How I Make the Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate (Blogmas Day 11)

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday, I hope you’re all doing well. I’ll be honest life has been super busy lately and I’ve been quite tired. Waking up at 5:30 every morning has been an adjustment but come with lots of perks as well. For today’s Blogmas, we’re going through the exact ingredients you need to make a bomb cup of hot cocoa! Hot chocolate is one of my favorite beverages since as you guys know, I can’t control myself around sweets. I usually only drink it during the holidays, so it’s definitely something special.

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So to kick it off here are the few ingredients you’ll need:

• Trader Joe’s Organic Hot Cocoa mix
• Mini marshmallows
• Whipped cream
• Mini gingerbread men
• Candy canes (normal size or minis)
Optional: Candy canes & cinnamon

One of the easiest ways to make hot chocolate is to buy packages of the mix. It’s definitely not the healthiest, but the quickest! Not to mention, I recently found this organic mix from Trader Joe’s and it’s some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Sometimes the mix packets can end up too watered down or not flavorful. However, this is my new favorite product and tastes absolutely amazing and so sweet! Pour this in a cup and add hot water to start off.

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Once you have your full cup of hot chocolate in your favorite mug, take your whipped cream and pile that stuff on top! This is Christmas people, don’t hold back! Plus, the more whipped cream, the prettier the cup. Next, take your mini marshmallows and add a few to the whipped cream. These will add much more texture and look great in photos! Now for a little twist I decided to add in this year: top with a mini gingerbread man. Who doesn’t love some cookies with hot cocoa or tea??

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Another couple things I will add to my hot chocolate every year is a candy cane or cinnamon. Unfortunately, I had no candy canes available to me while taking these photos, but they add the perfect amount of peppermint to any cup. If you have mini candy canes, toss those right into the hot chocolate and let them sit. If you have a normal sized one, let it sit beautifully out the side of the cup. The minty taste will always remind you of the Christmas season and is so refreshing! Cinnamon of course is the perfect touch to any holiday beverage, even cider!

I love adding all these Christmasy ingredients to my hot chocolate, especially when I’m sitting down for a movie in front of the fireplace. We don’t get snowy nights here in California, but it’s fun to imagine that we do! What do you guys top your hot chocolate with?? Let me know down in the comments! xx

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The Only Christmas Candle You’ll Ever Need! (Blogmas Day 10)

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!! The start to a new week, so let’s make it a good one! Starting a new week is always a bit difficult for me, so I hope this post makes your day just a bit better! Firstly, I’d like to thank you guys for all the positive feedback on Blogmas this year. You guys seem to be enjoying the posts so far and that makes me SO happy!! So let’s get started with today’s post. Yesterday I did a whole Christmas grocery haul specifically from Trader Joe’s. I’m going to bounce off that today and introduce you guys to the best candle I’ve ever owned.

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I’d like to mention that I’m someone who has a really hard time with candles. I absolutely adore the vibe they give. They’re so calming and the flickering of the fire is always beautiful. However, I tend to get headaches pretty easily when they’re lit, which has been a huge bummer. I get headaches pretty easily in general, but it’s always guaranteed if a candle is lit. I’ve found that soy candles tend to not have this effect, but it’s still risky. Recently though, I was introduced to this Cedar Balsam candle from Trader Joe’s from my wonderful coworkers. We’ve been burning it since before Thanksgiving because we all love it so much. It hasn’t given me a headache and I can finally enjoy the scent of Christmas!

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The best way I can describe this candle is: Christmas in a little tin. At first, I thought it smelled exactly like a pine tree. Which has been so nice because I grew up with a fake tree my whole life. Our tree always looks beautiful and full but our house never really smells like a fresh tree. With this candle though, you 100% get that holiday vibe. Even though the scent is technically Cedar Balsam, it still reminds me of a lovely pine tree.

They had a couple large barrels of this same candle at the store, so I stocked up! Just in case they ever decide to discontinue it. Apparently, they also have a gingerbread scented candle that is even more popular! Let me know if you guys have ever heard of that candle or can vouch for how amazing it is. These candles are about $4 each, which I think is a really amazing price for a candle considering the amount of wax inside the tin. Of course, being the designer I am, I have to bring up the packaging. What else would you expect from me?? Firstly, I LOVE that it comes in an adorable silver tin. It just feels so Christmasy and appropriate for the holidays. I also love the simplicity, color, and fonts used on the label. Sometimes, it’s nice not to have the expected red or green patterns.

I hope you guys enjoyed this short little post about this awesome candle! It really is one of the best and you don’t have to deal with the crowds that are usually in places like Bath and Body Works. Let me know in the comments if you know about this candle or if you’ve tried it. See you all soon!! xx

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Trader Joe’s Christmas Haul! (Blogmas Day 9)

So it’s not an unknown fact that I’m literally obsessed with anything sweet, namely chocolate. If I could eat dessert after every meal and keep thin with clear skin, I would gladly partake. However, that is definitely not practical. For the holidays though, I do tend to splurge and let myself enjoy all the Christmas goodies. Trader Joe’s, which is a healthy grocery store here in the states, always comes out with amazing holiday themed snacks. Around Halloween they always have pumpkin or apple spice options and during Christmas of course they have tons of peppermint, hot chocolate, and toffee items. You basically can’t control yourself and I’m kind of okay with that. For today’s post, I have a huge Trader Joe’s haul for your guys with some of the best Christmas treats they have to offer, or some of my favorites at least!

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Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s

We’re going to start of strong with some of my absolute favorites. Most people around here know what Joe-Joe cookies are (a “healthy” alternative to Oreo cookies). During Christmas though, the store releases a peppermint version, which taste exactly like thin mints from the Girl Scouts. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up eating the whole box. Especially dipped in some almond or rice milk, you might end up in trouble.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe’s

Another twist on these classic cookies are the dark chocolate versions. Basically completely covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with peppermint chunks. These are much more filling but probably one of the most delicious treats you’ll ever have. One or two will definitely satisfy you, which is good because they are quite high in calories. I’d recommend sharing these with friends or family because they’re simply way too tempting!

Peppermint Pretzel Slims

These are a great little snack if you want something sweet but also a little light. Their normal slim pretzels are covered in creamy white chocolate and again covered in peppermint pieces. These would be great snacks during a Christmas party, come to think of it! I really enjoyed all of these products during my college days. It was always so fun to shop around Trader Joe’s and have some desserts waiting for me after a long day in class.

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Mini Gingerbread Men

I had actually forgot these existed when I saw them in the store! These little gingerbread men are too cute and again would be great at a Christmas party or at a family get together. The kids are bound to love them, as well as the adults because they taste so freaking good! The backs are dipped in white fudge icing and umm…who doesn’t love that?? They come in quite a big box so you’d probably only need one or two depending on the size of your party. For the little ones, these are great to leave by the fireplace for Santa 😉

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Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Whipped Cream

Okay, this is a little sneak peak of a post I’m planning but I couldn’t leave Trader Joe’s without the necessary components to make the perfect cup of hot cocoa. I’m the queen of hot chocolate around the holidays, and there’s nothing better than a big cup on a cold night while watching Christmas movies. Trader Joe’s offered an organic hot chocolate option. There are individual packets in the box that you simply add water to. There’s so many other ways to make hot chocolate, but this is the much easier option if you’re making multiple cups for your family. Of course, topped with some whipped cream (either in a can like this or homemade), with some mini marshmallows, you can’t go wrong!

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Peppermint Bark Popcorn

This is another great option for the kiddos. Not only because of the cute packaging, but because of the actual product. Popcorn covered in chocolate with peppermint pieces! Luckily it comes in a small bag because honestly I would be all over these! In college and even at work, popcorn is the perfect snack to hold you over before lunch or dinner. Why not make it a little more festive with white chocolate and peppermint?? Sounds like a good deal to me!

Ginger Bread Spice Granola

Alright so here’s a (somewhat) healthy option for you guys! We have to at least attempt to keep a good diet around the holidays…right? Granola mixed in with candied ginger and pecans is the perfect topping for açaí bowls or coconut yogurt. I’ve been eating less açaí bowls since summer passed, but it’s still one of my favorite breakfast options. This granola is the perfect blend of summer and winter and I’m here for it! Not to mention, the packaging is gorgeous and so perfect for the holidays.

I hope you guys enjoyed this grocery haul! It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted one, but I hope it helps with your shopping list this Christmas! I’d definitely recommend any of these items, they would work great for a gift basket or as a snack before Christmas dinner. Let me know which one of these products you’d be dying to try! Talk to you all soon! xx

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Christmas Post Ideas for New Bloggers (Blogmas Day 8)

Hey guys! How are you all? I’m so sorry Blogmas Day 8 is going up so late, but I’ve fallen a bit behind with scheduling and my day was extremely busy and spent in San Diego. While it was such a fun Saturday, this post is going to be a bit short. However, I think it will be very helpful for any new bloggers out there or for anyone that needs some extra ideas. Christmas is a very busy time for everyone and sometimes you need some fresh ideas or inspiration from others. Especially when it comes to Blogmas, sometimes thinking of post ideas can get difficult. I know for me, it helps to research! So for this post, I wanted to give a quick list of Blogmas post ideas. Feel free to try out any of these ideas for your own blog. They are posts I’ve created myself or ones I’m wanting to create soon. Let me know if this is helpful or if there’s any that should be added to the list!

1. Gifts for bloggers
2. Family traditions/storytime
3. Family Christmas cookie recipe
4. Trader Joe’s Christmas haul
5. Day in my life in December
6. Christmas wishlist
7. Year in reflection
8. Round up of bloggers/posts you’ve loved this year
9. Blogmas post ideas
10. Stocking fillers
11. Favorite christmas candles
12. How to make the perfect hot chocolate
13. Holiday bucket list
14. Goals for next year
15. Christmas eve night routine
16. Visit a christmas tree farm
17. Gift guide for the beauty lover
18. Favorite christmas films
19. Best places to shop online for gifts
20. How your city/country celebrates Christmas
21. Christmas blogger tag (look up questions on google)
22. Holiday OOTD
23. Best appetizers for christmas day (if you’re cooking)
24. Christmas makeup look
25. Christmas party playlist

Extras: Downloadable Christmas wallpapers for phones/laptops. Lastly, for my designers out there: best Christmas fonts available on Google Fonts 

I hope this little post was helpful to you guys! I definitely didn’t want to miss a day of Blogmas so I hope you don’t mind that it was brief. I know lists like this are so helpful to me and my blog around Christmastime. Feel free to leave any extra ideas below and leave a link to your blog if you’re participating in the challenge this year! Talk to you all tomorrow for Blogmas Day 9! xx

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Future Goals for 2019 (Blogmas Day 7)

Hello everyone! It’s Friday!! Hope you are all doing well and are ready for the weekend. I know it’s a much needed break for me. For Blogmas Day 7, I wanted to keep it fairly simple and write down some future goals I have for the coming year. I find this very helpful to look back on a year from now and see what things I accomplished or what I added to the list. Let me know if you guys are planning any of the same things for the coming year or anything new I should add! Let’s get to it.

  1. Travel: I’m sure this is something that’s on everyone’s list for the new year. As you can tell from my multiple travel posts on the blog, I adore exploring new countries or cities. There’s something about traveling that just makes me feel so happy and like I’m doing something right. I’d love to go back to Europe sometime within the next year. Although this may be wishful thinking, I can still dream, right?
  2. Apartment hunting: This is definitely something that’s going to be a big part of my life in the coming year. Although looking for a new place comes with lots of complications, it’s something I’m really looking forward to. I want to make a little home for myself and take this big leap. I loved having my own space in my past apartment when I was in school, and I think my next apartment will be even more exciting!
  3. Make more videos: Creating content for YouTube becomes more fun with each upload. Editing is coming easier, which has given me more creative possibilities. I want to make videos that I’m genuinely interested in and grow a collection that I’m proud of. I would love to post consistently once a week or even more if possible!
  4. Continue my health journey: 2018 was a major shift in my health. I reached goals I didn’t think I’d ever get to and my lifestyle is going in a more positive direction every day. Once I quit soccer when I was younger, I struggled to keep fit (which is a whole other story) but I’m starting too feel more like me again. Instead of seeing fitness as a task I have to check off a list, it’s simply becoming part of my life. My health takes top priority now and I’m seeing the results. I plan on taking this mindset into 2019 and reaching my end goal by summer.
  5. Seeking other avenues in my education: Grad school has always been in the back of my mind. Since graduating and taking a break from my studies to work and pursue a career, part of me can’t help but to wonder how much further I could go. Going to grad school would be a huge decision but I’d like to at least give myself the option by researching. 2019 will tell which path life will take me. That’s a bit terrifying but also exciting!

I hope you guys enjoyed this little list! What exciting things do you have planned for 2019?? I’d love to know down in the comments! Happy one week of Blogmas! xx

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A Gift Guide for the Fashion Lover in Your Life! (Blogmas Day 6)

Hey guys! Getting sick of Blogmas yet?? Not me! I’ve really been enjoying writing these posts for you guys and staying so consistent. That’s one of the up sides of this challenge, it sure does keep you accountable. I know personally I’m such a perfectionist and hate the thought of failure, so I’m sure happy with how Blogmas is going this year! As some of you may know, I started my blog because of my love of fashion and it’s grown to other avenues of creativity like beauty and lifestyle. So this post is dedicated to all my fashion lovers out there and to any in your life! Let’s jump into it.

Snakeskin Boots

We’ve been seeing this trend absolutely everywhere lately. Whether that’s on a skirt, shirts, hats, and of course…boots! Not gonna lie, I totally hopped on this trend pretty quickly. I haven’t been much of an animal print gal in the past but the way the texture is being styled is so intriguing to me! There’s something so edgy yet sophisticated about it. I honestly feel like a bit of a power woman with these shoes on, LOL. These boots I bought from Steve Madden. I was a little worried about what I’d pair them with but with my mostly black wardrobe, it hasn’t been a problem! My favorite look is the snakeskin boots with black or dark gray distressed denim, a white crop top, my long black cardigan that reaches the floor, and my gray hat. I actually posted this on Instagram a little white ago if you’d like to check it out there or below!

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Leopard Print Skirts & Accessories

Continuing with the animal print trend, I couldn’t forget about leopard print. This was one texture I wasn’t sure I could get into. However, I’ve totally been sporting leopard print everything! From skirts to smaller accessories like belts and shoes, I’ve been obsessed without even realizing it. I first got a pair of slip on shoes with a leopard print that I’ve been wearing to work every week. They’re so easy to put on if you’re in a hurry and they really make your outfit unique. I then bought a thin belt with leopard print that I’ve realized can literally pair with anything you wear. Like the shoes, it’s the perfect unexpected accent piece. I’ve specifically been loving pairing leopard print with a bright color. I have a yellow turtleneck sweater (seen quite often on my Instagram) and it’s gone perfectly with the leopard print. You wouldn’t expect it to look amazing, but I’m into it.

Last and not least, I ended up buying a leopard print mini skirt. It’s been perfect for a night out, paired with a black long sleeve bodysuit underneath and some black ankle boots. Not only is it super comfortable, but you look extremely fashionable wherever you go. This skirt was actually very affordable at a small shop in my city, but I know with the current trends you could find something like this anywhere!

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Unordinary Purses

This is something very new I’ve just discovered but Zara has a to die for purse selection! Who knew! They are not extremely pricey, but also not your usual Forever 21 purse price. Personally, I think you’re getting really great quality for the pricing. I’ve recently been loving this red purse from Zara. I normally don’t buy red things (or anything warm toned in general) because I don’t think it goes well with my skin tone. However, this purse gives a little spicy look to any outfit. Sometimes you just need a little spice in your life, ya know? Cool thing about this purse is the strap is adjustable. There are little clips along each strap so you can make it as short or long as you like. I prefer my purses a little longer so they can go cross body, but again it’s up to you! This is also the perfect going out purse. It’s not too big, yet will hold your phone, keys, cash, cards, or whatever else you may need! Definitely check out Zara next time you’re in need for an affordable yet high quality bag!

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The Christmas Tag! (Blogmas Day 5)

What’s up everyone?? It’s Blogmas Day 5! I thought today would be a good opportunity to put up a more simple post. As well as something that’s more interactive and that you all can participate in if you like! I searched Christmas tags online and stumbled upon a ton of results! I didn’t know The Christmas Tag was at thing in this little blogger world but I’m so happy it is! The tag consists of tons of fun questions around the theme of Christmas and I encourage anyone and everyone to participate if you have a blog or Instagram (it could make a great caption to a holiday photo). However, I will also be tagging some of my favorite bloggers to participate in this tag specifically. These questions are from a blog called Makeup Savvy. So let’s kick it off!


1. What is your favorite Christmas Movie?

This is a bit of a difficult one because I love a good Christmas movie marathon at night. However, I’ll have to say “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my absolutely favorite movie. My family and I have a tradition of watching it every year on Christmas Eve night and it’s something I still want to do when I have a family of my own. It’s a black and white film from 1947 that follows a boy from childhood to adulthood. He of course falls in love but also finds himself in some messy business situations. Eventually he wishes he never existed in the first place around Christmastime, so an angel grants his wish. I won’t spoil the end for you, you’ll have to watch it yourselves but I highly recommend this American classic!

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

When I was a kid, my parents allowed my sister and I to open one present on Christmas Eve in anticipation for Christmas morning. It was always something fun like a video game that would keep us busy since we were so excited for the coming morning. Although we are both adults now and receive very different gifts, the tradition has stayed alive.

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3. Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

I think I create new favorite memories every year. We host Christmas at our home so we always have lots of family around on Christmas Day. I think I simply love spending time with my family every year that I don’t get to see too often. Yeah yeah, call me corny!

4. Favorite festive food?

I want to do a post on this soon, but Trader Joe’s offers their peppermint Joe Joe cookies in a holiday version. By that I mean dipped in chocolate with peppermint chunks on top. If you’re unfamiliar with Joe Joe cookies, they’re basically Trader Joes’ “healthy” version of an Oreo. But let’s be real, it’s probably just as bad for you, LOL! I’d say these are more of a snack or dessert but you guys know I literally cannot go a day without chocolate…I acknowledge it’s a problem. My mom and I will also do some baking for the holidays. One of my faves is a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s kiss in the middle. They’re to die for and make the house smell like a bakery!

5. Favourite Christmas gift?

The best Christmas gift I was every given was from my parents last year, actually! They had planned for all of us to go to London and Paris in the summer of 2018. I’ve written all about that trip and what an amazing time I had (minus my bedridden days in Paris). Traveling will always be the best gift. Especially as I’ve gotten older, experiences have becomes so valuable to me. I’ve mentioned this so many times before but London feels like a second home to me and I’ll always want to go back.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

Again, I’ve got to hand it to Trader Joe’s! Recently my coworker has been burning the most amazing candle from there. It’s a pine tree scent that would make you believe there was a large pine tree right in the middle of our office. It’s the most Christmasy scent I’ve ever smelled and I’ve been wanting to stock up for my room at home. Most times candles give me a headache but this one hasn’t done that at all! I’d definitely recommend this if you’re sensitive to scents but still want to get into the holiday mood!

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

I kind of answered this in the first question but I love my family’s tradition of getting all snuggled up on the couch and popping in a Blu-Ray of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (Did anyone get my YouTube reference? Anyone?) Anyways, it will always be one of my favorite films of all time and with the lights from our tree, it makes the perfect Christmas evening.

8. What tops your tree?

Honestly, some years nothing at all! Sometimes we will tie a big bow around the top but our tree is 7 or 8 feet tall so there’s not much room for a topper.

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9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

As a kid, there is no way I could ever complain about what I received for Christmas. My parents, I mean Santa, always pulled through and got me the most thoughtful gifts. I was never disappointed and this is a feeling I hope to give to my own kids some day. I’ll always hope they feel loved and surprised every Christmas morning like I was.

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

Hmm, I think for me just the overall happy vibe that comes with Christmas. People get time off from work, students come home and are finished with finals, and it’s a great time to give back. Everyone always seems just a little bit happier. I know I’m definitely in a better mood when it starts to get a little bit chilly and rain starts falling (even though I don’t have the best wardrobe for cold weather). It’s also the end of one year and the start of something completely fresh and new. It’s so rejuvenating knowing a new year is coming with so many new possibilities. What better way to kick this off than with the Christmas season??

My nominations. I’d like to nominate the following bloggers in no particular order to participate in this tag!
Don’t Give a Jam
Absolutely Olivia
Blog About A Latte
Lattes Darling
Mack Marie
Just Hannah Here
Chanelle Hayley
With Love, Caroline
Kristen Shane
Kittyp0p

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