Tuesday, December 31

Holy shit, it’s the last day of the 2010s. To be honest, I’ve never been someone who gets really excited about New Years, and I hardly ever plan a celebration around it. The only time I actually did something exciting for New Years was 2017-2018, because my then-boyfriend and I went to Times Square to watch the ball drop. It was such an amazing experience, and I definitely felt the excitement of it all on that night. I mean, you have to get to Times Square 7-10 hours before midnight to get a decent spot, so when the ball finally drops, it feels like you’ve been waiting forever and it’s the most exciting thing in the world. The combination of excited yelling, confetti, and sparkling lights makes for such a magical experience, and I’ll always be so grateful I got to do that.

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Me and my lovely mom!

Anywho, most of my New Years’ aren’t like that, of course. I usually like to just lay low and hang out at home, and that’s exactly what I’m doing this year. Mark and Cooper are here, and my mom is currently making some delicious-smelling food for dinner. It’s nice to kick back and relax tonight, because a ton of my extended family was here earlier and the energy in our apartment building was absolutely crazy. There were eight boys between the ages of 1 and 13, so that was definitely chaotic. Nonetheless, we had a great time, and I was so happy to see my ‘lil baby cousin, Ethan! 

Anyway, it’s about 9:30pm now, so I’ll probably hang out on the couch for the rest of the night and watch the New Years TV special. I’m also going to get some writing done, and add the final touches to my Fab Fit Fun review (which is coming out on Friday). Stay tuned! And Happy New Years Eve, everyone!


Wednesday, January 1

Happy New Years Day, everyone! I hope you’re all having a relaxing, fulfilling day. Today I got a start on my resolutions and practiced driving with my mom, as it’s my goal to have my license by the fall. I also picked up some new makeup at Ulta, so you can expect some hauls/reviews coming up in the future 😉

I’ve also started my journey to watch every single Bill Murray movie by the end of 2020; so far, I’ve watched four of his comedies and I have about sixty to go *internal screaming.* I wanted to commit myself to one ridiculous resolution, such as the Bill Murray one,  because the rest of my goals for the year are relatively serious. In a nutshell, I’d like to dedicate my time to forgiving people who have hurt me in the past, and practicing healthy physical habits. Maybe 2020 will be the year of girlfriends who double as gym buddies? We can always hope.

Winter is here, and that means my second Fab Fit Fun box is here and ready to be reviewed! A quick run-down of the box: you receive eight full-sized items, at a $200+ value, for only $40 a month, so it’s really quite a steal. The first box I received from FFF was in September, and since I genuinely liked everything I received in the box, I decided to keep my subscription and try out the winter box as well. I pay for this subscription with my own money, and everything I say is my own thoughts and opinions. Here are my genuine, true impressions about everything I received:


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Lil’ Marshmallow Blanket | UnHide | $65

With every Fab Fit Fun box, subscribers are able to customize some of the items they receive. I knew I wanted to customize my box with this blanket because I love everything the company stands for: it’s cruelty-free, it’s against real fur, and the company donates some of its profits to the Humane Society. AND, it was launched by Ellen DeGeneres! Not only is this blanket vegan and ethical, it’s also extremely comfy and looks fabulous on our couch. As you can tell from our all-white apartment, we love our neutrals. This blanket was definitely a win for me, and I’m glad I picked it for my box’s first customization option. 


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Bluetooth Shower Speaker | ban.do | $35

The second item I customized for my box was this waterproof Bluetooth speaker, originally retailing for $35. I was really excited about this item because I love to listen to music while I shower, but I obviously can’t bring my phone in the water with me. It’s extremely simple to set up, just like any other basic Bluetooth device, and now I can’t stop using it every time I take a shower. I will say that the sound quality isn’t super amazing, but it’s decent enough for me in the shower. Because of the small size, this speaker is great for traveling and using essentially anywhere around the house. I also like to stick it on my fridge when I’m baking and listening to podcasts. 


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Organic Circle Bracelet| Adore by Swarovski | $39

As you’ll read at the bottom, I actually received two boxes due to a shipping malfunction, so I have a duplicate of everything I received. That means my mom and I both get to have these adorable rose-gold bracelets, which are each adorned with a tiny Swarovski crystal. I used to hate wearing jewelry, but lately I’ve been really into anything silver or rose-gold. I love that this bracelet is simplistic and still feminine, and my mom loves her bracelet as well. It’s a dainty, classic piece, and it goes really well with my mostly-neutral closet. I’m really happy I decided to choose this customization!


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Proof is in the Puddin’ Palette | Beauty Bakerie | $38

The rest of the items I received in the box were all chosen by FFF, so they were a complete surprise to me. I was SO excited when I unpacked my box and discovered this eyeshadow palette, because I’m obsessed with all and any makeup (and eyeshadow is my favorite makeup item). This palette is a great staple item because the colors are all very neutral and warm-toned, making it ideal for both beginners and makeup experts. Even though I left a not-so-positive of the Beauty Bakerie lipsticks earlier this year, I have to say, I really like their eyeshadow formula. As you can see, I’ve already used this palette a few times, and I’m excited to continue trying new looks in the future. 


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Original Coffee Scrub | frank body| $17

I’ve used a few coffee scrubs in the past, so I was also very happy to receive this item in my box. I love this particular scrub because it’s cruelty-free (always a must for me), it leaves my skin amazingly soft, and it smells absolutely invigorating. It smells like coffee, of course, but it also has a hint of citrus in it that leaves my skin smelling amazing. It’s also very nourishing for my skin, and after I use it in the shower, I feel like I’ve applied a thick lotion to my arms and legs. The only negative element of this coffee scrub is that it can get very messy- after all, it’s basically straight coffee grinds in a bag. As long as you’re okay with a bit of a mess in your shower, you’ll love this scrub.


CALM + CLEAN Epsom Salt Hand and Body Wash | Cuccio Somatology | $40

I’ve actually never heard of the brand Cuccio before, but I’m definitely a fan after trying this body wash. I’m such a huge fan of lavender too, especially since I’m a night-showerer at college and I need something to wind me down rather than wake me up in the shower. You could also use this product as a hand wash, but I prefer using it as a complete body wash to help me get super relaxed and ready for bed. I also gave a bottle of this to my mom, because she tends to have a lot of neck and back pain, and the Epsom salt helps tremendously with that. I’m shocked at the original price point of $40 for a bottle of body wash, so I’m lucky I was able to get it for essentially free in my winter box. 


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Prime & Prep Detangler | Drybar | $23

I’m always happy to receive a hair product in my FFF box, because my hair has been through so much bleaching and dyeing in the past year, it desperately needs the extra love. On top of this nourishing spray, I also use the AVEDA hair repair treatment regularly (another item I received via FFF, might I add). Since using these products together, my hair has become so silky, smooth, and bouncy again. I’ve always had naturally curly hair, and these nourishing hair products really help me to retain those curls through all the bleaching and toning. I’m very happy with the condition of my hair now, even after just using this product 2-3 times. It’s definitely going to become an essential in my hair care routine. 


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MakeUp Eraser | MakeUp Eraser | $20

Lastly but certainly not least, I received this MakeUp eraser cloth in my winter box. I have to say, I was skeptical of this product at first, but I am AMAZED. It takes off all of my heavy liner, full-coverage foundation, and even mascara in one quick swipe. It doesn’t feel like it’s dragging or scrubbing my face at all, so I appreciate the gentle yet thorough nature of this cloth. Additionally, it’s a great low-waste alternative to buying traditional makeup wipes, so you can feel great about using it. This product has four and a half stars on Amazon, so I highly recommend picking one up for yourself if you wear a lot of heavy eye makeup. 

Note: I do want to quickly say that I’ve been experiencing some new, flesh-covered breakouts on my cheekbones and near my eyebrows, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it causing the bumps yet. It does feel a bit rashy, but it very well could be from this new line of skincare products I’m using and not this cloth. I wanted to include that here because some reviews have stated a similar rash, so just be careful and look out for signs! I’ll do some more investigating and let you guys know what I think is causing this rash- it very well could be completely unrelated to the cloth.


As you can see, I was really impressed with this winter box! I feel like I received a lot of practical, long-lasting products, such as the MakeUp Eraser and the bluetooth speaker. I’m looking forward to not only using these products during the winter, but throughout the rest of the year as well. I’m going to keep my subscription for another season, so we’ll see if the Spring box blows me away, too.

Side note: I did have a shipping problem with my winter box, as you may remember hearing if you read my weekly catch-ups. Basically, my winter box was on-route to Virginia for some reason, so the company sent me a replacement box…but then my first box magically appeared at my doorstep? So yes, I did receive two boxes this season, even though I only paid for one! Many of the duplicates I received were re-gifted for Christmas presents, so it ended up being a win-win.

My Fall 2019 Box Review: https://diplomatsdigest.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/reviewing-the-fall-2019-fab-fit-fun-box-my-honest-thoughts/

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all adjusting nicely now that Christmas is over. That being said, New Years is right around the corner, so the festivities aren’t over yet! For my final article of blogmas, and my final article of 2019 at that, I’m going to be sharing with y’all what I got for Christmas. A majority of these things are from my mother, as I only live with her, but I also received a few things from friends and relatives. Let’s get into it!


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As many of you know, Eli is my best pal in the whole world. We’ve been friends for about eight years, and one thing I know about Eli very well is that he’s not great at remembering to buy gifts. Not that I feel entitled or that I expect him to- it’s just something I’ve noticed that he tends to let birthdays and holidays slide (and that includes everyone, even his family). So, this was the long introductory way of saying I was totally shocked when Eli bought me this stuffed animal heating pad! Yes, it is soft and fluffy, and yes, I have been sleeping with it every night. I found it to be especially thoughtful because Eli lives thousands of miles away, and I don’t get to see him very often, so this lil guy is sort of like a reminder that Eli is always with me. You know, in a sappy way.


So recently, my mom bought a candle from TJ Maxx called “Alpine Frost.” Please believe me when I say this is one of the most splendid candles I have ever smelled, and I remind my mother how much I love it constantly. Here is my evidence: 

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So it came as no surprise when she gave me my own alpine frost candle for Christmas, and yes, I was very excited about it! I’m telling you, Alpine Frost is absolutely delightful. If you find one at TJ Maxx, I highly suggest buying it. She also bought me a candle called “Berry and Spruce,” which is equally lovely and delectable-smelling. I love having candles going while I chill around the house and get writing done, and I especially love winter scents!

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This next gift was actually for my mother and I, gifted to us by our lovely neighbor, Rocky. These are Bond Touch bracelets, and basically, it means my mom and I can send each other little “buzzes” through the bracelet to remind the other person that we’re thinking of them! It’s so incredibly wholesome, and my mom and I have already gotten such a good use out of them. The bracelets literally vibrate when the other person sends you an alert, and also lights up in the color of your choosing. This was such a thoughtful and well thought-out gift, because my mom and I are incredibly close and I miss her when I go away to school. Now, we can stay BONDed for life! (Get it?)


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This notebook was another thoughtful gift from a different neighbor, my lovely friend JoAnn. I love the vibrant pattern of the cover, and the lined pages are going to be perfect for planning out Analog content and meetings! As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of stationary and anything that has to do with writing, so I always love receiving a notebook or a journal. I’ve already started filling out the pages with notes and future content, and I’m looking forward to using to more in the future. Thank you, JoAnn!


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Because JoAnn is apparently an absolute angel, she also bought me this cute ‘lil eyeshadow palette by Colourpop. I love warm-toned copper eye looks, as many of you can probably tell from my pictures, so this is a perfect palette for me. I’ve also never used Colourpop cosmetics before, and I have to say, the blendability and performance of these colors is amazing! Now that I’ve tried one of their palettes, I’m totally tempted to pick up some of their monochromatic additions. Eyeshadow palettes are definitely my favorite makeup item, so I’m always happy to receive one as a gift. 


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Aaand, here’s another one! I made a very short Christmas list this year, but this palette was one of the two items on there. I’m pretty sure it was NikkieTutorials who I saw using this, and that’s what inspired me to try it myself. I love that there’s a combination of practical and bright colors, and from what I’ve gathered from using the palette so far, the pigmentation is absolutely amazing. Mom, if you’re reading this, thank you for the palette! Apparently you can only get it from England, so I appreciate that she paid for that Royal Shipping. Mom, you the littest. 


From here on out, the rest of the items are things that my mom got me. Apparently I was a good daughter this year, because she got me some really beautiful, thoughtful things that I’m very appreciative of. I genuinely love everything she picked out for me! This coat in particular is one of my favorite gifts from Christmas (it’s a close second behind the Alpine Frost candle). I love the warm inner lining of the coat, and of course, the fake fur is a stunning touch as well (yes, it’s fake, don’t worry!). I’ve already worn it out on a hike with Duke, and as you can see, he’s very excited about the coat as well.

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Another lovely gift my mom purchased for me was this 25 Lb weighted blanket. As some of you who also struggle with mental health probably know, weighted blankets are amazing for helping with anxiety and insomnia. I’m not sure what the exact science is, but I know it’s very similar to the way deep pressure therapy works. Anyway, I really appreciated that my mom bought me this because it felt validating, in a way. I’ve been using it for the past few nights, and wow, I’m having a hard time getting out of bed! This thing is absolutely amazing. My sleep has already tremendously improved from where it used to be (y’all OGs will remember), but this blanket is helping me even more. I’m looking forward to bringing it back to school with me and *hopefully* continuing these healthy sleep patterns.


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I love my makeup, as you know, so that also means I need a way to carry my makeup around. I’ve never really owned a nice makeup bag because I didn’t feel like investing in one, so for the past couple of years I’ve been carrying it around in a gallon Ziploc bag. So it comes as no surprise that my mom was gracious enough to give me this lovely makeup bag for Christmas. The material is super sturdy and soft, and I love that it’s big enough to hold even my giant eyeshadow palettes. It was a lovely Christmas addition, so thank you again, mom!


The last few things were essentials that I am always running out of- toothpaste, socks, and headphones. I always appreciate toiletries, because like I said, I’m always running out of things like toothpaste and face wash while I’m at school. I’m really appreciative of everything she bought me, from the blanket to the socks, and I know that she appreciated the things I bought for her as well. It was a really lovely Christmas, and I had such a warm, cozy time spending time with her and the rest of my family. And that, of course, is the best gift of all 🙂


That wraps up Blogmas and 2019! Thank you so much for a year of kind comments, memories, and love. I’ve already started my articles for 2020, and I’m hoping that you’ll love them as much as I do. Have a lovely day everyone!

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Massachusetts sunsets are the prettiest 🙂

Monday, December 23

Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing well! Today has been very productive for me so far; I’ve gotten a lot of work done for Analog, and I also spent a large portion of the day with Eli. We made some delicious double chocolate peppermint chunk cookies, which I wish I could share with you through the screen, and we also had a lovely walk in the downtown area of our small city. I also did some less exciting things, such as laundry, because Duke really stinks up my sheets from sleeping in my bed. I know, riveting information.

Tonight I’m probably going to watch Elf with my mom, because it’s our favorite Christmas movie, and then I’m going to see if I can get started on my Black Histories, Black Futures article for Analog. It’s going to be a great challenge for me, because I’m much more used to writing creatively than doing PR-like press pieces, but I’m looking forward to tackling this project. I think it’s important, as a writer, to cover as many different writing styles as possible. For me, that’s the only way to improve. 

It feels unreal that Christmas Eve is tomorrow! I doubt I’ll have time to write tomorrow, but you’ll hear from me on Christmas for sure.


Thursday, December 26

Merry Christmas, everyone! Regardless of what you celebrate, I hope everybody had a safe, happy day with your friends and families. I personally have been having a lovely time, and I really appreciated having a short break away from the internet for a couple days. I didn’t even think about Analog, school, work, blogging- or anything like that during Christmas Day. I think it’s really important to give yourself a little mental break from your usual tasks, even if you love doing them. 

Christmas Eve was mostly lovely; my grandmother and neighbors came over to celebrate the holiday with us. We laughed, we ate, and we celebrated throughout the entire evening. It was so nice to have everyone together in one place, and to catch up on laughs and stories. My brother was also there, but I haven’t been getting along with him nor my father for the past six months or so. As many of you probably inferred, I didn’t see my biological father this Christmas. I’m very happy things panned out that way, though I did send him a card and a candle in the mail. As long as I keep my physical distance, I don’t have a problem with sending him a Christmas card and a gift.

Christmas Day was also very wonderful. It was a cozy, quiet day, and I spent the morning hanging out in the living room with my mom and my stepdad. We had this amazing french toast casserole for breakfast, and opened our gifts together on the couch. I genuinely love everything my mother bought me for Christmas- she got me some really thoughtful, beautiful things, and I’m excited to post about that next week! My mom loved the things I got her, too: a 2020 planner, swarovski bracelet, lavender shower gel, and a vanilla candle. Duke and Cooper also loved their dog biscuits 🙂

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My mom had to work on Christmas Day, so in the afternoon, Mark and I took Cooper to the beach to run around. I don’t think I’ve announced this yet, but Cooper has terminal cancer and we’re trying to make his last few months as happy and comfortable as possible. He had a fantastic time running around on the beach, and he even waddled into the water a couple times. Crazy boy, it’s freezing out there! 

Anyway, today I’m going to try to get some writing done, for both my personal blog and Analog. Besides that, I don’t really have an agenda. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of break with Eli and my other friends, so maybe I’ll do something with him today! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week as well. Talk soon!


Saturday, December 28

Okay, so I’m about to go to bed, but I just wanted to hop on here to tell you guys that I saw Cats the movie today. And yes, it was just as bizarre and terrifying as critics are making it out to be. Now, let me say that I actually love Cats the musical and the 1998 filmed version is one of my favorite musicals to date. I’m not bothered by the costumes, the storyline (not that it really has one), and of course, the music. I love it all and I think both T.S. Eliot and Andrew Lloyd Webber are geniuses. My problem with the movie was the CGI and the weird embellishments the director tried to add to the story. I don’t want to say too much of my thoughts, because Eli and I are planning on writing a review for Analog. But yes, I did just want to let you guys know that I saw the movie, and I laughed so hard at the weirdness of it all, I even cried at one point. 10/10 recommend for comedic purposes!

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Anyway, I’m about to take my melatonin and tea and get into bed, so I hope y’all enjoy reading this tomorrow. And please see Cats for the laughs.

I’m a big fan of both crafts and the holiday season, so it’s no surprise that I’m interested in doing some Christmas crafts this week! Especially since I’m going to be spending so much time with my close friends and family, crafts are a great way to bond and build creativity. These are some of the cutest crafts I found across Pinterest, google, and online magazines, so I hope they inspire you to get creative this holiday season as well! I’m also going to be including the original links below, in case you’d like more in-depth instructions for the crafts.


Mini Twig Christmas Tree Decorations

DIY mini Christmas trees

I was immediately drawn to this craft because of how chic and modern these decorations look. I also love that it utilizes things I already have around the house, such as yarn and twine. This is an extremely easy and low-cost craft; all you really need is yarn, a hot glue gun, and of course, twigs or small branches. Cut the twigs to your desired length, glue them together to form a tree shape, and after the glue dries, wrap the yarn around the twigs. Alternatively, you could use washi tape or ribbon to create this adorable pattern as well. 


Lighted Burlap Garland for Christmas

Lighted Burlap Garland

I found this craft on another blog called “create craft love,” and I absolutely fell in love with how adorable it is. Anything with fairy lights instantly draws me in, so of course I had to include it on this list. This craft is also very easy- all you need is fairy lights and burlap ribbon. Cut the burlap into 8-10 inch strips, and then get busy tying them onto the lights! This craft is a bit time-consuming, so make sure you have a show to watch or a podcast to listen to while you make the garland. However, once it’s finished, it makes for a beautiful decoration and a practical gift. Definitely well worth the time!


Mini Yarn Hat Ornament - DIY Christmas Ornaments

Yarn Hat Ornaments

Looking at these adorable little hats, I’m already thinking ahead to how adorable they’ll look on my future pet rats. Although they look intricate, they’re actually quite easy to make in application. I recommend visiting the original link as well, so that you can have a more in-depth understanding of the steps. Once again, you’ll need your yarn and scissors, and you’ll also need tissue paper and paper rolls (toilet paper, paper towels, etc). You’ll need to tie lots of tiny pieces of yarn around the toilet paper roll, so make sure you have the patience for that! Of course, the end result is absolutely adorable, and they also make for a great tree ornament. 


Macaroni Christmas Tree Ornament

Noodle Macaroni Art for Christmas

Crafting doesn’t get much easier than this. All you need is dried pasta, a very strong glue, white cardstock, and acrylic paint to make this super-cute, colorful Christmas tree. If you don’t want to paint all the individual pieces of pasta, you can actually put them in a bag with the paint and shake it as an effective way to cover them all quickly. After you paint the dried pasta and glue it onto cardstock, you can use it for a wide variety of purposes. You could attach a piece of twine and create a Christmas ornament, or mount it onto paper to make a homemade Christmas card. If you’re a fan of pasta, painting, and homemade gift-giving, this is definitely the craft for you.


Pine Cone Christmas Trees

Lastly but certainly not least, I came across this adorable pine cone Christmas tree craft while browsing Pinterest. You’ll need pine cones, green spray paint, old wine corks, scissors, a hot glue gun, and miniature wooden stars to put on top. I like this craft because it’s nature-inspired and rustic, similarly to the mini twig yarn trees. This craft is great for people like me who prefer a neutral, somewhat minimalist tone, and I think it would look great in my all-white apartment. I’ll have to do some searching around for pine cones!


Original Links: 

https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/decorate/a2962/how-to-make-mini-christmas-tree-decorations/

https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/christmas-tree-pasta-macaroni-craft/

https://www.babble.com/crafts-activities/pinecone-christmas-trees/?cmp=smc%7C664839695

https://www.createcraftlove.com/lighted-burlap-garland/

https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/mini-yarn-hats-ornaments/

Monday, December 16

Hi all, I hope you’re having a restful week thus far. I certainly am, considering my sleep has improved tremendously and my anxiety is finally at bay. I’m really loving being at home and spending the holiday season with my mom, Mark, and our two dogs. The first night I was home, we wrote holiday cards and got some Christmas wrapping done, which really got me into the wintertime spirit! I’m mostly done with my Christmas shopping; I have one more thing coming in the mail for Eli, but the shop didn’t supply any tracking information so I’m not quite sure what day it will get here. I also have a Fab Fit Fun box that’s supposed to be arriving soon, but I (yet again) had some problems with FedEx that I’m trying to sort out. I’m pretty sure I received the wrong tracking information, because my box is currently on route to…Virginia? No, I’ve never been to Virginia or ever had an address there. Your guess is as good as mine in this situation. Anyway, Fab Fit Fun is sending me a replacement box, so at least there’s that. I’m hopeful it will get here before Christmas, because I had some gifts for my family in the box, but who knows what will happen. I’m honestly not too worried about it. 

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I have to go back to my university on Wednesday to take a single exam, which is a bit of a bother, but at least I’ll finally have microeconomics over and done with. I’m basically done with all my work for the semester, I just have to ensure a few forms are finalized by January because I’m graduating in May. Also, great news! I got my dream internship this week! I’ll happily write more about that once I get closer to my start date in January. I’m so over the moon about that news! Anyway, I’m going to start working on the 12/18 article, and then I might go down to the gym. It’s been awhile since I’ve exercised, so I’m definitely long overdo. 


Tuesday, December 17

So, today I woke up to a pleasant surprise! My Fab Fit Fun box, which was originally on track to Virginia (of all places), has magically appeared on my doorstep today. So, this means I was able to finish my mom’s Christmas gift, and I’m now able to start working on my review of the winter box. I’m planning on releasing that article on January 3, so that I can have adequate time to test out the products I’m keeping for myself. 

I’ve had a very relaxing, lowkey day so far. I did a full face of makeup and used the new Beauty Bakerie palette I got in my box, so I’m feeling pretty good about myself today. My skin has been absolutely atrocious lately, perhaps due to the fact that I’ve reintroduced dairy, so I tend to feel a bit better about myself after I put some foundation on. After makeup, I spent the majority of my day hanging out around the apartment, answering emails and getting some writing done. I’m working on Friday’s article, which is going to be all about my holiday traditions, and I’m also going to get started on a list of interview questions for Analog. Speaking of Analog, I’m holding a holiday-themed party/meeting for my team on January 4, and I’m really looking forward to having everyone together. If you want to know more about my process of putting together a student-run publication, I’d be happy to write an article on it!


Thursday, December 19

Now that all my exams are finished, I finally feel like I’m officially on break! As I mentioned previously, I had to drive back to my university yesterday to take my final microeconomics exam. The exam was at the worst possible time of day, 3:30, so it was basically peak traffic time after I finished. A drive that should have taken fifty minutes took about two and a half hours, so that was a bit aggravating. Nonetheless, I’m glad it’s over with now. I really struggled in that class because I have a math learning disability, and there’s a language barrier with the professor, so I had a really difficult time grasping the material. Nonetheless, I think I passed, at least.

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Happy 8th birthday, Duke!

After my exam, my mom and I went to the mall to return a pair of boots, and then we got some dinner together. We have a really strong bond, and I always look forward to spending quality time with her. I also saw Eli yesterday, which was a nice treat.

Today I don’t really have any plans, so I’m just going to hang at home and get some writing done. Eli and I might go to a cafe tonight, so I’m looking forward to potentially spending more time with him.

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With Christmas less than a week away, I’ve been enjoying spending quality time with my close friends and family. To me, and to many others, that’s really what the root of Christmas is about- bonding with the ones I love and cherish the most. Today I’m going to be telling you guys a little bit about my holiday traditions, what I look forward to the most, and how Christmas has changed for me over the years. 

Particularly since my parents divorced a few years ago, my Christmas traditions have definitely shifted a bit over time. I remember when I was really little, up until around high school or so, my parents would always host a Christmas party at our house. It was one of the only nights of the year I would see my ENTIRE family, and I’m talking all sets of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Additionally, my great-grandmother was still alive at that time, so I remember bonding with her as well. It was always a memorable night, and especially being a child, I still had those magical, delightful butterflies in my stomach that Santa Claus was going to come that night. I also remember that my father would show me this website where you could “track Santa” and see “where he was in the world,” which was fascinating to me as a little girl. I loved those holiday parties, and I remember the smell of kielbasa, meatballs, pine trees, cheesy dip, and the sound of laughter and music wafting through our house.

Anyway, I’ve grown up quite a bit since then, and the Christmas festivities are on a much smaller scale now. Like I said, my parents got divorced about three and a half years ago, and I’ve also grown out of my extended family a bit now that we’ve all drifted apart. I’m sure many Gen X’ers and Millennials understand my tendency to disconnect from extended family, especially as a forward-thinking, queer youth in a polarized country.

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I’m also estranged from my father, and I don’t feel anything towards my brother, so I don’t have either of them in my life as well. Last year, before I was estranged, I would spend Christmas Eve with my mother at our apartment, and Christmas Day with my father at my old house. This year, obviously, I’m going to spending both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my mother and our little family with the dogs. There isn’t going to be a party or anything like that, but honestly, I like it better the way things are now. We really are able to focus or attention on spending organic, quality time together, rather than fretting and stressing out about a giant holiday event. It’s much more calm, curated, and focused on family, and I love it that way. 

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Here’s our very tropical “Christmas tree”

Our apartment is tiny, and we don’t have an actual Christmas tree, but we decorate my mom’s tiny “tropical” tree with lights and tiny bulbs. We also love to burn winter candles, and of course, we love our Christmas music! My mom and I also love a good baking challenge, and we’ve already made so many delicious goodies this holiday season. She likes to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or sometimes, she’ll make this delicious cheesy egg casserole. I’m going to upload some sort of a cooking-themed article with my mom in mid January, so keep your eyes out for that. What kind of recipe would you like to see us make? Let me know in the comments!

Sometimes, every couple of years or so, my family and I visit the Christmas parade in our downtown. It’s a nice place to connect with neighbors and friends from high school whom I haven’t seen in awhile, so I enjoy the community feel of that event. I didn’t have a chance to go this year, because I was at school while it happened, but there’s always next year!

Moving onto gift giving; I didn’t spend a lot this holiday season because I don’t have much money to throw around, but I did get gifts for my mom, my stepdad, Eli, and the dogs. I love buying gifts for people, because it requires a lot of organization, and I love organizing surprises for people. It just makes me feel so happy and fuzzy inside! I can’t say much about what I got my family quite yet, because they’re probably reading this, but I’ll tell you more about that after Christmas passes.

Anyway, that’s a peek into what Christmas is like for me. As you can see, it changes a bit every year, but spending time with my family and being grateful is at the root of everything. I’m really looking forward to spending time with my friends and family, and also, catching up on some much-needed rest after a very busy semester. Happy holidays, everyone!

It’s officially the holiday season, which means it’s time for me to revisit all of my favorite Christmas movies. In my twenty years of living, I have six all-time favorites, which I’ve numbered from best to…not as best? I genuinely love them all, so I don’t have a “worst” on this list. But come on…of course Elf has to be number one. That movie is an absolute joy.

Without further adieu, these are my favorite films to enjoy around the holidays!


Elf (2003)

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As I just said, Elf is my absolute favorite Christmas movie, and I look forward to watching it all year long. I’ve noticed that a lot of people say they’re sick of this movie, or they don’t find it funny anymore, but it really never gets old for me and my mom. I just love the sweet humor of the movie, the unique characters, and of course, Will Ferrell’s acting is such a treat. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet this year, so maybe that’s what I’ll do tonight! I can’t imagine that anyone hasn’t seen this movie in 2019, but if you haven’t, you are seriously missing out. This is a beautiful, laugh-out-loud comedy, and it really gets me into that fuzzy Christmas mood.


The Santa Clause (1994)

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Following as a close second, The Santa Clause is another movie I grew up watching and have loved my whole life. This movie is one of my favorites because it’s absolutely hilarious, above all, but it also holds a nostalgic place in my heart. When I watch this movie, I get those same happy feelings that I felt around Christmas time as a little girl. On a side note, do you ever think about how movies where Santa does exist doesn’t make any sense? In other words, in Christmas movies where Santa exists, but the parents don’t believe in him, where do they think the gifts come from? This question has plagued me for years. I will be bringing it up again when I talk about The Polar Express


How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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God, I adore Jim Carrey. Speaking of this movie, I actually just watched it last night with my mom (yes, she is my #1 partner for watching movies with). Although I will admit the Whos’ weird puffy faces kind of freak me out, it’s still a sweet, endearing film to watch around the holidays. Additionally, the older I get, the funnier I find The Grinch and the more I relate to his humor. While watching this movie last night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Jim Carrey as The Grinch reminds me of Jeffree Star’s dry humor. I really hope this makes sense to somebody else out there, because once I realized the similarities, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was honestly shocked when I read that this movie tanked when it came out, and that some critics described it as “dank”, “weird”, and “eerie.” I genuinely think it’s hilarious. The only thing I find scary, like I said, is the disfigured Whos appearances. 


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

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I actually just watched this movie for the first time last week, but it’s already quickly becoming one of my favorites. I love the opening score, the quirky characters, and the charming acting delivered by Chevy Chase. The whole running gag with the lingerie sales lady was a little uncomfortable, but hey, that’s the 80s for you. Christmas Vacation is basically a giant homage to the 80s, and I appreciate the movie for that reason. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s absolutely a must-see! It actually reminds me a bit of Scrooged, which I’m going to be talking about next.


Scrooged (1988)

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I watched Scrooged for the first time last year, so I haven’t really grown up with it, but I loved it nonetheless. This movie is essentially an updated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, hence the title. If you’re a fan of cynical humor, satire, and of course, Bill Murray, you’ll find a place in your heart for Scrooged. It’s certainly not everybody’s cup of tea, and I can see how a kid could probably find it scary, but I honestly enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m looking forward to watching it again this holiday season. 


The Polar Express (2004)

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Last but not least, I also enjoy watching The Polar Express, though I actually haven’t seen it in a couple of years. It’s a sweet, thoughtful movie, and the only Christmas film on this list that isn’t a comedy. What this movie lacks in laughs, it makes up for in catchy film scores and incredible animation, although I won’t lie, the animation is a bit…Uncanny Valley-esque. Hey, that’s 2004 for you. Anyway, I’m definitely going to watch this movie again, because I think it’s lovely and perfect for the holidays. However, I’m still plagued by this whole parents vs. Santa thing. Seriously, WHERE do the parents think the gifts come from? A pretty substantial chunk of this movie is based around the idea that the parents don’t believe in Santa, hence why they can’t feel the magic. If that’s the case, who do they think puts the gifts under the tree? This is one of life’s greatest mysteries. 


Anyway, that’s going to be it for today! I hope you liked this article and enjoyed my mini-rant. Comment your favorite Christmas movie down below! Do we share any favorites? Let me know 🙂

With the holiday season right around the corner, I can imagine that many of you have already started your Christmas shopping (or your close to finishing it!). I myself am pretty close to being finished; I’m just waiting for one or two more packages to come in the mail. Although I don’t have any stockings to fill this year, I can imagine some of you may have names to cross off your list. These are some of my favorite small, inexpensive gift ideas, as I’ve tried many of them myself and know them to be successful. I hope this list gives you some ideas!


“Don’t Fuck Up The Table” Coasters | $16

When I saw these table coasters on Amazon, the first person I thought of was my mother. I’m sure you all had someone immediately come to mind as well :). Not only are these hilarious, unique, and thoughtful, they’re also extremely practical for daily use! I decided not to get them this year because I already bought my mom a few other things, but they’re definitely going to be a contender for Mother’s Day. For only $16, four high-quality coasters with a resounding message isn’t a bad stocking stuffer idea!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0748FR8XM/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_3?smid=A2X5V0RFCKUXE0&psc=1


Soft Silicone Phone Case | $12

Of all the places to find high-quality essentials for very cheap, Amazon is (obviously) my go-to place. This phone case is soft and rubbery on the outside, but lined with a hard shell to keep your phone extra safe. As someone who drops her phone quite frequently, this is definitely something I need in my life, and I’m sure many of you would love it too! I think practical gifts are always a win-win, and it’s especially hard to go wrong with a sleek phone case. Especially one that’s under $15 with four and a half stars!

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TL74L3W/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_5?smid=A19M45FZHM6T2U&psc=1


Cat Pens | $6

I usually don’t buy pens online, but these adorable cat pens were so cute, I couldn’t pass them up. I was pleasantly surprised by how pigmented, smooth, and high-quality they felt, and for only $6, it’s all the better. If you have a cat-lover in your life (like I do), this is the perfect small gift for him or her. Just like the table coasters, these pens are also a practical gift that are guaranteed to be put to use. I’m looking forward to buying these again in the future for both myself and others.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AXCRBYC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s03?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Juno & Co. Velvet Beauty Sponges | $20

As someone who wears makeup almost daily, I can tell you firsthand that these are the nicest makeup sponges I’ve ever tried. They work great both dry and dampened, and give my high-coverage foundation an amazing, airbrushed appearance on my skin. Additionally, because they are not spongy or porous, they don’t suck up the product and therefore waste it. I’ve been using these sponges for months now, if not close for a year, and I love having them in my collection! I promise the makeup lover in your life will adore these too.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HXQ9CPZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Abundance and Prosperity Crystals | $29

If you know someone who’s really into natural healing, green magic, or simply just beautiful decor, a set of crystals is a wonderful gift idea. Crystals can obviously be used for meditation or holistic purposes, but they also make for lovely decorations around the house. As someone who has been collecting crystals for years (and I’ve bought this particular bundle myself), I can testify that they are a beautiful, timeless gift. Even better, you’re supporting an independent artist by purchasing from this seller.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0793F7V13/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Mesh Produce Bags | $14

This is actually a gift I bought for my mom for Mother’s Day, but I think it would also make an excellent Christmas present (especially for a parent or a zero-waste friend). These mesh produce bags are designed to be used in place of plastic produce bags at the grocery store, so you can feel better about your impact on the environment. Like many other suggestions on this list, mesh produce bags are an extremely practical gift that are guaranteed to be put to good use.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005E2QRPG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Even though I’m no longer a fashion major in college, I still have a deep love and hobby for it. That’s why I continue to have a fashion tab on my blog, after all! Anyway, to celebrate the holiday spirit, I wanted to put together a list of winter outfit ideas today. Regardless of what you celebrate (or don’t celebrate, for that matter), I’m sure many of you are bound to be dressing up/going to parties over the next few weeks. These are my top fashion tips for looking great at all times. 

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It’s hard to go wrong with an oversized sweater, especially if it has an interesting pattern, so that’s my first favorite option for a cozy winter outfit. It’s also extremely easy to dress up or dress down; I can pair my favorite sweaters with jeans if I’m going out on the town, or just yoga pants if I’m lounging around the house. For that reason, I have now amassed a lot of sweaters. My three favorites are this beautiful rainbow sweater by Lauren Conrad, this cat sweater I got on ThredUp (for very cheap, I may add), and this very cute color-blocked pastel sweater from The Salvation Army. That brings up another good point- you don’t have to spend a fortune on good-quality, warm sweaters. Many thrift stores offer a wide variety of vintage oversized sweaters, and in most cases, those are even MORE cute than the ones you can find brand-new.

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I also love to wear dresses in the wintertime, which tends to surprise a lot of people. I’ve always been a fan of wearing dresses year-round, no matter what the weather is. The trick is to know how to layer. If I’m going out to socialize on an especially chilly winter day, I’ll add a pair of warm, thermal-lined tights under my dress and pair it with a sweater or a jacket. You don’t have to sacrifice style to stay warm and cozy during the colder months, the secret is just learning how to dress smartly. If you read my fall outfit guide, you may remember seeing this super classy black and white striped dress. I’m loving the way it looks with tights underneath it, and when I pair it with a flannel scarf, it becomes extremely functional for wintertime. 

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Last but certainly not least, I’m cozying up with neutral basics combined with bright, holiday-themed accessories. This is another example of dressing smartly and combining pieces that can be easily dressed up or down. A plain white t-shirt with black pants can be super easy for chilling at home or running around doing last-minute Christmas shopping, but then you can dress it up with a jacket, a pair of heels, and a festive scarf! Yes, I am bringing out the red flannel scarf once again for this outfit. My closet and my life is surprisingly more minimal than people think, so I enjoy repeating accessories into various outfits. Having a degree of minimalism in your life is actually one of the secrets to happiness I’m including in an upcoming article for my other publication, Analog, so keep your eyes out for that 😉

Anyway, that’s going to be it for today! I hope you guys found this outfit guide helpful. I’m certainly not a fashion expert, but I feel pretty satisfied with my personal style and the tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Do you already follow any of these fashion trends? Let me know in the comments below!