Saturday, December 31, 2016

5 Things

1. Breakfast on my birthday with my best friends


2. Less bs, more football and views like these in 2017 please


3. Christmas breakfast


4. Christmas eve with my people


5. New outfit sneak peek

Friday, December 30, 2016

Four Years of This Is Noelle


Four years, three blog designs, two states and one ultimate niche later, and here we have This Is Noelle's anniversary. I was barely 16 when I decided to start this blog in 2012. Over the past four years, I've written 1,201 posts, traveled to Australia, performed for President Obama in his inaugural parade, taught myself how to play the Oboe, found a passion for sports, graduated high school, began college in Texas and started working in Baylor's athletic department. I've stayed up way later than necessary to produce daily posts and haven't regretted a single moment. I've purchased too many beauty products, spent hours writing football recaps, studied coaches and players, forced my sister to take outfit pictures and have shared more of my life than I probably should have, but I wouldn't change one moment of it. This blog, although not world-changing or famous in any way, has become my greatest achievement. I've made connections with people through the football recaps I write, gotten jobs because of my writing experience, perfected my writing and learned more about myself than I ever have in standardized education. As I've said before, daily blogging while working two jobs and going to school full time is extremely difficult, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. Thank you so much to those of you who've stuck around for the past four years and I hope you'll be there for the next four+. Here's to 2017 and thousands of more future posts!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Getting My Ears Pierced at Age 20


Let me tell you a really nasty story and force realistic imagery to make you sick. I have an elephant memory so I literally remember every moment in my life, even those I don't want to rehash. When I was six years old I got my ears pierced at Merle Norman (not sure if this is a Hawaiʻi only store?). Mom took me to the Ward Warehouse store and I picked out the gold balls because they were my favorite. I held her hand as the girl sanitized my ears, dotted them with marker and eventually when both workers held the guns to my ears and shoved the needles through simultaneously. My ears bled, I shed a few tears and left in excitement as I was "so grown up". Damn I should have known how easy life was at six and stayed that age forever. I digress. A couple nights later I slept like a baby (as I still do to this day) and when I woke up, mom asked me if my earring fell off in my sleep. We looked all over the bed for one gold ball, but came up empty. When she looked behind my ear she saw that the earring backing was still in the back of my ear. Okay I know I'm rambling at this point and the story is longer than my actual blog post was supposed to be. I'm trying to land the plane so long story short, the gold ball part of my earring went through my ear as I slept and got stuck in the middle of my earlobe. Mom had to shove it through the tiny ass hole that the needle made to get the ball out of my ear. Blood was everywhere, I still had to go to first grade that day and was overall traumatized as any six year old would be. I ended up switching out my ball earrings for rectangular gem ones and the backings on those got so stuck that my dad had to remove them with pliers. Alas, I have not had good fortune with earrings.

After those horrible instances, I swore off earrings forever. I once went to Claire's to try and not be a wuss but the earring working told me my earlobes were too fat to be pierced. Now I know where my self-esteem issues came from. Customer service is not their strong suit. I went though 14 years of my life with naked and fat earlobes before I decided to stop being such a baby. Yeah my earlobes are abnormally large, but that doesn't mean they can't be accessorized like anyone else's. I dragged my friend Mikayla to Claire's with me where we watched a mom get her ears pierced to match her five year old's. I hid behind the earring rack because trauma and even though the child convinced me it wasn't too bad, I was still terrified. Now that I've taken up your whole day with my inability to land the plane, let me share every thought I had while I got my ears pierced at age 20.
  • Mikayla I'm scared
  • I'm really scared
  • Oh look this lady is getting her ears pierced too I'll just watch her
  • Oh god this looks horrible
  • She's trying to calm me down while her ears are being murdered, how kind
  • I must look really creepy hiding behind this earring rack and staring at her
  • I'm scared
  • Ah that went through her ear!
  • She said it didn't hurt but I bet she's dying inside and hiding it from her fetus
  • I should pick out my own earrings
  • Why are they all ugly
  • Should I get these Elsa ones
  • I really only liked "Frozen" because Bearclaw from "New Girl" is in it
  • Okay now I'm scared again
  • Where is the ear piercing lady
  • She looks like she's 12 is she even qualified for this
  • Why are these earrings $59
  • I don't think I even have any money with me
  • She just explained how to fill out the paperwork and I heard zero words
  • I'm going to sit on this chair and hold the bear
  • Mikayla hold my hand
  • AH SHE'S SANITIZING MY EAR
  • AH SHE'S DOTTING MY EAR
  • AH THE GUN
  • AHHHHHHHH
  • Oh that hurt
  • Am I alive
  • That actually wasn't bad
  • Shit now she has to do my other ear
  • AHHHHHHHH
  • Okay I'm fine
  • That fetus child was braver than me
  • Damn now I have to pay $60
  • I have beautiful ears!!!
Thanks for sticking through this if you read through the whole thing. I now realize how obnoxious my subconscious is and I will try to make myself less irritating. Here's hoping I wake up with both earrings on my lobes and no pliers are ever needed again!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Cactus Bowl: Baylor vs. Boise State Recap

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
After an extremely tumultuous regular season, the Baylor football team looked to earn their seventh win over Boise State in the Cactus Bowl. In honor of interim head coach Jim Grobe and the senior class, the team aimed to pull out a win after six consecutive losses. With nearly a month of practice time, the Bears pulled out all the stops to send the seniors and coaches off with a victory. Although the 10-2 Broncos were the projected winners of the bowl, mistakes in the red zone consistently stopped them from scoring. A dominant 31-12 performance provided the Bears with an extra win and a final hurrah for a large portion of the team.

Baylor QB Zach Smith entered his fourth game as a starter with poise and maturity. He completed 28 of 39 pass attempts for 375 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. RB Terence Williams and WRs Chris Platt and KD Cannon achieved first downs for 7, 30 and 11 yards respectively. A couple incomplete passes and an interception on the BSU 2 yard line followed, ending the first Baylor drive. The Baylor defense stepped up and put pressure on BSU QB Brett Rypien to force the Broncos to punt the ball back. Another stalling drive caused Baylor to punt before NB Travon Blanchard (a beautiful human gummy bear) intercepted Rypien's pass and returned it for 14 yards to BU's 19. A beautiful 49-yard pass from Smith to Cannon and a 17-yarder to Platt paved the way for this incredible 30-yard touchdown catch:


While KD has seemingly been absent from any action in 2016, he proved how talented he is through catches like this. The Baylor defense again was all over their opposition, putting pressure on the QB and forcing him to make errors. While BSU marched down the field for the rest of the first quarter, a big defensive stop forced them to kick a field goal and make the score 7-3. Baylor OC Kendal Briles referenced his old pass-happy offensive scheme for the first BU drive of the second quarter with four passes to Platt, Ishmael Zamora and Cannon for 5, 7, 5 and 68 yards respectively, and the last pass got the touchdown. Baylor LB Taylor Young was flying all over the field making tackles and putting pressure on the offense. His 17 tackles made a statement and provided a flashback to his star freshman season. After making tackles left and right, it was S Orion Stewart who again stopped the Broncos from scoring in the red zone with an interception. This being Stewart's last collegiate game, he made huge plays and recorded five tackles, two for a loss of six yards, one fumble recovery, one interception and one sack. Stewart's interception set up a 99-yard drive where a roughing the kicker penalty gave Baylor an extra chance to score. And score they did! A combination of passes and T.Will rushing gave RB JaMycal Hasty the opportunity to punch the ball in for a 5 yard touchdown. With a linebacker-heavy presence, Baylor put immense pressure on BSU and stopped them from success in the end zone. The Broncos were only able to kick another field goal before the end of the first half to finish the second quarter at 21-6 Baylor.

The Broncos consistently marched the ball down the field and in their first drive of the third quarter, turned the ball over with a fourth down stop (pass incomplete with CB Ryan Reid on coverage). A 21 play Baylor drive ended with a simple field goal, but the Bears never took their foot off the gas. They gave the ball back to BSU where BU DE K.J. Smith collected a sack and DE Greg Roberts forced a fumble, which was recovered by Stewart for 15 yards. While Baylor's offense shined, it was the defense who kept the team in the running. A monster game for Stewart, DE Tyrone Hunt, Taylor Young and CB Grayland Arnold provided miraculous assistance for Zach Smith and co. Baylor capitalized on BSU's turnover with a 14-yard Zamora touchdown to start the fourth with a 31-6 score. Four punts created a lull for a bit before back-to-back sacks by Stewart and BSU's Sam McCaskill led to BSU's first touchdown of the night (at the end of the game no less). At this point in the game I'm screaming, running around the house, making weird leg and hand movements and probably annoying the hell out of my neighbors/family. The game's fate was sealed as BSU went for two and Taylor Young intercepted the pass in the end zone. It was another fabulous red zone read. The clock ran out as the team doused interim head coach Jim Grobe, Briles and DC Phil Bennett in Gatorade before celebrating in the ceremony. Cannon was named offensive MVP with 14 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns while Hunt was given the defensive title with five tackles, two for a loss of 15 yards and two sacks for a loss of 15 yards. Congratulations Bears, you deserve all the good things in the world! Also please don't leave us Coach Grobe I will become a human rain cloud when you do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thank You Coach Grobe


Although I despise the game of golf, I've always loved the movie "Bagger Vance". The film focuses on golfer Rannulph Junuh and his relationship with the mysterious caddy Bagger Vance. Vance becomes something of a mentor and healer as Junuh recovers from his World War I PTSD through golfing. At the end of the movie, Vance leaves Junuh once he realizes the golfer no longer needs him and has grown on his own. While the film is just a movie, I truly believe that Coach Grobe has been the "Bagger Vance" for the 2016 Baylor football program. He stepped into one of the most difficult positions in the country without anything to gain and handled every step with grace and poise. While Coach Grobe could have been enjoying a peaceful retirement traveling and relaxing, he instead chose to put himself in the eye of a hurricane because he wanted to help the boys on the team. With every loss, Grobe reminded everyone that his sole purpose this year was to care for the players and help them through a difficult time. And just as quickly as he came, he left. Coach Grobe coached his final game of his career as Baylor defeated Boise State in the Cactus Bowl (recap coming tomorrow). Baylor nation will never be able to repay Coach Grobe for all he has done to help the school and the players so for now, we say thank you. Thank you for receiving undeserved criticism and backlash and defending the boys who chose to stay. Thank you for being a class act and teaching us all what it means to be a good person. Thank you for spending the last season of your coaching career in Waco. Thank you for being there for Baylor football when no one else wanted to. I hope the sunset takes you to far greater heights than you could ever imagine. You will be missed more than you'll ever know.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Hawaiʻi Bowl: Hawaiʻi vs. Middle Tennessee Recap

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Under the direction of first-year head coach Nick Rolovich, the University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors became bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. The 6-7 Warriors faced the 8-4 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders for the 2016 Hawaiʻi Bowl trophy. With 20,327 fans in attendance, UH earned their first bowl win in a decade.

Within the first five minutes of the game, Hawaiʻi fans witnessed a 14-0 run with back-to-back scores by RB I'Tavius Mathers and WR Richie James. However, a fumble recovered by Jahlani Tavai on the next Blue Raider possession led to a quick UH touchdown catch by Metuisela ʻUnga. UH forced another turnover after Middle Tennessee QB Brent Stockstill's pass was intercepted by UH CB Jalen Rogers. A one-yard rush by RB Steven Lakalaka tied the game up at 14-14 before the end of the 2nd quarter. Hawaiʻi scored on their next two possessions with a two-yard rush by QB Dru Brown followed by a 68-yard pick six by S Trayvon Henderson. The Blue Raiders fought back with a quick score by WR Ty Lee while the Warriors finished the first half with a 39-yard TD pass to WR Marcus Kemp. UH's first third quarter drive ended with a field goal and Middle Tennessee's Stockstill hit WR Dennis Andrews for a 10-yard TD of their own. Another ʻUnga TD made a 45-28 UH advantage before the end of the third. Middle Tennessee wasn't quite ready to give up as they quickly shortened their deficit with another Lee catch and Hawaiʻi answered with a 4-yard pass to WR Dylan Collie to make the final score 52-35.

The most notable play of the night was UH's fake punt where WR Makoa Camanse-Stevens completed a 21-yard pass to WR Ammon Barker to achieve a first down. All of my credit goes to the center/long snapper for snapping the ball a perfect 20 yards. It looked a little something like this:


UH's Brown completed 20 of 30 passes for 274 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Blue Raiders' Stockstill was 30 of 51 for 432 yards, 4 touchdowns and two interceptions. UH's leading rusher was Diocemy Saint Juste who recorded 25 carries for 170 yards while WR Metuisela ʻUnga led the team with two touchdowns in just three catches. The Warriors finish their season with a 7-7 record- the first winning season since 2010.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Blogmas Day 25 | Mele Kalikimaka!


On this last day of Blogmas 2016, I wish you all Happy holidays! This year has been more tumultuous than most, but I hope you can look around and appreciate all the love and goodness around you. Show grace to your family and friends and thank them for doing the same for you. Whether you're opening gifts, in church, singing Christmas carols or sitting alone at home, I send you love and peace. Mele Kalikimaka, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Blogmas Day 24 | My Christmas Makeup



For my holiday makeup I went for a spiced-up take on my everyday look- smokey eyes and a nude lip. I used all of my holy grail products to achieve a long lasting tried-and-true face. I started with my Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer in Ochre and covered any spots and dark circles with the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard. Once I spot concealed, I went back over those areas with my foundation brush to ensure a flawless finish. I set my base with the Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, which helps my makeup last all night long. To add more color to my face, I applied a generous dusting of The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in 03 Medium Matte to my cheeks and temples before a light amount of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed for a hint of pink. Once my face products were applied, I filled in my brows with the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette. I prepped my eyes for shadow with the NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base and added the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze all over my lids for a hint of color. I used four MAC eyeshadows to achieve a smokey brown-bronze eye, starting with Mulch all across the lid. I blended out the shadow with Omega and added depth with Charcoal Brown in the crease. To add more darkness to the look, I applied Concrete in the outer corner and under the eyes. I applied the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion in my tightline and across the top lash line before smudging it out with my finger. To finish the eyes, I added a generous heaping of my favorite Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara. The NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita finished the look with a light balance to the smokey eyes!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Blogmas Day 23 | Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad


The day that I took this picture of my parents, Baylor football demolished North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl and we were so ecstatic we had to celebrate with Shimazu's shave ice. That game proved to be a parallel of my parents' marriage. With teamwork, communication, perseverance and creativity, one (or two...or a team) can succeed at any task. 27 years is a really really long time to spend with someone else. Even though marriage isn't on my own personal wish list, my parents have showed me the great joys of loving another. Marriage isn't always easy, hell, it rarely seems easy, but their love is worth it. Here's to the next 27 years, Baylor football and more shave ice! I love you both!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blogmas Day 22 | 20 Things I've Learned by Age 20


Besides the fact that 2016 was a complete shit crap year for politics, deaths and humanity as a whole, I learned a lot about who I am and what I believe over the past 365 days. I'm officially two decades old, which categorizes me as a young millennial who basically hasn't experienced much in life. However, I've grown up immensely by living on my own, working two jobs, blogging full time and somehow finding time to go to school (just kidding mom and dad we all know that school is my #1 priority I promise). Through my many phases of life: 'bossy' adolescent, Baby Phat-obsessed fourth grader (still love you Kimora Lee Simmons), scared elementary student, emo middle schooler, impressionable youth and football-consumed activist, I've grown and changed, but haven't forgotten who I am. Here are 20 things I've learned by my 20th birthday. PS thanks mom for birthing me!

  1. Stand up for what you believe in
  2. Girls can love sports too
  3. Don't worry about what other people think of you
  4. Laugh every day (even if you're by yourself)
  5. Never forget where you came from
  6. Stay in touch with your family and friends
  7. Belt as many show tunes as you want
  8. New Girl and Friends aren't realistic- no one lives with and falls in love with their best friends
  9. Pursue your dreams
  10. Learn from other perspectives especially when you don't agree with them
  11. Try to be nice to people sometimes
  12. Keep a detailed planner and you will have an organized life
  13. Just because you get paid every two weeks doesn't mean you can spend all your money
  14. Be present where you are
  15. Always blog even if you can't post every day
  16. Don't hold so many grudges... they only end up hurting you
  17. Stop going to sleep so late (she writes at 12:44 am)
  18. Being emotional isn't a sign of weakness, but rather strength
  19. Don't follow the crowd
  20. Be a voice for the voiceless

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Blogmas Day 21 | The Holiday Party Wardrobe

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

When it comes to holiday parties, glitter, lace and eye-catching details are the way to go. Sequined jumpsuits and girly minidresses are the norm for both Christmas and New Years Eve. All of my picks are from Revolve (obviously) as I want to capture every piece for my own wardrobe. The sequined fringe House of Harlow 1960 x Revolve Jett Bolero Jacket is a great way to add sparkle to skinny jeans and a basic tee. Jumpsuits are a classic alternative to a dress and the Rachel Zoe Daphne Jumpsuit is versatile throughout the year. I would pair it with strappy black sandals and a mini shoulder bag. Beige-y pinks are a recurring theme in my wishlist as the feminine shade looks beautiful against the Christmas lights. I love the star print on the Privacy Please Airy Dress and I would style it with gold heels and a faux fur jacket. For a more understated look, the For Love & Lemons Theodora Dress would look amazing with black tights and booties. A sexy take on the beige dress is the Backstage Naomi Dress, which is basically a scrap of silk turned in to a slip (still love it though!). I would layer it under a leopard coat and pile on the necklaces. Sequins are a must during New Years Eve and the Wyldr All Night Long Playsuit plays into the holiday theme with black and green sparkles. Gold heels would elevate the Christmas-y look even more. Another romper favorite of mine is the Saylor Nicholette Romper, which I would style with a braided half-updo and red accessories. The Red Valentino Scallop Romper is a chic way to brighten up the holiday season. Pair it with nude sandals to let the red shade shine. My last favorite is the Lovers + Friends Girls Night Out Dress, which is the quintessential party dress.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Blogmas Day 20 | Honolulu City Lights



While there's no sign of a white Christmas in Hawaiʻi (unless you're on top of a volcano), the annual Honolulu City Lights signals the start of the holiday season. A huge Christmas tree paired with the iconic Shaka Santa and Mrs. Clause welcome Hawaiʻi residents with holiday spirit. The different state departments decorate their own Christmas trees while a human santa greets young children. Outside Honolulu Hale are bubble booths, Leonards' malasada truck, shave ice and popcorn stands and a plethora of Christmas lights in different shapes. Kaiʻolu, Parker and I tried our best to take a picture in front of the real Christmas tree but the technologically inexperienced mom we asked took this:


At least there are fun memories to go around! If you haven't yet visited the city lights, I highly recommend a short trip followed by ice cream. Try to find a capable photographer to take your picture too!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Blogmas Day 19 | Hauʻoli Lā Hānau e Ke Aliʻi Pauahi






Every year on December 19, the students and alumni of Kamehameha Schools celebrate the birth of our founder Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Pauahi is one of the most important figures of Hawaiian history because she used her lands and money to create the Kamehameha Schools- an institution to educate keiki of Hawaiian descent. Her generosity and love for her people has continued to bless the people of Hawaiʻi nearly 200 years later. On Founder's Day, all 5,416 KS students come together to honor and thank Pauahi for the blessings and resources she has provided through mele (song), oli (chant) and hula. Although I'm no longer a student, I was lucky enough to attend the alumni luncheon with some of my best friends. A full (and free!!) Hawaiian food buffet was provided and seeing my classmates was a great way to kick off the holiday week. I'm thankful to Pauahi for providing me with an excellent education, countless opportunities and friendships that I will cherish forever. Hauʻoli lā hānau e ke aliʻi Pauahi! I'm forever indebted to you.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Blogmas Day 18 | Baylor Football is Going Bowling


How have I not wrote about this yet? You should all note that I'm the worst sports-ish blogger because not only have I slacked on the last six game recaps, but also forgot to announce the status of our bowl game appearance! Boycott me, I deserve it. After a 6-6 record in regular season play, the Baylor Bears will face the Boise State Broncos in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl on December 27. The game will take place at Chase Field in Phoenix (thank god it's not on the smurf turf) at 8:15 pm MST (I honestly have no idea what MST stands for so feel free to google that). Coach Grobe will coach the final game of the Bears' 2016 season in his last appearance as interim head coach. The Broncos are an excellent team who have faired well this season with a 10-2 record. Let's go and win this last game for both the seniors and Coach Grobe!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Blogmas Day 17 | The Christmas Gift Guide for Her


When struggling to purchase gifts for women, why do we always fall back on Bath & Body Works sets? It's time to stop showering (pun not intended) girls with lotions, soaps and body splashes and rethink our shopping habits. I for one have enough bath products for the next five years and I'm sure other girls are the same! These gifts are unique and cater to nearly all interests (even you sports girls)!

For the sports fan...
Who knew there were so many of us (sarcasm)? Sports are definitely not just for men and the Ticket Stub Diary is the perfect way to keep track of all the games you've attended. Not only is this an organizational dream, but also historical documentation! If kids are in your plans, pass your completed book down the generations so they can see what grandma was up to in the 2020s. If you really want to go all out, purchase the Football 1000 Queen Duvet for the die-hard female fan in your circle. I'm definitely adding this one to my wishlist!

For the fashion lover...
Every woman should own a classic shift for both work and nights out. The Cinq à Sept Ela Midi Dress is the most gorgeous crimson dress that would look amazing for holiday parties. Suede + motorcycle jackets never go out of style so why not combine them? The olive BLANKNYC Morning Suede Moto Jacket is a flattering shape with the buttery texture that works for all seasons.

For the musician...
Any musician knows Gibson's Les Paul so why not frame it in the living room? Or office...kitchen...dining room...etc. The Oliver Gal Gibson Les Paul Guitar 1955 Canvas Print is a conversation starter that's both unique and classic enough to keep for decades.

For the traveler...
I don't regularly use the term 'wanderlust' for fear of sounding like every other person my age, but the Luckies of London Cork Board Map is a great gift for those feeling the pangs of 'wanderlust' (okay I already regret using that word). Avid travelers can pin every destination they've visited and those who don't often make trips to the airport can flag the places they yearn for. Next on my list is San Francisco (family favorite) and New York (I need to see more broadway plays)!

For the gym-goer...
Doesn't every active person want a new pair of athletic shoes? I wouldn't know because I barely have enough energy to move from my bed to the couch, but I'm sure shoes are a tried-and-true gift for the weight-lifters, runners, HIIT-lovers and the like (aka crazy people). The Nike 'Juvenate' Sneaker is a neutral color to match with every outfit and it has great support for any physical activity! I'm still trying to drag myself out of bed...

For the activist...
I had to include this section for other people like me (sorry dad) who want to engage in the social justice movement. I've been wanting to purchase "Rules for Revolutionaries" for a while and I think anyone interested in politics and social movements would enjoy this read!

For the beauty addict...
If you're looking to splurge on a lucky lady, look toward the infamous La Mer the Transformative Collection. Beauty products are difficult to purchase because each woman has her own likes and dislikes, but any of us would be delighted to receive the extremely luxe skincare line. This set includes the classic moisturizer, a serum and eye cream.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Blogmas Day 16 | The Christmas Gift Guide for Him


Men are notoriously difficult to shop for because they aren't usually too keen on receiving makeup or bath products. I struggle to find my dad the perfect gift each year without fail since he hates gift cards and is picky with the brands and products he likes. Although I struck gold with dad's gifts this year, I want to help you find the right gift for the difficult men in your life no matter his age or interests!

For the working man...
The Frye David Leather Briefcase is a classic case that will stand the test of time. The worn teal shade and soft leather sets it apart from every other briefcase in the office. Frye is where comfort meets fashion and any man in your life will be lucky to have one!

For the Ron Swanson twin...
Whistlepig 10 Year Straight Rye Whiskey is the perfect pick to pair with the Football Playbook Glasses. I don't drink, but if Ron Swanson's perfect gift is a glass of whiskey and a breakfast buffet, then the former is good present for any man. The glasses aren't the usual classy cup but they sure are useful in both life and football!

For the sports fan...
Speaking of football (and in no way are these gifts limited to men only), I found two presents that would satisfy the true sports fanatics in your household. The website Uncommon Goods created a New York Times Custom Football Book featuring articles and snippets from the team of your choice. Because sports are personal, a customized book filled with the history and highlights of one's favorite team seems like the perfect gift for the real fan. A 47 Brand NFL Fairfax Cuff Beanie is a perfect wardrobe addition during the colder months. The gift of warmth and team spirit are always great presents!

For the techie...
Give your guys the gift of music and freedom of movement with the Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker. Many of my friends own this speaker and the sound quality is amazing! It's perfect for travel, camping or time at the beach. The Hamilton soundtrack sounds especially good when projected 10 feet away. If he's more of a personal music listener, the B&O Play H7 Leather Wireless Headphones are the way to go. The noise-cancelling headphones are great for the avid traveler and any guy who needs to tune the world out once in a while.

For the fashion lover...
Classic watches are a must-have for any grown man and the Baume & Mercier Swiss Automatic Clifton Watch is my personal favorite. I have my dad's taste when it comes to timepieces (ew I hate that word) and I was instantly attracted to the dark face and silver hardware. The Cole Haan 'Colton' Chukka Boot is a minimalistic wardrobe must-have that would look amazing with jeans and a button up.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blogmas Day 15 | My Winter Break Bucket List


Going to school on the mainland has made me truly appreciate my home more than I ever used to. The lush foliage, never-ending mountains, glassy oceans and plethora of diversity can only be found in the home I love. I've already listed the activities I want to engage and restaurants to eat at over the next three weeks. Look to this post as a mini guide of my favorite places at home!

  • Yokohama Beach
  • Likelike Drive Inn
  • Nanakuli Beach
  • Lanikai Pillboxes
  • Kakaʻako Kitchen
  • Honolulu City Lights
  • Mānoa Falls
  • My Cafe
  • Sweet E's Cafe
  • Jackass Ginger
  • Helena's
  • Makapuʻu Tidepools
  • Tokkuri-Tei
  • Izakaya Nonbei

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blogmas Day 14 | Decorating the Christmas Tree


Although I wish my family was the type to have a fully holiday-decorated home in November, we tend to procrastinate until the middle of December. Tonight we finally managed to chuck up our beloved fake tree that's nearly as old as uncle Bernie himself (he's immortal which means the tree is too?). We have a funny way of decorating where dad wraps the ribbon around the tree before watching sports and my sister and I bicker over where to hang our baby ornaments while mom tries to keep the peace. It's quite a spectacle. My sister Megan has nearly 5x the number of baby ornaments as I do even though I'm the favorite child, so I like to hang mine at the top of the tree. We don't use traditional round plastic ornaments to decorate, but instead have collected a variety of family-oriented, baby featuring, ugly homemade and decades-old ornaments to create the most unique Kakimoto-esque fake tree. With the sounds of Angelica Schuyler, Leslie Odom Jr. and "Three Plus" playing in the background, our tree was complete! Except for the non-lit top and bottom portions! Please enjoy this rare photo of Megan and me featuring our wild dogs who would not calm down.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Blogmas Day 13 | Allegiance


I first discovered the musical Allegiance nearly two years ago when one of the play's songs popped up on my Les Mis Pandora station. "With You" was a classic star-crossed lovers ballad that grabbed my attention from the violin entrance. After researching the plot of the play I had never heard of, I knew I had to see it one day. Allegiance is the story of the Kimura family who are placed in internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Ojii-chan (George Takei), Pop (Christópheren Nomura), Kei (Lea Salonga) and Sammy (Telly Leung) Kimura are all stripped of their civil liberties before finding themselves imprisoned because of their skin color. At the Heart Mountain camps, the Kimuras meet handfuls of other families who all become close friends.

Allegiance ended its broadway run four short months after its start because of a lack of audience. However, the cast filmed one of its last performances in January 2016 and aired it in movie theaters across the nation for a one-night only showing. I was lucky enough to witness the artwork I've been imagining for almost two years tonight. The play made me laugh, sob, gasp and feel pride in my culture. Even though the internment of Japanese-Americans is difficult to watch, the subject matter is incredibly important in such a time as this. The internment isn't widely known across America, which is a national tragedy. If we don't learn from the past, how can we move forward? Fortunately, George Takei used his voice and his own personal experience growing up in camps to share this missing piece of history.

One of the most incredible parts of the play is the fact that every actor is of Asian descent. No, not every actor is Japanese, but that's okay. Asian people are extremely underrepresented or misrepresented in the entertainment industry. We are known as scientists, mathematicians, CEOs, professors or nerds and nothing more. Allegiance has proved that Asian people are so much more than the stereotypes society has placed on us. We can be emotional, powerful, creative, musical and athletic. While classic broadway performances are filled with caucasian actors, plays like Allegiance and Hamilton have given people of color their chance to shine. Even though the former hasn't had extreme financial success, the exposure Asian actors have received is something to be proud of.

Allegiance is a disturbing piece of history that must be remembered and taught. We cannot let the monstrosities of the past be repeated because of fear. My family members were interned during WWII because they were Japanese and I will personally make sure that their horrors are never forgotten.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Blogmas Day 12 | Christmas Treats


I initially planned to write about three different recipes but I didn't read the directions for the last one and couldn't make the cookies tonight (much to the dismay of my father who previously reminded me to read the instructions). How was I supposed to know homemade cookies need to be refrigerated overnight? That's way too much effort. So instead of three recipes, I have one treat and a holiday drink to share with you. Reindeer chow is the easiest no-bake dessert of all time and it tastes delicious. To pair with my snacks, I made homemade peppermint hot chocolate (which I threw out because I put too much cocoa...don't worry I adjusted the recipe so you don't have to drink crappy hot cocoa like me). Let's go!

Reindeer Chow:

Ingredients:
-1 box chex cereal (please don't use corn or wheat chex, those are gross)
-2 bags holiday m&ms
-1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1 cup peanut butter (smooth Skippy is the best...I also had to restrain myself from using my dad's $25 peanut butter)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 bag powdered sugar
-1 small stick unsalted butter

Directions:
-Microwave the peanut butter and unsalted butter until the butter is melted (how many times can I say butter in one sentence?) in 30 second intervals.
-Once the butter is melted and the peanut butter is smooth, gradually add the chocolate chips until those are melted as well.
-Once everything is smooth, mix in the vanilla extract.
-Grab a large bowl and mix the chocolate-peanut butter with half the box of chex.
-Pour the mixture into a large bag with powdered sugar and shake until each piece is completely white.
-Add m&ms to the mix and repeat until the whole box of chex is used.
-Try not to binge on the chow and step away to make the hot chocolate!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate:

Ingredients:
-1 1/4 Tbsp cocoa powder
-2 Tbsp sugar
OR YOU COULD BUY SWISS MIX IT TASTES BETTER AND IS EASY FOR LAZY PEOPLE (like me)
-Approximately 3/4 cup of milk (I just poured enough milk to reach the top of my mug so I'm not sure what the measurement is)
-3 drops peppermint extract
-1/4 cup whipped cream...use at your discretion
-Holiday sprinkles!!!!

Directions:
-If you're brave enough to follow my horrible DIY recipe, mix the cocoa powder and sugar in a mug before filling to the top with milk and peppermint extract.
-Microwave for 55 seconds (any longer and you'll burn your tongue straight off! The opposite of that kid who put his tongue on the pole in "A Christmas Story"!).
-Spray oodles of whipped cream on top of the hot chocolate...I added about 5 inches worth of cream on mine.
-Top with fun sprinkles!
-If this recipe is trash, eat the sprinkles and whipped cream and toss out the hot chocolate.
-Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Blogmas Day 11 | Home for the Holidays


Christmas doesn't truly feel like Christmas without family and I'm lucky enough to spend the holiday season with mine at home! Over the next four weeks or so, I'm excited about enjoying time with family and friends, going to the beach, eating all of my favorite foods, going hiking, relaxing and catching up on sleep before another grueling semester. Although I won't experience a white Christmas, blue skies and clear oceans are the best view December can buy. I hope you'll spend the holidays with your loved ones as well!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Blogmas Day 10 | The 2016 Heisman


Although Blogmas is about celebrating the festivities of the season, I still want to post about the action going on in college football. Tonight, Louisville QB Lamar Jackson was crowned the 2016 Heisman trophy winner, which recognizes the most outstanding football player of the season. Jackson was the majority winner with 2,144 points compared to Clemson QB Deshaun Watson's 1,524; Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield's 361; Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook's 209 and Michigan LB/ATH Jabrill Peppers' 208. While the Cardinals suffered back-to-back losses at the end of their regular season, Jackson's stats were better than every other QB in the nation. His final stats before the bowl game are 51 total touchdowns and 4,928 total yards. One major snub going in to the ceremony was the rejection of Washington QB Jake Browning whose stats were better than Watson. Jackson is the first Heisman winner from Louisville and is the youngest winner of all time. Check out his essay on The Players Tribune!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Blogmas Day 9 | Holiday Nails


The holiday season is always filled with festive colors, glitter and metallics so this nail polish screams Christmas. Essie's 'Getting Groovy' is a bold gold shade that goes on opaque in one coat. I love bright yellow golds for Christmas and New Year and this one will look beautiful once I get my tan back. I would pair this polish with my regular gold jewelry and a navy dress for an unconventional festive look. I've worn one coat of the polish for the past five days and a chip is yet to be spotted!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Blogmas Day 8 | Christmas Concert's Past





My favorite part of high school was performing in our annual Christmas concert with my best friends.  Some of my most beloved memories are the hours we spent waiting for our turn to perform, running across Chinatown trying to fix Kaiʻolu's broken pant zipper, Brandon notifying me of every time my own pant zipper was down, meeting homeless spectators like Alfonzo during my sophomore year, getting yelled at by the aunties for no reason, constantly complaining of boredom, watching Baylor beat Kansas St to earn a second Big-12 title during my solo and filming every performance with Brandon. Christmas concert was a stable pillar for us as we went through multiple leadership changes every year and I will always miss making beautiful (sometimes terrible) music with my best friends.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blogmas Day 7 | The Christmas Movie List

Is Christmas really Christmas without a great holiday movie playing in the background? I've annually watched the same films from the time I was a child, so these few bring back some of my favorite memories. Although I'm not a fan of "It's a Wonderful Life" or "The Grinch", I threw in a couple of movies about which everyone can agree are classics. What are your favorite Christmas movies? Whatever they are, I hope you can watch them curled up on the couch with hot chocolate, popcorn and kakimochi and your favorite people.

Eloise at Christmastime


Elf


The Family Stone


Home Alone 2


A Christmas Story

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blogmas Day 6 | Baylor's New Head Coach


After what seemed like decades of waiting, Baylor fans should be overjoyed to hear about the school's hiring of Matt Rhule for the head football coach position. Rule had been the head coach at Temple University for four years- compiling back-to-back 10-win seasons with a 2016 America Athletic Conference championship. Born in New York, Rhule played linebacker at Penn State from '94-'97. His early coaching resume consists of stints at Albright College, Buffalo, UCLA, Western Carolina and Temple before landing his big break as the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants. In 2012, Temple brought Rhule back as head coach where he's compiled a 28-23 record. Rhule is known for coaching all positions on both sides of the ball with titles such as defensive line coach, offensive line coach, special teams coordinator, run game coordinator, quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach while also coaching baseball. Welcome coach!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Blogmas Day 5 | Happy Birthday Dad!


Hauʻoli lā hānau dad! Thank you for always being there for me and pushing me to chase after what I want. I would have never come to Baylor without your support (and lack of brainwashing) and would never have my jobs without the kindness you've shown to everyone. Even though we disagree on most things now, I'm grateful to know that sports and shopping will always be our mutual truths. Thank you for teaching me to be a little nicer to people even though my face shows otherwise. I'm thankful that you've shared my writings and blog posts and have always been there at every band concert (even though they were boring and lasted till 1 am). You are my hero and I love you so much!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blogmas Day 4 | CFP Rankings + Bowl Games


The College Football Playoff committee released their final rankings of the season with a few weeks left in 2016. After upsets galore and tumultuous seasons across the nation, the committee's 'top four' teams will be playing for the national championship. 13-0 Alabama was a shoe-in for the top slot while 12-1 Clemson followed closely behind. Although upsets are possible during the semifinals, the team led by freshman QB Jalen Hurts and some of the most talented players in the nation will probably win a back-to-back title for 2016. The controversial addition of Ohio State at No. 3 shocked football fans across the nation as the committee's lack of consistency was brought to light. During the inaugural CFP decision in 2014, the committee blatantly left Baylor out of the top four because the Big 12 lacked a conference championship. In 2016, Ohio State lost their championship to No. 5 Penn State, but the committee members chose the former over the latter. 12-1 Washington closes out the selection with a great season. Bama and the Huskies will face off at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl while tOSU and Clemson play at the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. Both semifinals will take place on New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Blogmas Day 3 | Apartment Christmas Decorations






One of the best parts of the holiday season is decorating the house with lights and ornaments galore! When I was living in my school's dorm last year, I didn't have enough space to hang lights, decorate a tree and add other Christmas paraphernalia. Now that I'm living off campus, I decided to splurge in Target's Christmas shop and buy as many holiday pieces as I could. Christmas lights are essential and the ones hanging above my tv twinkle when they're plugged in! They're a little "Stranger Things-ish", which creeps me out but I love them anyway (I just won't sit in the dark with them on). I hung regular white lights above the couch and bought a cozy red throw to keep me warm now that it's freezing in Texas. My 3-foot tall Christmas tree is my favorite decoration and was a steal for $27! The tree came pre-lit so I purchased a box of mini red, green and gold ornaments and a few extras. The football, basketball and 'N' stocking add more personalization to my tree and I love it so much! The felt advent calendar came from the dollar spot and will make counting down the days till Christmas even more fun. I bought a snowflake table runner to add festivity to the dining room and I covered it with candy canes and Ghiradelli peppermint chocolates!
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