Monthly Reading: April

I hopped right back on the reading train this month, and even finished both before the end of the month. I did kind of take it easy, though. I read two books that were pretty light and didn’t involve a whole lot of mental work.

The first book I read was Lara Casey’s Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life. Lara Casey is amazing, if you haven’t heard of her. She is the genius behind Power Sheets and Southern Wedding magazine. She is such a positive and has the most beautiful personality, and I really enjoy following her on Instagram–seriously, she has the cutest kids.

 

Anyway, I first heard of her through one of my sisters who uses Lara Casey’s Power Sheets every year. Power Sheets are a tool for you to plan out your goals for the year. I tried them for the first time this year, and I went a little more in-depth about them in my resolutions post.

Her book was very uplifting and made me think, “hey, maybe all my dreams can come true.” So if you want to take a deep-dive into discovering what it is you really want out of life, you should check out her books and maybe even order some Power Sheets because they are seriously life-changing.

The next book I read was one that I had started almost a year ago, but never finished. I feel kind of stupid talking about it, because I feel like this person’s audience base is, like 12, but I’ve been a fan of his since I was that age, so I guess it’s alright.

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I read Shane Dawson’s book, It Gets Worse. I seriously love him so much, and have been watching his videos since I was in middle school. I’ve always enjoyed his twisted sense of humor, and I relate a lot to his body issues. This book really allowed me to see a whole other part of him that I never get to see in his videos. It’s definitely not what I would call a “light” read, but it isn’t a difficult read; it just takes you to some dark places. But at the heart of it all, it is Shane in his truest form, and I loved every page.

That’s it for this month’s reading! I hope you enjoyed. I’m ready to dive back into some long fiction books next month, especially because I WILL BE A COLLEGE GRADUATE!

Keep reading, guys!

 

Photos from: (http://laracasey.com) and (amazon.com)
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April Monthly Bullet Journal Set-Up

Happy April! I don’t know about you but this year is flying by!

Here is my April monthly layout. At this point, there isn’t much difference in how I organize them so I think I’ll just post all my pictures below. I’m really proud of how my cover page came out (as usual my inspiration is from Amanda Rach Lee on YouTube).

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The only things I switched up is my tracker pages. I fell a little behind on my trackers in March so I decided to simplify them this month. And I copied Amanda’s mood tracker for this month but I kept my same color scheme.

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Monthly Reading: February

I’m really proud of the reading habit I’ve created. I’ve really missed it over the years, and flying through book after book gives me an odd sense of accomplishment.

This month, I read two books which is right on target for my yearly goal. I was even able to start my first March book a little early.

The first book I read was Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. It was a cute coming-of-age book about the bond of two step-siblings and their struggles with mental illness and sexuality. The relationship between Little and Lion is very sweet and was the beating heart of the story. It is what kept me invested, wanting to know how things resolved for both of them.

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The next book I read was a given to me by Cassandra. It is called You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. It’s kind of a motivational “self-help” book, but I found it really inspiring and helpful. So, for anyone wanting to light a fire under their ass, you should check it out and recognize the badass in us all.

https://www.journeystrength.com/blogs/news/168713863-book-recommendation-you-are-a-badass-how-to-stop-doubting-your-greatness-and-start-living-an-awesome-life

Check back with me next month to see my thoughts on my March reading!

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

So if you couldn’t tell by my past couple of blog posts, I am putting a lot of effort, thought and time into my goals. And I feel like I’ve made decent progress in all of them, or at least put more intention into them.

However, there is one goal that I am STRUGGLING with. Like it feels like pulling teeth trying to get motivated. That goal is writing. I’m trying to be a writer this year. I have trouble giving myself that title because I don’t feel like I’ve deserved it. To be a writer, you have to write. That’s pretty self-explanatory. I have not written in several years. I’ve journaled, I’ve written blog posts, but I miss writing. In high school, I wrote novels. Like I had written three whole books in high school. Sure, they sucked, but I did it. I finished them. And they had decent plot, a few interesting characters.

Now, though?

Nothing.

I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for 5 years. And I can’t get it out onto a page to save my life. There are just too many uncertainties. I can’t get all the pieces to fit together and it is beyond frustrating. Because it could be so good.

And just like so many other things in my life, I know what I need to do, I just can’t make myself do it. I don’t know what’s stopping me. I’m not afraid. I know I’m capable. I think I just put too much pressure on it to be good. All the real writers always say that the first draft is going to suck. The first draft is the worst that it will ever be. But, with my writing in the past, I’ve always written in one fell swoop. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have an outline. I had an idea, and I created a story.

But that is gone now.

I seem to have lost that ability. But I am also stuck feeling like I don’t know any other way to write. When I try to just write, I feel aimless. At this point, I’m just venting in the form of a blog post. Because I’m not looking for anything. I have the answers. I need to just do it.

Anyway, thanks for reading if you do. Hopefully this is something I can look back on at the end of this year and laugh at. Also, hopefully by then I will have another first draft to add to my collection of Books That No One Will Read.

Monthly Reading: January

As I mentioned in my resolutions post, I want to read two books a month in 2018. I’m currently subscribed to Book of the Month, which I love, but I’ve gotten a little behind with my reading so it is on hold for now until I catch up. Both of the books I read in January were BOTM books and so far they haven’t disappointed.

The first book I read was Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.

https://www.npr.org/2017/07/12/535799520/goodbye-vitamin-is-sweet-but-not-sugarcoated
Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong.

It was kind of a coming-of-age story but about a young woman named Ruth in her twenties instead of pubescent teenagers. Ruth is at a junction in her life where she is dealing with a recent breakup as well as family issues that lead her to move back in with her parents. It is one of those books where you don’t realize the big picture until it’s over. I had a firm grasp on what was going on throughout the book, but it wasn’t until I finished it that I was like, oh shit, I get it now. It was a beautiful story and nothing at all what I thought it would be when I first received it.

The second book was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

http://www.afomaumesi.com/2017/09/08/eleanor-oliphant-completely-fine-review/

This one was definitely my favorite of the month. Recently, Jessica Knoll has become one of my favorite authors (I wrote about her debut novel, The Luckiest Girl Alive, and I’m eagerly awaiting her next novel) and this was a book that she had recommended, so when I saw it as an option, I went ahead and ordered it from BOTM even though I already had an impressive stack of novels yet to be read.

Eleanor is such an interesting character, and I loved every second I got to spend in her head. She is complex and endearing even though I’m certain I would dislike her very much if I ever crossed paths with her in real life. Eleanor is a creature of habit, but throughout this book, she takes measures to examine her past and try new things and meet new people. She reminded me that it really is never too late to change the course of your life. No matter what has happened to you or impeded the plans you had for your life, you can overcome it with enough perseverance and gumption.

I highly recommend both of these books, and I hope this kind of post is something I continue throughout this year (as long as I keep my resolution to read more).

Just Another Resolutions Post

It’s 2018, which means it is time for yet another new year’s resolutions post.

This year I decided to tackle my goals in a new way. This wasn’t particularly difficult since my previous way of setting goals consisted of last minute guestimations of what I wanted out of the new year. My goals always ended up disappointing me because I treated them like birthday wishes, I thought they would come true magically and without any effort on my part.

So instead of wishful thinking and zero follow through, I decided to use Cultivate What Matters’s Goal Planner for 2018.

Their website can probably do a much better job of explaining the ins and outs of their goal planning process, but essentially, you go through their prep work to figure out what is most important in your life. The prep work is emotionally draining and reminiscent of a therapy session, but honestly, I’d do it all over again.

Once the prep work is complete, I decided what I actually wanted to accomplish or make progress towards in the next year. As you’ll recall, this is pretty much where my goal planning ended before. From there, the goal planners allow you to break those goals down into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel excited and in charge of my goals, and I have a seemingly tangible way of accomplishing them.

Another great part about this goal planner is that you get to pick a word for the year–just a single word to inspire you to continue working towards your goals.

My word of the year is “ignite”. There are a lot of things that I want out of life but have been dormant for many years. So this year, I want to ignite those passions again so I can work towards those goals and hopefully be somewhere that I’m proud of by the end of 2018.

Throughout my prep work, I realized there were many things I hoped to accomplish in my life. Some were familiar, and some were kind of surprising. I found things I didn’t realize I’d been hoping for.

I narrowed my goals down to four, but the goal planner has seasonal check-ins so I can change them or add to them throughout the year.

  1. Cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Like every other person this year, I’m looking to leave my crappy eating habits in 2017.
  2. Be a writer. All my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. In high school, all I did was eat, breathe, sleep, and write. However, since starting college, I’ve let it slip to the backburner. Actually, not even the backburner–I let writing fall off the back of the stove, never to be found again. So, this year, I am writing a book. Or at least make progress on writing a book.
  3. Cultivate my interests. Every year, I have a list of books I want to read and a list of classic films that I’ve always wanted to see. But every year, I fail miserably. So this year, I’m going to read 2 books a month and watch 1 movie a week.
  4. Be a strong, faithful Catholic. I have wavered in my faith the past couple of years. Waver may be an understatement, but nonetheless, I am making strides to form a closer relationship with God.

So that’s it. I just wanted to share here to maybe help hold myself accountable. I mean, if it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?

If you have any interest in this kind of goal planning, you should check out Cultivate What Matters’s blog because they share great goal planning tips all the time.

 

Holiday Break Rewind

Happy New Year!

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I’m so happy to be back, and I’m ready to kick 2018’s butt! I am well aware that I’m saying the exact same thing a million other people say once January comes around, and just like them, I’m full of good intentions.

Better follow-through is one of my resolutions.

While I start to get back into the swing of things, I figured I would start back with what I was up to during the last couple of weeks months.

Since my last post was in November, I’ll start with Thanksgiving. I spent it with my family in North Carolina. Yes, all those people are related to me. It’s a Catholic thing.

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It’s not often that we are all together, so we had a fun little photo shoot before digging into some turkey and pie!

Here is my family. You know what they say, families that color-coordinate together, stay together.

 

At the beginning of December, Georgia had some unexpected snowfall, which was inconvenient, yet beautiful.

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I turned 23 in the month of December, but I don’t have any pictures to share. It was a pretty relaxed birthday this year spent with my friend, Cassandra, and the love of my life Adam Driver. He was too busy with press for The Last Jedi, but I was able to at least see his beautiful face on the big screen.

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Right before Christmas, MAC was reunited. Amberlyn flew in from Denver, and was able to spend a few hours with me and Cassandra before we all went home for the holidays.

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We met in Decatur at the Highland Bakery. It was such a nice restaurant with good food. Plus, the company was pretty decent too. Pictured below is my shrimp and grits. I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life but this was my first time trying the dish.

 

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Excuse the shadow of my phone. I need to get better at being a foodie.

 

As my siblings get married and essentially LEAVE, traditions tend to change. So instead of having Christmas morning with them, we all get together Christmas Eve to exchange Secret Santa gifts and have a big family dinner. Then, all of us single kids spend Christmas morning with my parents.

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and loved ones. Here’s to 2018. May it be less crappy for all!

 

 

November Bullet Journal Spread

Happy November 1st everyone! I cannot believe that October is already over! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sharing my October spreads with you.

So for November, I decided to follow along with Amanda Rachel Lee. She is a YouTuber that I follow who does gorgeous spreads and for November she did a crystal theme. I’m not the greatest free-hand drawer so this was actually pretty challenging for me but I think I like how it turned out in the end.

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Here is my month at a glance page. I kept it fairly similar to last month but instead of splitting up the calendar by morning, evening, and all day, I split it between personal and school. So we’ll see by the end of the month how I like the change. As I mentioned in my first post, the customization is my favorite part of bullet journaling.

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Next is my tracking pages. Last month was the first month that I really stuck with my tracking. Even if I didn’t do every habit every day, I was consistent in tracking what I did accomplish. I also really liked the way I did the mood tracker last month where I colored in a different leaf each day so I’m doing the same thing here except with poorly drawn crystals.

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And for the last of my monthly spreads, I have a November Memories page. This has been a really cool part of my bullet journal and I know that it will be fun to look back on over the years.

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P.S. the glitter washi tape is from Target in their dollar section.

Thank you so much for reading.

Fall Activities: Burt’s Pumpkin Farm

The fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather gets cooler, you can wear scarves and boots, and most importantly, there is just so much fun stuff to do.

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Personally, I’m not a huge fan of summer.  Unless it involves a body of water and an ice-cold mixed drink, I’m out. So when the leaves start to change and the weathe drops a few degrees, I’m here for it.

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I’ve got a whole list of fun October/fall things to do coming your way and the first thing I’m going to share is Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville.

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You can also partake in a hay ride through the pumpkin patch. I’ve yet to actually do this because I’m into doing things that are free haha but I’ve heard great things about it.

And before you leave, you’ll definitely want to check out the gift shop to get some delicious baked goods and other souvenirs. I recommend the apple bread and their pumpkin rolls.

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Despite the weather clearly not knowing that it is fall, it was a beautiful afternoon. There were so many people there and so many pumpkins that were lined up perfectly for as far as the eye could see which made it the perfect spot for a little photo shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this post and keep an eye out for another post later this week about the Keeneland horse races!

September Music Round-Up

It’s September, which if you’re a student like me, then that means you are probably starting to feel overwhelmed and nearing a panic attackRecently, music has been a crutch of sorts for me to throw myself on, praying it will hold me together. Well, that and wine. Lots of wine.

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So in true procrastinator spirit, I have abandoned my homework and other daunting assignments, and I compiled a list of songs that I have been obsessed with this month instead. Now, take this with a grain of salt, because I am no music expert. I have pretty lame taste in music. But that’s okay. Because as long as I am not in the midst of a full-blown panic attack, I’d count it as a win.

So without further ado, here is the cluster of music that I scream at the top of my lungs on my way home from class and work.

1. You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore – Demi Lovato

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Demi Lovato is my ride or die when it comes to singers. I mean, aside from my queen, Adele. Like I love her. One of my favorite pastimes is Kitchen Karaoke where I pretend I can sing pop songs. Her voice is amazing, and she blows me away again and again with the control she has over her voice. She has a new album coming out next week, and I am so ready for it.

2. Bodak Yellow – Cardi B

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I’m kind of slow at keeping up with hot music trends. My friend, Cassandra, over at Sequins & Sass played me this song, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Another one of my tried and true pastimes is pretending I can rap.

3. Too Good At Goodbye – Sam Smith

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Need I say more? It’s Sam Smith. You know it’s beautiful. You know it’s great. You know it will make you cry buckets of tears.

4. These Heaux – Bhad Bhabie

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This song made its way into my playlist as a joke, but it’s actually kind of amazing. Again, I like to pretend I can rap. But seriously, give it a shot. Blare it. Love it.

5. Younger Now – Miley Cyrus

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Like Demi, I have loved Miley Cyrus for a long time. Even when people thought she was crazy, I was still there. You can say what you want, but Miley was born to perform. She also has an album coming out next week so basically I’m in music heaven right now.

6. Woman – Kesha

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Kesha’s whole album is pretty great. I was definitely surprised at how real it was, compared to the music she did in the past. This song is another great one to sing scream while speeding driving at a perfectly safe speed down an empty road. There is something really empowering about yelling “I’m a motherfucking woman” at the top of your lungs. You should definitely try it.

7. Tell Me You Love Me – Demi Lovato

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Refer to #1. I’m super pumped for this album. I wanted to spare this list all of my Demi love, but while you’re at it, check out “Sorry Not Sorry”.

8. I’m a Rebel Just For Kicks – Dunez

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This is just such a fun song. It transports me to another place entirely where I’m rocking bell bottoms and crop tops: Coachella. Just kidding, but yeah this song is great.

9. What About Us – P!nk

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P!nk is another amazing singer. Her voice is so rich and distinctive. Enough said. She’s great.

10. Walking the Wire – Imagine Dragons

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This song feels like it belongs in a movie during a montage or something. It’s just a good song. I’m not a huge Imagine Dragons fanatic–like I don’t religiously listen to their music or anything, but I  can’t deny that they’re great musicians.

11. Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift

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I’m a bit of a basic bitch when it comes to music. I love T. Swift. Unless she murders my dog or something, I’ll probably always listen to her music. I don’t think this song will have a super long shelf life–I’m about sick of it–but for a couple weeks, it played on repeat.

12. …Ready For It? – Taylor Swift

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See #11. This one is on the rocks for me because I still haven’t figured out how I feel about her “rapping”, but again, I’m a basic bitch when it comes to Taylor.

13. Attention – Charlie Puth

I liked this song when I first heard it on the radio, and then I’ve recently been really into it. It’s just another fun one to sing along to.

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So that is my music round-up. I’d like to make this something I do regularly, so keep a lookout for next month’s.