Tuesday, September 29, 2015

October Book Club Selection: 1984

October - one of my favorite months of the year! I love Halloween and spooky things, so I thought that this month I would go with a dystopian piece to get into the spirit of the season. I've always loved reading dystopian fiction but for whatever reason I've constantly passed over dystopian titles in favor of memoirs and other genres. I was never assigned 1984 in any of my English classes growing up (I feel like I missed out on a lot of awesome titles in school), so the last time I was in Barnes & Noble I picked it up for a chance to read it as an adult. What better time to read George Orwell's haunting classic than Halloween time?

"In a grim city and a terrifying country, where Big Brother is always Watching You and the Thought Police can practically read your mind, Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. He knows the Party's official image of the world is a fluid fiction. He knows the Party controls the people by feeding them lies and narrowing their imaginations through a process of bewilderment and brutalization that alienates each individual from his fellows and deprives him of every liberating human pursuit from reasoned inquiry to sexual passion. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.
Newspeakdoublethinkthoughtcrime--in 1984, George Orwell created a whole vocabulary of words concerning totalitarian control that have since passed into our common vocabulary. More importantly, he has portrayed a chillingly credible dystopia. In our deeply anxious world, the seeds of unthinking conformity are everywhere in evidence; and Big Brother is always looking for his chance."
I remember my senior year we were able to take English electives and there was a dystopian literature class option that I didn't take advantage of. I always wish I had taken that class because I remember how excited the students would get about the books they were reading, 1984 included. I'm very excited to start reading this book and finally get to see for myself why this book is considered to be a classic.
I know that many of you might have already read this book in school, so please let me know what you thought about it (without spoiling anything) in the comments! If you haven't, then I'm super pumped that I'm not the only one that's nearly 70 years late to the party. :P I'm excited to read along with you and hear what you think at the end of the month!
Happy reading!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Organize My Life | What's In My Planner Supply Box?

Throughout my time of being part of the online planner community, I've come to realize that every planner person has one of these:

...or at least some variation of one. This is what I like to call my planner supply box - the place where I store all the goodies and accessories that I've picked up to really deck out my planner, journals, and notebooks. If you've learned anything from any of my planner flip-throughs, you know that I'm not a huge planner decorator. I use my planners for functionality and with my busy lifestyle it's always on the go with me, leaving little time to sit down and decorate with stickers and washi (and honestly, I prefer the extra white space to scribble on my pages anyhow). BUT, from time to time I do like to get creative with additional inserts in my planner, or perhaps even my journals! 

Having a one-stop shop for all things that I could potentially utilize to really give my planner some pop has been wonderful, and since I love seeing what other planner people keep in their arsenal, I thought it'd be fun to show off my own! To start, here's what's in the box itself:

Washi: I think washi tape is so much fun and I love the idea of making pages pretty with all of it, but the act of actually decorating with washi makes me nervous because I'm terrible at it. I do have a small collection (all of my rolls are shown above) that I like to play around with when decorating other pages of my planner or to decorate in other notebooks, though. Maybe one day I'll get better!

Stamps: I think stamping is so much fun! The thing I love most about stamps is how they can have imperfections and still look absolutely stunning on a page. AND you can write over stamping very easily without it ruining the look. I would love to grow my stamp collection in the future.

Scrapbook paper: These are only a few of the scrapbook paper packs I have - the other ones were too big to fit in the box. I love utilizing scrapbook paper to create new dividers and tabs for my Filofax to really give it some personality.

Notepad: This came in a planner swap I did in the spring. I haven't really used it for anything as of yet.

Paperclips: Just a few here and there. I have a much larger supply at work - even dog shaped paperclips! I show off one in my coordinating video below. :)

Elastic string & hole punching tool: These were used when I made my traveler's notebook in the spring. (I still need to do a DIY for that project and show you how to make one - it's super easy!)

Sticker folder: I got this accordion folder from Target and it's AWESOME to keep all my stickers organized. I have so many stickers that I've amassed over the years of craft projects and scrapbooking in addition to my planner hobby, so having one compact space for all of them has been wonderful.

Packing Tape: I use this mainly for when I'm making custom dividers. I'll put packing tape on the tabs so when they get flipped back and forth the wear on the paper will be much less.

Notebook: This came in a planner swap. I think it might turn into a bullet journal once my current bullet journal is filled up.

Filofax A5 Dividers:
These are the dividers that came with my Saffiano, but they were a little too bland for me to just keep in my planner. I keep them to use as templates for any future dividers or inserts I might make, 

Personal inserts folder:
I could never fit all of my inserts into my Personal Filofax, so I keep the unused inserts in this accordion folder. They fit perfectly and the folder itself protects the pages very well.
Filofax Personal Cover Story: When I moved out of my Cover Story, I was also in the middle of moving out of my apartment. The Personal size fits wonderfully into the box, though now I feel like I should display it on a shelf - it's just so cute! I think once my planner collection starts to grow, I'll put my planners on display.

SmashBook folders: I picked these up at Michaels a couple of years ago, thinking I was going to get into the SmashBook craze (I didn't). I haven't found a use for them as of yet, but I hang onto them because they're such an interesting craft supply that I have a feeling I'll want to use it in something someday.

Post-it notes and page flags: My favorite planning supply is definitely Post-its. Its awesome to have a way to keep something in your planner with the option to move it if needed. I have quite a collection at my desk at work, but sometimes I'll rotate them out from the supply I have in the box.

My pencil cases are where I keep the supplies that I use every day in my planner. They come around with me everywhere my planner goes. The smaller case you see above fits nicely right in the bigger case, but each case holds different items.

The bigger case holds general supplies that I might need now and again and I like to have on hand at all times, but don't necessarily get used every day. I'll keep white out tape, highlighters, a couple of pens, Sharpies, and a bullet journal that I use as a brain dump. Sometimes I might throw in a stack of Post-its, and I also usually keep a month-at-a-glance pocket calendar in here that I use solely for tracking work events if I need to take it out of the office.

The smaller case is where I keep all the pens/pencils I use every single day. My favorite pens are the Pilot G2 pens and I use them everyday in my Filofax. Because I color code, I have LOTS of different color options. I also keep a ballpoint pen and a handful of mechanical pencils that are used for my month-at-a-glance work calendar.

My planning style is pretty straight forward and to the point, so I may not have as glamorous of a planner supply box as someone else might have, but I really like the collection I've amassed so far! If you have a planner supply box/bag/shelf/etc. please share it with me! I'd love to see what you use.

Make sure you check out my coordinating blog post below to see more of my planner supply arsenal, as well as what supplies I keep in my planner itself!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summer Favorites 2015!

Sadly, summer has come to a close. There's a distinct chill in the air when the sun goes down and I find myself spending more time in long-sleeves than I find ideal. On the upside, our Sunday ritual of NFL RedZone and lazing around has officially commenced, fall race season is just around the corner (fall is my favorite time of year to run!), and my calendar for get-togethers is slowly filling up each week. There's something about being colder that makes people want to get together, and I love it! Anywho, with the close of another season comes a new batch of favorites! I switched up the categories a bit this time around, too. Check out some of my favorite things from the summer below, and make sure to watch the coinciding video at the end of this post! :)

Activity | Journaling

I spent a lot of time this summer after work writing out my thoughts in a journal. It was a huge summer of transition for me and adjusting to so many new things at once can make your head spin. It was nice to make some time at the end of each day to get everything in my brain out onto paper! Even if it was just a stream-of-consciousness or a doodle here and there, it was extremely therapeutic to get outside with a pen and paper.

Apparel | Maxi Dresses/Skirts & Crocs Kadee Flats

Before this summer I was never a huge fan of maxi dresses/skirts. I never thought they looked all that great on me and so I never leaned toward them whenever I went shopping. This summer, though, I had a couple of maxi dresses in my closet and I realized just how freaking comfy they are. It's essentially like you're wrapped up in a giant blanket the whole time! I think feeling more comfortable in wearing them also made me think I looked better in them than I had originally thought. I've since bought a maxi skirt which I want to wear every day, and I'm definitely predicting more maxi dress/skirt purchases in the near future!

This summer I also bought two pairs of the Kadee flats from Crocs. These are so unbelieveably comfortable. I totally understand why people wear Crocs clogs now. They form right to your feet and are super light weight - I've basically lived in these at work since I bought them. I totally recommend that you at least try these out before writing them completely off!

Book | We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

I downloaded this memoir originally to read it on our family cruise in March, but I never got around to it. I picked it up and starting reading in late June, and this book was so funny and adorable that I couldn't put it down. This is the story of Josh Sundquist's romantic misadventures through is adolescent years, and as a unique twist, for this book, he reached out to all the girls who were his almost-girlfriends years later to find out what might have gone run. This is a  fun, light read that will be sure to boost your spirits every time you sit down with it. (Found here for $13.23)

Blog | Zukowski Blogs

As a blogger, I love reading blogs, but as someone who is one of a handful of people I know personally who have blogs, I love when my friends take up blogging! My friend Kacie has just launched her blogging/vlogging career over at Zukowski Blogs and I think you should all go check it out and give her some love & encouragement! She's just getting started and I can't wait to see where she goes with it!

Fitness | Homemade Smoothies

Exercising was hard for me this summer. I don't know if it was the heat, the stress of all the changes in my life, or something else, but I was just so unmotivated all summer long. One thing that I did do relatively okay on, though, was my diet, and especially so when I started drinking homemade smoothies! I have a blender attachment on my Magic Bullet and I started making frozen fruit and yogurt regular items on my grocery list just for this new found love. I always feel nice and full after a smoothie and it's an awesome way to pack a burst of energy into my morning! If you're a smoothie person and you know of some good smoothie recipes, please let me know in the comments - I really want to explore new blends!

Food & Drink | Alcoholic Milkshakes from The Fix (Worcester, MA)

This is the second favorites post in a row that I've posted about The Fix! My friend Brittany and I met up for a bite to eat and to catch up (since we hadn't really seen each other since graduation!) and I knew we had to go back to Worcester (a city we both called home during our Grad Internships - I was at Clark while she was at WPI) and try the alcoholic milkshakes at The Fix.

Oh. My. God.

These things are incredible. It could be because they're just made awesome or it could just be because I already have a deep love for milkshakes and all things ice cream, but either way, I'm 100% on board the alcoholic milkshake train. If you're a fan of milkshakes and enjoy a cocktail from time to time, I highly recommend finding a place that serves these (or finding a recipe to blend one up yourself)!

Home & Office | Q&A a Day Five Year Journal & Adult Status Achieved Note Pad

I found out about this journal through another YouTuber's favorites video and was instatntly intrigued. It's a five-year, line-a-day journal, but instead of it just being blank, each day prompts you with a new question so that you can be a little bit more inspired to write each day. I'm interested to see how much I change year to year, as I usually think of myself as someone who knows what I like and I tend to stick to it, but who knows? (Found here for $9.60)
My mom found this for me while she and my dad were out in Portsmouth for their anniversary (how sweet for them to be buying me gifts on their anniversary, right?!) and I LOVE it. It's from Sea & Lake Paper Co. on Etsy and it's the perfect list-making note pad. I've been keeping a few sheets in my planner for grocery lists and the like. (Found here for $8.00)

Movie | Big Hero 6

I know this movie isn't a new release (it came out last fall) but I never had the opportunity to see it before this summer. One lazy afternoon while eating Chinese food, Brett and I popped this movie on and we both loved it! A very sweet story line and entertaining as all get out. If you haven't had the chance to see with movie yet, I highly recommend that you give it a try!

Purchase | ChromeCast

I've been wanting to get some sort of streaming device for my TV for a long while now (my HDMI cord hooked up to my old laptop set up was getting frustrating) and while I was shopping at Target one day I found ChromeCast on clearance! I snatched it right up and  I have been SO HAPPY with it. It works fantastically. It does exactly what I need it to do and I no longer have to watch Netflix on just my iPad. I am so pumped about this purchase! Non-smart-TV owners, rejoice!

Song | 678 by Fetty Wap ft. Remy Boyz

This song is so. damn. catchy. I found it as I was scanning the radio stations in my new town one day, and this song just happened to be playing on one of the stations. A quick Shazam lead me to the name of the song and I have been obsessed with it since. I don't know what it is about Fetty Wap, but he sure knows how to churn out the hits. I don't hate it.

TV Show | Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

SO FREAKING FUNNY. If you're a fan of the film, you will love this series. Ridiculous comedy, star-studded cast, and all around entertaining. Brett and I blew right through the series and we thoroughly entertained the whole time. It's so funny to think that Wet Hot American Summer was the first feature film for many of the actors on the cast, and to see how far they've come in their careers between the film in this series is so funny. The fact that they all came back for this project makes me so happy! (I also highly recommend watching Hurricane of Fun on Netflix, which is the behind-the-scenes of the making of the film in 2000!)

Memory | Cape Cod Trip

This year's Cape trip was awesome. Beautiful weather, wonderful people, and just an overall awesome time. We spent so much time at the beach because it was just so perfect out. If I could transport back to any day during the summer, it would definitely be one of those beach days because they were just what I needed to break up the stress of this summer. Check out my post about it for more photos and a fun GoPro video!

And there you have it - my favorites for the super fast and super wonderful season that was Summer 2015. Now time to hibernate for the next six months as the weather drop down to ungodly cold temperatures and mother nature buries us in 80 feet of snow again. Why do I live in the north east again? 

Make sure you check out the coinciding video for this post below, 
and link me to your summer favorites in the comments!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Return from Opening

Hey everyone! I'm alive. :)

Mount Holyoke Convocation 2015
93 degree weather + 5,000% humidity. Everyone basically melted.

The opening of the fall semester is hectic, and with learning a new job and figuring out a schedule for myself on top of that, blogging has been put on the back burner for the last couple of weeks - sorry about that! Things have finally *officially* opened - students are back, programming has slowed down a bit, and things are falling into somewhat of a rhythm - and despite some major tilts in my personal and professional life, things are going pretty well. I'm able to take time to myself, spend time with Brett on a semi-regular basis, and I've been working in exercise into the mix as much as possible. It seems like things are starting to hit their stride a little bit and I'm enjoying it!

"Zip up or ZIP OUT"

Bison pulling off a huge win over Anna Maria last Saturday! 51-29!

Cool kids at Nightfest on Saturday

The insanity of Org Fair on Wednesday... and this isn't even close to how packed it got!

Anywho, apologies for the lack of updates. I had quite a few things scheduled to be posted over the last two weeks, but honestly it just wasn't realistic to sit down and write when I had 1,000 other to-dos on my list. Higher Ed is crazy, y'all! BUT that leaves me with a lot of ideas to work off of for new posts! I'm going  to get back into the swing of blogging a couple times a week starting next Tuesday, so I'll see you all then!

...right? ;)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: Modern Romance

For the month of August, I chose to read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I was PUMPED when I found out he had written a book. He's one of my favorite comedians so I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP. I definitely was not disappointed, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had snagged this book thinking it was a memoir of sorts, but it actually turns out that this is an extremely well-researched and extremely entertaining piece that examines dating in this day and age. Ansari does throw in a few personal anecdotes here and there, but for the most part the book outlines how dating in handled by millenials in the United States and how it compares to not only other generations in the US, but millenials* in other parts of the world as well.

Topics such as texting, Tinder, cheating, marriage, one night stands, and others are covered in this book. I found the study of how our generation compares to older generations particularly interesting. Ansari points out our generation's need to find the perfect match before even considering marriage at all, and how with the advancement of technology and the endless options that online dating have provided us, we're always wondering if our next partner will be even more perfect than our current partner, making settling down extremely intimidating. In older generations, the criteria for a spouse came down to "they lived near me, they had a job, and they were nice". Like... what?! It seems like that's unheard of to us. However, with the limited options that older generations had, that was the typical route to go.

This book was great - funny, informative, a bit thought provoking, and all around entertaining. If you are familiar with Aziz Ansari, there's a good chance you can hear his voice reading to you as you read through the pages**. This is a quick read, so it would be great to take along with you on a trip or bring with you in your bag to pass the time when you're waiting for things. I would totally recommend it if you're looking for something fun!

If you've read this book, let me know what you think in the comments! 
I would love to hear your thoughts.

*Total side note: I wanted to point out that my computer is giving me a red-squiggly under the word "millenials" but is not giving me a red-squiggly under the word "squiggly". Get with the times, computer! "Millenials" is a real word!

**I actually hear the audiobook version of this is incredible. I would recommend that version if you're not familiar with Aziz - you'll get a better understanding of his humor!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fall 2015 Race Preview

Oh, hello there September!

I've finally been getting into more of a routine in my life which is so nice after all the craziness of the summer. It's a goal of mine to get back into regular racing that I was able to do before last fall (when I started working three jobs in addition to grad school) so I've been building up my fall race schedule and I thought I'd share it with you all! 

You'll notice that these are almost all long-distance races. I've found over the past two years that right after I run a marathon I really slack in the running department, and every year it's been harder to get myself back into running shape. I'm hoping to do a spring marathon in 2016, so in order to keep myself on top of training, I thought it would be best to sign up for more half marathons instead of shorter distance races. Hopefully this technique works out!

Maine Marathon
October 4th - Portland, ME

I've already shared this, but I'll be running the Maine Marathon in Portland on October 4th. This will be my third marathon and I'm really excited to run in such a beautiful area! I'm nervous about how much my training will pay off - if I'm being honest I haven't been on top of my training as I would have liked to be this summer - but race day always makes things more fun and motivating, so hopefully I can count on that a bit to get me through.

B.A.A. Half Marathon
October 11th - Boston, MA

I've been wanting to do a B.A.A. race for a while, but they're often tough to get into because popularity is high and the field is limited. This year Louie made sure I was well aware of when registration opened for the half in the summer, and I was able to get into the race! This race is actually exactly a week after the Maine Marathon so I feel like it can either be a really tough race due to leg soreness from the marathon, or it can be a really easy race in comparison to the marathon. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Crescent Classic 5K
October 18th - Bridgewater, MA

One of my former students and friends, Shannon, has been trying to get me to run this race for a while, and this year it worked out that I'm going to be able to commit to it! The Crescent classic benefits the philanthropies of Gamma Phi Beta - always a plus to run for charity. This race will make it 3 weeks in a row of races, but since this is a 5K it will be giving my legs a tiny bit of a break.  It will also be great to visit the BSU campus and see some of my favorite people!

Colt State Park Half Marathon
November 8th - Bristol, RI

In search of a November half that wasn't too close to the Thanksgiving holiday, I came across the Colt State Park Half Marathon in Rhode Island. This race is done by the same company that puts on the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon which I ran last year and really enjoyed, so I'm hoping that this one is just as awesome. PLUS Bristol is a beautiful area to run in, so win-win!

Jingle Bell Half Marathon 
December 12th - Atkinson, NH

My final race of the year will be the Jingle Bell Half Marathon. I wanted to run this race last year but my crazy schedule made it very easy for me to forget to register in time, so I thought I'd give it a shot this year! I love themed runs, and holiday runs are a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. In 2013 I ran the YuKan Half MerryThon and so many people rocked ugly Christmas sweaters (including me) which is so much fun, so I definitely plan on doing that during this race as well!

Are you running any races this fall? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!