it, I told them, and they asked me if he gave me anything else, so I said yeah he’s been helping me from before I got to Baylor.”
“Over the next month they would call me in and get more information and on February 24, 2015, I got a text from my running back coach and he said ‘go see Shaq’. Shaq is the director of operations guy. So I go in and he says I have bad news- you violated NCAA rules and you’re off the team. The good news is you didn’t ruin anything for the team and lose the Big 12 championship. He said you don’t need to tell anyone this happened, just say you want to focus on your academics and not play football. Then I thought who on God’s green earth is going to believe that after everything I’ve gone through? Anyway, I wasn’t going to say anything because I had to process it. I ended up going to my locker and burst into tears. Johnny [Jefferson] and Corey [Coleman] came up to me and coaxed it out of me so I told them. Shawn [Oakman] found out too and he knew my story so he got pretty mad. Again, I wasn’t going to say anything because I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it. The very next day, I went to school and people came up to me to ask is it true? I was on a social media fast so I didn’t know what was going on but when I went on Twitter, I saw that Shawn went on a rant and so I was like well I have to say something. So I shared a message on Twitter that was shared a bunch of times. After that, the NCAA came out and said they didn’t declare me ineligible so people started looking at Baylor and I was like I don’t want to make Baylor look bad, I’m just telling everyone what happened. I went to meet with Baylor officials to let them know I was on their side and what can I do to help? And they already had a typed up message that I needed to send out basically saying that I was wrong, I broke the rules, and I accept all the punishment basically. I was like well that’s not really true but I didn’t know what to do. I had so much pressure on me so I decided to say it. The next day I released their message and that’s when everything kind of died down. It was a very hard week, but again, it didn’t change who I was. I knew I wanted to still play football and I remember sitting in a meeting with the AD, director of Compliance, all those guys, I recorded the conversation, where they told me that I can stay here and finish school as a student, I can go to an NAIA school and play immediately, or I can go to another NCAA institution and request a waiver of some sort.”
Lows and a New High
“I decided to go to an NAIA school and I went to SAGU, who offered me a scholarship, and then a month before school starts, they called me and said you basically didn’t get a waiver request from Baylor so you can’t play here unless you sit out a year. I decided it wasn’t worth it so I went back to Baylor, registered after literally everyone signed up for classes and earlier this year I was invited to the Dream Bowl- an all star game for D2, D3, and NAIA players in front of CFL and NFL scouts. A couple weeks before that they said you can’t play in the game because you’re not draft eligible since you didn’t use all your eligibility. I already had my ticket so I went anyway and by the time the game came, all the NFL scouts left so I could technically play. And so I ended up not practicing either day but when the scouts left, I played the game and scored the game winning touchdown in double overtime and was the MVP. It was there that I connected with some coaches from Germany and they offered me a spot on their team. Now I’m finishing the school year, graduating, and I’m off to Germany.”
When did you realize you wanted to pursue football on a higher level?
“From the moment I began playing I knew I loved it. I guess as soon as I became aware of college sports I knew I wanted to pursue football; when I was a kid I wanted to play in the NFL. As I got older I understood that if I wanted to play on a professional level, I would have to go to college.”
What is your favorite part about playing football?
“Not knowing what’s going to happen each play- you could potentially get obliterated by someone twice your size or you could make a break and score a touchdown. Anything could happen and you’re out there and you have the ability to take in a bunch of things going on at once, see all of it at one time and be able to react to it and respond to it. Whenever you do react to everything going on with the right move or the right step, it’s just a great feeling.”
How much do the coaches impact you and in what way?
“At this point in my life, I would say that I am my own coach. When you get to a certain point, coaches should really only be there to teach you their plan and coach you on the little details. But at this point in life, I should be my biggest coach as far as pushing myself to be as best as I can be, as disciplined as I can be. The only thing a coach should do for me is to help me see from an outside perspective the things I can’t see.”
What is your favorite memory of playing?
“My first practice back at Baylor my junior year. It was a 6 a.m. workout but just being back out there, surrounded by my teammates was the best feeling; the first time I stepped on the field.”
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
“My hope is that I’ll be playing in the NFL, that’s my goal. But at this point, I know from experience that life doesn’t always go your way and it doesn’t really matter where I end up. God’s plan for me is much more important that my plan for myself.”
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
“The most important thing I would ever say to anybody is that we weren’t made to live our lives for ourselves. We were created for the God who created us so in order to find the most fulfillment out of life, we need to live it for him, not for us.”
I discovered James Bay's music one year ago and I've been listening to his songs ever since. Chaos and the Calm is his first full-length album, which was released in 2015. My favorite part of James' music is his airy vocals and the individualized picking on the electric guitar. Because James is from England, he has a unique sound similar to that of Bastille or Passenger. Some of my favorite songs on the album are "Hold Back the River" and "Let it Go". If you're looking for easy to listen to music for everyday, I highly recommend Chaos and the Calm!
One of the worst parts about going to school in a small town is a lack of shopping malls. Shopping is one of my favorite pastimes and buying new clothing and accessories for the different seasons always gets me excited. Unfortunately, Waco doesn't have my favorite stores, so I've been wearing my autumn/winter clothes throughout the beginning of spring time (to be fair, the cold weather is still prevalent). Most of my clothes are either gray, pink or blue, but I'm always ready to update my wardrobe with bright colors and patterns for the spring and summer.
I was having a peruse on the Revolve website and I fell in love with a handful of pieces that I would love to add to my closet! The Privacy Please Minear Skirt consists of my three most-worn colors. While the safe way of wearing it would be with a white tee, I would style it with a floral blouse to add contrast to its existing pattern! The chiffon Tularosa Jolle Dress is what I would describe as "spring in an outfit". I love the mixture of sheer lace with a chiffon blend and I would pair it with blush lace-up flats and a nude handbag. In an ode to the 90's, I love the L'Academie x Revolve The Safari Blouse. While most lace-up tops are form-fitting, this one is sheer and loose, giving it a modern update. The shade of blue used in the stripes is one of my favorite colors as well! For the spring, I would pair this blouse with a light suede skirt and chunky espadrilles. My last pick is the Privacy Please Irvington Romper. Florals are my favorite pattern during the springtime and I love the cutout on this romper. I would pair it with a floppy hat and open toe flats.
Long snappers are the football players where, if you don't know who they are, that's a good thing. Most fans usually learn the name of the LS if he screws up a snap or makes a mistake. In the case of Jimmy Landes, he's not only a fan favorite, but also hasn't made any real errors in his football career. Landes played both football and baseball at Lee High School in Tyler, TX and walked on to the Baylor football team in 2011. After Baylor's starting LS got injured, Landes became the primary place-kicker in 11 games during his freshman year. Landes played only in 3 games during his sophomore year because he decided to focus mainly on catching for the baseball team. After switching to football full-time, Landes started in all 13 games of his junior year and made the sole fumble recovery of his football career. He was named to the 2014 All-Big 12 second team. In his 2015 senior season, Landes started in all 13 games and made his first and only tackle. He was also named to the 2015 Academic All-Big 12 second team. He unsuccessfully created a Heisman campaign, but gained national recognition when he uploaded a video of himself snapping a football from the top of McLane stadium into a bucket on the field.
Landes was invited to the 2016 Reese's Senior Bowl as one of only two LS along with three other Baylor teammates. He played on the South team, which defeated the North with a final score of 27-16. During the Senior Bowl, Landes was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine as the lone LS. At the Scouting Combine, the 6'1" 240 pound player recorded a 5.00 40-yard dash, 110 inch broad jump, 7.05 second three cone drill, and 4.38 second 20 yard shuttle. At Baylor's pro day, Landes improved his 40 yard dash to 4.92 seconds.
Although I'm a huge fan of basketball, I've never particularly liked Kobe Bryant. There's no denying he's one of the players who made the game as great as it is today, but I personally never grew up sporting his jersey or cheering on the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite my lack of overexcitement for Kobe, I understand that he represents a generation of basketball fans who have aged with him. There are certain names that stick out amongst the greats- Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, and Kobe, just to name a few. Kobe played his final game on Wednesday after a 20 year run in the NBA.
He will finish as a 5-time NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010); 2-time NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010); 2-time scoring champion (2006, 2007); 18-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016); 4-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011); and many others including the Lakers' record for most points in a career (33,643). In his final game, the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 101-96 while Kobe dropped 60 points. It was the perfect send off for one of the greatest players of our generation. And even I can recognize that.
I've loved makeup ever since I received my first Lip Smackers lipgloss at age four. I think I one of our family friends bought me a set of glittery glosses for my birthday and I became obsessed with the stickiness and color it added to my lips. Lip Smackers were my first venture into the world of beauty and I never looked back. As I got older, I made many makeup errors from the wrong shade of foundation to applying eyeshadow without blending it out. While I'll save my beauty horror stories for another post, I do want to share my everyday makeup look with you all. I used to be a beauty blogger but when I found a collection of products that worked for me, I decided to stop purchasing unnecessary items that I didn't need.
I start off by applying the Makeup Forever Step 1 Mattifying Primer all over my skin to ensure that my makeup will last all day. Next up I use my favorite Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer in Ochre for a lightweight base. I've been using this tinted moisturizer everyday for the past two years and I love it so much that I've stopped wearing foundation! To cover up any blemishes or dark circles, I apply the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard. After adding concealer, I bop my foundation brush on the areas I concealed so that there aren't any obvious spots where my foundation meets my concealer. This is a great trick to guarantee that your base will look flawless and natural. Most foundations and concealers aren't the exact same shade, so it's key that you properly blend both with the same brush. I will then dust on a light layer of the Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, which locks my base in place for the rest of the day. Because I have oily skin, I will add a bit more power on my T-zone once or twice. To finish off my skin, I use the Maybelline FaceStudio Master Contour Palette in Light. I apply the bronzer under my cheekbones, around my temple, and under my neck and then I use the blush right on the apples of my cheeks for a pop of color.
For the eyes, I usually start off by filling in my eyebrows. I believe that eyebrows frame the rest of the face, so I feel like I can't start on my eyeshadow without having my brows on. I'm a huge fan of bold brows, but I like mine to look natural as well. To achieve this balance, I use the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette. I've been using this pencil for two years and I can honestly say that I'll never use a different eyebrow product. It fills in the sparse areas of my brows without making them look square or drawn on. To prime my lids for eyeshadow, I use the NARS Pro Prime Primer. I used this primer on the day of my high school graduation and I kid you not- my eyeshadow stayed put through the ceremony, project grad, and my class' hug-circle of tears (a total of 36 hours). Now, I do not recommend anyone wear eyeshadow, liner, and mascara for more than eight hours, but it's good to know that in the event that I need to, my eye makeup will still look great. My favorite eyeshadows to wear are all by MAC. My favorite lid shade is Woodwinked and I blend the golden bronze color out with Omega for a soft edge. To add dimension, I apply a combination of Charcoal Brown and Concrete in the crease and under the eyes. I then add the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion to my tightline and apply it messily on my upper lash line before blending it out with my fingers. The eyeliner makes my eye look a bit more smokey and dark, but not too dark for the daytime. I finish off my eyes with multiple coats of the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, which is my all-time favorite. It makes my lashes look thick and a bit clumpy without flaking. Last up is the lips and I use my trusty NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita- an exact replica of my natural lip shade. Now we're just a bit of a step up from Lip Smackers...
I've always loved the idea of cooking. From a young age, I remember waking up in the golden hour on Saturdays and tuning in to my favorite station: Food Network. While most kids my age were watching Cartoon Network or Disney Channel, I was watching brilliant chefs cook up a meal in their own homes (to be fair, I was also watching Drake and Josh, One Tree Hill, and Boy Meets World in my spare time). To me, the most compelling were Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten. I fell in love with their knife skills, the way pancetta would crisp and turn golden brown as it cooked, how basil could instantly add a photographic element on top of any dish, and the importance of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano on hand. Although my love of delicious food has never gone away, the idea of becoming a chef isn't a lifelong goal of mine. However, that doesn't mean that I can't whip up a gourmet dish from time-to-time or relish over images of restaurant-worthy dishes in a good book.
Chrissy Teigen's "Cravings" is indeed, a good book. Chrissy is a model, tv show host, food blogger and wife of singer John Legend. After releasing "Cravings", I'm sure she can now add chef to her resumé as well. I've been a huge fan of Chrissy's after discovering her blog So Delushious and realizing that this swimsuit model knows her food. Whether she's eating In-n-Out burgers at 2 a.m. or making her favorite Spicy Stew and Smashed Potatoes, Chrissy's A-List lifestyle seems a bit more relatable. "Cravings" is full of recipes for food that normal people like you and I would want to eat. It's not your typical 'model' cookbook filled with rabbit food and kale (although there is some kale in it...don't even get me started on the fad), but rather recipes for meals like cheesy cheeseless eggs with burst tomatoes, split pea soup with crispy hot dogs, lemony spaghetti cacio e pepe, jok moo (thai pork and rice porridge), and husband John's famous fried chicken. Whether or not you're an actual model or just someone who loves a good homemade meal, I highly recommend "Cravings" for easy to make dishes and treats.
For as long as I can remember, the members of my family have been watching professional football and cheering for the players as if they were our close friends. Interestingly enough, where my dad would tune in to UNC or Baylor basketball games, he quickly tuned out of the NBA. Even though we could routinely root for those on the college level of basketball, the pros sort of fell short in our household. The two NBA teams I knew about growing up were the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors. A family friend works for the former while two of my cousins from California have always been Warriors fans. It wasn't until I started getting in to sports that I wanted to know why the Warriors were such a huge deal to my cousins. They had followed the team through its highs (which were few until late) and lows. We discussed their losses and best games until I was a fan of the team myself. I know, I know, most people would call me a bandwagon-er and that's fine. The Warriors haven't been a consistent threat in the league for a while until the rise of the "Splash Brothers" era. Most long-term basketball fans know much more about the team than I do, but it's clear to me that the team were rocky at best for a long time.
If you research the Warriors online, you'll definitely come across some very angry basketball fans who despise anything related to Steph Curry (GSW point guard) or the team in general.
The team's sudden rise to the top began with a combination of the Splash brothers aka shooting guard Klay Thompson and point guard Steph Curry, triple-double phenom power forward Draymond Green and the team's unrivaled closeness. Whereas each individual player isn't necessarily a star, he becomes one in combination with the other members of the team. Steph Curry was good at Davidson College but he truly became a star after working through consistent injuries and by working on his shooting capabilities. United with Thompson, Green, center Andrew Bogut, and small forward Harrison Barnes, Curry can achieve maximum points on the court.
After winning the NBA title last season, the Warriors have started out with an even better record this year. They started off setting a record of 24 consecutive wins and have kept winning throughout the past 80 or so games. After beating the Spurs on Sunday night, the Warriors tied the 1995-96 Bulls for for the most wins in a single season. If they beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, the Warriors will have set the new record for most wins and will hopefully win another title at the end of the season.
Growing up, I was always obsessed with any type of jewelry. I used to collect cheap pieces from Claire's and I would carry them in a miniature pink handbag. Although every bit would ultimately end up in a tangled ball, I still treasured my purse of jewels. In a series of unfortunate events (aka fetus Noelle's irresponsibility), I lost my purse and my dramatic childhood self flipped out. Fast forward about 15 years and I still love everything that sparkles and shines. These days, I've gathered quite a few pieces that hold special meaning to me, which I wear everyday.
Starting off with my football necklace, my mom purchased a custom made piece from Georgie Designs on Etsy. Mine features a football and helmet on two circles. I love this necklace because it's so difficult to find football jewelry that's not tacky and my mom had this one made just for me. Another piece that my mom purchased from Georgie Designs is my 'home' bangle. It's easy to feel homesick 3,500 miles away from home for a majority of the year, but this bracelet reminds me stay rooted in where I'm from. I bought the star and moon bracelet from a boutique at home called Eden in Love. I wear it every day because I gave the exact same bangle to my best friend Mikayla, so it's a nice reminder of the friends I hold so dear to my heart. The gold 'Kamalani' bangle is extremely special to me because it's a tradition in my Hawaiian culture to give a girl a Hawaiian bracelet on her 16th birthday. My Grams and Papa gave my sister hers but unfortunately, they passed away before my 16th. My parents were thoughtful and generous enough to give me my beloved Hawaiian bracelet engraved with a small message from my grandparents. The chain bracelet with multiple letters on it belonged to my Grams and it features the initials of all her grandchildren. I wear it everyday as a tribute to my grandparents and to remain close to my sister and cousins. Of course, you've seen my favorite Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield Watch on nearly every outfit post. I fell in love with this watch around two years ago and my parents bought it for me for Valentine's Day. It's such a classic piece that I know I'll wear for years to come.
My dad gave me the silver Tiffany & Co. Open Heart Ring on my 14th birthday and I still treasure it to this day. This ring was the first piece of "real" jewelry I received and it's such a special memory between my dad and me. After Grams passed away, I was lucky enough to receive her favorite diamond ring (similar here). I know I gained my love for jewelry from Grams and this ring was extra special to both her and me.
In my next "Football Focus" post I'm concentrating on running backs, which are also known as tailbacks or halfbacks. Running backs lead their teams in carries and are often some of the most physically tough players on the team. When quarterbacks are targeted for taking the initial snap, they usually have enough time to get rid of the ball by handing it to a back or throwing it to a receiver. Similar to the QB, when a RB has the ball, he is the target of every defensive player's aggression. RBs tend to be smaller in stature, but extremely muscular. Receivers are often on the taller side because they must have the height to leap and catch the ball if necessary and running backs are on average, shorter and muscular. Because of this prototypical body type, running backs can easily slip past defenders and use their lower center of gravity to pull themselves forward. They often tend to be slower than receivers, but are fast enough to get through the pocket and to their destination (which is usually a first down).
A RB's best friend is known as a fullback. Fullbacks are the personal defenders of the RBs. When an offense employs a RB in the backfield, there is often a larger offensive player standing next to him. For example, when a QB hands the ball to the RB, the fullback gets in front of him and blocks any defenders.
A RB has many jobs while he's on the field. The first job is to receive the handoff. This means that when a QB doesn't throw the ball or run with it, he gives it to his back next to him. When the RB has the ball, he must block defenders, run at top speed, and hold onto the ball with his life. RBs are often given the ball on short runs such as 4-6 yards, or on the first down of a play. His second job is to fake the grab. Sometimes a QB makes it look like he's going to give the ball to the RB but instead keeps it and rushes. When most defensive players see a RB jog onto the field, they immediately think that it's a rushing play. This allows the QB to "bootleg" the play and run for himself. After the QB fakes the handoff, the RB must make it look like he actually has the ball and run as if the ball were in his hands. The third job the RB has is to block defenders. The prototypical shorter RB size makes them great blockers as their lower center of gravity allows them to push past players twice their size. In special cases, the RB is used as a QB in a "Wildcat" offense. A Wildcat play simply means that the RB receives the snap instead of the QB and runs with the ball. At the end of the 2015 season, the Baylor football team was forced to employ the Wildcat formation after their three QBs were injured. Here's a video of RB Johnny Jefferson taking snaps in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Former Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch was an incredible back. Nicknamed "Beast Mode", Lynch used his 5-11 215 pound frame to his advantage. A tailback for the California Bears, Lynch started in his first three seasons and showed promise in his field (no pun intended). He totaled 490 carries for 3,230 yards and 29 TDs in his time with the Bears before leaving for the draft. He finished his college career as second all-time rushing in Cal history and holds the school record of 17 100-yard rushing games and 35 TDs in 35 games. He was the 12th overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2007 and was traded to the Seahawks in 2010. Although Seattle fans weren't too impressed by him initially, he stole the hearts of the football fans on January 8th, 2011. In the NFC Wild Card game, the Seahawks were facing defending champions the New Orleans Saints. In what seemed to be an easy win for the Saints, Seattle showed potential to defeat the national champions. Marshawn Lynch took the handoff on second and ten in the fourth quarter, blocked every defender and ran for a 67 yard TD that literally created an earthquake. After five years in Seattle, Lynch announced his retirement during Super Bowl 50. He will finish tied for 24th in rushing TDs and the 36th leading rusher in NFL history.
I believe that everyone has a go-to outfit complete with accessories and shoes. My power outfit consists of a girly blouse, blue skinny jeans, sandals, my favorite Kate Spade Saturday bag and a set of everyday jewelry (post coming soon!). I found this gorgeous Kate Spade top at a T.J. Maxx in Boston and I knew I had to buy it! I paired the embroidered blouse with my holy grail pair of J.Crew Toothpick jeans, which fit me perfectly. I bought the petite version and they hit right at my ankles (which would probably be cropped for other normal-sized people) so I was able to show off my new strappy sandals from Calvin Klein. Sometimes the gold ends of the fabric straps are heavy, but I always choose fashion over function! I love wearing my glitter Kate Spade sunglasses to add a pop of color and of course, to protect my eyes (but mainly because they're pretty!).
L-R: Silas, Vance, Alyssa, Stephanie, Haley, Jody, and me
A couple of weeks ago I shared a short vlog from a road trip my friends and I took to Rockport and Austin during Easter break. Although the vlog was a nice way to share snippets of the trip, I wasn't able to include any of these great moments I captured on my camera! A year ago or so, I became friends with Silas (pictured on the left) and he was kind enough to invite me on this road trip he planned with some of his friends during the long weekend. I had never been on a real road trip before (Hawaiʻi is really tiny) so I was really excited to go! Being on the road for hours with a group of people is a great way to bond and become closer. I had only met three of Silas' friends beforehand so it was nice to be introduced to other people as well. We drove to Bastrop for the first night and ate breakfast at Maxine's Cafe, which was amazing! It was a cute little breakfast place and it was obviously a community favorite as the line stretched out the door. Luckily, we had reservations so we got a table quickly. I ordered their two egg breakfast ($5!) and it was huge. Apparently their griddle cakes are all the rage so I'll be sure to order them if I ever go back. We then drove to Jacob's Well in Wimberley and it was beautiful! It's a short walk to get to the lake area and it features an underwater cave that people dive into. I wasn't wearing a proper swimsuit so I wasn't able to jump in, but Silas, Jody, and Haley did and they seemed to enjoy it a lot. After driving for what felt like 10 hours, we finally got to our Airbnb in Rockport, which is close to the Gulf. We rented a house and it was a great place to stay! We were near a pier (sorry for the rhyming) and so we watched the sunset and sang some music there on the first night. On our second and final day in Rockport, we went to the beach and I was so excited to finally be in the ocean again, even though it was quite brown and really shallow. After swimming (more like sitting in the ocean) for a couple of hours, we ate lunch at a BBQ place, which I forgot the name of sorry! I ordered a 'poor boy' sandwich and it was stuffed with all kinds of meat. It's so fun to drive around an unfamiliar area and stop at restaurants you've never heard of. Sometimes, that's where the best food is! We walked around a little shopping area for a bit and stopped in stores to browse and sit on their furniture (we were stuffed!). The next day was basically spent driving back to Waco and listening to lots of Disney and reggae music. I'm thankful that I was able to spend time with these people and I highly recommend driving through Texas as there's so much to do and see!