dear 2017

dear 2017,

You were one of the craziest years of my life. So much had happened, both good and bad. I went through a lot. I’ve also grown so much.

So I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to give it all I’ve got if I want to accomplish my dreams. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and in my work. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Thank you for bringing the most amazing people into my life. Thank you for giving me so many amazing opportunities. Thank you for showing me the importance of hard work.

Looking back at my journal, I can see that I really focused on myself this year. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself and feel like me again. However, I also lost myself towards the end of the year. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place that I am only starting to come out of now.

This year, I pierced my ear again, read more than ever before, went on a weeklong vacation with my family (over 20 of us), applied to colleges, got my first (and second) job, went camping, started my senior year of high school, got into 9 colleges, and became an adult (!!).

I am finally in a happy place in my life. I want to continue down this road, and make 2018 even more memorable than 2017.

dear 2018,

I promise to make you wonderful.

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2018 goals

I am a huge goal setter. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for myself all the time because I like to keep myself motivated with them.  So naturally, I had to create this post because the beginning of 2018 is now upon us. I know 2017 wasn’t the best year for everyone, but that just means we can only go up in 2018. Besides the things that were going on in the world, I changed a lot in 2017. However, I am looking forward to 2018, and I hope to change more than just myself- I want to change the world.

And now, the reason you clicked on this post- my goals!

Say “yes” more

I say no to going out and doing things a lot. I am a homebody, and I need time for myself in order to recharge. I haven’t been spending a lot of times with friends over the past couple of months, especially since I started working. Over winter break, I finally had the rest I needed, and I feel like I am ready to go out again.

Go on more adventures

Like I said before, I stay home a lot. When I do go out, it’s always to the same few places, and I don’t mix it up a lot. This year I am hoping to change that. I want to explore new places in my town and in my state. I want to step out of my comfort zone and see all the different sights there are to see.

Use my film camera more

Over the summer, I bought a film camera, and since then, I have only developed one roll of film. I want to take more pictures and actually use the camera, since I spent a lot of money on it. I want to take the pictures so I can turn them into physical memories. I just need to remember to bring the camera with me.

Spend Less money

I have been a shopaholic my entire life. This is my worst trait in my opinion, because it means when I finally have some money, I impulsively buy way too many things that I don’t even need. If I only follow one resolution, I want it to be this one. Wish me luck (I’m really going to need it for this one).

Read for quality, not quantity

In 2017, I read a total of 65 books. My goal on Goodreads was 50, so I definitely surpassed that. However, I was constantly picking up the shorter books from my TBR in order to finish more books. I don’t want to read like this in 2018, because I don’t want reading to be a competition. Therefore, I set my goal to only 1 book this year so that I can still keep track of what I read, but without the added stress of reaching a goal.

Get organized when it comes to blogging

Way back two years ago, when I first began this blog, I was so organized. I planned out each post, I scheduled them weeks in advance, and had all my pictures taken and ready. Now, I write blog posts in a hurry because I find that I never have time to write them. I want this to change. I want to go back to producing quality content. Hopefully this first post will begin this challenge. I also want to get a routine and a schedule for posting.

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Those are all of my goals for this year. What are some of your resolutions?

xo, jessica

top 10 books of 2017

2017 was a really amazing reading year for me, and while I am sad for it to be over, I am also really excited to see how well 2018 goes for me! I read so many great books, so narrowing this book down was extremely difficult! But, I have done it, and here are my top 10 books of the year!

10. Never Never

I absolutely love Colleen Hoover, and I have read so many of her books (and I own so many more). I read this e-book towards the beginning of the year, and while it is really short, it was so fascinating. I haven’t gotten to part 2 or 3 yet (I have no excuse), but just the first part was enough to make me fall in love. Hopefully I will get to the other 2 very soon!

9. Eighteen Years

I just recently finished reading this but it was a great collection of poetry! I wanted to read it for such a long time and then I finally got around to it. It was so emotional and strong.

8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean

This is the finally book in the trilogy, and it was my favorite. It was such a great way to end the story of Lara Jean. I fell in love with the characters even more, and it was so sad to think that it was going to be over. I really enjoyed the book, mostly because the series was really important to me.

7. Caraval

Coming in at number 7 is this widely known book! I absolutely loved reading it and I was so fascinated the entire time. The plot twist was crazy, and the world was so interesting. I am glad I decided to read it, even though it’s not something I would normally pick up.

6. Illuminae

This is another book that I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards but I got it for a really good price online. I was a bit confused by it when I first started it, but soon I was completely hooked. I absolutely need to read the second book, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I highly recommend giving it a try because the style was so unique.

5. The Princess Saves Herself in this One

This was the first book I finished in 2017, and it set my year off on a good start. When I think of poetry, this is the book that comes to mind. Since reading it in January, I now own a total of 3 copies (all signed) and I have read it twice. The poetry is amazing, the author (Amanda Lovelace) is so sweet, and the message is empowering. I suggest this book to everyone and I talk about it so often.

4. Talking as Fast as I Can

If you love the show Gilmore Girls (like I do), then you have to read this book! It is written by Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and it is an autobiography. She talks all about the show in a comedic way, as well as different events in her life. It was so interesting to listen to (I got the audiobook) especially in her voice.

3. Everything Leads to You

This book really showed me a different side of the film industry that I hadn’t thought about in the past, so it was so interesting to learn about. The entire story was also really cute. I will probably be re-reading this soon, too.

2. The Hate U Give

I’m sure you have already heard about this book, but if you haven’t, you need to go read it right now. It was so POWERFUL. It really took my breath away. The story is very relevant to the world right now and deals with race issues (black lives matter movement). I think this needs to be read by everyone, and it would be a great book to read at school.

1. Turtles All the Way Down

This is John Green’s latest novel, and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was such a relief to read a book that accurately portrayed OCD and anxiety. People often think I am exaggerating when my compulsions get the best of me, but they are true. I wish I could hand all of my friends this book to read in order to understand me better. I often don’t know how to phrase my own anxieties, but he did it in the perfect way.

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What were some of your favorite books of the year? I would love to know! Leave it down in the comments 🙂

xo, Jessica

first q&a !

A few weeks ago I asked you all to ask me some questions for a Q&A, and now I’m here to answer them!

What book(s) made a huge impact on you as a kid and now?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Hunger Games. I was obsessed with it and it was one of the first books that I actually couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I was in 6th or 7th grade when I read it, but I think it would be so interesting to re-read it and see if my opinion has changed at all.

Now, there are way too many books that have had an impact on me. To name a few- To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hate U Give, The Princess Saves Herself in This One.

Has a book ever derailed you and completely changed the course of your life?

No, a book has never completely changed my life. There are definitely books that have changed my mindset or made me see things from a new perspective, but not enough to change my life around.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I am planning on going to college to be a public relations major, so I would like to be something under that field. Possible a publicist or a public relations manager. I also hope to be an author, which would be my ultimate goal in life.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I don’t collect anything now, unless books count. When I was younger, I used to collect many random things- rocks, nail polish, etc.

What is your favorite poem and favorite form and why!

I have so many favorite poems. There are honestly too many to choose. One of them is haiku #2 from Madisen Kuhn’s book “Eighteen Years”. I also really love poems by Amanda Lovelace.

I don’t have a favorite poetry form though. I like any style, as long as it is well written. What I look for in poetry is just emotion and an ability to relate to the subject.

If you’d like to answer any of these questions in the comments, feel free to do so! I’d love o know your answers.

Also, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and an amazing holiday season!

See you soon.

xo, jessica

end of the year goals !

I can’t believe it’s already December. This year went by insanely fast but I feel like so much had happened. 2017 was just wild. I am ready to embrace the new year with open arms and see where life takes me.

By the way— my next post is going to be a Q&A so ask me questions on this post if you want!

I have some things left to accomplish by the end of this year still, so here’s to hoping i can complete them all.

  1. Read 65 books- i have already read 63 books, which means I only need to finish 2 more books in about 2 1/2 weeks. I have started multiple books that I have yet to finish, so I should finish at least 2, if not more.
  2. Develop a routine for blogging- I started working a real job back in September, and ever since then, blogging has been extremely difficult. I need to work on setting up a schedule every week so that I don’t fall behind all the time.
  3. Write 35 pages in my journal- I have multiple journals, but I have one that is strictly dedicated to writing poems. I have about 30 pages written in it, but I want to write 5 more. I haven’t done a lot of writing recently, so I want to get around to it.
  4. Finish watching The Carrie Diaries- Yes, this is my third time watching this show, but I can’t get enough. I have less than 1/2 of the second season left, so it shouldn’t take me long to finish.
  5. Start Working Out Again- I haven’t worked out on my own in a really long time. I started fitness in gym class this marking period, so at least I work out a little bit. I really want to get back in shape and actually feel motivated to work out.

journal entries about writing

the thing about writing is that sometimes you feel as though you have nothing to write. you think your words are not worthy enough to be put on paper. but writing is for you. it does not need to meet anyone’s standards. all that you need is a pen and a thought. we all have plenty of those. the rest will follow naturally.

when i write, i can feel all the energy inside me flowing. i feel powerful, indestructible.  words are a vital part of my existence. i would be incredibly lost without them. there’s something inside me that draws me to this art form constantly. this need i have for writing is inescapable.

put the pen to the edge of the paper, my dear, and let the words flow out of you. they don’t need to be perfect, but they still deserve to be said.

 

xo, jessica

17 things i learned being 17

On November 15th, I turned 18. That is INSANE to me. I am officially an adult. This past year has been all about growing and learning for me. I have definitely changed as a person, friend, writer, blogger, and student. Not only did I get my license, but I also started my first official job, finished my college applications (and even got some acceptances back already), and so much more. I know that I will continue to grow everyday, but I wanted to do this post so that you guys can hear some of my advice (no matter what age).

  1. take care of your body.
  2. do what makes YOU happy
  3. it’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out
  4. crying does not make you weak!!
  5. not everyone is meant to stay in your life
  6. be kind to everyone
  7. mistakes are okay
  8. don’t be afraid to show people you care
  9. write everyday
  10. you can say “no” without making up excuses
  11. get off of your phone sometimes
  12. don’t be so negative all the time
  13. don’t let the little things bother you
  14. embrace the future, don’t let it scare you
  15. you are the only one who can make things happen for yourself
  16. stay humble
  17. you are doing just fine

Each of these little lessons/reminders have helped me live a less anxious and happier life. I struggled a lot at the beginning of the year with anxiety and stress, but these tips were really useful. I hope you keep these in mind, and I hope they help you out!

xo, Jessica

end of the year book tag

*featured image from google, not my own*

I can’t believe that in two months, it will be the start of 2018. That’s insane! I feel like 2017 just started, even though a lot has changed in my life since last January.

Reading wise, I have read a total of 60 books so far (meaning I surpassed my goal). I finished the hardest year of high school in June and started my senior year of high school this past September. Although 2017 was a year of growth for me as a person, 2018 will be a year of great change that I am really looking forward to!

Let’s get into this tag now, that was originally created by Ariel Bissett on Youtube!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I am currently reading The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, On Writing by Stephen King, and Eighteen Years by Madisen Kuhn. Those are the only books that I started and have yet to finish, and all other books I started this year I either finished or I DNF’d and don’t plan on finishing. I can’t start a book without finishing it, with the exception of two DNFs this year.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

The books I have been reading recently really aren’t autumnal but I do plan on re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird soon which kind of gives me darker vibes because it does deal with some heavier issues.

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Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Many of the new releases I was excited for have already come out, and I am trying to start a book buying ban so I won’t be starting anymore new releases for a while. I have heard good things about Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi, which comes out this month, but I need to read Furthermore first.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Besides the books I am currently reading, I still want to read We Are The Ants, 1984, and Looking for Alaska. Hopefully I will actually get to those, but my TBR list keeps growing and it can get a bit overwhelming. Plus, I have so many unread books sitting on my shelf, so the mood I’m in really depends on which book I choose to read next.

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Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

We Are The Ants has a lot of potential if I get to it, because I have heard many amazing reviews on it. I have high hopes for it.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Sort of. I have already decided that my goal will be 60 books, which is only 10 more than this years goal. I don’t want to be too ambitious since I will be transitioning into college and I am working a lot more now.

xx, Jess

october wrap up and november tbr

Before I start, I just want to say thank you for 400 followers! It means so much to me 🙂

October was a pretty good reading month for me considering I have school and finished all of my college applications! I hope that November can be just as successful, if not even more. I read 5 books, making my total for the year 59.

October Wrap Up

  • Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo: The ending was really good but didn’t fully make up for the rest of the book. The beginning was extremely slow and I could barely make it through. I didn’t want to DNF it though because I enjoyed the new Wonder Woman movie so much. Unfortunately, I did like the movie a lot more than the book. I think it needed a faster pace since it is a superhero book.
    • rating: 3/5 stars
  • Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia: I initially had some trouble getting into this book and liking the characters, but within a few chapters, I was so drawn. It was the perfect book to read during October because it is about a murder. It was so intense and thrilling. I loved trying to figure out who the killer was. I definitely want to pick up more books like this one.
    • rating: 5/5 stars
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green: I had already posted my review on this book which you can read here. I absolutely loved it. That is all I have left to say.
    • rating: 5/5 stars
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner: I read this book for school so I had a lot of discussions on it in class. Talking about it did help with my enjoyment of it because otherwise I would have been completely lost. You really need to pay attention while reading this book because the chapters are just so strange and confusing.
    • rating: 3/5 stars
  • A List of Cages by Robin Roe: It took a while for me to get used to the two different characters and their point of views, but I ended up really enjoying this book. I had been anticipating reading it for so long and I am glad I was finally able to read it. The ending was sad, heart-wrenching, and beautiful.
    • rating: 4/5 stars

I am proud of the books I read this month, because they were books I really wanted to read. 3 of the books I read were on my October TBR, so I am glad I got those out of my list. Now onto my TBR for November!

November TBR:

I don’t want to put too many books on my TBR this month because I have been finding it hard to pick up books that I assign myself to read. I am a mood reader, so I really have to be interested in a book during a certain time to fully enjoy it. However, I have started a couple of books for this month, and have one more that I hope to finish.

  1. On Writing by Stephen King: NaNoWriMo definitely inspired me to pick this book up. I have been meaning to read it for MONTHS, but I never had the chance. I finally picked it up from my library, and I hope to finish it soon. Although I am not writing a book for NaNo, I decided to start outlining a novel that I will write eventually. This book will hopefully give me some good tips in preparation to write.
  2. Beyond the First Draft- The Art of Fiction by John Casey: This is also another writing book. I had originally seen it in either a blog post or youtube video and decided to pick it up along with my Stephen King book. I haven’t started it yet, but I plan on reading it after On Writing.
  3. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider: I bought this book a couple of months ago and I recently started reading it. It is pretty short and shouldn’t take me too long to finish. I hope to be done with it in the next few days!

 

 

Turtles All The Way Down- Review

As you may have heard, John Green’s new book, Turtles All The Way Down, came out on October 10th. I was extremely excited to read it, because I have loved previous books by him.

I purchased the audiobook and began listening to that a few days after the release. Before I could even get 1/4 of the way through, I knew I had to own the physical copy. On Tuesday, I bought a signed edition from Target, and having it in my hands made me feel so much closer to it. I could actually see the words he had written, and it made the whole experience even better for me.

Goodreads synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

My review:

I immediately fell in love with this book. This was the first book that I truly felt connected to the main character of a novel. I could relate to so many of the thoughts she had and it helped me make sense of my mind. The way John phrased Aza’s anxiety is the best description I have read. It really coincided with my own anxiety, and I could not be more grateful for this novel.

It really focuses on the struggles of everyday life of what it is like to live inside your own head. I feel like I can give this book to someone if I ever had to explain my anxiety to them. For me personally, it is extremely difficult to put my anxiety into words because I can not fully understand it half of the time. But when I read these words, it was as if every thought I had was written out for me.

Not only does she struggle with anxiety, but she also has obsessive thoughts which I can relate to as well. The combination of OCD and anxiety is extremely difficult and draining. You can feel how tired Aza is from suffering from this.

I had tears in my eyes while reading this book.

It was poetic and thought provoking and absolutely everything I needed to read, especially right now.

I think I may have found my new favorite YA book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

xx, jessica