Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blogmas Day 12 | Festive Home Decorations

It never truly feels like the holiday season until my parents hang all of their Christmas lights and decor around the house. Most of our decorations are from the births of my sister Megan and I, but mom often brings home new pieces from the Target dollar spot as well. Each main room of the house is decorated with lights or holiday characters such as Santa or mini decorative Christmas trees. In the dining room we have a few fun placemats to match the medium-sized poinsettia pot. Gingerbread men and stuffed creatures line our cabinets and table tops. We decorated our Christmas tree with all of our favorite ornaments and I only complained a little when Megan's multiple personalized pieces were hung as my one disappeared between the branches. I love decorating the house with my family as it's finally starting to feel like the holidays!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Blogmas Day 11 | Holiday Giving

In between my extravagant gift guides, I wanted to discuss an ethical, compassionate way to spend one's money during the holiday season. While it's lovely to purchase thoughtful presents for those you love in celebration of the different holidays, may I suggest donating money toward important organizations as well? I follow many non-profits and other organizations throughout the year and last year I decided I didn't want any birthday presents and instead asked my family to donate money to any of my chosen organizations. I'm not sharing that fact to brag, but rather to raise awareness for the programs that save lives and positively impact their communities. Three of my favorite organizations are The Innocence Project, Equal Justice Inititative and College Guild. All three of the groups focus on my main social concerns: wrongful convictions, racial injustice and improving the lives of incarcerated peoples. The Innocence Project is a non-profit that provides legal aid to prisoners wrongfully accused and convicted of crimes. At this moment, there are thousands of people in prisons who do not belong there and end up falling through the cracks of the criminal justice system. The Innocence Project helps exonerate wrongfully convicted men and women every year through DNA testing and criminal justice reform. The Equal Justice Initiative is also a non-profit organization started by one of my favorite authors and lawyers- Bryan Stevenson. The organization fights against racial injustice and poverty, while challenging the top players in the criminal justice system. I've worked with College Guild for over a year now and have loved every single unit I've received. The program has greatly taught me that prisoners are just people who've faced challenges and made mistakes. They are brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and every other person one meets because with the right circumstances, anyone could end up in prison. Each organization volunteer receives a unit of work from a prisoner during the month and provides him or her with positive feedback and encouragement. Because the non-profit relies on national volunteers, they need more money to provide inmates with work materials and dictionaries. I know I'm not changing the world by donating a few dollars to these organizations, but I hope I will inspire each of you to choose an organization you love and are passionate about and find the holiday spirit of giving. You might not change the world, but you will open your heart to bigger love and compassion and isn't that the best gift of all?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Blogmas Day 10 | Home for Christmas

After seven ridiculous finals and a bit of snow, I'm finally home for the holidays! The past semester was full of struggles both in life and the classroom, so I'm excited to rest, relax, eat, swim, hike, celebrate and spend a few hours with my therapist to get myself back on track (TMI? I don't think so). There's nothing like Christmas in Hawaiʻi surrounded by the people I love and I can't wait to be present in the place where my roots lay. I'm looking forward to baking Christmas treats, catching up with my best friends, spending the holidays with my family, going on dates with Jacob, swimming at my favorite beaches, enjoying the most beautiful sunsets in the world and driving all over the island to see Christmas lights! Bring on the next (almost) four weeks of complete bliss.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Blogmas Day 9 | Gift Guide for Her

Instead of the usual body product gift box, why not treat the women in your life to something exquisite this holiday season? Whenever I shop for gifts, I think of items the people on my list wouldn't normally buy for themselves and then go from there. Whether it's a luxurious bath robe, a cherished picture I had framed or a collection of beloved books, I enjoy looking for unique and special presents that I hope each person will love. Now that I have your attention, put down the pair of wool socks and continue reading.

Burberry is one of my favorite makeup brands as every product in their arsenal is luxurious and well-made. My favorite special lipstick of all time is their Lip Mist in Oxblood- a gorgeous wine shade that I've worn for the past three years. The Burberry Festive Beauty Box features said lip color along with their Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base to add a hint of radiance all over, a gold eyeshadow and a mini version of their Cat Lashes Mascara. The box contains every beauty bit needed to achieve a glowy festive look in a quick minute! I love sentimental gifts and the Personalized Family Cameo Portrait takes the sentimental cake. The portrait is quite pricey so beware if you're not willing to chuck out the cash, but if you are, you win Christmas! The cameo can feature up to 18 family figures including babies and pets and each person is customized based on hair, skin and eye colors as well as clothing and other distinguishing features. A small emblem has the family labeled along with a specific year. I would love to add this piece to my apartment and I'm sure any woman would love it- especially if she lives away from her family or people she loves. Every girl needs a fancy cashmere scarf and where better to look than J.Crew? The Two-Tone Cashmere Scarf features dual sides- one solid and the other marbled, allowing the recipient two options for wear! I love the navy and sky blue duo for the winter time. Lingerie is probably the last item on one's holiday shopping list (especially if grandma or mom is next up! Sorry for the visual...), but I think a beautiful bra is a fabulous present to receive! Most women rarely update their bra collection, but new pieces are essential every few years. Buy the next woman on your list (if it's appropriate aka your girlfriend or wife) a La Perla Daphne Balconette Bra for her collection. The blue shade and dainty lace details are gorgeous and balconettes are both comfortable and versatile, allowing more use! One of my crazy auntys used to only wear leopard print clothing so the stigma around the pattern has remained in my household. However, I've decided to reclaim the print and name it perfect for the holiday season! The J.Crew Medium Pouch is a lovely clutch option to pair with any holiday outfit from a jazzy jumpsuit to a sequined party dress. Speaking of accessories for festive looks, the Hart Studio Champagne Shimmer Double Dare Darlings are my favorite non-Koa wood big ass earrings that would be perfect for any holiday party or occasion! I would never think to purchase gold earrings, but the almost antiquated metal shade is too beautiful to pass up. Imagine the tassels as the star of the show against a beautiful black dress. Now, women love sports too! For the NFL-obsessed woman on your list, the NFL Heritage Banner is an easy way to show team pride during fantasy season. I unfortunately do not have a team (the NFL has become too sketchy for me...PS no more football until Colin Kaepernick has a job!), but I know any sports fan would love a team emblem for their house. An eye-catching pair of shoes are a must-have for the holiday season and the Madewell Jillian Boot is a stunning option for most neutral looks. If I had the pair, however, I would go all out and style them with a sparkly silver dress and black tights. I recently discovered Mari Andrew's illustrations on Instagram and I immediately followed all of her accounts. The way she pairs pictures with heart-wrenching poems or phrases is unparalleled. Andrew released a book on pre-order entitled Am I There Yet?, which would fit right on top of any coffee table!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Blogmas Day 8 | Gift Guide for Him

I say it every year: shopping for men is extremely difficult! I never know what to buy for the men in my life who already shop for themselves throughout the year. My dad owns every dress shirt, jacket and shoe in existence, so those are automatically out of the race for him. Unlike women (if you're following gender norms) , you can't just give most men a Bath and Body Works gift set or Sephora gift card when you're out of suggestions. I've gathered a collection of gifts for different types of men so if you suffer from the same dilemma each holiday season as I do, hopefully you'll find an idea here!

No matter where he lives, every man needs a classic cashmere sweater and the J.Crew Everyday Cashmere Crewneck Sweater is the perfect piece. Navy is an essential color and the sweater can be layered throughout the year. I would style it on a man with khaki denim and brown shoes for everyday or layered with a button down shirt and thick gray coat for cooler weather. The Izola Stainless Steel Flask is a classier way of carrying around one's alcohol essentials. I like how it comes in a canvas carrying case for more discreet use. Most men don't use any face products to prep or finish their skin after shaving, so the Kiehl’s Groom with Greatness Collection is a travel-friendly collection of facial must-haves for the man in your life who needs a little extra TLC. I don't personally have a FITBIT, but Jacob loves his and the FITBIT Ionic Watch is a fancier version of the original tracker. The green/gray and burnt orange combination is also appealing to the eye! For those who often travel or enjoy the outdoors, a heavy duty backpack is perfect for storage. The TUMI Alpha Bravo - Knox Backpack is not only gorgeous but also extremely durable. Speaking of the outdoors, take the Audio Pro Wireless Speaker on the go! The little box packs a punch as it's one of the top-rated speakers on the market. I love how vintage it looks. I first learned about men's compression leggings from Jacob and the Under Armour ColdGear Compression Leggings are a must-have for the men in your life who work out or play sports (especially in colder weather). A random but unique gift idea is the LayBag Air Lounge Chair, which is a portable chair that one can instantly fill with air. It's perfect for the outdoors and especially for camping! Another fitness essential is the Nike Windrunner Tech Fleece Hoodie. The jacket is thick enough for cold weather and can be used for everyday or workout activities.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Blogmas Day 7 | My Favorite Holiday Movies

I basically watch the same Christmas movies on repeat each year because I am a creature of habit and because they're freaking hilarious (and heartwarming and reminiscent). The Family Stone is one of my mom and my favorites as it depicts the holiday season with a dysfunctional and real family. Sarah Jessica Parker is the new girlfriend of Dermot Mulroney (love him in My Best Friend's Wedding, Jolene and New Girl) who struggles to fit in with his judgmental family. All hell breaks loose and she ends up with his brother while Mulroney pairs with Parker's sister. I know, confusing and unrealistic but just trust me on this one! Watch the movie if not for its plot than its phenomenal cast- Mulroney, Carrie Bradshaw, Rachel McAdams, Diane freaking Keaton, the grandpa in Parenthood, Mark Brandanowitz from Parks and Rec, Elle's boyfriend in Legally Blonde, older version of Juliet from that weird edition of Romeo and Juliet, Rebecca/Ava in Grey's Anatomy and the mean guy in Stomp the Yard. Eloise at Christmastime is my favorite Christmas movie forever. I've been obsessed with Eloise since my dad introduced me to her through a pink t-shirt (which I wore without pants that one time there was a bomb outside my house in third grade and we had to evacuate haha) and the VHS tape. I still have a major crush on Bill and yearn to stay at the Plaza just to experience Eloise's life. The movie is hilarious and whimsical and features both true love and Julie Andrews so what's not to love? Home Alone 2 is the best Home Alone movie and is honestly the moment Macaulay Culkin peaked in his career. I mainly watch it because I've always wanted to stay in a hotel for free (aka on my dad's credit card) and order all of the room service dishes I want. Erase the Donald Trump bit and watch the rest of the movie for laughs and high expectations of what every New York experience should be like. Elf is one of those films that's on probably every person's top 10 list because of Will Ferrel's iconic acting. Jessica Day and Tyrion Lannister also make appearances, which is always fun! My favorite scene is when Buddy first enters New York, eats the gum under the handrails, gets hit by a taxi, takes all of the flyers from solicitors and throws up in a trash can. Iconic.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Blogmas Day 6 | Decorating My Apartment

Although I live by myself at school, I like to add as many festive decorations as I can to keep my home warm and cozy during the holidays. I purchased a lot of my decorations last year from Target and this year, I've added a few new pieces to my collection. Most of my lights and additions are in the living room with a few in the dining area. I have a mini Christmas tree that I've decorated with tiny ornaments under my "stranger things" lights in the living room. I recently bought the cute snowman and festive garland on my coffee table from Target as they were having a holiday sale! The home for the holidays pillow also came from Target and I love how it looks between my favorite pink throws. I have a red and white runner on my dining table and I've topped it off with a light up cardboard house from World Market that my dad bought for me! I hope to continue adding holiday pieces every year and have the perfect Christmas home.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Blogmas Day 5 | Happy Birthday Dad

Hauʻoli lā hānau iā ʻoe e kuʻu makuakāne! My dad is one of the most friendly and loved people I know. He has a knack for making everyone feel welcomed and comfortable no matter how well he knows them. His love for people is the reason why we are constantly stopped in public by friends and acquaintances who want to talk to him. I mostly dislike people but my dad has taught me that it's okay to be nice to others from time to time. Our favorite topic of conversation is sports because we agree on absolutely everything from coaching changes to team rankings. Our mutual dislike of the same teams and athletes is one way we bond! Although we disagree on many social/political issues, we've become better at discussing different topics and finding common ground when possible. I'm thankful that he's supported me in all of my dreams and activities from fashion design to music to coaching and social activism. Many people aren't as lucky as I am to have a dad who truly loves and supports me no matter what. Happy birthday dad, I love you and I'll see you soon!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Blogmas Day 4 | The 2018 College Football Playoffs

The stage is set for the 2018 college football playoff finals and the committee has once again stirred up controversy. Since the first installment of the CFP in 2014, the playoff committee has shown its inconsistencies upon choosing the top four teams entering the race. While it can already be assumed that picking the top four teams in the nation among the five conferences is a doomed feat, the committee members continuously make their jobs more difficult for themselves. They claim to choose teams based upon strength of schedule, performance results, head-to-head victories (unless you're 2014 Baylor football), conference titles and number of wins over ranked opponents. However, biases are always revealed and the panel members constantly alter their criteria to fit the teams they want.

This year, Clemson and Alabama return to the top four at Nos. 1 and 4, respectively. Clemson earned the No. 1 spot with a 12-1 record, securing yet another ACC title. With victories over No. 7 Auburn, No. 22 Virginia Tech and No. 11 Miami to win the conference championship, the Tigers deserve the top spot in the playoff. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 (barf...I know, I'm trying really hard to be professional here) after winning the Big 12 conference title and notching a 12-1 record. Iowa State delivered the Sooners their only loss (bless you Matt Campbell), but Oklahoma has defeated No. 5 Ohio State, No. 17 Oklahoma State and No. 13 TCU (twice) to earn their second-best spot. Georgia took the third spot for their first appearance in the CFP top four! After defeating Auburn and winning the SEC East, the 12-1 Bulldogs are a title contender. They've won against No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 24 Mississippi State and No. 7 Auburn to secure their third position. Alabama is the controversy of the season as they took No. 4 from, who many have argued, No. 5 Ohio State. They don't have any strong victories over top opponents and they lost to No. 7 Auburn, keeping them out of the SEC title race. Despite those facts, Nick Saban and co. slithered their way into the souls of the committee members and the heart of the CFP. Their best victories are over No. 16 LSU and No. 24 Mississippi State, but the Crimson Tide keeps rolling into the New Year.

No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Alabama will face off in the Sugar Bowl on New Years day at 7:45 pm, while No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia play in the Rose Bowl on the same day at 4 pm.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Blogmas Day 3 | 18 Things to Do Before 2018

There are three weeks left in 2017 (finally, gahdamn) and I can't wait for a fresh start in the new year. Without rushing too much through the final days of 2017, I've created a list of activities I want to attend and accomplish before the end of the year. I encourage you all to reflect on what you've experienced throughout the past 12 months and finally attempt to tick off those last few events on your to-do list. Whether it's spending more time with loved ones, actually going to the gym, taking that risk you've been too scared to do or experiencing the holidays in a new light, just go for it. Once you're pau, bring on 2018!
  1. Go all out with the festive decorations at home
  2. Take a few nice family pictures for a photo album
  3. Pass every final if can
  4. Finish purchasing Christmas presents for everyone on my list
  5. Host a Christmas movie watch party
  6. Attend a Christmas-themed concert
  7. Babysit Megan's dog for the day
  8. Throw a Christmas party with my friends
  9. Take outfit photos around the island
  10. Bake holiday treats for neighbors
  11. Spend the day extravagantly wrapping presents
  12. Go ice skating
  13. Read at least one book I've been putting aside (Ta-Nehisi Coates I'm coming for you)
  14. Relax at the beach for the whole day
  15. Go on a hike I'm usually too scared to attempt
  16. Make time for a day with my cousins
  17. Help grandma prepare all of the food for New Years
  18. Create a list of New Years resolutions and stick to them

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Blogmas Day 2 | My Birthday and Christmas Wishlist

When I was younger, I used to hog the Toys-R-Us Christmas catalogue as soon as it arrived, circling and starring literally every single toy in the book (and leaving no room for Megan!). I wanted EVERYTHING. Luckily for my parents back then, the toys were no more than $30 and it was a lot easier to shop for my birthday and Christmas gifts. As I've grown up, I don't keep a running wishlist of items I want throughout the year, but when I find a few, they're just a bit more than $30 (sorry mom!). This post is mainly for my mom to pick and choose a few bits as she keeps asking me what I want for the holidays. The Indian Giver Designs Jungle Slang Fringe Hoop are everything I want in an earring- pink, girly and a little too much. I would style them with all of my favorite outfits to add a pop of pink from behind my ears. They would look especially beautiful with an all blue look! I tossed in the Saint Laurent Monogram Small Envelope Wallet for shits and giggles as it is my holy grail wishlist item. I know I'll only receive the wallet when I purchase it on my own as an adult but there's no harm in adding it to my 21-year-old list! Imagine how beautiful and chic it must look in a clutch or just being carried on its own *swoons*. I began wearing Chloé Eau de Parfum when I was 14 and the scent holds so many fond memories. As I've switched between different fragrances over the years, I still think about the perfume I loved when I was younger. I want to start wearing that fragrance again, so the Chloé Eau de Parfum Gift Set would be a dream. It contains an almost full size of the perfume along with a mini travel size and a body lotion. I love wearing delicate jewelry and the Tippy Taste Jewelry Marquise Ring would be the perfect addition to my collection! It's beautiful without being too expensive and it. is. dreamy. The Privacy Please June Dress is a spring essential with its classic shape and pattern and I would love to add it to my closet to style with a straw handbag and white kitten heels. Although I haven't read for fun much lately, I need to get my hands on Helium by Rudy Francisco- my favorite spoken word poet. "Helium" is his debut written collection and it's filled with some of my most loved pieces. I've been needing new denim and the Everlane High-Rise Skinny Jean is a classic blue wash in an affordable price (under $70!). How Carrie Bradshaw-esque are these Raye x Stone Cold Fox Crawford Heels? Remember the episode where she tried to spice it up with Jack Burger before he dumped her on the post-it note? These fun pink heels remind me of it! I think they would be adorable with a white t-shirt and jeans for a girly look! Last up is the striped Privacy Please x Cora Romper- an essential for my closet. I'm always wearing rompers at home and this one is a dressier piece that I would pair with my white converse and fun accessories!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Blogmas Day 1 | The Christmas Playlist

My holiday playlist pretty much stays the same each year as I blast Sleeping At Last, Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby on repeat while eating peppermint chocolates. I've collected a list of favorite songs that put me in the holiday spirit, but this year I added a few new ones to the mix! The most successful way to feel Christmas-y is to listen to this playlist with a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and whipped cream wrapped up in fuzzy socks while watching the crackling holiday fireplace on YouTube.

Snow by Sleeping At Last (obviously)

All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra

Auld Lang Syne by Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis (discovered via the Sex and the City movie)

White Christmas by Bing Crosby

Winter Song by Leslie Odom Jr.

Fairytale of New York by Walk Off the Earth

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas by Perry Cuomo

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Introduction to Blogmas

How is it already December? Every year at the end of November, I prepare for my daily Blogmas installments celebrating the holiday season. Each post is extra festive (just like the version of "All I Want for Christmas is You") and features the best of the best holiday cheer. From winter break vlogs and Christmas playlists to my favorite festive movies and treats for sharing, the month of December is the most holly and jolly time around This Is Noelle. I can't wait to share every party look, family tradition and daily activity as I spend my Blogmas at home in the islands (at hoooooooome in the tropics) and I hope you enjoy the month as much as I will!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Jacob in Waco Vlog

No you're not seeing wrong...I finally have a new vlog to share with you all! It's been almost a year since I posted a mini video, but I made sure that Jacob and I filmed as much as we could while he was visiting me. This vlog contains snippets of every day we spent together from cooking our first thanksgiving meal to roadtripping to Dallas and San Antonio. I love vlogging because it captures each moment better than a simple picture does. I hope you enjoy this vlog and stay tuned for a few more during Christmas break!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Concealer Contest - NARS Radiant Creamy vs. Covergirl True Match

I've been using the same everyday beauty products for the past few years, but I recently added a new piece to my collection. After forgetting my beloved NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer at home when Jacob and I went to San Antonio, I picked up the L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Concealer on a whim. I used to use the True Match foundation back in the day (aka my humble 14-year-old makeup beginnings) and I thought the concealer would be a decent substitution for my daily pick. True Match is a much thicker consistency than NARS, so it provides fuller coverage but can look heavier on the skin. The shade range for True Match is smaller than NARS and I think I picked up a shade too dark for my current ghostly skintone. In the summertime however, this color will be perfect with my tan! True Match features a brush applicator, which makes application less precise, but it covers more area than your typical concealer pad. When I apply the concealer over my tinted moisturizer and set my powder with a damp beauty blender, the entire look is flawless and dewy, but my face seems shinier than usual after a few hours of wear. True Match offers full coverage for spots and dark circles at a reasonable price, but the thicker consistency makes my skin oilier than when I wear the NARS one. If you're on a budget and need a quick everyday spot cover, pick up the L'Oreal tube!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Madewell Denim Jacket

I purchased my Madewell Oversized Jean Jacket right before I entered my first year in college and I haven't given it the love it deserves over the years. A while back I decided it didn't suit me and I chucked it in the back of my closet. Fortunately I came to my senses and have fallen back in love with all its oversized distressed glory. The jacket is a thicker denim material with no stretch due to its larger size. I bought a small and could honestly have went with an extra small if I wanted a more classic fit. The small fits me well as I enjoy layering under it for the colder weather. My current favorite way to style the jacket with with a cute top, my favorite pair of leggings and white converse. the jacket adds a perfect edginess to my favorite outfits and is the classic denim jacket my closet was missing! I won't be leaving it to gather dust any time soon.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The 2017 CFP Rankings Week Four

Last year's national champions are back on top after former No. 1 Alabama lost to then-ranked No. 6 Auburn last night. Clemson took the top spot with a victory at South Carolina, adding another win to their 11-1 record. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia in a convincing fashion as they moved up a spot in the top four. After they beat Minnesota, undefeated Wisconsin took hold of the No. 3 position, propelling themselves into the top four. With their unexpected win over Alabama, Auburn jumped up two spots to take the last position in the top four with their 10-2 record. Alabama fell four spots as they collected their first loss of the season. Georgia jumped up one spot to No. 6 after adding another win to their 11-1 file. Miami also too their first loss from Pittsburgh, dropping them five placements down to No. 7. Ohio State remained at No. 8 this week with their win at Michigan and their 10-2 record. Penn State also has a 10-2 record as they moved up three spots back into the top 10 following their victory at Maryland. TCU closes out the polls with a 10-2 record after they defeated my beloved Bears on Saturday.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

5 Things

1. *Heart eye emojis*

2. He ate all of the crunchy corners before we sat down to eat

3. My sleepy love

4. Touring all of the athletic complexes

5. Never letting go

Friday, November 24, 2017

Jacob in Waco Day Five

Today was Jacob's last full day in Texas and we spent basically the whole day adventuring in Dallas! As we embarked on our road trip, I took him to try his first kolache (he enjoyed half of it) before heading to the Dallas Arboretum. The entire garden was full of beautiful foliage and plants and we made it in time to see all of the Christmas gazebos. Each gazebo represented the days of Christmas and they were mapped out in a way that made each visitor experience the whole garden (Jacob loved the partridge in a pear tree and I liked the pipers piping). After spending a few hours wandering around the arboretum, we checked into our hotel near the airport and went on a date at Saviano's Italian Kitchen nearby. We ordered a caprese salad and I had their meat ravioli while he picked chicken parmiagiana. Each dish came with garlic rolls and salads so we were already stuffed by the time the entrees arrived. The restaurant was romantic without being expensive and all of the food was delicious! Once we finished eating, we drove to the first night of Enchant Christmas, which is the world's largest Christmas light maze. We aced the reindeer scavenger hunt and took as many pictures as we could (every time we asked someone to take our picture, the image came out horribly haha). We finished the night with eggnog (for him) and chocolate ice cream (for us) before watching movies at the hotel and sleeping off our day. I'll have to say goodbye to my boy tomorrow so wish we luck please! Tears are a comin'...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful | 2017

While I recognize Thanksgiving as a purely colonization holiday meant to ignore the strife and struggles of the native American people, I appreciate the idea of giving thanks for the people I love and appreciate. Today I'm thankful to have so many people who love me in my life, including my family, friends and boyfriend. When life is difficult and I want to spend all day in bed, I know I always have someone I can call who will be there for me.

I have the most loving and supportive family with whom I genuinely adore spending time. We're always eating meals, watching tv shows, traveling and relaxing together and they constantly boost my self esteem because they laugh at everything I say (making fun of Megan and dad gets the most laughs). They always push me to do my best and love me even when I fail. I'm incredibly lucky to have a family like that.

My friends and I have been close for years (Kaiʻolu and I are at 11 years of friendship and counting!) and despite the distance and time apart, we always come back together as if no time as passed at all. Although we're all getting older and our priorities are shifting, we still make time for each other a few times each break. I'm lucky to have Mikayla who understands everything I say and provides me with understanding advice and selfie tips. Brandon causes me the most stress and laughter of the bunch. We have the best time eating and going to the beach together when we're not arguing about his bad life decisions. He always tells me the truth even when I don't want to hear it, but that's a type of friendship that everyone should have. Kaiʻolu has been my life partner for over 11 years and she's never left my side no matter what. Whether I need a shoulder to cry on, a lunch buddy or someone to drop everything and meet me if I'm having a difficult time, Kaiʻolu is there.

Jacob and I have been best friends for the past three years and the past four months as a couple have been some of the best days. Although doing long distance is the hardest experience I've ever gone through and we've got our fair share of problems, dating my best friend is worth it. He's given me the most love, laughter and cuddles and I can't imagine what life was like before him.

As millions of people around the world suffer in poverty, hunger, war and natural disasters, I'm the most thankful that my family and friends are safe and lucky enough to have everything we need. We have houses, food, clothing and education, which so many people would die to have. I will never understand why I can have so much and others have so little, but I try to mend the gap by providing for any homeless or impoverished person I see. We should all give a little thanks today, but never ignore the struggles of others in history and around the world.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Jacob in Waco Day Three

Today we drove for what seemed like 10 hours to visit Jacob's aunty and cousins in San Antonio! We woke up early and ate Panera for brunch before hitting the road. I excitedly pointed out every Buc-ee's location, much to Jacob's confusion (he hasn't yet experienced the wonder of Buc-ee's). We arrived in San Antonio at around 2:30 and met his family at the Japanese Tea Garden, which was actually more Chinese if anything. The garden was beautiful and it made the perfect location to take cute pictures! We walked along the bridges and waterfall with his sweet family before driving to the Riverwalk. I had visited the Riverwalk with my family last year, but it was pouring so much we basically ran from umbrella to umbrella. This time, however, the weather was perfectly sunny and cool and we took our time looking around the area. We ate Mexican food at one of the cafe's on the Riverwalk and walked off our food at the Alamo. I still don't understand my classmates' laughter every time a teacher says 'remember the Alamo' but that's okay. We walked around the town area for a little while and headed back to their house to eat ice cream, watch Stranger Things and spend the night. We had such a great time with his family and I can't wait to go back to San Antonio again!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jacob in Waco Day Two

On Jacob's second day in Waco, we were lazy homebodies and spent most of the day sleeping and watching movies at my apartment. When we finally decided to drag ourselves out of the house for a breakfast/lunch/dinner combination, we went to Baris for Italian food. I ordered spaghetti and meatballs (obviously) and he got the sampler, which included lasagna, manicotti and another type of rolled pasta. We also ate all of the large breads that they provided as an appetizer. I wanted to show him around downtown so we parked near the Suspension Bridge and walked along it to watch the sunset. We saw a nearby park and played on the swings for a while before walking back to the car. Instead of waiting till Wednesday to shop for Thanksgiving foods, we went to HEB that night and bought all of the ingredients for mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and candied yams along with ice cream, crescent rolls, pumpkin pie and a chicken. We both were hungry again at that point so we made it through the Chick-fil-A drive thru right before it closed! Jacob had his first chicken sandwich and he loved it and I of course felt like I was going home when I entered the parking lot. Look for our San Antonio adventures tomorrow!
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