Friday, December 28, 2018

My 2018

It was often requested that I blog more about my personal life. It's funny that I'm now doing that after I basically "quit blogging", but as of only mid-January, I kind of missed writing (about myself!) and decided to start drafting this post that I'm intending to enter in month-by-month until the end of the year and see if I feel like publishing it.
The idea isn't for this to be formal, but nor do I think it will be entirely candid either. As always, I feel the need to protect myself a little on the internet, and there's something that keeps me from being completely raw/unfiltered.

Quick links:
January  ▪  February  ▪  March  ▪  April  ▪  May  ▪  June  ▪  July  ▪  August  ▪  September  ▪  October  ▪  November  ▪  December  ▪  Notes
[If you're here for an explanation of why I stopped blogging, check the previous post]

January 2018 
The end of 2017 felt like a little bit of a doozy, but I felt confident that 2018 would bring some welcomed changes, even if I wasn't sure how exactly they'd fall into place. To be honest, I went through an upsetting and extremely unexpected break up in early December that made a Type A personality like me feel completely turned upside down. I had no idea what I wanted to do except maybe wallow a bit. I cancelled two upcoming Japan trips for 2018 and started thinking more about what I really wanted for myself.
I took that opportunity to start planning for changes that I had been putting off for some time:

   1. Stop posting on social media as much. Especially since the IG algorithm changed, I realized that I found myself caring way, WAY too much about my follower count and amount of likes and views on my posts. This was something I was a bit ashamed about because it feels so frivolous, but at the same time, I couldn't help but feel that way. The best solution seemed to be to step away from social media. Starting from December and continuing into January, I stopped posting on Tumblr, IG, Twitter or Dayre and only completed whatever drafted posts I already had for this blog without creating new content.
I had initially intended on doing a reveal and coordinates post for the Honey Cinnamon fukubukuro that I had pre-ordered back in November, but when I received it, I decided I just didn't feel like it anymore and immediately listed the contents on Depop.
I was thankful that the items sold fairly quickly, but I believe it was partially due to the low pricing since I just wanted to get rid of them ASAP.
I decided to move forward with "taking a leave of absence" (essentially quitting) blogging by publishing what I was intending on being my last post on this blog (My Liz Lisa Wardrobe 2017).

  2. Stop acquiring so many material things/get rid of STUFF. I've always loved fashion and clothes and have probably always had too much of it for my own good ever since I could start buying it myself. I don't really collect anything specific or have any other hobbies so I used that as my excuse for years to keep buying clothes/fashion items. It wasn't until I was receiving some of the feedback on Sarahah back in August 2017, that I realized that maybe I did focus too much on material objects. I've always tried to maintain that my Liz Lisa items are part of my wardrobe - NOT part of a "collection" since I felt there was an important distinction about the self-assigned value of the items. Clothes are just clothes. I knew that I should be able to get rid of them easily if that's what I wanted, so I started planning for that and opened up sales in mid January.
I was fortunate to have about half of the items listed sell during the first weekend (about 81 items). It was stressful to manage all the orders, but I feel like it was well worth it. I started with just clothes because I didn't want to deal with shipping shoes or bags, etc and priced somewhat low IMO, but knew that whatever didn't end up selling, I'd be happy to keep. I was determined to set a deadline on the sales so I could step away from blogging-related social media for awhile and tentatively set that for early to mid-February.

  3. I remembered that I had finally taken that Myers Briggs personality test thing and re-looked up my personality type, even retaking the test. I guess I'm solidly an ESFJ. When I first got that result and read the description, I thought "this sounds nothing like me", but the more I thought about it, actually maybe just the Introduction part is a little off, but most of the rest of it sounds pretty accurate. I didn't want to read too much into this, but I also wanted to acknowledge my weaknesses and maybe improve on them.

  4. Say YES more. I'm a pretty negative person in general and despite my apparently "extroverted" personality, I always thought I preferred to just keep to myself and not get too involved in things. When I was part of a couple, it was easy for me to just comfortably spend my time with my partner and not really consider doing anything else, especially if the new activity was just going to involve only me. Already in January, I've decided to volunteer for two things I would usually not have volunteered for (one related to work and one related to personal stuff) and even though I was apprehensive about how it would turn out, I looked forward to what the opportunities would bring. And it turns out that the 1 personal thing turned itself into 2 additional responsibilities, so we'll see how that goes.

  5. I started dating someone new. This actually started in mid/late-December but happily continued into January. I know what you're thinking - it's way too fucking soon. You're probably right. But it was someone with whom I was already familiar and going along with the "Say YES more" mentality, I felt like I didn't have a real reason to say no to his invite. Due to my personality, I think we got off to a little bit of a shaky start, but luckily he's very patient and understanding and such a genuinely nice person. I had been with my ex for 8+ years (and we were good friends for years even before that) so I was nervous to open myself up to someone new, especially someone who was already in my life that I cared about maintaining at least a platonic relationship with, but I was determined to look forward instead of trying to hold on to the past. In January, we're still in that "honeymoon" phase where everything feels happy and perfect, but it already felt like such a different relationship than my past one in the best way.

Although I was selling much of my wardrobe, I still ended up making two small Liz Lisa orders this month. One was actually motivated by some items I wanted to buy and give as a gift, but the other was purely just because I saw an item I wanted restock and I ended up throwing other stuff in the same cart. Not the best decision, but one that I don't necessarily regret.

I appreciate anyone who asked about my well-being during this time, but I think I wasn't really ready to talk about anything specific. Which isn't to say that I wasn't actually okay, but tbh I just didn't feel like making a big deal of it, and I'm sorry if I ended up dodging or ignoring you. It sometimes felt like people would only miss the blog content or were concerned about my absence for selfish reasons (which I understand - since I rarely let anyone get close to me anyway), and I just wasn't in the best place to respond, so I just didn't.

I put in an offer for a house and heard back in early February that it was accepted (with a few timeline counters)! The mortgage and purchase process was all extremely new to me but luckily my loan officer and realtor were very helpful.

Because of the house/mortgage, I knew I would have to be extra careful with my spending/saving, especially over the first few months while I adjusted and weren't completely sure what the rates were going to be like. Thankfully selling most of my Liz Lisa wardrobe gave me some of the spending money I still needed for things I had already planned to do before the purchase.

I was still checking social media a lot and contemplating whether I want to actually deactivate my accounts or just remain "silent" on them. I feel like my intention was to quit and leave it all behind, but part of me wanted to just have it....just in case. I spent a TON of my time on the blog and related accounts, so I guess that's why I was a little reluctant to erase them completely.

Gave blood for the first time! We got an email at work asking for people to donate blood and my coworker wanted to give it a try, so we both went. I was finally comfortably at the minimum weight requirement and even though I was so sure that my iron would be too low, we drank tons of water that morning, ate an early lunch and were both eligible to donate! Luckily I'm not really scared of needles or anything, so the ordeal was reasonably simple and fast.

We celebrated both my bf's birthday and Valentine's Day this month. There were some rocky moments with stress from work and other outside things, but I'm so grateful to be with someone who supports and respects me through all of my endeavors.

MARCH 2018
My closest friend at work (who had also become my IRL friend too!) rotated back to another section/building, so I no longer see her everyday. Even though there's so many differences between us, we somehow still manage to get along and relate to each other even if it's not always in food or fashion tastes. Before I sold most of my pieces, it was great to have someone to twin with at work!

I wasn't actually as bored as I thought I would be with my free time from not blogging. I feel like I have so much more time for my friends and loved ones and although I always considered blogging a commitment, I never realized how many other things I was missing because I prioritized taking blog pictures on the weekends and off times from work drafting and editing blog posts + all the endless brand research and constantly trying to keep up with it. I am really enjoying my free time.

I even tried surfing for the first time! My work friend surfs every day and was willing to try to teach me. It turns out that I'm very bad at surfing and very good at almost drowning. But I'm still glad I attempted it lol.

I also took a "brush lettering" class with my mom from a local craft store! Apparently it's a pretty popular course and you have to sign up right away to get a spot. It was 3-2 hour sessions over 3 Saturdays and all the supplies were provided. I'm not perfect at it but it was interesting to learn. I mostly use it for putting something fancy-looking on envelopes for birthday and thank you cards lol.

I got a little bit of a shopping itch for Liz Lisa/jfashion stuff with some PayPal balance money burning a hole in my pocket and filled a couple carts up several times over the month, but I knew with the house (especially with what ended up being higher than expected closing costs), frivolous full price spending shouldn't be something I should have be doing. I've definitely always considered my PayPal balance to be my "fun money" which I should be able to spend somewhat guilt-free since it's most often accrued through selling items and doesn't affect my bank account, but I decided that clothes is not something I wanted to spend it on at this point - no matter how cute.
I told myself that after I move into my house and have all of my wardrobe in one place, I'll really look at everything and decide what to keep, what to continue to try to sell and what to just toss because it's not worth it to keep it and have to be available to ship stuff. Only then should I consider buying anything new based on whatever gaps I might have in my wardrobe. I hadn't really done a full assessment of it since I sold the majority of my Liz Lisa items.

I did have a small moment of weakness when I purchased this Bubbles sweatshirt. I saw it and knew I had to have it IMMEDIATELY. My bf's name is Randy and ofc he is nothing like the dog lmao. When an opportunity like this presents itself, you do NOT ignore it.
(If I notice that it goes on sale later with remaining stock, I may even get it in another color 😂)

...and another moment of weakness when I purchased this Liz Lisa dress. But it's denim and has a ribbon tie and sailor collar which are total weaknesses for me plus I had TOM points to use so I told myself I would use it to take pictures in front of my house because it would be so cute 😯 (LQ picture of me wearing it that I took for a friend for a different purpose because I don't take #ootd pictures anymore haha.)

Bf leased a new car! I love new shiny things so even though this kind of spontaneity is so foreign to me, I still enjoyed the results lol.

Escrow closed on my house! Signed the closing papers and handed over the remainder of the down payment on the 19th and got the keys on the 23rd! Started moving in during the last week of the month ♥

APRIL 2018
We officially moved in! Actually took the last week of March to really just pile all of my stuff in there, but we actually spent the night and went to work from the new house between April 1 and 2. After a lot of discussion, my bf decided we will live in the new house together. While there were a lot of details to work out for him with his (previous) living arrangements, I was happy that we would be making the new house our home.
While I've lived "on my own" in two different studios before, I've never really had the chance to decorate or organize from scratch where I was thinking there would be slightly more permanence. (The studios were temporary for school purposes so I didn't really feel the need to get new/really good quality furniture etc and had a lot of hand-me-downs.) I actually had a lot of trouble trying to figure things out!

We started carpooling to work. We don't work at the exact same location but close enough where it at least made sense to try it out. I'm really getting the better end of the bargain since he drives all the time (his preference), and we take his car (also his preference), but it also just makes more sense to be able to spend time together when we're going to practically the same destination and can use the carpool lane with 2 people.

Did a 10K run for the first time! I participated in cross country when I was in high school but don't consider myself a competitive runner and haven't really kept up with it. I'll go out for exercise but don't really feel the need to pay to run in a mass race-type environment. However, this 10K was something my bf's family has been doing for a few years now and that encouraged me to participate. I actually don't have any pictures from this since I don't run with my phone, but I ended up finishing in about 49 minutes (about a 8min/mile pace) which is pretty good for me considering I've never run that long in my life haha.

Had our first housewarming party and also had the house blessed. This was mostly for my family (majority my mom's side), and it was nice to have them see the house!

For the past 4 years, I've been writing about emoDylan on Dayre. [2017][2016][2015][2014] Since Dayre is being shut down, I'm not sure if these links will still be active by the time I post this, but they were still live at the time I'm typing (in April). And that's also why I'm choosing not to update on that platform for his deathiversary this year. It seems a little morbid to bring up when the date comes up every year, but I always feel inclined to at least post something small about his memory.
I decided to google his name for some reason this year - I guess just to see what would come up. I read the short obituary that was posted for him in the local paper and instantly got chills. I think that he appreciates me thinking of him, even if it's just occasionally. He died 9 years ago on April 21, 2009. I hope I never forget what his friendship taught and meant to me.

Went to the Big Island for a short weekend trip! Stayed in a really cool lofted treehouse studio which had a glass wall which looked out into the trees. Not something I ever would have picked for myself, but the experience was great, and I'm so glad to do things outside of my narrow field of vision.
We did a lot of just lowkey stuff in Hilo which I haven't visited in many years. It was fun to do things without having every minute scheduled and just going at a relaxing pace.

MAY 2018
Where is the year going?
I caved and purchased a few Liz Lisa things this month because I've been bored and browsing secondhand sites (besides listing a lot myself) and still check the Liz Lisa twitter accounts pretty regularly. At the beginning of May, I tried using for the first time to purchase the Liz Lisa merry-go-round jumperskirt and a new phone case. I've had half an eye on the jumperskirt for a while so I decided it was just time to go for it.
I also went on a little bit of a spending spree towards the end of May because I felt like I was in a good place from what I had managed to sell and received a lovely and generous gift from a friend!
Unfortunately, the Liz Lisa rose ribbon jumperskirt which I was very much looking forward to was one of my most regrettable (full price) purchases I've made in a good long time.
The print is nice as expected but the fit just feels huge everywhere else. Even when hanging in my closet, you can see that it's a good several inches longer than many of my other OPs. It was so far off what I'm used to for freesize that I questioned whether I accidentally ordered/was sent the Tall size instead since that made more sense than this being the new standard for free size. I also went back and looked at shop staff pictures for which I could identify their height. The length looked similar on me (162.5cm) to Harajuku shop staff Micchan who is 152cm -___-. And it looked much shorter(/my desired fit) on Hikaru who is 161cm. I just felt a little misled about what to expect for the dress length, and it really turned me off from making purchases for a while because it's such a significant difference. If there is already a taller size, why is the freesize so far from the norm? (I ended up selling this dress for less than 50% of what I paid because I just wanted to get rid of it.)

One really great purchase I made this month was a new Samantha Thavasa purse from the store at our local mall! The shop staff described the color as "greige" (grey/beige) but I see it as kind of a purpley, almost grey-lavendar color which I really adore. I don't have anything else like it in terms of color but it's a familiar and beloved size & shape (See Japan trip Autumn 2015 Shopping)!

I had to go to an overnight retreat related to my being on the vestry at my church. I was pretty reluctant to go because it didn't seem that fun, but obviously that's not a real excuse so ofc I went lol. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it could have been, and I really wasn't all that uncomfortable which I was a bit surprised about. The venue of the retreat was really nice and a good experience in and of itself.

Since I was on Depop/western secondhand sale venues a lot this month and in April, I still saw so many people using my photos for their listings and even though I tried not to care about these things, it was still somehow really annoying to me. It reminded me why I'm glad I'm not putting so much time/money/effort into blogging for other people to just use my photos for their own gain. Also, I just generally felt weird about scrolling and seeing a photo of myself being uploaded by someone else with a price on it.
But otherwise, I was really set on getting rid of what I ended up considering "excess" clothing beyond just Liz Lisa clothes, and Depop ended up working pretty well for that. The 10% fees are not ideal but I guess it's worth it for the instant buy and shipping label features. I know I had intended on stopping selling in mid-February like I mentioned, and I did slow down a lot after that, but after I moved and felt comfortable with the shipping process, I started just listing anything under the sun that I thought someone else might find useful. Plus I didn't mind having a little extra flexibility with spending money. (End of May was really supposed to be my real stopping point for secondhand sales connected to this account.)
Thank you if you made a purchase from me to help me reduce my closet!

There was volcanic activity on the Big Island as well as some related earthquakes in the same area. I think the (inter/)national news was making it seem like the whole state was being engulfed but it was more-or-less isolated to the Big Island for physical damage/threat.
"Lava covers homes, roads on Big Island"
I live on Oahu, so I wasn't physically affected by the lava, but thank you to everyone who reached out to me in concern. It was really nice to know that you thought of me. In general, I received a few messages from people during this month asking about me and how I was doing, but I somehow reverted back to a space where I didn't feel comfortable putting that information out there. I know I opened myself up to it by using the selling platforms, but at the same time, I really just wanted to find new homes for my items - not open myself up to personal questions.

JUNE 2018
A month of new experiences!
Bf and I picked and purchased a new dining table set! It's much larger than the teak table I had from when I was living in a studio, and we hope that it will be a set of pieces that will last us a long time and go with us if we ever move. This was the first real furniture for the house that we truly picked and purchased together (rather than being kind of more one-sided).

We tried indoor climbing! My friend suggested we try bouldering (which she had done herself a few times before), and we made it a double date! There's a location not too far from our house and even though we only climbed for about an hour, we were still plenty sore at the end of it.

Also tried out the indoor trampoline park(?) with my same friend and her bf just for fun lol. It's basically like a warehouse with all these trampolines in it. There's a handful of rules for safety but you essentially just bounce around and do whatever you want within those guidelines. They have a basketball area, a large foam pad you can jump into and other small activities as well. It's great for hyperactive children I'm sure. You pay by the hour, and one hour is definitely enough lol.
Not so great photos because electronics weren't allowed on the trampolines/in the mat area.

My bf's family has a lychee farm and every year during the peak season (June), they go to help pick and distribute. This was my first chance to join, and I went for two weekends this month.
I think in theory, picking fruit sounds like a lot of fun, and it is, but there's something different about it when you're picking in mass numbers for 8 hours with intent to sell it lol. The most annoying part was probably the insects/bugs that are constantly hanging around though! Overall, it was a great experience, and I had a really good time.

Went to visit the "Museum of Aloha" at the nearby mall! It's basically like a handful of photo areas that you pay admission to access lol. They moderate how many people are in it at a time so at least you can get a fair shot at a photo!
We shot a lot more photos and video than this, but I think this is probably enough to show that we had a good time lol. Lots of color and happiness 👍

(Learned my lesson from May and didn't have any regrettable Jfashion purchases this month! Spent money on experiences instead 💖)

JULY 2018
Got my nails done at my favorite salon (Salon Cherie) at the beginning of the month in anticipation for -----

Japan trip Summer 2018! My parents really wanted to climb Mt Fuji, especially after I survived it last year, and had this trip planned since about November of 2017. I wasn't planning on joining them initially (this was one of my "cancelled" trips from the beginning of the year), but changed my mind later because I had a travel/airline credit I needed to use and it just so happens that my bf had a previously planned family trip to Hokkaido almost at the exact same time. Rather than just hang out by myself for a week at home, I chose to tag along with my parents since my bf's trip was part of a tour.
So as not to make this post too laggy, I put a condensed trip summary on a separate page. If you're interested in reading more about the trip, check it out here. The short version is basically that I did a bunch of shopping that I didn't really need to do, and overall it wasn't that exciting, but I don't have regrets about going.

After coming back from Japan and really just kind of breaking loose with the shopping, I started to feel more like "my old self" again. Not sure if that's good or bad exactly, but it really was a familiar feeling. I thought I would have had a different mindset when in Japan this time but I guess I just didn't. The only real change was that this time a portion of my big toe got a little numb after the second day and never really came back to life until over 2.5 months later.

Back at home, there wasn't a lot going on. We went back to work as usual. My coworkers went on an inter-island trip that I wasn't able to make it to due to a funeral, so that week was kind of a boring. My close friend had to go do a work rotation on the east coast for a couple months, so we didn't have any double date opportunities. Bf and I went to two high school graduation parties and a first birthday party in the same weekend. No pictures from that really because it was mostly family stuff and I want to respect their privacy.

Aside from the week long trip, July was actually quite uneventful, and I didn't mind that at all. Also, it probably happened sometime in an earlier month without me knowing, but according to Blogger stats, my blog has reached 1,000,000 views!
Maybe not actually a huge accomplishment considering that I had shoved out tons of content quantity-wise and all the little pieces eventually add up, but, it still felt like a little bit of a milestone to me even though I wasn't actively keeping up with posts.

It continued to be a bit of a run-of-the-mill/nothing special month for the first 3 weeks of August.
I would come home from work and really not have a lot to do. The shopping high I had felt from the trip had faded, and I actually felt like I wasn't sure why I bought some of the pieces that I did once re-trying them on again. Maybe I was just stuck in a little bit of a gloom. There were some periods where I felt really useless and kind of unhappy when I realized there wasn't anything I was particularly passionate about or wanting to work towards. I also decided to delete my IG app because comparing myself to other people's happiness was just not really helping me.

We tried a sherbet "subscription"! In July (before deleting), I saw a photo on IG that grabbed my interest from @asatofamily that featured a li hing icee float flavor sherbet. I had never heard of the company before personally but quickly realized it was a very popular locally owned/run/made homemade sherbet company that only takes a limited number of online orders every month for pick-up only. (They later changed/expanded to do more than one order a month!) There are 6 different pints in each subscription - 3 classic/standard (strawberry, green river and pineapple) and 3 monthly specials. In August, the special flavors were Japanese themed: yuzu creme, ume shiso and lychee calpico. 
When our sherbet was ready for pick up, we were there about 45 minutes after they opened and was able to grab 1 additional flavor (at additional cost) - mango bango. Tbh, I'm not super impressed with these myself but the Japanese flavors aren't really my cup of tea to begin with. Pretty much all of the sherbets are much improved with a little li hing powder, but I don't think I'll be regularly paying $6/pint for 6 pints consistently every month from here on out. My favorite is probably the green river, but even then, I think I'd probably just rather have a cheaper frozen treat that doesn't have a minimum purchase and specific pick up time.

Despite my weird gloomy attitude towards shopping, I did end up getting a new purse from Samantha Thavasa. I was looking for a specific type of bag to use for future trips which I wanted to be in a neutral color (able to be used with many different kinds of coordinates), have easy main pocket access, shoulder strap and handbag strap options, preferably lightweight but still a good medium size. I was browsing through Samantha Thavasa's webstore when I saw this bag.

It can actually be worn as a backpack as well and there's a removable "clutch" type attachment that has tons of card pockets and can also be attached to the shoulder strap on its own. The color I wanted had a terrible selection of stock photos so I'm including some of the white version to show the versatility. Although it was part of the summer sale, I wasn't completely sold on it for the price + international shipping. Fortunately, I had a chance to stop by the Samantha Thavasa Ala Moana store, and I couldn't believe my luck when they had this exact bag in the exact color I wanted! I hesitated only a little before purchasing it.

I also made an order from blanccloset because Delyle Noir was having a really good sale. After coming back from Japan and getting a few of the items in store and feeling more confident about the sizing, I thought this would be a good opportunity to boost my wardrobe in this genre for what was really an irresistible price.

Near the end of the month, I traveled for work to Kauai. We have another office and area of responsibility there, but I've never been to it before. My boss wanted to give everyone in our group a chance to familiarize themselves with the properties, so this was my chance to go, along with my boss and 1 other coworker (everyone else had gone in July). It was a quick 3 day trip.
We stayed at the Sheraton in Poipu, and it was nice enough but not super close to where we were doing the work. They were also doing a bunch of construction over there, so the view wasn't that great if you weren't given a room on the main compound. However, I'm not going to complain too much because I didn't have to pay for it out of pocket and at least it seemed clean! We didn't have a lot of time for miscellaneous touristy activities due to our work schedule, but we did stop at a lookout point along the way. We actually ended up changing our flight to come back to Oahu a handful of hours earlier because of....

Hurricane Lane. This was a major scare for the state, causing residents to literally empty out aisles of Costcos and grocery stores. (No joke - soups, bottle water, canned good aisles were confirmed 100% out of stock in many stores. My coworkers took some pictures first hand, and I saw it at a Target myself.) Many gas stations also ran out of gas and because of the danger of the hurricane, no new deliveries could be made for several days at the harbor.
Fortunately, we didn't experience a lot of strife on Oahu thanks to the strong wind shear, but we were excused early from work on Thursday and all of Friday that week to find shelter and prepare. There was extreme flooding and damage on the Big Island and parts of Maui, but somehow the storm downgraded rapidly in 24 hours before reaching Oahu.

College football season started ramping up at the beginning of the month. UH (the only college team we have here) had their first home game on Sep 1 with a perfect giant rainbow stretching the length of the stadium. My family has had season tickets for UH football for a while, and I always go with my dad and my grandpa.

Even though I had just purchased the versatile neutral purse, while I was killing time at the mall, I stopped at Samantha Thavasa, and this Samantha Vega new autumn release caught my eye -
[ フラッター 小 in wine red]
I was actually trying to put together some bordeaux autumn outfits and realized I no longer had a bag to really make a cohesive coordinate (to my own standard). They were having a small Labor Day sale, but I took the night to think it over and went back the next day to get it. Tbh if I had known this bag was an option, I probably wouldn't have purchased the Samantha Thavasa one in August, but they each have their own strengths, and I felt really happy getting this cute bordeaux colored one.

And then I subsequently started scooping up any items I could find that I thought were reasonable that remotely matched with the bag. I ordered the Liz Lisa glen check rose OP in bordeaux from TOM based on a sale, and then from TKL, I got the Liz Lisa ribbon check stole in pink and the lavender riders jacket (which doesn't match but was a good sale). I also found the older bordeaux version of the ribbon stole secondhand as well as my major WTB item - the Liz Lisa bear book skirt in red, which I had to use an SS to purchase but was well worth it.
(I had to work a lot of OT in September which I used as an excuse for some minor splurges.)

We got a Nintendo Switch! My bf plays a lot of games on other consoles/the computer, but nothing I can really play with him.
I grew up only having Nintendo systems (like N64, Game Cube, Wii) so that's all I'm really familiar/comfortable with playing. He thought that this would be fun for us to be able to play together and also would be good to have for upcoming trips/longer plane rides for himself.

We went on a trip to Seattle!
Bf had purchased tickets for the Childish Gambino concert in Seattle earlier in the year, and we decided to make it a short 4-5 day trip for the both of us. I've never been to Washington (or even the Pacific Northwest at all) before, but my bf went to college there and still has a lot of friends who live in/around Seattle. As it turns out, the Childish concert in Seattle was cancelled 2 days before our trip due to an injury (and not rescheduled due to a conflict with the venue), but since it was too late to really back out, we still made the most of it and went. I've summarized the trip on a separate page here!

My 27th birthday was also at the end of September, and I ended up really thinking about what was important to me.
On a scale of things, I know that I'm not THAT "old", but just for where I want to be in my own life and my future plans and goals, I guess I can say I'm doing OK. I think that's all I really want to say about that.

We had a new AC unit installed in the living room. I know that's probably not that exciting, but it's one of the bigger changes needed for the house since I purchased it, and it felt kind of significant to me (if not just in cost), so I just wanted to jot it down lol.

My work bestie returned from her rotation, and we had a double date at the waterpark! This was actually the same day as we had the new AC installed which took a little longer than anticipated. We didn't get to the waterpark until later in the afternoon but it all worked out for the best when we were able to get discounted tickets for late entry! (Unfortunately no photos as none of us have waterproof phones we were willing to risk on the rides.)

My grandpa's friend had some leftover flooring, so we installed it in the kitchen! It took 1 Sunday (most of the installation and layout) and then 1 Saturday (painting/trims/molding), and it looks a lot better than the old linoleum with had tons of little dents and marks in it.

There was a bit of a hubbub at work as we attended a week-long last-minute training on the east coast of the US (which is a pretty long flight for us from HI). There was a lot of discussion about whether we would actually go, how long we would stay for, etc, but we ended up flying out on the last week of October that coincided with Halloween. Because of that, I didn't end up really celebrating, but I did take the opportunity to wear my new lavender riders jacket.
Luckily, the dress code was pretty casual so I was basically able to wear whatever I wanted. Weather was in the 50s the week prior to our arrival, so I brought a winter coat just in case, but it warmed up a bit and I was fine without it! No real trip summary because it was work related, but we didn't do a ton of exciting stuff anyway.

Just short of 1 week after coming back from the east coast, it was finally time for Japan trip Autumn 2018!
My bf and I had been planning and looking forward to this trip for just the two of us since April. Check out this separate page for the trip post. Highlights include: F.C. Tokyo soccer game, winter illuminations, kimono rental in Kyoto, Tokyo DisneySea and the Digital Art Museum in Odaiba.

The holiday season started shortly after we returned with Thanksgiving coming up the next week!
We mostly did meals with family, so there isn't much to report there, but we did make mashed potatoes that ended up coming out not too bad!

We opted to get a real Christmas tree for our house and went to pick one out on Black Friday. It was a bit early, but it was great for setting the holiday mood! I didn't already have my own ornaments or lights, so we purchased a few small sets and decided to establish a "holiday spirit budget" for us to purchase things every year as we slowly build up!

Meanwhile, I started my Christmas shopping - mostly just trying to grab some deals online instead of shoving my way through crowds in person. I did hit up a couple malls during the non-peak hours which wasn't too bad, but I knew I didn't have a good enough plan or patience to wait in any huge lines.

Fukubukuro/lucky pack information started getting released! I really considered ending the hiatus to do at least one fuku post for 2019, but I decided to just do a page for reference instead. I'm posting the link here in case it's useful for anyone else but know that it's likely too late to get most of these yourself unless the brand had a ton of stock or you're going in person. Note that Liz Lisa did not release any fukubukuro for 2019.

Went to the beach for the first time in forever with my work bestie and her bf! We were actually supposed to go hiking but the weather was bad the day before which made hiking conditions muddy. Fortunately, it was great beach weather instead the next day anyway. I spent a lot of time just trying to hide from the sun, but eventually got in the ocean for a little bit when the waves calmed down.

Had to travel for work again! Related to the training that I went to at the end of October, we had to spend about a week on Kauai. It was super long and exhausting and I totally forgot it was almost Christmas because it was 80+F and sunny as heck. The location of the work wasn't super ideal and we had to drive at least 30 minutes if we wanted more eating out options (for us in Hawaii this is considered a far drive lol), but at least I get along with my coworkers for the most part which made the trip tolerable. Our accommodations this time weren't as nice as before and I even ended up getting a spider bite while I was sleeping on the last night! No real photos from this trip because the subject matter is a little sensitive and I was only wearing field clothes, but take a look at my weird li hing mui shave ice!

Other than that, December included lot of typical holiday festivities and family gatherings. For Christmas this year, my bf and I made rice krispy treats + oreo coal for my coworkers in super cute round santa bags but I forgot to take a photo before I gave them out!
Major holiday change for me this year was going to the Big Island with my bf to celebrate New Years with his family which is a tradition for them. Unfortunately, I don't have much more I want to post about that at the moment, but it is always nice to spend time with family over the holidays.

In an effort to get this post published before the start of 2019, I'm going to cut this off before anything related to New Years, but I think I'm happy with what is already included for the year in its entirety and don't want to stress about making last minute updates.

MISCELLANEOUS End of Year notes
In past year's reflection posts, I typically wrote about favorites, so I still want to include a small abbreviated section for that here as well as have a space to reflect on the year overall.

There wasn't a specific clothing piece that I wore extremely often or a new favorite, but something new is that I did come around to more longer length dresses this year!
I got a lavender maxi dress from Cecil McBee, the white fishtail dress and both colors of the Emma plumeria romper from Liz Lisa along with a long black wrap dress from Forever 21. I had owned only one long dress prior to this year which I had purchased specifically for attending a wedding and haven't worn since as it's kind of dressy. I've really come around to wearing that type of length more casually now.

What ended up becoming almost an everyday accessory combination - Fitbit Alta HR and jade bracelet
I essentially dumped my Knot watch in a drawer in favor of the Fitbit I got as a Valentine's Day present from my boyfriend. I really like the lavender band which is girly (but not as obvious as pink) and actually matched with a number of my clothes already. Because of its purple color, I often matched it with my jade bracelet which is like a smokey lavender and green combination. Since I was wearing it a lot this year the color is slowly becoming more pronounced!

This was another year where I was very fortunate to have many opportunities to travel.
It wasn't just Japan (x2), but also the Big Island (x3) and, for the first time, Seattle in addition to going to Virginia and Kauai (x2) for work (although that wasn't really by choice). I can't believe how many times I got on a plane and had to be at the airport which is always my least favorite part of traveling, but at least I finally figured out how to get my TSA pre-check status to apply properly.

Personal life
Not unexpectedly, I had a lot of ups and downs this year (who didn't?).
I managed to finally accomplish one of my major life goals - buying a single-family home on Oahu. There's tons of baggage that goes with that, but I'm glad it's worked out so far, and I'm enjoying homeownership. Bf and I went from dating to living together and went on quite a few trips (some short/small). He is absolutely my rock and it's hard to imagine this year without him by my side. Work had its stressors, but luckily I'm able to leave it mostly at the office and have some really great coworkers by my side. We don't all have a lot in common, but there's no toxic personalities and thankfully our boss looks out and advocates for us. I kept up with my running 2 days a week and "crossfit" circuit-type exercises 2 days a week all year which I had started back in June 2017. Even though it's only for 1/2 hour per day, I know I'd be in much worse shape without it.

I had so many fantastic experiences (new and familiar) surrounded by great people. I continue to learn and grow and cannot ask for more.

I think this post ended up being a bit differently formatted than I initially intended (although I did try and rework some of the months after rereading it at the end), but I hope you enjoy! Although with my current mindset, I don't know that I'll want to do this same kind of post next year, please consider leaving me feedback if you're interested in this type of post.

Best wishes to you and yours in 2019!