Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer 2017 Bucket List



Hello, lovelies! How have you all been? Enjoying your summer, I hope? Life over here has been the strangest mix of slow and crazy. I guess that's kind of the epitome of summer, y'know? Full of adventures and projects and wide open spaces ready to be filled.

I spent last week at the beach, which was absolutely wonderful. You don't realize just how mentally drained you are until you're standing on the sand, surrounded by the sound of wind and the crashing of waves, and you finally can just breathe. Everyone has a 'happy place', and the beach is mine. I feel like I can think better at the beach. Things seem clearer and easier, and I just feel so darn creative. In the week that I was there, I planned out at least three projects, started mentally choreographing two dances, and spent quite a bit of time thinking about various aspects of my novel. I don't know what it is, but the beach always leaves me itching to create something. Hopefully all of that inspiration will make for a very productive summer!

Now that I'm back home, I'm working on getting lots of various things figured out. I know that technically, most people look at summer as a time to relax, but I think that I'm just a bit too Type A for that. Being the summer before senior year and all, I'm attempting to plan out everything. I'm going on a couple of college visits, trying to find a job, and planning to get my driver's permit. It's kind of crazy to think that it's finally time for all of this stuff. It's always seemed so far off, and now it's...here. It's a little bit scary, really. Fingers crossed that I can get all of this adulting stuff figured out.

In the meantime, I've also put together my yearly summer bucket list. Because hey- what's the season of freedom without some good ole' OCD planning?

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// go swing dancing
// write lots of snail mail
// go to the lake
// edit my novel
// get back into hand-lettering
// catch up on my reading challenge
// buy more succulents successfully and keep them alive (RIP Flynn)
// endless coffee dates
// JOURNAL
// get my driver's permit
// become stronger en pointe
// start an etsy shop
// lots and lots and lots of ice cream
// have a few photoshoots
// go to the annual giant book sale
// get into bullet journaling
// turn 17 (!!!!!!)
// have my piano tuned
// organize the massive stacks of papers in my room
// figure out the evils of college stuff
// choreograph/film a piece



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~ What's on your summer bucket list? ~

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

summer maybes



s u m m e r

the season of warmth and sunlight and freedom

it's always been the one that i looked forward to the most

but for some reason
this year
it's not

maybe it's because of the whirlwind of change
as everyone's growing up
and soon nothing will be the same

i don't know

maybe it's because in the fall i'm going to be a senior
and when the next summer rolls around
nothing will be the same

i don't know

maybe i'm just not someone who copes well with change

{who am i kidding
we already knew that}

but the sun is shining
and mornings are slow
and adventures are coming

and despite all of the maybes
i can feel that familiar excitement begin to stir

s u m m e r

the season of late nights and messy hair and living

maybe it will be okay

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I Finished My First Draft?!?!



On May 13th, at 7:33 p.m, I finished the first draft of my novel. 

Some of you may already be aware of this; if so, I apologize for the redundancy. But I am so, so excited. I would have been shouting the news from the rooftops on social media, but I was trying to keep it a secret so that I could surprise a family member, and I didn't want them to accidentally find out ahead of time. Thus, things have been kind of silent over here. It wasn't the easiest secret to keep! 

I'm not one to share a ton of details about my stories online, but I will say this much- I'm pretty freaking proud of it. This is the same novel that I wrote 51k of for NaNo, the same novel that I've been plotting and writing for the past year and a half. It's my brainchild, my baby. And despite its many, many, many many, many, many, MANY flaws and imperfections and mistakes, I love it with a passion. 

It's important to me. It's about prejudice and overcoming adversity and family and fear and grief and finding a joy that you never thought you could find. It's a story of hope. I didn't know that when I started writing it, but it really is a story of hope. In some ways, I feel like this novel wrote itself. I didn't plan a lot of it, it just kind of..happened. But I really like the way that it turned out. I've learned so much in writing this book. About writing, about people, about myself. And I'm hopeful. Despite all of my fears and anxiety and pessimism, I have hope. Maybe this book taught me that too.

I've currently given the novel to a few select people to get some feedback I'm not freaking out what do you mean why would I be freaking out, and once I get their responses, I'm going to jump into the glorious pit of editing. I did read it through once before giving it out, just to fix any huge glaring errors, and I'm already itching to keep editing it. I want to make it better, to make it something that I can really be proud of. Even though I'm not currently working on it, it's in my head constantly- I'm still coming up with new ideas and things that I want to add or take away. I think it's going to be a while before this project is finished. It's going to be done right.

 I also have a new plot bunny jumping around in my brain, begging for attention, so I'm trying to slowly piece together some ideas for that as well. Abbie has gotten me obsessed with making Pinterest boards for new projects, and it's definitely working. I'm getting excited for this one. For now, though, I'm leaving it on the back burner. Its time will come.

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And now, because I know that I've given you basically no details about the actual novel, I'll share a couple of fun facts before I head back to the agony of waiting for betas to finish.

// This was the first full novel that I've ever finished.

// The only music that I could listen to while writing was Ben Rector. For some reason, everything else drove me crazy, but Ben Rector music got me in the writing zone. Which is strange, because a lot of the songs don't fit the feel of my novel at all. Either way, I'm endlessly grateful to Mary Shelley for introducing me to his music. 

// The novel takes place on a small island somewhere in the New England/Nova Scotia area. I haven't entirely pinpointed it yet. 

// I wrote some of the most important early scenes in the novel when I was fourteen, before I'd even started plotting. I didn't start actually plotting/writing until the fall of my sophomore year, when I was fifteen. 

// The final word count was over 104K. I have created a monster.

// Whenever someone asks me what my novel is about, I say that it's a murder mystery that's not a murder mystery. Good luck to anyone who tries to figure out what the heck that means. 

// The plot really didn't fall into place until this past November, when I took part in NaNoWriMo. I'd scrapped a lot of what I'd originally written, and NaNo is when everything really came together. 

// My favorite character is only used in one chapter. 

// I discovered that I work best through word wars. Maybe it's just my insanely competitive nature, but when I'm warring, I can write an average of 800 words in fifteen minutes. Major shoutout to my twitter friend Gabriela, as well as my real-life friend, C, for the tons and tons of word wars!

// I think that my favorite part of this novel is the fact that the characters keep you guessing. They all develop a lot throughout the story, and you never really know what to expect from them. 

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I don't know exactly what's next for this novel, aside from the impending editing that has to be done. But I am very excited. ♥

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So, tell me- how's the writing world coming for you? Any fun projects going on? I want to hear all about them! 





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review- The Fixer



In complete honesty, YA has been frustrating me lately. I haven't found any really good books in a while. As a result, I haven't spent a great deal of time reading recently. Let's not even talk about my Goodreads challenge..I'm so behind it's ridiculous. 

In August, I picked up The Fixer at a used book sale. If I remember correctly, it was under $3, so despite the fact that I knew nothing about it and usually like to research books ahead of time, I grabbed it. Junior year has been crazy, though, so I never actually got around to reading it. Life finally started to chill out towards the end of April, and so I wanted to start reading again. My sister had read  The Fixer a few months before, and said that I should definitely give it a try, so I did. 

Less than 15 hours later, I was online looking up the sequel. 

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a YA political thriller. Now generally speaking, I'm not a fan of anything super political, but bear with me. When sixteen year old Tess Kendrick is forced to move from Montana to D.C. to live with her estranged sister, she has no idea what it will truly entail. She certainly doesn't expect to end up surrounded by murder, bribery, secrets, and espionage. 

Oh my gosh. This book. I cannot properly put into words just how much I love it. Where do I even begin?

The characters were impeccable. There was not a single one that I didn't just fall head over heels in love with. Tess, the main character, was fierce, spunky, and kicked butt like nobody's business. She was strong and independent, and while most of the time I find myself not being a huge fan of main characters, I adored her. Her sister, Ivy, was basically who I want to be in life. She was cool, collected, and poised, and I swear to you, ice runs through her veins. She is a shark who knows exactly how to work any situation, but at the same time was so passionately loving towards the people in her life. These two were the epitome of strong female characters. 

Then we had the supporting cast. Oh my goodness, how I loved them. Asher, Vivvie, Henry, Bodie, Adam- the list goes on, and they all were absolutely perfect. They all were so quirky and lovable and different, but just SUCH well-written characters. When my sister and I were talking after I finished the book, we honestly couldn't pick a favorite character because they were all so well done. Even the "bad" characters were intriguing and beyond well-written.

(Speaking of which- William Keyes? And the president's wife? I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM.)

On top of the amazing characters, the plot drew me in from the very beginning. It was so intriguing and full of twists that I couldn't put it down. Not even kidding guys, this was a reading by flashlight at one a.m. book. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what was happening next. I fell into every one of the author's traps, only to be shocked the next page when something completely different from what I was expecting happened. I was so invested in this story. It was fantastic.

My biggest beef with this book? IT ENDS ON A BABY CLIFFHANGER. Like, excuse you? Thankfully, I am in possession of the sequel, and am quite anxious to read it. My sister already read it, and seemed to be slightly emotionally destroyed, so I'm curious, albeit a bit terrified, haha. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an incredible author, and I can't wait to read more of her work. Go read this book. You won't regret it. 

RATING- ⭑⭑⭑

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Have you read The Fixer? If not, YOU SHOULD! What have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

a couple reminders


/ hey there friend /

it's may. arguably one of the most stressful months of the year. and i know that right now, nobody's got the time to read long blog posts. so i'm just popping in with a few quick reminders for you. 

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1. the semester is almost over, i repeat, the semester is almost over. take a deeeeeeeeep breath. in. out. repeat. you've got this. 

2. take five minutes to organize something. anything. your desk, your purse, your brain. you'll feel better, i promise. 

3. if you haven't moved around lately because you've been studying for the past five hours, fix that. get up, walk around, even if it's just around your room. it will help your brain unfog.

4. if you haven't stopped moving lately, sit down. take a break. answer that text that you got from your best friend six hours ago. eat a piece of chocolate. regroup. 

5. you rock. you freaking rock, and nothing is going to change that. so keep going. i believe in you.

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p.s. if you're like me and you're currently procrastinating and you want to do that a little longer, i'd love if you would check out my latest post on Burning Youth. ♥

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hello, May!


Well, here we are. May.

April was a good month. A really good month. A month of theatre and prom and finishing classes. Of getting nails done and birthday parties and choreographing for the best group of girls. April was full of lots of late nights and early mornings, intense coffee consumption, and a healthy amount of ice cream. Some of the best memories that I've had all year took place this month.We celebrated Easter, and all of the endings and beginnings that come with this time of year. Spring can only be described as a season of bittersweetness, and April fit that description to a t.

May seems to typically follow that pattern of bittersweetness even more closely, for May is always full of 'lasts'. It's the month of recitals and of graduations, of seeing people off and hoping that they don't go too far. This May I'm going to watch my best friend graduate, and know that a year from now, I'll be the one graduating. I've always looked at all of the events this time of year with a bit of wonder, and the fact that soon I'll be the one having to worry about senior photos and graduation dresses doesn't quite feel real. I'm trying not to think about that too much yet.

- - - - -

D I S C O V E R I E S

-Fiddler on the Roof and Next to Normal have taken over my life. I swear, it's a different musical every month, and I'm so okay with that.

-I read The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and it completely restored my faith in YA. Expect a review coming very soon...

-My beautiful, grace-filled friend, Hannah, wrote an incredible post about when hard times come. 

-NEWSIES IS GOING TO BE AVAILABLE FOR DIGITAL DOWNLOAD!!!!! My life is complete.

-I found a really awesome bagel place in town, and I kind of want to live there. I also accidentally had fully caffeinated coffee that morning and kind of didn't stop bouncing for three hours.

-The girls over at Burning Youth had some absolutely incredible posts this month.


- - - - -

M A Y   G O A L S

-Successfully finish up junior year! Only three classes left!

-Spend more time outside. The weather is so nice right now, I want to take more walks and just generally get out more.

-Buckle down on my novel

-JOURNAL

-Finish putting together graduation gifts

-Post a review of The Fixer

-Generally get more involved with the blogging community again

- - - - -

T H I N K I N G

About how crazy that it is that another year is already wrapping up. It's been a different year, but a good one, a really good one. I'm also thinking a lot about prioritizing different projects and hobbies, and how to get the most done that I possibly can. I really want to do a lot this summer- it's going to be good.

- - - - -

B L O G G I N G

-I wrote a lovely post about how, despite dropping off the face of the earth, I was still alive. ...And then proceeded to pretty much drop off the face of the earth again. Go me.

-You are worth the waitPlease please please, never forget that. 

-Since I hadn't yet done so, I had to rant about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Because..Harry Potter.

- - - - -

Thanks for all the amazing memories, April '17. 

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How was your April? What do you have planned for May? Any interesting discoveries? Have you read any good books? How's life treating you? Let's talk!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


Despite the fact that the book in the photo is Deathly Hallows, today, we're talking about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

You guys know that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I think that J.K. Rowling is absolutely brilliant, and I'm thoroughly obsessed with the Harry Potter books. I can quote from them far more accurately than I probably should be able to, and I'm deeply attached to the characters. I still want to be Luna Lovegood when I grow up. 

Keeping all of this information in mind, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that I was thrilled to learn about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I mean, really. More Harry Potter?? Plus, it's a play, and you all know how I feel about theatre. It's basically the perfect combination for me. 

Somehow, however, I didn't end up actually reading Cursed Child until March. I got a copy for Christmas, but life was so busy that I didn't feel I had time, and I really wanted to savor this one. A friend kept telling me that I had to read it so that we could discuss it, so I finally gave in and read it. It's not a long book, and the fact that it's a script makes it shorter, so I breezed through it fairly quickly. When I put it down, I really didn't know what to think. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child features Harry's son, Albus, and tells the story of what it's like to be the polar opposite son of the most famous wizard in the world. Together with his best friend, Scorpius, Albus tries to "fix" a problem that he believes his father has created, but ends up with an even bigger mess on his hands- one that could result in the destruction of the wizarding world altogether.

Now don't get me wrong, this book wasn't terrible by any means. I loved getting to go back into Harry's world. But I was a bit disappointed by it overall. 

I think that the biggest issue that I had with Cursed Child was that it just wasn't realistic. Yes, I realize that we're talking about a book series that revolves entirely around wizardry, but hear me out. The majority of the book was based around time travel, which is all well and good, but the whole book kind of just turned into going back through time again and again and living out different scenarios. It was a bit confusing, and I almost felt like it lacked Rowling's usual creativity and spark. In certain aspects it was absolutely brilliant, but in other ways it fell short. There were also parts of it that really just jumped the shark for me. I don't want to delve too deeply into spoilers, but one part of the book in particular left me staring at the page like, "..really?"

The other major issue that I had with Cursed Child was the characterization. The characters are what made me fall in love with Harry Potter to begin with, and several of them just didn't seem to be in character, in my opinion. The way that Harry treated his son at times just blew my mind, and Ron was dumbed down to an extreme. I will say that this book made me love Draco even more, and even helped me not to hate Snape so much even though I still loathe him with every fiber of my being, but I felt that the Golden Trio fell a bit flat, which was disappointing. I remember thinking the same thing about a few other characters as well, but at this point it's been a while since I read the book and I really don't remember. I know that some people have blamed the character issues on the fact that this was a play and not a book, but I don't believe that for a split second. Theatre is filled with some of the strongest, most complex characters I have ever seen, sometimes more so than most books that I read. So I can't say that it's due to the fact that Cursed Child is a script. I really don't understand it, to be honest. 

That's not to say that Cursed Child didn't have it's good points. There were some absolutely hilarious one-liners, Scorpius is the most precious character on the planet, and I adored being back at Hogwarts. Overall, it was a fun book. I'll read anything as long as it takes place at Hogwarts. ♥

 I would definitely recommend for people to read this, although I would say to be sure that you've read the entire Harry Potter series first, and to take it with a grain of salt. It's a good book though, super interesting. I'd love to see it performed. I feel like that would be the absolute coolest thing. The entire time that I read it, I just wanted to see how it would be staged! Well, one more thing to add to the bucket list, I suppose!

RATING- ⭑⭑⭑⭒⭒

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Have you read Cursed Child?? What did you think??