Sunday, December 31, 2017

Free the People on New Year's Eve

On the last day of 2017, find peace and justice through Free the People Day. This search for freedom on the 31st aims to bail out those in jail and prisons who simply can't afford bail. Ending money bail is a serious effort that hones in on releasing citizens (usually poor people of color) who are incarcerated because of their socioeconomic status. If you want to encourage and free people who can't save themselves due to their poverty levels, I urge you to make a donation to one of the community bail funds found on Prison Culture's blog. The bail funds share all received moneys toward releasing incarcerated peoples and tonight only, a few of them will double every donation! I donated the cost of one meal (approximately $20) to National Bail Out in hopes that someone will be freed with my assistance. Even if you can't donate any money on New Year's Eve, consider spreading the justice throughout 2018 as we work to end money bail and fix the corrupt justice system!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Five Years of This Is Noelle

This Is Noelle (the blog not the human me) is five years old today! Since 2012 I’ve published 1,500+ posts and procrastinated on nearly every one of them. Over the years I've grown immensely as I've learned more about myself and my beliefs through writing. Although my pieces haven't gotten me famous or rich, writing every day has made me a better, more creative person. I've continued playing music, styling outfits, and studying every aspect of my favorite sports as well as discovering new ways to fight against injustice and help other people. This blog has seen me through three years of high school activities and highlights, nearly three years of college, an exciting job in the athletic department at Baylor, one big relationship, and many possible career changes. From football recaps and outfit write ups to my favorite playlists and daily activities, I’ve documented every avenue of my life that probably no one cares about haha. Nevertheless, I’m proud of my daily blog and I hope to continue writing throughout the future!

Friday, December 29, 2017

My Favorite Books and Movies in 2017

2017 produced a handful of my favorite new movies and book discoveries including a pair of films I watched 2+ times. Get Out was my favorite movie of the year (and one of my favorites of all time) as I screened it seven times in the theater and a dozen more times at home. Jordan Peele is one of the most brilliant screenplay writers and each time I watched the movie, I noticed new details. I don't have enough compliments to describe this fantastic film so you just have to watch it for yourself! And then watch it a second time to catch everything you missed the first time around. If Get Out doesn't win the Oscar for Best Picture, I will riot. I loved Wonder Woman's celebration of a powerful and kind woman who saves the world. Whereas most films depict men as the brave heroes, Wonder Woman gave all women and girls someone to look up to. I did in fact cry when Diana walked out of the bunker and dodged all of the bullets before saving all of the men around her. Girls Trip was another fantastic film that depicted complex female relationships in a fun way. Tiffany Haddish's hilarious performance made the entire movie and I still think she was robbed by not being nominated for a Golden Globe. I recently saw Coco and it's already my favorite Pixar movie ever! The story is sweet and exciting, the music is catchy, and the animations are beautiful. I was so excited to see a new movie representing the Mexican community and culture. I watched Hidden Figures four times and I loved it more and more each screening.

I read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for the first time this year and it changed my life. Hurston's use of imagery and diction is unlike any other author and I can't believe I only recently discovered this incredible work. The novel is one of my favorites and I'm continuously inspired by its words. Jonathan Safran Foer has been one of my most loved authors for years and I enjoyed reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close- one of his earliest novels. I loved the style and format of the novel as Foer included experimental images and syntax. Helium is Rudy Francisco's first poetry chapbook and each piece captured my heart. I love having my two favorite poems: "Scars" and "Letter to Your New Boyfriend" in tangible form! The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore is my last favorite of the bunch. It details the different life journeys two men of the same name experience and where they eventually end up.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Day-Long Adventure

Jacob and I went on an island-wide search for a sunny spot as each of our hiking/beach locations were rained out today. We started in Mānoa where we planned on hiking Puʻu Pia trail and going to the Lyon Arboretum nearby. Unfortunately, the biggest gray cloud hovered over the trail and the rain followed closely behind. We changed our plans to head more toward the East side and aimed for the Makapuʻu lighthouse trail. I finally convinced him to try Uncle Clay's shave ice before the hike and he loved it (I knew it)! I had my usual strawberry/pineapple mix with mochi and he had the special green tea concoction. After inhaling the shave ice, we finally managed to find some sun and walked up the trail to the top. We finished the day with pizza from Pieology on a mini double date with my parents before I dropped him off at home. I'm hoping for more sweet days like these with my boy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Pink Lace Dress

AQUA dress (similar option under $100 here), Kate Spade bag, Nine West heels

My final outfit look of the year is one of my favorites! I purchased this dress from Bloomingdales while shopping for a birthday one as I can never own too many dresses. Although it was originally listed at $150, it was randomly marked down to $19 and I bought it for only $13! Damn I love an amazing sale- thank you Bloomingdales. I wore the dress to Christmas dinner at the Pacific Club with my family. I paired the dress with my matching pastel pink Kate Spade bag and a pair of chunky nude heels. I love how classic and girly this outfit is and I know I'll be wearing it again soon!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The 2017 Playlist

With only a few days left in 2017 (thank the old gods and the new), I gathered a years-end playlist of songs I listened to throughout the months. I cherry-picked the song I believe defined each of my months in this godforsaken year- pieces that made me cry and touched my soul. And even though the world has gone to shit, at least I have music.

January- In the Embers by Sleeping at Last

February- Take A Break from Hamilton

March- How Does it Feel by The Green ft. Kimié

April- Plastic 100ºC by Sampha

May- Nothing to Hide by Rebel Souljahz

June- Godspeed by Frank Ocean

July- Juke Jam by Chance the Rapper

August- The Gold by Manchester Orchestra

September- End of the Road by Boyz II Men

October- Love by Daughter

November- The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand

December- Fade Away by Rebelution

Monday, December 25, 2017

Blogmas Day 25 | Happy Holidays

Mele kalikimaka and happy holidays everyone! Today I was lucky enough to spend the day with my family (and even see Jacob for a little bit!) opening gifts, relaxing, and eating the Pacific Club's Christmas dinner. My favorite presents I received were homemade and/or purchased thoughtful items from my friends and family. Ultimately though, today isn't about presents. I'm thankful for the people in my life whom I love and admire. I'm thankful for my health and that of those I love. I'm thankful to be alive. I hope you were able to spend the day with your friends or family and recognize just how lucky we all are.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Blogmas Day 24 | The Christmas Eve Tradition

One of my favorite holiday traditions is spending Christmas eve with my mom's side of the family. Each year, we eat dinner at Tanaka of Tokyo and have lots of fun together. My sister and I are especially close with our cousins Christian and Conor and we're lucky that they're basically like our brothers. I love spending time with them because we always laugh more than we eat and can catch up like no time has passed at all since we last saw each other. As we grow up and our lives change, it's comforting to know that we always have our Christmas eve tradition where we can reunite and we together despite all the craziness of the holiday season. I hope that we'll continue this annual dinner even when we have our own families!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Blogmas Day 23 | Happy Anniversary Mom + Dad

Today marks my parents' 28th wedding anniversary (I know, how do they do it?) and I'm truly thankful for their strength and commitment to each other all those years ago. Marriage is freaking difficult, I'm sure, but they constantly remind me that life's hardships often lead to love. As I've grown up and watched their partnership evolve (along with their own personalities and beliefs), I witnessed the power of their dedication, trust, loyalty, perseverance, and friendship- all of which make their marriage what it is today. No, their days aren't always perfect, hell, nothing is perfect, but they love each other and they do what they can to make each other happy. I'm lucky to have parents who stick it out for each other and for their family everyday and I can't thank them enough for all they've done for me. Happy anniversary mom and dad, I hope I'll have a marriage like yours one day!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Blogmas Day 22 | 21 Things I've Learned by 21

Today I turned 21 and, although I don't physically feel any older, I've grown substantially over the past year because of my values and priorities. 2017 has felt like one long kick in the nuts and I don't know how I would have survived without the people I love and the belief system I've established. Although to most people, 21 means legally getting drunk and gambling, I see another year of time spent with the ones I love, football games (please sign Kaepernick and hope Baylor does well in CFB), blog posts, travel, and finding new ways to stand against injustice and truly help people. While the political leaders and authority figures checked off nearly every box on their bigot list in 2017, I hope 2018 will bring me less anxiety and fear and more hope for a better future.
  1. Discover what you're passionate about and pursue it wholeheartedly. As I've grown up, I realized that helping oppressed and marginalized people is what I love doing, so I've donated my money and time toward causes by which I'm inspired. 
  2. It's okay to not be okay. I started seeing a therapist during my senior year in high school when my anxiety, panic attacks, and random outbursts of anger were drowning me and I'm thankful I asked for help when I did. There's often a stigma around discussing mental health, but if I had a broken bone I would go to the hospital, so why not treat my mental state the same way? 
  3. Talking to my family everyday is one of the best gifts. It's hard being away from the people I love 9 months out of the year and living alone, but I try to discuss my day and other topics with my family as much as possible so I don't get lonely!
  4. Wear what makes you feel good. As soon as I saw this dress in store, I loved everything about it. But when I tried it on, I starting judging myself through the eyes of other people, even though I hadn't even left the fitting room. I worried I was being too revealing, but I realized I loved this dress and it made me feel like $1,000 bucks and that's all that matters. Even if your clothes aren't what's considered trendy or stylish, as long as you love it and it makes your eyes sparkle, wear the damn clothes. You'll feel better that you did!
  5. Take more family pictures. As I put our holiday card together, I discovered we had zero family photos together from the past year. I know it's difficult to remember pictures every time I come home from school, but we're all getting older and it's nice to have a memory of the family from each year.
  6. True friends are one of life's greatest treasures. I don't talk to my best friends every single day while we're all away at school, but when we reconnect at home, it's like no time has passed at all. That kind of friendship is rare and beautiful and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
  7. Long distance relationships are a bitch, but they're worth it. Being separated from Jacob for 3+ months at a time is one of the most difficult experiences I've ever put myself through. Even though we FaceTime multiple times a day and text all the time, I still feel like that's not enough. I often wish I could reach through my phone screen and pull him through, but I try to remember how incredible our real time together will be. It's painful to think about being apart from him but I hope that getting through the distance will make us stronger.
  8. If you have the opportunity to travel, just do it. I purchased a plane ticket to New York to visit Brandon and Parker back in March for Easter weekend and it was one of the best trips of my life! Exploring the city with my best friends for a few days revived my spirit after a long semester and I can't wait to make our reunion an annual tradition.
  9. Don't eat so much Chick-fil-A. My friends Lo, Jonathan, and I often go to Chick-fil-A for lunch (or dinner or for shakes only) and although the food is freaking delicious, the cookie pouch I now have on my belly isn't cute. Maybe make a salad every once in a while in between nugget meals. 
  10. Take a break from the bad news every once in a while. 2017 was filled with shit news all day long every single day. With Trump and co. being actual Satan all the time, natural disasters in Houston and Puerto Rico, prominent men sexually assaulting dozens of women, North Korea threatening to nuke us poor kamaʻāina, congress constantly trying to kill us, police getting away with murder, California turning into hell due to huge fires, guns shooting through hundreds of innocent bodies, genocides in Syria and Yemen, etc., 2017 was horrible. I was on Twitter all day long, constantly refreshing my feed to see the newest tweet, death, and attack, and the news almost enveloped me. I always want to stay updated on what's happening in the world, but not at the risk of my own mental stability. It's okay to turn off the news and log off Twitter as many times as I want.
  11. Monetized sports can sometimes be pretty gross. After hearing NFL owners and supporters refer to Africa-American athletes as prisoners, I opened my eyes to how problematic the sports world can be. Many scholars refer to the NFL as modern-slavery and I now see it. I've watched rich old men make millions off of injury-ridden black and brown bodies while hating or disrespecting those very athletes themselves. The addition of Colin Kaepernick's blackballing by NFL owners/coaches has turned me off from the game until these issues are changed. I still love football and I always will, but the operations behind the sport itself have adjusted my thought process completely. 
  12. The future is scary. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my future. I don't even know what I'll do this summer! Maybe I'll apply to sports management programs after I graduate, or maybe I'll volunteer with programs related to prisoners or politics. My anxiety often flares up when I think about my lack of direction, but I think that's okay.
  13. Play more music as much as possible. I haven't picked up my guitar lately, but when I do, playing brings my spirit up. I need to create more music in the next year!
  14. Don't apologize for who you are (unless who you are is an asshole). I used to constantly ask forgiveness for being myself, crying, feeling "too much", saying sorry, assuming I'm doing everything wrong, taking up too much space, sharing my personality and ideas. But now I'm saying eff that because there's nothing wrong with who I am and I have to stop thinking the worst of myself.
  15. Forgiveness can sometimes be excruciating, but offering it to others is important. Even if I don't want to forgive someone (and I usually don't!), I try my best to take the first step in repairing or guiding a relationship. 
  16. Treat yo' self from time-to-time. I'll occasionally have a gel manicure or Brazilian wax when I want to feel pampered and having that time for myself is worth the money.
  17. Sentimental gifts are worth more to me than any diamond (although I do love me a nice diamond). I would rather receive a sweet picture, letter, or DIY gift from someone I love than a fancy product I won't use as much.
  18. Dogs are the most phenomenal companions. When I feel lonely at school, Reggi instantly perks me up by cuddling with me and laying on my shoulder. Even though I'm alone, he makes me feel better when I take him for walks and when he keeps me company on the couch.
  19. Stop going to sleep at 4 a.m.! My sleeping schedule is always messed up no matter where I am. Nearly every day I'll go to sleep at 2 or 3 a.m., take a four hour nap in the day time and repeat the process. Shit, hopefully one day I'll find the strength to go to bed and wake up at a respectable hour.
  20. Always say how you feel, even if you're scared or the timing isn't right. Telling the people I love how I feel is important to me because I want everyone to feel cared about everyday. I'm often scared that I'll suddenly lose someone dear to me, so saying "I love you" or "I care about you" makes me honest as much as possible. 
  21. Don't "just get over it". Whether the 'it' is sexual assault, police brutality, murder, corrupt politicians/leaders, racism, misogyny, or bigotry, don't forget about how 'it' made you feel and how it changed you. After you recognize or discover what happened, do what you can to make a change and help others involved.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blogmas Day 21 | Early Birthday Celebrations

I forced my best friends to spend the whole day and night with me in preparation for my birthday tomorrow! We spent a few hours at the Newtown driving range so I could show off my new skills I learned in my golf class (spoiler alert: I'm even worse now than I used to be). Brandon and Jacob were better than everyone else as usual and Mikayla, Ali, and I embarrassed ourselves more than once, but we had so much fun! I vlogged a handful of golfing shots so I'll add them to my winter break vlog! After golfing we headed toward town to pick Parker up and eat dinner at Kakaʻako Kitchen. I'm guessing we were all famished because no one said a word throughout dinner and we ate within 30 minutes. The highlight of the night was going to see the Honolulu City Lights where we met up with Kaiʻolu for a few minutes and wandered around the light exhibits and statues. The lights always make me excited for Christmas and spending the night with my best friends and boyfriend made them that much more special. After departing Mikayla and Ali, we went to Brandon's house and spent hours lying on his roof listening to music and stargazing before the boys fell asleep and we drove to my house to spend the night. It was the best pre-birthday I've ever had and I'm constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends in my life.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Blogmas Day 20 | Baylor Football Early Signing Day

All graphics belong to Baylor Athletics

It's Christmas!!! Okay, technically there's still a few more days until the actual day, but Christmas came early for Baylor football fans as 20 of 23 commits in the 2018 class signed their letters of intent today. Whereas most Baylor offseasons see over half of their recruiting classes sign their LOI in February, the special 2018 class signed enthusiastically early. The Baylor Athletics creative department created these fantastic graphics for each signee and I thought they were an easy collage idea! Matt Rhule and co. showed their offseason recruiting talents in pulling together arguably the most talented recruiting class in Baylor football history. With a freshmen corp coming in at No. 21 in the nation after a 1-11 debut season, Rhule's recruiting tactics are almost unbelievable. The 20 current signees feature one QB, three WRs, five OL, two TEs, two CBs, two S, two DEs, one P, and one ATH.

  • Kalon Barnes is a four-star WR with a 10.22 PR in the 100m who will also run track at Baylor. In his senior year, Barnes had 600 yards with nine TDs. 
  • Four-star QB Gerry Bohanon chose Baylor over offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisville, and others. He's the No. 1 QB in the state of Arkansas and recorded 11,362 passing yards for 142 TDs and 5,925 rushing yards and 70 TDs in his high school career.
  • Track and WR star Josh Fleeks is a four-star commit who's ranked No. 153 on the ESPN 300 list. He totaled 313 rushing yards for four TDs and 32 catches for 363 receiving yards with five TDs in his senior year. 
  • Connor Galvin is a monstrous four-star OL who's ranked No. 224 on the ESPN 300 and was named 18th best OT in the nation by ESPN. In his senior season, Galvin had a grade of 91% with 63 knockdowns.
  • Three-star WR Jackson Gleeson will also run track at Baylor. He totaled 33 catches for 888 yards and 11 TDs in his senior year.
  • Massive three-star OL Ylijaah Hall comes in as the No. 88 OL in Texas. During his senior year, Hall allowed zero sacks and had 28 pancake blocks, earning an 89% grade.
  • CB Byron Hanspard Jr. is one of most talented CBs in the nation, earning a four-star ranking and No. 100 on the ESPN 300. As the No. 13 CB in the nation, Hanspard had 42 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and one INT as well as 36 catches for 493 yards and two TDs in his senior season.
  • ESPN gave TE Christoph Henle three-stars and a No. 22 TE ranking in the nation. In Henle's final season, he totaled 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks along with 24 receptions for 348 yards and one TD. 
  • Jackson Kimble is a long-time Baylor OL commit who has a three-star ranking and is the No. 79 OL in Texas. He has a 92% grade with 107 knockdowns and two allowed sacks during his senior year.
  • Four-star DE Josh Landry is the No. 16 DE in the nation. In 2017, Landry recorded 46 tackles with 5.5 sacks. 
  • Mark Milton is a three-star CB who is the No. 50 athlete in the country. Milton was supremely successful in his final season, totaling 52 tackles, two tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and one INT, as well as four catches for 114 yards and two TDs. 
  • S Christian Morgan has a three-star ranking and is the No. 30 safety in the nation. As a senior, Morgan not only recorded 77 tackles and four INTs, but also earned the top Nike SPARQ score in the country.
  • OL Casey Phillips earned a three-star ranking as the No. 39 OT in the US. The versatile OL is flexible between OL work and practice as TE.
  • Princeton Pine is the No. 4 OL in the state of Louisiana, earning three-stars from ESPN. He already enters his freshman year at 6-5 and 340 pounds.
  • P Isaac Power is a 2018 US Army All-American Bowl pick who's ranked No. 5 in the nation. Power recorded 59 touchbacks on 67 punts in his senior season with 22 punts for an average of 41.3 yards.
  • Three-star TE Ben Sims is a massive athlete who has a No. 28 national ranking. In 2017, Sims had 24 catches for 444 yards and seven TDs.
  • Marje Smith is a three-star DE who has a No. 100 DE national ranking. During his senior year, Smith totaled 59 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and six pass breakups.
  • Three-star ATH Bralen Taylor is a versatile player who chose the Bears over Georgia, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Miami, and others. The 6-7 football and basketball star is the No. 12 TE in the nation who recorded 32 catches for 612 yard and six TDs along with two rushing TDs in his senior season.
  • Tyquan Thornton is a four-star WR and track athlete with a 10.50 PR in the 100m. The No. 86 WR in the nation had 1,100 receiving yards for 10 TDs and 214 rushing yards for three TDs in his final season.
  • Three-star S and track star JT Woods is ranked as the No. 55 safety in the country who also has a 10.64 PR in the 100 m. He totaled 33 tackles and one sack as well as six catches for 63 yards and two rushes for 39 yards in 2017.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blogmas Day 19 | Founder's Day

On December 19, 1831, our princess and founder of the Kamehameha Schools, Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop was born. Born to Abner Pākī and Laura Kōnia, Pauahi continued the lineage of her great-grandfather King Kamehameha I. Pauahi founded the Kamehameha Schools in honor of her beloved kupuna in order to educate and guide children of Hawaiian descent as the native population was dying out. She devised and bequeathed her land estate, approximately 9% of the island chain to the creation of the school where native Hawaiian children might learn how to sustain themselves, practice hula and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and receive a proper education to save the population from disappearing completely. Pauahi dreamt of a brighter future for nā keiki o ka ʻāina and gave literally everything she had for children she would never know, yet loved anyway. Her passion for us has provided hundreds of thousands of keiki with life-changing opportunities and a rigorous education so we might make a difference in the world someday. Throughout my eight years at Kamehameha Schools, I traveled across the world to New Zealand, Washington D.C., and Maui for the love of music; received a quality education that prepared me for college; met the best people who would become part of my family; and learned how to be a good and industrious person. Without Pauahi's generosity and brilliance, I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today. Mahalo Pauahi and hauʻoli lā hānau iā ʻoe!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Blogmas Day 18 | The Christmas Sweater Wishlist

I love a classic Christmas sweater during the holiday season and I browse ASOS and Nordstrom each year in search of a new knit to wear. I love any chunky knit from pretty fair isle sweaters to tacky Christmas-inspired ones. Christmas in Hawaiʻi can be chilly (sometimes reaching the mid 60-degrees!) so a cute sweater is next up on my holiday shopping list. The ASOS All Things Christmas Jumper is the perfect girly sweater that encompasses the spirit of the holidays. I love how fun and colorful it is while remaining wearable for all occasions. To add more femininity to the sweater, I would pair it with a denim skirt and black tights. Another fun yet grown up option is the Topshop Candy Cane Sweater. This knit has just the right amount of festivity (is this a word?) to wear on an everyday basis throughout the remainder of the holiday season. I would even style it with black jeans and strappy heels for a nighttime party! The J.Crew Fair Isle Striped Sweater is the most grown up of the bunch and damn, it's stunning. I usually steer toward colorful fair isle options, but I love the chic pairing of navy and white, which almost looks like a snowy background. I love the idea of the sweater with gold sequin pants to spice it up a little! The ASOS Christmas Tree Jumper would be a fabulous addition to any Christmas sweater collection as it features both sparkles and freaking baubles hanging all over the place. I would purchase this jumper for a tacky sweater party and pair it with light up earrings or a Santa hat and go all out!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Blogmas Day 17 | Holiday Hot Chocolate Three Ways

Is it ever really the holiday season without mugs of hot chocolate? I love watching Christmas movies with a cup full of steaming chocolate and as much whipped cream as possible (I may or may not keep the whipped cream aerosol can next to me at all times for an instant spray), so I wanted to make a few holiday options for you all. The three hot chocolate variations I chose to create are peppermint, s'mores and salted caramel- classic flavors for the cooler weather. Each mug contains the same hot chocolate base, but I dressed them up according to their flavor finale.

To create the hot chocolate drink (enough to fill the three mugs, approximately three servings), I combined five cups of milk with 1 1/3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips in a pot. I heated the mixture on low, stirring every 15 seconds in order to break up the chocolate smoothly. The whole process of melting the chocolate and milk took around 10 minutes or so and I scooped the drink into each mug once it was finished. For the peppermint drink, I added two drops of peppermint extract to the liquid and topped it off with a generous portion of whipped cream and crushed candy canes for an extra zing. My dad broiled a handful of medium-sized marshmallows in the oven and added them to the top of the filled mug before I sprinkled one graham cracker on top to make a sweet s'mores drink. The salted caramel hot chocolate required another heavy dose of whipped cream topped off with a caramel sauce drizzle and a pinch of salt around the cream. Enjoy each drink with a cookie or two and "Eloise at Christmastime" in the background!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Blogmas Day 16 | Festive Nails

My mom recently converted me to the wonderful world of mani/pedis and I will never look back! I had my first professional manicure a couple months ago in Waco and loved the entire process, but never found the time to return. However, I wanted another mani before my birthday and Christmas, so we made appointments at Manoa Nails. The salon itself is extremely clean and each nail technician is friendly and easy to talk to without being overbearing. Their polish selection is almost entirely OPI (which I love) and the collection of gel varnishes is fantastic! I went with gold polish with white glitter flecks for my gel manicure and a bubblegum pink on my toes. This was my first pedicure and I felt like such an idiot for blowing off my mom each time she suggested I get one in the past because it was the most lovely experience! I briefly ignored my fear/hatred of people touching my feet and relaxed while the nail technician massaged, scrubbed, moisturized and polished my feet and toes until they actually looked pretty. I can't wait to match my nails to my birthday outfit and all of my upcoming holiday looks!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Blogmas Day 15 | Stocking Stuffer Ideas

My favorite part of Christmas is opening my stocking and seeing all of the fun mini goodies my mom tossed in. She always includes a few small gifts along with my favorite bag of Dove chocolate to enjoy before opening the rest of the presents. I know firsthand how difficult it is to find the perfect stocking stuffers, but somehow mom does it effortlessly each year. I've collected a handful of gifts for any person's felt pouch (hopefully they like makeup and fashion!) on Christmas.

I used to wear a black beanie every day my freshman and sophomore years and still adore the soft hats as they're essential during winter time. The J.Crew Ribbed Beanie is a classic style with a fun bauble at the end of the hat. Toss it into the stocking of any person who lives in a cold climate and wants to remain both toasty and stylish! I've fallen in love with beauty sponges this year and the Beauty Blender Midas Touch Gift Set is an affordable entrance into the world of sponge-y application. The gift set comes with a full size Beauty Blender and a mini sponge cleanser to keep the applicator clean and pretty. Most people (especially me) enjoy receiving beautiful pieces of jewelry and the Catbird Sweet Nothing Gold Ring is a dainty chain that adds a sweet touch to any look on at an affordable price! Speaking of jewelry, pearls are holiday must-haves, so the J.Crew Pearl Drop Earrings are the perfect addition to any stocking. I love the ball-on-chain look and would pair the pearls with a feminine dress for the holidays. For the avid traveler, try the Phaidon Wallpaper City Guides Gift Box- a complete set of travel guides for some of the world's largest cities. I would love to scour the pages of the New York and San Francisco guides to find new activities and eateries for my next trips. A pair of socks seems like a boring choice, but a cozy pair would be much appreciated during the cold weather. I love the burgundy shade of UGG Australia Chenille Crew Socks and think they would be perfect for travel or decorating the Christmas tree. Charlotte Tilbury curates some of the cutest beauty sets for the holiday season and I'm loving her Hot Lips Mini Celebrity Lipstick Charms for anyone who wants to be festive and switch up their look depending on the occasion. The blush pink shade at the very end is my favorite! Tea is a drink of choice throughout the colder months, so a Bodum Chambord Classic Tea Pot is a nifty home addition. The rose gold is aesthetically pleasing and the pot itself is handy for anyone who wants a small brew at home. The Pinch Provisions Tech Kit is the most essential of the bunch as it contains all technology extras needed for anyone with a beating heart and an iPhone/iPad/laptop/camera/etc. The kit features earbuds, phone camera lens, earbud wrapper, flash drive, screen cloth, password hint list, cord organizer, USB wall charger, 3-in-1 charging cable, phone/tablet stand, so what more could one need?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blogmas Day 14 | Shopping for a Birthday Dress

For my 18th birthday, I convinced my mom I needed a new birthday dress to commemorate the occasion. We splurged on a black and gold party dress that I loved and I felt so special wearing it that night. I began to chill the next two years and didn't force the concept of a new dress on my mom again until recently as my 21st birthday approaches. Now, I told her I would buy a fancy dress on my own and I picked up the gorgeous Privacy Please Airy Dress as my celebratory outfit. Unfortunately the dress wasn't the right fit and my search for the perfect piece resumed. I went to Bloomingdales with my friend Mikayla in pursuit of a few dresses I found online and immediately fell in love with all of them! The pale pink JOA Open-Back Lace Dress is a feminine style with a classic shape. I love how sweet and girly it looks, especially paired with nude heels and a pink bag. I LOVE the black and gold Sadie & Sage Star Print Fit-and-Flare Dress because of its plunging neckline and flattering shape. My favorite style of dress is a fit-and-flare as it hugs my curves but conceals the areas I don't want to show off. The navy AQUA Ruffled Lace Dress reminds me of the trendy Self-Portrait pieces that every blogger and fashion lover is sporting. It's arguably the most beautiful dress of the bunch. I've been obsessed with sequins lately and the Molly Bracken Flutter-Sleeve Sequin Dress quenches my sparkly thirst. I only turn 21 during the holiday season once, so why not dress like a freaking disco ball while I'm at it? I may have purchased one or two of the dresses so stay tuned till my birthday post to see which one I wear!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Blogmas Day 13 | Merry Poems

Poetry has a way of burying itself in the twinkle lights and crinkle-wrapped gifts of the holiday season. Whereas most people consume Christmas movies and mix playlists over all other entertainment, a sweet festive poem is the true hidden gem of each merry holiday and the New Year. I collected a few of my favorite pieces that touch on the different emotions each person faces in the presence of holiday celebrations. Whether the season brings about sad memories and negative feelings or true joy, these poems encompass both the jolly and heartbreaking moments of the season. I hope you enjoy each piece and let me know which is your favorite! You may now resume watching Elf for the fifth time this month...
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