Mint Espresso Beans Make One Hyper

…. !! 😀 My parents don’t like me drinking coffee, so I think this was their way of coming to a compromise. I can still fill myself full of caffeine and sugar, but this way I don’t spill it everywhere.

I uploaded more Christmas pictures, and I just wanted to share this one to show you our newest holiday tradition. Last year, I put a burnt waffle on the tree as a joke, and we kept it there all season. This year, we made about six of them and hung them on the tree on purpose. We got compliments all day 🙂

Merry Christmas! And if you follow my on twitter, I sincerely apologize for all the weird talk. My favorite YouTube singer had another livestream tonight, and we’ve been talking about his songs and stuff. (He covered Super Bass, and someone caught it on MP3. ) It was an awesome night, but he posted about it on YouTube (against my suggestion) beforehand, and so the livestream was full to the brim the entire night.

Oh, and my friends and I decided to make a mini music video for Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift, so we went outside and shot some random Hunger Games stuff. We’ll see if that goes anywhere 😉

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Merry Christmas!

I really have nothing original to say– it’s been a beautiful, incredible day, and if I were to try to stop and name my favorite part, I don’t think I could.

Highlights:

-Waking up at 3 a.m. to my little brother jumping up and down on the bed.

-Waking up again at 7 a.m. when we he ran around the room and squealed something about squirrels in his Gir voice. (This is when we actually got up.)

-Seeing the work of Santa. He really knows what I like 🙂 I got a bunch of new clothes, including not one, not two, but THREE vests (^.^), as well as mittens that can morph into fingerless gloves. Plus new headphones for my iPod, a new laptop battery, and software for my graphic tablet. And chocolate-covered mocha beans.

-Packing care packages and heading down to a low-income retirement home for socializing and a service. These elderly people are living pretty roughly, most with little more than the clothes on their back. We had a great time getting to know them and wishing them a Merry Christmas.

-My grandma’s (surprise) birthday party tonight. She, and my best friend’s sister, were both born on Christmas. She totally thought we’d overlooked her 70th birthday, until she watched as all her friends from around the country come through her front door to wish her a happy birthday. It was a great party.

-Getting the coolest piece of jewelry ever. My best friend knows me so well 😀

-And spending time with my family and friends! God bless you all this Christmas!

(My cousin Baylee wishes you all a good night!)

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All is Calm, All is Bright

Merry Christmas Eve, you guys! Hope you and your family have a blessed evening.

Now I’m gonna go break open a gallon of eggnog and take some pictures of our Christmas party 🙂 Happy (early) Birthday, Jesus!

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These Commemorative Posts Feel Stupid

Well, today’s my 350th post. Faith and I always seem to hit our “milestones” at the same time, though, and her posts are always cooler than mine. She has fancy guest speakers come and write awesome poetry, while I just kind of write one paragraph about it and then move on to normal programming.

So here’s her blog, and here’s Kirsten‘s 300th-post commemoration, which is also better than mine.

I was going to do a really neat post or something, but one of my favorite YouTubers ended up doing a livestream, and I got distracted watching it. So instead I’ll give you the trailer for The Legend of Korra (which I just found today, because I’m ignorant), and the first released song for the Hunger Games movie soundtrack, because it’s awesome.

And if you think this post is lame, blame Ashestoashesjc (known as Ashe), because his incredible livestream kept me from blogging. Yeah, it’s all his fault.

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Winter Break is Awesome

Today I woke up at noon, which is the earliest I’ve gotten up since break started. My siblings jumped up and down on my limp body until I sat up, and then propositioned a spur-of-the-moment bike ride to Walmart and a frozen yogurt store. It seemed stupid and we didn’t really have any reason to go, except to buy treats for our dogs for Christmas.

Naturally, of course, we were out the door within half an hour.

It was really fun–I think we all enjoyed it. After we bought the dog treats, we went and bought Pocky for my friend, then Christmas presents for our parents (haha, guess what we got you. Guess). Then I bought sodas, my sister bought frozen yogurt, and we sat outside and toasted Jesus an early happy birthday.

Later, I got an ornament from my friend with the endearing transcription, “Friendship is two pals munching on a well-cooked face together.” He always knows just how to get to my heartstrings.

I should give a shout-out to my sister, who got up to get me a glass of water on the condition that I’d thank her on my blog. Here you go, Hope. Thanks for the water.

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Dinner at My House

Welcome to the Aloha household! I’ve set the table with an extra place for you.

What’s that? Why are we eating on the coffee table, sitting on pillows? Because it’s Indian/Star Trek style, of course! Hence the centerpiece.

Who’s body is that, buried beneath the blankets? Oh, just my little brother. He’s the reclusive type.

What are we having? Chicken with pita bread (not peeta bread, fangirls).

As well as green beans and corn.

After dinner, we’ll take pictures for this post, and then watch the movie Elf while I write our family’s annual Christmas letter. Then I’ll finish watching the addictive series Princess Jellyfish, RAGEQUIT at the terrible ending, and sleep for fourteen hours.

(Yes, I woke up at 2 p.m. today. No, my parents were not pleased.)

I got a Facebook today (that I can’t link you to, for obvious reasons). Now I’m trying to figure out how to not-friend all these people that I know but don’t necessarily want to be friends with. The site keeps flooding every page with suggestions, and it makes me want to knaw my arm off. Plus, everyone on there is so conceited. “I’m so ugly!” they say with fourteen layers of concealer and their lowest, tightest shirt on. Then, fifteen of their 1,463 friends will be like “OMG SHUT UP GRL U SO PRETY”, and then she’ll be like “thx i luv u so much hon <3<3<3<3<3” and then I’ll be like “DIE, N00B5.”

Except instead I just kind of facepalm and log off. It’s a sad, sad day when you go to YouTube or Twitter to find some sanity.

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Top 25 Ways to Use a Blanket

My beautiful sister Hope agreed to share an excerpt from her new book, 1001 Ways to Wear a Bedspread In Public, with you guys. It’s being published by Harpercollins next month, so keep an eye out for it. Full color! 1340 pages, with an introduction by Chuck Norris.

“One of the most enthralling nonfiction reads of the year. Hope has certainly done it again!” –Booklist, starred review.

“I will never look at a blanket the same way again. Don’t leave home without this book.” –ALA, four stars.

“Actually…. it was decent. It was quite decent. Honestly, it surprised me.” –Simon Cowell, speechless.

Without further ado, here’s a bit of Chapter 11: Uses for Holiday Blankets.

A good collection of Christmas blankets is essential for every social gathering. It can send any number of messages, depending on how you wear it and whether or not it clashes with your outfit. Below is a list of common uses and their subtexts. This is not a definitive guide! Feel free to experiment and find the perfect holiday blanket look for you.

1) The Zombie.

Still in the Halloween spirit? Or just heralding in 2012 with a bit of pre-apocalyptic fun? This look says, “I’m hungry, and not just for hors d’oeuvres”.

2) The Picnic Blanket

Sometimes, nothing can be more romantic than a quiet evening by the fire. (There’s a fire there, I just didn’t get it in the shot.)  But you don’t want to ruin your perfectly good carpet by sitting on it! What’s one to do?

The solution is simple, with this innovative design. Spread it out like so, lay down some food, and enjoy!

3) Sack Races

Rudolph might not have been allowed to participate in any reindeer games, but that shouldn’t stop you! Nothing says “holiday fun” like a little sack race, and nothing says “I’ll pwn you, n00bs!” like using a stylish blanket!

4) A Backdrop for Your Sock Photoshoot

If you own blindingly neon holiday socks, it’s only fair that you should show them off.

5) A Backdrop for Your Other Sock

Let’s be fair here. (Yes, my sister was actually wearing both of these socks at the same time. She wouldn’t be caught dead with matching, or white, socks.)

6) A Purse

You know those stupid “hobo shoulder bags” that are all saggy and only hold, like, two things? This is approximately 82% more useful. (Or as they’d say in Uglies, which I’m rereading right now, “so much more sense-making!”.) Plus, if you’re planning on kidnapping someone, you can probably get away with it.

7) A Hat

Be the envy of all your friends.

8.) I Don’t Actually Know What This Is

At the time of photographing, it was brilliant. Now I don’t know exactly what it’s supposed to mean.

Anyway, it’s cool. And festive.

9) The Classic Blanket

Take the Snuggie to a new level. Eliminate the sleeves and actually wrap it all the way around yourself. IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE!

10) The Normal Cloak

She vants to drink your blood.

11) The Cloak of Invisibility (AVPM style)

You know what I’d give that Aloha? No more than an 8.5. No, okay, maybe a 9, but NO MORE than a 9.8. Everyone has room for improvement.

Use this to hide from headmasters, Stormtroopers, and everything in between!

12) Lightsaber Shield

In case #11 is defective.

13) Egyptian headdress

You’d be surprised.

14) Gift Wrap

Instead of throwing it away, the recipient can enjoy another gift in itself! (Not advisable for wrapping chocolates, puppies, or bombs.)

15) Punishing Annoying Younger Brothers

There’s a little boy next to the tree. He wasn’t [severely] harmed in the making of this book excerpt.

16) Taking a Stormtrooper Hostage

If you’re ever wanted by the Empire, you’ll be grateful you kept your blanket with you. It’s like the Star Wars equivalent of the Hitchhiker towel.

17) Holding The Grinch Hostage

I don’t know when we considered this a good idea. But, y’know, maybe his heart shrinks again and they put a bounty on his head. Then you can, like, trade him in for some Who pudding or something.

IDK, man.

18) Hide-and-Seek Pwn

Win every time.

19) A Skirt

Also works if you accidentally rip your pants in public. No one will notice your transition to a gorgeous wrap-around skirt! Reason number 934 that you should keep a blanket in your locker, as stated in Chapter 4.

20) A Miniskirt

Do it for Colonel Mustang.

21) A Shirt/Bikini Top

Perfect for school or the pool–the only way to stay absolutely cool! (Note: a Blanket can be used as a substitute for almost every article of clothing. Here, we only demonstrate the basics.)

22) Stocking Stuffer

Literally! (Get it?) Proven to please every child, regardless of what they actually asked for.

23) To April Fool’s Prank Loved Ones

They’ll laugh at your hilarity. Don’t be alarmed if they play along and pretend to get scared– they just don’t want to ruin your joke! The doctor, your boyfriend, and your best friends will be tickled to death.

24) Ghoul Cosplay

For a less “you’re so grounded”-inducing prank. Boo!

And finally,

25) Concealer

Self-conscious about that wart/blemish/little brother stuck to your ankle? Never fear! Just apply a light coat of Blanket and watch the disfigurement disappear.

.

I hope you enjoyed this sample! Come back next time for an excerpt of my brother’s new nonfiction read, Bubbles’ 700 Ways to Disguise Yourself Using a Bean-Bag Chair, and don’t forget to buy 1001 Ways to Wear a Bedspread In Public when it’s released in January!

A big thanks to Hope, Bubbles, and my dad for modeling.

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Welcome to Volde-Mart!

Are they allowed to say the word “bra” on Disney Channel? Either way, I was actually surprised to find this clip. It made me laugh a bit–something that the stupid sketch comedy show So Random has never done before*.

“The boy who lived…. come to buy…. ointment.”

*(Seriously, guys, if you want a role model, go watch some Who’s Line Is It, Anyway? That’s real comedy. And bring Demi back, because she made the show. *cough*Not that I watched it or anything. For Sterling Knight.*cough*)

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Outwit, Outplay, Outlast

I’ve literally been watching Survivor since the show started. Created in 2000, the reality show was the first of its kind to truly captivate American audiences. The game takes a group of complete strangers and maroons them on islands in “tribes”, where they’re forced to make alliances and win challenges to provide immunity. If you’re in the losing tribe, then you’re forced to vote one of your own off the island. This continues until the numbers dwindle and the tribes merge, at which point it becomes an individual game. From that point on, your goal is to win challenges for yourself and avoid getting voted out by your tribemates. When the game gets down to three people, those three stand in front of the last nine people they voted out (known as the Jury) and plead their cases as to why they should win the million dollar prize and be crowned that season’s Survivor champion. Those nine vote and a victor is decided.

There are two seasons a year (making this season the show’s 23rd). Tonight was the finale, the culmination of all this drama. As you know, because I’ve blogged about it here and here, I was closely following this season because of the brilliant Mr. Cochrane. I hadn’t been so excited by a season since Heroes vs. Villains when J.T. and Stephanie (my two previous favorites) duked it out.

Heck, this might have topped that! Mostly because J.T. was a huge jerk. /disgust

Anyway, all that aside, tonight was everything we wanted it to be. I told my grandma during a commercial break that the ideal outcome would be a twist where “Cochrane comes back and wins under any circumstances!”. That didn’t happen, but it was still a good finale. Ozzy definitely had things going for him, and to see his hopes crushed so violently (and his subsequent “we’re all winners” speech) was pretty disheartening, but Sophie played a good game. Yeah, she could be a brat at times, and yes, she did kind of slip under the radar. But who doesn’t get grumpy after over a month without a shower? And trust me, no one wins without having at least a bit of an influence in the game.

Albert realized she was a threat, but he was a bit too late to the cards. Coach was blind to the fact that he might not actually be in the sweet spot he thought he would (“It’s my game to lose at this point! I have everyone wrapped around my finger!”), and frankly I’m not sure if the jury would even know who Rick was. Ozzy played an amazing game and did his best, but in the end it seems that a Day-One alliance triumphed over his total redemption.

Ozzy did win the $100,000 fan favorite award, though, so I don’t think he’s too busy nursing his wounds. (To be noted: Cochrane came in second.)

It was just a good game. Yeah, people were jerks, and Cochrane didn’t win like I thought he would, and Brandon’s family is disgusted with how he played. But a lot of people (namely Ozzy, Cochrane, Dawn, and Edna) played with good intentions.

Next season’s twist is that the contestants live together, even while on separate tribes–I’ve never seen Big Brother, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same concept. Should be interesting. Who knows? Maybe NBC will bring us another Cochrane to inspire and enlighten nerds everywhere.

It was a good season and a good night. All that’s left to say is….

The tribe has spoken.

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Self Control

I wrote a section of the devotional for our church’s upcoming study on the fruits of the spirit, and my prompt was “self control” for Romans 12:1-2. I thought I’d share it with you guys, too! (Let me know if I screwed up on grammar or anything so I can fix it before I submit it. :D)

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:1-2

Living as a Christian in today’s world is hard—really hard. We’re blessed to live in a society where opulence is everywhere and beautiful things are commonplace. We want for nothing, and even those that are struggling are incredibly wealthy compared to most people on Earth. Yet this can be a curse, as well. We become comfortable in our lives of luxury and allow our standards to slip. When you can do literally anything, it takes immense self control to maintain your values.

That’s especially a problem in high school, where anything goes and peer pressure rules. To set and keep those boundaries is a challenge, but the reward is great. Like Romans 12:1 says, to be holy and pleasing to God is the greatest worship you can offer Him. When your heart remains unswayed by 1) how others expect you to conform, and 2) your own temptations, it pleases Him to no end. As my mom would say, it tickles His heart.

Another important aspect is to have a community of people who share your same values. You’ll never be pressured to conform if they’re fighting your battles alongside you, and on top of that you’ll be able to share your triumphs and losses. That’s where the church comes in. Not only is it your responsibility to exercise self-control and maintain your values, but you should also encourage others in the church and help to provide an environment where they don’t have to worry about peer pressure.

Romans 12:2 has been my “verse of the year” for about three years, because it means so much to me and is constantly applicable in my everyday life. I’ve grown to rely on my self control. I’ve been a vegetarian for ten years without touching meat, and—with God’s help—resisted the peer pressure of middle school and high school in a way that I hope pleases Him. Being “cool”, “in”, “hip”, or “super-fly”…. All those pale in comparison to the reward that God will offer us in heaven in exchange for our pure hearts.

This week:

1)      Identify areas where peer pressure and conformity are testing you. It could be obvious (drugs, pornography), or you could be challenged subtly (language, the way you dress). Make it a point to stand up against them and keep your heart pure.

2)      Do you know anyone who’s struggling with nonconformity? Let them know that you support them in their efforts—then take action. Invite them to coffee! Introduce them to people who share your same values! Make it easy to do the hard, but right, thing.

3)      Pray that God would help you as you continue in this journey toward Him. Remember Romans 12:1-2 and the rewards it offers. Heaven’s gonna be great!!

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