currently.

{note: this is an update post on my ridiculously crazy life. all of my creative energy seems to be spent on polishing my novel and, well, you’ll see. i’ll be back with thought-out posts soon, i promise.}

reading: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m like a third of the way through it, but still feeling “meh” about it because no one told me that it doesn’t have the characters from Illuminae in it. So I’m slightly irritated. Next on the list are Ready Player One, This Savage Song, and Wonder. Oh, and I’m also reading Before You Meet Prince Charming. *sigh* If you follow me on Goodreads, you already know my thoughts on it, but, to sum up, I’m pretty “meh” about this, too. The ideas in this book are so close to truth (and some of them are), but then they’re taken to the extreme. (For instance, did you know that “watching TV is like dating the world”? I quoted that verbatim – you can find it in the book yourself if you don’t believe me.) So yeah. My thoughts on that book will probably take at least one post, so look forward to that at some point when I’m done slogging my way through this book.

watching: Band of Brothers. Oh. My. Gosh. So amazing. It’s now one of my favorite war movies (or mini-series, I guess). I was so emotional on July 4th this year because my siblings and I watched that, and then Hacksaw Ridge, the week before. Talk about feels. I’m also watching a few of Chris Evans’s lesser-known movies, and they’re great! My sibs & I also watched Robin Hood: Men In Tights for the first time the other night (the first in our Mel Brooks marathon), and I loved it! Speaking of marathons, I’m also on a John Hughes kick as well. The Breakfast Club is one of my favorite movies now, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of his films. I watched Sixteen Candles the other night and marveled at the fact that the director of Spider-Man: Homecoming (another EXCELLENT film, btw; definitely a favorite as well) wanted to give Homecoming a Hughes feel, so the cast had a marathon one day. The result is pretty obvious!

listening: Anything by AJR (esp “Weak” & “Come Hang Out”) and Jon Bellion (esp “Maybe IDK” & “Human”). I’m obsessed with both. I’ve also been on an Idina Menzel kick lately because I saw her in concert on Saturday night and I’m still not over it. She’s amazing, y’all. Towards the end, she sang the beginning of “For Good” without a mic or accompaniment, and it was flawless. Literal queen. If/Then is a current go-to soundtrack if I need something fun to listen to (provided I skip some feelsy songs that make me cry).

writing: The Art of Letting Go, obvs. I’m still working through my beta-readers’ critiques, and it’s actually been going VERY well. The fourth draft (post-critiques) is better than anything I ever thought I could write, and that’s 100% due to my amazing readers who have given me feedback and helped me shape it into something amazing. Someone even went so far as to give me nine pages full of questions to answer, and that’s making the most impact. (You know who you are and I love you.) Also, recent events have gotten me PUMPT for my next novel (Pinterest board to be revealed soon *cue fanfare music*), so I’m pretty psyched about that.

celebrating: OH and I got my first rejection letter the other day, so that was actually pretty great. I got myself some ice cream after I got the email (which was so sweet, btw!). I was a little disappointed, sure, but I was more excited than anything else. After all, an actual agent read the first ten pages of my novel, and if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is. (Well, having someone actually ask for the whole thing would be pretty cool, too, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

working: I’ve had some pretty extensive time off my nannying job this month, so I filled it first with going to my grandparents’ house for a week with my cousins (we had a Clue night where we dressed as the characters as we played the game, and it was a highlight of my life). I also did a temp job as a saleswoman that I absolutely fell. in. love. with (and may or may not have applied for a full-time position because I loved it so much), so that was pretty cool. The pay ain’t too shabby, either. Plus, that incredibly adult feeling of being a productive member of society and having a purpose and something worthy to fill the day with was pretty great, too.

acting: Oh and I’m in a play. That’s been the biggest thing that’s happened lately and it’s honestly filling my life with so much joy. It’s a kids play at a local theatre, and one of my best friends is in it, so I went about a month ago to listen to her read and ended up being given a part after someone dropped out. Long story short, tech week starts tonight and we open on Friday. After wanting to be in a play for literally ten years, it’s so amazing to finally have it happen, even if it’s a play for kids. (Which is even better because experience is experience!) I’m bonding with all of these amazing people and it’s been so much fun. I’m already dreading closing night! (My life has revolved around theatre lately and I don’t hate it. Saturday, I went to rehearsal, then came home, took a nap, and then went to see Idina. Then, Sunday, I hung out with friends who were in town before seeing my brother steal the show as the Tin Man in a local production of The Wizard of Oz before bringing another friend home to work on makeup for our show! Like I said, theatre life isn’t too bad.)

So, yeah. All of my creative juices seem to be taken up by this novel and this play. I swear I’ll be back soon with posts more worthy of your time (and less self-focused, GOSH, but I wanted to tell you guys all of these things that didn’t warrant entire posts), but for right now, I’ve gotta go back to writing before leaving for rehearsal early to find some glittery eyeliner and snake tattoos!

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year in review: 2016.

{this post is finally done.  i feel like it’s taken me forever to write it, and it’ll take you almost as long to read it.  so i’m sorry, and if you read the whole thing… bless you.}

Can we agree that 2016 was just an all-around bad year?  I mean this for the world in general.  So many deaths and shootings – not to mention the atrocity that was the US presidential election.

{Side Tangent: In a previous draft, I said something about Carrie Fisher being okay.  Well, that’s not true anymore (for Debbie Reynolds, either) and I don’t know how to process that.  I’ve thought about it a lot and I think the reason there have been so many celebrity deaths this year is because God’s reminding us that our time here is so limited.  When we were young, we felt so infinite.  The days were long and death seemed so far away.  But that’s not true.  I’m not going to remind you to spend your time wisely because I know you’ve heard it before.  So just… cherish it.  And know that we’re all a little less infinite than we think we are.}

My personal year wasn’t quite as bad, and I think it ends up fitting with my year-long prayer, taken from this song:

“God, it has been quite a year-
I’ve lived a little bit and I’ve died a little more.
I know that I’ve asked it before,
But please let the scale tip here in my favor.”

I think it has.  This year has been full of disappointments and things that stress me out (pretty sure I had a full-on anxiety attack back in July and let. me. tell. you – that was not fun).  Even so, this year has been full of really good firsts – first crush I’ve told people about, first trip to Universal (and two trips to Disney whattheevenheck), first girls-only trip…  It’s been good.  Though I’ve had my fair share of bad things, I know I’m better for it.  While I wish some things hadn’t happened, I’m glad they shaped me into the person I am today.

Regardless of how terrible the year has been, at least we made it this far, right?

As always, this yearly review is mostly just for me to look back on throughout the year, and you can read the whole thing or just skim it.  (And, if you’re interested, here are the links to the other years I’ve done: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.)

January

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my siblings and i // first day at disney

February

  • Studied a heck ton, nannied a heck ton
  • Younger siblings went to a retreat, so I had a special time with my older sister and my parents, watching movies that they’re not allowed to watch yet and talking about Stuff.
  • Hosted a single-girls Valentine’s Day party (where we ate cookies and watched Julie & Julia) and chaperoned (from afar) as my sister got roses from a guy.
  • Discovered About Time – aka one of my favorite movies ever.
  • Went to Disney World for the first time in 15 years with the fam
  • Met the Taylors
  • Studied: American Lit CLEP (1/16-2/16) // Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: More Happy Than NotThe Help, and Me Before You
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my thoughts during a Starbucks study session and my unplanned Valentine’s Day series – twelve ships I ship, a mushy snippet from my novel, and my thoughts on love

March

  • Again, studied and nannied a heck ton
  • Bought Jordan Taylor’s album (because I felt more connected after meeting him, duh)
  • Rediscovered Sherlock (long story)
  • Freaked out about all of the Mother’s Day posts on Instagram, only to discover that it was just Mother’s Day in the UK.  (However, since I was out of the house, I bought flowers and surprised my mom with them.  I’ll definitely be doing that again this year.)
  • BECAME A SENIOR
  • Ups and downs with my sleeping habits (definitely something I’m going to fix next year)
  • Discovered Downton Abbey and Mission Impossible
  • Watched the livestream of Daddy Long Legs, one of my favorite musicals
  • Uploaded first video to YouTube (you’ll have to hunt it down bc I’m not leaving the link here LOL)
  • In charge while Mom & Dad went to a marriage conference for a week (during which I watched too much Downton Abbey and stayed up too late)
  • Studied: Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: The Boxcar ChildrenFar from the Madding Crowd, Frindle, A Thief in the Theater, Red Rising, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryand The Bronte Plot
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my big post about my thoughts on Harry Potter, my “flatmates” story, my thoughts about romanticizing the past, and my 5-years-in-the-making blog post, “movies i don’t like.

April

  • Watched the High School Musical movies with a friend
  • Went to the first wedding of the year (and first since 2014, I think)
  • Started watching more movies by myself (bc I’m tired of waiting on my siblings and bc I have a brother whose opinion we have to consider) (movies include 17 Again, 13 Going On 30, and Napoleon Dynamite)
  • Literally have a note in my journal that says “2pm-3pm – Question Everything.”  Basically, yeah.
  • Discovered The Great British Baking Show.  HECK YES.
  • Had coffee with a friend and talked about her recent engagement, told her I didn’t have any guys in my life and wasn’t going to be interested in any until I graduated, Discovered A Guy that night (again, long story)
  • Officially met one of my new best friends
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: Roomies, All the Bright Places, After Youand Golden Son
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my uber- nostalgic “favorite childhood movies” post, the snippet from my novel, The Boy and the Theatre Girl, and my ranty defense of CollegePlus students
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me & the twins

May

  • Submersed myself in blog posts about singleness and contentment due to aforementioned guy
  • Changed DSST after studying for a month (a first and a last)
  • Texted aforementioned best friend’s younger sister (with whom I’ll become good friends but won’t meet ’til September)
  • Learned how to cheat the system with college coursework – aka befriend the prof and say yes when she lets you submit part of your novel instead of several different assignments.  FISTPUMP.
  • Started a tough time with one of my best friends (drama goes down)
  • Dad’s intern arrived for the summer
  • Started officially going to a church
  • Discovered Friends and Taylor Swift (entire discography instead of just the ones on the radio)
  • Made a summer bucket list for the first time
  • Enrolled in Thomas Edison State University
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16)
  • Read: Golden Son, The Raven Boys, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which I loved enough to review on my blog as well)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my reasoning behind taking off my purity ring (which got so much more feedback than I ever expected ohmygosh), my review of the gloriousness that was Captain America: Civil War, and my addition to the flame war behind that random dude’s “open letter to Rey” (which by the way, lemme say again, ugh)

June

  • Younger sister graduated from high school and we have a pretty awesome dance party
  • Taught myself how to play ukulele
  • Started going to Starbucks with my sister during the second hour of church (since there isn’t a Sunday morning class for college/career young adults)
  • Discovered Waitress during the Tony Awards (Hamilton won the other 11!)
  • Surprised with a weekend visit from one of my best childhood friends
  • Gave in to the stereotypes and got a Snapchat
  • Broke ground on our new house
  • Drove back and forth with my sister instead of staying at our grandparents’ for a whole week like we usually do (a first)
  • Had two entire days to myself, in which I did school, watched movies, cooked lunch for myself, and blasted Imagine Dragons
  • GOT A FRIKKIN LETTER FROM LIN MANUEL MIRANDA
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16)
  • Read: The Rosie Project, Extraordinary, and The Rosie Effect
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about tøp after being a fan for a year and a short story I wrote for school (“my best friend’s brother”)
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our awesome car on the way back from WIT

July

  • Studied and wrote like crazy
  • WITAlive again, this time without my older sister and with a car of friends (and I was a co-leader at a table this year!)
  • Wrote some poetry for the first time (including a sonnet based on Gilmore Girls)
  • Watched my “little” brother star in The Pied Piper of Hamlin at a local theatre
  • Had a movie date with a friend every two weeks or so (during the entire summer)
  • Witnessed the beginning of my sister’s relationship with my dad’s intern
  • Finally started accepting and actually loving my body, even its flaws… and it wasn’t until then that I started losing weight
  • Forgot to journal for two weeks, so I completely don’t know what happened except I know a lot of studying was done and a lot of books were read.
  • Studied: BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16) // BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: Salt to the Sea, The Vintage Book of Contemporary Poetry, The Art of the Personal Essay, Imaginative Writing, The Marriage and Family Experience, If You Find This Letter (which became my favorite non-fic book by the fifth page and I literally bought four copies to give to friends for Christmas – seriously, READ. IT.), and Everything, Everything
  • Favorite Blog Posts: another post about love & waiting & purity & stuff, my first post on writing advice (“what do do when {you think} your writing sucks”), and another snippet from The Boy and the Theatre Girl

August

  • Dad caved and finally got Netflix for us – YESSSSS
  • Started reading classics for my lit course and developed a deeper appreciation for classics
  • Went book shopping one Saturday with my sister (to two bookstores) and then had a fries taste-test – a day that will be remembered with fondness in both our hearts
  • Took my “little” bro to his first co-op and greatly enjoyed getting stuff done so early in the day (although I didn’t enjoy getting up so early)
  • Hosted a surprise sleepover for my friend (my first sleepover since I was six)
  • Started meeting new friends at our new church
  • Figured out the situation that caused the anxiety attack back in July (something I highly recommend – figure stuff out, guys; save yourself the stress; even if you do. not. want. to, it’ll be so much better in the long run, I promise)
  • Repaired more friendships – YAY
  • Had some bro time with my “little” brother while our sisters went to a camp for a week (we watched movies without them #oops)
  • The Furies happened (and we continue to talk about feminism and movies and relationships and generally just kick butt in all areas of life and I’m so happy to have such a close-knit friend group like this)
  • Blew through so many classics in such a short period of time – such a good feeling
  • Volunteered to play in an orchestra concert… the day before
  • Shared my testimony for the first time in a class at church
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: The Coquette, Hope Leslie, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Scarlet Letter, Benito Cereno, The Outsiders, Life in the Iron-Mills, The Problem With Forever, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Washington Square (DANG THAT’S A LOT OF BOOKS)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about Stanley Tucci, a peek into my life, and some rambling thoughts about Friends and the validity of your opinion.

September

  • Started the month out with my car breaking down.  Yay.
  • Nannied three days in a row – including a 9am-11pm day (which was my favorite day of the three because I took the kids to see Pete’s Dragon with my sister and then put them to bed early and watched movies ’til their parents got back)
  • Started watching Stranger Things with my sister… at 11pm at night… all by ourselves…  (protip: not a good idea)  (still, we finished the show within a week)
  • Hosted some friends for a weekend and had an absolute BLAST
  • Saw a friend star in You Can’t Take It With You
  • Went shopping with some girlfriends and actually bought something.  And not just anything.  A DRESS.  I DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • Got baptized : )
  • Started practicing music with friends for two weddings (and started calling ourselves The Last Page)
  • Introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings (which they loved, obviously)
  • Cut my hair super dang short (and loved it)
  • GOT A NEW PHONE HECK YES
  • Stopped journaling (haha whoops)
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16) // Marketing Communications TCEP (9/16)
  • Read: Ethan Frome, My Ántonia, Marketing Communications, Absalom Absalom, Pale Fire, and Writing in the Social Sciences.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: blogged the results of my summer bucket list, talked about bad boyz (even though my opinion on Jess Mariano has changed so much because he turned out to be the best guy for Rory), continued to ramble about love & feelings & stuff, and rambled about life in general (which y’all liked so I started doing it more)
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failing at a jumping pic with ‘the last page’

October

  • Started a course on theatre which is just *heart eyes emoji*
  • Started planning my very first girls-only trip with The Furies
  • Gilmore-bounded with my frens (which is honestly still one of my favorite events of the entire year)
  • Introduced my other siblings to Stranger Things
  • Lost enough weight to fit loosely into a dress that didn’t fit me a month before *sunglasses emoji*
  • Played in two weddings with The Last Page (twas lit)
  • Had an impromptu brunch with people who came in for aforementioned wedding and hosted almost twenty-five people
  • Deepened friendships and fell in love with people in general
  • Started planning a watch party with friends for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (obviously including soda and Chinese food and poptarts and all kinds of junk food)
  • Scott Gordon Patterson (Luke from Gilmore Girls) liked our Gilmore-bound picture (!)
  • Did Halloween for the first time in over a decade (thank you, younger adopted siblings)
  • Again, studied and read like crazy
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: Writing in the Social Sciences, The Strangeness of Beauty, and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirled over Stranger Things, made a list of songs that make me happy, and rambled about life again

November

  • Studied like crazy – including writing three plays (!!!)
  • Talked to dozens upon dozens of people about the presidential election
  • Voted in the presidential election for the first time (but not my first time voting)
  • Read books on top of my car overlooking the mountains (heck yes I did)
  • Visited a friend at his college with my sisters and another friend and talked about hard stuff for over four hours (“It’s rough all over“)
  • Bashed around Charleston with mah girls
  • Visited a friend for a week, in which I stayed at their house and basically became a member of their family
  • Went to a movie theater and watched a recording of Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet
  • Went to Disney and Harry Potter World at Universal – and had an absolute blast
  • (Charleston, becoming a member of another family for a week, Hamlet, and Disney/Universal all happened in the same twelve days and it. was. magical)
  • Had the Gilmore Girls watch party with my frens
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Cherry Orchard, Anything But Typicaland Hamlet.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: expressed my thoughts about the election, converted a play I wrote into a short story (and y’all loved it, which just makes my year), and offended some people after writing about courtship (lolz whoops)

December

  • Finished my schoolwork the day before my birthday – HUZZAH, AN ACTUAL CHRISTMAS BREAK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS!!!
  • Turned 22
  • Watched Return of the King with friends for my birthday
  • Basically just chilled for the entire month.  Read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies and TV shows, but mainly just lived.  I made cookies and brownies with my baby siblings twice, and cleaned the kitchen and my room a lot.  It was really fun to just relax and live life without the pressure of schoolwork looming over my head.
  • Went to a young adults Christmas party at our new church and had such a great time
  • Realized that my blog turned seven – w h o a
  • Celebrated Christmas four times – with each of my parents’ families, my family, and an extended family Christmas (and had my sister’s boyfriend do Christmas with us, so that was An Experience)
  • Went to my grandparents’ house for an extended weekend before New Years and partied hard with my cousins and aunt & uncle (who talked with my siblings and I about stuff for hours upon hours, which was a blessing)
  • Rang in the new year with friends and a headache
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1), If You Find This Letter (re-read bc I bought four copies for friends and wrote in them like my friend did for me), and Crosstalk
  • Favorite Blog Posts: hosted a Christmas movie marathon because I love movies and posted some Stucky fanfiction (part one / part two) that I wrote a few years ago

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    le fam (+ sister’s boyfriend) at church on christmas day


Whew.

Honestly, it always blows my mind whenever I write these posts and look back at all of the amazing things I did.  (And hOW DANG LONG IT TAKES ME OH MY GOSH.  This one took me several sittings over several days – and I know I didn’t over everything.)

Anyway, I’m always so blown away with what I’ve been able to do in a year.  Even though the year was ridiculously crazy at times, I wouldn’t trade any of the craziness for the world.  Even though the year was rough, it still had some amazing experiences for me.  I invested in friendships more than I ever have before (including at three people who are 5-8 years younger than me), I’ve learned more about relationships (the good and the bad), and I’ve learned to be authentic, to be honest, to give second chances, to know when to stop pouring myself into toxic relationships, to let go of grudges, and, obviously, I’ve learned how incredibly far I have to go.  I know I won’t ever get there, but it’s nice to look back on a year and know that I’m a better person than the selfish idiot who wrote last year’s Year in Review post.

2017 is going to be incredibly interesting and I can’t wait to see where God leads me!  My word of the year is “excelsior,” and I explained why on my Instagram, so I’ll just link to that and keep this from getting any longer!

Can’t wait to see where God has me at this time next year!

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continuing the tradition of taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror on new years day even tho i didn’t feel like putting on makeup or doing anything to my hair or fixing my christmas nails but i won’t apologize bc this is how i look kthxbye

happy seven years, inklings press {& a lil announcement}

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my mantra recently. {you’ve got mail, 1998}

{I didn’t realize it was the blog’s anniversary ’til I was almost done writing this post and I’m too busy/lazy to rewrite the beginning so.  Yeah.}

Hello, all!  How are your Christmases going?  I hope everybody’s on break by now, and if you’re not, you have my eternal sympathy and all the internet hugs.

I finished wrapping all of my presents yesterday while watching Friends and stuck them under the tree.  It’s starting to look pretty dang full.  After that, I had a cup of cocoa by the fire while “watching” a Christmas movie (and simultaneously texting a friend about whether “fluttery feelings” are a prerequisite for dating #multitasking).  Today, we’ve got cookie-baking on the general to-do list, and then I’ve got another present to finish up and mail post-Christmas.  (I’m so late that it doesn’t even matter and I really want to miss the Christmas rush.)

ANYWAY.

Last Friday, I promised a review of Scrooged and Serendipity for my next Christmas Movie Marathon review.  (Click here to see all of my previous reviews.)  WELL.  We watched Scrooged last night, but since it’s been an entire year since I watched Serendipity and I can’t watch again without my sister (who’s in NC right now, doing Christmasy stuff with her boyfriend), it’ll have to wait.  (A preview of those reviews if you need a movie night recommendation – Scrooged was pure “meh” and Serendipity is everything.)  My review should be up sometime next week; probably Monday or Tuesday because we’re leaving for Christmas with the extended fam on Wednesday (and then you probably won’t hear anything from me ’til the new year, but I’ll try to get some posts queued).

ALL THAT TO SAY: Since that’s not happening, and as a make-up-slash-Christmas-gift, I’m going to post a fanfic I wrote as a Christmas present for a good friend a few years ago. Platonic Stucky, pre-First Avenger.  I’ll post half of it on Christmas Eve and the other half on Christmas Day.  Get ready.  😉

And actually I just realized that today is the seventh anniversary of my blog.  WOW.  If you want to see my first post, you’ll have to go back to my old blog.  Feel free to look around a bit; I’m embarrassed at how HORRIFIC some of the posts were, but it’s a testament to how far I’ve come.  *wink*  Yes, I used to be a Blogspot blog.  Yes, it was originally going to be a blog for my sister and I – which is the only way my dad would let me start one, being the tender age of barely-fifteen.

Gosh.  Reliving those days just a little.  We’d just moved to Georgia from North Carolina. My birthday had been, like, three weeks before, and we celebrated with the only friends I knew at the time – coincidentally, only because my mom had gone to high school with their mom and they’d reconnected at a reunion a while before.  I’d just discovered the blogosphere and was slowly learning about online friends.  (Not ashamed to say that sometimes it felt like my online friends were the only friends I had at the time.)

Now, seven years later, I’m graduating college, have so many friends that I can’t even count them all… and I’m finally – finally – loving everything I post on this little blog.  After seven years, some of my tastes have changed (I don’t post nearly as much about period dramas as I used to, namely because I’ve realized that it’s okay to like mainstream stuff and I don’t have to be Different From Other Girls {which I could write an entire post about, as I told Jessica the other day}), and I know my writing’s gotten better.  And, um, hello – my writing went from something I just did to fill the empty hours to something I realized I actually loved doing.  And I published a novel that I started writing somewhere around that point, so that’s kind of cool.

I just want to say thank you, reader, because without you, this blog would’ve died a long time ago.  Each pageview and follower and comment kept me going, even when I didn’t think it was worth it.  I love you all muchly.  Thanks for sticking with me all these years (or months or however long you’ve been reading).

coffee session | grades & gilmore girls.

img_4202A few weeks ago, I needed to write a blog post, so I literally just got a cup of coffee, sat down, and wrote whatever was on my mind.  Apparently you guys loved it – which was good because I did, too.

So guess what.  It’s happening again.

I was thinking last night that I’d make it a regular thing (maybe not every week because that never works for me, but definitely more than once), and then I got an email from a friend linking to an article about coffee + friendship and it was wonderful and beautiful and made me so grateful for my friends who fellowship with me over coffee and it reminded me of that post I wrote – fellowshipping over coffee with my bloggy friends..

So here I am.  Grab a cup of coffee, play some music, and let’s start.  (Oh and read that article at some point. It’s great.)

*sips coffee*

I woke up this morning to notifications that a few of my BYU papers had been graded. 100% on both – one being that scene that I posted the other day.  TALK ABOUT YAY.

I love writing, guys.  I love creating worlds and people and circumstances in my mind and watching them make their way through my mind and onto a computer screen.  And I love getting good grades, especially when I’m maintaining a 76% in another course because I got a really bad grade on a test the other day – AN ELEVEN-QUESTION TEST.  LIKE, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET A GOOD GRADE ON THAT?!  Ugh.  *breathes*

It’s fine.  After I saw that grade, I closed my laptop and watched a stupid TV show on Netflix and let me tell you what – it was exactly what I needed.  Totally recommend being in the moment and being present and all of that… but know that you have freedom to unplug and take a break sometimes.  It’ll recharge you more than you think.  (Eyy puns…)

Let’s see… what else have I been doing?  (Besides school lolzzzz, emphasis on the zzzz.)

I just started the first of my annual fall reads – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I can’t recommend it without a disclaimer for language, but it’s definitely one of my favorite books of all time.  It just screams fall – and it contains one of the most relatable heroines ever… and one of the most swoon-worthy guys I’ve ever read.  The other’s The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly, which I absolutely adore.  It’s a retelling of Little Women.  What’s not to love?!  Anyway, that happened.  And I’m reading it while wrapped in multiple blankets and drinking hot tea, so that’s fun.  I’m going to have a ton of free-time this weekend, and I’m greatly looking forward to blasting through it (and sobbing at the end again, like I always do).

Another thing I did today was watch Blimey Cow’s latest video.  TALK ABOUT HASHTAG RELATABLE AND RELEVANT OH. MY. GOSH.  Go watch it.  Now.  I’ll wait.

What else?

*sips coffee*

One of my favorite writers, Hannah Brencher (READ HER BOOK), sends out a massive encouragement email every Monday, and it’s half the reason my Mondays don’t suck as much as they probably would without it.  (Seriously, get on that email.)  Here’s a quote that I really appreciated:

People won’t feel valued– like their friendship is pertinent to you– if you never have a reason to need them.

Friendships and relationships are built on need. Trust is built because the two of you are vulnerable enough to let some walls down and actually need each other to show up. Before that need comes in, you are just two people who like the company of one another. It is when we humble ourselves down to the realization that interdependency is essential that we uncover a true relationship.

I’m so grateful for friends who acknowledge a need for me.  So often, I feel just “meh” – like people don’t need me in their lives, and they do little more than tolerate me. (Obviously, when I step back, I see that that’s not true… but sometimes I can’t help but think it for a moment.)

And then I read things like Hannah’s email and that Verily article and am reminded that I have wonderful friends who not only like hanging out with me, but want to do it – so much so that we plan things months in advance sometimes.

I’m currently planning a trip to Charleston with two girlfriends – my first girls-only trip that doesn’t include any of my family members whaaaaattttt – and then a spontaneous trip with one of the friends to Tampa, where she lives.  I’ll be there for over a week.  As the kids say, it’s gonna be LIT.

And then there are times when my friends and I don’t plan things months in advance – sometimes it’s merely hours in advance.  I’m still reeling over something I did with my sisters and some friends the other week – something we “HEY LOOK AT THIS LET’S DO IT” planned the night before “it” was going to happen.

IMG_4210.JPG

l-r: lorelai, rory, sookie, luke, paris

We Gilmore-bounded at Luke’s.

If you’re familiar with Disney-bounding, it’s basically the same thing… except Gilmore Girls-themed.  And as a promotional thing for the Gilmore Girls revival (AAAAHHHHH), two hundred coffee shops across America transformed into Luke’s for the day.

The one nearest to my house was 45 minutes away, but that didn’t stop my sisters and I from getting up at 6:30 and leaving the house by 7 to hightail it over there.

WE HAD SUCH A BLAST, GUYS.  Everybody there was a fan of the show.  It was like a mini-Comic Con – BUT SOLELY FOR GILMORE GIRLS FANS.  They had everything set up like Luke’s – and they even had Gilmore Girls playing on TVs around the coffee shop.  (I have a video of everyone singing the theme song and then letting out a massive groan when the internet cut out halfway through the song.)

My friends and I went our separate ways later that morning, but got together again that night to practice music for two weddings that weekend – and basically all we could talk about was the morning.  It was so ridiculously fun, and definitely ranks on my top ten list of memories for this entire year.

(And obviously we’ll all be doing it again when the revival comes out next month.  Duh.)

Well.  I need to go do some school now.  Hope you enjoyed reading this – and let me know if you want more!

rambly honesty.

fall

oh. happy fall, y’all. {i stole this from pinterest.}

Decided to take a study break to grab a cup of coffee, watch a few Jimmy Fallon videos, and write a blog post.  Because it’s been too. dang. long. since I last posted, and that is UNACCEPTABLE.

*sips coffee*

My life is crazy.

I don’t need to tell you that, though, because I know yours is, too.  (And you’re doing WONDERFULLY, by the way – you’re still breathing, aren’t you?  You’ve got this, fam.)

I’m writing this in between writing essays on classics I’ve read, submitting a seventeen-page paper on selective mutism (which I can totally share if you want it but I’m absolutely certain you don’t), studying for a marketing final tomorrow (which I’m pretty sure I’ll fail), thinking about another ten-page conference paper I’ve gotta write… and then there’s mid-terms and finals and oral reports and another two novels that I’m supposed to be reading… all before the end of this month.  It’s not going to happen, but that’s the beauty of CollegePlus – I’m self-motivated enough to push through the hard parts, but I can reschedule deadlines if I absolutely need to.

Aaaanyway.  That’s why I haven’t been posting.  (And why I’ve been pinning like crazy – study breaks are wonderful, amiright???)

Besides school, though, life has been pretty fab.  Some wonderful friends came to visit us a few weekends ago (see our Instagram proof here and here), and it was literally one of the best weekends ever.  We crammed so much into those fifty hours… and we were late to everything but whatever.  XD

On another note, I got baptized yesterday.  It wasn’t a huge deal and I didn’t even know it was going to happen ’til a few days before, but it happened.

Truth be told, I’ve always thought that baptism wasn’t super important.  I believe it isn’t required for salvation, and because I’ve been burned by “works-based” Christians, I stayed away from anything that looked like that for a long time.

Then, when we went to WIT, I kind of had a revelation – a massive turning point in my relationship with Christ.  Long story short, I thought I was a lesser Christian because I wasn’t crying during worship like a lot of the other young adults were.  The revelation came when I got away from everybody and realized that God’s grace is sufficient.  It wasn’t like I heard God’s voice or anything, it was just… like the truth slowly snuck into my mind and like God was telling me, “You don’t need to act or look like everybody here.  I know your heart.”  It was amazing.

A few weeks ago, my family finished taking a membership class at our new church.  (Still can’t believe it’s been a year since we left our church.  O_O)  Apparently, to be a member of the church, one of the requirements is that you be baptized.  I didn’t want to get baptized “just because I had to to be a member,” but I’d already told a friend that I wanted to get baptized.  It wasn’t a “need,” it was just a desire – something I wanted to do out of my love for Christ, my obedience to Him, and my desire to be like Him.

So, yeah, that happened.  It rained like crazy that day and I thought lightning would strike the river and I’d get baptized and immediately float up to heaven, but I’m still here.

Let’s see… what else is going on?

*sips coffee*

That literature course I’m in the middle of is insane.  I’m reading all of these authors I’ve never even attempted before, the authors pretentious hipsters with man buns and skinny jeans who sip fair trade coffee on wooden bleachers at hipstery coffee shops talk about – Faulkner, Cather, Wharton, Hawthorne, Twain, Nabokov.  (I can feel myself turning into a hipster because of it, actually.  I just recorded myself playing a Hozier song on a ukulele in a distressed denim shirt and skinny jeans.  It’s ridiculous.)  Anyway, I’m enjoying it, though.  It’s giving me an appreciation for classics I’ve never had.

My sister and I also watched all of Stranger Things in a week.  (There are only eight hour-long episodes, guys.  We’re not that crazy.)  Even though I wouldn’t recommend it without a disclaimer for a kind of insane amount of language… it’s soooo goooooodddddd.  We started a Pinterest board and are planning on watching it again, this time showing it to our siblings.  Oh and I’m probably gonna write a blog post about it soon, too.  Just a heads-up, lol.

I got a pretty short haircut (which I’m in love with because it makes me look adorable and I’ve finally accepted the fact that that’s just the way I’m gonna look no matter what I do) and I’ve listened to more Taylor Swift in the last few weeks than I care to admit… and the same goes for watching Friends.  Oh and I’m also majorly crushing on a guy who barely knows I exist.  What are feelings and why do I have them.  *rolls eyes*  I’ll probably write a blog post about that, too.

Well.  Just letting you guys know I’m still alive.

I love you guys, by the way.  I love that even when I go away for, like, a month, you still comment sometimes and keep reading my posts and randomly message me on Instagram to tell me that you love what I write.  It makes it all feel worth it somehow.  I mean, I love to write so I’d probably do it anyway, but the fact that you guys like my rambling words… crazy.  ❤

I’ll be back soon.  🙂

ps: you know you’ve been studying too long when you spell fall “faul.”  yep.  i stared into a fake camera like i was on the office.  ugh what even is life.

re: my summer bucket list.

Well, I think summer’s almost over.  Although I live in Georgia and it’ll feel like summer until mid-October (and summer’s not officially over ’til Sept 22nd), September usually ushers in the back-to-school season, sweaters and scarves, “bouquets of sharpened pencils,” pumpkin everything, and pretty leaves (that fall down, which is why we ‘Muricans call it Fall *smirk emoji*).

It’s been a pretty packed summer, full of trips and ice cream and sweat and movie marathons and friends, and I’ve had a lot of fun.  I’m pretty interested in seeing how I did with that summer bucket list I made at the beginning of summer (even though I forgot about it for a month lol).  Let’s see, shall we?

summer bucket list instagram

  • Finish a TV show (Boy Meets World, which I’m like six episodes from the end of but have put it off for two. years. because I don’t want it to end *sob*; Gilmore Girls, in preparation for Seasons, DUH; Friends and/or Firefly and/or Downton Abbey) – haha well this one didn’t get done.  I did get a little farther in Gilmore Girls, although I’ve decided to put off DA for now.  My sister won’t let me watch Firefly without her, so that’s a no.  And I just started on the sixth season of Friends the other night.  (Yes, I’m obsessed.  Totally a worthy show to be obsessed with, though.)
  • Earn fifteen credits (which I think is gonna happen and that’s AWESOME because I’m SO DONE WITH COLLEGE LOL) – I finished up nine and am halfway through the next six, so I’m gonna consider this one basically finished. 😉
  • Read at least one non-fiction book a month (I read a ton of fiction and thought I’d expand my palate a little this year, starting with Mere Christianity and If You Find This Letter) – Check!  I read a few nonfic books for my writing courses, including a lot of poetry.  Loved it!  And I also read a lot of fiction, duh.  Look at my Goodreads Reading Challenge for more!
  • Finish reading the Old Testament (I was trying to finish this last year and it didn’t get done for whatever reason, and I want to finish it up so I can get back to studying Jesus’s life and Paul’s letters) – Finished last night.  🙂
  • More screen-free time (my school and writing is all on the computer, not to mention Pinterest and Tumblr and my blog and all of that wonderful time-sucking nonsense, so to say I spend a lot of time on the computer is kind of accurate and I kind of hate it and want to spend more time off it this summer by going on walks and coloring and reading more) – Walks and coloring didn’t really happen, but because my current courses require tons of reading (my course on the American novel has twelve novels!), I read a ton.  More than that, I nannied more and spent more time outside, resulting in less screentime (although I did get through five seasons of Friends lol).  I’d consider this one a success.
  • Budgeting my time better (I’m nannying two full days during the summer, instead of the usual two half days, so it’s going to be interesting trying to juggle school and the little munchkins.  I had them yesterday and we went to Chick-fil-A and the library and it was so. much. fun… even though I didn’t get any school done.  Oops.) – (Ooh, that was a fun day!)  It ended up being two half days, just on different days of the week.  I definitely learned how to manage my time better, spending less time on Pinterest and Tumblr and more time with friends and doing school and stuff.
  • Edit The Art of Letting Go (I just got some really good feedback on it, and I’m really looking forward to working on it again and I’m hoping it’ll be done by the end of the summer!) – Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I decided about a month into summer that it was going to happen and that I should just focus on my school.  I did get to work on a little brainstorming and pre-writing for my next novel, and messing around with some fanfiction.  🙂
  • ENJOY THE SUMMER (It’s already pretty hot here in Georgia, but I’m really enjoying it.  Last week, I sat out on the back porch and tried to get a tan and it was really nice.  I’m looking forward to doing that a little more over the summer.) – Yep!  I definitely enjoyed it.  🙂

In addition to this, I also took a road trip with my siblings and friends, got connected with my church, and did a lot.  It’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

What are a few of your summer highlights?

Oh, and happy Harry Potter day!  If you’ll excuse me, I have some books to read.  Gotta get back to Hogwarts… HOGWARTS!

a day in the life.

{Now, I know these kinds of things are usually videos, and while I’d love to do vlogs at some point like my amazing friend Rachel, I’m not quite there yet.  We’ll see.  Until I get there, I guess I’ll start out with writing.  Because duh.  Disclaimer: Yep, sometimes my life is this busy, but sometimes it isn’t and, like on Monday, it involves me sitting around reading school books most of the day.  My life is crazy and it will no doubt get crazier, but I’m really enjoying it.}

6:30am – Alarm goes off, snooze button is utilized.

6:45am – Drag myself out of bed.  Dress in a thin sweater and skinny jeans, which feels good for the mildly chilly morning but ends up being a TERRIBLE DECISION IN THE AFTERNOON BECAUSE WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THE GEORGIA HEAT WHAT THE CRAP.  Pack lunch, laptop, school books, coffee, and misc other items for the day.

7:10am – Leave the house with James (my brother), stop at a friend’s house to take care of their pets, mourn the loss of James’s phone (and thus our usual twenty one pilots karaoke hour), soliloquize on the effects of traffic on the mood.

8:20am – Drop James off at his homeschool co-op entirely too late, cursing the traffic the entire time (but not really).  Drive to Starbucks.

8:30am – Make The Phelps Face when I see that there aren’t any tables available.  Find a table outside even though my laptop is dead.  Text friend happy birthday, peruse the Instagram feed, begrudgingly put phone down and start reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for school.  Contemplate just watching The Best Movie Version (or The Other Best Movie Version) instead of reading the book… but decide to read the book anyway because my conscience wouldn’t let me.

9:15am – Friend comes to spend time with me and we talk about our lives and how much has happened since we last talked.  (It sounded like a lot when I spilled it all out on her, but it didn’t feel like much when I was going through it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

11:02am – Friend leaves (T_T), and I sit inside, power up computer, make The Phelps Face AGAIN when my STUPID LAPTOP won’t connect to the STUPID INTERNET.  Read Huck Finn while rebooting laptop.  Stupid internet still won’t work, so I pack up my things and head to another Starbucks while eating my sandwich lunch.

11:30am – Arrive at second Starbucks.  Watch some Dan&Phil while I get my laptop working again.  Mutter about millennials and their dang wifi-needing-devices never working.

11:45am – Merciful saints, finally start working on school (all the while telling myself that my conversation with my friend was totally worth it and that the wifi situation was completely out of control).  Listen to the Easy A soundtrack while writing a review of The Problem with Forever – it’s for school, I promise!!!  [EDIT: Even though I only spent two or three hours tops on that review… I got a perfect score on it.  Cheating the system works, guys.  *sunglasses emoji*  Read the stunning, A+ review here.]

1:45pm – Text awesome friends while packing up laptop and books, casually adding my two cents on pretentious hipsters who wear glasses simply because they’re required for hipster.  *adjusts men’s converse glasses*  Order salted caramel mocha frappucino that ends up being outrageously expensive but that I buy anyway because it has caramel and mocha drizzles and WHO CAN TURN THAT DOWN, RIGHT?!  Leave Starbucks with my laptop bag and my frap, feeling like a basic white girl.

2:00pm – Pick up The Bro and rant about annoying wifi.  His phone finally turns on, so we listen to twenty one pilots as I drive him to his piano lesson.

2:15pm – Park at the house where he takes piano lessons, push my seat back as far as it’ll go, and work on review, reading it aloud because apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do???  When that’s finished, I watch an episode of Friends with the commentary (“The One with All the Thanksgivings,” if anybody’s a fan).  Read review again, deciding it’s as good as it’s going to get.

3:30pm – Drive over to the library, where I pick up some school books (Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and Washington Square by Henry James) and a movie (The Outsiders!).  More twenty one pilots as we drive home.

4:00pm – FINALLY HOME AGAIN.  Submit review, work on other school and then browse Tumblr and Pinterest for too long.  Work on some fanfiction (which you guys may or may not see sometime soon).

6:00pm – Parents go out on a date.  Make dinner for the kiddos – chicken nuggets for the littles and James, salad with grilled chicken for me.  (Being gluten-free will never not be lame.)  Read fanfiction Eva wrote while kids watch a movie, then clean the kitchen.

8:00pm – Put kids to bed.  Fast-forward through a Friends episode, playing all the hilarious Chandler moments to show James how much he’s like Chandler.  Ice cream break.  Watch a Monk episode with James (“Mr. Monk and the Hypnotist”), then finish Definitely, Maybe with Mom (so cute!).

10:45pm – Fall into bed, rationalizing that I can take a shower tomorrow morning because it’s too late to do it now and I’m exhausted.  Walk into Mom’s room to talk about plans for the next day when I suddenly remember that I was supposed to take care of the aforementioned friend’s pets again.  Scramble for keys and a car, drive over there, take care of the pets while listening to Waitress because dark, quiet houses freak me out, drive back home (yawning the entire time).

11:30pm – Collapse into bed again.  Nightly devotions and prayer journaling.

12am – Sleep.  Finally.