Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long, {2013}

It's time to say "so long" to 2013, and "hello" to 2014!
It's the time for resolutions, new hopes and dreams for the year ahead, and a time to celebrate the year we have just completed. I love New Year's Eve/Day because it is so full of hope.
2013 was a pretty good year, overall. It didn't seem super eventful, but then I realized that so much has happened in the last year: I left the United States for the first time, I moved out to a city that I love, I didn't go to Disneyland this whole year (that is the first time that has ever happened), and while I have yet to make a good group of friends in my new home, I have a calmness and happiness in me that comes from living there.
So, 2013, you were new and weird and a little crazy, and I am glad to have had these experiences, but I am ready to make new memories and have new experiences in 2014.
Happy New Year!
P.S. New Year's Resolutions to come tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to anyone reading this! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, then I wish you a happy day! And a happy year ahead!

My pup says "Bah Humbug!"

Today, I am enjoying the company of my family and feeling their love. I am incredibly happy today and although I miss many people, today I feel closer to them because today is filled with love.
How are you celebrating today?
Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{Balboa Island} Christmas Boat Parade

Happy Christmas Eve!
Last weekend, my family and I went to Balboa Island in Newport Beach in order to watch the 105th annual boat parade. It was a blast, and I am so glad that we were able to make it.
We started our day with a long walk around the island our annual "trip" to Starbucks, and browsing the shops on the main road for fun and funny gifts. We had no such luck in the shopping department, but we all enjoyed our coffee and family time.

We also walked by many houses and piers (like the two pictured above) and while some houses were not so Christmas-y, they were still gorgeous. Other homes were completely decked out in lights! It was fun to just walk around and enjoy the lights.
This boat looked like a Christmas tree with a little vintage pink car following! 
I was in Christmas heaven!
What are your favorite Christmas traditions?
Merry Christmas eve!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Decorations!

I have the whole house decorated for Christmas, and I am absolutely in love. 
I might just keep all of the decorations up until February!

How cute is this Christmas Scottie?
I couldn't decide on one theme, but most of my house is the typical red-and-green - however, my living room is a coastal theme, which I can't wait to share with you! I enjoyed finding all of the things I had forgotten about since last year - every year, there is at least one "new" discovery. But even better was my mom passing on a few of her Christmas items to me - it was nice to have a part of her with me. 

The table runner belonged to my grandmother, and it is yet another Christmas decoration that I hold dear. I am so glad to have a part of our family tradition with me as I embark on a new adventure, in a new place. 

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Five: {Christmas Movies}

 Elf, starring Will Ferrell Zooey Deschanel, is my all-time Christmas favorite.
 I can't wait to snuggle up and watch it each year, hot cocoa and candy cane in hand.
My personal favorite line?
"I'm nothing but a cotton-headed ninny muggins."

Love Actually is a super-cute rom-com, involving over 12 people, all in love, and what they do during the five or so weeks before Christmas. It's ten years old this year, and it's getting a lot of hate recently, but it's become a sort-of Christmas tradition for me! Love it, actually.


I know that technically-speaking, the Harry Potter films aren't Christmas-themed, but they do such a wonderful job at mentioning Christmas throughout the series. There is always a semi-festive moment (or at least a mention) of Christmas at Hogwarts. Plus, the Harry Potter series is the best.


 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Dr. Seuss' Grinch is an essential part of any Christmas. I think Jim Carey did a pretty good job portraying the Grinch, and I always enjoy looking at the set of this movie - it is so much fun!


If you're looking for a cute, cheesy Christmas rom-com to accompany Love Actually, the Holiday is it. It's about two women who switch houses for the holiday and find that happiness and friendship can be found in places very far away from home. It's quite sweet and romantic.

Happy watching!
And happy holidays!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree! {Part One}

'Staching through the snow...

Christmas is here! (Well, basically - only 6 more days!) We're having our preschool Christmas party tomorrow, then my mom and I are off to Southern California! There's so much happening between now and December 25th, and I'm so glad to have time to spend with my family. 
None of my family gets to see my house or tree... trees (I have one large tree and four mini ones!) so I wanted to document my first Christmas in this house to share. 

This was a Pottery Barn find, last year after Christmas... my favorite time to buy ornaments!
My true dream in life is to travel, so many of my ornaments are travel-related. For instance, above a London bus is pictured ... Yes, I will be one of those cheesy tourists on the bus; also will be one of those people who take cheesy photos in a phone booth ... and pictured below, the globe!

Snagged this at Cost Plus World Market
And since my dad loved planes, and I love travel ... I have a multitude of plane ornaments, but this one is my favorite:

I have a faux-tree, which I love (even though it's hard to store) and I have been collecting ornaments for a few years now, waiting for my very own tree to put them on. I was so glad with the outcome! 
Here's my favorite ornament:
Take me to Paris!
What is your favorite ornament? 
Do you have a faux-tree or a real one?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pre-K Wednesday: {Christmas}

Play-dough Snow
It's so sparkly and it smells like peppermint!
This year, we have had a variety of play-dough colors and scents, and for Christmas, we decided to make play-dough "Snow." 
Since we live in coastal California, snow just isn't something we come by too often, but this was a very fun (and much more warm!) alternative. We added glitter and some peppermint extract, and it really got the kids talking about Christmas! 
They even made snowmen:

Letter Recognition Tree

We have been working with letter recognition, writing practice, and spelling quite a bit, but the kids have been losing focus. I wanted to find a fun way to get them excited about spelling again, and this worked! I cut a ton (seriously, these kids have so many letters in their names!) of small circles in various colors for their 
"ornaments" and then added a letter to each one. I then cut out a tree for each child, spelling their name on the tree. They then had to match their letter ornaments to a letter on the tree and glue it down. 
We had so much fun!

Christmas Ornaments

We also made little circle glitter ornaments, and the kids love glue and glitter, so this was really fun for them! 

On top of our fun crafts, we've also been reading quite a few Christmas books, listening to Christmas music, and we are even having a mini-party!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Quote of the Week 12/16/2013

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
-Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is just nine days away and I am so excited! Decorating my house for the first time, fun holiday crafts at work, catching up with friends and family ... It really is the best time of the year. 
There's so much in store for the next week and a half, I hope to be able to update enough so that I can share everything! I've been having a great time since finals ended; the best time of the year is here!

What is your favorite thing about Christmas?


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Boat Parade {Northern California}

Christmas Boat Parade
{Northern California}

Last weekend, I was able to make it to a Christmas Boat Parade on the harbor after rehearsal; the preschool I work for was part of a "Friendly Beasts" Christmas performance. It was so much fun! 
It's been an annual tradition for my family and I to go to a boat parade around Christmas time, I cannot wait to go to the one with them in Southern California soon! 

Sharing this tradition with my friends was a really great experience for me, one that I hope to be able to continue next year. 
It is always so much fun to see how each boat comes up with cute concepts for Christmas lights! My personal favorite is this one: 

It looks like Rudolph! So cute!

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gifts Under $20 {Modcloth}

{Modcloth} Gifts Under $20

{Modcloth} Gifts Under $20:
1. Preserve Your Verve Shot Glass set
2. Retro Rosie Earrings
3. If You Can't Stand the Hoot Makeup Bag 
4.With a Fleur-ish Headband 
5. There's a Map for That Necklace 
6. So Much to Gibbous Print 
7.Style Me Vintage: Hair
8. Brighten Up Circle Scarf in Deep Blue, Berry, or Mustard

 Christmas is growing near, and while I've completed most of my Christmas shopping, I know many people who haven't even started!
It can be really difficult to find unique and fun gifts for friends, especially when you're on a budget.
That is why I just adore ModCloth!
They have a ton of wonderful, silly, and quirky items, many of which are priced for girls on a budget.
I've compiled a list above of some of my picks for gifts that are under $20!
Time to find something fun for your wonderfully quirky friends!

What are you loving from Modcloth?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

{Tinsel in a Tangle}

Don't get your tinsel in a tangle!

Christmas is just 15 days away, and I honestly cannot wait. 
I've already done a few of my annual Christmas activities, but a few I must be patient for - like visiting my family, going to the Balboa boat parade, and reading Christmas books on Christmas Eve. 
With all of these lovely events approaching, many people become tense - there is so much to do, and a very small amount of time in which to complete everything. 
Don't stress out too much - this is suppose to be a happy time of the year, to spend with your family and enjoy their company, so be sure to take some time this holiday season in order to appreciate the loved ones in your life. 

Christmas is just 15 days away!
Cherish this holiday,


Monday, December 9, 2013

Quote of the Week 12/9/2013

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly..."

This quote is really inspirational; your life may feel like it is falling apart, but you will find that your struggles often make you a stronger and more beautiful person in the end. This past year has been a great struggle for me, and instead of letting it make me upset, I am trying my best to do one thing at a time, take things in stride, and use my struggles to my advantage. 

Happy Monday, everyone!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

{Study Time}

The best tea in the whole world!
Finals week is almost here, and so it's time to get studying! (Or, in my case, procrastinating just a little bit longer by creating this post!) But really though, I have an eight page paper due mid-week, and I got started early so all I have left is a conclusion and editing! However, I'm still working on study guides for my other class. And I have work every day - yikes!

So, here is my advice for this finals weekend: 
1. Get started, NOW, if you haven't already. 
That way you can take a few breaks so your brain is not fried on Monday morning. 
2. If you are able, get into a STUDY GROUP. 
They don't always work, but when they do, you end up with multiple ideas and people who got the notes that you missed. Study groups have the potential to be super helpful.
3. Take BREAKS.
Your brain needs them. Trust me, you want to be able to take twenty minutes here and there. And that leads me to...
All of the studying in the world does not do anything if you can't stay awake during the final.
Coffee and the occasional energy drink are fine sometimes, but you should not be guzzling them for weeks on end. Do yourself and your grades a favor and get to bed.
When you actually get into your finals this week, just breathe. Stressing yourself out entirely will likely make your mind go blank. And if you do not know the answers to every question, that is okay. Just follow what your gut is telling you - it is usually right in testing situations. And if you are in an essay-type test situation, just try your best. It's much better than putting down nothing. 

Good luck on Finals!
You will pull through!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Morning Recipe: {Monkey Bread}

Monkey Bread
An easy recipe that is wonderful for special occasions, like Christmas morning!

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 
(many people use Grands! but I personally prefer Trader Joe's)
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large bundt pan or casserole with cooking spray. (I used a casserole because I have yet to purchase a bundt pan).
2. In a large storage food bag or bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon. 
3. Cut up the biscuits (in quarters) into 16 pieces, rolling into balls. Shake in the bag or roll around in bowl to coat the dough in the sugar mixture. It should look like this:

4. Melt butter over stove; when melted, add brown sugar and stir. 
Optional: I like to add what is left of the sugar/cinnamon mixture but it is up to you!
5. Place dough balls in pan or casserole and pour the butter mixture on top of the pieces. 
6. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes at 350 degrees F, until golden brown. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. 
7. Turn upside down onto plate. Pull apart to serve. 

Serve warm and enjoy!
Adapted from Pillsbury.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Quote of the Week 12/2/2013

"If the whole world was blind, how many people would you impress?"
-Boonaa Mohammed

In a world that is constantly bombarding us with images, ads, etc. that have been altered to be more beautiful, more thin, more something, and having been raised in that world, it is hard not to think that beauty - or lack thereof - is the only thing our society cares about. I've been struggling with image issues since before my teens, but whenever I am having a really tough day loving my body, I try to remember that I am so much more than just a body. 
I have a mind that loves to learn, I aim to be kind to everybody even when I don't feel like it, I work hard and focus on doing the things that I love rather than the things that will get me money. Money and beauty are not the whole world, just two small parts. 
Today, and everyday, I aim to be a better person. To be a kinder, loving, educated, witty, person. That's what inner beauty is, and that is the kind of beauty that I admire most. 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas {Play} List

Christmas {Play} List

Oh, Christmas is coming and I just love it! I cannot wait for Christmas lights to go up, boat parades (seriously the best part of a California Christmas) and most importantly, to get a week of quality time with my family. I am so ready for it.
So, since I am beginning to decorate my house for it's very first Christmas (even though I won't technically be here on Christmas, but whatever. I like it.), I thought I would make a playlist!
 It's pictured above and I hope you enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

{Week of Thanks} My family

A mosaic I love.
My family means the world to me.
I do not know what I would do or who I would be without them in my life. While I live too far away to make the trip for Thanksgiving (I get to see my mom though!), I cannot wait to see them for a whole week in December. With them in my life, I feel very blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

{Week of Thanks} Friendship

These otters seem like friends to me! SO cute!

My friends are the greatest. It's really difficult to find a true friend these days, and I am so lucky to have a few of them.
When I'm having a tough day or need help, I know that my friends will have my back. 
I feel entirely grateful to have them in my life.
What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{Week of Thanks} My Dog

My lovebug!
Seriously, dogs are the best.
Isn't mine just so cute? Her cuteness definitely keeps her from getting out of trouble. 
She is so sweet and I am so glad to have her in my life. 
Even though she barks when we go on long drives (I'm bracing myself for tomorrow), loves food more than anything, and likes to paw me when she wants attention, I am so thankful to have her in my life because she makes it so much better. 

What are you thankful for today?


Monday, November 25, 2013

{Week of Thanks} Coffee

So close! Only two letters off this time!
With Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, I thought I would take this week to talk about the things that I am thankful for. 
Today, I am thankful for coffee 
(even though the people at Peet's and Starbucks always spell my name wrong). 
It has been a very stressful quarter for me, the last few weeks especially, and I have two long weeks coming up (two papers, one of which is 8 pages, and finals.... do not a happy blogger make.) The  only things that will be getting me through these next few weeks are coffee, determination, the thought of a winter break, and more coffee. 
Seriously, coffee is my savior right now.

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Recipe: {Broccoli Bites}

Broccoli Bites

I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back and decided to try it out. It wasn't my favorite, but they are interesting for a somewhat-healthy snack. 

16 oz. package of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained of liquid
1 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese or low fat cheese (I used a mix of shredded cheeses)
3 eggs
salt & pepper
1 cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl,
then form small patties with your hands,
placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Be sure to flip the patties over after the first 15 minutes!
All done!
As you can see, I used muffin liners (I was all out of parchment, unfortunately) and I would
highly recommend only using the parchment method.
I could not get the patties to come off of the muffin liner, so I had liner-bits to pick out as I
was attempting to eat. No fun.
If you try them out, I hope you enjoy them!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Five


Seriously though, how beautiful is this place? I think I'm in love. Also, their aquarium and cannery row are so much fun! I bought an annual pass to the aquarium so that I can come all year round! (:


Apples to Apples

This game is so much fun an absolutely addicting! I highly recommend it. 


I have had a bit of a cold recently, and honestly, tea and smoothies have gotten me through it (I'm finally on the last few days- I can't wait to feel better!)  Early Grey tea is my second favorite, but I was all out of my "After Seven-Fifty-Nine" tea from Crown & Crumpet in San Francisco. 


Seriously, though. I am obsessed. 
I bought this bow for my Madeline costume, and I wear it all of the time now! 
I fully intend on purchasing a green or blue velvet bow to wear at Christmas. 


I have been wanting to work out every day lately, but I was really sick, so I couldn't muster the energy some days. However, a new leaf is turning as I am starting to feel better, so I am going to work out tonight, and each day this weekend, and every other day next week! On my way to a fitter, healthier me!

Happy Friday!
Have a wonderful weekend!