Tips for Conquering Layovers

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I did a lot of traveling this past weekend. 

This round trip involved one layover each way. Personally, I’m no stranger to layovers; I don’t hate them, but sometimes, I’m not eager to sit and wait in an airport for my next flight (or run/walk briskly to the next flight depending on how much time I have). It’s sometimes a necessity to have that extra time.

So, how do you conquer that layover? What do you do? Where can you go? What shouldn’t you do?

Here’s my advice.

For the Short Layovers (Less Than One Hour)

The most important thing is to get to your next gate. So, skip food for the moment and make sure that you find your connecting gate first and foremost.

As soon as you get off your plane, go to the nearest departures board and look for your next city and flight number. From there, you should have the most up-to-date gate assignment. Just follow the signs and you should be good to go.

Then, if you have extra time or if your flight is delayed, grab that snack or that paperback.

For the Long Layovers (More That One Hour)

You have a LOT more room to do things before your flight. Finding your gate, while it’s still a priority, isn’t as rushed when your layover is longer.

So what do you do with your time?
  • Grab food. (Some airports have iconic, state or city-specific food that you can pick from, like The Varsity in Atlanta [see above], or Nuts on Clark in Chicago)
  • Read. Peruse the airport bookstore and find that delightful little paperback to pass the time.
  • Grab a cup of coffee. Airport coffee shops are usually less busy during afternoons, but if you have a long layover in the morning, the long line may help burn some of the waiting time. Just keep your boarding time in mind just in case.
  • Souvenir shop. A lot of airports sell food (keep security requirements in mind, as you may have to check these items going back), or sports team merchandise, or state-specific apparel. Long layovers are a great time to pick out goodies for loved ones back home.
  • Catch up on any work. As someone who has worked as an editor on the go for years, this is a great way to pass time.
  • Write! I’m talking to my fellow writers, bloggers, and NaNoWriMo participants here. Getting your word count up or just catching up on posts can burn through layover time easily. Take advantage of coffee shop or gate wifi.
  • Talk to family, friends, and loved ones. This, personally, has helped me feel safer while flying alone. 

Things you should avoid during layovers
  • Restaurants during short layovers. Even if you have a full hour, it’s not worth having to wait for food and risk missing your flight.
  • Not keeping track of time. Make sure your phone or watch matches the time zone you are in. Airports and alerts are pretty good about making sure you’re aware of the time change, but it’s better safe than sorry.
  • Headphones when traveling alone. You need to be completely and totally alert while traveling alone, so make sure you’re paying attention to any PA announcements and what’s going on around you.
  • Sleeping while traveling alone. Again, it’s better to be alert.
  • Accepting luggage, food, or drink from strangers. Yes, it’s okay to accept help (like the wonderful passersby in the Atlanta airport when I spilled my drink who practically showered me with napkins...just one of many reasons why I LOVE traveling in the South). But please use common sense, and don’t accept certain things like luggage or food items. And watch for pickpockets, too.

Do you like layovers? What do you do to pass the time?

26 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Friday, October 6, 2017

I’m turning 26 in two days.

I know, I can’t believe it either. I’m well into my mid-twenties now, but I don’t necessarily feel any different. But all I know is that I’m really thankful for the past 25 years; for all the adventures, highs, and lows. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has worked through all these years, and He will continue to do so in my life.

Today, I thought I’d do a post that I’ve done a variation on before, but I thought it would be fitting given the occasion. Here are 26 things you didn’t know about me.

  1. I was named after the city in Georgia, and I did not visit that city until my freshman year of high school.
  2. As a child, I was frequently called “Samantha” and “Susannah” because Savannah was actually not as popular in the 90s as it is now.
  3. I did not actively start drinking sweet tea and coffee until high school. Now, they’re a staple in my life, daily or otherwise.
  4. I was originally going to be named “Summers Elizabeth” instead of “Savannah Kate”, but the name changed two weeks before I was born after my mom read the sequel to “Gone With the Wind."
  5. I collect Spirit Jerseys.
  6. I've collected dresses from different places I’ve traveled.
  7. My lucky number is always my age. This year, it will change from 25 to 26.
  8. I have been blonde my entire life; my hair has just gotten darker over the years.
  9. I have never actually dyed my hair before.
  10. Bunnies have always been my favorite animal because my mom read me (and decorated my nursery to be inspired by) Peter Rabbit books as a child.
  11. Speaking of books, I read voraciously as a kid, and could speak the whole alphabet at 18 months. I was born to know and love words early on.
  12. My favorite international food is Japanese, followed by Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Italian.
  13. The only “sport” I was ever involved in was dance.
  14. My desire to visit London came from the remake of “The Parent Trap.” Now, it’s one of my all-time favorite cities ever.
  15. The two places I’ve always wanted to go to (but haven’t visited) are Tokyo and Barcelona.
  16. Two of the most mind-blowing concert/Broadway musical events of my life both involve British guys named Dan: the first was when I saw Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in New York, the second was when I was within two yards of Dan Smith from Bastille at one point during their concert.
  17. Speaking of Harry Potter, I once stood in line at Waterstones’, a popular UK bookstore chain, with my parents super late at night for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In Glasgow, Scotland. Meaning, I got to own a copy about 6 hours before US readers.
  18. My favorite color has always been some shade of blue.
  19. I’ve always loved gaming on some level or another, all the way back from playing on my parents’ NES.
  20. My favorite Disney movie has always been Beauty and the Beast.
  21. My all-time favorite movie in general is Legally Blonde (followed closely by Pacific Rim).
  22. My favorite genre of movie is probably action/adventure.
  23. My favorite book always has been (and always will be) The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
  24. I can cross my toes.
  25. I’ve loved to draw for as long as I can remember, from doodles and anime/manga-inspired characters to full-blown comics for both high school and college.
  26. I have been a Christian (a baptized believer) for 11, going on 12 years, and I’m so grateful and thankful for that.

I'm Writing a Book!

Monday, October 2, 2017

This week, October began.

I have a lot of reasons to be excited this month (like turning 26 next week). But this month finally, FINALLY begins the prep process for one of the best adventures I think I’ll ever take.

I’m writing an entire book in a month!

I mentioned that I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) before, but now that it’s October, I can start planning and plotting in full force now. Traditionally, October is “Preptober”, a month of outlining and plot-building frenzy that excludes any actual novel-writing. The 50,000 words (!!!) I’ll be writing will be exclusively during November 1-30.

And while I’ve done similar projects before (see my post on my short story project here), I’ve never actually sat down to write a full-length novel in that length of time. But, this year, the timing feels right, and I feel so, so good about the novel I’m writing.

“But Sav, what’s your book about?” you might be asking me. Well…I’m going to wait to announce the plot and title of my book for the moment; one, because I really love this idea and want to keep it close to my chest for now, and two, everyone loves surprises, right? ;) The only thing I’ll tell you is that it’s a Young Adult novel, and I’m planning on publishing it once all is said and done.

All in all, I’m excited for this brand-new adventure. November is going to be an interesting, but exciting month this year, and I’m so, so ready to finally embrace and embark on probably one of the greatest adventures of my life as a writer. And, most of all, I’m thankful to my family, friends, and, most of all, the God I love for the support and strength in this grand and amazing journey. 

An SNS/Dip Powder Nails Review

Monday, September 25, 2017

Painting my nails or having them done has always been a fun pastime for me. It’s a stress-reliever, and not to mention it’s an excuse to express myself with whatever color I see fit on my hands.

But, a few months back, I decided to try something new: the SNS/Dip Powder manicure.

It all started when I was talking to one of my friends, and she had a particularly fabulous manicure. I asked her if they were gel and how she liked them. Imagine my surprise when one, they were not gel, and two, they were SNS (a brand of dip powder) nails that hadn’t damaged her nails at all. In fact, they’d only made them stronger.

Then, more ladies - both women and girls from high school to adulthood - had lauded the joys of the dip powder manicure, and they encouraged me to try it as well.

It took a few weeks, but I eventually decided to go for it.

And, y’all…it’s worth it.

What’s a Dip Powder Manicure?

A dip powder manicure involves your nails being coated with powder as opposed to just a polish or acrylic bonding. There is a bonding agent, but it’s more akin to a base coat than a sealant (with the exception of the top coat).

There is always a “base coat” between layers. The color is applied in two layers, and it feels like dipping your fingers in powdered sugar. Then, finally, there’s a clear layer, and then two layers of top coat that only takes four minutes to dry, and you’re totally set.

Occasionally, depending on where you go, there is a drill used, but it’s more of a buffer. It does not - and should not - hurt. If it does, please go elsewhere.

How long does it last?

Three, up to four weeks without chips. If that doesn’t draw you in, I’m not sure what will.

Here’s a dip powder manicure the day I went to the salon:

And here it is three weeks later:

I’ve had it last up to four before, but my nails generally grow a hair slower, so please keep that in mind.

How much does it cost?

Depending on where you go, a dip powder manicure can cost $45-$60. It’s generally ten dollars more than a gel manicure. 

But when you’re looking for a place to go, please make sure that there’s a general positive client review base. You don’t want to leave with cut-up cuticles (which has happened to me before, and it’s never a fun time). A great salon will give you a great manicure for a reasonable amount.

Who is this for?

Go for the dip powder manicure if:
  • You do a lot of labor-intensive work (such as farming, retail, etc.), or have a job that requires you to have a professional appearance (business, secretary, etc.)
  • You, to be honest, don’t have time to do your nails weekly.
  • You’re traveling (No need to bring nail polish with you on a trip! Save that space in your liquids bag or checked luggage and avoid spilled nail polish.)
  • You’re getting married! (No need to worry about chipped nails on your wedding day)
  • You’re in a wedding! (I did dip powder nails for the first time for one of my best friends’ weddings to cut their cake. I’m so glad I did.)
  • You’re going to prom! Or some other special occasion.
  • You’re sick and tired of removing glitter polish by hand (SNS glitter colors are some of my favorite manicures ever - see above)
  • You’re sick and tired of your nails being so brittle (My nails have not broken since I’ve been getting dip powder nails)
  • You want to!

Have you ever gotten an SNS/Dip Powder manicure before? Would you want to get one? Let’s talk in the comments! :)

What's in my Daily Makeup Bag | Fall 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The last time I did one of these posts was…November 2015?

Yep. Time for an update.

The last makeup post I did was on “Makeup to Fly Out the Door With.” A lot of those products (or, at least, the types of products) are actually ones I still use and love. My makeup routine these days is quite simple, with an emphasis on natural tones, simple graphic eyeliner, and (sometimes) an accent lip depending on the day.

By “makeup bag,” I mean the bag I keep on my vanity that I reach for every single day I go out. Some days I use all the products; other days I just use a few if I need to get somewhere fast.

Onto the products!



  • Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush Wardrobe - This is an awesome blush palette! I usually wear the shades “Baby Love” and “How Deep is Your Love?” (The full palette was Limited Edition, but you can buy individual shades here.)

  • Lipsense! (I’m not a distributor, but Lipsense is by far the best long-wearing liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried. Would you guys want me to post a full post on lipsense? Please comment and let me know!)

Anyways, that’s my daily makeup bag. What makeup are you guys loving lately? Any tried-and-true products? Let’s chat in the comments!

Quick disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of the above websites I've linked. I just want to share my makeup with you guys. :)

Wonderland Reads: Recent Reads #1

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hey hey! :)

I’ve read a couple of books lately in an effort to get out of a particularly janky (read: 4-month-long) reading slump. I did find a couple of good ones, and I want to share those with you.

Renegade by J. A. Souders

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
I liked the premise of this one a lot. It reminded me of the “Bioshock” video game series with its setting, and, I'm not gonna lie, an underwater utopia-gone-wrong story was super appealing. 

Was it a tad teen-angsty and dramatic? Yes. But was it still a good YA read with a great thriller plot and a good cast of characters? Of course. This was a good book to get me reading again.

The only reason I’m not continuing this series is that I was not really crazy about the ending. Other than that, good story and setting.

Rating: Four elaborately-built underwater sanctuaries out of five.

Roar by Cora Carmack

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.
Now, THIS one was a fun ride!

I love a story with a good, well-established magic system, and I love me a good, strong-willed female protagonist, and I really love a well-written romance. This one gets the triple crown from me. Yes, I will be continuing this series, too.

Rating: Five thunderstorms out of five.

What have you read recently?
Titles and synopses from Goodreads

Travel Essentials

Monday, September 11, 2017

I love travel. That’s absolutely no secret. I love sharing travel posts and how-to’s with you guys, and I also love prowling YouTube and Pinterest for various travel-related things.

One thing I keep seeing pop up on my YouTube feed has been guides for “travel essentials.” It got me thinking…if I could recommend only a few items as essential for any traveler - seasoned or casual - what would I suggest?

That’s what I’m aiming to do today. I’m going to share with you ten items I feel are essential for traveling anywhere and anytime, for any length of time. (And, of course, these essentials are goodies in addition to your necessities…pack everything you absolutely need first!)

1. Blue Jeans

No matter where you go (or when you go), one pair of blue jeans is so insanely versatile. Just pack one or two for a weekend getaway, and pack at least two for a longer trip (especially abroad.

2. Basic T-Shirt (or Two)

Like jeans, basic tees are versatile. Pack a white one for the ultimate classic staple, and add black and gray for variety (and more versatility…neutrals go with everything). Don’t be afraid to add color, too; solid brights and pastels are a lot of fun and are easy to layer with pieces. Speaking of layers...

3. A jacket or cardigan

Traveling in layers is always a good idea, no matter what time of year it is. Make sure you have at least one layer with you that you can easily access or take off. (At the very least, you can roll up that layer and use it as a pillow on your journey.)

4. Socks!

Whether you are on the road or on a plane, a pair of socks are necessary. At the very least, they keep your feet warm on cold planes or cars. Beyond that, they protect your feet from germs at security and other places you may need to remove your shoes. Keep an extra pair in your carry-on or personal item (or road trip bag).

5. Zip-loc bags

Y’all know I love packing cubes. But I do have to say that zip-loc bags do the exact same thing in a pinch. Carry a few extra for laundry, separating certain clothing items out, and toiletries. I would avoid wet clothes, though.

6. Scarves

Scarves are phenomenal. Roll a scarf up to use as a pillow in the car or on a plane, and - of course - wear that scarf on cold days.

7. One pair of amazing walking shoes

If you can only pack one pair of shoes, wear some that you could walk for miles in. Or, at least as much walking as you’re planning on doing on your trip (i.e. don’t wear heels to Disneyworld).

8. Headphones

Sometimes, all you need is great music. Or to sleep. Either way, headphones are a personal favorite essential of mine.

9. Cross-body bag or purse

Wearing something across your body is a great idea if you’re planning on going to any major metropolitan cities, or crowded areas in general. It’s better to keep your valuables safe (or, better yet, not bring anything extremely valuable with you that’s not a cell phone or currency) in case of pickpockets.

10. A copy of your itinerary (plus other necessities).

Finally, it’s best to make sure you keep a downloaded copy of your itinerary somewhere on your phone, or a paper copy in your bag. That way, you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going, and you can also let others know where you are. (Also, if you’re traveling a greater distance, bring copies of your driver’s license/passport.)

What are your travel essentials?

Friday Five | 9/8/17

Friday, September 8, 2017

Before we start, I’m going to leave this thought here: I turn 26 in one month from today. 

Happy Friday Five, everybody! :)

Barista Parlor, Once Again

I love their specialty coffee. I really really do. The coffee I had this week had notes of blackberry and grape jam.

Also, I tried their breakfast burrito (featuring sriracha sour cream!). It was pretty great.

“…Ready For It?”

Speaking of pretty great things, I love Taylor Swift’s newest song!


I have been on a mission to clean out my closet. It’s been going really really well! This organization kick was something I’ve needed, and it’s been a lot of fun.

I’ve wanted to color-code my clothes in my closet for awhile now, and the fact that I can do that now (and have done it) makes me giddy.

My current goals. (Insert heart-eyes emoji here.) Photo credit here.

NaNoWriMo Prep

I’m fully aware it’s not October yet (Preptober for all you National Novel Writing Month regulars), but I’ve been preparing for writing a novel this November still.

One way I’ve been doing that is reading Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. Chris Baty is the founder and creator of NaNoWriMo. My mom gave me this book as a surprise gift, and already, it’s helped me so much with the coming months of preparing for this huge (and really really exciting!) project. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (and gaming in general, really)

Finally, a gaming favorite! Gaming isn’t as massive of a hobby of mine as it used to be, but when I do play video games, I love it.

I finally picked up the latest Legend of Zelda title for the Wii U, and so far, I love it! Now, I’m not too far (I just made it past the first dungeon), but I’m really into the various smaller mechanics of the game (like cooking and the ability to use magnet magic to solve puzzles).

Also, I’m a firm believer in playing video games to help your writing. As such, story-based games with crazy-massive sprawling worlds like The Legend of Zelda (and also Xenoblade Chronicles X) have been my jam lately.

What have been your favorite things this week?

Bullet Journal Setup

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


I’ve started dabbling in bullet journaling again.

Reason why I say again is that I have in fact tried full-time bullet journaling before. However, I figured out that while bullet journaling isn’t for me full-time (I can’t scrap having a calendar to plan future events), I still really love the system and wanted to use it somewhere.

Quick intro before we go further: the Bullet Journal system was created by Ryder Carroll. It’s meant to simplify any lists, events, collections, whatever you want in one organized space. If you want more info on how the bullet journal system works and how it got started, check out the official website here.

Now, this is still in the very early stages, but I am so, so excited and happy with the way these pages and spreads are turning out, and I’m loving using this system already. I can definitely tell a difference in how productive I’ve been. Listing has worked really well for me in the past, so why not take it a step further?


Before we get into how I use my bullet journal, I figured it would be a good idea to tell y’all what I actually use to bullet journal (yes, I consider bullet journal both a noun and a verb).

So, how do I use my bullet journal?


I use a Leuchtturm 1917 grid notebook. I’ve dabbled with the dotted notebooks before, and I think either that style or this one works just fine.

That being said, I love the way that the Leuchtturm is laid out. I take full advantage of the Contents page and have been using it to create, well, a table of contents. This is a traditional bullet journaling element that I’ve stuck to.

The one thing that I've changed slightly is that I have the months color-coded and highlighted so I can find them easier.


One thing that I embellished a bit is the key page. I copied the key from the Bullet Journal app, and so far, it’s working well for me.


Now, we’re getting into the fun stuff. I’ve created collections and trackers: one collection for blog posts (which I don’t have pictured because spoilers), and trackers for the books I’ve read this year and what movies I’ve watched on Netflix.

Other trackers/collections I have not pictured here: travel in 2017 (still working on that one, and it has future stuff that I'm waiting to share here) and Monthly Favorites (which I used to write my August Favorites last month!).

Daily Log

Finally, here’s my Daily Log…so far.

“Hey, Sav? Where’s your Monthly or Future Log?” you may be asking me. Here’s the thing about the way I’m bullet journaling right now: I am using this in tandem with my Erin Condren planner. As such, I really don’t need a future or monthly log right now. Now, that could change, but this is what’s working for me at the moment.

As far as functionality goes, I LOVE this. I transfer my to-do lists from my Erin Condren planner to my bullet journal as I see fit, and I've been finding that I've been accomplishing so much more with it. Here's hoping that this continues! If so, I'll update you guys.

Have you ever tried bullet journaling? Let’s talk in the comments! :)

All-Time Favorite Bible Verses

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy September!

In lieu of a Friday Five this week (since I just did a Monthly Favorites and I feel like I’d just be rehashing some of those in a normal Friday Five), I decided to list five of my all-time favorite Bible verses, and give them to you in pastel-colored graphic form that you can save to your phone, pin to Pinterest, message to someone, whatever.

Why? Well, for a few reasons: one, I know that a lot of you readers have started school or know someone who’s started school; when I was in school, Bible verses helped me a whole lot. Two, it always helps me to have scripture handy in times of trouble, whether that’s for me or someone I love. And three, I just wanted to share some of my favorites with you. :)

What are your favorite verses?

The Art of the To-Do List

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

One of my very first posts in my first year of blogging was on to-do lists. I still adore the to-do list; while it’s definitely not a new idea to stay on top of life and stay organized, there’s something to be said about making (and keeping) a to-do list on a daily or weekly basis. Keeping lists, at least for me, is crucial since I work from home.

Now, I definitely feel like there are different methods to keeping lists. In today’s post, I want to share some methods I’ve discovered with you, and you can modify them for your needs as you see fit. I’m going to also rank them from simple to more elaborate.

Good ol’ Notepads

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The notepad is a good way to keep daily lists running, especially since you normally toss a sheet of notepaper (and by notepaper, in this case, I mean tear-off pads and sticky notes) once it’s done.

Plus, there are some cute notepads out there.

Like this one.

So, in short, notepads are good for:
  • Short-term, day-by-day tasks
  • Grocery/shopping lists
  • Quick reminders and notes (stick them to your mirror or nightstand)

A Dedicated To-Do List Notebook

I consider this a step up from the traditional notepad in that you wouldn’t tear out these pages. Instead, you would keep track of your lists in a dedicated space.

When I was in middle school, we were actually required to keep one of these for homework. I actually wound up keeping this method through my college years, just because it was awesome having a list specifically for these tasks. For college, what I would do is go to the library, outline what I would do, and then highlight each task as I got it done. It kept me productive during my dedicated study sessions.

This one I bought for my last year of college was from May Designs.

I guess the 2013 me never got around to Labs 5B and 7B that day, ha!

The to-do list notebook is good for:
  • Student things (homework, tasks, meetings, etc.)
  • Keeping track of what you did during a given week

Within Your Agenda or Planner

Like to keep everything condensed in one spot? The planner method is for you.

I currently keep to-do lists in my Erin Condren planner. I use the vertical layout and dedicate one box to to-do lists. And it’s been a wonderful thing to see what I’ve needed to do not only during a given day, but within the context of a week.

Also, you can use this method in weekly and hourly layouts, too. It’s all up to you.

So, use the planner method for:
  • Keeping both calendar events and to-do list items in the same place
  • Keeping track of items throughout a week
  • Making lists of things to get done during your week without assigning them to a specific day (Erin Condren planners have a sidebar that’s great for this, but other planners have space for this, too…shop around and see what you like.)

Bullet Journal!

Do you like to get creative? Say hello to your new little friend: the Bullet Journal.

The Bullet Journal, a system created by Ryder Carroll, pretty much turns your calendar and to-do list items into a huge listing system, and it’s a phenomenal tool for tons of people. A quick search on Pinterest for bullet journaling has some of the most beautiful artwork and layouts I’ve ever seen.

I’ve dabbled in this system before, and while it’s not the best system for me to use as my only planner (since it’s tricky to plan ahead with it), I will say that it’s amazing for keeping lists and tracking habits, as well as itemizing collections and things you want to do. Plus, I recommend using the bullet journal system if you’re a writer (for more info, check out my post here).

Bullet journaling would be a great fit for you for:
  • Simplifying your planning and list systems into one notebook
  • Keeping track of habits and things you want to see and do (especially on a monthly basis)
  • If you love being creative with your listing, planning, and tracking (especially if you love the idea of a blank canvas to do it all in)

How do you keep to-do lists? Let’s talk about it! :)

Friday Five | 8/25/17

Friday, August 25, 2017

It’s Friday! (More like Fri-Yay, am I right? ;] )

Let’s talk about five specific things!

The Solar Eclipse!

Look how gray and dusky the sky is! And the street lamp!

It seemed like everyone was watching and waiting with bated breath for the eclipse on Monday…and I was one of them.

We weren’t in the exact path of totality, but it did get dark. Our street lamp turned on, and the crickets went crazy for a little while. It was as though it was 6 PM instead of 1 PM. I consider myself a space nerd, and I love stuff like this. It was really, really fun to watch the eclipse with my mom, and I’m glad I got to experience at least a small part of it.

The whole “writing 500 words” thing

It’s been going pretty well! I’ve been going back and forth between using Fighter’s Block and good old Scrivener to accomplish this. Have I been doing this all week? Well…I did miss Monday and Tuesday, but I DID make up for it and write 1300 words on Wednesday.

Library Days

Speaking of writing, I spent a couple days this week at the library doing some writing and NaNoWriMo planning.

Oh, what’s that? Did I mention NaNoWriMo?

I guess now’s a good time to announce that I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month this year! The past couple of Novembers, I spent the 30 days writing 30 short stories, essentially writing two anthologies with a grand total of 60 short stories now in my portfolio. Now, I feel like I’m finally ready to take the plunge and actually do NaNoWriMo for real. 50,000 words? Bring it.

(And, yes, I know that you’re supposed to wait until October to prep, but my novel needs a ton of character, world, and plot development before I move forward.)

Lemon Tea & Honey

I have been sick this week. The jankiest of colds has been going around, and I caught one. Yippee.

Luckily, herbal lemon and ginger tea and honey has helped. A lot. I drink that in addition to coffee if my throat’s bothering me.

“Look What You Made Me Do”

I can’t finish off a Friday Five without talking about Taylor Swift’s newest single that came out less than twelve hours ago.

Of course, I love her music. However, I’m curious to see what this turn to electro-pop-punk means for the rest of her album. But, I tell ya…she can write music. The lyrics are pretty awesome. And I'm excited for the video to be out Sunday!

What have you been loving this week?

Wonderland Reads: Series Review - "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" + "Necromancing the Stone"

Monday, August 21, 2017

Every year, I set up a reading challenge on Goodreads. It’s a fun way to keep track of what books I’ve read during the years I’ve set these goals, and it’s also a great way to look back on what books I loved (and maybe find similar titles in the future).

This year, I’ve set a goal to read 15 books. And one of those 15 books I’ve had the absolute pleasure and delight of reading is Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride.

Here is a synopsis for the curious:

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he's doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. 
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. 
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Y’all, I. LOVED. This. Book.

The writing style reminded me of another old favorite series of mine, Off to Be the Wizard. It was a riot with great characters and a storyline that kept me gripped from page one. I devoured this book in 24 hours.

I wish I could say the same of its sequel, Necromancing the Stone.

I hate to DNF (did not finish) any book, but after a week and a half of just reading a few pages on and off, I decided to call this one quits halfway through. 

The humor just wasn’t there for me in the sequel…the main character was whinier, and the story took some very, very strange directions that I wasn’t a fan of. The bright side? The gnomes (who had names like “Chuck the Norriser) who would provide comic relief. I guess I was expecting it to be just like the Off to Be the Wizard series I loved (which, I actually liked the second and third books just as much as the first). 

So, at the end of the day, I’d recommend “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer.” It’s definitely one of my new favorite books of all time. Maybe I’ll give the sequel another shot someday, but for now, I think I’ll venture elsewhere.

Final Ratings:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer - five pandas out of five
Necromancing the Stone - three gnomes out of five

What books have you read lately?

images and synopsis credit: Goodreads

Friday Five | 8/18/17

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hey, y'all! This Friday Five has some pretty epic stuff in it, not gonna lie.

Well, why wait when I can tell you all about it?

I published a short story!

"The Pirate College" launched Tuesday. It’s a story I had an absolute blast writing, and I am thrilled that it’s finally out! (If you want to buy a copy for Kindle or paperback, click here. If you want to find out more about my self-publishing and how I got started, click here.)

Bic Gelocity Pens

These have been my office supply of choice as of late. I love the bright colors and how fast they dry. (You can pick them up on Amazon here.)

Barista Parlor Coffee

Now, if y’all have been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much I love Barista Parlor. But it had been a good while since I enjoyed a cup of one of their specialty coffees, and, y’all, it was good. (The one I tried last night had cherry pie notes. Cherry pie!)

Fighter’s Block

These days, I’ve been trying to write at least 500 words a day to stay conditioned creative writing-wise, and also just because I love it. It’s been a fun habit to build.

But the thing that’s really helped me build that habit has been this web app. As you type, you play as a little character trying to fight off a monster. The more you type, the faster you win. The less you type, the monster has a chance of winning. Video games and writing? That’s a serious win-win for me.

If you’d like to try it, check it out here.

These Verses

"Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” - 1 Corinthians 15:58

“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10

What have you been loving this week?

Just a quick disclaimer before I go: I am not being paid to advertise specific items. I just want to share what I love with you guys. :)

Will College Change Me?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'm three years out of college. I actually started this blog in my last year of school, and it definitely feels like this blog has grown up with me. As such, I really haven't written anything student-wise or really anything relating to college life, just because it's not something I'm a part of now.

One of my younger cousins actually started college this week. I remember holding her the day after she was born, and she's like a little sister to me. Since she's going to college in my home state, she's actually spent a lot of time with us as of late, and it's been good getting to see her during her transition into college life.

All this said, this has gotten me thinking about a question I remember having back when I was starting college, and I'm sure a lot of my collegiate readers have thought this as well...will college change me?

Short answer? Yes.

Long answer? It depends on what you mean by change.

If I'm completely honest, I don't really like unknowns. And when I was about to start college, I was terrified of them. So, when I was told that I was probably going to change in college, I didn't know what to think.

Now, I can say that in hindsight, I did change. And change is good.

This change mainly came from faith. I made friends in college who were of like-minded faith. I grew closer to God in that I was the one calling the shots as to whether or not I would make the effort to go to church if I had the time to do so.

I also changed in that I got to pursue talents that I had, as well as opportunities I didn't know I would have. I got to be editor-in-chief of the school newspaper at the end of my college career, as well as dabble in the news department at a radio station.

Then, I changed in that I appreciated where I came from. I appreciated my hometown, as well as my home church, so much more than before I started college. And now that I'm out of school, that appreciation is definitely still there.

I say all this to say that as a college student, you should not be afraid of change. If anything, you should embrace it. Embrace every opportunity, every good and bad moment, and every peak and valley. You are there for a reason. Trust and walk with God through it all, because He loves you. Lean on family and friends.

This change will turn out good in the end. :)

How to Pack the Perfect Weekend Bag

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I. love. weekend. trips.

I just went on one recently. And I have a feeling I'll be going on many more. But the reason why I love weekend trips so much is that they are a fantastic way to get a vacation in without interrupting your routine in real life so much.

Packing for these kinds of trips can be very tricky, though. However, I think I finally have a system down, and I want to share it with you guys.

Step 1: Make a list with specifics.

Whether it’s on your phone, an iPad, or even some kind of bullet journal or planner, making a list will definitely help you keep your items straight. You can wing it, sure, but you’re more likely to leave necessities that you didn’t remember while throwing things in your bag.

Also, since a weekend is pretty short as far as trips go, you may actually do well to pack by outfit. I normally don’t like doing this (I like options!), but if your space is limited, you may want to, say, plan on packing three shirts, a dress (you never know if you’ll be going to a nice dinner, and it’s good to have one on hand for Sundays if you’re attending church during your trip), and a couple pairs of shorts or jeans. That’s what I did for my weekend in Montgomery.

Step 2: Double-check your weather. 

This is a must! It’s not fun to pack for a sunny weekend when it winds up raining the whole time. That being said, be prepared for inclement weather just in case; pack shoes with some tread and an umbrella at the very least. Keep it minimal, since it’s just a weekend trip, but it’s better safe than sorry.

Also, it helps to bring layers. That way, if it does wind up being warmer where you are, you won’t have to worry. And if it’s colder, you’re prepared. It’s a win-win.

Step 3: Never underestimate the power of a great bag. 

I love my Ace Hotel duffel bag I got for Christmas. It’s huge and perfect for weekend trips because it has tons of space while still having the ability to fit in car trunks easily. But if you prefer a hard-sided case, a carry-on size would be a great fit.

Step 4: Also, never underestimate the power of packing cubes.

My mom and I have been using packing cubes for awhile now. Even for short weekend trips, packing cubes are a great way to keep your bag clutter-free and organized by clothing type. For a weekend, I categorize my clothing into two cubes, and then pack a laundry bag. This pack from Amazon comes with a set of cubes and a laundry bag, and it’s my favorite.

Step 5: Roll. Those. Clothes. 

Packing cubes or not, rolling your clothes is a great way to utilize all the space you have, especially if your bag is on the smaller side.

Of course, I wouldn’t roll things like dresses that wrinkle easily, but I’d at least roll shirts and even jeans to save space.

Step 6: Travel sized items!

Let’s be honest…you really won’t need a whole tube of toothpaste or that entire bottle of shower gel for two days. Don’t get me wrong, you can still pack toothpaste and shower gel, just don’t pack enough to last a month when you only need it for a fraction of a week.

That being said...

Step 7: When in doubt about toiletries, pack them.

For example: are you wondering if there will be a hair dryer where you are staying? If so, go ahead and pack it. The reason why is that you may be the only one who brings it, and it’s better to be the one who shares the hair dryer with everyone else than to be the one who’s constantly asking for it.

Also, if you are sharing a hotel room with a few people, it’s a lot better to pack extra soap, just because amenities will be limited to the tiny travel sizes provided at the hotels. I packed extra goodies and soaps when I went to Hawaii, and though that was a longer trip than a weekend, I’m so happy I did.

Worst comes to worse, you can just pick up any extras at nearby drugstores.

What do you like to pack for weekend trips?

Quick disclaimer before I go. I am not being paid for any specific products linked or mentioned. I just wanted to share what I love with you guys. :)

Friday Five | 8/11/17

Friday, August 11, 2017

I’m kind of playing catch-up this week (since I didn’t feel like I had enough to constitute a Friday Five last week), but I have quite a bit to share with you guys!

The Little Mermaid

The girls and I went and saw a production of “The Little Mermaid” on stage at TPAC last week. It was so, so cute! I am a little biased towards the movie (I did grow up on Disney, after all), but it was still a lot of fun.

Jamba Juice Acai Bowls

I briefly mentioned these when I talked about Pure Barre, but after that workout…peanut butter, yogurt, and strawberries in an acai bowl never tasted so good. (I ordered a Chunky Strawberry bowl, for the curious.)


I got my hair cut this week! Nothing too crazy, but it was definitely time to take at least an inch and a half off for the rest of this summer.

Orange Julius

Post-haircut, I picked up some Dairy Queen and Orange Julius for my mom and I on the way home. Nothing truly beats an orange creamsicle-flavored beverage (or at least something frozen and orange). If I can’t get a Frozen Orange at the Varsity, this works (as well as the Orange Dream Machine from Jamba Juice).

What all have you been doing or loving this week?