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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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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Best Places to Online Shop for the Holidays! (Blogmas Day 4)

Hello guys! Welcome to Blogmas Day 4! We all know how crazy the holidays can get, especially when you’re working or going to school. Sometimes the hours just get away from you and before you know it, you’re attempting to buy last minute Christmas gifts. One of the best ways to avoid this is to online shop! But to be real, who doesn’t love to online shop?? For today’s post, I want to make a list of the best places to online shop this holiday season to help you guys out! These are some of my personal favorite stores that I’ve bought items from before. Hope these are helpful!

Nasty Gal

Since being bought out by Boohoo.com, Nasty Gal has been having some amazing sales. On Cyber Monday they had a 60% off sale (as I’m writing this the sale is still going on), which of course I posted on my Instagram story to share the good info with you all. From what I’ve heard, they frequently have great sales going on, making it the perfect place to Christmas shop starting now! I actually bought quite a few things from their sale that I’m waiting to come in the mail. My anticipation is growing everyday and I really would love to do a try on haul for you guys once it comes! Their sale was so different from any other store because the items were actually still in style. Normally, when I go to stores like Topshop, the sale items are all from last season and not too cute anymore. Nasty Gal is killing it though and perfect for the fashion lover in your life!

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Tobi

I havne’t shopped on Tobi for a hot minute, but they’re stuff is always to die for. Very on trend but still so unique! They are also having some amazing sales currently, so hop on the site as soon as you can! I’ve been looking through their sweaters recently and they have some great selections. If you have a friend who lives in a colder place, it would be a great idea to send them a sweater from Tobi. I’d also recommend checking out their dresses. Especially if you have plans for New Years, I have no doubt you could find the perfect dress for you on this site!

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Zara

Quick disclaimer, I’ll admit that the format of the Zara site makes it a little more difficult to shop. They were definitely going for a more indie look. Nonetheless, you can still find some amazing things online! I recently got a couple purses from Zara, and I didn’t realize what amazing quality they would be! I’m sure I’ll post an OOTD soon with these bags because they’re very unique, but I’d definitely recommend checking out their selection. It feels like within the last few years Zara has become a bit more affordable. I’d compare it more to an H&M than to somewhere like Nordstrom. Which I think is great because their clothes are always super unique and their coats appear very expensive! What do you guys think about this?

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Kylie Cosmetics

Okay, call me basic but I actually have only had positive experiences when ordering Kylie products online. I recently posted a photo on Instagram with a burgundy lip from Kylie Cosmetics and you guys were wondering where it was from. I’ve also ordered an eyeshadow palette from the site and it arrived in perfect condition. I always worry that when ordering makeup online, it will get to me destroyed or crushed. I don’t know, maybe I’m just paranoid. Kylie does offer free shipping on domestic orders over $40 and on international orders over $60. If you’re a beauty lover, I’d definitely recommend trying out Kylie’s products if you haven’t before. I’ll be honest I never thought I’d say that, but she really does do well with her formulas.

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Another great site I’ll throw in here is Princess Polly. They do have a student discount, which is why I wanted to mention it but I’ve personally never bought from the site before. Let me know if this list gave you guys any good gift ideas! Sometimes it’s difficult to buy for certain people in your life, but I think you’re bound to find something amazing at one of these sites! I hope you all enjoyed Blogmas Day 4! We’re still going strong! Hope you’re all having a great week and I’ll talk to you very soon! xx

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