Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title.
What I'm Wearing: Not So Ugly Christmas Sweater - Adam Levine Collection, Jeans - Adam Levine Collection, Boots - Apt 9, Socks - Happy Socks
"Christmas Time, The Ones I Love" (feat. Happy Socks)
It's Christmas week. One of the most beautiful and memorable weeks of the year. It's finally time to wrap the last of the presents, prep the big dinners, put up the last of the lights, and celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's a week of heavy relfection and precious moments. Christmas is my favorite holiday. Since I was a kid i've had nothing but beautiful memories made every single year. I grew up very fortunate to have a family who was able to celebrate like we do. It wasn't all about the gifts for me. Sure, they were truly amazing, but the little moments made are the best memories I have. For my final collaboration of the year, Happy Socks and I have come full circle. I was sent a gift box of lovely holiday socks and knew exactly what the page was going to be about upon seeing the candy cane design. When I was 16 years old I wrote a song on Halloween called "Christmas Time (The Ones I Love). I know what your saying... Halloween? Well, as soon as Halloween comes I'm already blasting Christmas music and getting myself festive for 2 months of joy and love. When I wrote this song I knew time was ticking for me. The year was ending and I was entering the last half of my 11th and 12th grade years at the same time. I had just completed The X Factor season 1 that year and began working on my first record. I could already feel me miss my loved ones as the final year of innocence approached. I had a plan. Within 10 months I would be out of my parents house and home in LA where I belong. I wrote this as a dedication to my childhood and as love letter to my future. Happy Socks really expanded my mind this year. Being able to see beyond their designs brought me down memory lane. What a beautiful poetic way to celebrate Christmas by celebrating my Christmas past with a brand that has helped me to accept the good and bad of my my journey so far.
As a child my parents would always find a way to go above and beyond for my sister, my uncle, and myself. It's always been the 5 of us. Now that we are older there is more of us. We are so blessed to have my nephews experience Christmas with us now. My boys Tyson a Titus remind me of when I was kid, wide eyes and mesmerized by the mysteries of Christmas. Seeing presents, hearing Christmas carols, learning about Jesus and experiencing Santa - The wonder in their little minds makes me feel as if my special childhood memories live on in them. Seeing them run around the house I grew up in makes me feel so fortunate for all that we have had in our lives over the years. I decided to do something different. All these photos were taken at our family home in the Bay Area. I can't recreate the memories already made, but I can look back on them and honor them moving forward. As I head into the New Year with the plan of moving back to my home in LA, 8 hours away from my parents and my loved ones, my goal is to make this one of the most special days ever. My mom always found a way to make us festive every year. Our house has always been decorated. We have calmed down a little, but growing up, damn... It was something. We still decorate a lot, but when I was kid the whole house, every corner was festive. My mom and dad made sure we cherished the hard work they put into our home. I still remember waking up every Christmas morning and tearing those gifts open. Although I no longer eat meat, I can still smell the delicious meals my family made. I look forward to purchasing our Christmas trees and decorating them with my cousins or other members of our family. I still love the sound of waking up to my mom singing in our native language in the kitchen every morning. Then there comes the time when my dad puts up all the lights on the house and makes our home feel like a bright shining star. I still feel the excitement when my family knocks on the door ready to have a fun day. These are things I try to replay in my head a lot.
Some years we spent Christmas in California early and then Christmas week would be spent in Washington state with my Grandma. I think part of the reason why I cherish this holiday so much is because of my Grandma. She loved Christmas. Every year she would have this rosary said for the birth a jesus, we call it a novena. Then on Christmas day she would have the biggest and grandest party in Port Orchard, Washington. I wish I had photos of her house because she put so much love into decorating her many different Christmas trees. When my Grandma passed away in 2011, Christmas felt so different. That year was really quiet, but we still managed to make memories with her through the spirit in our home. My grandma helped purchase this house for our family. She owned some land in Guam and sold it. With a part of that money my parents used it as down payment for our family home. So my Grandma's spirit runs throughout this home. All my loved ones who have stepped into this house has made every Christmas have a lasting memory in my heart. I don't consider the Bay Area my home, my home is in LA. I do however consider my parents home, our family home, a keeper of a part of my heart. For me, my loved ones and Christmas help plant the seeds for the foundation of my year to come. Obviously we haven't had a good year this year. I haven't had the best last few years. But the other day at a performance I did, I told my audience - I don't know why, but I feel like something good is going to come my way. Through all the bad, I feel some sort of light is bound to shine on me and my family. This year on Christmas I look back at all the little moments. As I walk towards a new road I will use the love I have from my family, the ones I love, to make it feel like all the previous special Christmas days, every day.
I could sit here forever and go into each detail of every Christmas for the past 22 years. But the photos I have speak for themselves. As the year ends I feel like at least this "War Is Over". I still have many more battles to be fought and won. But in my darkest hours i'll have the memories of Christmas shine through everything I do. I love the ones I love. As we get older we don't get to see everyone we care about. Some people don't live close by, some people aren't on this Earth anymore. But what I do know is we can always go back to those moments and have them stay in our hearts forever.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Book 2: Chapter 4