If We Were Having Coffee #2

I saw a blogger/life coach I love, Ashley, do a post entitled If We Were Having Coffee and I decided to take her lead and do one myself because I loved it and sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. I got such a great response to my initial that I wanted to make it a reoccurring thing!

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got water right now because it’s far too late for coffee for me.  I actually wish I was having a jack & ginger right now because it’s been that kind of a week but alas I am not. What are you having?

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I’m in the middle of Half Bad by Sally Green which I started out loving but have hit a wall with. I don’t know if it’s the crazy of this week or what but it’s kind of causing me to be in a slump. I’m also in the middle of The Sea of Tranquility which is going a bit better. I’d ask you what you were reading.

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you that this week drained me. There was a bit of a family crisis that involved my sister and her two babies (Genevieve and Adela) staying here with Will and I in our one bedroom (things are fine now) and then I found out on Wednesday that I didn’t get the job I interviewed for and was really excited about. I was at my nannying gig when I found out and it took everything not to just break down and cry. I started crying the minute I got in my car. I’m just so frustrated. I KNOW I would have been amazing at that job and I just don’t know why I can’t get a job in my field (marketing/social media). And I feel so stressed because of this long term unemployment. I’ve done everything in my power to find a job and I can’t and I KNOW that jobs just penalize you even more when you are out of work. And all I want to scream is I DID NOT ASK TO BE LAID OFF FROM MY PREVIOUS JOB!!!

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you that I need a vacation. I need to go somewhere where I don’t speak the language and explore and eat new foods. My soul needs it…to recharge. To feel even more alive.  I’d ask you about the last trip you went on.

If we were having coffee…. I would tell you how I seriously cannot stop mourning the fact that Breaking Bad is over. Will and I binge watched it in December and I can’t stop thinking it. I feel like no other shows compare for me at this point. I’d ask you if you’ve watched it and if you said no then I’d (lovingly) bully you into it.

If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you how this winter is going to be my undoing. I’m NOT a winter girl at all. I hate it. If it weren’t for family I’d be on the first flight out of here to live somewhere warm. This winter has been BRUTAL. In fact, the news keeps telling me it’s the THIRD snowiest winter we’ve ever had. DIE, MOTHER NATURE, DIE. And the fun part? WINTER IS NOT EVEN OVER. Between getting stuck in traffic for 4 hours (should have only been 25 minutes), having below zero temps, my car door being so frozen multiple mornings that I can’t shut it, having to dig out my car, falling on ice and having to drive in shitty conditions…I’M JUST OVER IT.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how I went to a party for my former bff’s 1 year old kid (to support HER because we’ve been working on things) and I had to see my old group for the first time in over a year. There were only a couple of people who actually acknowledged us/talked to us and the rest of the people literally ignored us. It’s so sad to see friends I’ve had since middle school and high school just act like I’m not there. I had my reasons for leaving that group but this showed me it was the right decision when I thought about how none of them have even tried to reach out/basically showed me how shallow those friendships always were. I was just so disappointed that there wasn’t even hellos or “it’s been so long! How have you been?” from any of them. It give me the major sads. I would also tell you how Will and I went out for burritos and margaritas afterwards and I no longer gave a shit about what transpired.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I slacked off on working out in 2014 so far. I was really dedicated last year and then I started the year off sick and I just have not regained my mojo. SOMEONE PLEASE KICK ME INTO GEAR.

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you that I really want to go to BEA again this year and would be really sad to miss it after having gone every year since I’ve been blogging. It’s more about being able to hang out with people than it is about the books but I really look forward to it. Everything is so up in the air because I don’t know what I’ll be doing job-wise by then and who knows if I’ll be able to get off the time. FINGERS CROSSED IT WILL WORK OUT. I’d ask you if YOU were going and if you didn’t know what it is, because maybe you don’t blog or you are new, I would tell you ALL about it..how it is a bookish heaven.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I’m really behind in replying to comments on my blog and visiting other blogs. It’s embarrassing honestly. And I feel bad. I don’t know what’s up with me lately HOWEVER..I’m working on it.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’m honestly having the hardest time keeping my spirits up these days with this whole looking for a job thing. I keep having to look for bright spots in my day — your comments and tweets being one of them — and it’s just really, really hard just not to give up. I’ve never felt so demoralized in my life and I feel like I’m doing the best I can and asking for helping and doing All The Things You Are Supposed To Do and it’s not getting me anywhere. Something’s gotta give eventually, right? Everyone tells me to “keep on going” and I KNOW that’s what I’m supposed to do but I feel like I’m just a hamster on a wheel at this point.

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

Dear 2013, Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

So I had initially written this whole long goodbye 2013 letter but I decided, after rereading it, that it was mainly for me. It was. I needed to write it. To word vomit out all the rottenness of the year and get it out of my system like a night out drinking. I cried as I wrote it. My rageypants fit a bit tighter as I got more pissed about things that happened this year. I ate a brownie. I cursed 2013. And then I just sat there. I reread it. I cried more. And then I decided that I didn’t want this to be the first post I made in 2014. I’m ready for a new year, a new start — I know it’s a mental thing but my brain likes the idea of a new year to let go of all the baggage I have carried this year.

Let’s get it out: This year SUCKED. There were good moments. Really fun, awesome moments. Things learned. Things tried. Memories I won’t forget. There were seriously awesome days. Those things kept me going. But there was this dark cloud that followed the whole year and liked to dump acid rain all over me at inopportune moments. I told Will often that I just wanted to quit life this year. I pleaded with him that it was a good idea to take what little money we had and just flee to an island somewhere and sell smoothies out of our shack. He often rolled his eyes at my solution to things. It’s no secret — I’ve been honest. I struggled this year.

Okay now that that’s out. Let’s talk about a few takeaways from this year that will be melded into the armor that I will wear into battle in 2014 — because I will fight to make things better, to be happy, to be stronger. Hear this rebel yell, 2014! I’m coming for you.

Perseverance

My dear friend Ginger had an awesome idea for a project and I loved seeing the outcome. She asked some bloggers and authors to give a word that summed up the year for them and it really made me think. I had a lot of negative words come to mind initially but I knew that’s not the direction I wanted to go in because I’m a glass half full kind of girl. There had to be some overarching theme of 2013 amidst all the really negative words I was thinking and all the things that had happened. And then it came to me — perseverance. I think this word sums up a lot of my life. In fact, in college I was given the perseverance award presented by the Business Department because everyone knew about my mom’s fight with brain cancer through most of my college career. I just persevere.

The official definition for perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

That pretty much sums it up. This year was a lot of just keep pushing through. Even when I wanted to lie down and quit, I just kept going even if nothing felt better. Even in the days where all I wanted to do was cry, I let myself cry, I dusted myself off and said, “Self, you will keep going.” I didn’t feel particularly in battle mode most of the time but it was more of a quiet perseverance this year for me. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. The biggest thing was the job thing — it’s demoralizing and exhausting to keep looking for work and knowing you are good enough but new rejections pummel you every day. I don’t see the fruits of that labor yet but I’m persevering knowing that soon enough I will be where I need to be career wise. Perseverance.

I’ve always known I can handle a lot, as hard and as weighty as it seems, but this year perseverance was everything. It was a new challenge for me and, even if the only thing I can say at the end of all this is, HEY I SURVIVED 2013..then by damn I’m going to put it on a t-shirt, bedazzle the shit out of it and embrace it.

Perspective

I find some irony in the fact that last year I was declaring myself DONE with a certain longstanding group of friends — my former bff included. And how did I spend one of my last days of 2013? Hanging out with my former bff who is now solidly my friend. For, you see, I did in fact cold turkey cut them out of my life. I did it. It was the best thing I did for myself. I needed to. I could have went about it differently for sure but that’s what I did. I did not speak to them for most of the year — until this Fall when I was invited to have dinner with the one person who had hurt me the most. And you know what I did? I said yes. Because I felt like I needed closure of some sort. I could see I was different now. I did what I needed — put some time and space in between me and them. And suddenly I realized they had NO bearing in my life anymore. It was the most freeing realization. I worried about them SO much and let them dictate my life to the point of being miserable and they NO LONGER HAD ANY HOLD ON ME. I did not care what they thought. I didn’t. AT ALL.

But at that dinner I realized my heart was not so bitter towards them anymore. I will never be a part of that group again but I proved to myself that I can be friendly with them and see them from time to time because there is history there. But I became myself again because I wasn’t letting my life be dictated by them anymore. I’ve changed my expectations on the friendship and gained perspective in my “timeout” from them.

And then I reconnected with my former bff. I apologized. I explained why I did what I did. She understood it. She forgave me. I forgave her. We will never be as close as we once were and that’s okay. We have a new friendship built on a foundation of 10 years of friendship and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Biggest takeaway: There is always room for forgiveness and healing in life.  I vow to take this lesson with me in 2014 and be more gracious in my forgiveness — without being walked all over. Sometimes it just takes a new perspective to see that your initial reaction wasn’t completely right. Yes, I did the right thing that I needed to do in the moment but I wasn’t altogether right about everything.

True, Genuine Friends Can Get You Through Anything

I don’t know where I would be without a select few people this year + the whole amazing community who in their own way were able to support me and encourage me.

This year I was largely a crappy friend. I have this tendency, when I am going through really hard times and am having the sads, to shut the world out. I did that. I’m not proud of it but I figure that most people don’t want to have a mopey friend. Luckily, I have a select few people who loved me in spite of all that, who encouraged me, inspired me and UNDERSTOOD without judgment. I don’t know what I would have done without them listening to me let it all out, for putting up with my scattered mind, for sending me encouraging links or quotes or a mood boosting playlist. I don’t know what I would have done without dance parties via text (yeah that forreal happened and it was epic) and lip syncing via text to Hold On by Wilson Phillips. I would not have survived without mutual bitch sessions, the kind texts asking me how an interview went, the brainstorming to get ourselves out of ruts, etc. I appreciated and needed their “keepin it real” advice and thoughts even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. They let me wallow but also kicked me in the pants and for that I am grateful.

I vow in 2014 to be the kind of friend I always was before and to shower these special people with so much love it is going to come out of their ears. I’ve always believed that friendship is give and takes and sometimes someone will need to carry a little more of the load when the other is down and my friends have proved that and I am ready to be there for them in a better way than I could this year.

Dance Parties Are Necessary

I am the dance party queen and I really outdid myself this year. Out of necessity. I don’t think I would have made it through some days without dance parties — both text dance parties with a friend and the ones I had in my kitchen. There were days that I just had to dance it out — a la Christina and Meredith style on Grey’s Anatomy. I made myself dance because it kept me from crying. I made myself dance even when I was crying. For at least a couple minutes I just acted ridiculous and silly and it helped. Even when Will walks in on them and makes me cry because he just doesn’t miss a beat and just joins in.

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh

When all else fails, at different points we just had to laugh at ourselves and the bad things that happened this year. Some of our most hearty laughter came from the most ridiculous situations — my Nancy Drew stint when our car got broken into and tons of stuff was stolen, when our power was out for days and we had to stumble around our apartment in the dark, or when we talked about how we’d decorate our cardboard box when we eventually had no more money to afford our apartment. Sometimes laughter turned into crying and sometimes crying turned into laughter. I’m just so thankful for all the laughs Will and I had this year.

Defining Who You Are

One of the biggest things for me this year was thinking about my worth and who I am and what defines me. I’ve never been the type of person who was defined by a career or anything but not working for a year makes you feel all sorts of things about your worth and you realize how often we define ourselves by the things we do. Normal conversations often leads with, “So what do you do (for work)?” and when you aren’t working it causes you to have a bit of an existential crisis — even if you, like me, do not at all put all your value in your career. I’ve come to really realize that we can’t really define ourselves and put our worth in some of these things that we do because they can end, they can break, they can disappoint us and they could be gone in an instant. Like everything they have their place and their importance in our life but hinging our worth and who we are on one thing is scary. I resolve to NOT let myself fall in that trap when I get a job or really with anything — this blog, relationships, etc.

 

And those are a couple of the takeaways I’m bringing with me into 2014. I firmly believe there is always something to learn from the bad and the good and I can go into 2014 stronger, smarter, better and with even more perspective. I have high hopes for 2014. I’ve been really proactive already about making it a better year — really fixing the things that were bad this year. I made the most out of 2013 and, while I wouldn’t say it was the worst year I’ve ever had, I’m okay with letting it go and moving on. I already see myself changing and growing and really what more can I ask for. I’ve weathered that damn storm and it’s time to see what’s on the other side of it.

What lessons did you learn this year?

Best Of 2013: All Things Not Books!

I’m bringing this back from last year!! You’ve already gotten the run down of my highlights of 2013 in books through my End of Year Book Survey & so let’s do a rundown of my favorite NON-bookish things of the year like I did last year! Shall we?

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5 Playlists I Listened To The Most In 2013

1. My Monthly Rewind playlist — the roundup of all my favorite songs from each month

2. UP — full of upbeat songs

3. Mellow It Out — really relaxing and chill playlist

4. A Very Fall Playlist — just really loved the selection I ended up putting on here.

5. ROAR — I didn’t make this playlist but I helped contribute some songs to it. It was created by Anna and I definitely needed this playlist on days where I needed a little dose of confidence — which was a lot this year. Also was a decently good running mix for me minus a few songs.


 

15 Favorite Albums That Came Out in 2013

 

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EPS/Singles I Loved: Terraplane Sun’s Ya Never Know, The Colourist’s Lido, Twin Forks EP, Hozier’s Take Me To Church EP, Bear’s Den Agape
Honorable Mentions: Bastille’s Bad Blood, Lorde’s Pure Heroine, Imagine Dragon’s Night Visions, CHVRCHES’s The Bones of What You Believe


You can see more of my monthly music choices in my Monthly Rewinds

 

tv

Best new shows I started watching this year (some long overdue & some new!) in addition to the shows I’m already watching (Parenthood, The Walking Dead, Revenge, The Voice, Grey’s Anatomy etc.)

Breaking Bad

HOLY HELL YOU GUYS. You all were right about this show. 100% RIGHT. Will and I watched 2 episodes of this the summer and couldn’t get into it. Everyone told us to give it a try again so we finally did after our shows went on break and we’ve been binge watching it ever since. As I write this we are like 8 episodes from the end. HOLY EFF. One of my all time fave shows now.

House of Cards

KEVIN SPACEY. That is all.

American Horror Story

  WEIRD show but excellent. Can’t wait to watch season 2. I hear it’s awesome.

Nashville

Connie Britton!! Honestly this show is so fun and I’m so obsessed with it.

Scandal

Margot told me I had to watch this and Will and I just can’t get enough of Olivia Pope.

Reign

This show is so bad and so good all at the same time. EXCELLENT music too. Cute boys. I LOVE IT. And the time period…LOVE.

 

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Last year when I did this I had a whole section for beauty products I tried in 2013 because I’m a beauty addict. However, this year I have had to REALLY limit my spending so I’m going to make this a general fave discoveries!

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Blogilates

I had tried Blogilates once or twice in 2012 but 2013 was the year of Blogilates for me. It made me find a strength training sort of program that I really loved. I wasn’t into the gym but I loved sitting in my own living room with my yoga mat and going through these videos with Cassey + her infectious enthusiasm for healthy living. She kicks my ass nearly every day and I want to throw things at her but this was the best thing I did for myself in 2013 and I can’t wait to add more cardio to this routine but I attribute my dedication to working out now to her!

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Acure Organics shampoo and conditioner

I previously used Alterna and before that Pureology and I really liked them but I wanted to go for something a little bit more natural for my hair plus a better price tag because I can’t justify spending a ton of money right now being without a job. So of course I asked my natural beauty expert Betty and she told me about this one. LOVE it! This one was perfect for my dry, curly hair and my hair is super soft now!

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Julep

If you love nail polish + getting things in the mail, this is for you!! I love this subscription service even if I couldn’t get them every month but it was a nice treat every once in a while this year.

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Here’s five blogs I loved and discovered this year!

1. Ashley from Your Super Awesome Life: Ashley is a good dose of motivation and encouragement in my reader! I also had a really awesome life coaching session with her this year!

2. The Skinny Fork: Will and I make a lot of her recipes! Lots of variety and we’ve loved everything we’ve made!

3. Pinch of Yum: Another excellent food blog that Will and I love. I want to make ALL THE THINGS on there.

4. The Everywhereist: Love this travel blog a lot! Relatively new find for me so I still have tons of archive reading to do!

5. Beauty and Britches: This fashion blog is so my type. It’s no BS and she actually has cute, wearable stuff that I WANT. Plus she’s the fiance of Eric Smith (you may know him from Quirk or recently met him from this post) and she’s a local Philly girl so I love the shots she gets in the city. She started the blog this year and I’m very excited for where it goes!

moments2013I already shared some of my favorite bookish moments of the year so these will be more personal!

 

1. My niece Adela being born at the end of August. I have loved watching Genevieve love on her since day 1.

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2. My family’s vacation in July/August. It’s always a great time and it was a much needed break from life.

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3. Finally seeing The Postal Service play after like 10 years!! What a great concert and OH THE NOSTALGIA.

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4. I know this is sort of bookish but reuniting with my bffs I’ve met through blogging at BEA. Much needed time with people who keep it real. BEApic1
5. Running a 5K. This is hilarious that this is on here because it was a TERRIBLE experience. I hadn’t trained for it, my lungs hurt, I had to run/walk, I was ready to cry and honestly almost quit and just walked home (it was near my dad’s house). HOWEVER, it’s kind of this metaphor for this year for me. But I didn’t give up. No matter how bad I wanted to. I plan to train for it next year to prove to myself that I can do it. I can do better and I can run the whole thing. That moment got me thinking A LOT — even if it could also be one of the worst 2013 moments also. Does that make sense?

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6. Honestly, lots of moments with Will. Despite this shit-tastic year, we made the most of it. We laughed it off as best as we could and we just got through it. Even when we didn’t think we would. I am so thankful for him.

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Tell me if you listened to/watched/used/did these things!! Also, I’m so down for other recs if you think there is something I’d like! Tell me what your best moments were!

If We Were Having Coffee…

One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley at Your Super Awesome Life/aka the life coach I told you all about, did a post like this the other day and I decided I wanted to do the same because 1) I loved it and 2) sometimes I feel like we forget that there is a whole life behind the people that write and read blogs. She sat down and typed out what she’d talk to her readers about if she was meeting them for coffee. So let’s try it?

 

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So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice and meet me for a chat. I’ve got tea right now but if we met earlier it would be a gingerbread latte. What are you having?

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you about how I’ve been in an epic slump for the past week. I’d tell you how I wasn’t sure if it was ME or the book (The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert). I’ve been really preoccupied/stressed so I know that could be my problem. I’d tell you that I decided to try something paced a little differently and ended up reading Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker and finished it in a day. Now I’m going back to The Signature of All Things but reading Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff at the same time to balance it out. I’d also ask you what you were reading.

If we were having coffee... I’d tell you about how I’m really having a hard time finding those books that just WOW me to the fullest degree. I’m talking those books that make you remember why you love reading. The ones that just knock you off your feet. I want to curl up and sob like a little baby because of how it wrecked me or because of how beautiful and amazing it was. I want to almost convince myself I never want to read again so this book could be the LAST BOOK I’D EVER READ if I died. End on an amazing note. I’d ask you what book last did that for you.

If we were having coffee.… I’d tell you how I’m really kind of nervous about this whole not having a job thing. I don’t know what I can do anymore honestly. I send out resume after resume and rarely hear ANYTHING. I’ve had people look at my resume. I’d tell you that my unemployment is up in December and I don’t know what were are going to do. I’m rather scared. I’m going to see what is hiring around the holidays and just go from there. Also, I’d tell you how demoralizing this all has been. And stressful. And all consuming. Probably contributing to my slump.

If we were having coffee…. I would tell you about how I’m really loving this auntie thing even MORE as Genevieve grows up. She is almost two and such a little person with a BIG personality. I love watching her grow and learn and I just get so much joy from being around her. I would tell you how she likes to say to my sister, “MOVE MAMA!” so she can be the closest to her baby sister Adela.

If we were having coffee…. I’d show you the bruise on my leg because I’m a klutz and ran into the side of the bed today and how it hurts so bad. I’d also ask you if my roots were showing really bad because I’m WAY overdue for getting my hurrr did.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how I’m really, really happy that I’ve been reconnecting with my high school/college bff again. We have been on rocky ground for the past couple years but it’s been really nice working on our friendship and both admitting where we messed up.

If we were having coffeeI’d ask you if you always knew what you wanted to be when you grew up and if you are happy doing what you are doing. I’d tell you how I’m so passionate about social media and marketing but I doubt whether I could do the corporate thing long term because my last job sucked the life out of me. I would tell you how I hate the notion that you have to pick what you want to be as an 18 year old kid, before you even really KNOW who you are, and pursue that as a degree for the next four years. 18 year old Jamie who chose to be a business major is a lot different than 28 year old Jamie and had different motives and priorities in life than me now. I’d tell you that it scares me that I still can’t answer the question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Can’t I just date a few careers first?

If we were having coffee….I’d tell you how I’m loving doing Blogilates and it’s the first workout I’ve stuck with ever in my life. I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger and more flexible since I started doing it in July. I’d also tell you how I’m a dummy and I signed up for a 5K on Thanksgiving and trained for one week a month ago. OOPS.

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you how excited I am about something that I’m working on. I’d also tell you that that something isn’t the NaNo project I promised myself secretly that I’d do this month without telling anyone. Not one word has been written.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how thankful I am for you. For reading what I write. For talking to me about books and other things. For encouraging me. For commenting. For letting me be myself.

 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? Come on…lay it all out! It’s just you, me, the pleasant sounds of a cafe…and maybe some other eyes in the comment section but NBD right?? Our we can have coffee in my inbox if you don’t feel comfortable. I really want to know! What’s going on with you?

I Did Something I Never Thought I’d Do & It Surprised Me…In A Good Way.

I’ve been really honest with you guys about where I’ve been at this year — I’ve been feeling lost in this year of unemployment, directionless and frankly very unbalanced in life — which involves this blog and a possible other passion project I’ve been working on.

I’ve honestly feel like I’ve hit this brick wall and I can’t figure a way to get around it, through it or over it. I just feel stuck — more than I ever have in my entire life and, at this point, I’m letting myself just be tossed about by the waves of life. It’s a really terrible feeling.

So I decided I need to shake it up. Do something different to break through that wall. I couldn’t figure out what until I got this amazing opportunity from a blog I follow daily. It was outside of my comfort zone. I was excited but nervous. I wasn’t altogether sold on the idea but figured I’d be open because how could it hurt? So what did I do?

I spent 3 hours on Skype with a life coach. Now, before you think “oh this is SO not for me” and close this tab, hear me out.

A little background:

I’ve always been the type that is skeptical of these kinds of things. I love having great conversations with people in my life and find it to be really helpful in my life to work things out like that. But I’ve always been of the mind to just figure it out myself. I never went to any sort of therapy or anything after my mom passed away. I just said, “Self. You can figure this out on your own.” I never ever would have thought I would need to enlist the help of a life coach. Ever. It didn’t really make sense to me until I found myself in a position where I was at a complete standstill in life and that was just unacceptable to me.

So what was this experience like?

Amazing in one word. I worked with Ashley, the blogger behind one of my favorite blogs called Your Super Awesome Life, and I felt so energized and excited after our session. We chatted on Skype for 3 hours and I thought it would be slightly awkward but I’m telling you Ashley made it seem like I was chatting with a bff about life and dreams and hopes…all something I would do with my friends. But the difference? Ashley has a counseling background and her questions and steering of the conversation really gave me a lot to think about and left me feeling empowered. I met with a friend for coffee later that day and even was telling her something that Ashley shared with me that made SO MUCH SENSE and my friend even ended up writing it down to help her in her struggle with doubt in her new business venture.

What did we talk about:

- Before we Skyped I was to fill out a questionnaire of sorts. I got to rank my level of satisfaction with different areas of my life, talk about the 3 goals I really wanted to work on, things that made me the most happy/unhappy, etc. It helped her to get to know me and what I wanted to make the session really focused.

- The things I wanted to talk about with her: figuring out what I wanted to do career-wise, figuring out how to regain some balance (talked a lot about this blog vs. a new passion project I have) and working on some of these self crippling and self defeating attitudes which I realized really affected the first two things. Seriously. I couldn’t even imagined how there was this pattern of them affecting all these things in my life.

- I consider myself a VERY self aware person. I know my flaws, my strengths, my weaknesses, the habits I have, the reasons I DO things and know where I want to BE in life but Ashley really gave me a lot to think about. You see, I could know all these things and KNOW what I want but I have a really hard time getting there. I struggle with actualization of these things so we really talked about some of the things holding me back in my job search, in letting go of certain things in my life, etc. Identifying these things and saying them out loud was really, really helpful. I needed to get out of my own head and Ashley asked all the right questions to help me get in the right direction. I’m learning to see what you might call your “inner critic” as a good and a bad thing. The dots that Ashley was able to connect opened my eyes to how some of my self doubt and fear really run far deeper than I could have imagined.

- I was sad our conversation was over because it FLEW but I felt confident with the action plans she had given me and the tools that she had shared with me to help some of my problems — largely very inward things like self doubt, lack of confidence as a result of this time of unemployment, fear, holding on to things even when they don’t work, etc. All those things really affect WHY I couldn’t take action in two very important areas.

So did it work?

I think you have to think about WHAT you are looking to get out of this and what your expectations of a life coach or. Did I come out with a clear THIS IS GOING TO BE MY CAREER PATH? No, but I felt like I really thought out what things make me happy and feel fulfilled and now I can take that into my job search with me. My action plan had more to do with this passion project I’ve been talking about and I feel the most energized about that because we also realized that THAT could make me feel very whole even if I don’t have the DREAM JOB that is super satisfying. I wasn’t looking to Ashley to FIX all my problems but to get out of my own head so I could see things differently, help me identify the things that were holding me back and looking for some guidance in HOW to change things because what I was doing wasn’t helping. You have to go in with specific goals that you want to work on.

Should YOU consider a session with a life coach?

** Right now Ashley is offering Pay What You Want sessions so I would HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of this if you are even thinking about it!! —> check it out!

So, the answer to that question would depend on the next few questions you should ask yourself:

Do you have specific goals you want to achieve but don’t know how to get started? Do you feel stuck? Unmotivated or uninspired? Unable to move forward or let something go? Do you feel like you have dreams but don’t know how to make them a reality?

Things like:
- Wanting to start a business but you are too afraid/don’t know how to make it a reality, etc. (Ashley QUIT her job to make her own business — big leap of faith in herself so SHE KNOWS this one well).
- Wanting to start a new project but need direction, motivation, little action steps, etc.
- Trying to lose weight (seriously, she was telling me how she’s helped people with the mental barriers they’ve put up, action plans to help them succeed, identifying WHY they struggle etc.)
- Having an idea for a book but feel overwhelmed by even starting it — she will HELP you break things up, help you remove your self doubt, etc.
- Career change
- Letting fear/lack of self confidence/self doubt etc. etc. holding you back in general in life — she will help you work through that. Trust me on that one because I feel so equipped now.
- Taking that dream you have and helping you not just DREAM about it but putting the stepping stones to doing it.
- How to live the life you want, how to be inspired again, etc.

If any of those things sound like you…I’d HIGHLY recommend it. There’s a million more things you could talk with her about and I highly suggest it.

I’m feeling more confident, motivated and like some of the things I want are ACTUALLY attainable — they aren’t just these daunting things that I’ll never start because I don’t know how to take the first step.

If any of those sound like you I’d say ABSOLUTELY do this. Invest in yourself. You might think WOW that’s a good chunk of change to spend talking to someone and not knowing if it will work but it’s a lot about how you see that investment and what you want out of it. Ashley knows her stuff. I can only speak for her, since obviously this was my first time, but I would certainly schedule an appointment with her again when I feel like I need to because I saw my session as very successful for what I personally needed.

And if you don’t necessarily feel like this is for you right now or ever…I still HIGHLY recommend checking out her inspiring blog.

What about you guys..have any of you ever worked with a life coach? Are you interested/curious? What are your reservations? I’d love to talk to you guys about what YOU would want to work on with a life coach…what are you struggling with/want to change?

* Full disclosure: I received this opportunity in exchange for discussing it on my blog after speaking with Ashley. All of these opinions were 100% my own and would be the same had I paid for this…I can promise you that. She gave no guidelines of what to talk about just that I’d talk about my experience. I’m extremely humbled by her generosity in letting this broke and unemployed chick have this opportunity. When I get a job, I AM saving up to do another session.*

The Best Bookish Birthday Ever

So yesterday was my birthday — I turned 28! It just so happened that it was the night of a Gayle Forman signing at my local indie, Children’s Book World, in Haverford, PA. Let me tell you, it was one of the best birthdays in the history of birthdays I’ve ever had.

I have to give love to my local indie, first…

Here’s the thing. I buy books everywhere and anywhere — I shop local, I do buy from Amazon when I need to, big book chains. I don’t discriminate. But here’s the thing…my local indie? They made this night happen. They are incredible and put on the best events and the staff is so awesome. Everything that happened that night? They were totally in on. There’s just something about a local indie bookstore that you just don’t get from buying elsewhere. There’s this “family” type feel — I go to events often there but I wouldn’t say they KNOW me but by sight. The type of book love that happens at local independent bookshops is unparalleled and what they did to help make my night special is something that I’ll never experience with Amazon or other big chain bookstores. And this isn’t saying anything bad about THEM but it’s more about how extraordinary local indies can be and how it is SO, SO important to support them. The experiences I’ve had at independent bookstores are just SO much different than all the other places I buy. I can’t deny it. I never, ever want to see my local indie close!

So my night…

I showed up to Children’s Book World and was immediately greeted by book club who showered me with the most thoughtful and lovely gifts. Seriously. Macarons, an amazingly sweet and thoughtful homemade card (THAT GAYLE FORMAN SIGNED!) and more! THEY KNOW ME SO WELL. The thoughtfulness of all the presents kind of makes me a little teary. Not going to lie.

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IMG_2371 IMG_2372Look at Lindsey’s cardmaking skills!!

And did I mention I got a huge Happy Birthday hug from Gayle Forman when I walked in? No? OH WELL YEAH THAT HAPPENED. Nothing like a Happy Birthday from a favorite author on your birthday to make a bookish gal’s day! Then it was time for trivia night with Gayle Forman in which I realized how badly I need to reread If I Stay & Where She Went and makes me want to do a reread of Just One Day and then obviously reread Just One Year. (All those links go to reviews if you haven’t yet read any Gayle Forman books and need convincing!!). Luckily Katie and Lindsey took it home for book club and were answering questions left and right and Lindsey won one of Gayle Forman’s new shirts! Then Gayle read from both Just One Day & Just One Year and then this happened….

YEAH GAYLE FORMAN BROUGHT ME A CAKE FOR MY BIRTHDAY! So, in my favorite bookstore with one of my all time favorite authors…many book lovers sang happy birthday to me! I was shocked and a bit flustered because ALL EYES ON ME MAKES ME WANT TO SQUIRM but it was the loveliest of all surprises and I am so, so grateful for my bookish friends, my lovely local indie and Gayle Forman who, not only writes books that speak to my soul, but is one of the kindest and most lovely people ever  and SUPER interesting to talk to because she has great stories, is hilarious and I love her outlook on life.

Gayle Forman signing

Gayle FormanYep…just Gayle feeding me some cake!

It was truly a fab bookish birthday and I am so thankful for those who celebrated with me! And now tonight Will and I will celebrate with dinner because, being the husband of a bookworm, he knows that I’d totally choose to celebrate my birthday doing something bookish.

Check out Gayle’s tumblr and see if she is coming to a city near you! She is not to be missed!

If you could choose, what author would you love to come to YOUR birthday party? Tell me about a memorable birthday YOU have had!!

HEY YA JAMIE! We Need To Talk!

You guys all met YA Jamie (still cringing that I put these pictures on the internet) and you learned some things about her with my little survey but after reading this post I was thinking a lot about what I would tell my YA self I could sit down and talk to her and tell her what I’ve learned in all these years since being a teen. I doubt she would have listened because she thought she knew it all (Will would still say this is true of me now but WHATEVER) but reading so much YA I think SO much about my teenage years. So here it goes…

*stares at YA Jamie* *hands coffee* Don’t give me that face. You learn to like coffee one day or at least like it out of necessity in college. Also, your boobs don’t get bigger. HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU. Everyone who said you were a late bloomer LIED. You just bloom in other ways. So start saving those pennies and cozy up to Victoria’s Secret. So for real…let’s talk.

Things You Need To Know:

 

advice1It’s all part of adolescence so go with it but whenever you are feeling particularly overwhelmed about something remember that it is transient and think of the bigger picture. That party your mom wouldn’t let you go to? It really did NOT ruin your life. See…I’m here. Do I look ruined?? Worry about these dumb things because it’s your now but put more stock in the important things that will be there in 5 years. Perspective is really key in getting over these things.

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Here’s the thing, if you don’t you are going to end up sitting in your bed at night running through all of the “should haves” and “what ifs.” TRUST ME. Sometimes the chances you took don’t pan out the way you think they will but I assure you at some point you will realize that even that failed attempt changed you and you won’t wonder “what if” down the road. Take chances, say yes even when you are scared and be bold. It’s empowering. Some opportunities you won’t get back. They won’t wait for you to finally get the courage 5 years later. TRUST ME. I have a whole list I could share with you.

advice3I know you feel like you get along better with guys and I know your friendships really ARE awesome with them and you DO really fit in. But there is going to be a point when you realize you have no girl friends and you need them. And then when you TRY to make them? You are going to be really bad at it. All the things other girls learned about friendship? You are years behind and don’t quite understand how it all works. It sucks but luckily a few girls come into your life that make it real easy. Sadly, geography is not in your favor but they are important nonetheless. Also, read this and find those kinds of friendships!

advice4They are by no means perfect but you won’t have them around forever as you will soon learn. Appreciate them. A lot. Try to peel back the layers and bridge the gaps. You are going to feel the absence of not having a mom but you still have a dad and sisters and stepmom and stepdad. Cherish that. You and Angela will stop hating each other and actually she will be your best friend. Want to know how? She’s going to tell you she’s pregnant and that will change your life and make you inseparable. Be gentle with her as you work out your differences through high school and college. You are going to realize that these people will be here for you when others hurt you, fail you and they will love you unconditionally despite your flaws and will be the ones you call crying when bad things happen.

advice5Let go of things that don’t work. Let go of people who do not add anything positive to your life. Let go of anger. Let go of the past. Let go and forgive. You’ll feel a million pounds lighter. It’s going to be hard and you are going to struggle a lot. It seems counter-intuitive because you’ll feel like you can fix those friendships and situations but you’ll really just feel prisoner to them. And ignore the slogan, “Quitters never win” because it’s OKAY to not want to do something anymore if you don’t want. You are free to try new things. Just be honest with yourself about why you want to quit it.

advice6You are going to feel like you are always at different stages than your friends and peers a lot. In high school and college you are going to grow up fast because of what happens with your mom. Your friends aren’t going to understand it really and you are going to feel alone. But I promise you that you will have a step ahead of them when it comes to seeing the world differently and having perspective. Relish in that when you feel alone but don’t hold it against them. And then they are all going to be in serious relationships and you’ll be single. It’s okay. When you get a relationship, they all get married. It’s okay. You learn from their mistakes. When you finally get married (yes it’s before your are 30) and get your first apartment, they will be having babies and buying houses. IT’S OKAY. Don’t compare yourself because your journey is different.

advice7
This is the biggest lesson you could ever learn. Look, I’m only meeting with you right now because I got laid off and have TIME. I didn’t order food to go with that coffee because I’m broke. But I’ll tell you what…you and your husband laugh a lot. At your situation. In spite of it. You are going to go through things that you can’t control and sometimes you will feel like everything has gone wrong (seriously..2013 you will have a HUGE bad streak) BUT you can choose to put a smile on your face, be kind, laugh, be the best person you can be and that will help you get through it. You can’t control the chaos but you can do something about how you see it.

advice8Seriously, you are going to fight it SO MUCH. STOP IT. You will save so much time, money and painful burns in your quest to straighten it every day. Give into the lazy, girl. Rock what you have!

advice9Seriously, you have lots of dance parties. Just the other day you had one and your husband walked in from work and immediately started dancing with you. He’s a keeper. Plus as much as he shakes his head at your white girl moves and your failed twerking attempts..he still thinks you are awesome. Also, he’s a better dancer than you. Deal with it.

advice10
People will show you who they really are. They will. You are going to come across a lot of people who treat you like crap, make underhanded comments, talk behind your back and just genuinely don’t have your best interest at heart. Don’t let those bad eggs make you become jaded…just cut your losses. That person who talks about EVERYONE else (even her “bffs”)…don’t be stupid to think she isn’t also talking about you. That person who loves gossip? You will struggle with wanting to get in on it but it’s TOXIC. That friend who isn’t every pleased with anything that anybody does? You have flaws but don’t need to try to aim for what she thinks is acceptable. Stop trying to please her. Focus on your handful of AMAZING friends. You will be blessed with friends who send you empowering mixtapes when you need them, that friend who you can text at 3am about a fight with your husband, friends who GET you and don’t judge you even when you tell them something ridiculously stupid and petty and friends that understand your quirks and flaws and love you but aren’t afraid to tell you like it is when you are being a jackass.

advice11Even though you should be wary of certain people, you should be gracious with everyone else. Remember you could be seeing someone on their worst day. Don’t assume things. Don’t think the worst of people’s intentions right away. Talk about things when you feel slighted and don’t hold it in. Be honest. Don’t be stingy with second chances and “I’m sorry’s”. Meet people where they are at. See other people’s perspectives and consider them. Don’t judge harshly when someone is human and makes mistakes or does something douchy. Understand that sometimes in friendships you give and take at different intervals — it’s never the same for every friend but I can assure you that it will never be equal at all times. Sometimes people need more from you than they can give at certain times and vice versa. Don’t keep a tally. You’ll know when it’s right.

Things you will still struggle with at 28 (but I assure you, YA Jamie, I’m WORKING ON IT FOR US)

+ making omlettes
+ painting your nails
+ Not stabbing yourself in the eye with your mascara
+ Saying I’m sorry first
+ Feeling accepted/left out
+ Letting things consume you that shouldn’t
+ Trying to seek approval
+ dealing with the loss of your mom
+ Making friends
+ Knowing what you want to do with your life
+ Letting people walk all over you
+ Making decisions
+ Feeling like you are your age (trust me, girl, you still look 16 too)
+ letting one person ruin your mood
+ being the one to make plans/pick up the phone (also, you SUCK at answering texts)
+ feeling overwhelmed to the point of just shutting down
+ loving exercise (though right now you started Blogilates and you kind of maybe love it)
+ reading into things
+ feeling worthy and believing in yourself
+ finding pants that don’t show your crack when you bend down

You aren’t perfect but you’ll do alright, kid. You don’t even comprehend your strength but you’ve gotten through some of the worst things life could throw you with grace. You are still here. You are growing. Learning. Loving. Playing. Every day. And that’s what is important…at 16 or 28 or 58.

Love, ME

Meet YA Jamie!

This post took me about a week or two to do because going through pictures was just too much fun! I know you all as adults and as much as we talk about YA novels…I’ve never shared much about MY YA self. So get to know YA Jamie a bit! :)

Meet Middle School Jamie (2000-2001)

BP28th grade dance

BP69th grade dance

Facts You Need To Know:

- In 8th grade I moved from small town PA to the Philly burbs and WOW was everything different. So I started middle school in a new school which was HARD but I was also lucky because I made friends in my neighborhood during the summer (like my BFF Becky!!)

- I was painfully, painfully shy in school as a result of this move (but was WAY super loud around our neighborhood crew and like really obnoxious when around my bff). I made friends pretty quickly in school but it was pretty darn hard. My face would turn BRIGHT red if I was called on in class.

- Middle school Jamie had really bad hair. Like really bad. It’s naturally ringlet curly but she wanted it so straight so used a crap-o straightener and then seconds after leaving the house it just looked like a big POOF BALL.

- She also thought she had really good style (I mean, HELLO DELIA’S and puffy vests from Gap) but now I’m LOLing.

BP5

School Wise:

LOVED: English class (surprised?)
Hated: MATH (I was a YEAR behind thanks to my small town school. SIGH.) and Gym..seriously I hated the gym teacher and the icky uniforms.
Extra-curriculars: I got on the middle school lacrosse team. So did everyone who tried out. Choir…I couldn’t sing. Everybody seemed to be allowed in choir.
Social Status: Well, I started out as the new girl and sat at a table full of new girls. I made a lot more friends as they year went on.

BP7

Boyfriends In 8th & 9th:

5 I think that all lasted like 2 weeks? Plus guys that I had a “thing” with…basically just lots of hand holding and “teehee I like you” but no official title. I also had an interesting “I kinda like him but I don’t but he likes me” with my across the street neighbors who was also one of my best friends.

My BFF & I!
She seriously was that ultimate BFF that knew EVERYTHING and we could laugh for hours and had endless inside jokes. I kind of always assumed we’d be bffs for forever. We liked to take “model” pictures and like I’m DYING at how we thought they looked good. I’m not even including the worst.

BP3 BP4BP1“model pics” Look at those shiny black pants and Delia’s shirt.

Hobbies:

- hanging out with my bff and the friends in our neighborhood
- reading magazines like Seventeen, Teen Vogue
- Listening to music. Rap was my JAM in middle school. lol. Some Shaggy and some Luda…you know how I do.
- MARY KATE AND ASHLEY.
- Omg I had about 30 penpals in 8th grade and I used to be big into “friendship books”. Did anyone else do them?? You would send them off to other people (my penpals) and then they would send them on, etc. until it filled up and you got it back. I was kiiinda of obsessed with the Hanson ones.

FUN FACT:
Pink went to my school and in 8th grade (I think her first hit had just blew up!) she came to our school to visit. My mom HAPPENED to be in the school office dropping something off at the time and got her autograph.

BP21

Meet High School Jamie (2002-2004)

BP12BP8
Facts You Need To Know About High School Jamie:

- The summer in between middle school and high school she really came into herself. She still HATED being called on in class and could be shy but she definitely was a little more outgoing.

- The summer in between middle school and high school she got better with her hair and stopped trying to straighten it until about 12th grade when she got good at it/got better tools to do it. Exhibit A:

BP20
- 12th grade Jamie found out her mom had brain cancer and had only months to live. (She ended up living for almost two years).

- High school Jamie was so scared of driving. She got her license but WOWWEE. Not good.

- High school Jamie’s style: She was very serious about her style in 11th and 12th grade — dressing like a little emo/punk girl straight up from the thrift store. Lots of thrift store t-shirts/band shirts, plastic barrettes (like the ones you used to wear when you were 5), pearl necklaces and bowling shoes.

BP15

School wise:

Loved: Spanish class, english & history class
Hated: Math!
Social Status: Somewhere in the middle. I had friends in almost every circle and mostly everyone liked me but I didn’t have one particular group. I floated though my “main” group was in the top middle of the food chain but really in HS lots of people talked to each other…wasn’t a strict social order.

Extra-curricular activities:

- Lacrosse team until my senior year (lazy senior! plus I wasn’t that good!)
- Key Club
- I was a HUGE youth group kid and really got into it in 9th grade and then especially during high school. I was always at the church after school to play freeball (kind of like dodgeball but crazier and barely any rules) in the gym or at youth group on Sundays or going on retreats or bible studies or Creation Fest (like the Woodstock of Christian music? lol). I was friends with a lot of people at school but the kids in my youth group were my closest friend (some of them DID go to my school).

Boyfriends in High School

“Serious” boyfriends? 4 or so. I pretty much always had a boy de jour in between an actually boyfriend. My longest relationship was 6 months in 11th grade through 12th but he was a year older and went off the Navy and High School Jamie couldn’t do long distance. 12th grade Jamie started dating her best guy friend and that proved to be DISASTROUS and led to her worst heart break ever.

BP13
My bff & I:

The end of an era came to a close by the end of 10th grade between Becky and I. My best friend became Rachel who also was my best friend throughout college and after.

BP1610th grade homecoming when Jabeck (yeah, we called ourselves that) was still a force!

bp22Rachel & I

Hobbies:

- youth group
-Music: Taking Back Sunday, Finch, Brand New, The Get Up Kids, Dashboard Confessionals, Fall Out Boy, The Early November
-thrift shopping
- Xanga and Myspace!
-chatting with my friends on AIM
- BOYS. I was seriously boy crazy. We would meet boys every where we went and have crushes on them (pictures below from a cruise and at an amusement park).
BP10 BP11

Prom
I only went to prom as an 11th grader with my senior boyfriend. All my friends were older or dating someone older so we didn’t go to our senior prom.
BP19

High School Graduation
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Would you and YA Jamie have been friends or probably not? Did we share any similar hobbies/stories/etc? Is it not crazy how much YA Jamie and Present Day Jamie look pretty much the same? I NEVER AGE.

Some Friday Fun!!

The summer has always been a hard time for me as a blogger. I hate being inside. I want to be outside doing things and enjoying the weather because it’s my favorite kind of weather and summer always has great activities to take part in! I feel so unmotivated to sit and blog when I could be hiking or at an outside flea market or laying by the pool. Not only that but I came off a really big, weird blogging slump where I got so discouraged with how serious everything was becoming that I feel like I’m JUST getting back into the groove and I’m feeling like I want to get back to the basics of what I love about all of this: the fun of it all!

So I decided for the next few Fridays I just want to have some fun and just talk about books in non-serious ways and let you guys get to know me a little better! Feel free to join me(and link back) if you are feeling like you want to let down your metaphorical blogging hair and do something silly to relieve some pressure off your blogging shoulders as summer starts to wind down.

You all know I love surveys since I’ve hosted the annual End of Year Book Survey for the past 3 years and plan to again this year. BUT back in the day I was a Xanga and Myspace addict and I used to do ALL OF THE SURVEYS. A popular one was the A to Z survey with questions corresponding every letter of the alphabet about things like your age and the last person you talked on the phone with. I decided I wanted to to a bookish A to Z so I decided to create one myself!

AtoZsurvey

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Judy Blume (Want an easy way to figure this out if you have Goodreads and keep good track of your stuff? Go to your account, hit “my books”and on the left hand side under your shelves you will see “most read authors”)

Best Sequel Ever:

Though The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi. I LIKED UTNS but TTEN blew me away.

Currently Reading:

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (FINALLY..ok people??)

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea! I really like all sorts of green and white teas and always down for recommendations of new teas to try!

E-reader or Physical Book?

I’m definitely a physical book girl but love my Kindle for the gym, review copies and for vacation so I can have lots of options with me.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I definitely went for the nice, kind-of-into-dorky-things boys in high school. Also I had a thing with MY boy next door that never blossomed.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Hidden Gem Book:

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Discovering Goodreads. Without Goodreads I would have never started reading again. I was a huge reader but then fell off the map in high school/some of college. Goodreads led me to book blogs and here we are!

Just Finished:

Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy  McGinnis

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I’m trying to get better about shutting myself off to some genres (you can help me!) without trying them but I’m certain I won’t ever read any erotica. It’s just not my thing. I don’t mind smutty but not super explicit.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb (897 pages)

** easy way to find this out. Go to your Goodreads “read” list, don’t scroll down but where you are on the screen there will be this little tab on the bottom that lets you choose how you want to scroll or how many books you want display. There is also a sort option with a drop down and you can sort by page.

Major book hangover because of:

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Number of Bookcases You Own:

4. Two are really tall and then the other two are smaller. I’m out of room so I have piles here PLUS I stored some books on bookshelves at my stepdad’s house.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The Giver by Lois Lowry — definitely the book I re-read the most ever. I don’t reread often but when I do it’s been just one re-read. The Giver I just kept re-reading over and over again as a kid.

Preferred Place To Read:

In the tub. It really is my favorite place to relax and read. Also, in bed!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Or maybe it’s not a miracle. Maybe this is just life. When you open yourself up to it. When you put yourself in the path of it. When you say yes.” — Just One Day by Gayle Forman. That book actually kind of changed my life and made me say YES to things I had been thinking about.

Reading Regret:

I regret not having read Harry Potter when it came out. I WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT CLUB WHO GREW UP WITH IT! You did see my secret project, yes? I was going to list a book I regretted reading but NOT reading this was a bigger regret.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

I have many but I’d say Jessica Darling series. SHOCKING I haven’t finished it considering how much I love it, huh? I’ve read the first three books but just can’t bear to finish it!!

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Pride & Prejudice

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Trish Doller. Her debut, Something Like Normal, is pretty popular in the book blogosphere and one of my favorite contemporaries but Trish deserves so much more praise and I will shout it to everyone who will listen!!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. PLEASE GET IN MY HANDS, book!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Tricky! What I deem as my worst bookish habit or what you all would? haha. I already laid out my book crimes and you guys cringed so I’ll just go with what I deem it to be…overdue library books! ALWAYS. I can never get it there on time!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

John Belushi Is Dead by Kathy Charles

Your latest book purchase:

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. I loved The Girl of Fire of Thorns and got book three for review and then I saw this one was on sale!

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Program by Suzanne Young. I was going to put it down before bed but was like “what’s one more chapter?” and then uh oh…it’s 3am.

Ahh now I’m going to go put on some Dashboard Confessional and write my most emo post I can that is so perfectly pointed and my meaning is thinly veiled. Oh wait, I’m here…not actually in 2004. Doing a survey just TOOK ME BACK.

I’d love to see yours if you do it too — link back to me and then leave your link in the comments so I can come visit yours!

Happy Friday, loves!! Do something fun tonight!

Adding A New Bookish Goal/Resolution…In March!

So this week I talked about, in my latest installment of Before & After,  how I used to be an avid rereader and how now that I’m a blogger I really don’t do it anymore. I LOVED all your comments and different habits, I have to say, and some of you cheered me on after I mentioned that I should have added made this one of my bookish resolutions for the year but that I will try to reread 5 books for the rest of this year.

I decided that I needed to be intentional about it and write it out — for accountability and for myself. After all, I’ve completed my resolution of starting a book club and sort of completed my resolution of culling my books (I still have a little bit more culling to do). So, I’ve done some thinking and here are the 5 books I plan on rereading this year:

  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I LOVED this book and I’ve been waiting not so patiently for Isla and the Happily Ever After so I figured it would be fun to reread this one because I adored it — despite my adversity to it at first because of the cover.
  • On The Road by Jack Kerouac: This was my favorite novel through high school and college but I haven’t reread it since then. I think I need to reread it to see if it still has a place on the favorites shelf.
  • If I Stay/Where She Went: Ok, so technically this will be SIX books because I’m counting this as one for the sake of my list but I’m really craving some Gayle Forman after reading Just One Day. I actually want to reread Just One Day, even though I just read it in November, but I just want to read it over and over again because I loved it so much.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry: This was my favorite book as a child and I mentioned in my post about re-reading that I read it probably 10-15 times. I haven’t read it in a LONG time and I never knew it was part of a series so perhaps I will pick those up now.
  • The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: This was my favorite book in high school and watching it come to life on the big screen was quite incredible. I finally got around to watching it recently and it was definitively THE BEST BOOK TO MOVE ADAPTATION I HAVE EVER SEEN. I  wept, I laughed and remembered why this book was so important to me and still IS so important to me even as an adult. Bonus points for the fact that Will, who has very different movie tastes than I, enjoyed it along with me. I cannot wait to reread this one!

I will say that I’m nervous to reread because what if I don’t LOVE it the way I used to? I mean, I think that’s ok to have a favorite in a different stage of life but I want to remember it as such rather than reading it now and thinking it doesn’t measure up to what I thought it was. I am hoping this doesn’t happen to me. Typically though I find I label FAVORITES as books that really had a profound impact on me and I think they will still speak to me. Some of my favorites are purely based on how FUN they were to read and how much I loved them but most resonated with me in some way.

What books have you re-read this year? Do you PLAN on rereading any this year? Have you read any of the books on my reread list? Have you ever reread a book

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