Super Space Chick’s Weekly Round Up (#2)

Super Space Chick’s weekly round up is a blog series in which I’ll be chatting to you about what’s going on in my life, what I’ve been posting on YouTube and my blog, some favorite instagram photos of the week, and such.  So basically just general life happenings and feelings!  I looooooove writing book reviews but I also love reading more personal blog posts so I want to make an effort to share more of my full life here and not just my reading life.

Last week was pretty awesome.  My mom came home from the hospital on Tuesday (*insert party horn emojis here*) so we’ve all been getting back to a more normal schedule.  I’m so happy to have her home and she’s been able to get better quality rest in her own bed.  Andrew and I spent Easter with her, my dad, my brother and his girlfriend at the hospital and then the beginning of the week was dedicated to getting done all of the boring adult chores we’d been neglecting for the past couple of weeks.  On Thursday night I met up with Alexa at Books of Wonder- I wasn’t planning on buying anything but ended up walking out with two signed hardcovers of The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl.  Alex also was so kind to lend me her ARC copy of I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo which is a YA novel about a girl who decides to implement all of the dating advice she’s seen on K-dramas.  I’ve been highly anticipating that one and it’s going to be my next read! While everyone was obsessed with Starbucks’s Unicorn frappacinos, Alexa and I opted to go to Union Fare for unicorn croissants which were delicious.  The weather is also getting warm enough that Union Square park has a bunch of neon green tables set up and we were able to spend the remainder of our night there, chatting about books and anime as per usual.

Then Thursday night, my cousin Rachel came into town because she was able to score Hamilton tickets last year and the date of her showing is finally upon her!  She got to my apartment later than I normally go to sleep (#old) and we ended up staying up late catching up on general life happenings, our love of Marvel movies, and everything coming to Disney and Universal in the future.  The next morning we went to a quick brunch with my mom, grandparents and aunt and then sent Rachel off into the city.  I spent the rest of my day filming BookTube videos (I was SO behind) and then headed over to my parents to make them some dinner.

The next morning, Cassie and I planned a huge nostalgia brunch with some of our best friends that we don’t get to see as often as we’d like to.  I was really expecting some people to cancel but all 10 of the invitees made it! We went to La Flaca on the Lower East Side where I drank red sangria, ate huevos rancheros (my favorite!) and we accidentally got sucked into some very entertaining show called One Miracle Morning where a guy on a motorcycle was racing a goose.  After brunch, we headed to a bar called The Library where we met up with my brother.  I had a couple of root beer floats (stoli vanilla + rootbeer + a cherry) which were surprisingly delicious, and then we headed out to a place that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try, Taiyaki NYC.  I love taiyaki but I haven’t ever been to the ice cream / pastry hybrid shop before.  While we were waiting for our ice cream, we met a couple of guys with lightsabers, so naturally, we asked if we could play with them.  Then this morning, Andrew and I somehow found the motivation to go for a run (how cool is the photo with my shadow in it?!) and then I made breakfast with what I can only describe as winning the avocado lottery.

Reading: I finished reading: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones which I enjoyed because I just kept picturing David Bowie every time the Goblin King was described, Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle because I wanted to read it before I started watching the television show, and The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher because Star Wars! I also started Geekerella which I’m completely in love with!

Watching: Pretty Little Liars came back this week so I was eagerly anticipating that! One more season and then I’ll be free.  Cassie and I are basically hate watching it together at this point and I’m mostly only still in it for our snarky texts.  I also started watching Famous in Love which is completely different from the book and we watched the only two available episodes of The Ancient Magus Bride anime which is wholly enchanting.

I posted less this week than normal because I ran out of prefilmed videos.  Although, I did get to post my Guide to Manga Genres video which I filmed so long ago that it has my old bookshelf set up!

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Kristin

Super Space Chick’s Weekly Round Up (#1)

Super Space Chick’s weekly round up is a new blog series in which I’ll be chatting to you about what’s going on in my life, what I’ve been posting on YouTube and my blog, some favorite instagram photos of the week, and such.  So basically just general life happenings and feelings!  I looooooove writing book reviews but I also love reading more personal blog posts so I want to make an effort to share more of my full life here and not just my reading life.

For my first weekly recap, I’m actually going to be recapping the past two weeks.  I had every intention of starting this blog series last weekend but things have been crazy around here and I just didn’t have the time.  Right after I had the idea, I was so excited to begin writing and then my mom ended up in the hospital again so naturally, that took priority.  Even today as I’m writing this on Easter Sunday, Andrew and I are about to start getting ready to take a train into NYC and head over to Sloan Kettering to see my mom.  But do to some pre-planned events, I do have other things to share as well.  Last weekend, my sisters and I planned the most fun weekend ever!  My sister-in-law Kristin (yup! same first and last name, spelled the same way!) and I drove into Brooklyn to meet up with Brittany and Molly at their Williamsburg apartment.  We briefly stopped at Barcade where Andrew and his brothers Joe (Kristin’s husband) and Greg were hanging out as part of the weekend Andrew and Joe planned for Greg’s bachelor party (Molly had extra game tokens to give them).  Then we continued on our way to Smorgasburg which I’ve always wanted to go to!  We got giant mozzarella sticks from Big Mozz, way too many french fries with garlic lemon aoili sauce from Home Frite, and churro ice cream sandwiches with sea salted caramel ice cream.  Which is WAY too much food for any one person but so worth it.  I really want to plan a trip back to try more!

Then we went to a cute little dive bar on Bedford Avenue where you get a free personal pizza which each drink you order.  We also saw a really cute pig in a sweater named Franklin at the local hardware store before heading home to meet up with our future sister in law Moira.  I also saw She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum for the first time ever and I could not stop laughing.  I’m so sad that I missed out on this wonderful movie during my younger years but I’m so happy it’s in my life now.  And I love that it’s based on Shakespeare!  The next day we all had brunch together and Brittany shared her White Girl Rose with us which was delicious.  And we played some Cards Against Humanity with all 6 of the siblings I’ve gained in marrying Andrew before driving back home.  There’s so many of us so it’s always a blast when we all get together!

Then we spent our next couple of nights at the hospital with my parents and my brother (side note, my brother got to interview Axel Alonso of Marvel, how cool is that?!)  But later in the week, Andrew and I already had tickets to Broadway shows on both Thursday AND Friday.  We went to the W Hotel in Times Square for some pre-show drinks (I had rose with bubbles and Andrew had Dark and Stormy’s).  I love it there.  It’s such a fun atmosphere- there are lots of neon lights and the table set up makes you feel a bit like your in a spaceship.  Actually, the ladies room even had a giant poster slide show of Star Wars images which I was not at all expecting.  We saw Waitress starring Sara Bareilles (she’s playing the starring role of Jenna for 10 weeks only!) and we really loved it.  I got a mini key lime pie and they actually infuse the scent of pies into the theater before the show and during the intermission.  We had previously seen half of Waitress when Jesse Mueller was in it because we made the mistake of eating at a sketchy Asian restaurant beforehand and we both needed to leave at intermission.  This time around we got to see the full thing and I thought Sara was amazing! My favorite characters are Dawn and Ogie though.  They’re basically the cutest couple ever.

Then on Friday night we saw Bandstand with Kelly and Gil!  Unfortunately, my mom was in her fifth surgery of the week and before the show was starting, I still hadn’t heard an update from my dad or brother.  I think that combined with the false report of an active shooter near Penn Station and being seated in the middle of the row, feeling like I couldn’t get out without disrupting anyone if my dad was going to call triggered a major anxiety attack.  I didn’t get to enjoy the show as much as everyone else because I was mostly trying to calm myself down and tell myself that everything would be okay.  Even after hearing that everything went well from my dad, I still was having trouble calming myself down.  I did really love the music in the show and I was able to pay attention enough to understand the story but I do wish I could’ve gotten more lost in it.  The play was really sad and the music was all 40’s style, taking place right after World War II ended.  It’s a very accurate portrayal of what soldiers experience once they get home (it’s actually the only Broadway play approved by “Got Your 6 which highlights projects that depict veterans both accurately and responsibly.”- a piece of trivia Kelly told us after the show).  Once the play ended and we left the theater, I felt almost instantly better and calmer.  Then on Saturday morning, Andrew and I went to the local high school and jogged around the track.  When I told my dad he was like wait YOU were running though?  I’ve always hated running so this is a pretty big deal.  It ended up being really good for me and despite being completely sore in every place you can imagine today, it also feels really good.  When we got home, I made pizza with a cauliflower crust for the first time and I’m definitely adding it into our weekly dinner rotation.  Anyway, these will be much shorter in the future but I wanted to highlight the good things in the past couple of weeks because it’s been EXHAUSTING.  We’ve been getting home from the hospital between 11-12AM each night and then we get up between 5-6AM for work so it’s been a lot.

Reading: I finished reading: The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson #3) by Rick Riordan which I enjoyed much more than the first two books, The Long Game (The Fixer #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and I’m DYING for a third book so everyone please buy the first two so she can write and publish a third, Fireworks by Katie Cotugno which takes place in Orlando in the 90’s during the boyband craze and once again Katie wrote an incredibly messy and addicting story, and Princess Jellyfish volume 3 which went in a different direction than I was expecting but I’m still enjoying this series very much!

Watching: We finished watching: 13 Reasons Why which is such an important story and will hopefully help teens realize how much our actions can affect other people, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid which I really hope gets a second season because this anime has a very special place in my heart and we continued watching iZombie season 2 which seems to keep getting better, and our usual shows: New Girl, Fresh Off the Boat and we started Powerless which is pretty funny!

I posted a bit less over the past two weeks.  I did happen to bulk film a bunch of videos right before my mom went into the hospital so I was able to post regularly for the first week but last week when the exhaustion kicked in, I only managed to get one video up.  But I should be back to normal shortly!

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Kristin

April Small Goals

I’ve seen a bunch of people post small monthly goals and I really like the idea of re-centering and re-evaluating everything more frequently.  It’s awesome to make yearly goals but it’s also easy to lose focus or forget about them entirely over the 365 day period we’re aiming to accomplish them in.  Having small monthly goals to help get to those bigger picture yearly ones is something I’m eager to try out!

Oops, I totally forgot to do a February small goals post until most of the way through the month so we’re just skipping it and resuming with March!

MARCH CHECK-IN

1) Read all the books – Well, obviously not ALL the books because I do have the gift of unlimited time but I feel like I’ve had a rocky start to my reading year and I want to turn that around in March.  Both of the books I’ve started so far this month (The Star-Touched Queen and Mortal Heart) are completely gripping me and I just feel myself emerging victorious from this slump that has plagued me since December. 

DONE! I read a total of 12 books in March which I’m pretty happy with! One of them was Lady Midnight which is my longest book for the year so far at 698 pages.

2) Clean out my closet… AGAIN  – I already did this one time after Marie Kondo-ing but I feel ready to do a second go around.  I still have more than I need and I really want to pare down my wardrobe even further.  Also along with this goal, I want to finish reading The Curated Closet!

Mostly!  I did do a second clean out but I still feel like I could let go of more as I replace the things I wear most often.

3) Be more active / enjoy these random spring days that keep coming our way  – I can’t decided whether to be happy or horrified with our recent weather but I do know that I want to take advantage of it completely! After our little mini-vacay I’ve been craving some outdoor adventure and I refuse to let the extra sunlight pass me by!

FAIL (but it’s not entirely my fault). The weather has been CRAZY but I’m finally feeling like Spring is on the way so this seems like a more realistic April goal.

APRIL GOALS

1) Read at least 10 books – I have another exciting TBR set aside and I’m hoping to get through a bunch of backlist books before May, the month of a million new releases, is upon us!

2) Complete the #BookishPotter17 Instagram Challenge  – I usually try to commit to 3-4 instagram challenges per month so if I don’t like a specific prompt for a day I can chose to take a photo of something in one of the other challenges but I’m pretty confident that I want to stick to the #BookishPotter17 challenge because HARRY POTTER<3.

3) Order & send out Wedding Thank You Notes  – Andrew and I are coming upon our first wedding anniversary and the time has come to order and send out our thank you notes! This one has been on my goals list for months at this point but we just haven’t ordered them yet.  This year, there’s no excuse!

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Life Lately Update Post

Hi all! This is going to be a kind of rambling post since I feel like I’ve neglected my blog for the past week! The funny thing is, I have like 8 book reviews sitting in my drafts but I’ve been too lazy / busy to take photos for them so this is what you’re getting instead :-)  First of all, HOW AMAZING IS BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?!?!?! I cannot even tell you how much I loved the new live action adaptation.  It’s easily one of my favorite Disney movies ever at this point.  Everything was so glamorous and French! Second of all, I have rainbow bookshelves now! It took A LOT of time and I’m not finished putting everything away yet but looking at these shelves so far gives me a sense of calm (I think because I only used books that are the same height).  I’m worried about adjusting to finding books while I’m filming but I’m sure I’ll pick up on it quickly!  And I moved all of my Harry Potter merchandise to one bookshelf… and it still seems like I don’t have enough space.  Only me!

Next, me, Alexa and Cristina have been doing a re-read of ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas and I just finished yesterday (way ahead of schedule!).  I just couldn’t put it down this time around and my reading experience was completely different knowing what I know about ACOMAF.  It was also the perfect book to read to cure my Beauty and the Beast hangover!  I’m also finally reading the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay and it’s just like seeing the film again<3  I also started a new (hopefully monthly) video series on my channel today- my Bookish Merch Haul!  It basically just shows all the bookish and geeky merchandise I amassed in the past month.  Let me know what you think because I had fun filming it! (Even though it took forever to pull all the links >.<).  I’m also so excited that this week is almost over for me.  I’m off on Friday because I have TWO weddings to attend! I still have to try on my dress which just arrived on Monday… here’s hoping it fits!

And just overall, Andrew and I have finally been eating healthier and I think we’ve both felt better as a result! Spending so much time cooking after work has definitely taken away some free time but as long as I have BookTube to keep my company, it doesn’t seem like such a chore.  And speaking of eating healthy, I’m pretty excited that Spring and ice cream season are upon us.  Despite the random cold weather, I’m hopeful that we’ll transition into those 70 degree days I’ve been longing for! What have you been up to lately?

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Kristin

March Small Goals

I’ve seen a bunch of people post small monthly goals and I really like the idea of re-centering and re-evaluating everything more frequently.  It’s awesome to make yearly goals but it’s also easy to lose focus or forget about them entirely over the 365 day period we’re aiming to accomplish them in.  Having small monthly goals to help get to those bigger picture yearly ones is something I’m eager to try out!

Oops, I totally forgot to do a February small goals post until most of the way through the month so we’re just skipping it and resuming with March!

JANUARY CHECK-IN

1) Reorganize Bookshelves / Buy a new bookshelf (or two…) – I rearranged my shelves a little while ago and while there are some shelves I love, there are others that just aren’t working for me.  Plus, it’s been very confusing to find certain books since I moved them around because I don’t think my new system is organized enough.  And if you’re someone who watches my book hauls… you know very well that I could always expand my Potter shelves! 

DONEEEEEEEEE. I unhauled so many books and I organized my favorites and I’m loving my new shelves<3

2) Clean out kitchen & hall closet – I’m going to carry this goal over since our weekend in January seem pretty free which is the most exciting! We’ve been talking about possible getting a shelving until for our hall closet so I can organize what we have in there better too. 

ALSO DONE YASSSSSS. Now we never have to see this one on my goals list again!

3) Read The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – I’ve been dying to get to this book, I’m in full-blown fantasy mode which tends to strike me as soon as the holidays are over.  So far, I’ve read the first chapter but I had to put it aside momentarily so I could read The Amateurs by Sara Shepard for book club on Sunday.  That’s going to be quite the ridiculous discussion.  Cassie and I have already started a list of all the awful elements so far!

Nope, I enjoyed the beginning of this book but after getting some bad news about my grandfather I just hadn’t been in the right headspace for fantasy.  I needed something light and fun so this one got pushed to the side.  Then I read Kay’s review and since we have almost the exact same taste in books I decided it’s not worth the time investment for me to read something that’ll ultimately only end up being okay.

4) Cook better meals at home – I’m adding a fourth goal this month! Once I finish writing this post, I’m going to head over to pinterest and look for some simple healthy recipes.  Because of our long commute, I really don’t have the time to be spending an hour or more cooking on weeknights which is why Trader Joe’s frozen foods have been such a godsend in the past.  But I really want to start making some more homemade meals, even if I only devote 1-2 nights per week to cooking for a longer period of time.  Some things I want to try out are more Asian meals (ramen, pho, etc.) and those delicious looking smoothie bowls (although that will be more of a weekend breakfast food)! I have to remind myself that watching YouTube while cooking is pretty much the same as watching it in my bed or desk and I’ll be happier with the end result. 

So I have made some delicious smoothies and I also started making spaghetti squash but I feel like there’s still room for improvement here.

MARCH GOALS

1) Read all the books – Well, obviously not ALL the books because I do have the gift of unlimited time but I feel like I’ve had a rocky start to my reading year and I want to turn that around in March.  Both of the books I’ve started so far this month (The Star-Touched Queen and Mortal Heart) are completely gripping me and I just feel myself emerging victorious from this slump that has plagued me since December.

2) Clean out my closet… AGAIN  – I already did this one time after Marie Kondo-ing but I feel ready to do a second go around.  I still have more than I need and I really want to pare down my wardrobe even further.  Also along with this goal, I want to finish reading The Curated Closet!

3) Be more active / enjoy these random spring days that keep coming our way  – I can’t decided whether to be happy or horrified with our recent weather but I do know that I want to take advantage of it completely! After our little mini-vacay I’ve been craving some outdoor adventure and I refuse to let the extra sunlight pass me by!

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1

How to Get Up Early + My Ideal Morning Routine

I always have a more difficult time getting out of bed early when the temperature reaches below the freezing point but I’ve found that this year has been even more challenging than years past.  I still wake up at 5AM. Once my alarm goes off, I’m up and even if I lay in bed with my eyes closed cuddled under covers, there’s no falling back to sleep for me (especially since my husband’s alarm tends to go off a lot during the morning- he’s my little night owl).  But after spending that extra time in bed, no matter how cozy I may feel, I always HATE feeling like I wasted such precious morning hours.  I inevitably end up getting upset that I didn’t get up early and I spend my day at work thinking about all the things I could’ve gotten done if I had just gotten out of bed.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to motivate myself to actually get out of my bed and I think I came up with a good one.  When I was feeling fully awake (aka I had at least one cup of chai tea flowing through my system), I decided to write out all of the events that would occur during my ideal morning.  Now that I can visualize what I can realistically accomplish and imagine the feeling of productivity that comes along with it, I’ve been having a much easier time ditching my covers before sunrise.  I originally wrote this out just for me, but I decided to share it in case it helps others as well!

1) Up at 5 AM – I am blessed by the fact that I don’t have trouble falling asleep at night.  Since high school, I have always been an early riser.  I look forward to those quiet morning moments where no one else is awake to bother me.  Since I had started getting up later, I noticed a change in my attitude.  I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done and it killed me.  I missed having that jump on the day!

Tip: This has helped me in the past- If I know I’m going to be extra tired, I’ll put my phone on my desk which is across the room before I fall asleep the night before.  Then I HAVE to get out of bed to turn it off (I don’t know about you but there is no sound I like less than my alarm- I need to turn it off within SECONDS of it going off or I lose my mind.  My husband on the other hand, hits snooze multiple times and I’m always just like nooooo how could you possibly want to hear that noise again soon?!)

2) Make a cup of tea – Tea is one of my favorite elements of any given day.  I look forward to the moment that the warm deliciousness that is caffeine infused tea hits my taste-buds.  (I usually opt for chai or earl grey for my first cup).  Sometimes if I wake up early without having a cup of caffeine, I can feel my eyes drooping while I read on my hour+ commute no matter how invested I am in the story.  When I start my morning with a cup of tea, that never happens!

3) Do a 5-10 minute workout – I used to catch up on social media while my tea brewed (Twitter, Instagram and the like) but in all honesty I’m struggling to think of a time when I found something useful on Twitter that was posted while I was asleep.  Instead of getting sucked into my phone, I’ve been doing a quick 1-10 minute YouTube video workout.  Once I’ve gotten some of the techniques memorized, I think I’ll probably just do the exercises on my own and watch a BookTube video while I wait for my tea to be ready.

4) Decide what I want to work on the night before – I also find it easier to wake up when I have a clear plan in my mind of what I want to accomplish.  I’ve been using Trello to organize blog post ideas, to do lists, and MANY other aspects of my life since I first heard about the service from Alice at The Geeky Burrow.  Before I go to sleep I like to consult my spreadsheets & Trello boards to determine what I want to work on when I wake up.

5) Work on blog / YouTube at my desk – For a while, I didn’t have a desk at home when we moved into our apartment.  And then once I did bring my desk over, I used it purely for Bookstagram photos and literally never sat at it.  But, I cleaned it all off (in the week I KonMari’d) and I find that I am so much more productive when I’m sitting there than I am when laying in bed and trying to work.  While it’s obviously a bit less comfortable, I find it keeps me more focused on what I’m doing and less prone to distractions. And if I get cold, I just layer on the sweaters and use a throw blanket!

6) Update Bullet Journal – I LOVE my bullet journal. It’s like my little creative baby! I keep track of a bunch of things amongst its pages, blog & YouTube posts included and I like to update it in a timely manner as soon as I’ve accomplished something I’ve tracked.  I’ve tried bringing it to work and trying to update when I have a quiet moment during a break, but it’s kind of a pain to carry all of my markers or to draw everything first in pencil, only to redo it in marker at night.  I also find that I’m better at bullet journaling at a desk too. Much straighter lines!

7) Get ready (Makeup / Hair) & Pick out outfit – Finally, the thing I spend the least amount of time on each morning >.< I find that the way I dress and whether I take the time to do my makeup often has a huge impact on the rest of my day.  I’m one of those people that just *feels* better when I’m confident in my outward appearance.  Once I’ve accomplished something for the day, spending my remaining time getting ready turns into an actual fun thing instead of a mad dash to throw on something clean and bound out the door to make my train.  It’s way less stressful and to make the getting ready experience even more enjoyable and transform it into a way to unwind after “working” I usually perch my laptop on my bathroom sink counter while I do my hair and makeup. Then I feel ready to take on the world!

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Kristin

January Small Goals

I’ve seen a bunch of people post small monthly goals and I really like the idea of re-centering and re-evaluating everything more frequently.  It’s awesome to make yearly goals but it’s also easy to lose focus or forget about them entirely over the 365 day period we’re aiming to accomplish them in.  Having small monthly goals to help get to those bigger picture yearly ones is something I’m eager to try out!

DECEMBER CHECK-IN

I have to be honest here.  December was a major fail on the monthly goals front. My mom was in the hospital for the last two weeks of the year and I was just to stressed before her operation and then too busy visiting her every night afterward to complete anything.  I did make the blogging goal but my other two goals were a no go, so I’m going to start 2017 with a fresh slate.

1) Clean our kitchen & hall closets – I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before my aforementioned vacation and let me tell you, it was life-changing.  I spent almost all of my days off cleaning out my closet, my drawers, my comic book collection, collectibles and other random things that I’m not even sure how I acquired.  I set up a filing system for our important paperwork (#adulting) and I’ve felt so much better ever since.  More on this process to come!

2) Blog 2-3 times per week – While I wish I would’ve had the time to fall back into my blogging routine in November, I realize that with the amount of commitments I had, it was unreasonable to believe I could make time for writing (this is why I’ve also failed NaNoWriMo 2x – November is just not a good month for me).  Now that my room is completely clean and organized, I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of clarity and that I’m in the right mental state to sit down and be creative instead of stepping over piles of books, feeling guilty about blogging instead of tidying and then giving up and binge-watching YouTube videos instead. Plus Christmas so I’m SUPER excited.

3) Re-read a favorite book – I’ve often talked about how I grapple with re-reading things because there are so many things I haven’t read (a bunch of them are currently mocking me from my shelves) but December is such a comfort month that I want to make the conscious choice to re-read.  I know I’ll enjoy it, I just have to do it.  I’m thinking of picking up Fangirl or The Raven Boys since I’ve re-read Harry Potter so many times I can’t count anymore and I feel like some of my other favorites deserve some love<3

JANUARY GOALS

1) Reorganize Bookshelves / Buy a new bookshelf (or two…) – I rearranged my shelves a little while ago and while there are some shelves I love, there are others that just aren’t working for me.  Plus, it’s been very confusing to find certain books since I moved them around because I don’t think my new system is organized enough.  And if you’re someone who watches my book hauls… you know very well that I could always expand my Potter shelves!

2) Clean out kitchen & hall closet – I’m going to carry this goal over since our weekend in January seem pretty free which is the most exciting! We’ve been talking about possible getting a shelving until for our hall closet so I can organize what we have in there better too.

3) Read The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – I’ve been dying to get to this book, I’m in full-blown fantasy mode which tends to strike me as soon as the holidays are over.  So far, I’ve read the first chapter but I had to put it aside momentarily so I could read The Amateurs by Sara Shepard for book club on Sunday.  That’s going to be quite the ridiculous discussion.  Cassie and I have already started a list of all the awful elements so far!

4) Cook better meals at home – I’m adding a fourth goal this month! Once I finish writing this post, I’m going to head over to pinterest and look for some simple healthy recipes.  Because of our long commute, I really don’t have the time to be spending an hour or more cooking on weeknights which is why Trader Joe’s frozen foods have been such a godsend in the past.  But I really want to start making some more homemade meals, even if I only devote 1-2 nights per week to cooking for a longer period of time.  Some things I want to try out are more Asian meals (ramen, pho, etc.) and those delicious looking smoothie bowls (although that will be more of a weekend breakfast food)! I have to remind myself that watching YouTube while cooking is pretty much the same as watching it in my bed or desk and I’ll be happier with the end result.

What are your goals?

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2017: POWER

(All photos in this post were taken by me during 2016 – and I’m linking up my post with Writes Like a Girl, a fashion blogger I’ve grown very fond of in the past year!)

First things first, you may want to grab a cup of tea because this post turned out to be longer than I was expecting!  My 2017 word of the year is POWER (which I’ve felt the need to type in all caps or flex an arm muscle and use a deeper voice when saying out loud).  Now, hear me out before you write me off as a super-villain who’s attempting world domination.  Of all the millions of words I read in 2016, I was struggling to find to the one to describe my focus in 2017 until that AHA epiphany moment struck.

My word last year was risk and I felt like I only half lived up to the potential there.  I took major “risks” in certain areas of my life and by risks, I mostly mean that I openly embraced change.  In January, I left my stable job at one of the best law firms in NYC to join a new company and that was one of the hardest decisions ever.  I couldn’t be more happy to have taken that chance because after the past year of working with the incredible team of people at my company I know that I’m in the place where I belong career-wise and it’s where I see myself for the long run.  I also married my best friend Andrew and we moved into our own apartment together.  This transition was one of the happiest and most seamless of my life.  I’m thanking the stars for aligning and letting me cross paths with the most amazing man in the galaxy.  People often say that the first year of marriage is the hardest but having hit the 6 month mark, if this is the hardest we should expect, we are blessed beyond belief.  So while I did take those bigger risks, I still let fear and anxiety control the majority of my everyday choices until the end of 2016.  That’s where my 2017 word comes in.

When I started thinking about 2017 and the things I wanted to focus on (saving money, reverting back to my healthy diet, etc), the first word that came to mind was responsible.  While I do want to be responsible in these senses, I couldn’t help but feel like that was such a BORING word choice when there are so many others out there.  Plus, it didn’t totally capture everything I wanted to aim for.  One of the major goals I’ve set for myself (which I’ve already started being better about) is to go out more.  To see the friends I love so much, to explore my city that I’ve been having warmer feelings for again, to pay more attention to my blog, and to put more effort into writing and creating YouTube content that I’m happy with.  Then I realized that all of these things I want to do are things that I’ve been choosing to neglect. And I have the POWER to change that.  So simple as that.  I’ve really put a lot more thought into evaluating things this New Year which I suppose is a product of getting older (and hopefully wiser).

A phrase I’ve been hearing a lot of people say lately is “new year, new me.”  This couldn’t be further from what I want.  I’ve spent the past 29 years molding myself into the me I am today and I’m happy with that person.  While there are choices I’m planning on making to push myself out of my comfort zone and minor routine adjustments that I want to make to better my quality of life, I’m not looking to start fresh as a completely new me.  Just a better version of the me that already exists.

I can honestly say that this is one of the first years that I didn’t start with the mindset of “2017 will be the year of me!”  I feel like I’ve undergone more personal growth in the past couple of years and achieved major milestones far beyond where I ever saw myself at this age.  I’m happy.  For me, 2017 is the year of my husband, my family, and my friends. I want to do everything in my POWER this year to help them along the way to finding their own happiness in whichever form they’re seeking.  I’m not at all saying that I have zero goals and I’m striving for nothing, I’m just saying that I’ve been able to identify the things that make me feel the most satisfied and the things that I want to do going forward.  I’m past the figuring out stage which has made me feel as though my path is more clear.  I don’t need to exert energy to drowning out the noise and that has made me feel free to be more creative, more apt to relax in the ways this introvert knows will effectively recharge her and like I have more time to give to others.  I decluttered both physically and mentally in the latter half of 2016.  I don’t feel like I need to be the center of things because I have a firm grasp on where my center is.  I’m more interested in investing my time into the people I love and being able to celebrate their successes with them, knowing that I’ve been there for them when they needed a push.  I’ve always been a quieter person.  I’m a listener who truly hears and my power of observation has always allowed me to see things that others aren’t able to at first glance.  This year, I want to make the most of that skill.

TL;DR – 2017 is about me having the POWER to change the things I want to change, utilize my strengths to the best of my ability, continue to focus on self care, and most importantly, to invest my time and energy into the relationships I hold closest to my heart.

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My Personal Best Nine of 2016 (& a Wedding Photo Collage)!

I wanted to make a personal best nine of 2016 from my iPhone camera roll without relying on the instagram algorithm website everyone has been using in addition to the one I did post on my instagram as well.  I spent about 20 minutes writing this out as a Facebook post, only to have Facebook say “oops! we can’t post this right now” without saving it as a draft or anything.  This served as a clear reminder that this is one of the many reasons I don’t ever use what I consider to be the worst social networking site in existence.  But, it also resulted in me capturing my thoughts in a blog post instead so that’s the silver lining.  Anyway, here are some of my favorite moments with explanations of why! Thanks to all of the people who made my year so wonderful<3

  1. Reunited with Melissa<3 I miss Mel so much since she’s moved to Texas but I’m thankful that I get to “see” her at least once a month when we host our Spines with Wines book club with Cassie.  We honestly have even more fun afterwards just sipping our wine and catching up on life stuff :-D I really hope we get to see each other in person much more this year but I’m thankful that the distance between us hasn’t impacted our friendship at all.  We’re both here for each other no matter what happens and neither of us ever doubt the strength of our friendship.
  2. This photo was taken when Andrew and I went to Baltimore Comic Con.  It was such a lovely trip and we had even more fun exploring Baltimore than we did at the convention!  I’ve always wanted to go to the aquarium there and viewing the jellyfish was a dream come true since Princess Jellyfish has turned me into a little bit of a jellyfish otaku.
  3. This is one of my favorite photos ever taken of my mom and I! Even better that it’s on my wedding day! It’s such a lovely candid because it perfectly captures the immense amount of happiness we were all feeling that day.  My mom is the strongest, most amazing woman I have ever met and I cannot even describe all the ways she inspires me.  We talk every single day and my relationship with her (and my dad!) has been one of the most important in my life.  I am so thankful for our bond and I’m praying for a healthier 2017 for my mom<3
  4. This photo was taken after my birthday brunch on the Lower East Side.  I don’t usually plan anything but I was so excited to get together with all of the incredible people in my life!  My brother Bob, his amazing girlfriend Amanda, my bestie Cassie and my loving new family- Brittany, Molly, Kristin and Joe<3- all made my day into one of the best of the year!
  5. My first experience ever at the Renaissance Faire was even more magical than I ever could’ve imagined.  Stepping into the faire is like being transported to another time period.  I had so much fun drinking mead, watching acrobats and trying on floral crowns with Andrew, Kelly and Gil! I’m so thankful to have gotten much closer to Kelly and Gil this year.  They’re wonderful people who share my love of Harry Potter<3  Kelly took this photo of Andrew and I on the kissing bridge!
  6. This photo was taken at Andrew and I’s combined bachelor / bachelorette party weekend.  Amanda, Melissa, Greg and Joe worked so hard to give us the best weekend ever and I love that our bridal parties were able to meet and get to know each other before the big day.  Some people have even remained friends and it’s so much fun to see the mini-reunions at different events that we’ve gone to since our wedding!
  7. Cassie and I always have so much fun at the book launches for Melissa’s Girl at Midnight series at Books of Wonder in NYC (and not just because there’s always cupcakes and champagne!).  It’s been amazing to see such a wonderful person share her work with the world and I cannot wait to read / celebrate The Savage Dawn in 2017!
  8. This photo was also taken at my birthday brunch but I just had to include ice cream on here somewhere.  It’s from 10Below which is a place that was on my NYC bucket list so I’m thrilled we were able to try it out!
  9. And lastly (in this list, even though I struggled because there were SO many moments I wanted to include) is a photo of me in front of my pride and joy.  Now that Andrew and I are settled in our space, there’s nothing that makes me happier than being able to admire my bookshelves in a wide open space.  And in this photo I’m reading one of my favorite books of the year and wearing my favorite sweater ever because foxes are the best.

And here’s a little wedding collage to commemorate the most important day of my 2016<3 Do I win the award for most bridesmaids ever?

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Little Loves #8: Holiday Edition

Hi everyone! I’m back with my next installment of Little Loves.  Little Loves is a post series I created as a way to acknowledge and appreciate more of the little things that are making me happy every day.

💖 the Empire Magazine Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them special edition magazine which plays two videos! Thanks to my friend Dan for bringing it to me from the UK 💖 flannel Christmas tree sheets from Target- they’re so cozy that I never want to leave my bed in the morning! 💖 all the candles- bookish candles, Christmas candles, you name it, I love it 💖 burning my gingerbread Anthropologie candle on my night table while reading and admiring the reflection of our fairy lights! 💖 Caraval by Stephanie Garber- this book is pure ~magic~ 💖 peppermint everything but especially peppermint Ghiradelli products 💖 the hot chocolate bar at Erika and Alex’s Ugly Christmas Sweater party 💖 Maureen visiting NYC and finally getting to meet her IRL 💖 everything plaid and rustic and cozy and copper 💖 Moscow Mule mugs because they’re rose gold and beautiful and I even drink water out of them at this point 💖 snow! 💖 Christmas decorations 💖 spending a day in a recording studio helping our brother-in-law and sis-in-law record music 💖 mulled wine 💖 mini vacations and all the family time 💖 not being in the middle of any tv shows- I feel so free to be productive and do other things when I get home 💖 Harry X-Mas to You- Andrew did all the art for my Funko video and I’m so thankful I was able to participate this year! 💖 the KonMari method – my apartment looks like a whole new place and I’ve loved every outfit I’ve worn and night I’ve spent reading in my decluttered room since I employed her principles 💖

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