BLOGMAS DAY #5 // PROGRESS REPORT!

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Instead of covering a specific topic today, I thought I’d just write a bit about what I’ve been up to and what I’ve got planned for tonight!

This evening, I stopped by the post office to complain about the packages I haven’t received. For some reason, the post offices in the upper-Manhattan area are so terrible! It really is disappointing. I do a lot of online shopping and receive care packages from loved ones out of state, and it’s such a challenge receiving any of my parcels.

The line was long and those standing in it were very grumpy, to say the least. On the bright side, I didn’t leave empty handed – thankfully! I was able to pick up at least one package – 2 pairs of leggings and a cardigan from Forever 21 which I purchased on Black Friday. I love Forever 21 basics, especially their solid knit leggings. They’re surprisingly thick and fantastic quality. I wear leggings all year long, and they often don’t last. Big thighs create friction and tend to wear down on the material quickly. But these beauties? They last at least an entire season! Which may not seem like much, but at $5.90 a pop (that’s their list price!), you can’t find a better value for plus size leggings anywhere else.

I really enjoy the Fall/Winter colors as well. I picked up one pair in a maroon color and another in a forest green color. I also ordered a basic flyaway cardigan for under my coat! Eventually, I’d like to style these pieces and show you how I plan to wear them!

On the way home from the post office, I stopped by a few Mom & Pop discount stores, which, by the way, is very common in every neighborhood in NYC. They basically have a little bit of everything. I was able to find wrapping paper, scotch tape, glue sticks, danish cookies, hot cocoa, a box of tea, and Christmas cards for a dollar each! Before I go to chain stores, I always check the nearby discount stores first to see if they have what I need for cheaper – 99.9% of the time they do, and for a dollar. Hands down, I’d probably spend $20 instead of $7 if I went anywhere else.

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Tonight, after I finish uploading this blog post, I plan to wrap a few gifts, and work on these DIY paper houses I started last night. I will probably be enjoying some tea, maybe coffee, or cocoa, and of course, the danish cookies I purchased today! If I have time, I’d also like to start working on my Christmas cards and get them out ASAP!

// Blogmas Day #1 BUCKETLIST progress //

I’m proud to say that I’ve been making good progress getting through my Christmas bucket list! So far, I’ve picked up my small potted plant and made my Toys For Tots donation!Ā šŸ˜ŠĀ 

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I’m also well on my way to completing the DIY projects I have in mind, as well as sending out the Christmas cards with written letters. I have a few 2017 planners sitting in shopping carts, as well as a journal, but I’m honestly really considering bullet journaling and/or putting together a binder and printing the entire thing out myself with the hundreds of free printable planner inserts you can find on Pinterest! I have the paper, the printer, and the ink. And, a 99 cent binder is a lot cheaper than a planner, amirite!?

How is everyone making progress with Blogmas? Have you kept up with it? It’s only been 5 days! I know it’s starting to feel like a chore already, isn’t it?

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BLOGMAS Day #4 // Winter Fashion Guide (Featuring Modcloth – Which means? PLUS SIZE TOO!)

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Although I don’t blog very much about fashion or beauty, I’m actually a huge fan of fall and winter fashion – which is something that I really didn’t get to experience or appreciate growing up and living on an island (Hawaii) for the majority of my life. These days, I find myself warming up to subscription boxes such as Ipsy’s glam bag because it allows gals like me (who don’t know shit about makeup) exposure to what’s out on the market right now. It’s a way to learn and experiment – find out what I actually like and/or give a shit about.

When it comes to fashion,Ā I just want to be comfortable! And, cute! That’s it! I don’t accessorize unless it’s necessary either – I’ll wear a scarf if the weather requires one. My style is fairly “classic”. I wear a lot of basics. My favorite pieces are often leggings, skater skirts, oversized sweaters, and boots or flats. With that being said, I really do believe this time of year is my time to shine!

My all-time favorite store is Modcloth, so, of course, I thought it would be so much fun to put together my favorite warm-weather pieces from their website. Of course, I will include a link to everything as well!

1. Winterberry Tart Coat in Burgundy
$149.99
Size: XS – 3X
What I love about this coat is the very flattering silhouette, and of course, the gorgeous burgundy tone. I think this would look fantastic with riding boots!

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2. Heed Your Warming Fleece-Lined Leggings in Navy
$19.99
Size: S/M or L/XL
Your winter wardrobe cannot be completed without a pair of fleece-lined leggings. Get a high quality pair because you’ll be wearing nothing but these for 3-5 months!

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3. Just the Fortuitous Cardigan in Grey
$49.99
Size: XS – 4X
This absolutely adorable cropped cardigan would go perfectly with a high-waisted cotton blend skirt.

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4. Sugarplum Scary Sweater
$49.99
Size: XS – 4X
If you’re a bit edgy like I am. šŸ˜›

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5. Recline the Invitation Hoodie
$49.99
Size: XXS – 4X
I really love this piece a lot. I’ve actually got a similar heavy knit grey top with lacing below the neckline.
But, OMG, in hoodie form?!?! Say no more.

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6. Nocturnal Yourself Out Pajama Set in Foxes
$34.99
Size: S – XL
OK – this is by far the most cute holiday pajamas set I have EVER seen in my entire life.

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7. Fur the Win Thigh Highs in Brown Fox
$16.99
Size: ONE SIZE
O.m.f.g – is there anything more I can say here?

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8. Custom Cocoa Cardigan in Charcoal
$54.99
Size: XXS – 4X
I think finding a good quality, long length, soft, and comfortable cardigan is just as important as finding the right coat for the season. I generally wear a cardigan under my coat and is often what’s visible if I take my coat off. I will sometimes unzip my coat when I get on the train to prevent myself from sweating and I think this cardigan will add a nice detail to my outfit.

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9. Chillin’ Haute Scarf in Red
$20.99 // 30% off!
This is such a beautiful classic plaid scarf. It screams Christmas!

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10. Saturday at the Stables Convertible Gloves in Oatmeal
$13.99 // 30% off!
It is so important to keep your hands warm during the cold months! Wearing mittens or gloves was very difficult to adjust to when I moved here. I found that convertible gloves such as these are super convenient!

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I think what I love most about Modcloth is the range of sizes. As a plus size gal myself, I like seeing that most of the clothing on the site can fit anyone – regardless if you’re a size XS or a 4X. That’s awesome, and that’s how it should be everywhere.

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BLOGMAS Day #2 // Hallmark Holiday

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Christmas, once a sacred holy day, and arguably an ancient pagan tradition, may now seem like nothing more than a Hallmark Holiday. This is nothing short of the hard truth.

Hallmark holiday” is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe a holiday that is perceived to exist primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a traditionally or historically significant event. (wikipedia.org)

However, even the commercialized, capitalistic, consumerist nature of my FAVORITE holiday is STILL founded on what I would consider good moral values. Heck, I’ll say it – I’m not even religious!

Trying to steer clear of *controversialĀ topics here* *obviously that ship sailed 3 paragraphs ago*Ā 

Despite this fact, I have humanist values that go hand-in-hand with the meaning of Christmas; which is altruism, humanitarianism, and social consciousness. Yes, we *do* throw mountains of money at big corporations during this time of year, but we often do it for others in the form of gift-giving. Although my goals are minimalist-focused, I recognizeĀ that a lot of the money spent by others during the holidays is meant well and often unselfish.

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I’m keeping today’sĀ Blogmas post short and sweet (because I clearly over-wrote yesterday. LOL.) This is more of a conversation opener – an invitation for discussion. I’m genuinely curious about what you folks think! What are your thoughts on the consumerist nature of Christmas and how does that effect (or not even a little bit) how you spend the holidays?

Wanna read another Blogmas post? You can find them all here.

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BLOGMAS DAY #1 // Holiday Bucket List

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I was following the pack
All swaddled in their coats
With scarves of red tied ’round their throats
To keep their little heads
From fallin’ in the snow
And I turned ’round and there you go
And, Michael, you would fall
And turn the white snow red as strawberries
In the summertime
ā€”Ā White Winter Hymnal, Fleet Foxes

OK, so, it’s pretty damn obvious I am OBSESSED with Christmas. I don’t know when or why or how or what the heck happened (obviously my Mother sprinkled Christmas fairy dust in my crib when no one was looking…) but I’m GOSH DARN JOLLY at this time of year.

The fact that I am now living in NYC makes it so much more exciting because there really is no place better to spend the holidays than in NYC. The city of lights turns into the city of Christmas lights and asdfghjkl, it’s magical. There is so much about Christmas that I love, but I won’t write 17 million paragraphs about it right now or I won’t have any content left for the rest of Blogmas…so let’s just start with Day #1, shall we?

For today’s post, I will be writing down my holiday bucket list for 2016. There really is so much I want to do this year – I’d like to do some things I’ve put off year after year, while I’d also like to revisit some traditions. Of course, I went on PINTEREST (Jesus Christ, why?) and basically further elongated my list. However, I want this bucket list to be more like a list of goals – attainable and practical goals.

// Bucket List //

1. COMPLETE BLOGMAS
Ugh, I’m so bad with monthly challenges. I’m usually fine for the first week (I’m lying, I don’t get past day #4), then like the pleb I am, I completely fall off the bandwagon. Routine isn’t my friend. Legit, I WILL set an alarm if I need to. We’re getting these posts done! To make it easier for everyone to follow my Blogmas posts, I will add a link at the end of each post.

And, seriously, to the ones who already completed Blogmas in November, or August because you’re nuts (because you’re responsible)…HOW ARE YOU LIKE THIS?

2. ATTEND A HOLIDAY MARKET
So far, I have 3 pop-up markets in mind: Jingle @ Chelsea Market, Union Square Holiday Market, and Bryant Park’s Winter Village. I have never been to any of these events, but have been wanting to go to them for quite some time. From what I know, the Chelsea Market pop-up includes live music, Union Square’s Holiday Market offers tons of homemade gifts, and the Bryant Park market showcases new decor each year, as well as FREE ice skating and a tree-lighting event! All of these markets are very easy to travel to via public transportation which is a big plus.

3. SEND A WRITTEN LETTER TO LOVED ONES + HOLIDAY TEA BAG
Because I am so far away from family and friends, I don’t usually purchase and wrap gifts. In the occasion that I do buy gifts, I will order something online and ship it directly (because I’m lazy). This year, however, I want to take the time to actually write a letter to loved ones (my best friend, parents, and grandparents) and include theseĀ holiday tea bag(s) with my letters – a tradition I’d like to adopt from my Grandparents.

4. DIY CHRISTMAS CARDS, TREES, AND SNOWFLAKES
In addition to writing letters, I’d also like to dabble in DIY printables, including Christmas cards (for the letters), trees, and snowflakes to tape on the walls around the apartment because it’s cheaper and frankly, a lot cuter than buying any kind of decor!

5. BUY A SMALL HOLIDAY POTTED PLANT
When I lived at home, one of my favorite parts of Christmas was picking up a tree from Lowes with my parents and decorating it. Unfortunately, now I like in a 750 square box in Manhattan! We just don’t have space for a tree. *sobs* Not to mention, I have a cat who is absolutely fascinated with Christmas trees and would probably knock it over hundreds of times! I noticed the flower shop down the street just brought out these tiny potted ferns that are just too cute to pass up!! Not to mention, the money we’ll save! A little plant I can take care of that costs $5 beats a gigantic tree that costs $60 (don’t forget the tree skirt, ornaments and cat repellent!) Fact of the matter is, a Christmas tree is an expensive investment.

6. HOST A CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY
This is something I knew I wanted to do since Halloween. It’s just a matter of figuring out what I’m going to send! I want to include an extra-special written letter, and “stocking stuffer” type goodies – candies, holiday stickers, and maybe a few holiday-inspired beauty, body or home products! I have tons of ideas including mittens, fuzzy Christmas socks, lipstick, nail polish, candles, and candy canes. I’m not going to pretend this isn’t self-advertisement and exposure for my blog, because YES MARY, is it.

7. BUY A PLANNER AND JOURNAL FOR 2017
If I’m going to take 2017 by storm, I’m going to need to be prepared. If there is one thing I’ve learned about myself over recent years it’s that I am most productive when I write things down…and by things, I mean EVERYTHING! When it comes to daily writing, tackling goals, making appointments, or lists – I’m telling you, planners and journals are a must-have. If you did not utilize a planner or journal this year, I highly recommend checking it out for next year.

8. MAKE A DONATION TO TOYS FOR TOTS, NEW YORK CARES COAT DRIVE, TEACHERS WITHOUT BORDERS, AND DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
Like I mentioned above, I will probably not do any in-store shopping this year, but I am considering making product donation purchases online (toys and a coat – if I can budget it in), if not, I will make a $1-5 donation to all of the above organizations. I’m unsure if I’ve mentioned this on my blog yet, but I’m actually a member of Teachers Without Borders!Ā If you’re an educator, consider joining! It’s free!

9. PURGE CLOSET AND MAKE A BIG SALVATION ARMY DONATION
Gosh, there is always more purging to do! Because I live in a tiny apartment with virtually no closet or storage space at all, my stuff is basically all out in the open and visible. It’s easy to feel cluttered, and I want to declutter as much as possible. I think this is a great way to kick off the New Year – with less crap. At the very VERY least, I’ll need a dedicated junk drawer…

10. PICK UP A NEW HOLIDAY MUG + MAKE ABUELITA Chocolate W/ MARSHMELLOW AND CANDYCANES
One of my fondest memories as a newly New Yorker was going on 3am trips to Rite Aid with my husband on a Friday or Saturday night. It usually started with, “I’m hungry, is there any take-out spots still open? Nope? Wanna go to Rite Aid?” And, there you have it – a tradition was born. Frozen pizza and hot pockets galore. During the holidays, we’d often be the first to check out new merchandise. So, we’d always get dibs on brand-new gift sets, including the hot chocolate with mugs set, which you guessed it, we bought, every year. Lol. Each time we moved, there’s always been a Rite Aid nearby (which isn’t really that much of a coincidence when there are more Rite Aids than Starbucks OR McDonalds. Yeah, that many! Last year, I discovered the phenomenon that is ABUELITA Chocolate. This year? The candy canes melted in. Every year before that and every day of my life? Marshmallows.

Wanna read another Blogmas post? You can find them all here.

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25 Out-of-the-Ordinary Blogmas Topics // 25-Day Blogmas Challenge 2016

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With only 3 days left of November, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you all my list of holiday and Christmas blogging topics I have put together for my FIRST EVER Blogmas! I wanted to do something a little unconventional, and create a list that gives myself (and you too) a few prompts that allow for more personal and somewhat extensive writing.

As you may have already noticed, I don’t blog very much about my personal life, but I really would like to change that! I think these prompts are thoughtful and allow me (and you) to get to know each other a lot more!

Last, but not least: I did not create this list with a sequence in mind –Ā feel free to pick and choose which topics to share for which days.

 

1.) Can you think back to your most memorable Christmas? What year was it? How old were you?

2.) Are you religious and how does your faith influence your Christmas and holiday traditions?

3.) Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, do you observe another holiday during this time of year? (Hanukkah, Yule, etc.)

4.) How would you describe your perfect Christmas?

5.) Do you have a holiday bucket list?

6.) Write or share a poem.

7.) Reflect on 2016: What lessons have you learned this year?

8.) Goals for 2017.

9.) Are there any holiday events going on in your community?

10.) What is the best Christmas present you have ever received?

11.) Holiday shopping on a budget.

12.) Christmas dinner on a budget.

13.) What is your favorite holiday or Christmas fable, story, or fairy tale?

14.) What is your favorite Christmas film(s)?

15.) What is your favorite Christmas song?

16.) Learn about and share the history of Christmas.

17.) What makes Christmas or the holidays special for you?

18.) How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Claus?

19.) How are you spending Christmas this year? Will you be going home for the holidays?

20.) Winter fashion guide.

21.) Winter make-up guide.

 

22.) DIY Christmas Card

23.) DIY Christmas Gifts

24.) DIY Christmas Crafts

25.) Share your ultimate gift guide for the whole family (including your pets!)

 

 

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