November 30, 2015

November Favorites

Musical duo extraordinaire Oh Wonder
I fell in love with these two first on Twitter and then on their Youtube channel. Their voices mix in such a heavenly way--I love their songs Without You and Drive. #PerpetualRepeat

 I'm always looking for new things to do with my hair and this easy, 60-second tutorial is so pretty and looks simple enough to do in the morning before school.

My featured blogger this month is the Queen of Jetlags
Noor is an avid travel blogger, if her blog's title is any indication, as well as fashionista. Her friendly writing style and gorgeous photos, not to mention her travels, will draw you in. 

I came across this fabulous presentation a couple weeks ago and sat down to watch it in full, an hour long Youtube video is a serious time commitment. Believe me, it's worth it. It will open your eyes to a whole set of information that I didn't previously know anyway. Well worth the time investment. 

This Forever 21 Floral Lace Sheath Dress
Perfect for all the upcoming holiday parties, combing elegance and sophistication with fun, this gorgeous dress is a cool 28 dollars, will fit numerous silhouettes, goes with flats and heels, and is just perfect for a parents-included party.
November 27, 2015

The Last Thanksgiving

...overseas, anyway.
Beautiful Mom in front of the Marco Polo Hotel Christmas Tree

The lasts continue with the last of our Thanksgiving celebrations on foreign territory. No more buffet Thanksgiving dinner, no more worrying about homework because it's a Thursday night with school the next day, no more sushi for dinner and Skyping with family early Friday morning. 

For the past two years Mom and I have gone to the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas for their spectacular Thanksgiving buffet.
Old dress, F21 Heels (similar here)...can you tell that I had swim practice only a few hours before?

Of course, the point of Thanksgiving is to not only spend time with friends and family, but to stuff your face! Believe me, Mom and I took the opportunity and ran with it...I was still full this morning!

Round One:
Mine: california maki, tuna maki, zucchini and pasta salad
Mom: oysters and smoked salmon
After a little cheese plate, we started small with a few more appetizer-esque bites. Then, we tucked in!

Round Two:
Mine: pumpkin pie slice, tempura shrimp, smoked salmon, salad, brownie
Mom: turkey, roast beef, rice salad, smoked fish, potatoes

There were at least four more rounds of plates like this involving a lot more sushi for me and plenty of the quintessential turkey for Mom. I was too busy eating to get proper pictures of any except the second-to-last two courses.
Mine: pasta with garlic and olive oil and parmesan cheese
Mine: chocolate cheesecake, crab roll, smoked salmon

For me, desserts were essential add-ons to the regular meal...why wait?! I also partook in a four-scoop Neopolitan-style ice cream sundae with vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and pistachio ice cream. I know Mom partook in pumpkin pie, obviously, and the blueberry crumble.

If you're ever in Manila for Thanksgiving, check out the Marco Polo Hotel Thanksgiving buffet--you'll leave just as stuffed as if you were dining on your Aunt Sharon's spaghetti pie....or at least, I did.

What did you do for Thanksgiving? Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? Share them below!

November 23, 2015

My Christmas List 2015

I always look for inspiration in other people's wish lists so I thought I'd share my own Christmas List this year now that we're only about a month away from the day! (Feel free to steal any items for your own holiday wish list!)

Violet Eyes Perfume
Not only am I a big fan of Miss Liz but this one of her (many) perfumes as well! Violet Eyes has such a sophisticated yet understated scent and I've worn through my bottle from last Christmas already!
Katy Perry Killer Queen Perfume
I'm a little nuts about perfume so another of my wishes is Katy Perry's perfume. This one I actually don't have but I've rubbed my face in enough of its adverts in magazines to remember it!
'Teal the Cows Come Home' Nail Polish
The only nail polish I consistently ask for/buy--Teal the Cows Come Home is somewhat of my 'signature color' although I do change up my nail color quite frequently. There's something about this particular creamy shade of blue that I adore and it has become a staple on my list every year.
Matte Black Nail Polish
Really the only matte nail color that I like is black so this year I've added matte black nail polish to the list. (I'm a little nuts about my nails too)
iSwim Shirt
I found this wonderful little company on Twitter--they make swim-themed shirts, water bottles, swim caps, and, of course, swim suits! I feel like my big shoulders give away my swim history however why not advertise my specific stroke?
Donation to Save the Elephants
Elephants, besides being my favorite animal, are endangered creatures--preyed upon by the disgusting ivory industry. I urge you: never buy ivory! You're contributing to the slaughter of some of the most beautiful, compassionate animals on earth. I also urge you to donate, or ask others to donate, to this wonderful charity: Save the Elephants.
Dream Catcher
I've always had a special belief in old traditions that cultures preserve for centuries. The dream catcher is a Native American tradition that says all negative dreams will get caught in the web of the catcher while positive dreams will go through the center hole. I've had a dream catcher before and they absolutely work! Lately I've been having more nightmares than normal, I credit it to my stress levels, so this dream catcher, made authentically by Native Americans and sold directly through them, is on my list.
Forever 21 Gift Cards
One of my favorite stores, as you can all probably tell from their monthly inclusion on my Monthly Favorites list! I don't tend to ask directly for clothes but instead for gift cards because I do a fair bit of shopping online, living in Manila we don't get all the items the US stores do, and I change my mind a lot. Plus, shopping for your own clothes is a lot of fun!
Ivory Ella Shirts
Ivory Ella is another elephant-based charity only this one offers donations in the form of shirts, water bottles, and phone cases! I found Ivory Ella through Twitter and immediately fell in love with their products--enough so that two of their shirts ended up on my list!
Luna Lantern
Finally I discovered this Luna Lantern on Tumblr. At the moment the lanterns are only available through the indiegogo page they have set up and they're more expensive than all the other items on my list but as someone who believes wholeheartedly in the magic of the moon and the power it has, I'm definitely crushing on them!
November 19, 2015

M&M Blondie Brownies

After spending four hours on the school bus stuck in the #Apec2015 traffic Tuesday night, school was cancelled for the rest of the week and the entire student body cheered. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out this new recipe! (After lounging in bed for an entire day, of course)
November 13, 2015

Gift Guide: 2015

Traditionally, a lot of gifts are given this time of year. As someone who always worries about the perfect gift to give the recipient, I thought I'd post about my loves for the season and maybe even inspire a perfect gift for you!
 For the Dr Zhivago in all of us....
This faux fur headband is the perfect gift for your bffl, your aunt, or your cousin who always dresses up and loves cruelty-free fur!
What about this gold swirl confection?
(Both pieces are from Missy Empire, a recent favorite of mine) If you have a party you know a certain somebody is going to be at, might I suggest wearing this flirty ensemble? (A gift for yourself counts as a gift right?) £26 Olympia Gold Swirl Print Midi Dress
This is an absolute godsend for everyone who has ever tried to keep drinks cold....
Easier to lug around than a lumpy cooler or combination cooler/thermos bag is this watermelon-shaped cooler bag from Perfect for the beach-goer, the park-goer, or the occasional picnic-er this bag promises to keep all the essentials cold and I promise you'll have the tastiest-looking cooler in the entire place. 
Everyone needs one of these. Everyone.
Another must-have item from (lots of repeats so far....I promise they're not all from the same site) this is a portable iPhone/iPod charger. You simply juice it up at home and slip it in your bag so if you happen to be in an inconvenient charger location you can whip this baby out and power on! Candy Crush Level 99 here I come! $30 Back Me Up! Mobile Charger
For the wanderlust-afflicted in your family
A Zazzle favorite of mine, this world map watercolor passport holder is a stylish accessory without any leather, a completely cruelty-free product (as is everything on this list), or child labor (I'm pretty sure). The perfect travel accessory. 
My absolute favorite of all the Lush bath bombs...
The proof is in the pudding: the company's name is Lush! Lush has been one of my favorites for a loong time now (#tbt this post)--I love the fact that they're vegan, cruelty free, and support charitable causes. Also: their products are freaking incredible! Whoever loves to bathe in your family, and even those who don't, will adore this product!
I'm a sucker for funny stationary 
Sometimes a card is the perfect gift and I'm all for sending a funny note to someone--the note is personal and it shows you care during this joyful time. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, everyone can relate to this card (especially here in Manila, I've heard Rudolph dance on so many rooftops since September...)
I'm all for inclusion and so is Julie Ann, the artist behind these creative cards, so she made a set of Hanukkah cards. One reads "light that shit up" under the menorah, another reads "that was some badass oil" referring, of course, to the Biblical-era story of how the oil lasted for 8 days instead of the expected 1, and the final offers the different mis-spellings of Hanukkah.
If you're licking your screen right now I don't blame you
This time of year means joy and peace and happiness (which, in theory, should be promoted all year round technically) but most of all: ooey gooey desserts! These cookies, a recipe from Zoe Sugg aka Zoella of Youtubing fame, are an Oreo and chocolate chip cookie palooza--perfect for baking for yourself or someone else!
I feel like Banksy either loves or hates this game....
The grownup's Apples to Apples game, you can't go wrong with Cards Against Humanity. The responses are funny, and the conversations spurred on are even funnier! Perfect for anyone...don't forget to pick up an expansion pack to expand the fun!

I hope this either helps you find a gift for someone else, or an addition to your own list! What are you wishing for this holiday season?

November 11, 2015

Relatable Spending

Besides being possibly the most exquisitely-beaded pair of boots in the world....what do you notice?

If you're like me, your heart sinks when you notice the £450 price tag (approximately $680 in US dollars). 
Silly me...get my hopes up about a kick-ass Bad Blood reminiscent dress before noticing the $78 price tag. The fact that it's sold out isn't the only thing keeping me from this dreamy, lacy creation.

I absolutely love being a part of the blogging community. I love reading blogs and interacting with other bloggers and especially noting how gorgeously stylish they all seem to be. Even if you don't regularly check in on blogs, you see style posts popping up everywhere from Instagram and Twitter to Facebook and Tumblr. I so adore the style of these bloggers however when I check their "recommendations" or "style"'s full of posts like this!

An actual Paltrow-approved Goop item for sale

I feel like they're the Goop of the blogging world and I'm the Target. (Not my best analogy...I'll work on it)
Even the Bloglovin' shop has fallen prey to the expensive side! (Psst...follow me on Bloglovin') For actual adults with actual paying jobs or the bloggers that blog as their main source of income, I'm sure most of the prices don't phase them. As a teenager who still gets an allowance I can admit they scare the hell out of me.
I love finding new outfits or shoes (boots boots bOOTS) or accessories and incorporating these things into my wardrobe. And I do envy the smart style of so many of my favorite bloggers (like Rosie and Noor) however their price range and mine? An entire Sears Tower of difference.

This is why I've subconsciously pledged myself to always feature things on my blog that not only I can afford, but my readers (you lovely lot you) can too. I certainly don't have the nearly 700 dollars to shell out on an, albeit gorgeous, pair of boots! I'm not even going to approach the subject of buying an $80 bathing suit with Mom, I know how that conversation will go already.

This should explain why Forever 21 features so prominently in my posts--they fit right in my budget! Usually, anyway. The point of this mildly rambly post is this: there are ways to express your style without sacrificing an entire paycheck or allowance. Also: you can always trust my recommendations to be tried, true, and on budget. Finally: who doesn't love Target?!

For all three items I found much less expensive substitutes: are my favorite budget sites for finding cute clothes that don't break my piggy bank:
Beautiful Halo
Forever 21 (naturally)

What do you think? What are your tips and tricks for staying stylish without spending your rent money? What are your favorite stores? Share below!

November 7, 2015

How to Handle A Lot of Stress

#tbt a much less stressed time

As you have probably noticed over the past few months, I have been more absent than normal in my posting and updating. This is due to the incredible demands of Senior Year....honestly somedays I barely have time to sit down. There is an absolutely outstanding amount of work this semester for seniors, especially those in the IB program. 
November 3, 2015

October Favorites

These Over-the-Knee Boots from Forever 21
These gorgeous boots, which also come in olive green and grey, have a 4" heel--perfect when you don't want too much height but still crave a heel. These boots have me craving a cold fall walk or even a short winter stroll.

My love affair with Mumford & Sons recently started and this song was the first to be over-replayed. Also from this album I love especially "Believe"....honestly you can't go wrong with the entire album. 

I am so in love with tattoos and this service offers the ability for you to have a realistic-looking tattoo for 2 weeks. Think of it as a trial period before you actually get inked. Offering both custom designs and pre-made designs like the one in the picture above, InkBox is already a website as well as on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Get inked!

This Color Block Bandeau One-Piece from Beautiful Halo
I love this swimsuit so much I've already ordered it for next summer! I'm moving more towards monokinis and one pieces as opposed to bikinis lately, and the bargains offered by Beautiful Halo are way too good to pass up!

Spy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law
I watched this movie first on a plane ride and have watched it several times over since then! It's much funnier than it first appears, and especially funnier than the trailer makes it out to be. I just adore Melissa McCarthy and she's really at her best in this film. (Also Jude Law's attractive face doesn't hurt)