Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review

I'm not going to lie. I have some qualms with 2016. It was a pretty crappy year in a lot of ways. I can only hope that 2017 is better. Despite all of that, I am here to celebrate the good that happened in my life this year. I had a pretty eventful year!

I had made it a goal to do a lot of traveling this year. I had wanted to try to go somewhere different every month. I didn't go every month, but I was close to it! I think I only missed January, September, and December.

I went to Florida! I got to go to Universal Studios again and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We also went to Clearwater Beach on the west coast, which is really pretty. The water is so blue and clear, and the sand is white.





In March, Chris and I celebrated our anniversary in Boston. I surprised him with a weekend getaway there since it's a city we both love. He went to school there, so he has a lot of memories there and we have a lot of memories together there since we started dating when he was still living up there for school. We did a lot of fun things like visit the Downeast Cidery and the Mapparium.



April was a pretty busy month. I went to DC for a long weekend with Nadia. I think my favorite part was visiting the Library of Congress. It was GORGEOUS. We also visited a few of the Smithsonian museums as well. Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms were gone by the time we went.





A little later in the month, I went to Boston again, this time just for a day to see Good Charlotte for their mini comeback tour that they did in the Northeast. This was the show that I bought meet and greet tickets for, so I got to see them do their soundcheck, do a Q&A, and meet them face to face. It was AWESOME and they were amazing.





Finally, I went to Atlantic City with my friend Jess at the end of April. We went for a weekend. It was pretty chilly and rainy, but we still had fun in the casinos and on the boardwalk.

My friend Sarah and I went to Provincetown for a weekend in May. We went before a lot of the places officially opened for the season, but it was still fun. We danced, drank, ate, and shopped so it was a fun time.




June was the month of my big trip of the year. Chris and I went to Montreal for about 5 days. I have actually yet to post about it. We did a lot, though. We went to the Biodome and some cat cafes and visited the Old Port where there was a festival going on. It seemed like there were lots of festivals going on when we were there. It was a little jarring being surrounded by street signs I couldn't understand, but a lot of people spoke English and were very friendly.



July had a lot of stuff going on! I went back to Atlantic City, this time with Chris, Nadia, and her boyfriend Jon. We just went for a weekend. I also met New Found Glory at Warped Tour, became obsessed with Pokemon GO like the rest of the world, and got a Harry Potter themed tattoo! Oh, and Nadia, Chris, and I also visited the Angry Orchard cidery!




I went to New York City twice in August for two separate events. The first was Pottercon, which was a gathering of Harry Potter fans. It wasn't really a convention, but more of a party with different activities. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in it but it was still cool to be around so many other people who love Harry Potter and were dressed up for the occasion.

The second time I went was when Chris and I got tickets for the Jimmy Fallon show! It was so cool to see it live and we even got high-fives from Jimmy at the end as he made his way through the audience. The guests for the show were Jessica Alba and Jeff Foxworthy. I had thought that we were going to be at the Alec Baldwin taping, but that one was taped earlier in the day.


October is always a crazy month because it's my favorite and the leaves are usually at the perfect time for peeping. I started the leaf peeping off right by going to Vermont for Columbus Day weekend. The leaves were great and it was so nice to be surrounded by mountains and foliage.




I went to Salem, just for a day, because I couldn't resist. There's nothing like Salem in October. We also tried some cider at a cidery that I had no idea existed until then. It was SO GOOD.



I went to Sleepy Hollow with Nadia as a short day trip. We explored through the giant cemetery there and the Headless Horeseman bridge. I also visted NYC again in October to see Sum 41 with Chris.




The first weekend in November, I went to Amish Country! I had never been, so I was excited to explore. There was so much good food there and it was so pretty. My favorite part was drinking wine and eating cheese while riding a steam train! I would definitely go back again because there's surprisingly a lot to do and see!




November was also when I got to live out my childhood dream of going to multiple Good Charlotte shows while they toured the area. I went to three shows in three different states all within 4 days. All of the shows were awesome and I'm glad I was able to finally do something I always wanted to do. I felt that I owed it to my 14 year old self!





Finally, here are some of my favorite outfits from the year:

Dark Spring
Nautical Barber
Autumn in My Blood
Sleepy Hollow

I hope you all have a happy New Year! Here's to a wonderful 2017!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Literary Lust: Recently Read

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal to read 50 books by the end of the year. I finally reached my goal last week, and I'm really excited about it! I thought I'd highlight some of the ones I read. Forgive me if some of these blurbs sound a bit vague. It's been a while (months) since I've read some of these.

The Science of Skinny
This book is really enlightening. It explains how and why all of the processed foods out there are terrible for you and what they do to your body and its chemistry. Not only does it explain this, but the author does so in a way that you can understand. It's not overly filled with science jargon or written too academically. The author even includes handy lists, charts, and recipes that make it easy for you to refer to when food shopping. If you are trying to change your diet and eat healthier and more clean, read this book. It will change your life, or at least the way you think about food and what you put in your body. It's crazy what the things that pass as food today can do to you.

The Book Thief
I know I'm way behind in the times for not having read this yet, but I finally did and it was AMAZING. I can see why so many people spoke so highly of this book. I'm a sucker for novels set in WWII Germany. I think it was a very interesting and heartbreaking time, but this was so well done and done so much better than other books with the same setting. I love how Death is the narrator. I love everything about this book. Please read it if you haven't.

If I Forget You
I usually opt for more depressing and heavy books, but every now and then I need something light to cleanse my reading palate. If I Forget You is a romantic drama in a sense, though it's not too dramatic, really. I like that the storylines travel through time and switch perspectives. It's kind of like The Notebook or The Time Traveler's Wife, in that sense, but still different. It's very hard to explain. I really loved Greene's writing style and I loved the voice of the main character, Henry. It's essentially a tale of lost love and choosing the right path.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
The way that this story is woven is fantastic. It follows a girl from teenage years into adulthood and her struggle with what is basically an eating disorder and the inner turmoil that comes with it, as well as how it devastatingly impacts her relationships. Even when she is thin, the drive to be smaller is still there and it eventually causes her to lose more than just pounds. It depicts how hard it can be to lose weight, how much people painstakingly count food intake and calories, and how body image can affect someone's self worth (or lack of) and happiness.

All The Birds in the Sky
This book is not something I would typically pick up. It's sci-fi, but it's not too sci-fi, if that makes sense. What interested me was part of the synopsis had a sort of Wicked feel to it. The story blends magic and science together, which I really loved the concept of.  It also takes place over a long stretch of years, which I thought was cool. It's basically about this boy and girl who become friends in middle school but then suddenly part ways due to some weird circumstances. The girl learns that she can do magic that can heal people and the boy can build machines that can make him time travel. When they grow up and become more skilled in their designated fields, they meet again to attempt to save the world from disaster. It sounds crazy and strange, but it was really well done and written in a way where nothing felt far-fetched. It was a sci-fi story that felt like it could be real, which I loved.

Baby Doll
A story not unlike Jaycee Dugard's and other victims of kidnap and rape. This book is about a girl who was stolen by a man who kept her hostage and sexually abused her, eventually leading to the birth of a child. Most of the book is about what happens after the woman escapes when noticing that the door of the basement she is kept in was left unlocked. It is a very quick read because it's pretty short and very hard to put down. The story is told from multiple perspectives from the woman held captive, to her mom, her sister, and even the captor himself. It definitely keeps it interesting and is great if you're into thrillers.

Maybe in Another Life
Another palate cleanser! This book is very light and almost pure fluff. It's about this seemingly very cute girl who has cute quirks of liking her hair in a bun and loving cinnamon rolls. The premise of the book is that there are two different storylines that it follows in this girl's life depending on if she stays at a party with a guy she used to date or leaves it with her best friend. The chapters alternate between the storylines, which makes it interesting to read. Like I said, it's light and fluffy, but the two different what-if scenarios are what give it a little bit of substance.

A Season with the Witch


This book was AWESOME. I appropriately read it in October when it first came out. It made me yearn to live in Salem, more so than I already do but it also let me live vicariously through the author, which was nice. He describes everything in such detail that I could easily picture where he was in the city. I learned so much about the city! The book is like part travel guide and part history, but on steroids. It's awesome, and the author's humor and wit is great too. If you love Salem or witches or Halloween or all of the above, you'll love this book. He talks about Hocus Pocus, which is always a plus in my book.

A Monster Calls


I read this because I saw a preview for the movie that comes out this month, noticed that it was based on a book, and it seemed really interesting. I was right. This book was beautiful, powerful, and heartbreaking. It made me cry. It definitely went deeper than I thought it was going to. I can't wait to see the movie. The story and writing is just AMAZING.

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe


This is definitely near the top of my favorites list for books I read this year. I enjoyed it SO MUCH. I was a little iffy, as I always am with nonfiction. Even if it's something I'm interested in, sometimes I just can't get into it if it's written too dryly. This book was not. I couldn't stop reading it! It made me both laugh and cry. I thought I was a space nerd before this book, but now I'm even more so. It was so interesting. Mike Massimino talks about how he came to be a  NASA astronaut, the struggles he endured, and what it was like to blast off in a rocket and be up on the Hubble. It was so fascinating and insightful. Not only that, but his perseverance and passion is really inspiring. I loved this book so much!!

Scrappy Little Nobody


I wouldn't say I'm a huge Anna Kendrick fan. I like her and enjoyed the movies I've seen that she is in. She always seemed like a cool person. When I read reviews of her book, it seemed like she was super funny. I love to read funny books, especially if they are memoirs or written by comedians. I wouldn't say Anna is a comedian in her acting career, but she was definitely funny. She had a lot of good stories to share, but what really struck me after finishing the whole book was how down to earth and real she is. She just wants to get home and be comfortable like everyone else after a night out wearing a fancy ass dress and high heels. I really enjoyed her writing and her wit! It also made me want to hang out with her.

I am still reading more books, so maybe I will go over my goal this year if I can finish the book I'm currently reading by Sunday. I am not sure if I should try to outdo myself next year since I feel like I just barely made it with 50 this year. Honestly, if I didn't read the entire Scott Pilgrim series, I probably wouldn't have made it. I think I will try for another 50 next year!

If you have any book recommendations or have read any of these books and loved them too, let me know!