January 2021 Wrap Up

The first month of the year is over, and so far 2021 has been going well. I’ve gotten a lot done & started a new semester of school!

Reading

I read 8 books this month, which is more than I was expecting to! My only real goal for the year is to slow down with reading and take my time with each book. So far that’s going really well! I’m also trying to prioritize the books I already own (and I can only read other books if they’re from the library).

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab– ⭐️⭐️⭐️

As my first read of the year, this was an enjoyable one! It’s definitely not my favorite Schwab read so far, but I still enjoyed it.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a book about a small secluded town where a stranger shows up one day, and children start disappearing at night. The townspeople believe that these kidnappings are caused by the stranger, but our main character, Lexi, believes he is innocent.

There were things I loved (the witches, the premise), and some things I didn’t like as much (the romance, the character development), but overall, it was good!

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth– ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I picked up this audiobook from Libro.fm because I was seeing it everywhere. I really enjoyed it, and now I want to pick up a physical copy so that I can see the illustrations in the book.

This book follows two different timelines. One is in the past at a boarding school where a couple of girls form a club inspired by a popular memoir. One day, two of the girls are killed by a swarm of yellow jackets, and then a few weeks later, another girl dies holding the memoir. The present timeline follows an author who wrote a book about the boarding school. The book is being turned into a movie, so we also learn about the two actresses playing the leading roles in the film.

It was a spooky book full of twists and turns, and I really enjoyed it!

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker– ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I feel like I’ve talked about this book so much already, but I really, really liked it! I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about reading a book about illness during a pandemic, but I’m actually very glad that I did. It was comforting in a way, and I could really relate to the characters.

The writing was beautiful, and I liked the pacing. We followed various characters through short chapters, so it felt like we were going scene to scene like a movie.

Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale– ⭐️⭐️

Unfortunately, this next read was not so great. I honestly thought it was a contemporary novel, just based on the cover & synopsis. But in reality, it was masquerading as a fantasy. The main character drops out of high school to try and make it as a broadway star in New York City. When that doesn’t work, she follows the mom of the girl she is nannying to Montana to continue to work for them. One day, she enters a bookstore, gets a book, and then starts reading it. Suddenly, she gets transported to the book she’s reading.

The premise sounded okay, but the execution was so poor. The main character was so unlikeable. Actually, all of the characters in it were unlikeable. This book was just a mess in my opinion. It felt more like I was reading a middle grade novel than YA, but it didn’t make a lot of sense. The ending was the worst part—it was so random and not entirely explained.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston– ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The first time I read this classic was junior year of high school. When Libro.fm was offering the audiobook for free, I jumped on the chance to re-read it. I adored it even more on my second read than the first.

I also remember really enjoying the movie, so that is now on my list of things to re-watch soon!

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay– ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t know where to even begin with this book. It was such a wonderful reading experience. I really took my time with it, and I fell in love with Ami McKay’s writing. This book contains everything that I love—NYC, witchcraft, murder, friendship, a mysterious crow, and more. There is a bit of a mixed media element to the book, too, which made it really interesting.

What I enjoyed most was the way the story unfurled and came together. These seemingly unrelated chapters all slowly weaved into each other. It was quite honestly a masterpiece.

This was a book I picked up from the bookstore on a total whim, and it is one that I am so happy to have in my collection. The characters and the atmosphere just feel like home to me. It’s going to be a comfort read for sure.

Gerald’s Game by Stephen King– ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I think I’ve just accepted the fact that King’s writing is not for me. This book started off okay, but then it seemed to drag on for longer than it needed to. I wasn’t particularly interested in the characters, so the plot just fell flat. It was also a little unrealistic for me. If it weren’t for the audiobook, I probably would have DNF’d. I don’t see myself reading anymore of his works in the future, either.

Laura by Leonora Sansay– ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t have much to say about this story. I read it for my English class, and it was a very short read! It was an interesting story, but not something I would read again.

Links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission from purchases you make. Not sponsored.

What were some of your best reads of the month? Did you find any new favorites?

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

For the last few months, I have been adopting various minimalist habits in order to live a simpler, clutter-free life. The new documentary from The Minimalists was just released this month on Netflix, so I thought it was a good time to share 10 items that I CAN’T live without!

These are all things that I brought to my life with intention, and that are purchases I am very happy to have made! Everyone’s list will obviously look different, but I thought this would be interested to create and read :) I hope you enjoy it!

My Kindle Paperwhite

The very first thing that popped into my head when I thought of this idea was my kindle. I obviously can’t put a bunch of books on this list, so my Kindle is the next best thing! It is one of the best purchases I made in 2020 (and just my life in general). I’ve gotten a lot of e-ARCs from publishers over the 5 years I’ve been blogging. How did I read all of them? On my phone. It was not a fun time. My eyes would always hurt and I would get distracted by notifications, and it was just uncomfortable.

Not only does my Kindle solve all of those issues, but it also means I don’t have to own as many books. I have been unhauling lots of books over the last few months because all I want in my collection is books I absolutely adore. If someone were to look at my shelves, I want them to see an accurate representation of my reading tastes, which means I no longer want to keep books I think are just mediocre. The Kindle allows me to read a lot of books while also making sure I don’t accumulate too many in my physical space.

Scrivener

As a writer, my greatest investment so far has been this program. Scrivener is an amazing tool that allows you to organize your novel into different files, allowing you to easily switch between chapters, notes, character outlines, and more. It really ensures that none of your writing gets lost, and everything is easy to locate when you need it.

There are tons of YouTube videos online about how it works, so if this interests you, I highly recommend looking into it. You can even get a discount if you win NaNoWriMo!

Spotify

I have to admit, I’m not a huge music fan. I have a few favorite artists who I play on repeat, and I listen to music in the shower and while doing work. But what I love about Spotify is just how much it offers! With my student plan, I get Spotify and Hulu every month for the equivalent of a cup of coffee from Starbucks.

Not only can I play music, I can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks from this one application! It is amazing. I also love that you can create playlists with friends. Sorry to any Apple Music users, Spotify is just the superior choice!

Macbook Pro

I’ve owned a Macbook since 2014. Before that, I used various Windows computers, but none of them even compared to this Apple product. That laptop lasted me SEVEN YEARS! Unfortunately, it finally died on my over the summer, and I had to purchase a new one. But that laptop survived iced-tea spills, a couple of falls, and hundreds of travels.

This computer has just never failed me, and I don’t see myself ever switching to another brand again.

Journal

I’m not too picky about this, but I can’t live without a journal of some kind. I need to have one with me almost at all times, and I usually have multiple ones for different things. As I began a minimalist lifestyle, I really narrowed down my collection of notebooks, but I still own more than an average human. I will never tire of pen and paper. I think it’s so great for getting your thoughts sorted out, and there’s something so comforting about writing in a journal.

Candles

I’m pretty surprised that this has made it onto my list, if I’m being honest. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I began really loving candles. I’ve always owned them, I’ve always used them, but it was more of a sporadic thing for me. But around October, I began lighting one every single day, and it became a soothing way to end my day. When I light a candle, it signals to my body that it’s time to rewind and get ready for bed. I’ll light one and then read a book or watch a movie for a couple of hours, and it makes me so happy.

Moisturizer

I have very oily skin, but moisturizer is still so so important. I can’t believe that I didn’t have a set skincare routine in high school, and then wondered why my skin was always really off balance. I can’t go a single day without doing my skincare routine, and the moisturizer is by far my favorite part. My skin is happy, and therefore I’m happy!

Carmex

This is the best chapstick I’ve ever used. I discovered it about 4 or 5 years ago, but since then, I’ve never used anything else. I’ve gone through at least 15 tubes of this thing because it’s just that good!

Bananas

I thought long and hard about what food I would not be able to live without, and I have finally come to the conclusion that I need bananas in my life more than any other fruit, vegetable, grain, or other food. I put bananas in my oatmeal, on my toast, in my smoothies and protein shakes. I make pancakes out of them, and the most phenomenal bread, and I eat them just as they are for a snack or pre-run meal.

I always have way too many bananas in my house, and I don’t see that ever changing.

Iced Coffee

The final item that I can’t live without is iced coffee. Are you surprised? This is an addiction that started surprisingly late for me. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I started drinking it, and even then it wasn’t regular for me until sophomore year. But now I have at least one cup a day, if not more. I don’t even drink it for the caffeine, I just really love the taste.

I’ve tried cutting back on my consumption quite a few times, but I always come back to it at the end of the day. It’s just so dang good.

What’s the number one item you can’t live without? Is there anything on my list that you would put on your list, too? I’d love to hear what it is!

Instagram Controls My Day

Social media is a huge part of most people’s everyday lives. It’s definitely a big part of mine. I have been thinking about my social media use a lot of the last 6 months or so, which I’ve talked about every now and then on here!

I thought it would be fun to let Instagram control my day as a bit of an experiment. I know this is not a new concept & many people have made Youtube videos about this before. It was a bit hard to translate into blog form, but I still hope you enjoy reading it!

Now, let’s see what my life looked like when Instagram controlled it!

To prep, the night before I asked what I should have for breakfast, as well as what book I should read in the morning! I always read as soon as I wake up, so I didn’t want to have to wait before getting my results.

I was very happy with the book that was chosen in the morning because I was already in the middle of reading it! But, I was really hoping that oatmeal would win for the breakfast! Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs and toast, but I’ve been having oatmeal for breakfast almost every day for months now. I actually thought that it would win, too, because I post about it so often! I guess everyone was getting sick of seeing me eat it ahaha!

Next I asked you to choose my nail polish color! This one was really close for a pretty long time—between 1 and 3! Ultimately, 1 was chosen as the winner!

Afterward, it was time for my daily coffee! This one was so close for a really long time, I wasn’t sure if you guys were going to vote for me to buy it or make it, but as soon as I saw that one was in the lead, I went with it!

I also asked if I should watch a movie or play chess when I got back, and chess was the winner! After spending about an hour doing that, I was hungry and wanted to move onto something else. You guys voted for me to have an apple with peanut butter, and to work on my novel!

Then, it was time for me to do a workout! You voted for me to do yoga, which I was hoping for! After that, I asked what book I should read when facetiming my friend Angela (I accidentally voted for one, but I didn’t count that into the vote). It was tied for a really long time, so when I was facetiming Angela, I just ended up choosing The Dreamers because no one was breaking the time.

Then, before bed, I always light a candle. The scent that won was marshmallow fireside, so I lit it while I did some more reading before bed. That was the end of my day!

Overall, this was a fun experiment to do. With almost each post, I had an idea in my mind of the answer I wanted to win, so it was fun to have another option win instead!

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon / Review

You may not remember, but I read Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon a few months ago, and I absolutely adored it. I was so excited to get an early copy of her debut adult book, The Ex Talk!

Luckily, I loved it just as much.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun book because it took two common tropes—enemies to lovers + fake dating—but turned them upside down! In this case, it was actually an enemies to lovers + fake exes story, which isn’t something I’d ever read before.

It was fresh and funny, and I was so entertained the entire time by it.

The characters were each so witty and had their own distinct personalities, which is why I enjoyed the book so much. I think characters are the most important pieces to any type of story because it’s what makes the audience care about the rest of the elements (like plot, world, magic, etc.). And Rachel does a phenomenal job of creating realistic characters that are fun to read about!

I also really enjoyed the radio/podcasting element to this story! As a communication student, I’ve learned about the world of radio before, but this really brought it to life for me. I think a writer is great at what they do if they can make you interested in something you’ve never really care about before. For example, the directors, producers, and writers behind The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix made millions of people watch an entire show about the game of chess. It made me so excited by it that I even began teaching myself chess!

The Ex Talk did that for me with radio. I think the behind-the-scenes of it all was so fascinating, and it was useful to read about since I just started my own podcast as well!

Finally, the plot was great. There were some parts that I think could have been slowed down a little bit, but overall I had such a great time with this book.

If you are an adult romance fan, this is a great book to pick up! Even if you’re not much of an adult reader, I think this is a good book to help you get into the world of adult books because it’s light and not too hardcore.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book comes out on January 26th, so be sure to add it to your TBR if you’re interested or preorder it now!

Have you read this or any of Rachel Lynn Solomon’s other books?

Winter TBR 2021

Happy New Year! I can’t say what the new year will bring. None of us really can, can we? But I do know that I am going to take every opportunity that comes my way, and I want to embrace as many new experiences as I can.

This year, I’m going to set seasonal TBRs because I want to have more flexibility with my reading!

I’m only going to be picking 5 books for each season, too, even though I know I will read much more than that in total! I just want to have room to pick up anything else I want.

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

I asked you all to vote on my Instagram for which book should be my first read of 2021, and the winner was The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab! I have had this on my TBR for about 2 years now, so I am excited to finally get to it!

This is V.E. Schwab’s debut book that follows a mysterious town where children begin disappearing from their beds. A new boy to town becomes a suspect, but he and the protagonist Lexi work together to find them. It sounds right up my alley.

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

This is one of my most recent purchases, and I am really excited to read this book. It’s about three women who describe themselves as witches, who work at a tea shop together. It’s a historical fantasy, which isn’t something I would normally gravitate towards, but 2021 is all about trying new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone! I also think I’m really going to like it, just based off of the reviews I’ve seen.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

I have always been a horror fan (gothic lit was always my favorite subject in my english classes), but I never actually read all that much of it. I have been slowly working my way through more horror in 2020, but I want to continue that trend this year, too. It is a book that takes place at a boarding school in England. That’s all I know about it, but that’s all I want to know—I want to go into it without any expectations. It’s also one of my 5 star predictions for 2021, so fingers crossed!

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Another genre I want to read more of in 2021 is memoirs! Barack Obama’s book has been a very popular read since its release a couple of months ago, and I finally secured an audiobook of it. I’m excited because it’s narrated by him, so I just know it’ll be a great time.

I adored listening to Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, which was also narrated by her, so I really think this will be a 5 star read for me!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I really enjoy classic literature, but again, it’s a genre I don’t often pick up. I want to include at least one classic in all of my TBRs this month, but I hope I’ll read even more than that! Wuthering Heights has been on my radar for a really long time, and now that I finally own a copy of it, I need to pick it up!

If you’ve read any of these before, please feel free to share your thoughts on them! What are some books you’ll be reading this month or this quarter?

December Wrap Up 2020 + ANNOUNCEMENT!

Welcome to my final wrap up (and post) of 2020! What a year it’s been. It has definitely had its ups and its many, many downs, but I think we all learned a lot this year, and for that I’m really grateful. My outlook on life has changed a lot, and I think I’ve really learned that life is short and you have to take advantage of every opportunity given to you!

With that being said, I have decided to start a podcast! You can listen to the trailer now on Anchor.fm, and in a few days, it should be available on many more podcasting platforms (including Apple Podcasts and Spotify)!

If you want to hear me chat about reading, writing, and the creative podcast, definitely be sure to check it out.

I have also decided to go back to posting once a week on here in 2021 in order to increase the quality of my posts. I want to be happy with everything I share, and I don’t want to feel rushed or burnt out.

I hope this change will be a positive one for you all as well because you’ll be able to get more value out of my posts! I am excited for all that the new year will bring, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Now, let’s look at my reading for the month of December! I read 12 books, which I’m so happy about, and I enjoyed all of them—that’s pretty rare!

5 stars

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: This is a very well written and informative read! I think it’s a book that everyone should read.
  • Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace: We all know how much I love Amanda Lovelace! This collection is all about sisterhood, and as I have a younger sister, I related to it so much. It was beautiful as always.
  • Writers & Lovers by Lily King: This was one of my most anticipated reads, and I am so pleased that it was a good one. I love reading about other writers, so I knew this one would be a 5 star!
  • The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon: I read my first book by Rachel Lynn Solomon this year & it is one of my favorite reads of 2020! I loved this one just as much, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to be able to read it.
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: The Hill House show is one of my absolute favorites, and I have been wanting to read the book for a really long time. It surprised me a lot because it’s so different from the show, but I loved it in its own way! Shirley Jackson is an amazing writer.

4 stars

  • Please Pick Me by Reina Regina: This is a poetry collection I reviewed earlier this month, so be sure to check that out for my in-depth thoughts!
  • My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni: I have been loving thrillers recently, and this one was really interesting! I may even continue the rest of the series because I enjoyed the story a lot.
  • Genius and Ink by Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf is a writer I want to explore a lot more in the new year! This was a great introduction to her work for those who are new to her because it is her reviews of other writers.
  • After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: Another thriller that I really enjoyed! This one was a longer one, but it was full of action and twists. I highly recommend it!

3.5 stars

  • Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham: I really like reading about social media and influencers, so this was an enjoyable read! Some of it felt a little unrealistic, but I had a good time reading it.

3 stars

  • Essential Bukowski by Charles Bukowski: Charles Bukowski writes really…interesting poetry. There were a few good pieces, but a lot of it was very misogynistic, which I was not fond of. I know that he is considered a really good poet, but he is not someone I will probably read more of.
  • You Have a Match by Emma Lord: In December of last year, I read Emma Lord’s debut book Tweet Cute and absolutely adored it! I enjoyed You Have a Match, but unfortunately not as much as her first novel. It just felt a little too rushed because there was so much going on. It wasn’t bad, just not one of my favorites!

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were!

And please share what your favorite reads of the year were, I’d love to know!

The Netflix Book Tag

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday season this year, given the circumstances.

Since I’ve been home from school, all I’ve been doing is catching up on movies and shows that have been on my Netflix list for ages, so I thought it was appropriate to do this tag now!

I’m not sure who the original creator is, but I saw it on Kristin’s blog a really long time ago (yes, that’s how long I save tags for), so check it out!

Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham: I will talk more about this book in my wrap up, but it was an enjoyable read! It’s also my last read of 2020!

Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: I’ve only read 2 other short stories and novels by Shirley Jackson, but I absolutely loved them. This one has been recommended to me quite a few times after I read The Haunting of Hill House! I also have the movie adaptation of this on my Netflix list, so I need to get on it ASAP!

Recently Added: The last book you bought

The Lord of the Rings box set by J.R.R. Tolkien: I have had this specific box set on my mind for years. I almost bought it so many times, but then I kept holding off. I finally decided to purchase it for myself as a Christmas gift, and I am so happy that I did. I’ve only read The Hobbit (2 years ago for a children’s literature class), but I really enjoyed it. That’s what inspired me to purchase this set!

Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have read or have no interest in reading)

Read:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: This book has been super hyped this year, and for good reason! This is a beautiful historical fiction about two Black twins who split up and live very different lives—one passes as white, while the other escapes an abusive marriage.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: Everyone has heard of this book, and everyone has heard of how heartbreaking it is. I just had to include this one here!

Unread:

Circe by Madeline Miller: This book was one that I had on my TBR for a while, but the longer I thought about it, the less interested I was in it. I’m sure it is a really good book, like everyone says! But personally, I know I wouldn’t really enjoy it.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I feel like everyone is going to hate me for this one, but I just have no desire to read this series (or any of SJM’s other books). I tried ACOTAR and didn’t really like it, and I’m also not really a YA fantasy person—especially a series.

Comedies: A funny book

Shit, Actually by Lindy West: This was a really fun book where a woman gives commentary about various films. Her reading this was just so entertaining, and I highly recommend it if you like to watch movies!

Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king

Cardan from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I have the worst book memory possible, so it’s hard for me to think of things like this right away, but I had The Cruel Prince lying next to me, so I thought of Cardan. Not only is he a legitimate king, but he is very dramatic, too.

Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: Illustrated novels are all the rage right now, but it was surprisingly difficult for me to choose a book for this! I decided to go with The Switch because I think the cover with the doors is absolutely adorable. Plus, it was a phenomenal read!

Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han: I absolutely must do a re-read of this series soon. It is definitely one of my favorite series of all time, but I have never re-read it!

Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton: This is a book that needs to be read by everyone. It’s a story about a women who was raped who then accused the wrong man of the crime. He went to prison for years until it was finally proven that he was innocent. It made me sob, but it was so beautiful.

Action and Adventure: An action packed book

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: For some reason, this was the first book to come to mind. It definitely has a lot of action (the whole series does), and I think it’s just a really fun read!

New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: This is probably going to be one of my first reads of 2021, and I am so excited! It has been out for a little while now, but I wanted to include it here!

This was such a fun tag! I hope you enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed writing them :)

I can’t believe I have just one more post going up in 2020. There are going to be some changes and new things coming in 2021 that I’m really excited to be sharing soon, so be on the lookout for that!

For now, I’ll see you on Thursday :)

Quarterly Favorites #4 / October-December 2020

Hello and Merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate!!

Today we have my last quarterly favorites post of the year! I feel like it’s also a bit of a shorter one, but not much has changed in my life over the last three months because I was so busy with school and work.

But, I still have a few things I’m excited to share, so let’s take a look!

Food:

  • Chunky almond butter: I have never tried a chunky nut butter. I always buy the creamy option. But one day I was at a grocery store, and I bought the chunky one accidentally. But it was phenomenal! I am so glad that I bought that one because it has become my new obsession.
  • Toasted white chocolate mocha: I tried this Starbucks drink just a few days ago, but now it is my favorite drink they sell! It is the perfect holiday drink, and I know I will be buying it over and over for the rest of this year.

Entertainment:

  • The Queen’s Gambit: This is not a show I thought I was going to like, but with EVERYONE talking about it, I gave it a try. And it proved me wrong because I absolutely adored it. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a Netflix show about a young orphan who learns to play chess and becomes a prodigy. The story follows her as she grows up, and it was so fascinating and made me want to learn how to play!
  • Evermore: I became a TS fan a little over a year ago, when Lover came out. Since then, I have grown to love her music more and more. Evermore is incredible! My top 3 right now are tolerate it, no body no crime, and ’tis the damn season!

Health:

  • Kickboxing: My dad bought a punching bag a few weeks ago, and I have been loving it. It is such a great form of exercise, and it makes me feel so strong. I haven’t had a chance to try it out for too long because I was away at school, but now that I’m home for winter break, I am going to be getting a ton of use out of it!

Other:

  • iPhone tripod: This is a purchase I have been meaning to make for quite some time! I am so glad that I finally got it because it has made taking pictures for instagram so much easier! I used to use my camera to take all of my photos, but it has become much easier to just use my phone recently, so having a tripod is essential, especially because I take most of my photos on my own.
  • Kindle: I bought a Kindle Paperwhite! It’s probably my favorite purchase of the year, if I’m being honest. I love physical books, but over the years, I’ve started to care less and less about owning a ton of them. I’m in the process of weeding out my shelves now and only keeping books I really love. I want my collection to be curated to my tastes, so that is what I’m working on! Plus, the Kindle is great for reading all of my ARCs instead of using my phone.

I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these, watched/listened to them, etc.! And what are your thoughts if you have?

I hope you all have an incredible holiday season and I’ll see you next week!

2020 Goals Update & New Goals for 2021!

In June, I did a 2020 goals update, but since then, things have changed quite a bit. Let’s take a look at how I did with my reading, blogging, and personal goals.

My goals have definitely changed since January, and my goal-setting plan is a little bit different for next year as well, so be sure to read to the end to see some of my updates!

2020 Goals

Personal:

Mindfulness: This was the pillar I was probably most intentional about because my word of the year was “present.” I wanted to focus more on the current moment and stop worrying about the future/past so much!

  • meditate more frequently ✅
  • set to-do lists the night before ✅
  • limit screen time ✅

Health/Fitness: I definitely started working out more, I eat much less sugar, and I drink a lot of water every single day (I didn’t track if it was 64 oz though, so I didn’t give myself a full check).

  • eat less processed sugar ✅❌
  • workout 3-5 days per week (at least 15 times per month) ✅
  • drink 64 oz of water per day ✅❌

Finances: I added a lot more to my savings account than I anticipated, but it was very sporadic. My $10 a week system was working at first, but once I got an actual job, I put more money towards it monthly instead of weekly.

  • attempt a “low buy year” ❌
  • add $5-10 per week into savings account ❌
  • pay off credit card ✅

School:

  • join a new club ✅
  • start thesis research ✅
  • land a summer internship or job (slightly school-related) ✅

Miscellaneous:

  • write more frequently ✅
  • watch all movies on AFI’s Best 100 Movies list ❌
  • learn to bake/cook better ✅

BlogGing:

  • Post at least once a week (but aim for 2) ✅
  • write one book review per month ✅
  • utilize Pinterest more ❌
  • hit 1000 followers ✅

Reading:

  • Read 52 books ✅
  • Read 1 ARC a month ✅
  • Read 1 e-book a month ✅
  • Get owned TBR under 50 books ❌ (I got it down from 99 to 60, so I’m pretty happy with this considering I added a ton of books to this list throughout the year, too)
  • Buy under 10 books ❌ (we’re not going to talk about this one)

2021 Goals

I’m not goals as specific as the ones I did for 2020. I found it exhausting to keep track of numbers and pay attention to these things that don’t really matter to me? Who cares if I read one ARC a month or not? I don’t! It just honestly felt so constraining. Even with my blogging goals, I set myself a schedule of posting 2 blog posts per week (which I did!), but some of my content felt rushed or not as valuable simply because I didn’t always have time to write them.

This year, my goals might not seem very specific, but that’s because I didn’t want to feel as much pressure. I’m going with the flow. Plus, I set quarterly goals for myself, too, so I want to use those for smaller, more specific goals to help me achieve these larger goals!

I divided them up into similar categories to last year’s, but I eliminated/merged a few of them.

Also, my word of the year is balance. I’m someone who tends to do a lot of work, especially when it comes to school, and I don’t leave a lot of time for anything else. I want to introduce balance into my life this year & make better use of my time so that my life feels full and well rounded!

Health & Fitness

✨ Get into a consistent healthy lifestyle that is realistic

✨ Enjoy all of your workouts, even if they’re hard

School & Career

✨ Land another internship

✨ Graduate with honors

✨ Figure out post-grad plans

Personal Growth

✨ Learn more yoga poses

✨ Read 52 books, but slow down with them

✨ Take a class to learn something new

Creative

✨ Be proud of every post you share

✨ Finish first draft of novel

Life

✨ Watch 24 movies

✨Save at least $5k

✨Do more things outside of your comfort zone

So, some changes in 2021- I will be going back to one post per week. But, I also have a fun new project I’m launching in the new year, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

I would love to hear what some of your goals are for the new year! Feel free to share them in the comments :)

Baby It’s Cold Outside Tag

Back in November, I was tagged by the lovely Erin to do the Baby It’s Cold Outside tag that she created. I’m a little late, but it’s actually snowing as I write this, so I think it’s a fitting time to post it!

Snow Day – What’s your “comfort” book? 🌨

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Admittedly, I haven’t re-read this book since my first read back when I was 14. But this book just brings back the best memories for me, as does the entire trilogy. Plus, I’ve watched the movies a ton of times, too, so it’s just become one big ball of comfort for me.

Snow Angels – What’s a book that you love so much you would want to be buried with it (a little morid, but…)? 👼🏼

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: Look, I don’t know if I’ll be buried with this book. But I do plan on getting a tattoo inspired by it, so close enough, right? This book is everything to me, if I’m being completely honest. I love it so much.

Warm Socks – What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside? (The fluffiest, cutest romance you’ve ever read?) 🔥

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: The angst and the feelings in this book. Ugh, impeccable. I still need to read book #2, and I’m just desperately waiting to get my hands on a copy from the library!!

Hot Cocoa – What winter-themed novels have you previously read? 🍫

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Is now the time I have to admit that I haven’t read any Holiday books in years??? I’ve read quite a few books set in Winter but they just don’t give off the Holiday vibes. I did read this Dickens novel back in elementary school and it was the first one that came to mind, so Im putting it on here.

Sledding – What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes? 🛷

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: One of my favorite books of the year for sure and the ending? Shocking for sure! If you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend picking it up.

Ugly Sweaters – What’s a book with the ugliest cover? 🧥

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer: I hate this cover. So much. And the book wasn’t that great either (🙈).

Movie Marathon – What’s the last book you marathoned? 🎬

After The Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: I just finished this one last night but I read the majority of it in 2 days (and it’s over 400 pages, so that was FAST for me). I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns in this thriller.

Letter to Santa – What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year? 🎅

I didn’t ask for any books for Christmas this year because I just don’t need any at the moment! But, on my ARC wishlist right now are The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin, She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard, and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon!

That’s it for the tag! If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged by me!

And let me know if you agree with any of my answers, or tell me what books you would pick! And thank you so much to the lovely Erin for tagging me :)