The Chic Sheet, v. 15

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Today was a week of getting back on my feet and getting into a better rhythm with what is now my everyday life! Fortunately, my schedule has become more consistent now - there's nothing worse than not knowing when you work, or having an ever-changing schedule, that's different week to week. I like consistency. And this week was that. (I'm grateful.)

The Chic Sheet, v. 15

1. My Little Steamer Go Mini
I've had this little steamer for a couple weeks now (I got it for Christmas and I swear, I was more excited about this than almost anything else I got. #dork) but it really came in handy this week! For some reason, I guess, I kept wanting to wear shirts or blazers that needed ironing - and when you have limited dressing time, you don't want to spend half of it ironing! This little guy is way faster, and it's so easy to use. Saved me many a minute and kept my closet going strong.

2. Zoella Makeup Collection + Storage
I'm a sucker for a good makeup collection video, you guys. Get to have a nosey around someone's collection, and also get storage ideas/tips? Please and thanks. Caution: this video could give you a major makeup-spending itch (and right after I was giving you budgeting tips earlier this week...oops!)

3. Getting Old and Staying Young | Casey Neistat
I watched this video early in the week, and it just gave me that refreshed fire to work harder, smarter, better. (I wish I could have that kind of drive every week!) Anyway, it's not intentionally motivational, per se, but I was inspired by what Casey said, as so often happens when I watch his videos, and I thought you too might enjoy it.

4. Kingdom and State Gingham Skirt
I recently rediscovered Kingdom and State (remember their adorable swim line last year??) and this time, I'm going all heart-eyes for their regular clothing line. Can we just take a moment for this midi bodycon skirt? I love it.

5. New John Mayer Music
I've saved the best for last, you guys. John Mayer just released a handful of new songs, and as a long time lover of his soothing, probing style, I couldn't wait to hear the new tracks! I wasn't disappointed. Go have a listen.

What are you loving today?

My Health + Fitness Goals, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hello + happy Friday, friends! As the title would suggest, today I wanted to share some of my personal fitness goals for the year. I know technically the time for "new years" posts is probably past, but I know if I don't share these goals somewhere, I won't hold myself accountable - and accountability is the key to success!

I've recently come up with a new plan to stay on track with my goals, too: instead of rewarding myself with something like ice cream when I meet a fitness goal (and thereby somewhat depleting it), I'm stashing at least 50% of my cash tips from work in an envelope, and each time I check one of these boxes, I'll get to spend from the stash. (I'm so pumped to cross off that plank goal so I can take a tiptoe into Sephora you guys...)

Obviously, these are just personal to me - I would love to hear what some of your goals are for staying fit and growing stronger this year! Let's do this together!

1. Hold a 5-minute plank
I've kinda thrown this one around in the back of my head for years but this is the year I'm making it happen. I started the year with an average 1:30 minutes plank length and have already managed to build to 3:00 minutes. Not a bad start, if I do say so!

2. Run 7 miles (in one sitting)
One of last year's goals was to run in a race, and let's just say that came to a screeching halt when I graduated and the workload kicked into full gear! So this year I'm being more realistic. My current longest average run is the same as last year's: 2.5 miles. Short-term (as in, by May), I'd like to do 5 miles, which I know isn't a lot for some people, but for me that would be a big deal. By the end of the year, I want to do at least one 7-mile run - with 10 miles being the more lofty dream. ;)

3. Do 1,000 situps in 1 hour
This is just a crazy, stupid, "why not?!" one - but some of my friends did this one afternoon last week, and the verdict was that it actually wasn't as bad as they thought. I don't intend to do it by myself, but as soon as I can coerce someone bold enough to try it with me (likely my little brother), I'm down.

4. Do yoga at least twice a week
Especially with building up to longer runs, yoga is essential for maintaining length and loosening up sore muscles. I don't do anything long and intense, usually just a 25-30 min practice, but it always makes a difference, so I want to make more regular time for it.

5. Be a more "intentional" eater
I'm one of those people who, if there's a bowl of popcorn or something in front of me while I'm working, I'll just pick at it, piece by piece until it's all gone. It's not that I'm hungry, it's not that I love popcorn (in fact, I don't really like popcorn at all, ha!) it's just that it's a form of procrastination. I'm really trying to focus on not only snacking less, but also being specific about my snacks. Instead of peanut butter on toast, I'm choosing peanut butter on celery. Instead of yet another cup of coffee, I'm drinking some herbal tea. Instead of mindlessly eating kettle cooked sea-salt-and-vinegar potato chips (they are my weakness y'all) while I type on the computer, I'm putting a serving in a bowl and putting the bag out of sight and out of mind.

They're little things, but they make a difference. Overall, I'm just trying to not eat mindlessly. :)

What are your health/fitness goals this year?

5 Tips To Save More Money | #GapYearChronicles

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When I mentioned the possibility of sharing my experiences from my gap year thus far (and more as it continues to unfold), the topic of budgeting/money saving advice seemed to be pretty popular! It's not something I ever really considered talking about here (I thought it might be too boring!) and my advice isn't anything truly groundbreaking - but it has worked for me, so there's a fair chance it will work for you. Whether or not you're saving specifically for college, though this will be designed for that purpose, the principles can be applied to any other form of large financial commitment.

A couple disclaimers: this is not intended to be an exhaustive course in economics or budgeting. Dave Ramsey already did that, and I can't compete with his marketing team. ;) What it is intended to do is connect you with some resources or ideas to make the principles you already know a little bit easier to implement!

And finally, I'm not a financial advisor. I'm just figuring it out as I go along. So take this with a grain of salt. :)


This is quickly both the easiest and hardest part of money-saving; and you already know about it, but it needs to be said again, and frequently: the only real way you will ever save money is if you stop spending it. Plain and simple. Of course, you need to buy some things to live; but some things that you consider "needs" in your day-to-day life, may actually be privileges that you should limit during this season of saving*.

Some examples--

  • Buying a black coffee instead of a latte saves you $2+ every time you buy it. Or better, bring your own coffee to work (especially if you're living at home in your interim year + the coffee is free!).
  • Carpooling with friends, public transportation or walking (if feasible) can save you a lot in gas money.
  • You don't need a new dress for every event - borrow + share clothes with your friends/sisters to feel new without spending!
  • Pack your lunch. I know it's not as fun as grabbing something on the go, but the pros outweigh the cons: not only is it more economical, it's also a chance to be a lot healthier! 

I'm pretty sure the most talked-about aspect of money-saving is budgeting. I mean, we throw the word around all the time: "I'm on a budget," "I need to be better with my budget," "I'm trying to budget this month," - but it's always used in negative terms. 
I prefer to think about it this way: instead of feeling guilty every time you spend a few extra dollars on a latte or a new mascara, you could be enjoying that treat after a long day at work, because you know it fits in your budget. 

The way I see it, budgeting isn't just about cutting back, it's about being aware of where your money is going. I use EveryDollar as a formatting tool: you estimate (as close as possible) how much money you should be bringing in each month, make allowances for every possible spending category, and dock the rest in savings. You're not actually moving the money around in the app, but it's a way to chart what you want to spend or save. (Not an ad, I just really like the tool!)

  • Budgeting $30 a month for coffee might be really important to you: so just plan for it! 
  • If you eat out regularly, make a plan to spend there by cutting back in another area.
  • For me, I always give myself a little shopping allowance, outside the bare minimum expenses (phone bill, rent check, etc). I know if I try to quit cold turkey on extracurricular expenses it just won't happen, so instead I work it into my savings plan. Maybe it means I have to skimp on eating out, but I'd rather buy a new jacket, and that's just me.
  • Weigh what's important for you in your lifestyle, make room for it, and you'll find you're a lot less anxious about your finances.

Just like with eating healthfully, it's important to leave allowance for unseen challenges in your budget. If you put aside just a bit every month for emergencies, even if it's just $25, you're essentially "paying forward" for whenever something does happen. Obviously $25 isn't near enough to fix a car breakdown, but odds are, most months you won't even use it - and overtime, that builds up. When you do have to use it, even if it's not enough to cover the entire cost (whatever that may be - broken appliances, oil change, overweight luggage at the airport, etc) it's at the very least going to lighten the load. The key is not spending it on little things, even when your month is uneventful! 

Right in line with budgeting and planning how much you're going to spend each month, you also need to keep track of it! It's very easy to forget about those little $5-$25 purchases, but those are the ones that are going to kill your savings plan much faster than larger purchases, because they're small, we forget about them, and we therefore end up making a lot more of them. I'm trying to be better about this, but ideally, every time I spend something, even if it's just in cash, I type it into the notes section of my phone. At the end of the month you can learn at least 2 things from the data: 
1) if you're actually spending a lot more/less than you think you are, and 
2) where your fiscal weak points are. Being aware is the first part of solving the problem! 

Also, save your hard change - you'd be surprised at how quickly it adds up!


It's embarrassing to have to be the one always refusing dinner out, because you're on a tight budget - so instead, be open about your goals. People respect you if you're just clear with them: a simple "I'm saving for college" goes a long way in the respect category!

Suggest instead--

  •  A get together to clean out someone's closet (snacks, music, dancing around in your old prom dress? I think yes. XD)
  •  A girl's-night-in to do some baking.
  • Saturday morning hike.
  • An afternoon at the library (off-campus, if you're in school, because otherwise that's just a homework night. ;)
  • Going out for dessert only (a lot more affordable, still just as fun!)
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't get together with friends! And of course, it's really about the people you're with, not what you're doing, that makes it a good time.

*Just another key thing to keep in mind: this is a season. Life ebbs and flows, and you won't always have to be so financially tight if you're good about your money early on. :)

I hope that's helpful to you in your college-saving endeavors!

How do you save money?

Here's To The Ones Who Dream | #OOTD

Monday, January 16, 2017

We had our first snow + it was beautiful.

There's something about snow that just makes everything seem clearer. The sky is bluer, the air is crisper. Everything's quieter. And though southerners don't know how to handle snow, and sometimes the road situations are truly dangerous, it's nice to put life on pause for a moment, stop, appreciate the beauty. I complain that the sky gets dark so early in the winter, but I forgot how dreamy later afternoon lighting can be, especially with a snowfall adding in those cooler tones. (No pun intended. ;)

Totally cliche, but still I love it. Winter isn't my favorite, but if we can have a little blanket of snow every now and then, and some cold, crisp blue skies, I don't think I mind it too much after all.

Besides, it gives me a chance to wear these bad-ass heels which, though not even remotely practical in icy conditions, are actually decent in a 2-inch snowfall. Those rubber soles, man...who knew?? XD

Sweater: Hand-me-down, similar
Top: Old Navy, old, similar here
Earrings: old, similar
Jeans: Madewell, thrifted; affordable brand here
Pom-pom: gift, unknown, similar here
Shoes: Michael Kors, thrifted, similar here

Have you had snow yet in your neck of the woods?
What's your favorite way to enjoy a snow day?

Real Life > Internet Life | The Chic Sheet, v. 14

Saturday, January 14, 2017

img via tumblr

Goal Digger Podcasts
My friend and fellow blogger Sarah introduced me to these podcasts and I've been listening, learning and loving ever since! I love that, since most of these women are moms, they have a more rooted, mature perspective on business in blogging. Instead of what you usually hear touted "don't let anything get in between you and your dreams", they instead promote cultivating a healthy home-life before getting into business full time. Because at the end of the day, all your followers are numbers on a screen, but the people you interact with in real life are right there. Have you listened to the Goal Digger podcasts? What are your thoughts on balancing family life with business/school life?

La La Land
In case you didn't catch me gadding on about La La Land on Instagram, let me share here: this movie is beautiful. The cinematography, the dancing, the music, the costumes, the sets...everything. I especially resonated with the storyline of over-worked artists, wanting to break through and quit the day job. I mean, isn't that all of us bloggers? It's a common theme, but it was characterized so accurately...and in a musical (musicals are my favorite in case you didn't already know. ;). Fantastic.

Paris In Four Months | Instagram 
Carrin Olsson has the most drop-dead gorgeous Instagram feed I have ever seen. And I've loved her photography style for months now. But recently, with the addition of Instagram stories, I've been obsessed with seeing more of her amazing photos, just of her everyday life in Paris. It's warm, it's slightly imperfect but it's always, always beautiful. I'm obsessed and you should be too.

Carly Rowena Daily Workout Routines
And speaking of Insta, Carly Rowena has been sharing her daily workout routines over on her account, and I'm loving the daily boost of inspiration! I've had fun adding a couple of the moves into my own routines this week, specifically the medicine ball workout here (my legs were burning and I'm so sore today, ha!)

Kate Spade Giveaway
Just a little reminder that you have one more day to enter the Kate Spade giveaway if you haven't already! Don't miss the fun, friends! Check it out here. :)

Happy Weekend to you! What's been on your mind this week?


My Movie Night Essentials (with AdoreMe)

Friday, January 13, 2017

It's January. If you're anything like me, you've got the urge to hibernate during this month and the next, because who really wants to go out when it's freezing cold and rainy? 

Though to be honest with you, I'm a stay-in kind of girl through most of the year anyway...I love to cosy in with a good book or a movie, some tea and some chocolate, and some good conversation with the type of friends who aren't afraid to hang out in their pajamas. Or even if it's just me, and I have an evening off of work, I can probably be found beneath a mountain of blankets, watching Gilmore Girls and munching lightly salted almonds (my favorite).

So in celebration of the cosy, and making the most of January, I wanted to talk about my movie night/netflix and chill essentials! Obviously this is something that differs depending on each person, your likes and tastes, but there are a couple categories I think everyone needs for a proper tv or movie-binge. ;)

Preferably plaid pajama pants, because who cares that Christmas is over - they're my favorite, and they're the coziest! Mine are from Old Navy. On the top, I love the look of a lacy bralette peeking from under a basic teeAdore Me has some really cute ones - and what I love about these is that they're comfortable, while still giving a little bit of support. I never like to go without a bra, so these are a much prettier, much more elegant alternative to the old sports bra. :) And in answer to the argument "who cares! no one is going to see it" - you are, darling, and it will make you feel good (I swear by it).

A good thick-knit throw or afghan is my favorite, but these faux-fur blankets look amazing too.

3. TEA
Okay maybe this isn't 100% essential in your movie night yet, but it should be. ;) Peppermint tea is my favorite at the moment, still, but year round I love a good Irish Breakfast (Twinings, of course). If you're not into tea, there's always hot apple cider, hot chocolate or even coffee, depending on how it affects your body's ability to sleep, of course. :)

My absolute favorite dessert is ice cream, but since that has both sugar and dairy in it (no, really? XD) I like to make banana "nice cream" for movie nights during the week. It's the easiest thing: process two frozen bananas (freeze in chunks so they're easier for the blender to handle) in a blender or food processor, scoop into a bowl to serve. The topping options are endless, but this time I went for blueberries + a drizzle of honey.

Studies have proven you actually cannot have a movie night without a movie. So since there's no escaping it, you'll have to pick an oldie (we recently re-watched High Society and I forgot how much I loved it!), or a newer movie (I haven't gotten a chance to re-watch The Force Awakens yet, but it's on my list!) or even your favorite TV show (mine is - how did you know? - Gilmore girls. XD)

How do you do movie nights?

This post is in collaboration with AdoreMe; I am not being compensated for my honest opinion. 

Books I Want To Read In 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

photo taken back in november when it was 50 degrees instead of 15. XD

As a sort of sister-post to last week's Books I Read in 2016, I wanted to formulate a list of the books I'm hoping to read in two thousand seventeen! I'm ambitious about the amount of time I'll actually have to read - especially considering almost all of these books are rather large, and I'm starting college in September - but hey! That's what book lists are all about. ;)

  3. ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy
  4. THE RETURN OF THE KING by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. THE ABOLITION OF MAN by C. S. Lewis
  6. RIGHT HO, JEEVES! by P. G. Wodehouse
  7. NINE COACHES WAITING by Mary Stewart
  8. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
  9. JOHN ADAMS by David McCullough
  10. THE FEDERALIST by Hamilton, Madison and Jay
  11. (finish) CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS by Cornelius Van Til
  12. THE WASTE LAND by T. S. Eliot* 
*I know it's poetry, but it's long enough to count as literature. ;)

I'm leaving wiggle room for school books and any new releases or new discoveries I'll want to add as the year progresses, but this is my starting-point and I'm pretty excited about it. Something I'm trying to be intentional about is leaving a little time to read every single day, even if it's just 20 minutes. It makes a difference, honestly. (If you're interested in following along with my reading progress, join the fun over on Goodreads!)

What book(s) are you hoping to read this year?
p.s. - don't forget to enter the kate spade giveaway if you haven't already!

I Just Need A Deerstalker | #OOTD

Monday, January 09, 2017 complete this ultimate English Countryside look. ;) But in all seriousness, and Sherlock aside (DON'T EVEN TALK TO ME ABOUT SEASON 4), there is something so appealing about rich greens and plaids and boots at the moment, especially when I've had to put aside my festive Christmas sweaters. January is a glum month. Frankly, I strongly dislike January, but I know if I come at it with that kind of gloomy attitude, it's going to be as grey and gross and rainy and cold as I think it is. 

Not to say my mood has any control whatsoever on the weather (Praise the Lord! Can you imagine the turmoil?! XD) but by changing my perspective, I've managed thus far to actually enjoy January 2017. Instead of moping about how sad and soggy the trees are, I'm taking a different approach.
The gloom and rain are like the moors in Jane Eyre. I'm wearing plaid and lots of dark green and you might even catch me in a deerstalker, because in the highlands you want it to be cold and rainy, and you wear appropriately stylish riding gear.

True, Scotland's thousands of miles away and Britain hardly closer, but style transcends geographic locations. XD

sweater: thrifted, similar style
scarf: merona
jeans: old navy, old, similar here and here
boots: bass & co, old - similar here and here

Of course I don't recommend going hunting in your suburban neighborhood (poor rabbits and squirrel aren't the finest cuisine, anyway) but if you care to join me in dressing like a hunter, now that I'm all about.

Raise your hand if you, too, dislike January - and tell me one thing that gets you through the gloominess! 


The Chic Sheet v. 13

Saturday, January 07, 2017

It's been absolutely ages since I've sat down and written The Chic Sheet, you guys! I've missed this Saturday morning ritual - and sharing all the things I've been loving this past month! There are several today, to make up for lost time, so I'm going to get right into things. But first: it's good to be back again. :)

The Chic Sheet, v. 13

"Nothing + Everything."
I've been a loooong time reader of Carlotta's blog (hers was one of the first I ever started reading!) and though I'll admit to only truly following along on Instagram these days, I love to catch up on her posts whenever I have breaks. I read this on December 30th and it put my heart in that expectant place where I wanted to be, in preparation for the new year. A brief, simple, beautiful read.

Murder on the Orient Express Movie
I just found out this week that there's going to be a movie made of Muder on the Orient Express! I loved this Agatha Christie novel, so I'm eager to see how they portray it in a movie! I've yet to see a modern mystery movie that I really like, but Kenneth Brannaugh is the director (also directed Cinderella, live action and Hamlet and Henry V) so I have quite high hopes. It doesn't come out until November 2017, but my interest was piqued and I had to share!

Gilmore Girls Season 4
I'm catching up, guys, slowly but surely. I'm currently in season 4 of Gilmore Girls, and maybe it sounds simple, but I love watching Rory go through college struggles and anxieties that I'm having too - she's a little "ahead" of me, but it's still kind of cool. I guess what I'm trying to say is in some ways, I feel like I'm growing up with Rory Gilmore this year, and I relate so much to her. I'm a sentimental mess and I love it.

She Reads Truth The Bible In A Year Reading Plan
I don't talk about this a lot on this blog, but daily Bible reading is the true hinge-point of my wellbeing. It took me years to find a reading plan that I felt pushed me to learn but also was a manageable size to read daily...and it just occurred to me that some of you guys might be in the same struggle! The past two years I've done the She Reads Truth The Bible In A Year reading plan - it's super easy, especially since within the app, you can click on each day and it has the whole passage for the day right on your phone. Meaning that no matter where you are, if you have a bit of down time, you can do your daily reading. It's a life changer - I'm doing it for the third time through this year and continue to discover new things - and I just thought I ought to share in case you're looking for a devotional plan still!

Yoga Revolution: 31 Days of Yoga
One of my personal New Year's goals was to fit yoga into my routine more often. The number of times it's been on a to-do list and just got left unchecked because there were more "important" things pressing is too many to count. But because I run three times a week for my workout routine, and my shins are beginning to get sore, I really need to be doing preventative yoga to make sure I don't get shinsplints! Adriene (YogaWithAdriene) is currently doing a 31 Days of Yoga challenge on her channel, and while doing it every single day is not feasible for me at the moment, fitting it in 2 or 3 times a week already has made such a difference!

That's all for today: thanks for reading + happy Saturday!


Friday, January 06, 2017

globe: target / planner: kate spade / earrings: kate spade (no longer available)

Yep, you read the title right! After over two years of running this lifestyle blog, I've never done a giveaway (though I did a few back in my writing-blog days). And I figured there was no better time to do so than in January, to cheer up the doldrums and because it was technically my blog re-boot anniversary this week (January 1st)!

But really, does there ever even need to be a reason to win free things?? "Just because" happy things are sometimes the best, actually.

GIVEAWAY: 1 pair of Kate Spade Classic Mini Bow Earrings (color red - see photograph)

*Only open to fellow US residents because shipping costs an arm and a leg (I'm so sorry)*
*Paid for and sponsored by me; not in affiliation with Kate Spade New York*
*Giveaway ends Sunday the 15th at 12 AM*
Good luck, and happy Friday!

Books I Read In 2016

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

I legitimately look forward to writing this post every year - such a fun chance to look back and remember all the books I've read in the past year, and get my gears moving towards what books I want to read this time around! There were a lot of great titles this year, both classic and otherwise, so without further ado, let's get reading!

Books I Read In 2016

1. SHOW YOUR WORK by Austin Kleon - I read this book in one sitting during the first week of January and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd recommend it to all creatives, of every type. (Steal Like An Artist should be read first though.)

2. THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE by Thomas Hardy - Not my favorite.

3. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad - This book was...interesting. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my favorite either. A bit too dark for me, perhaps (and I like dark stuff).

4. PROSPERITY AND POVERTY by E. Calvin Beisner - It's not a light read, but I learned a lot from it and enjoyed doing so.

5. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J. R. R. Tolkien - This was a re-read for my British Literature class, and I must say: I loved this book so much more the second time! It was already a favorite of mine, but I felt like I just sped through it so much faster this time (probably because of enforced deadlines - ha!) and still gleaned even more from this classic fantasy novel. 

6. OSCAR WILDE'S WIT + WISDOM edited by Dover Thrift Books - Just a lot of fun and nonsense, really, but hilarious and sobering in turns. I don't normally go for quotes books, but this was easy to read one hour on a rainy afternoon. (And yeah, okay, it was assigned too.)

7. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde - OH my WORD. This play is a must-read if you have any interest in classic literature. Hilarious, in the best British-style.

8. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding - Still not sure if I loved this book or hated it, to be honest with you. It was so well written, and rich with symbolism! But it was also quite grotesque. So I don't know.

9. PERELANDRA by C. S. Lewis - Absolutely LOVED this one. If you haven't read C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy yet, what are you waiting for?? 

10. YEAR OF NO SUGAR by Eve O. Schaub - I learned so much, commiserated with so many of the struggles and just plain laughed while reading this book. It was actually the reason I decided to continue eating sugar-free after Lent (and am still *mostly* to this day!)

11. 1984 by George Orwell- Because it is really the father of all the dystopian novels we see on the market today, I respect 1984. Because it was incredibly insightful, especially for it's time, I give it all the kudos. Because it drew me in and made me love the characters, I even loved it. But the ending just killed me, and there was no sort of catharsis. Which I suppose is kind of the point, but still - it hurt. 

12. PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw - I think My Fair Lady tells the same story better, and in less time.

13. A GRIEF OBSERVED by C. S. Lewis - I wept and mourned and recovered and grew, right along with Lewis in this one, and all in the space of two afternoons. Possibly the best - the most accurate - piece on grief I've ever read.

14. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PENNY CANDY by Richard J. Maybury - All in all I felt like I didn't really learn much from this book, which was disappointing, and the cluttered layout irritated me to the point where I felt like it could have been any book, and still I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it. 

15. THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS by P. G. Wodehouse - This was my first Wodehouse, and I loved it! I'd love to dive into more of his clever, humorous style this year - any recommendations?

16. THE TWO TOWERS by J. R. R. Tolkien - This is supposedly the most dull of the Lord of the Rings series, but I found it equal in interest to The Fellowship of the Ring. Now I need to start The Return of the King...

17. YES, PLEASE by Amy Poehler - I learned so much about the world of comedy, and the world of show-writing in general from this book! What I wasn't so impressed by was her careless attitude towards drugs presented in the biography...I just felt she could have been a better example, especially considering her large audience of young women. But that's just my 2 cents.

18. THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah - A sweet historical fiction novel set in Paris during World War II. I enjoyed this one during our beach trip this year.

19. THE ABC MURDERS by Agatha Christie - One of the best I've read! I love a good Poirot mystery, especially since until I discovered this one, I thought I'd read them all!

20. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Rita Sepetys - (No relation whatever to 50 Shades, FYI) Such an underappreciated little novel! This ties with Perelandra for best read of the year; I was thoroughly moved by this historical fiction, set in the Baltics, also during the second World War.

21. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Schaffer - This was a cute one, to be sure - but more serious than I had expected, based off of the title!

22. ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow - My "Magnum Opus" of 2016, if you will (though technically reading hardly counts as "work") - this book took me just short of 5 months to read, but was well worth it. I love a good biography, I love American Revolution history, and getting to learn more of the real life that inspired the musical Hamilton was an experience I'll always be proud of.

23. 1776 by David McCullough - Another very well-written history. I only wish it had lasted longer!

24. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr - I was kind of disappointed with this one. I expected a book with such high praise to have more of a plot structure, a better editor (some parts could have been seriously consolidated, I thought) and a stronger ending (it felt too disjointed to me). Not horrible, but again, not my favorite.

If you read this far you're actually magnificent.
What are some books you read in 2016?


Time Is All Around | 2017

Monday, January 02, 2017

"I always get this strange nostalgia at the end of the year...well, I suppose it's not really strange after all. Everyone is nostalgic at year's end, right? And neither am I a stranger to nostalgia. But the nature of the nostalgia is strange: it tells me to hold tight to the old, while simultaneously pushing me to the edge. I want to let go. I want to leap, to run from the end of the old year as though it will swallow me down with it if I don't get off fast enough. But then I think that I'll never see it again and it's an old friend, a comrade, and I wonder if I'll ever remember little things in that photo album, (the white spaces between the captured memories, you know, not just the memories themselves), or if they'll get sucked down too, to that murky place in my mind I can never seem to get back to. (I can see it, but I can't touch.) The old and the new: a beautiful juxtaposition; a catch-22. If you run you can't see the beauty; if you slow down, you get caught in it's snare." -a note to myself, 27 december 2016

Hey stranger. Remember me? I figured there was no better time to reemerge from the abyss of silence here than the first of the New Year (well, 2nd, technically - but it's Monday, and that counts for something too). I also figured there was no better way to restart than with a reassessment of goals with this blog. If you've been around for a little while you know I love fresh starts, love the feeling of cleaning out the clutter: both physically and mentally. Well, this is a little of the latter.

I didn't want to share all my personal goals today - if you are interested, I may write a separate post of those - but rather, chose focus on my goals for the blog this year. What you'll be seeing more of, where I'd like to go with this website, etc.

So here we are: 2017, a new year, a new start, and a clearer frame of mind. I have this strange desire to pull a John Keating on you all and yell "CARPE DIEM!" 

I really want to push my photography style this year, to create a more editorial experience - with outfit posts particularly. It's become increasingly hard to find time to shoot between jobs, especially as it's dark so early these days, but I will make it work nonetheless. After all, time waits for no man, and if I put off being creative until when I think I might have "time", who knows if I'll even still possess the ability. ;)

As last year, I'm itching to dip my toes in the film side of this media world. No, I'm not going to become a vlogger, at least not in the near future - but I'd love to play with filming rather than photographing certain posts I have planned...

(Filming takes much more time, so who knows how frequent of a venture this will actually end up to be. But I'm being optimistic here!)

I kind of let the fitness aspect of this blog to fall to the curb last year - and I'm not really sure why. But I'd love to pick it back up and maybe even share some of my own routines with you all. Is that something you'd be interested in seeing? Running and yoga and working out have all become such a large part of my life in the past year that it seems odd to me that I haven't shared more; but if it's not something you're interested in reading, however, than that's a very good reason not to. So let me know!

I really want to take you all on the journey with me, from working and money saving tips, to getting adjusted to freshman life and dorm hacks - learning as I go and sharing what I do learn with you. I think since most of my readers are either in college, college prepping, or have daughters nearing college, this could be a useful resource! I'm even considering sharing more about what it's like to take a gap year, since that's become such a common thing among students in recent years, and try to make it a bit clearer for any high schoolers considering the option. Plus, I've got so many thoughts to share already, and it's only January...XD

Conclusion: I've got exciting plans for 2017, both in real life, and right here on this little old blog. Thank you so much for sticking around through the thick and thin of it: I invite you to continue the journey with me. Here's to the new!
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