Friday, October 31, 2014

Thoughts on Pages #09: Jackaby


Happy Halloween, y'all! :)

I can't imagine a better book to review for today. And...I think this is my favorite book of the year.

For starters, it's marketed as being "Doctor Who meets Sherlock".

thanks for the gif, tumblr!

Storyline

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job,Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.


(Synopsis from Amazon)


Characters

Abigail Rook is a fantastic lead heroine. She has a good head on her shoulders and an ever-reaching sense of adventure that's hard for her to quench...at first. Her story is an intriguing one, and the novel begins in the midst of it, as she makes port across the ocean, far from her Hampshire home. But what she finds in New Fiddleham is nothing short of enigmatic, and enigma takes human form in R. F. Jackaby.

Jackaby himself can be considered a mix of Doctor Who and Sherlock, but he's his own character for sure. I could find elements of both characters in him, but I think that's because I was so intent on looking for those similar aspects in his character. Long story short, I found both similarities and differences, but all the same, he was such a fun character on the page. He's not overtly abrasive, but he's not too gentle, either. He is always in the middle of the action - supernatural or not - and he likes it that way.

The supporting cast is brilliant. I love the tenants in Jackaby's home, and the policemen were delightful and sometimes delightfully frustrating.

The villain is fantastically written as well. I can't say who it is though...spoilers. ;) But the twist where we finally find out who the killer is? FANTASTIC.

Setting

New Fiddleham is a fictitious place. (I even googled it just to make sure.) But it feels as though it should be.

William Ritter did an excellent job capturing small-town life. It's a New England-style small town in the late 1800s, but the typical folks are still there, including your standard town gossips and skeptics. But the inclusion of fantasy elements in the story is seamless.

Speaking of fantasy elements, there's a strong focus on fairy folklore. We get to meet banshees, different varieties of folks who can see the unseen, and a few other baddies that I can't reveal because, well, spoilers. Their descriptions - and Jackaby's explanations - are fabulously well-written, and I was never wondering what something looked like for a long period of time.

My Thoughts

This entire book felt like a really good Sherlock or Doctor Who episode.

I had so much fun trying to figure out the solution to this whodunit mystery, and though I was able to figure out one twist, I honestly didn't see the second one coming. The ending itself also wound up being really sweet. :)

Also, there's bonus material in the back that explains one of Jackaby's favorite tools: a tuning fork. And it put the biggest smile on my face.

I give Jackaby five leather detective's notebooks out of five. This book was absolutely, positively phenomenal. If you like Doctor Who or Sherlock, or if you just love good mysteries that just so happen to have fantasy twists, I highly recommend that you give this one a read, too. :)

Have any recommendations for me? I'd love to read them in the comments! :) Also, check out my Goodreads to see what I'm into and what I'm reading now.

Also, I hope y'all have a safe and happy Halloween! Want to read the posts from my Halloweekend series? Click here to get caught up.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

1989


This album. 

This. Album.

Taylor Swift's newest album "1989" may be the best thing she's released. Call me a "Swiftie" - I'm proud of it - but her new sound is exactly what my musical taste is right now, and it's still just as relatable as when she released those first singles.

How do I describe her new sound? It's Pop for sure, and it's a departure from the guitar strums that used to permeate every track. I didn't mind her Country sound all that much, honestly; her songwriting was what drew me to her music in the first place. I just appreciated when she stepped out of the Country box some.

Even with her shift from Country to Pop, though, she still sounds real. The instruments are different, but what she's trying to get across to her listeners is the same as it's always been - stories from her life experiences - just more grown up.

Also, I noticed that she collaborated with Imogen Heap on one of the tracks, "Clean" (you can hear Imogen in the background some on that song). When I found that out, I was super happy. I love Imogen Heap's music, too, and I'm so glad that these two got together to create music.

So, to go a little deeper with the album itself, yes, many of the songs are about past relationships. However, quite a few of the songs aren't necessarily about the boy per se, but about her experiences with relationships themselves, big phases ("Welcome to New York...it's been waiting for you"), and the haters (who are gonna hate hate hate hate hate). It all still comes down to how relatable her songs are to her audience. I may not have experienced exactly what she has, but I can still enjoy her music and reminisce about the life experiences I've had.

Absolute favorite songs: "Welcome to New York", "Blank Space", "Style", "Out of the Woods", "Shake it Off", "Wildest Dreams", "I Know Places", "Clean". 

(So, pretty much the whole album...but the entirety of it is AMAZING. Five out of five stars.)
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An Instagram Roundup of Delightful Mail, Great Music, & Red Riding Hoods


1. I was feeling under the weather last week, and thus I drank a whole lot of tea. My favorites right now are South African Rooibos tea (Thanks to my wonderful SA friends!) and Constant Comment (Thanks Mom & Mimi!)

2. Harvey is just the sweetest. I honestly think he knows how to look right in the camera, given that I've taken so many pictures of him and Azalea.

3. This delightful phone case I ordered from Casetify came in the mail last week! It's designed by Dana from Wonder Forest. I really enjoy her blog, and I'm so happy that she has her wonderful artwork on phone cases now.

4. We have an albino squirrel in our neighborhood! I occasionally see him wandering around our neighborhood, mostly in just one of the yards. He's adorable and my family and friends and I love taking pictures of him. I mean, why not?


5. I took this picture at Pumpkinfest and edited it with one of VSCO cam's fabulous black & white filters. I love the way it turned out...you can really see how crowded it is here, but I love how you can see the center of Downtown Franklin's main square.

6. I dressed up as Red Riding Hood for my church's Trunk-or-Treat this past Sunday! I had SO MUCH FUN. 

7. I bought Taylor Swift's newest album on iTunes pretty much the moment it came out. (I may or may not be reviewing it on the blog...hint hint. ;] )

8. One of the newest candles in my collection is "Topaz Waters" by Bath & Body Works. The container is SO pretty with its turquoise color and gilded trim, and it smells like the ocean, so it makes me super super happy. :)
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thoughts on Pages #08: The Jewel


This book...where do I begin?

I first saw this book at one of my local bookstores and was intrigued by the cover. When I read the synopsis, I was also intrigued...but skeptical.

This book wound up being surprisingly fast-paced and engaging, and I actually wound up liking it a lot.

Storyline

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.


Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.


(Synopsis from Goodreads)

Characters

Violet herself is a typical YA Fantasy heroine: strong in her convictions, but easily distracted by pretty things and handsome men.

She is aware of the atrocities that are going on around her, though, along with the atrocity of her position. She knows that the surrogate auction is wrong, and she refuses to be known by her "lot number". She is passionate about all of her relationships, especially the one she has with her best friend Raven (who is also a surrogate for a countess next door). She's also passionate about her music.

Where she falls as a character is with her love interest. The romance itself doesn't happen until three-quarters of the way through the novel, and it feels so rushed. It's passionate, but it moved way too fast for my liking, and it was hard to really invest in it when it started so late. It's also heavy with drama that fizzles out within a page or two. I was even questioning if she was going to stay with him or move onto someone else as the series goes on. Time will tell, though.

As far as other characters go, the royalty are jerks. Plain and simple. They treated the surrogates like property (to a point that almost infuriated me), and were terrible towards each other, too. The political drama was entertaining to read due to how crazy it became.

However, there are some nice supportive characters whom I liked. I was surprised how closely one of them resembled to Cinna from The Hunger Hames, though.

Setting

The Jewel is a caste system at its core. The Jewel is literally the core of this society, which is divided into five layers, from outside in: the Marsh, the Farm, the Smoke, the Bank, and finally the Jewel. Each layer is symbolic of the trade that goes on there, as well as the people, from the impoverished, to farmers, to industry/factories, to shops/merchants, and royalty, respectively.

The society is well thought out, but I had one question through this entire novel: where is this place?

It wasn't quite clear to me where on earth this place was set, nor was it clear what the time period was. I assumed it was the future, but I had no idea if this place was in the United States, Europe, or anywhere else. Maybe this will become clearer in the next two books, but it was something that I wish was made clear at the beginning.

The magic in the story is cool, though. Its intended purpose is chilling (it's supposed to affect how the surrogate's baby looks before birth), but I have a feeling that it'll be used for noble purposes later.

My Thoughts

This book reminded me of two novels: Wither by Lauren Destefano and The Selection by Kiera Cass. The premise was the most similar to Wither, though; in it, a girl is taken to a Florida mansion to marry a man against her will. The mansion is lavish, with every luxury available, including the highest forms of technology.

The setting is very similar to that. Violet is put in a situation where she lives in the lap of luxury, but at the price of freedom and even basic civilian rights. I knew that this place was not ideal, and the novel seemed to make sure that I knew that. I wanted Violet to get out of that palace and experience true freedom.

The book itself was very, very fast. It's totally feasible to read this book in a day, due to the quick pacing. I'm glad the book was paced this way, and I hope the series continues to have this pace as well. I just hope that the subsequent books flesh out the characters and setting more.

I found the book trailer on YouTube if y'all are interested in seeing it. Spoiler: no cellos are set fire in the novel.


I give this book four diamond-studded dresses out of five. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series to see what happens to Violet and the rest of the cast.

Have any recommendations for me? I'd love to read them in the comments! :) Also, check out my Goodreads to see what I'm into and what I'm reading now.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkinfest @ Downtown Franklin


Every year around the end of October, there's a festival in my hometown that happens on a delightful Fall weekend. This festival is Pumpkinfest, and people come from near an far to see what Downtown Franklin has to offer.

At Pumpkinfest, local and visitor alike can enjoy walking among craft vendors, food trucks, and tons of pumpkin-themed decorations. I always like to see the families who come with their little ones dressed in Halloween costumes. The storefronts do Trick-or-Treating for the kids, which is so much fun. Adults dress up, too, and it's fun to see entire families in costume. Everyone who dresses up are always so creative with their costumes each year.




This year's Pumpkinfest was crowded. The entirety of Main Street was closed down to make way for vendors and pedestrians, but this year was especially full.

Mom and Dad and I went this past Saturday afternoon. We walked from one end of Main Street to the other, grabbed lunch at one of our favorite Meat-n'-Three's, and walked back the way we came.

This year, there was a much greater emphasis on the food. There was a Chili Cookoff going on, as well as a wide variety of food trucks and vendors to choose from. We wished that there were more craft vendors and merchants this year, but there will be more of those at "Dickens of a Christmas" this December.

Regardless, we always have a blast at Pumpkinfest. It's a tradition we've participated in since I was little, and we'll continue to visit for years to come. :)

photo from Mom's Instagram :)
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloweekend Day Three: iPhone Wallpaper Freebie


Happy Sunday! :)

To wrap up Halloweekend and celebrate the Fall season, I thought it'd be fun to make an iPhone wallpaper that'll last through this coming November as well as this week. This is my first one that I've made for the blog, so I hope you enjoy it!

The sizing will work for iPhone 5 and 6, but it should work on the 4 or 6 Plus as well.

Here's how to get it for your device:
  1. Click the link at the bottom of this post
  2. Save the image to your Camera Roll
  3. Go to your Settings, then Wallpaper, and then find the image in your camera roll.
  4. Set your wallpaper where you want it, and you're all set!
Click to Download

I hope you guys enjoyed Halloweekend! :)

Halloweekend 2014 Posts
Day One - Costumes
Day Two - Books
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloweekend Day Two: Books for the Halloween Season!

It's Day Two of my "Halloweekend" series! Today, let's talk about books. :)

Now, I'm not a big fan of horror, but I enjoy reading books that kind of fit with the Fall theme of the season. Also, I think fantasy is a lot of fun to read around this time of year, too.

If you're looking to snuggle up with a great book on this fine Saturday before Halloween, here are my recommendations.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving



This is a classic. A headless horseman in the night? Need I say more?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë



I'm actually only recommending this for the atmosphere. Beyond that, this book is one that I've gotten frustrated with over the years, mainly for its storyline. (Kathryn: Heathcliff, I love you! No, wait, I don't!)

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket



Want to take a trip down memory lane? Pick up the first book in this series. Lemony Snicket's writing style is absolutely phenomenal, and this unconventional children's series is so much fun around this time of year. (The movie is great, too! It's based on the first three books of the series).

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce



I had to include a YA fantasy in this list. This is a modern-day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in Georgia that involves two sisters who fight werewolves while wearing red capes. It's an awesome read regardless of the season.

all cover images are from amazon.com

What are your favorite books for this time of year?

Halloweekend 2014 Posts:
Day One - Costumes
Day Three - Fall iPhone Wallpaper
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloweekend Day One: Super-Easy Costume Ideas

October 31st is coming soon, y'all!

Because it's basically next Friday, I want to do something fun. I'm writing a weekend-long series called "Halloweekend", and I'll be sharing easy costume ideas, seasonal books, and other fun stuff with you over the next three days.

If you don't celebrate Halloween, that's a-ok. I'll be doing lots of Fall-related things that you can do for any occasion this October/November, and they don't have to be spooky.

Speaking of spooky, I don't do scary/creepy things. These will be fun, mostly DIY ideas, with an emphasis on fun.

So, with that in mind, let's get into some super-easy costume ideas! :) These costumes only require one key item, and you'll be able to find many of these around your own home. Many of these costumes will also work for both guys and girls, too. Plus, I'm all for modesty, so all of these costumes cover up nicely.

Bandana - Rosie the Riveter, Fix-It Felix, or Rock Star

Easy Costume Ideas Using Bandanas: Rosie the Riveter/Fix it Felix + Rockstar


For all you history buffs out there (or ladies wanting to go for a girl-power costume), Rosie the Riveter is a great and easy idea. Just tie a red bandana around a messy bun, wear red lipstick, and roll the sleeves up on your denim chambray shirt. Add jeans and neutral shoes, and you're set!

Fix-it Felix from "Wreck-it Ralph" is super-easy, too. All you have to do is follow the same steps as the Rosie the Riveter option, but just tuck the bandana in your pocket. This is an easy option for guys or gals; just adapt it using clothes you have.

Wanna be a Rock Star? Tie a bandana in black - or any color you like - around your head, or wear it as a headband. Then, wear black or very dark blue jeans with a band t-shirt (you can thrift these, or wear a tee from a concert you went to this summer). Add black boots and bright lipstick in a color of your choice and you're done!

Broom - Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey or Minnie from Fantasia
I absolutely loved watching Fantasia when I was little. I loved all of the bright colors and music. But my favorite short in the film had to be "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", where Mickey Mouse is an apprentice to the wizard Yen Sid (Disney spelled backwards!) and gets into all kinds of mischief. Part of the short had Mickey accidentally causing all the brooms in the castle to dance.

To be Mickey or Minnie from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", just grab a broom. Easy, right? Then, for Mickey, grab a blue hoodie, blue jeans, and brown shoes or any tennis shoes/sneakers. For Minnie, wear a blue dress, black tights (polka dots optional), and flats, along with a black cardigan if it gets cold. 

For both of these costumes, if you have Mickey or Minnie ears, rock them on Halloween! Also, for a little extra Disney magic, wear or carry glow bracelets or glow sticks.

I hope y'all liked these costumes! What are you going to be this Halloween?

Halloweekend 2014 Posts
Day Two - Books
Day Three - Fall iPhone Wallpaper
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

What's Up with the Dystopian Genre?


If you've been reading books released in the past five years - particularly in the Young Adult demographic - you have been able to pick up on the fact that the Dystopian genre is alive and well. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; books in this genre have become classics (see 1984 and Fahrenheit 451). However, theres just so many of them that it can be hard to pick out the best ones.

I've read quite a few of these books. Some great, some not so great. However, I think I've found one thing that seems to make this genre really, really work: there's a focus on one hot-button issue, and it's amplified tenfold.

Let me explain.

Sure, Dystopian stories involve some kind of corrupt government, but what is it that they're enforcing? What's causing riots? What's causing the plot to happen?

Usually, it's a hot-button issue, whether it's something as absurd as gladiator-style games or as common as pollution. Or, it's the elimination of something society holds dear, whether material or emotional.

Dystopian stories seem to be the most successful when they focus on just one or two issues. Those issues are then amplified to a point of near-absurdity, and it's up to the protagonist to find a solution to the problem presented.

It's often that the protagonist has accepted the corrupt government or issue until their eyes are opened by catastrophe. It's also often that society has already tried to "fix" the problem, but they make it worse instead.

Here are some novels I've found that do just that:

  • The Hunger Games trilogy - focus on gladiator-style games among children and teens for the sake of "tradition"
  • Divergent - focus on eliminating freedom of thought and expression
  • The Selection series - focus on a corrupt caste system
  • Delirium - focus on the elimination of love from society (I haven't read this one, but I've heard great things about it)
I think that many novels in this genre cram in too many controversial issues into one story, and they try too hard to shock readers. I'm all for drawing emotions from readers, but there definitely comes a point where enough is enough. 

To clarify, I think it's okay to have issues spring up as a result of the primary problem, but I think that having too much controversy in a reader's face all at once can be overwhelming and can drown out the plot that the author is trying to put on paper.

Does this mean that all Dystopian novels that stick to one issue are the best ever? Not necessarily. Other factors come into play as well, like characterization, world-building, and - of course - the story itself.

I hope you enjoyed this rambling of mine about Dystopian fiction. Want to talk some more about it? Leave a comment! :)
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's On My iPhone 6?



Not gonna lie, I really like watching the "What's On My iPhone" videos that various folks make on YouTube. It's neat to see what apps people like and how they lay out their home screens. 

The reason why I wanted to do this particular video is because I was recently surprised with an iPhone 6 for my birthday this year! :) I honestly can't believe this is my phone; I love all the features, including the fingerprint reader that unlocks my phone, and all the space. Oh my goodness.

I thought it'd be fun to take y'all on a brief tour through my phone. If you don't have a 6, that is a-ok. The app/case/wallpaper suggestions can apply to whatever phone you have, as many of these apps can be found on Google Play or the Android market.

Ready? Let's go! :)



This is my lock screen. My wallpaper is from the Cocoppa app, and I use it whenever I have my TARDIS case on. (The case featured in the top photo is from Sonix. If you're a fan of American-made products that are great quality and you like great cases, this shop is for you!)

I like changing my wallpaper a lot, whether it's to match the case I have on it or to match my mood for the day. I usually get my wallpapers from the following apps/places:



And this is what my front page looks like! :)

If I went through every single app on here, I think this post would be forever long, so I'm just going to break down my folders in descending order and mention the top apps I use in each one.

Utilities - These are the apps that came with my phone. Many of these are ones that I don't use, like Stocks, but I do use FaceTime and the calculator quite a bit.

Books - This is where my Kindle app lives, along with iBooks and my two devotional apps, She Reads Truth and Jesus Calling.

Entertainment - I mainly use Flixter (to find movie showtimes), Videos (to watch Doctor Who of course), and Shazam (to find out that amazing song on the radio).

Social - These are my Social Media apps. I use all of these fairly regularly, but I use Facebook, FB Messenger, and Pinterest the most.

Games - I love a good iPhone game. My favorite of all time is Robot Unicorn Attack 2.

Instagram (with the coffee cup emoji because why not) - I really like to keep all my Instagram and editing apps (including Instagram itself) in their own place. If you want to know in detail what apps I use and how I edit my photos, check out this post and this post.

Junk Drawer - These are the apps that don't particularly have a category. Of these, I mainly use Bloglovin', Cocoppa, and Cuptakes.

Apple Apps - These are apps that also came with my phone, but are normally associated with Apple's iWork Suite (like Pages and Garageband). They're nice to have, so they got their own folder.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Adventures at the Parthenon and Various Birthday Shenanigans

Hey, y'all! :)

So this weekend was so. much. fun. My best friends from college came up for the weekend for my 23rd birthday, and I knew we were going to have a blast, no matter what we decided to do.

We started off the weekend mainly by relaxing, but we went out for my birthday dinner on Saturday night. But before we did, we decided to dress up and take pictures. We used to do this when I was in school by way of planned dress-up days for class and other campus events.

But what made this particular time special was that we took these pictures in the woods behind my house, where I used to play make-believe as a child. :)




After we took pictures in the woods, we went out to one of my favorite places in Franklin called P.F. Changs. I can remember coming here for many dinners (and my 17th birthday!), so it was fun showing this place to my friends. They loved it!

Also, they painted their horse statues pink for breast cancer awareness, which was pretty cool.



Then, the next day, we went to church and brunched at Noshville.



After our fabulous brunch, we decided to take a spontaneous adventure and visit the Parthenon. :)

I had never been to this landmark in all my 23 years of living in Tennessee, so it was so cool getting to see this place for the first time with my best friends. It was a first time for all of us, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.




I'm so glad I got to make these memories with my crew, and I absolutely can't wait until our next adventure!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Taylor Swift Book Tag


So there's this tag going around on Youtube among the Booktuber community called "The Taylor Swift Book Tag."

I had been planning on doing this tag since I found out about it awhile ago. However, when Taylor Swift's new song "Out of the Woods" came out - and when I listened to it on repeat for about ten times once it released (#noshame) - I knew I just had to adapt this tag to my blog (Also, I embedded the song up top so you could listen to it while you read...it's that good, y'all).

Basically, this tag links books I've read to Taylor Swift songs. I love it because it basically combines two of my favorite things, and because it gives me the chance to go way back and share why I love some of these books.

Let's go ahead and get into it! :)

1. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - pick a book or series that you were pretty sure you were in love with, but then wanted to break up with.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis.



I really, really wanted to like this book. I'd seen glowing reviews on YouTube, and I have a soft spot for sci-fi things (see: every post I've ever done on Doctor Who ever). However, this story tried way too hard to be shocking, especially with its dystopian elements. The mystery aspect of this book was intriguing, and the ending was good, but the events leading up to the ending ranged from blah to downright repulsive for me. Needless to say, I decided not to continue the series.

2. Red - pick a book with a RED cover.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers



This book was actually a summer reading assignment back in High School, but this book is one of my favorites. It draws parallels to the book of Hosea in the Bible in the most beautiful way I've ever seen in Christian fiction. It's got romance, historical elements, and a really, really positive message.

3. The Best Day - pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis



Well, given that this song makes me cry every time I listen to it (happy tears, of course), I'm going with the book that has profoundly influenced my life in more ways than one. For the whole story, check out this post.

4. Love Story - easy…pick a love story!

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long



Not only is this a love story, but it's also a gorgeous fairy tale. It's also one of my all-time favorite books ever. It's filled to the brim with magic, intrigue, and of course romance. It's basically what would happen if Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan combined.

5. I Knew You Were Trouble - pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu



I'm actually in the midst of reading this book - it's really really great so far! - and I am already loving the main protagonist Adelina. She has the bad girl aesthetic, but I am rooting for her through all her adventures, triumphs, and struggles.

6. Innocent (written b/c of Kanye West!) - pick a book that someone ruined the ending for.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth



Before I talk about this one, I'll let y'all know that I did not read this book because of the fact that I found out about this ending. I'll admit that this was spoiled for me via browsing the internet, but the ending to this series makes me not want to continue this trilogy, which is sad because I loved Divergent. I'm honestly hoping they do something different with the movie adaptation when it eventually comes out.

7. Everything Has Changed - pick a character from a book who goes through extensive character development.

Wade from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline



Wade Watts goes through a lot in this book. He learns so much about the world around him - both real and in-game - but he learns so much more about himself. If you want to read all my thoughts on this book, check out my review here.

8. You Belong With Me - pick your most anticipated book release.

The Heir and the rest of the Selection Series by Kiera Cass



I honestly thought this was going to be and stay a trilogy, but when I saw the announcement that the Selection Series would continue for two more books, I was a little shocked, but I also knew that I had to finish the series. The ending to the third book was very good, but I'm curious to see how the plot pans out over the next two novels. If you want my thoughts on the third book (and the series so far), check it out here.

9. Forever and Always - pick your favorite book couple.

Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


This is the best choice I can think of for a couple reasons: one, this couple is amazing on the written page, and two, their story is a timeless one has been recreated in both literary and media form for many, many years.

10. Come Back, Be Here - pick a book you wish you could re-read anew.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen



When I read this book for the first time, I was in high school, and I didn't have the appreciation for Jane Austen's writing like I do now.  I also had never been to Bath, UK. Now, I not only really love this story, but I also really love Jane Austen's work and want to really get into it now that I've finished my degree.

All book cover images are from Amazon.com

Thanks for reading this tag, y'all! :) This is my favorite tag post I've done thus far.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday & A 90's Flashback Playlist!



So while I was in college, I did some guest co-hosting on a live radio show called the "90's Kid Flashback Hour" on our on-campus radio station. We had 90's music, 90's trivia, and a cupcake giveaway for whoever could call in and answer the daily trivia question.

Was it tedious sometimes? Yeah. But was it so much fun? OH MY GOODNESS YES.



I was usually a guest host whenever the regular co-host was out of town or doing on-site sports coverage, so when I was on the show, we would do a Girl Power edition where we played mostly female artists and talked about Disney princesses. It was as amazing as it sounds. :) We did have male guest hosts team up with us sometimes, and on those days, we talked about Legos and "Legends of the Hidden Temple".

But the best part of doing this show was definitely the music. There wasn't a time when we weren't not dancing along to whatever songs we were playing. I also got to learn about what my friends enjoyed listening to in the 90's, and I got to share my favorites. :)

I was recently inspired by this adventure on the radio and I wanted to create a 90's Flashback [Half] Hour playlist to share with y'all. :) Some of these songs are ones we played on the radio, others are my personal favorites.


Want to listen to it now? Check it out on Spotify:


Hope y'all enjoyed this playlist! :) This was one of my favorites to make for the blog.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An Instagram Roundup of Random Joys


1. I love this desk bunny! :) I got this little guy for my birthday, and I think it makes my desk so much happier. I just love the fact that the paperclips make up the top of his little carrot.

2. The day after my birthday last week, we went to the Spaghetti Factory. I got my favorite pasta dish for dinner - Mizthra Cheese & Browned Butter - but I always look forward to the Spumoni. This ice cream is a fabulous concoction of cherry, chocolate, and pistachio flavors that I've loved ever since I was a little girl. I actually came to the Spaghetti Factory for my 18th birthday, so it was cool coming back for my 23rd!

3. Is it just me, or is Siri a lot funnier since the latest iOS update? I had seen one of my Facebook friends ask Siri this, so I thought I'd try. Turns out you can't be beamed up if Scotty isn't around. ;)

4. I love this Tardis phone case!! It's from Society6. I was actually given a case with this pattern a couple years ago for an older phone I had, and I was so excited to be able to find it again. The print is called "The Tardis Got Some Ink" if you're wanting to check it out. :) (Also, be on the lookout for a "What's On My iPhone" post very soon!)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spotlight on Ban.do Jewelry

Ban.do is a store I found online, but I've been seeing their phone cases, earbuds, hair accessories, and desk accessories in various stores. I've actually talked about Ban.do on this blog already (remember that fabulous gem speaker?).

If I'm looking for things that are super, super happy and in colors I normally love (gold, pink, and blue), Ban.do is where I usually start.

I was browsing their site the other day when I discovered their new jewelry. Their jewelry line is just as happy as the rest of their store, and the pieces are all incredibly adorable.

Here are my favorite pieces I found while on my browsing adventure:


1. Party Banner Necklace in Stay Gold - This comes in 3 other colors and with 3 other phrases. All of these are cute, but the gold one was my favorite and probably the one I'd buy, just because how versatile it is with many outfits.

2. Girl Talk Cuff in Rad - It's rad. Need I say more? :)

3. Sweet Talk Bangle in Unicorns - I love bangles with tons of writing on them. This entire bangle reads: "You are better than unicorns and sparkles combined and you're prettier than a superstar." How cute is that??

4. It Girl Cuff in Party - These are based on their decorative bobby pins of the same name (and that whole line is amazing, too!), and I absolutely love the fact that all of these bracelets are rose gold. I can see this one in particular being great for parties, too, especially with the Holiday season coming up.

I think the whole jewelry line that Ban.do has is really, really great. The pieces are so positive and so happy, and they are reasonably priced, too, so they make great gifts.
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Music to Dance to

Fun fact about me: I like dance/electronic music.

I've actually liked it and have listened to it since I was really little. I love the music that makes me want to get up and dance, or just gets me really excited while I'm getting ready for the day.

I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite dance tracks - old and new - with you. :)



Want to listen to this playlist now? Check it out on Spotify:


I hope y'all enjoy this playlist! :) I may make a sequel playlist later on.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Isaiah 26:4 // Brunch Adventures


Happy Sunday! :)

Today has been a fun day. Church was great as usual, and I learned a lot. The verse I put up today is actually not from the sermon this morning, but it was one of the daily verses I found on my Bible app a week or so back. It's stuck with me, so I thought I'd put it on the blog.

But what made today really great was a few things:

1. Prayer is a great idea in the mornings.

 Whether it's quick or longer, a thoughtful prayer can make a difference in my mood in the best way possible. Not that my mood's bad to begin with, it just adds that something, that extra spark of joy that keeps me going strong.

2. Scrambled eggs with cheese are also excellent.


Dad and I went to Noshville to have lunch today, and we were each in the mood for breakfast. I went for something I occasionally order: scrambled eggs with cheese. It's a great idea at home and at restaurants, and it's an (only slightly) unconventional food item I really enjoy.

I hope you guys have a wonderful and blessed start to your week, and I'll talk to you tomorrow in my next post! :)
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Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Story of My Faith // How I Became a Christian

This weekend had a really great start. :)

We got a couple phone calls yesterday that two of our members wanted to be baptized. So, we went to our church building to witness both baptisms. It was a blessing to be a part of both milestones in these new members' lives.

While I was sitting on one of the pews, I felt led to finally write the blog post that I'd been debating to write for quite some time now, but hadn't ever found the right time to. It hit me with a gentle spark of inspiration: You should write that post about your own baptism.

I want to share this full story with you because I feel that my faith is such a strong part of my life. Because I'm a Christian, I believe that sharing my faith and my story is paramount to helping others who may be in need of encouragement, or just want to read the posts of a Christian 23-year-old from Tennessee who happens to write a blog.

This is the story of my baptism, so this post is going to be very personal and go very deep. I hope that this helps you get to know me better, and I hope that it can help or encourage you in some way if you need it.

So, without further ado...here's how I became a Christian.


I'm a member of the Church of Christ. We believe in the authority of scripture, so everything we do is according to His Word, especially when it comes to worship. I have grown up in the Church all my life, but I had not made the commitment to be baptized quite yet.

I remember being afraid to go up in front of my entire congregation, and I remember feeling like I just wasn't ready knowledge-wise to be baptized. I was young, but I did want to be baptized at some point. I just didn't feel ready to do so when I was so young. My family continued to patiently study with me as I asked questions and learned all I could while I was in church and in Sunday school.

Then, on January 12, 2006, my parents and I decided to go see the movie version of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at the Franklin Theatre in Downtown Franklin. I was fourteen years old at the time.

When Dad and I had been studying, we had talked about the fact that baptism automatically placed you on the "winning team", when your name was written in the Book of Life in Heaven. In the Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis uses allegorical themes to help convey a message to both children and adults alike, and in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, he draws parallels to Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. On top of that, there's an ultimate battle between good and evil.

Guess what? The side of good is the "winning team".

After we saw the movie, Mom and I pulled into our neighborhood, and suddenly, that realization hit me. I wanted to be on the winning team. I knew all that God wanted me to know at that point, and I could learn even more.

I told Mom I wanted to be baptized. And as Relient K's "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" played on the radio, we pulled out of the neighborhood and drove straight to church.

That very afternoon, my Daddy baptized me. And that was the day I became a Christian and officially joined the Body of Christ, and I've strived to live a faithful life ever since.


I'm going to be blatantly honest with y'all. I was afraid to share this for fear of ridicule. I had been ridiculed in the past for the unconventional nature of how I decided to become a Christian.

But you know what? There are way more positives than negatives to sharing my story. I've been a born-again Christian for eight whole years now, and this story still hits home, even after all this time. Also, I have a blog. I have a platform to share my testimony that I hadn't really ever had before, so I thought, why not?

Plus, this important part of my life has been paramount in shaping who I am.

I decided to transfer to a university my Sophomore year of college so that I could be around people closer to my faith.
I made friends who know and love me, just the way I am, quirks and all, and we all go to church together when we can.
I decided to become an English major in school so I could pursue the books I loved so much, and be influenced by great writers like C.S. Lewis. I also feel very strongly about allegorical themes in literature.
I have been given opportunities after college to pursue my faith through writing and social media.
And I have been given the opportunity to share my faith more closely with you. :)

And I'm so thankful I can do just that.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Adventuring in East Nashville (& Beyond!)

I'm from the Middle Tennessee area, and I've grown up here all my life. I've also visited Nashville countless times, and I've seen a whole lot of it. However, there was one area that neither me nor my parents hadn't seen yet: East Nashville.

When I turned 23 a couple days ago, we decided to browse some of East Nashville. Visiting a new place or district in your area is a great idea for a birthday, just because of the fact that you'll always remember when and why you visited. I know my visit here will be something I won't forget, and I'm already looking forward to coming back. :)

So, I thought it'd be fun to share my favorite parts of the East Nashville (and Green Hills) area with you.

Barista Parlor



I love coffee shops. There's no question about that. However, I'd never visited this one. Y'all...I had no idea what I was missing.

The entire coffeeshop is situated in an industrial building with open garage doors. You order your coffee, breakfast foods, and/or pastries up front, and they'll be delivered to your table later. 

There's no menu that I found online (as of now), so it was fun to go in without knowing really what to expect. However, I was not disappointed. I got the Tortuga coffee (with notes of black cherry! YUM!) and a plate of biscuits and gravy for brunch.

Best brunch ever. Seriously. If you're in the area and haven't been, just check it out. :) (Also, there's a pop-up ramen shop just across the street! How cool is that?)

The "I Believe in Nashville" Mural




I've seen friends of mine take pictures in front of this mural, and I honestly had no idea where it was. It's right on 12 South, and it's right on a side of a shop, so you can't miss it. :)

There are three of these murals in Nashville, but I believe this one on 12 South is the original.

Also, the artist behind this mural started a design and apparel company, and the store is filled with really fun Nashville merchandise!

White's Mercantile

Up the street from the mural is this sweet little shop. Here, you can find clothes, art, candles, mugs, and other eclectic items.

Just walking through this shop is a whole lot of fun, and it was neat to see all the little knickknacks. 

Other Places to See

Las Paletas - This is a place I've been visiting since high school, but they moved to a new location on 12 South. If you're into homemade popsicles, this is your place. I especially love their fruit popsicles with the real fruit pieces...I believe the one I really liked was a Strawberry Banana popsicle.

Street Art - While you're in this area, take a ton of pictures. Seriously.

Photo from my Mom's Instagram :)

Vintage signs and street art are everywhere you look, and there's a ton of history behind these unique pieces of art. It makes for some fun Instagramming, too!

Plus, you never know when art like that will change - especially the graffiti-style art - so if you like something, snap a quick photo of it. :)
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