Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vlog: #ReadORama Round 6

Last week I participated in Read-O-Rama! This was a week-long readathon with a host of challenges that I attempted to complete but fell a little bit short. I still had a fantastic week of reading and between a blizzard and working from home on a couple of days, was able to complete 5 books! I'm really happy with how the week went and am really looking forward to the next round! I hope you enjoy the vlog of what I got up to last week! :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Traveler's Notebook Set Up! | FoxyFix Wanderlust - March 2017

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I'm celebrating the weekend by showing off my traveler's notebook! I was itching for a book that had multiple purposes yet also felt like a no-pressure space to put everything in my brain down onto paper. I think I've accomplished that with this set up! I'm still using my bullet journal for my planner as it's a system that's really working for me at the moment, but I'm really excited to have an "etc" type of space that's just for me. Click play on the video to see what's inside, and keep reading to find out where I got all of my TN goodies!

FoxyFix Wanderlust (2015 edition)
Color: Espresso with Mint elastics and white stitching
Size: No. 6 & Wide width

Blue file folder - made by me
Brain dump insert & Journal insert - Growing Up Goddess
Fitness insert - Yellow Paper House on Etsy
Sketchbook insert - made by me
Craft paper insert - Yellow Paper House insert cover
Sticker envelope - gifted from a friend, Paperchase @ Staples

Jiggly Puff - Little Miss Daisy Rose on Etsy
Luke's Diner Mug - Little Miss Daisy Rose on Etsy
Purple ribbon - made by me
Mike Wizowski - HelloPaperCat
Pink Donut - gift from a friend
Dog - Staples

Ron Weasley - Lisa Lorene Plans on Etsy
Dumbbell - Lemon Paper Co on Etsy
Fox - Michaels
Cake Dealer - Johnny Cupcakes
Tart - Happie Scrappie
Owl - Michaels
Large Donut - gift
Small Donut - Planner Mania on Etsy

Pink dots - Target dollar spot
Green gradient - Target dollar spot

Pineapple - Happie Scrappie
Lollipop - Happie Scrappie

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review: You in Five Acts

This week I read You in Five Acts by Una La Marche. This is a book that was gifted to me by Brett at Christmas and a book I had never heard of before opening it up on Christmas morning. I picked it up this week during the Read-O-Rama readathon and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am pretty shocked that this book isn't getting more hype in the YA literature community because it seems like the perfect mixture of drama, romance, and self-discovery that every YA lover would fall head over heels for. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book and because it hasn't gotten that much attention I thought I would write a non-spoiler review for other readers to learn more!

You in Five Acts chronicles the final semester of five students at a prestigious New York performing arts high school - Joy, Diego, Ethan, Dave, and Liv. The story is told in each character's perspective and each character has a "you" - a love interest that is one of the other main characters. Each character is trying to figure out what they will be doing after they graduate (college or company?) and of course there are many challenges along the way such as unrequited love, racial identity struggles, familial issues, potential career-ending injuries, and a spiraling drug addiction, among others. Every character has their own issues to overcome and we get a sneak peak into the things that they are hiding from one another.

I thought that the setting of the performing arts high school was done very well - not saying that it was necessarily accurate to the life inside a performing arts high school, but I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't the sole focus of the book. This is an extremely character driven story and each character has so much more to them than their education or careers that it was very important that those things didn't take away from who the character was as a person. I think La Marche did a really wonderful job of not distracting the reader from the character with the setting of the school.

La Marche wrote the five main characters so well that it was really hard not to grow attached to them. Throughout this book I felt the nerves Joy was feeling through her audition. I felt the longing Diego had for his "you". I felt Ethan's frustrated for a love not reciprocated. It was so easy to connect with these characters on more than a surface level because La March wrote their experiences in a way that you could very easily put yourself into their shoes. Their triumphs were my triumphs and their tragedies were my tragedies. I absolutely LOVE when an author can make me feel that way about the characters that I spend time with while I'm reading.

There were only two things holding me back from giving this book the full five stars. The first was that while I could relate to these characters and their experiences, it really felt that what these characters were going through and how they were processing each situation was more realistic for college students than high school seniors. Not to say that high school seniors can't act/think/talk the way the main characters did in this book, but its a lot less likely that they would vs. a college senior. I kept picturing 22 year olds going through these experiences (maybe it's because I work with college students on a daily basis?) and kept needing to remind myself that they were in high school. This definitely was something that bothered me and distracted me throughout the book.

The second thing holding me back from a five-star rating was that there were references to current events sprinkled throughout the book that kept pulling me out of the story. When I'm reading about a fictional world and current events are woven into the plot line, it takes a lot for an author to execute this in a way where I won't be taken out of the story. Unfortunately, La Marche was not successful at this. There were references to events of police brutality to PoC, the Charleston shooter, and Donald Trump's wall along the Mexican border, all of which completely took me out of the story and had me thinking about the actual current events. I think that is more about me as a reader, though, as these are things that I feel emotionally connected to and things that I do think about on a regular basis. I'm not sure if a reader who doesn't feel connected to those events would have the same experience, but unfortunately I had to take time to refocus on the plot when jumping back into the story.

Other than those two things, I thought You in Five Acts was a solid YA novel that I really think deserves a lot more attention. I am really happy Brett picked this book out for me because I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to a lover of YA literature and the performing arts.

Overall I gave this book...
4.5/5 Stars!

Have you read You in Five Acts? If so, what did you think?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#BorrowAThon Round 2 TBR!

#BorrowAThon is next week (ahhhh!!!) and I'm getting so excited to read with everyone! I'm very excited to also be fulfilling some challenges throughout the week as well - it's always so fun to match up books I wouldn't normally read without being prompted to. If you're interested in joining in on #BorrowAThon, be sure to check out the information blog post I published on Monday. Here's my TBR & each book's coordinating challenge:

1. A graphic novel
A Game of Thrones, volume 1 by George R.R. Martin

2. Try before you buy
3. A book with your favorite color on the cover
The Marvels by Brian Selznick

4. A book about a library
I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan

5. A book that was recommended to you
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

6. Try a new-to-you author
Surrender the Pink by Carrie Fisher

Monday, March 13, 2017

#BorrowAThon Round 2 Information

Hello #BorrowAThon-ers! 

I'm so excited that Round 2 is just under a week away! This post is your one-stop shop of information for the round ahead. We will also be posting daily schedules over on the Twitter page (scheduled to go live at 3AM EST each day) so if you need a daily reminder be on the look out for those posts! I won't be posting them on my blog as I did last round, but you can always reference this post if you're curious when things will be happening on a certain day. And if you have any questions that aren't answered here, just Tweet at us - one of the hosts will be sure to answer! 


This round I will have the help of Michael and Lala as my co-hosts! I am thrilled to have them on board. At least one of us will be in charge of the Twitter account each day so if you have any questions or comments that aren't answered on this post, just tweet at us and one of us will get back to you! Also, be sure to follow us for more interaction throughout the week!

Michael (YouTube | Twitter | Instagram)


This round we decided to add challenges into the mix! These challenges are completely optional and if you'd like you can definitely count more than one challenge for one book. Make sure you check the #BorrowAThon hashtag on Twitter for some awesome TBR suggestions! This round's challenges are:

1. Try before you buy
2. A graphic novel
3. Try a new-to-you author
4. A book recommended to you
5. A book with your favorite color on the cover
6. A book that involved a library in some way


Reading sprints will be hosted each day! Every sprint session will be hosted on the @BorrowAThon Twitter page, and the timing will vary based on the personal schedule of whichever host is in charge, so make sure you're following us and you have notifications turned on so you don't miss a session! The sprint hosts will be as follows:

DAY 1 - Sunday, March 19: Michael & Riley
DAY 2 - Monday, March 20: Lala
DAY 3 - Tuesday, March 21: Riley
DAY 4 - Wednesday, March 22: Riley
DAY 5 - Thursday, March 23: Michael
DAY 6 - Friday, March 24: Lala
DAY 7 - Saturday, March 25: Michael
DAY 8 - Sunday, March 26: Riley


One of my favorite components of the #BorrowAThon is the Twitter chats (or Twitter parties, as we like to call them), so we decided to bring them back for Round 2! Each chat will have a series of questions for participants to answer and gives us the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better. Basically, it's one massive hang out session! We have 3 chats this round, each run by a different hosts. Here's what the schedule looks like:

Monday, March 20th @ 8PM EST - Hosted by Riley
Thursday, March 23rd @ 3PM EST - Hosted by Lala
Saturday, March 25th @ 8PM EST - Hosted by Michael

I hope this post is helpful in any questions you might have regarding Round 2 of #BorrowAThon! Again, if you have any other questions, tweet @BorrowAThon and we'd be happy to help! I'm looking forward to reading with you all next week - it's going to be so much fun!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Vlog: Impromptu, Informal Readathon #iiReadathon

During the first week of March I participated in the Impromptu, Informal Readathon hosted by Dana at The Book Hoarder! It definitely did not go as planned because I got EXTREMELY busy mid-week and did not read as much as I had originally planned to. However, that was kind of the vibe of the readathon - just read what you can and hang out with everyone on Twitter! Everyone was extremely friendly and it was great to just chill and read with the folks that were participating. Anyway, here's what I managed to vlog during the week - I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Pittsburgh Marathon Training Update: February 2017

February got a bit shakier with my training, but that's okay! Out of the 12 scheduled runs I had through the month of February, I completed 6 - one easy run, one steady run, one fartlek run, one threshold run, and two long runs.  Unfortunately I did get sick mid-February which contributed to a lot of my missed runs, but I still pushed through to the best of my ability.

One of my biggest accomplishments of this month of training was the fact that I made a 15-minute improvement on my last long run of the month! At the end of January I ran 8.3 miles in 1:50:00, and at the end of February I covered the same distance in 1:35:00! I, of course, was super thrilled with that and hope to continue to work on improving my speed in a gradual but comfortable way.

Another major development in my training is that I have officially registered for my training half! I will be running the Shamrock Half Marathon - which is literally the only half marathon that is running on the weekend my training half falls on (lol) - but it works out because it's super close to my parents house so I get to spend the weekend with them! I have also registered in the Golden Shamrock Challenge which requires you to complete the Shamrock Half Marathon as well as the Shamrock Shuffle (2-miler) the next day. I figured having a built in shakeout run the day after the half would be awesome, PLUS I'll get an extra piece of bling for completing the challenge!

I'm still very happy with this training program and really happy with how training is going. I'm somehow staying motivated through my extremely busy schedule, occasional missed runs, and dipping in and out of sickness through the tail end of the winter. I've got my fingers crossed for continued successes throughout the rest of the training cycle!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Read-O-Rama Round 6 TBR!

Next week the Read-O-Rama readathon kicks off and I thought I would jump in and participate! There are eight challenge, one of which is to read 7 books, so I'm interested to see how the week will go for me. Next week is spring break for our students so my schedule should be significantly lighter, so I'm hoping that I can accomplish my goal of completing every challenge (meaning I would have to read one book a day - yikes!). Here's my TBR & each book's coordinating challenge:

1. Start a new series
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

2. A book with a main character that shares your initial
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

3. A book that has an illness in it (mental or physical)
4. A book with an animal on the cover
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

5. A book that has Irish elements
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

6. Go into a book blind
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

7. A book with "RAMA" in the title or author's name
You in Five Acts by Una La Marche

8. Read 7 books
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 2017 Bullet Journal Plan with Me! + February Flip Through

It's March! (WHAT.) You know the drill - it's time for me to show you what I did with my bullet journal in the month of February and to show you what I'm planning on doing with my bullet journal in the month of March! I've actually made a few changes to how I'm using my bullet journal this month which I'm really excited about, and am incorporating my traveler's notebook back into my lineup of journals and notebooks! I'll be showing off what I'm doing in my traveler's notebook later on this month so keep a look out for that, but for now I hope you enjoy this month's plan with me! :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 2017 TBR!

Another month, another TBR! This month I'm planning on participating in 3 different readathons (I'm insane, I know) so for this TBR I only discuss my monthly goal books. I will be talking about my TBRs for two of the three readathons I am participating in in separate videos so be on the look out for those, but for now these are the books that will be fulfilling my monthly goals for March. I hope you enjoy this quick TBR and I will be seeing you again for more of my reading goals for the month in a TBR video very soon!
2017 Goal Picks

Infinite Jest goal: Read 10 pages each day in March
Non-fiction: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Diverse: Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
Classic: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
TBR Jar: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron