Friday, December 31, 2021

My 2021

Click for past year's wrap ups: [My 2020] [My 2019] [My 2018] [My 2017] [My 2016] [My 2015]

Another year in the pandemic leads to another recap that's less than exciting. Writing this post has seemed a little more like a chore this year for some reason, but I do enjoy looking back at these types of posts later (especially comparing changes over the years), so I know it will be worth it!

Another slightly less consistent looking purchases section (compared to when I started in 2015!) because my shopping focus/priorities has been changing and just expanding to different things and life changes in general!
iPad - I had resisted getting a tablet for a long time. I didn't have a specific use for one and didn't think it would be worth spending money on. However, I ended up doing a lot more facetime/zoom/video chatting this year and the mobility of a tablet came in a lot more handy compared to my phone due to size and laptop due to battery life + how warm it gets. It's honestly been really useful, and I consider it money well spent, especially because I was able to get a decent deal with a price match.
Kahua aina Nā I’a print items - this fish print from a small, local business has truly captured my heart lol. I bought the printed backpack (really meant for children I think lol)...not one but two, since she had some items that were improperly printed. I'm not really a casual backpack wearer for the day-to-day but I do like using this one for short hikes for just carrying water and maybe a snack or two. I also ended up buying the matching lunch bag and round towel/blanket. I also bought my parents some ornaments of the fish from the print! 
Powerbeats Pro - technically this was a gift, but it's had a major impact for me this year, so I want to include it here. My husband got these for me to wear while I run. We usually run together and often chit chat while we go, and also in the past, I hadn't really run with my phone. I had some changes to my running routine and now mostly run on my own for slightly longer distances and keep my phone and a mask in a little pouch. I had been using corded earbuds for a while, so these are a huge improvement and allow me to answer texts and calls while running without having to actually take out my phone which is super useful. 
Popflex Active (Marble collection) activewear - I had bought a few pieces from Popflex before, but really fell into it in 2021 after loving some items from the Marble collection (blogged here). The fabric is so soft, just the right amount of stretchy and I love the marble "print"! I had always hated spending money on activewear, but with the amount I was running this year, I convinced myself that it was worthwhile to upgrade my sports bras and leggings and I'm really glad I did! I ended up wearing the acai marble set for the marathon. 
Banana Republic high rise skinny jeans - Never thought jeans would be in this section, but I have been wearing these non-stop! My husband actually found a pair of jeans for himself from Banana Republic that he really likes (previously didn't own any denim) when we were looking for something for our engagement photoshoot, and that made me think I might find something I really like as well. It took me a little longer to find something that suited my style/fit the way I wanted, but I have been wearing these at least once a week, if not more, and are my top choice for traveling lately. 
Smokey green (Maison de fleur) items - I really came around to this color this year and the thing that turned my head the most was the Maison de fleur tote! It's been way more useful than I ever anticipated in the short time that I've owned it, and the color is just lovely. While pink or black would have been fine as well, I'm so happy I decided to go with the green. It feels so fresh and also made me realize how many other things I had/was seeing in this color! 

I hardly went out this year (again). And when I did, apparently I often didn't take a "good" picture of my outfit like I would in the past where I focused a lot more on social media. I did have outfits that I liked and I do still enjoy fashion, but just not taking photos as much actually. Here's just a few assorted snaps that I feel represent my style this year (from my available photos) -
I've really leaned into more casual looks lately and have really enjoyed wearing denim! I do still enjoy the himekaji-inspired style, but don't always have the mental bandwidth to deal with "standing out," even if it's just a little bit. The Ted Baker jumpsuit and the Liz Lisa Emma romper make another appearance this year because they were part of my limited wardrobe that I had for over half the year with me and I wore them many more times than I would have otherwise, but I was happy to do so. 

While I had my really long hair in the first half of the year, I really enjoyed braiding my hair in two and then looping it around. 
I will probably not keep my hair that long for a long time more because it was honestly kind of annoying, so I just want to give that a small shoutout here too! It was such a simple but elegant looking hairstyle. Works for half-up/half-down and also a complete up-do as well.

Blogging and Social Media
Honestly, I don't have much to say for this category right now. I had to go back and look at what I wrote last year, and I'm trying not to be too repetitive. I definitely took blogging less seriously this year. I started the first two months strong but just lost motivation in the middle when I had a lot going on (not in a bad way) in my personal life. Traveling and shopping was carrying my content for a good long time, but I have been slightly reducing (not necessarily intentionally) both of those things and just spending my time differently overall. I've also had a couple changes in setting this year which contributed to having a reduced available wardrobe and just making it a little more difficult to have a good setting for coordinate photos. 
These are really just excuses, but I do want to say that there are some future blog posts that I'm really looking forward to that I plan to commit to for next year. And hopefully will be more similar to my old standard of information and photos!
From this year, my favorite blog posts have been [Dyson Airwrap - I actually didn't even realize this one was in 2021 bc it seems so long ago🤦] [Red cut out dress for Valentines Day - not at all popular in terms of views or feedback but I enjoyed shooting and styling this one a lot!] and almost everything in the [Wedding series, especially the wedding dress shopping post]. Writing about the different aspects of the wedding was as close to my older/"classic" way of blogging from 2017-2019 and I enjoyed it a lot because I didn't have to scramble for content and I really enjoyed sharing the process. 

Primarily travelled to the outer islands this year, keeping with what seemed a little more reasonable during the pandemic. I was able to travel for family, work and a little just for fun as well. 
Big Island - My husband was away for lychee season this year, but I still wanted to contribute/participate, so I went to Hilo without him for two weekends during the summer to help on the farm. It's always a lot of work but also a lot of fun. We are also going to Hilo for New Years celebrations as well.
Kauai - For work, we continued to have occasional onsite work, and I went over in November. I also organized a girls trip with my MOH in August. My husband and I had planned to go in December, but ended up cancelling (see Personal Life section for more). 
Japan, actually - It's still not open for tourists, but due to my husband's job, I was able to go over there in September/October and then again in November/December, but these weren't the typical trips that I used to take to Tokyo pre-pandemic which is why I didn't fully blog. I did still follow the applicable quarantine procedures, and I will explain a bit more about the circumstances in the Personal Life section. 
Only thing that's really new with travel for me this year is that I have recently been picking the middle set of seats (when arrangements are like -- ----- --) on flights I know will be less crowded. I used to be hardcore window sides, but it's been quite a joy to fly on some longer flights with less people and having the entire 3-4 seats in the middle on my own lol. Obviously when things start filling up again, I will go back to sitting by the window, but it's been nice for the moment.

Personal Life/Miscellaneous
At the end of my 2020 recap, I mentioned that we had some big decisions to make that would greatly affect how 2021 would go. 

My husband's new job
My husband applied for and we were notified that he was selected for a job in Kanagawa in November 2020. This would obviously mean a lot of changes for us and a lot of impact on our lives for the length of the job contract (for lack of a better word). As someone who somewhat enjoys traveling to Japan, I have never had any desire to live there, so it wasn't an easy yes for me, in addition to it being in the middle of a pandemic. We had a lot of discussions about it and decided that my husband would go ahead on his own and then I would follow when I was able to get my own job there (allowing myself 1 year to do so). This would mean that we would be living separately for a bit (and an unknown amount of time). Based on the housing market and the timing for our household goods would be transported to Japan, we made the decision to sell our house.
We are anticipating being in Japan for the job for at least 3 years (and then likely returning to HI), but had been looking to possible move out and find a different home anyway before knowing about the job offer. Since our things (bed, furniture, kitchen stuff, electronics, etc) would be going with my husband, it didn't make sense for me to stay in the house by myself and buy/borrow duplicates of those things, so I went back to my parents house to stay in their guest room/my old room, haha. We were lucky to be able to quickly sell our house with many offers/interest after the first open house above our list price and then it really started to feel final! We stayed in an Airbnb until he left in June and I went to stay with my parents and that's where I still am at the end of 2021.

Wedding event
This has been blogged to death, but I thought it warranted a mention in this personal life section, since it was somewhat of a "big" event this year despite it not being our "real" anniversary and not exactly how we wanted it to be due to the ongoing pandemic. I'll leave the prior blogged posts to explain more in detail, but I'm glad we no longer have the planning for this hanging over our heads. 

My husband's broken collarbone
Not the most positive thing, but again, I think worth mentioning here. He went snowboarding with some friends near Mt Fuji on Thanksgiving and then landed in a less than ideal way and broke his left collarbone. That prompted my unexpected and unplanned 2nd trip to Japan in 2021 where I only stayed for about 10 days (quarantined basically the whole time). He's still in the process of healing but hope to be back in full form early next year.

Running/Honolulu Marathon
I had a small "fitness" section in some of the past years, and this year my focus has very much been on running! My friend had convinced me (and then therefore my husband) to sign up for the 2020 Honolulu Marathon before we had any inkling of a pandemic. The marathon was cancelled last year, so we were all off the hook and had an extra year to train. I was running about 3-4 times a week (25-37ish miles/week) for the months leading up to December 10, as was my husband. 
Unfortunately, due to his injury, he wasn't able to run it, but my friend and I went ahead. We ran pretty much none of it together (which we anticipated) and finished around 4:30 (her) and 4:45 (me). This wasn't really a bucket list item for me, so I can't say I'm glad I did it, but it was an interesting experience at least!

What's next for 2022?
In the next year, I'm hoping to spend more time in the same country as my husband. Crossing my fingers for a good job opportunity to come through in the first several months of the year. I want to continue running (but more casually). We are also hoping for a successfully healed left collarbone. And VERY MUCH for the spread of COVID-19 to slow down significantly and tourism to feel safe again. We were both lucky to be able to get vaccinated in February/March 2021 and now both have the booster shots as well.
This wasn't the most exciting year in my eyes, but there were a lot of changes when I think about it, with selling the house and living separately actually both being a huge things. I guess I don't consider that "exciting" because it doesn't feel complete to me, if that makes sense, since I'm still a little bit in limbo until I move as well. I'm looking forward to that feeling resolved and figuring out my new normal.
Sending warm wishes for the holidays! Here's to health, hope, and happiness for 2022 💗


  1. omgg that was a lot going on this year. a lot of difficult situations as well. I hope your 2022 goes well and I'm looking forward to seeing how your style and blog potentially changes once you're in Japan. crossing my fingers for you!

    1. Thank you! I'm really hoping to keep up with content but hopefully not in a dry way. With the pandemic looming for basically 2 years already, I can't wait for travel to feel safe again!

  2. Hi Emii, this is my first time commenting.

    I love all your content and the dedication you put into it, your outfits inspire me.

    I hope you have an excellent year, I think it would be very interesting if you decide to move and blog your life in Japan

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I hope to be able to have fun things to post when COVID is less daunting. Best wishes for your 2022 as well!

  3. the powerbeats pro look super cute and ur lucky to have someone gift you those! im thinking of getting a watch for running because i do want to workout but earbuds always seem to slip out my ear, so i might try a watch with these earbuds u got? hmm we will see..
    thanks for sharing how your year went, my reader is pretty dead so i appreciate the bloggers that are still active! <3

    1. I will admit sometimes I get a little "ear fatigue" from these specific ones after maybe 2-3+ hours but LOVE being able to hook them on something when I'm not wearing it for a second. The charge also easily lasted the whole marathon which is great too. Another thing I don't love about them is that you can't turn them "off" but so far it's been okay. I use them for about an hour a time at least 3 times a week if not more.
      Thanks for sticking around!