Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MALLORY'S BIRTHDAY + Book Review: "Yes Please"!

It's my FAVORITE HUMAN'S BIRTHDAY! And I really couldn't think of anyone to say better what I'd like to say about you, Mal, than Leslie. Because I've only just realized that you're the Ann to my Leslie (because you're a nurse and beautiful, obviously..and I'm the hyper, over-loving crazy woman! Yay haha)

Happy Birthday - I love you!

AND - that Leslie Knope segway brings me to my second part of this blog entry - my review of "Yes Please!" by none other than Leslie Knope herself..AMY POEHLER!

"Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners?
If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by."
- via Barnes and Noble


I'm going to do these together, because I have a LOT to say about some quotes! 
But first - I LOVED IT. So wonderful, so hilarious, and so right. Amy just shines throughout this book (except at the end when there's a full paragraph on porn..I skipped it. No thanks.), and it definitely came at a time when I needed it. 

Essentially I "live-tweeted" quotes that I liked so I wouldn't have the pain of looking them back up - you're welcome self! High five! Here's some of my favorites (and why I think they're important)::

1// "People who are committing and taking risks become the king and queen of my prom."

Amy is all about taking a chance. You'll find that within the pages of "Yes Please", you'll figure out quickly that Amy's rise to fame wasn't as easy as we all think that fame will be. That you get discovered in the mall one day and skyrocket all the way up - no, that's not quite it. She started by joining comedy groups - and the rest was history. 

This quote is important because I want to be the queen of Amy's prom. (*did I say that out loud?*) Ha, really life is a risk. Any situation you come to has risks, even if it's the most safe thing in the world - but taking the bull by the horns is better. At least that's what Amy says..and Amy = truth.

2// We can all live in peace thinking out way is the best way and everything else is cuckoo."
Everyone else IS cuckoo. Preach, Amy, preach.

3// "The pressure of "What are you going to do?" makes everyone feel like they haven't done anything yet."

SERIOUSLY. I may be the only one in this boat currently (not), but I want to scream that any time someone asks me what the next plan of attack is. I'm trying my best, and while your question may be out of curiosity or genuine concern - it's loaded. It's nosy. It's a comparison to someone's daughter or niece or grandson who's rocking the stock market, living in a high rise apartment and has the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband + 2.5 kids. We're the exact same age and you're comparing my journey to theirs. Not all who wander are lost, friend. Not all.

4// "Watching great people do what you love is a good way to start learning how to do it yourself." 

I love creative people. I love sitting with someone and essentially seeing the wheels in their head turn. It makes me more creative, more open to new things, and better. A better artist, a better writer, a better person. It's practice for life..life, life and better life.

5// "If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier."

I read that and thought "woah, that's HUGE" - because I'm a huge foot planter. I have my way of doing things and it's not always the best. I stomp, I cry out, I fight - that's what I do..instead of letting life go. Letting things go - and seeing the benefits of that instead of letting God take me. God's plan is better (how many times have you heard that? A million.), but I don't always follow. Or I do, and it's more like this:

I'm Sadness 100%. (also, another Amy Poehler plug - go see "Inside Out"!!) There's a new adventure ahead and God doesn't need me as a map, but He needs me. And has to drag me all over sometimes, but eventually I stand. And one day, very soon, I'll stand up and I hope to be a life surfer - not a foot planter. We're working on it.

It's good advice. Plain and simple. And it's funny as hell. It's one of those books you should read when you're in your 20s because you're looking for anything and everything that will make this time easier. That will make you feel less alone.

Go read and go see. 
They're both magic,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday's Mixtape: Teen Wolf Edition!

MTV's greatest show EVER (okay, behind Laguna Beach..for obvious reasons) TEEN WOLF is back for it's fifth season tonight! 

via annabel1811.tumblr.com

I'll be eagerly waiting (no I don't have cable, don't be a jerk about it!) until tomorrow to watch, BUT until then, enjoy some of my favorite tunes from one of my favorite shows!

1// Psychasthenia by William Fitzsimmons

I can't get on board with the giant beard with a bald head, but I can get on board with his dreamy voice. 

2// Crave You (Adventure Club Remix) by Flight Facilities

Every time I hear this song, it makes me want to run. And any song that makes me want to run is a home run in my book! 

3// Bad Moon Rising by Mourning Ritual (ft Peter Dreimanis)

If I ever wanted to be a bad guy, this would be my theme song. My favorite part is when the beat drops and the drums come in! Gives me chills just thinking about it.

 Also, if you have time, look up the original version of this song (by Creedence Clearwater Revival) and then marvel at the complete 360 that they pull! 

4// Night by Zola Jesus

Every song on TW tends to have a creepy overtone, and this one is no exception. I think I like it because you can hear the hurt and passion she's singing about - if that makes any sense. You can just picture whatever she's singing about just by listening.

5// Bright by Echosmith

I really like this song in general right now, so it's fun to get to add it to my TW list! I was thinking that Echosmith would be a one hit wonder (sorry Echosmith fans!) with "Cool Kids" with the way it was being OVERPLAYED CONSTANTLY on the radio - but I was definitely wrong. Keep doing what you're doing, Echosmith. I like it.

And if you ever need any reason to watch Teen Wolf, I'll give you a couple:

images via tumblr.com 

You're welcome,


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline

Hey there! I've changed up my book reviews a bit. My hope is that it looks cleaner and gives you a bit more information, broken down into groups - instead of a jumble of thoughts. Don't worry though,  you'll still get a jumble :) 

"Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by luck or chance. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship. "
via Baker Kline's website
I went into thinking that I probably wouldn't. That it would be some foofy (yup, totally a word) grown up story - like old ladies would read for book club. Instead I found an engaging story, interesting characters, and a history lesson! I love a good history lesson. 
The story itself moves between Vivian (a 90 something firecracker) and Molly (a 17 year old juvie bound teenager). You hear from both of their perspectives - their lives, their current situations, and their pasts. It's almost eerie how similar, yet totally 100% different, their lives have been.
Each woman has gone through their share of trials - even some things I wouldn't/couldn't even comprehend going through. They find a way through them, somehow, and come out the other end with a fierceness. Which, I think is their commonality. I believe that we humans are drawn to others, even if it's just by a personality trait or similar taste in music. We all have a tribe that we belong to, whether or not we want one - and it's our job to do our part within that tribe. We don't have to be best friends, but we all have a part to play. We all have great things that we need to do, which, in turn, helps those around is. Making yourself small isn't the goal in life. It's not helping anyone else.

Vivian and Molly found their tribe. It took years, trains, families, harsh conditions, and time - but it happened. And the best part is that through all of that, through all of the mess that life brings, they weren't bitter..not totally. They could have been the biggest jerks on the planet. The people who have so much heavy hate within themselves that they spread it, because that's the only way they know how. But no, Vivian and Molly learned from each other and spread something different. Hope. And we could all use a bit more hope.

1// “I learned long ago that loss is not only probable but inevitable. I know what it means to lose everything, to let go of one life and find another. And now I feel, with a strange, deep certainty, that it must be my lot in life to be taught that lesson over and over again.” 

2// “I’ve come to think that’s what heaven is—a place in the memory of others where our best selves live on.” 

3// “People who matter in our lives stay with us, haunting our most ordinary moments. They’re with us in the grocery store, as we turn a corner, chat with a friend. They rise up through the pavement; we absorb them through our soles.” 

I think you should read it if you're searching. For something tangible, for something emotional, for something spiritual. We're all looking for something - willingly or unwillingly - and when we take the journey there for what it is, a journey - a life - a good thing, that makes searching all the more great. It's alright to want something, but it's not alright not to go find it. 

Vivian and Molly had things they needed. They tried their hardest to stay away - to keep themselves from being hurt - but in the end they couldn't. They were made for something, and they were made to find each other and that's the beauty of this book. It gives you a little bit more hope that you'll come across people that are meant to be in your life. That are meant to change it. And that's just a nice little thought to have.

- C

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday's Mixtape : June 22nd, 2015.

Today has been spent running, fixing up my apartment (still not done!), a movie called "The One I Love" (it's SUPER weird. Super interesting though.), and a trip to the library. I checked out a few movie soundtracks (holler) and Nick Offerman's book "Paddle Your Own Canoe" and Amy Poehler's book "Yes Please!". Can you tell I'm watching "Parks and Rec" right now? I can't wait to read them.

Now, for some tunes:

1// Little Bitty Dreams by Will Hoge

I think most people can relate to this song - or at least eventually will be. You can spend all your time thinking of all the great things you want to accomplish, but eventually someone will walk in your life and it'll all change. I'm still hoping there's big dreams to be had, together.

2// Snake Eyes by Mumford and Sons

I'm ALL FOR whatever direction Mumford is going - especially if it's the live version!

3// Bad Blood by Taylor Swift feat Kendrick Lamar

I like this version better than the original. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Also, I plan on being famous one day and putting all of my friends in a music video. It's a life goal. #bucketlist

4// Daylight by Mandolin Orange

I don't know anything else about Mandolin Orange, but I do know that I DIG this. SO much.

5// Open Season by Josef Salvat

One of the spin instructors at work introduced me to this song, and I was actually surprised at how much I liked it. Mostly because the instructor and I don't exactly see eye to eye (but that's a whole other story) - but I guess that's the beauty of it. 

Life is full of surprises.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reasons Why (..it's really okay)

I've gone back and forth about doing this post a few times, and decided that it needs to be written. For my sake and for those who feel the way I do. This is for you.

Friday evening I left my house to go spend time with my pops this weekend for Father's Day. I left with a small puppy, Luna. When I came back today, she was not with me.

No, Luna is still alive. She's happy, healthy and living with my parents until a new home is found. See guys, I have decided that Luna should no longer live with me.

It's not her fault. She's not a bad dog. She's actually really fabulous. She's a bit rowdy, but what puppy isn't? She's loving, happy and healthy.

It's unfortunate, and it was a hard decision. I decided she shouldn't live with me for a myriad of reasons, but there's a few that I actually want to discuss publicly.

1. Luna deserves space. 
Luna is three months old and rambunctious. She liked running up and down my stairs and around the floor again and again. She has a never ending stream of energy, it seemed like. My tiny apartment couldn't keep up. I let her hang out on my porch, which is no bigger than a twin sized bed - but there wasn't any grass. And it was on the second floor, making it hard for her to see anything. She deserves a yard and room to roam. She needs that to keep the energy in check. I could not. 

2. Luna was spending 85% of her time in a crate.
Don't call PETA on me, but since I work two jobs, my schedule is weird. It's closing on night & opening 6 hours later sometimes - and sometimes I'm gone most of the day. No one should be cooped up in a crate for hours. It's just not right. Luna needs someone who can spend time with her and can let her stay out of the crate for a while, every day. I could not. 

3. Luna costs money.
Yup, I am pulling the "poor" card. Even with working two jobs, when I was told the fee for having a dog in my apartment, my jaw dropped. And all of the toys and food and brushes she needs? It's a lot. She deserves someone who can make room in their budget for her. I cannot. 

4. Luna needs people.
I tried to love and care for her the best that I could. I did. But, I semi realize now why single parenting is difficult (I know, I know..it's not the same!). There isn't anyone to help when you slacked a bit. There wasn't anyone to come over and let her out when I couldn't, or play with her when I couldn't. She deserves someone (or multiple someones) who have set hours and can give her undivided attention. I could not. 

And that's okay.

All of the dog people out there are probably reading this and thinking it's all excuses. It's all about me, not about her. And you'd be correct.

But to be a good pet owner, you have to make the animal a priority, yes - but you also have to have the kind of schedule and life that opens you up for owning. It becomes a big part of your life, especially when you have them as a baby. Babies require so much work.

But I say all that to also say this - it's totally okay if you aren't a dog person. (again, the dog people are looking at this like "whaaaat?")

If you think something nipping at your heels isn't cute. If barking isn't something you get used to. If videos of dogs swimming in a pool doesn't make you laugh. It's all okay.

Our society is made up of dog people. Everyone and their mother has a dog it seems like, so we all start to think we need one too. We need someone to come home to at night and who loves us unconditionally.

But there are people who like coming home to an empty house. That sit on their couch for a brief (or many brief) moment/s after they've come home from work and sit in silence. That enjoy that time the most because no one's talking to them. No one's expecting anything of them.

And as for unconditional love? I have my humans for that.

All I'm saying is that it's nice. Both sides. Dog people and not dog people - and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to be a dog person, even if it was short. She taught me a lot of things in the brief time that we had together, but the two most important:

1. I am not a dog person.
2. Always be kinder than you feel.

The first is self explanatory. The second is a quote that's been stuck in my brain for a few months now. I have no idea where it's from, but it's had a massive impact on my thoughts and thought patterns lately. It's the notion that regardless of situations, people, places and things - you should be kind. You should see that crap in life as an opportunity to have grace/to give grace.

I felt a lot of frustration this week with Luna, I'm not going to lie. But I tried to see her as the small, baby thing that she was - that she didn't know any better/she didn't know how to express it any better - and love her anyway..because really, that's what I'm called to do in this life. Love anyway.

So there you have it. The one adult decision I have made lately, and I personally think it was the best one. She deserves a good human, that good human just isn't me.

And honestly, if you have the time, patience and love for a sweet baby - let me know. Luna is three months old, healthy and in need of a stable environment that will work with her. (she's not potty trained yet, but working hard at it!)
After all of this, I can't just let her be in limbo. I want what's best for her. And hopefully that's you.

- C

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Review: "Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl" by Jesse Andrews


"Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight."

Well. I'm not sure I'm upset about it, but I didn't like this one at all. I saw the movie trailer in theaters before "Pitch Perfect 2", and thought "I have to see this - it looks so cute!"


Andrew's writing style is crass. It's unapologetic. It's weird. And he tells you that's how it's going to be. He literally writes "If after reading this book you come to my house and brutally murder me, I do not blame you." I should have taken him at his word.

I may not want to murder him, but I don't want to read anything he writes again. 

Here's my issue, besides the crass unapologetic-ness (which I'm sure is a word..ha) - there's zero sympathy. Have you ever been around someone who has little to no sympathy for someone? I have, and it's not fun. I'm never one to ask for someone to take it easy on me, but sometimes, you need it. Andrew's main character, Greg, is essentially forced into a friendship with Rachel - I understand that. I get that. And it's not fun to be forced into things. I also understand that, but,  (*semi-spoiler alert!*) after spending a certain amount of time with her, there's no change in how he feels. Nothing

My best friend of my entire life had cancer, and she would always tell me that she didn't want people looking at her and only seeing cancer. Only being kind because of cancer. Taking special precautions because there's cancer. 

But folks, being a kind human being and being kind because of cancer - that's two different things. I don't think that Greg needed to be kind to Rachel because of her cancer. I'm not even sure his life should have been changed forever because of the cancer, but I do think that there should have been at least some sort of kindness. Some sort of change. And I'm pretty sure the movie will do that. It will give the crass, unapologetic words some life. Some sort of emotion. But, it won't erase the fact that Jesse Andrew's has no sympathy.

I don't recommend this book, and I'm not sure I want to see the movie either. It was a frustrating read, and I'm glad it's over. 

On to the next,

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday's Mixtape: June 15th, 2015 + some links!

Holy moly, I haven't given you all some tunes for a few weeks..oops! These last couple of weeks have included a few meltdowns, some late nights that went straight into early mornings (having two jobs does that to you sometimes), and the heat. OH the heat takes EVERYTHING out of me..it's sort of miserable. #thankfulforairconditioning

Anyway, I'm back and here's a few things I've been listening to lately:

1// Where Are U Now (with Justin Bieber) 
by Jack U, Skrillix and Diplo

I've always had a soft spot for the Biebs. I loved his first album and thought he was so precious. It's hard to continue loving someone after they've done 97% of what he's done in the last few years, but after "Carpool Karaoke with James Cordon" on the Late Show, I remembered why I liked the kid in the first place. Also, this song..it's interesting and I totally dig it.

2// Bloodstream by Ed Sheeran

Just ANOTHER home run by my friend Ed. 

3// Want To Want Me by Jason Derulo

This may be my favorite song of the summer so far! It's just feel good and one that definitely sounds better jamming in the car with the windows down.

But only, not really..because it's too hot outside for that. Ugh.

4// Heavy Crown by Iggy Azalea ft Ellie Goulding

I'm going to be honest, I don't like either of them. Iggy sounds like a man and Ellie's voice is too much for me/I haven't really liked anything she's done. BUT, I like this song for some reason. I'll get back to you when I know the reason..

5// Gold Dust by Galantis

I just found this song this morning & I really like the guys voice. I'm trying to stay away from "club" music outside of work (spin studio = SO MUCH CLUB MUSIC), but I'll make one exception. You're welcome Galantis..whoever you are.

Also, some fun links:

1) I want to be this cool when I grow up.
2) Stiles & Scott 4 EVER. (Sam knows what I'm talking about..ammiright?!)

I'm going to go eat lunch and stare at Chris Pratt for 2 hours now. 
Have a great Monday,

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Favorites 6-12-15

1// 32 TIMES Tumblr Out Tumblr-ed Itself

It's glorious. You'll laugh. You're welcome.

2// "Just Breathe" Cover

Willie Nelson and his son, Lukas, covered Pearl Jam's song "Just Breathe" so freakin amazingly..I literally can't even. I'm obsessed.

P.s. This song makes me cry every time.


Me too, Chris. Me too. 

My love for Chris is at an all time high right now. I'm currently on season 5 of Parks and Rec (I know, I know, I'm late to the party..) and he's my favorite character. And Ron Swanson. And Leslie Knopp. And Ben Wyatt..but, for real..I have mad love for Chris/Andy! Here's a couple of fun things about him/featuring him - since he's around a bit for promoting "Jurassic Park" (which, is on my to-do list for this weekend!):

4// New HAIR

I NEVER thought I'd actually do it, but it's now a little over six inches shorter. A client at work today said "it's sassy..like you!" - so I'm taking that as a compliment and running with it! I love it.


I've talked about my LOVE for puppy bellies on here before, and this last weekend - I got my very own! Her name is Luna, and I love her. She's a total pain in the butt (#puppyproblems), but I think we're going to be a great team!

I'm off to cheer the Rangers on to victory! 
Have a great weekend,

Monday, June 8, 2015


Today is "National Best Friends Day". I've had the same best friend since I was six years old, and I'd so love to be spending the day with her - but, unfortunately, we haven't lived in the same place for a long time - so I'd like to talk a little bit about why I love her instead!

Mal, this is for you babe!

It doesn't matter how long we go without talking - or if someone moves out of the country for two years - you've been there.

I can vividly remember spending hours in your parents living room just playing. We would ask EVERY Sunday if the other could come over - it was almost a given. And then little bit later, being the girl who I would see "Titanic" with, and fall in love with the DiCaprio together (but never allowed to see the "car scene"..ha)

You became my sister

Our lives have always been different - our interests have always been different - but it really always comes back to the fact that I need you in my life. I need that different perspective - the thoughtful, fact checking, scientific mind to my anxious, emotional, artistic mind.

The yin to my yang

I remember my knees totally giving out when your mom called that night 7 years ago, and I couldn't be there. But I knew that this was just a speed bump in the road. That you, you of all people, 
could do this. 

(if that makes any sense)

You have gone through things that I could never even imagine, and come out with the same fight, kindness and strength that I've always admired. 

You deal with the 47 texts that I send you daily (why are you SO BUSY ALWAYS!?), send me memes about the Office (because there's always a time for a Dwight meme!), and new tunes that I end up loving.

Our differences open each others eyes to new things.

Life is better with you. That's all.

Love you forever,

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Favorites: June 5, 2015

I'm so late in the game today, but I love "Friday Favorites" - so I'm going for it. Most of you will end up reading it on Saturday. It's fine. I'm fine.

1// National Running Day and the "Case of the Missing Keys"

Dara and I set out for our own celebration of "National Running Day" and it was great. It was a beautiful morning! We got back to our cars and she realized that she left her keys on the trail somewhere..oops. We walked the whole mile and a half back to our turn around spot with no keys in sight! Dara's husband came to pick us up, and within FIVE MINUTES found the keys. I'm blaming runner's brain. It's the worst sometimes.


I got to spend the afternoon with my friend Rachel and her sweet baby girl, who I've called "Da Cheeks" since she was born. The little nugget has the biggest cheeks on the planet, and I LOVE IT. We played bubbles and clearly, it was a magical afternoon!

3// Gallery Wall!

My little apartment is coming together - I worked on my gallery wall this week, and it's almost finished! If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen a picture of the COOLEST thing ever hung on someones wall - the "Welcome" flag. I spent a good hour and a half in an antique store the other morning and came out with 8 vinyls, that little red X, a silhouette (to the right of the black and white mountain photo - it's this little cowboy!), and my flag. The flag used to hang in Will Rogers Coliseum whenever the rodeo was going on. The sign next to it said "want to own a piece of Fort Worth history?!" and I said YUP.

4// Internet Finds:

YAS to Lizzie McGuire jokes and to the Rock dressed as the Hulk. It's like all of my favorite things came together. Magical.


The lovely HELENE and TAYLOR got together for a giveaway (p.s. if you aren't following them, you SHOULD!) and I WON. I never win anything! And I'm SO EXCITED!

and a bonus #6//

The Beard and I got donuts, snuggled and watched "Bill Nye The Science Guy" after lunch. It was awesome. Being an adult is cool.

Happy National Donut day!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Sometimes, when I don't know what to do with myself, I buy books. This is one of those books.

"A Little Something Different" is just that. Something different. 

The story is told from 14 different view points - none of which were the main character. (I didn't notice that until someone else pointed it out! Thank you, GoodRead-ers!)

I'll give you the synopsis (from GoodReads.com), and then we can get right to it:

"The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together...."

Let's be 100% honest and up front - it's a fluffy book. It's cheesy, predictable, gooey and one you can read in about 6 hours (if you're speedy). And I have a few problems with it:

1// The different viewpoints:
There's 14. Their creative writing teacher, the random Chinese food delivery guy, the bus driver (who reminded me of Jerry from Parks and Rec - anyone? :) ), random friends, a squirrel, and a park bench. 

I'm not kidding, the author decided to throw in a squirrel and a park bench. 

I totally am into having differing viewpoints a la "Eleanor and Park", but this one got to be too much. You heard too much from everyone. The people closest to the main characters (Lea and Gabe) were helpful and kind, because they knew the couple. They invested in them. The creative writing teacher, bus driver and diner waitress were okay - the rest? Unimportant and could have been left out. 

2// The big secret? Not big at all.
Y'all, total spoiler alert here, but Gabe was in a car accident and was injured. Granted, he lost hearing in one ear, but for some reason, the author needed to make a bigger deal about it. Hall mounted all of this tension - hinting here and there that something with Gabe wasn't quite right - and it just fell flat. Womp.

3// WE GET IT.
They're "supposed" to be together - I understand that's your whole deal, but Lord, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. 

I'm almost completely exhausted reading about characters that won't DO anything. They're pegged as this weird, emo, "messed up" kid - and people just sympathize. They are celebrated for their individuality (which I am NOT sick of - you do you, boo boo!), but never helped out. Never told to grow - not really. Never given the opportunity to change.

I don't know if any of that makes sense, but I'm just tired of the same character. I love YA fiction, but sometimes I think I'm better off reading something else.


All in all, I didn't love it. But I didn't hate it. There are just some things I can't get over and don't agree helped the plot, characters or story along at all. But I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book - because yes, Bob the bus driver, is right.

You're never alone,

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Running Day: 20 Things Running Has Given Me

Most of you probably don't know the significance of this day. 
Then again, some of you probably do. 

It's National Running Day.

I spent my morning with my running friend, Dara - and we did our normal 3 miler. It was great. The weather was perfect, and I'm always down to have lengthy conversations with her. She hears all the good stuff - ha.

But really, I'd like to stop and take a minute to recognize the sport, the pastime, the hobby that is running - and why it's so important to me. Inspired by my favorite running blogger the Hungry Runner Girl, here are 20 Things Running Has Given Me!

1// It's given me hours upon hours with my Dad. My father and mother are the people I most love in this world (followed closely by my brother, sister, sister in law and the kids!), and it's always my favorite time of the week when my dad and I get to do "long runs". He's the reason I even started running in the first place, and I'm so thankful that we can keep doing "our thing" forever. Love him. 

2// It's been a blessing for my anxiety. I have a constant weight on my chest all day, every day because of this crappy thing called anxiety, but when I'm running..it's gone. It's replaced with all of the good things - sweat, joy and "runners high". 

3// Body confidence. I still have my days where I don't like myself (we all do!), but it's shown me that this body is bad ass. This body has carried me through 2 marathons, 5 half marathons, multiple 10k's, countless 5k's, and many, many training miles. It does more than it's fair share, and I love it for that.

4// A reason to eat all the things and nap for hours on Saturdays. Saturdays are my favorite day. Working through a long run and coming home, taking a shower, eating a hamburger and then napping? That's the best day.

Also, donuts. And ice cream.

5// Passion for something. It's this huge part of my life and so I'll probably try and convince you to do it once in our friendship. Sorry I'm not sorry.

6// A way to get out my anger, sadness, aggression. Nothing feels as good as tiring yourself out - pounding on the pavement instead of someone - and then being done. You're free from all of the crap because you left it somewhere else.

7// It's a way to be mindful of what I'm putting into my body and how I should be taking care of it. I joked about burgers, donuts and ice cream earlier (and I'll never give them up!) - but running has given me the chance to explore the notion that "food is fuel". Whatever you put into your body, that's what you'll get out of it. If you feed yourself crap, you'll feel like crap. All day. If you feed yourself good things, you'll definitely feel good.

8// It's made me into a shoe snob. Same thing with food, but with shoes - if you have the right sneaks, all the good things happen and your body will love you long time!

9// A constant. When life hands you everything all at once, there's really not much you can do about it. But I have running. I have my shoes, my time and fresh air. 

10// New friends! I used to be opposed to anyone and everyone running with me, except for my dad. I was nervous about everyone seeing me and how slow I run (p.s. I may be slower than you, but I will go farther..ha!). But running has made me all kinds of new pals! Dara especially! But, when you're out on the trails, people talk to you. We discuss the next phase in training, the shoes we have one, how many miles we have left - it's a family. A big, weird family that likes to get up early and run - but I like them.

11// It's a way to honor those that I have loved and lost. Neither my uncle or my grandfather did a lot of running in their lives, but each time I get up to run, I'm reminded of them. Reminded that I need to take care of myself, and be there for the rest of my family when they no longer can. I run for them.

12// A healthy way to channel my competitive nature. It's a way that I can be competitive, but still reminds me that the only person that I'm racing - the only person I'm bettering, is me. No one else. 

13// It's given me cool experiences. Running through colored dust? Done. Getting high fived my a man in a gorilla suit when it's 95 degrees outside? Done. Being handed a beer at mile 4 of 6? Done. And seeing my best running friend finish her first marathon? DONE.

14// It's a way to figure out new music and podcasts! What songs work with running 4 hours and what songs totally don't. Will "Serial" end before my 5 hour run? Possibly. 

P.s. I'm still not finished with "Serial". Oops.

15// It's made me fall in love with my city. Cowtown officially gave me a reason to see everything and discover how stinkin' COOL this place is! It makes me excited to live here.

16// It's given me bragging rights. Oh, you just got up? Yeah, I've already ran 15 miles. I mean, who really doesn't love to brag a little? :)

17// It's given me a chance to visualize something that I want and to train hard to get it. With life and running, you can have big dreams and work hard to complete them! And then from there you can figure out new dreams - it's endless!

18// It's shown me a new side of my little momma. She comes to each and every race, makes sure she's at certain miles, and is the ultimate cheer squad. Whenever I'm in a funk during the race, I know that if I just get to where mom is, I'll have a jolt of new energy.
It's also given us time away from running - just the two of us - which I always look forward to. I love her.

19// It just gives me a reason to be more thankful for the things outside of running. It points me towards them even more.

20// It's made me better. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I honestly don't know where I'd be right now if I hadn't started running. I started originally because my dad was doing it, but more importantly because I was depressed. I don't think I was ever clinically depressed, and I'm not saying I'm on the same level as someone who is - but the deep hole was there. I had just been broken up with and couldn't shake it for a while. It was easier to stay inside, but I think my dad knew I needed something. Anything. 

At first I could barely run a minute without stopping. Most people say they could barely do a mile, but I was out of shape. But slowly, week after week, workout after workout it got easier. I still had a lot of fear over the next few years (about whether or not the run would go well/if I could do it, etc), and that eventually went away as well. 

I wear an identification bracelet on my wrist every run. It has my parents information on it, and it says that I have no previous medical anything. But it also has "you are strong. You are loved" printed on it. My mom said (and still says) that to me when I first started running. It was her way of scooting me out the door because she knew it to be true. And now I know it to be true - and you should too.

You are strong.
You are loved,