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 at Santa’s Village by the Sea (Blogmas Day 3)

Christmas at Santa’s Village by the Sea (Blogmas Day 3)

Happy Blogmas Day 3 everyone!!! We’re still going strong! I’m actually really excited about today’s post. Not only because a lot more work went into it, but because this event is sure to get you in the Christmas mood! Living in south Orange County, my city puts on an event every year on December 1st. The city is often referred to as the “Spanish Village by the Sea” but to transform it for Christmas, this event was called “Santa’s Village by the Sea.” Great marketing in my opinion! The shops along downtown are all open with some sales and decorated with Christmas lights. Some of my favorite shops even offered Christmas cookies, champagne, and charcuterie. Everything was so lit up and beautiful. It was also quite the chilly night so us Californians got a little taste of what a cold December night is like, LOL.

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I bundled up in one of my favorite holiday sweaters with some boots and a beanie from Topshop. Downtown was way more busy than I expected but it was awesome seeing so many people out celebrating. Lots of shops had little kiosks that lined the streets. Hot chocolate and coffee was of course being sold (and you know your girl couldn’t pass that up.) If you were in the mood for a snack, kettle corn and cotton candy was also being sold. This event was a great opportunity for small business to sell their jewelry or homemade goods as well. It’s always fun to support a local business! One shop even had a small skate ramp for the kids (you can see that in the video) and was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever set my eyes on.

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It was honestly so fun just walking around, taking in all the sights and shopping around some of my favorite clothing stores. It really did feel like a winter wonderland (minus the snow of course because we’re still in California people!) This would be the perfect date for you and your special someone if you’re ever in the area next year. What would make this event even more special would be a small ice skating rink or fake snow! So without me rambling on about this awesome event, check out the video below to watch all the fun, Christmasy things that went on! Talk to you all tomorrow xx

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All About My Hair! (Products, Styling, & How I Keep It Long & Healthy)

Hey everyone! Hope you had a fantastic weekend. It’s Sunday and almost time to start a new work week. I know sometime it’s hard to face Monday, but I have a new video out that I think you guys will love! You all have been leaving me a lot of comments on Instagram about my hair, and I so appreciate it. I honestly don’t think too much about my hair but I figured since there were some questions about it, I would let you in on some tips and tricks. Check out the video below, drop a like (if you liked) and subscribe if this is the first you’re seeing of my videos!

In the video, I let you guys know what type of hair I have as well as what I ask for when I go into the salon. I’m pretty particular about the tone of my hair, as I always like it on the cooler side. I’ve also found a few holy grail products that I’ve been using for years, so I left a full list of the products I mentioned in the description of this video. So in case you want to try them out for yourselves, it’ll be easy to search! Let me know what you thought of this video down in the comments or if you have any other questions. I’ll be reading through and answering all of them! xx

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Explaining Where I’ve Been & Thoughts for November

Hello everyone! Wow I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve put up a blog post. I can’t remember the last time I’ve waited that long, honestly. I don’t have a specific plan or structure for this blog post, but I thought back to one of my recent Instagram posts. I asked you guys how you stay motivated and positive when it comes to blogging. I got some great advice from one of my followers to simply be honest, especially when you’re feeling unmotivated because a lot of people can relate to it. Well, that’s what I’m going to do tonight. Just be real with you guys.

Ever since I started my full time job as a graphic designer, I’ve set aside most of my time on weekends for this blog, Instagram, and my various social media. I mostly did this because it’s been the perfect creative outlet for me and I genuinely enjoy creating whatever I want or expressing whatever I’m feeling. The other part of me felt an obligation to continue it and treat it like a second job. Because let’s be real we’d all love for our passions to become profitable, however this should never be your sole motivation. Unexpectedly, the past couple weeks have thrown me for some loops. Not in a bad way, and not in a good way. Just learning opportunities that I didn’t see coming. They’ve definitely been taking time out of my weekends though that are usually dedicated to blogging. I wish I could go into detail for you guys, but recently I’ve been realizing what I want regarding relationships and just people in general. Sometimes life just shoves things in your face or makes you jump through hoops, which in the end confirm what exactly you need and what you don’t. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but I hope you understand the point.

Another thing that I’ve been thinking about nearly everyday (along with every other Californian) is the recent shooting in Thousand Oaks and the multiple fires tearing through the state. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions especially the past week. Both the shooting and the fires have hit very close to my heart. It gives you such a different perspective when disasters affect your personal friends or family. Of course I’m always devastated when anything happens in our country but it really hits you in a different way. Here’s to hoping Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Paradise, and so many more cities will recover from these tragedies and rebuild to create even stronger communities than before.

A few posts ago, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do during this fall season (you can find that here if you like). While I’ve done a few things on this list, I’m not quite finished yet. I did end up carving a pumpkin at my work’s mini Halloween party and I most definitely ate too many Kit Kats (but what’s new, LOL). I didn’t have an actual Halloween costume this year, which is so out of the norm for me because I ALWAYS have a costume in mind. This year was very chill for me, which I was slightly sad about but there will always be plenty more Halloweens to celebrate! Next year is going to be full of spooks and Halloween makeup looks for you guys, I promise!

So without this post being too long winded, I’ve kind of fell off the blogging bandwagon but honestly sitting down to write this post has gotten me more motivated. Being honest and real with you guys is all I ever want to be. I have some new posts in mind as well as planning out some posts for Blogmas! I haven’t decided if I want to do Blogmas again this year. I posted everyday last Christmas from December 1st to December 25th and it helped my blog grow SO MUCH, not to mention it was very fun! I also loved seeing what other bloggers were posting everyday for the new festive season. With my job I’d have to schedule posts extremely far in advance, but I want to make it work! Let me know if you guys have any specific Blogmas posts, whether that’s some family recipes, how I decorate, movies to watch, Christmas OOTD’s, etc.

Alright that’s about it. I know my explanation was a bit vague but I hope you all understand! I’m feeling re-energized, so more posts to come. Talk to you soon! xx

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What You Don’t Know About Me! (Music, Pugs, Anxiety, and More!)

Hey everyone! First off, thank you for all the awesome comments on my last blog post! Reading your stories about sleep paralysis, sleep hallucinations, etc. has been so intriguing to hear about! Although it’s such a crazy thing to go through, I’m glad no one’s alone! Anyways, I just put up a new video last night and I wanted to share it here on the blog on this lovely Wednesday. I’m talking about tons of things no one knows about me online. Some small things, and some bigger ideas that are very important to me and I want to be open about. P.S. I love the turtleneck sweater I’m wearing in the video but it was literally 85 degrees outside! But do it for YouTube, right?? LOL

This is my fifth official video on my YouTube channel so I really hope you guys enjoy it! Feel free to drop a like (if you liked) and subscribe if you’ve never seen my videos before! I’ve genuinely been loving the process of filming, editing, and posting (just like on this blog) even though YouTube is SUCH a different platform. But I’d love as much feedback as possible, so comment away!! Anyways, I’ll let you get to the video. I love you guys very much and I’ll talk to you very soon in another blog post! xx

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A Firsthand Experience with Sleep Paralysis (An Interview)

Hey everyone! Do I have a post for you today! This is a subject I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while, and I feel it’s pretty fitting for this spooky season. Sleep paralysis is experienced by so many people, and since someone very close to me has gone through it multiple times, I’ve been very interested to get into the details and share them with you guys. I decided to sit down with my sister and ask her a few questions about her sleep paralysis experiences. I don’t doubt her in the slightest and believe that this is all very real. If you’d like to check her out, you can follow all her adventures on Instagram @skyepetersen! So, to kick off this interview, I’ll give a brief definition of what exactly sleep paralysis is:

According to Google, sleep paralysis is defined as: a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking.

Scary, right?! When I was in college, I fell down a YouTube hole all about sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. Personally, I think they’re very intriguing topics. So having someone tell me about their firsthand experience was very cool, although I wouldn’t want to experience it myself. So let’s get right on into the questions!

When was your first experience with sleep paralysis?

I believe one of my first experiences was in high school, possibly senior year. (About 18 years old)

Can you tell me what happened during one of your sleep paralysis experiences?

So I remember having one major experience that happened during the summer, at about 2 a.m. in the morning. I woke up very suddenly out of a dream, and I was laying on my back. I was telling myself to roll over and go back to sleep…but it didn’t work. I remember wanting my arm to move, but it was stuck. The best way to describe it is my body felt really heavy, like someone was sitting on me, as if something was holding my entire body down. I started to panic and opened my eyes. At this point, I was fully awake but couldn’t move. I told myself to just go back to sleep! I took a few deep breaths and eventually I fell back asleep.

What was your initial reaction when you were experiencing this and couldn’t move? 

Initially I had panicky feelings and it was scary feeling that pressure. It probably only happened within a minute, but it didn’t go away until I fell back asleep. I remember feeling a pressure in my neck as well.

Has it happened on more than one occasion?

It’s definitely happened once or twice before this specific experience. However, I don’t remember them being as bad or to this extent. The first couple times it happened I shook myself out of it.

How do you cope with it currently? 

Honestly, it hasn’t happened since that one extreme instance. I’m aware of what lucid dreaming is and I avoid doing that.

Has it altered your life in any way? Has it affected your daily routines?

I actually almost forgot it happened! I haven’t had any anxiety or felt sleep deprived during the day. It was definitely scary when it happened, but it hasn’t affected my day to day life, fortunately!

Do you have any final thoughts or advice for my readers?

To anyone who experiences this, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and try not to force yourself to move. Stay very calm and know you’ll get through this experience. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it, don’t try to trigger it to happen.

So to sum up this interview, sleep paralysis sounds like a terrifying experience. I personally have never gone through it but after my research and this interview, I truly hope it never happens. Especially on the topic of lucid dreaming, it’s not something I want to try or get involved with. Sleep is meant to refresh your body and mind, so sleeping through the night without disturbance is ideal and what you should aim for. Thank you to my sister for taking some time to answer my questions, being honest about her experience and how she felt! Let me know down in the comments if you’ve had any similar happenings or if you’ve experienced a lucid dream. I’d love to hear about them! Happy Monday and hope you guys have a great start to your week! xx

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Creative Tips from a Graphic Designer! (Tricks to Create an Aesthetically Pleasing Composition)

Hey everyone! Wow, I’m so sorry it’s been almost a week since I’ve made a blog post. I’ve been trying to post at least twice a week but unfortunately, life gets in the way sometimes. However, this weekend has been filled with filming videos for YouTube and planning Instagram posts, so more content is definitely coming your way, I promise! For today’s post, I thought I’d do something a little different. Since I went to school for four years to study Graphic Design and have now become a working Graphic Designer, I realized I could probably be sharing tons of tips that could help all of you creatively. Whether that be with your blog, Instagram, Canva, YouTube, Tumblr, or whatever other platforms you use! That’s all I ever want to do with this blog: help you guys!!! So let’s jump into it!

The Rule of Thirds

Alright so I want to start off with one of the most important rules when it comes to design or art: The Rule of Thirds. This is a very common idea if you’re an art major or involved in any creative community. This is basically a guideline to follow to produce aesthetically pleasing images that fill the space nicely or allow for white space (empty space). Sometimes, having white space in any of your compositions is actually more aesthetically pleasing than completely filling the space.

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For example, here is my most recent Instagram post. In this photo I have three main objects: my hat, the “Stay Spooky” sign, and the pumpkin. Although there are other elements in this photo, those are the three main objects your eye is drawn to. Your eye is drawn from the sign/text, to the hat, and down to the pumpkin, taking your view through the entire composition. At least, that’s how my brain works, LOL. It is also very helpful to think of your image as a grid.

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Now normally, I prefer to use my own photography in a blog post, but I wanted to illustrate this idea clearly. Here is an image from Google illustrating the grid idea. It is best to place subjects where the grid intersects, which is always off center. Notice how the surfer in this photo is placed in the right hand corner. Having something placed directly in the middle will most likely not create an interesting composition or catch someone’s eye.

Take Your Time

Sometimes when you’re doing something creative, you hit a block or things just aren’t turning out how you wanted. Especially in the design world, this happens quite often. I know when it comes to blog photography for me, sometimes I just can’t get the right shot and it’s definitely frustrating. However, I notice when I take my time on something and not simply rushing through it will create better results. Even if you need to step away for a few minutes, you will come to a solution quicker. This is something even I’m trying to get better at. Being a creative person isn’t always easy, but you still must find solutions.

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Instagram Themes

This is another great way to get creative and focus on beautiful compositions. Personally with my Instagram, I like changing up my photos so my overall theme will have a variety visually. What I mean by this is posting a different photo each time. For example, I will try to post a full OOTD, then maybe a close up of an outfit, and after that a flat lay. While this is sometimes hard to accomplish, I always try to keep it in the back of my mind. My Instagram definitely isn’t perfect, but I have a lot of fun with it! Keeping a consistent color theme and working to be better has been such a fun hobby!

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Visual Hierarchy

Another very important aspect of design is visual hierarchy. I touched on this a bit previously but this is especially important if text is included in your photo. When it comes to posting information, you want the title to be larger, in a bold font, or have some quality that makes it stand out from any other text. Any small details should be in a smaller or less heavy font. For example when I’m promoting a new photo from Instagram on my story, I always include a title and some extra information about it. I create this with the Canva app, and it’s been a great addition to my blog/Instagram!

While all of these are very simple tips that I use everyday, I know most people did not go to school for design. So I genuinely hope this helped any of you! Let me know down in the comments if you have any composition tricks that you can share! I’d love to know what you guys love creating! Talk to you all very soon! xx

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