Need Something Good to Read?

Hello everyone! I have decided to share with you some of my current favorite books and why I adore them! If you are looking for a new book here are a few of my personal recommendations. I feel that I have left quite a variety for you to choose from so have at it! Here is my list, enjoy!

In no particular order:

  1. Looking for Alaska – John Green: This book. This book just gets to me. A short snippet of the plot is that a young man named Miles Halter goes off to boarding school to “seek the great perhaps” where he meets the wild and free spirited Alaska Young who changes the way he looks at life forever. I think that the reason this book had such an impact on me was because at the time I read it I was a brooding high school student who was looking for something meaningful in life. This book hit me hard. The writing was spectacular, the characters were vibrant and relatable, and the emotions were oh so real. This book seemed so personal to me that I didn’t even recommend it to my sister or best friend, as I often do. I wanted to keep this book to myself. I didn’t want to watch it get torn apart by others opinions and interpretations. It was mine, and I liked it that way. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”
  2. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins: This book was the last book I read that I could not put down. I read it during lunch breaks at work, commercials, and while brushing my teeth. It was one of those books where the character could be sitting on her bed, doing nothing, but thinking to herself and it would still give me goosebumps. This book has murder, mystery, romance, and revenge all packed into one epic novel about a woman named Rachel who becomes obsessed with the death of a woman she never met. I think that this book did a good job showing how dark humans can be and how forgiving we can be as well. One of my favorite quotes is “It’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.”
  3. The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman: This book I purchased at random. The story was riveting and emotionally raw. I began telling snippets of the story to my boyfriend’s family while on a road trip to California. As I read on, they continued to ask for updates. By the end of the trip they were as into the story as I was and begging me for answers! The story follows a lighthouse keeper and his wife as they struggle to raise a child that does not belong to them. A complex look at human nature and love, this book is a must! My favorite quote from this book is: “You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.”
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood: This story follows a young woman in a dystopian society where an extremest religious order has taken over a section of the USA and turned it into an isolated patriarchy. Our protagonist, Offred, is a Handmaid. This means she will provide children for the barren wives of the leaders of this new great nation. A spine-tingling and captivating tale that might leave some with nightmares. Favorite quote: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” (I would also recommend the television show on Hulu).
  5. Dorothy Must Die: This fresh take on the Wizard of Oz saga had me at the title. Dorothy? The bad guy? Crazy stuff. I’ll admit that at one point I put this book down and forgot about it. However, once I picked it back up, I promptly finished it and hurried my way through the series. Favorite quote: “I didn’t know what was worse: to have your shot and screw it up, or to never have had a shot in the first place.”

If you would like to purchase any of these books on Amazon (all under $10!) here are the links:

Looking for Alaska

The Girl on the Train

The Handmaid’s Tale

Dorothy Must Die

“It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.” -Lemony Snicket

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College Tips

Hi everyone! I wanted to share some things that I have learned during my time in college. As a third year student I feel that I have picked up a few tips and tricks that have helped me navigate my way through classes and hefty work loads.

  1. A non traditional route is OK.

Rather than going to a four year university right out of high school, I decided to attend a two year college to begin with. I never expected to go this route. I had pictured myself in a dorm, applied to only four year schools, and talked with all of my friends about what this new life would be like. However, after not finding a school that I was excited about and worrying about the cost I decided to take the non traditional route and attend community college first. I was able to save a lot of money by living at home and met a lot of great professors. Don’t feel pressured to attend a four year school if you don’t feel that it’s right!

2. Go to class.

No matter how overwhelmed or tired you are from all of your classes, just show up. I guarantee that something will be said that you can benefit from. It’s tempting to skip class, especially when a professor doesn’t grade on attendance. Even if you sit in the back and doodle or doze off, you will  gain something from simply showing up.

3. Speak up and participate!

I never thought I would be preaching this idea. I never ever ever talked in class throughout high school or most of my college career. However, I began speaking up while taking an English course I really loved. It made me feel that my opinions and ideas were important. I became less afraid to have the wrong answer and encouraged others to speak up as well. It’s scary at first, but the pay off is worth it!

4. Participate in on campus events.

When I first transferred to the four year college I am currently attending the Dean of Students encouraged us to participate in at least one event. Following her advice, I decided to go to a Halloween Movie Night with a couple of friends. The movie night was held in a lecture hall with the movie being projected on a big screen. There were free snacks and drinks and it was a blast! Take a chance and participate in some sort of social event, concert, play, or sporting event while you’re in school! If anything, they probably have free food.

5. Ask for help!

I email my professors and TA’s constantly. If you have a question ask for help! Your professors are there to help you. I always send drafts of papers in to a TA or the writing center before turning my final draft in to be graded. Similarly, meet with your advisor regularly! It’s good to know that you are on the right track with your program and they can answer general questions about the school as well! We all need help sometimes, and your school is equipped to help you be as successful as you want to be.

6. Keep a planner & stay organized!

I don’t actually have a planner but I write lists constantly. I have dozens of notepads all over my apartment that detail what I need to do in the day to stay ahead. Planning can also show you if you have a magical day where four assignments are due at once. If you let those days sneak up on you, it will feel as if Death itself has caught up to you. So, you know, plan ahead!

Those are the tips that I have found most helpful throughout my time in college. Let me know if you found these useful or have any of your own!

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein

 

Finding Courage

As I sit here writing this very post, I have my universities list of majors and colleges pulled up on the left hand side of the screen. I have stared at this exact page, countless times, just hoping that my prayers will be answered and suddenly I will know exactly which career path to choose and I will have discovered my life’s passion.

Alas, no such career inspirations have jumped out at me. Well, except for one. I click again on the “Bachelor’s in English with a Creative Writing Option” and read the course description. I imagine my life as a successful author, editor, or journalist. I envision spending my life surrounded by books, creativity, and a passion for words that never dies. All I do is hope that I have the courage to take this path!

For years I have convinced myself that I want to be a teacher. I have always had a passion for education and I have always wanted to make sure that when I leave college I will have a job lined up. Teaching is a safe way to go and I know that in my heart. I believe that I could have so much more and do something that I am truly passionate about.

So what has sparked this sudden bravery and possible change in major? Well let’s start from the beginning.

My sister Erica has a passion for horse riding. I have watched her grow into a strong and talented rider from the age of three. And now, at the ripe young age of eighteen, she has been offered a job at a quality horse barn where she will make countless new connections and be able to work with the animals she loves while learning and making new memories and gaining experience in the field she wants to pursue. I am absolutely over the moon for her and I cannot wait to see how this job turns out for her!

Watching her talk about this new job left me feeling jealous. I am jealous that she knows whole heartedly what she wants to do with her life and that she’s not afraid to give up her comfortable job and college career to follow it. This feeling of jealousy made me realize that I do not want to teach. I want to follow my heart and pursue my goals of writing. I want to reach people with my words, share stories, and create communities through books and articles. I feel invigorated and excited to finally have the courage to pursue this option in my life.

I think it’s important to believe in yourself and truly follow your heart. When it comes down to it, I know that I will have the courage to pursue the dreams that I have for myself and live the life that I have dreamt of.

 

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.”

15 of My Favorite Things

 

I thought that by listing some of my favorite things I would be able to share more about myself in a positive and fun way!

  1. Painting my nails perfectly with a color that I love: I don’t know exactly what it is about a fresh coat of nail polish and vibrant color but it truly inspires me. Glancing down at my perfectly painted nails, knowing that I adorned them so brilliantly and clearly, gives me confidence and a certain sense of satisfaction that just brightens my day.
  2. Taking Naps: Napping is something I love and hate at the same time. I love my naps, I sometimes schedule my entire day around them and  truly look forward to taking them. But man oh man, do they cut down on my productivity levels. But that feeling of drifting off into blissful sleep is just so satisfying I can’t seem to give it up.
  3. Watching TV or Movies or Reading: Again, not very productive activities but this post isn’t about advice on how to be more productive. I love when a book can make me feel some serious emotions, when a movie can move me to tears, or when a TV show can make me feel like I want to be a better person. The fact that these fictional things can excite, sadden, and move me in profound ways has always inspired me.
  4. Looking at Art: After taking an art class in college, my boyfriend and I have spent a decent amount of time in art museums and I am so glad that we can experience artwork together. Again, art is able to move me emotionally and I love having something inspiring to look at whether it’s an original Monet at the Boston Art Museum or the poster of Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone, art is one of my favorite things.
  5. Saving Money: I have always been careful with my money. I love to put my money away and watch my savings grow. This clashes very harshly with one of my other favorite activities of going out to eat but I try to balance things out to the best of my abilities.
  6. Going out to Eat: Oh boy, do I love going out to dinner, lunch, breakfast, fro-yo, you name it! I thank the stars that my boyfriend deters me from going out to eat and often convinces me to save my money. Thank you Ricky, I would have no money without you by my side.
  7. Spending time with my Parents: I feel as if I truly didn’t appreciate my parents until about two years ago. Without their love, support, and guidance I would not be the person I am today. I am moving away to college in a few months and each moment I share with them I cherish.
  8. Animals: What have we done to deserve animals? With their sweet faces and willingness to love and be loved in return. They are truly amazing.
  9. Doing Laundry: I hope Ricky never reads this one. It’s very satisfying to me to see my laundry hamper be empty and have all of my clothes in their proper place. The actual process of “doing laundry” I guess is less fun, but without struggle there is no strength.
  10. Getting Ready for the Day: Take a shower, dry your hair, do your makeup, and be prepared to seize the day. That’s what I tell myself every morning when I don’t want to crawls away from my cozy bed. After the long process of preparing for the day is over I know that I am ready to take on the world, even if I slide back into my bed for a little nap afterwards.
  11. Cooking and Baking: I am still getting a handle on the cooking thing but the baking thing I have down. It’s Christmas time and you need me to bring a dessert? I am on it and I will own it.
  12. Goofing around with Ricky: Ricky, who is my boyfriend if that has not been established earlier, is a very silly man. He loves to annoy, tickle, torture, and make me laugh. He has taught me to lighten up and have fun while fun can be had and I will always be grateful for that.
  13. Organizing and Planning: I don’t always accomplish the tasks that I write down. But by organizing them in a planner or calendar I feel a sort of relief that I have mapped out the tasks and will eventually tackle them in due time.
  14. Alone time: I think that one of the greatest things about my relationship with Ricky is that we are not afraid to tell each other that we need some space. We have taken classes together in college, worked at the same place, and workout together. Sometimes we just need a break from each other. Sometimes I just need a break from everybody. There is nothing wrong with craving time for yourself and wanting a minute to breath.
  15. Learning new words: Ricky uses me as his personal thesaurus on occasion. If there is a new word, I hear or see I will google it and I will memorize it. For instance, while selecting a new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s the other night I chose the flavor titles “Truffle Kerfuffle.” Wondering whether or not Kerfuffle was a word or not I googled it and found that indeed Kerfuffle is a brilliant word meaning “a commotion or fuss.” A perfect way to describe my vanilla ice cream teaming with pecans, fudge chunks, and chocolate salted ganache.

 

“Take time to do what makes your soul happy”

F. Scott Fitzgerald Makes Me Want More

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

This quote, this amazingly beautiful quote makes me question my relationship. All our lives we are surrounded by these romantic movies about guys who chase girls, bad boys who change to be with the sweet and innocent girl, or two broken people who fix each other. We are force fed these movies, and then told that they are lies.

Our parents or elders remind us constantly that those are just movies. People don’t really do those incredibly romantic things. People don’t really poor their hearts out and say those unbelievably beautiful words to each other. Until they do.

F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t the only actual person to actually love someone in such a deep and earth shattering way that we all secretly seethe with jealousy. History is filled with romantic gestures that fill us all with the hope that we will find the one, that person who truly understands us deep down to our core. Who connects with you on such a real level that you can never feel embarrassed or ashamed around them. You can always be yourself, your true wild, hilarious, ugly, and sometimes stupid self. The person who can look at you from across a room and you instantly smile as your whole body fills with joy. Sure you guys will fight, but it will be real, passionate fighting. None of that passive aggressive secretly loathing each other fighting. All of these things that these authors, kings, queens, ordinary every day joe’s describe as love is a real thing. It’s out there. And yet, we settle for “alright”.

I, myself, have found that I am locked in an “alright” relationship. I am only eighteen and some of you may think that that’s too young to realize what love is. Well maybe I’m not but I think I’ve found what love isn’t. I have been with this guy for about nine months now and we say I love you and sometimes I get those butterflies but I just don’t feel it. That spark. That sign from the universe that lets me know that I am with the right man. And don’t tell me that that sign doesn’t exist. It’s out there. That’s where quotes like the one above come from. True, unabashed love. I plan on settling for nothing less.

Here’s what I find to be off about my relationship. I disagree with the way he acts towards his parents. He can be lazy and seems to only think about himself at times. He doesn’t seem to value education and has no exact plan for his future. He bumbles around and hopes for the best. He makes comments like “you have potential” and “if I don’t cut you” jokingly on a constant basis. These comments are always followed quickly by an “just kidding, I love you.” I care about him, I know that for sure. But the word “love” is still up in the air for me. But the real thing, the thing that keeps me up at night, is that he doesn’t text me good night.

Let me explain. He doesn’t text me goodnight, he rambles on about his day, interrupts me, doesn’t open the door, ask me if I want something to drink, initiate the cuddling, or any of those things. It’s like that scene from The Breakup. I know that he doesn’t want to do the dishes, but I want him to want to help me do the dishes. It’s not all about him. Maybe I’m just a different personality type who appreciates the little things but I can’t keep pretending that his lack of “small affections” doesn’t bother me.

The love I want is the kind that is constant. The kind that doesn’t make me question it. Even if we fight I still know that I will always, always want to be with them. I want the love that F. Scott Fitzgerald talks about. The messy, respectful, and undying love of an imperfect man. I hope this love exists and even more, I hope that I can find it.