The Book Blogger Oldie Tag

Hello everyone! Today I am excited to be sharing another tag with you all. This is one that I saw Holly do based off of the Booktube Oldie Tag created by Monica Kim!

I have been blogging for quite a while now, so I would definitely consider myself an oldie. I knew I wanted to eventually getting around to doing this tag, and here I am, finally getting to it!

1. How long have you been part of the book blogging community?

As of September, I have been blogging on this site for 5 whole years! I still can’t believe that. You can read my 5 year thank you post here :)

2. What was your biggest misconception before starting a book blog?

Truthfully, I didn’t have any misconceptions because I sort of started book blogging…by accident? I began my blog as a lifestyle/beauty blog, and then slowly started making more reading-related content. Eventually, all of my content became centered around books, which is what got me here today! Basically, I just started writing about books and was already in the book blogging community before I even realized it.

3. How do you think book blogging has changed since you first started?

It is a lot more inclusive now, for sure. Back when I first started, I remember mainly seeing posts about super hyped books (John Green, Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas, etc). Obviously, many books that are talked about now are still ones that are hyped many times, but I’ve also seen the community grow to more niche-based bloggers who post books outside of the traditional YA sphere.

Publishing as a whole has become much more diverse (though there is still a long way to go), but many people have now made an effort to include more representation in their reading (myself included).

4. What is your favorite book blogging memory?

My favorite memories have to be any time that I met a blogger friend in real life! The fact that I’ve been able to make such genuine connections online and then translate them to the real world is incredible to me! I wish more of my blogger friends lived near me so I could see them more often.

5. What are some books that you were introduced to because of book blogging?

Oh wow, there are so many. Prior to book blogging, I honestly didn’t really pay much attention to new releases. I would go into Barnes and Noble or the library and just pick a book that caught my eye based on the cover and synopsis. I miss those days a little bit, but I’ve also found so many incredible books because of bloggers.

Some that immediately come to mind:

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

6. What is something that frustrates you about book blogging?

It’s frustrating that we are still not treated with the same respect as the rest of the book community. I understand that blogging may not be as popular as Booktube anymore, but book bloggers are truly the foundation of the book community. I just wish that more people would recognize it as a valid and genuine platform because it has such a huge impact on a lot of people.

7. What is your hope for the future of book blogging?

I hope that it will continue to be more inclusive and diverse, that people will be friendlier and more welcoming, and that it will continue to improve every single day!

That is it for this tag! I had so much fun writing these answers, and I hope that some of you will join in and do the tag yourself!

See you next week :)

Thought Collective #4- On Becoming a Minimalist

I first heard of minimalism back in high school, and I was immediately drawn to it. I watched the Minimalism documentary, and I thought this is what I want my life to look like.

So I decluttered my space, but then carried on about my life. Weeks went by, then months and years. Every now and then I would go through the process of cleaning, organizing, throwing away.

It was a cycle that I kept going back into, but the habits of minimalism never really stuck.

It wasn’t until recently, though, I started listening to a few different podcasts, watching youtube videos, and had a huge mindset shift that I finally started to see the benefits.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps you simplify your life—this includes your mental and emotional life, too—in order to live a more meaningful and intentional life. I realized that I don’t care about shopping, I don’t need to own a lot of things, I am happy when I’m doing rather than buying.

I thought that I would take you through my 4-step process/journey of transitioning into this lifestyle, and maybe some of these tips will be useful for you, too!

  1. Prioritize: The first thing I did was made a list of my priorities. For me, this was school, writing, family/friends, paying off student debt, and health. Obviously everyone’s priorities are different, but make a list of 3-5 priorities in your life, and try to keep these in mind with everything else you do. You don’t want to have too many priorities because that will just make things overwhelming and you won’t be able to dedicate the same amount of time to all. The minimalists talk a lot about their 5 core values, and that might be a helpful place to start!
  2. Declutter: Obviously, a big part of minimalism is getting rid of that excess stuff you have lying around your house. Take your time with this process, and really think about what you’re keeping and what you’re not. I even recommend doing a second or third sweep of your stuff. Sometimes you come back to something and realize you don’t actually need it, you were just keeping it around for sentimentality. Aside from your physical space, there are also other things that you may want to declutter in your life- your relationships (cut out the toxic ones), your digital space (clear out your files, unfollow people on social media who don’t add value to your life), and your mind (I’ve incorporated meditation into my life, which has helped me stay in the present moment. It really keeps me grounded and my mind uncluttered).
  3. Change your Habits: Decluttering is important, but it doesn’t mean anything if you keep buying more stuff, keep creating more waste. Therefore, once you have started with a fresh, clear space, work on your habits so that you don’t go back to how you were living before. For example, I have been creating a budget for myself every month, and I try to stick to it as closely as possible. I just started this a couple of months ago, so there was quite a bit of trial and error involved in determining how much I spend in the beginning. Now, though, I’m pretty good at sticking to it! Also, before I buy anything new, I write it down in a wishlist I keep on my phone. I wait at least 2 days (if it’s a big purchase, I give it a week or more) before deciding if I really need it or not. This has stopped me from impulse buying a LOT.
  4. Put It to Action: Now that you’ve given yourself this blank slate, use it to your advantage! Go back to your priorities and start centering your days around them! For instance, I like to write. All I need for that is my laptop or a pen and paper. Now that I’m devoting less time to cleaning and organizing my stuff (because there’s less of it), I have more time to write! I also have more time to spend with my friends, and I’m focusing on the things that really bring me joy. I’ve honestly found a freedom in owning less and not wanting to buy more. I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off of me.

Some resources that helped me:

  • The Minimalists: They have a podcast, a documentary, and a website that are all full of great information! I am currently going through their podcast, starting from their first episode, and I’m loving it!
  • Millennial Minimalists Podcast: I recommended this podcast in my last favorites post, but I just wanted to include it again because I’m really enjoying it!
  • Ashlynne Eaton: This Youtube channel is so cozy and nice to watch! Ashlynne also gives some really great advice, so if you are someone who prefers visuals, this is the place for you!

There’s obviously so much more I could say on this topic, and I really only covered the bare minimum here, but I think it’s a good, simplified place to start!

What are your thoughts on living a more minimalistic lifestyle? Have you tried it?

Books I Don’t Recommend Enough!

I read a pretty large amount of books every year- between 50-100+ books. Obviously, I do not give all of them the same amount of love. Some books I rave about for months and months, and others I only briefly mention in a wrap up and move on from.

So, I thought I would highlight a few books that I really enjoyed, but I don’t talk too much about on here. These are not necessarily under-hyped books, though, (I’m sure you’ll recognize quite a few of them) they are just under-hyped by me!

Young Adult

By Your Side by Kasie West: I read this book a couple of years ago now, but I do remember enjoying it quite a lot! It was a really cute story, and I definitely want to read more from Kasie West in the future. Her books are ones that I’ve been meaning to pick up for quite a while now, as I’ve only read this one, but I’ve heard great things about her other ones.

Adult

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan: This book completely took me by surprise. I was expecting a fun romance that takes place in London (what better thing to read about?) and while it definitely was that, it was so much more. It was such a complex and heartbreaking story, and I loved it so so much. I would highly recommend giving this a try if you want to read a romance with a lot of depth.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: Speaking of romances, I absolutely ADORED this book by Talia Hibbert. It was just so well written, and I can not wait to continue on with the series (hopefully I will get to it ASAP).

Poetry

Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer: I haven’t been sharing a lot of poetry with you all recently because I just truthfully haven’t been reading as much of it. So, I definitely wanted to make sure I included some on this list, starting with an amazing collection that I read last year. It was really beautifully written, and it left me feeling so inspired. I need to read all of Trista’s other work because this collection was incredible. Also, their Instagram feed is SO amazing, so go check that out as well!

What We Buried by Caitlyn Siehl: This is one of the best collections I’ve ever read because it was exactly how I’ve always wanted to write. Caitlyn wrote such beautiful lines, had such amazing imagery, and packed in a lot into a short book. It is such a fast read, so I definitely think it’s worth giving a try, especially if you want to get more into poetry.

I hope you all enjoyed this post! What are some books you’ve read and loved but don’t talk about often? I’d love to get some recs!

College Day in My Life // Online Junior Year Edition

I can’t believe I’m already a junior in college. Not only that, but I’ll be graduating two semesters from now*. Absurd.

I thought that I would give you a look at one of my days while taking classes online! Obviously everyday is a bit different, but this is what my day looked like yesterday.

*I’m graduating a semester early woohoo!

6:30 am

I wake up between 5:15 and 6:30 every single day because I have to be up by 5:30 for work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I try to keep my sleeping schedule as consistent as possible on the rest of the days.

I actually wanted to sleep in until 7 today, but my body woke me up at 6:30, and I just stayed in bed for a bit.

After going to the bathroom, washing my face, and stretching a little, I read a few chapters of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang.

8:00 am

Around 8 is usually when I’ll go make myself breakfast! Today I made a bowl of oatmeal topped with bananas, blueberries, and chopped pecans. I ate it in bed (because my housemates were still asleep and I didn’t want to be loud), while I looked over some of my assignments.

Then, I did some more reading of The Poppy War because I really want to finish it over the next couple of days. I normally would do some kind of workout in the morning, but it was a stormy day and I just wasn’t feeling it, so I let myself take a rest day!

Then, I eventually got dressed, made my bed, and listened to a podcast for a bit.

11:00 am

My sister Facetimed me around 11 while I went to make an iced coffee for myself before class. I honestly talk to my sister or my parents on the phone a few times throughout the day.

11:40 am

Then, I had class my first and only class of the day at 11:40: Foundations of British Literature. It was a pretty easy class because we were starting a new unit, so we basically just went over some of the historical context of the time period.

1:00 pm

The class ended at 1, at which time I went to make myself some lunch. I made a spinach & berry smoothie with some avocado toast. It was phenomenal.

2:00 pm

At 2, I got started on my thesis, which is what I spent the majority of my day working on.

I am currently in the development stage of my thesis, which basically means this semester I focus more on research, while next semester I’ll be doing the actual execution/writing of the thesis. But I still need to submit a proposal this semester which is going to be around 15-20 pages long (possibly longer??). On top of this, I’m taking 5 other classes, so it’s overwhelming at times!

I’m somehow powering through, though, and I know it’ll all be worth it in the end!

My housemates all joined me in the dining room while I worked, and it was nice to get some social interaction for the day (considering we’re taking our classes online, and, you know, COVID means I don’t see too many other people).

5:00 pm

At 5, I made myself some dinner which was a turkey wrap and some steamed veggies on the side! I continued working while I ate. I actually got a lot done during this day of working, so I was feeling great.

6:00 pm

I stopped working on it at 6 because I was exhausted at this point. I made myself a little yogurt bowl for dessert and ate that while talking to my dad for a bit.

7:00 pm

At 7, I took my (minimal) makeup off, washed my face, and changed into pajamas because that honestly is the best feeling ever.

I then started writing this blog post!

8:00 pm

At 8, I did some reading for the class I had today just to get it out of the way, and then I watched an episode of The Haunting of Bly Manor (which I will share my full thoughts on soon!).

10:00 pm

Finally, I read a bit more of The Poppy War to just prepare myself for bed, and then I went to sleep around 10:30. I usually try to go to sleep by 10:30/11 because I do wake up so early and sleep is important!

That’s it for my day! If you guys want to see a more detailed morning or night routine, I would definitely be able to do that soon!

Are your days structured or do you have a more loose schedule everyday?

Spooky Book Recommendations (Pt. 2)

Hello! Last year around this time, I shared a list of thriller recommendations with you all. Over the last year, I feel like I’ve read quite a few new ones, so I want to share them with you (and the ones I didn’t mention in the last post).

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is my most recent gothic/horror read, and it was phenomenal! This book was so atmospheric—it takes place in Mexico in a small, rural town in a mansion called High Place. It had such stunning prose, and the plot was unpredictable (exactly what I’m looking for in a book like this). I highly recommend checking it out!

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

I read this book recently as well, and it completely took me by surprise. I had seen a lot of people talking about this novel, so I was really interested in reading it. I was able to get the audiobook from Libro.fm, and I listened to it in a matter of days. The beginning was a bit slower paced, as we learned about characters and the backstory. But the last 50-75 pages were a RIDE, and it went in directions I never would have guessed. It’s definitely not your typical mystery, but it is good!

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

This is a retelling of The Turn of the Screw (see next rec), but in a modern setting: a smart home. It was super creepy, and it actually gave me goosebumps at times. I think it is such a phenomenal read, and I’m looking forward to reading more by Ruth Ware because I know I’ll enjoy her books!

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

So yes, I put a retelling of this story on this list as well as the original and that’s because I think they are both such good reads!! I read this book as part of a collection of other short stories by Henry James, but this one was one of the only ones I really enjoyed. It was so eerie and interesting. AND The Haunting of Bly Manor comes out on Netflix TOMORROW. If you don’t know, it is the second season of The Haunting of Hill House, but it’s basically a completely new story (sort of how each season of American Horror Story works). I am so so excited to watch!

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

This was my first Karin Slaughter and it did not disappoint! I listened to the audiobook, and it was really well done. It was an intricate story that focused a lot on the characters, which I appreciated. I definitely want to read more of Karin Slaughter’s books—if you have any favorites, let me know!

What are some of your favorite spooky reads? I have so many on my TBR that I’m dying to get to—I’d love to read your favorite!

Finally Fall Book Tag 2020!

Hello everyone! I know that fall started a little while ago, but I definitely want to take part in this tag! Fall is my absolute favorite season, and this tag is a great way to welcome these next 3 months.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting

Wilder Girls by Rory Power: This book was full of descriptions of the island where the boarding school is located that these girls attend. I could picture it so vividly in my mind, and it played like a movie while I was reading the book.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief

How To Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow: This is the perfect book for this list. It was such a beautifully written story, but it is also very heavy and dark. Proceed with caution with this one. It is one that I loved very dearly.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington: I read this book pretty recently, and it was so fascinating. I don’t think people understand the value of sleep. We live (at least in American) in a world that thrives on work and productivity—and I’ve been swept up in that, too. Many people praise pulling all-nighters and applaud others for working hard for weeks on end. But sleep is vital to our success, happiness, and health. Without it, you won’t be able to thrive! Highly recommend this one, it was so fascinating.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of

The King of Crows by Libba Bray: I chose the last book in this series because I feel like here is where everyone is the closest and the friend group is really prominent. These characters all care about each other so much, and they are such a tight-knit group. I would love to be part of it!

5. The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines

Here is a very random stack of orange, yellow, and red books that I put together for this!

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This is the first book that popped into my mind. In case you don’t know, in this book, Evelyn Hugo is recounting her life to a journalist. This book is such a great fall read. It’s a slower paced book that is so beautifully written, and it is sure to put you in that cozy, autumnal mood.

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I just read this one a couple of days ago, and it was such a phenomenal read. It reminded me a lot of The Yellow Wallpaper and The Turn of the Screw, so if you like those creepy, haunted house vibes, you’ll enjoy this one a lot! It was really atmospheric, and I enjoyed it a lot.

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo: This book isn’t necessarily really short, but it is definitely a fun, fast-paced contemporary! It gave me all the feels, and I really enjoyed it. I also really want to read more of Maurene Goo’s books because this one was so good!

9. Fall returns every year: name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: I am in dire need of a re-read of this one! You guys already know it’s one of my favorite books of all time, and I read it right before it came out last year. I desperately want to re-read it, and as soon as I find the time, that is what I hope to do! I think it’ll be one of my last reads of 2020!

10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”

Candles and fuzzy socks: I wear fuzzy socks all year round, but especially during the fall and winter, they are THE BEST. A true necessity to comfort during this season. I also love burning a vanilla, pumpkin, or cinnamon-y candle. It really sets the mood, especially if you dim the lights and lay under a warm blanket. Wow, that sounds so nice I might go do it right now!

That’s all for the tag! If you want to do it, feel free to consider yourself tagged by me :)

Let me know what you thought of my answers to these questions.

See you on Thursday!

September Wrap Up 2020

Happy October! We are officially in ~spooky~ season and I could not be more excited about it.

Today I am here to share all of my reads from the last month with you! There are 7 books on this list, which is lower than my average for the second month in a row…but it doesn’t bother me at all! I have not been focusing on reading, so the fact that I read SEVEN whole books? Still incredible.

Just another reminder that it doesn’t matter how many books you read in a week, month, or year!

Let’s jump into the books now!

5 Stars

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: I wrote a whole review for this book, so check that out if you’re interested in my full thoughts! This was such a fun and entertaining story, though, and it made me super happy. I’d highly recommend it.

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole: This book is a complete opposite from the last one, but it was equally as amazing. I had no idea what turn this story would take, and it completely took me by surprise. It was absolutely thrilling.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: I watched the movie Just Mercy a few months back, and I had the book on hold on Libby since. I finally got the book in September, and it was as incredible as I expected it to be. It is a non-fiction story about a lawyer that discusses mass incarceration, wrongful accusations, the death penalty, racism, and more. I learned so much and I think everyone would benefit from reading it.

4 Stars

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: This might be a shocker to a lot of you, but I actually didn’t give this book 5 stars. I think part of it was the hype. I was anticipating what was going to happen, and it ended up not being as overwhelming as I expected. Also, (and I may be in the minority here) I think it could have been about 200 pages shorter. But it was still an emotional and touching read!

All the Woods She Watches Over by Emily McCosh: This was a super fascinating short story collection! Emily is an authortuber and I saw that she was sending out ARCs of her book, so I requested one. It was very different from what I normally read (it was heavily sci-fi based), but I found it to be really interesting.

3 Stars

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson: This was a decent read. I think if you’re looking for a YA mystery, you’ll get that with this one! Personally, it just wasn’t as good as many other thrillers I’ve read (*cough* read Truly Devious *cough*), but I enjoyed it. I really liked the addition of some mixed media in it, and it was a fast read.

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene: My last read of the month, and not my favorite, unfortunately. This was just too predictable for me, which is not something I want in a thriller. I want it to shock me, and this didn’t do that. But the characters & their backstories were really interesting, so I kept reading. It was just okay for me.

What did you think of my reads this month? How many of them have you read?

What was your favorite book you read in September?

Quarterly Favorites #3 / July-Sept 2020

We are already entering the final quarter of 2020. It’s definitely not how any of us expected the year to go, but I’m taking things one day at a time and just focusing on taking care of myself.

Anyway, let’s talk about some of my favorites for the last 3 months! Some of these you may have seen if you follow me on social media, but I wanted to be sure to talk about them here, too!

Writing

  • Scrivener: At the start of July, I focused A LOT on writing, which you guys saw a little bit of. I have been using Scrivener for about 2 years now, but I recently started using it even more and I have been loving it! If you don’t know, it is a word processing system that allows you to create multiple folders, rearrange chapters, outline, take notes, etc. There are tons of videos online that go into more detail with how it works, but it truly is my favorite writing tool.
  • Writer group chats: July was Camp NaNo, which is why I was doing so much writing! Finding a few friends to make group chats with was so motivating. I joined a few Discord servers where people were constantly sharing their updates, planning long writing days, and giving advice. Having this support system is really what kept me going, and it’s how I managed to win Camp!
  • Writing vlogs & livestreams: I have been following a lot more writers/authors on Youtube and social media platforms recently, and it has been so inspiring. I love watching writing vlogs so so much, as I feel like I get to learn so much from other writers’ processes. And livestreams helped me get SO MUCH writing in! I highly recommend them if you are looking to get motivated.

TV Shows & Movies

  • Normal People: I read and watched Normal People during quarter 3, and let me tell you- I liked the tv show more than the book. Personally, I just didn’t connect with the book as much as I thought I would, but the tv show really brought everything to life for me in a way that was more fascinating. I think it was really well done, and Hulu adaptations just really have my heart at the moment!
  • Criminal Minds: I am currently in the process of watching this show from start to finish, which is something I’ve never actually done before. I basically grew up watching random episodes of it that were on TV with my dad, but now I’m actually following the storyline. I love this show and these characters with my whole heart.
  • Katherine Ryan Glitter Room: One thing that I want to start watching more of is comedians/stand up shows. I recently watched Katherine Ryan’s Glitter Room on Netflix, and it was so funny! It was also super empowering and discussed a lot of women’s issues. I highly recommend it! If you have any favorite stand up shows or comedians, please recommend them to me!

Podcasts

Podcasts have been a huge part of the last few months for me, as I didn’t have as much time to dedicate to reading. If you guys want a whole post of Podcast recs, that is definitely something I can do! Here are a few that I really loved, though!

  • Sakara Life: I have been really invested in my health recently, mainly after a few personal things had started happening to me. I am currently also dealing with some digestion issues (which I think is related to my recent soy allergy discovery), as well a knee injury that I am still recovering from. The hosts of this podcast bring in a lot of guests to speak about different aspects of health—from healing your gut, eating whole foods, sleep, and more—which have all been super fascinating. I am excited to keep learning more.
  • Millennial Minimalists: One thing that I have been working on over the last few months is adopting a more minimalistic lifestyle. These two best friends chat about their journey to minimalism, and they share lots of tips/advice for how to go about it. But they’re also just so fun to listen to! I have really been enjoying this podcast, and if you are looking to get started with minimalism, this might be for you!
  • The Michelle Obama Podcast: I miss the Obama’s so much, as I’m sure many of you do. This podcast feels like I’m chatting with a friend. It’s full of so much wisdom and insight, and I just trust Michelle Obama with everything. If you haven’t listened yet, I definitely think it is a must.

Food

  • Pineapple coconut water: During quarantine, I was running a lot. And it was hot for the majority of those months, so I would come back from my runs super sweat and dehydrated. Coconut water contains a lot of electrolytes and is supposed to replenish all that you lost after sweating! But, regular coconut water is not my favorite thing in the world. I was sort of forcing it down my throat. When I tried the pineapple flavor, though, I fell in love. I drink after any long workout and just when I’m feeling very dehydrated! It tastes amazing.
  • Watermelon: At one point during the summer, I was eating full watermelons by myself every single week. My parents even decided that next year they are going to plant watermelon seeds in our garden because I was spending so much money on buying them. Watermelon is definitely one of my favorite fruits, and it was the perfect snack on hot summer days!
  • Avocado: Confession—I never tried avocado until a few months ago. I have been a very picky eater my entire life (not by choice!!), so trying new foods is really hard for me. But recently, I’ve really been pushing myself to try new things, and avocado was one of them! I love it now and I eat avocado toast w/ eggs at least once a week! I’m finally on board that train.
  • HU Chocolate: I recently became an ambassador for the HU brand, and they sent me a few of their products to try out. I am completely in love with their products. They make crackers, chocolate covered nuts, baking chocolate, and chocolate bars. Their bars are my absolute favorite chocolate I’ve ever tried, and it’s so much healthier for you than most other brands! Their crackers are also phenomenal! If you want to try out any of their products, you can use the code “JessicaEats” for 15% off! I promise I’m not just trying to sell this to you (though I do get a commission if you use my code), I actually really do love it (and I ate my chocolate much faster than I’d like to admit).

Other

  • Passion planner: I recently received a passion planner as a giveaway, and it is truly my favorite thing ever. You guys know how much I love organization, so this is an item that I have been wanting for a really long time, but didn’t want to spend so much money on. Now that I have it, I know I won’t be going back to any other type of planner system for a while. I actually ditched my bullet journal for this because I was basically doing this same layout in my bujo anyway, so now it’s just pre-made for me!
  • Lap desk: I have shared pictures of my lap desk on quite a few spaces since I got it. It is truly one of my best purchases ever, especially now that I’m in school and don’t have a desk in my room. I linked one that is super similar to the one I bought, but it seems like mine is no longer being sold. I use this thing all the time. I love that it has a drink holder and it’s big enough to fit my laptop plus a book if I need. It has just helped me out a lot.
  • Sound machine: I recently bought a white noise/sound machine because I moved into a house with 6 other girls for the school year, and it can get pretty loud. I have already been having a lot of trouble sleeping as it is, so the addition of noise was not helping. I wanted to try out a sound machine, and this thing has been life changing. I’m finally falling asleep at a fairly fast rate, opposed to the 2-3 hours it was taking me to fall asleep before this. If you are struggling with your sleep, this may help!
  • Social media breaks & utilizing screen time settings: The last thing I want to talk about is screen time. My screen time was upwards of 7 hours during the summer, and I hated that. I didn’t want to be spending so much of my time behind a screen, as it was really damaging to my mental health. I talked about how I took a week long social media break a few months back, but since then, I have been incorporating more limits to my phone usage. I now have downtime set up on my phone so that between 9:30 pm and 8 am, the only apps I can use are ones for reading (kindle, libby, libro.fm). I also have an hour limit each day for Instagram and Twitter, though I haven’t even been crossing that limit much. My screen time has gone down to 4 hours or less each day! I would still love to get that down to 2 hours, but I’m really happy with all of my progress so far. It has helped me out immensely, and I feel so much better when I step away from the internet.

That is all for today’s post. I hope that you were able to find something new from it that maybe you’ll incorporate into your own life!

Let me know what some of your favorites from the past few months have been, I’d love to check them out :)

Thought Collective #3 – Being a Female College Student & Campus Safety.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another post in my Thought Collective series! A few weeks back I talked about my high school experience and how that affected my mental health. Today I want to talk about what it’s like being a woman in college.

First off, this post is sponsored by Bond*. This is a personal safety app that I think everyone should have, but it is especially vital for college students.

*But all opinions are my own.
**Trigger Warnings for rape/murder/kidnapping/assault

Before I tell you about the app, let me give you some background:

As a freshman in college, I was always the safe one, the cautious one, the ‘mom’ friend, if you will. My friends on the other hand? Not so much. They went out to parties with their phones at 20%, usually not planning ahead on how they’ll get home, etc.

This terrified me. They always relied on me to make sure they were taken care of and got home safe. Which I didn’t mind, of course, as I would have done it any way.

But the world is a pretty scary place, especially as a woman. There have been thousands of stories of women being harassed, attacked, kidnapped, etc. right on the street, with no one helping them. I often had to walk home alone after a late-night class, or even just to my car in a parking lot. Every person becomes a suspect when you’re a vulnerable person walking alone at night. It’s a sad reality that we’re unforunately faced with.

During my freshman year, a report also came out about a woman being kidnapped and murdered by a man who claimed to be her Uber driver. I have never forgotten about that.

There have been reports of break-ins in my area, recently, and just yesterday, a strange person had been knocking on our door, which was frightening. My friend’s TikTok feeds have even been flooded with safety tips for girls (many of them about walking alone at night). Girls are always thinking of the fastest exit in every situation, will carry their keys between their fingers, or have pepper spray at their side.

I can talk on and on about the various situations that girls specifically are faced with when going out of the house that never even cross the minds of men.

So let me now tell you about Bond. Like I mentioned, this is a personal security app that has so many amazing features.

I go on frequent long walks/runs around my neighborhood or on the beach (which you may have seen on my Instagram), and now whenever I do that, I turn on the “track me on the go” setting. This makes sure that my location is being tracked until I reach my destination. If I ever feel like I’m in a dangerous situation, I even put on the “ready an agent” feature, which will signal an agent if the situation escalates and I’m in need of assistance. These agents are ready 24/7, so you never have to worry about being alone.

I think my favorite part about it is that it’s not just made for you. You can connect all of your friends and family members, too. I personally created a group with my housemates so that we always know where each person is.

In the free version, you have access to the location services, dial 911, and siren features. You can get a free 3 day trial for the app, and after that it’s only $4.99 a month to unlock the rest of the features I talked about. That is such a low cost for all that it provides, in my opinion!

If you want to give it a try, click this link to read more and download it for yourself! Campus safety is of a huge importance to me, so I hope that this is something you look into.

I hope you all have a great week and I’ll talk to you soon!

#personalsafetyforall #collegesafety #campussafety #staysafe #ad

5 Year Blogiversary & Thank You!

I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for all of 5 years now (as of September 20th). It’s absurd to me that I started this website back in my sophomore year of high school, and I am now a junior in college. So much has changed, and I have grown a lot over that time.

This site actually started out as a fashion and beauty blog, and after a few months, it slowly morphed into more lifestyle, self-help, and book blogging (which is where I sort of still am now).

From name changes, to new themes, and a couple of hiatuses, this blog has been through a lot, and I think each change reflects a different stage of my life. It’s fun to look back on all of my posts and the memories they bring me. I still remember my first few collaborations, and the friends I made way back when.

So, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have brought me so much joy and made this place full of so much positivity for me! You are all the reason that I stuck around, even when I thought that I had fallen out of love for reading at times.

To give back to all of you, I want to give some shoutouts!

I want to highlight a few bloggers who are friends of mine, who I admire, or who are an overall huge part of this world for me! Check them out if you haven’t already :)

Huge thank you to…

Sofii, who puts so much effort into uplifting other bloggers, and who is always so kind and inspiring. Her posts brighten my day so much.

Noura, who always promotes diverse reads and shares such great insights on each book. Her blog just always stands out to me and I’m completely drawn to it!

Tiffany, who is such an amazing friend of mine, who I admire so much. She is one of the absolute sweetest people you will ever meet, and her blog is great.

Amanda, who I have been friends with for so many years now, and who updates her blog so frequently. She works really hard and has so many great review posts!

Ruby, who is such a kind soul, and who is constantly showing support to others. I really enjoy the content she puts out, and I think she is just incredible!

Kristin, who posts really unique content, and is someone who I am constantly inspired by. I always look forward to her posts.

Evelyn, who is always so so supportive of my blog posts! I appreciate her so much, and her blog posts are always great.

Caitlin, who is such a big presence in this community, and who always puts out amazing content! Her posts are thorough and done with so much effort.

Juli, who has such a pretty Instagram feed that I am constantly in awe of. She shares such great posts, and

Erin, who has one of the prettiest blog themes ever. I adore the aesthetic of her site, and she is such a friendly voice in this community.

Holly, who writes such unique reviews, and who I look up to a lot. I trust all of her book opinions, and each new post of hers is great!

May, who I’m sure you all know and love. Her place in this community is unmatched. She is such a huge advocate for diverse books, and her posts will not disappoint.

Chloe, who I’ve been following and adoring for years. I feel like we share so many of the same opinions, and her blog posts always resonate with me so much.

Marie, who is someone I deeply admire in this community. She works so tirelessly on her posts, and her blog is one of my absolute favorites.

THANK YOU 🥰🤍