Love and Gelato Book Review // the perfect summer travel YA read

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title: Love and Gelato

author: Jenna Evans Welch

category/genre: YA contemporary romance

rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

book depository* // barnes & noble // bookshop


LOVE AND GELATO is perfect for fans of 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES and MAMMA MIA. Jenna Evans Welch takes readers on a journey about discovering one’s family and true love while exploring the gems of Italy!

I was in such a reading slump before I picked up this book on a whim. LOVE AND GELATO has been on my TBR for the longest time, so I decided to finally read it. I instantly fell in love with the mystery of Lina’s father that intertwined perfectly with romance. Jenna sprinkled journal entries throughout the book that kept the intrigue growing. So many times I screamed at the book to let me keep reading Lina’s mom’s journal before returning to Lina’s story. The journal entries truly brought to life Lina’s mom’s journey through Italy, and those entries brought my rating up to a five-star rating. I fell in love with both characters simultaneously.

Lina’s final love interest became quite obvious as soon as the second “love triangle” character was introduced. As Lina’s mom’s journal developed, the ending became quite clear. I still love how the romance was messy, though. Nothing was easily accepted as “Oh my gosh, I’m so in love with you! Of course we would date.” No, the romance was handled really well for allowing each character to have their space to acknowledge their feelings before discussing them with each other. I found the romance to be really respectable for Lina as well as her mother. I found it interesting how Lina’s mother explained truly being in love towards the end of the book. I hope to one day have a love similar to this book. Crazy? Perhaps.

Love and Gelato Instagram photo

I do wish the characters had more depth to them. I love a good flawed character, but most of these characters felt one-dimensional. The easy characters helped me fly through this book, but the book needed to be more character-driven than plot-driven. I am pumped Addie gets a book in the sequel LOVE AND LUCK, but I needed more from Ren and Thomas and Howard. Basically the men needed more depth for me to truly fall in love with them.

Also, the timeline seemed insane to me. While I’ve never experienced jet lag, I could not imagine being able to solve the entire mystery of who my father is within five days after landing in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. I kept moving the timeline throughout the entire summer in my mind before timeline tags happened saying it was only a night or morning since an event occurred. I think extending the plot to occur over an entire summer would have made more sense.

Overall, I am excited to read the rest of the series. Basically, I’ll be traveling this quarantined summer through Jenna Evans Welch’s books.

What’s your favorite travel book? Do you have any places you would love to travel to in the next decade? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

What’s On My Summer 2020 TBR

Hello again!

It has been quite some time since I last sat down to write a blog post (see my Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes review from freakin’ MAY!). I figured if any kind of post could jumpstart my blogging slump a Top Ten Tuesday would be the one. My TBR has been all kinds of an organized mess so far this summer, so I am glad to prioritize ten books I want to read this season.

Let’s jump right in…

you say it first by katie cotugno

You Say It First cover

Katie Cotugno is an auto-buy author for me now. I won an ARC of 99 DAYS forever ago, and I have been hooked since. I absolutely love everything Katie writes, so when I saw a new book by her I immediately bought it. This book seems like a perfect mix of romance, humor, and politics. I can’t wait to read an opposites attract trope!

love and gelato by jenna evans welch

Love and Gelato cover

I have eyed up Jenna Evans Welch’s books for more than a few years now. Barnes and Noble had a deal starting this past week, so I finally bought the first book in this series. From the synopsis, I got Mamma Mia vibes. I am LIVING for it! I know this will be the perfect summer read.

six of crows by leigh bardugo

six of crows cover

I know, you’re probably thinking, “YOU HAVEN’T READ THESE BOOKS YET?” Well, I tried reading her Grisha trilogy and could not get into it. When quarantine hit, however, I decided to jump aboard this series train and order SIX OF CROWS. I’ve been told this series is what gets people interested in the Grishaverse. With the Netflix show in production, I was getting a serious case of FOMO.

with the fire on high by elizabeth acevedo

With the Fire On High cover

I adored Elizabeth’s THE POET X along with the rest of the world. WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH comes highly recommended by Shealea (an amazing member of the book community!!) but has sat on my shelf for a year. I have decided this summer will be the summer of WTFH.

you don’t live here by robyn schneider

You Don't Live Here cover

Robyn Schneider is another one of my auto-buy authors. She released a new book this summer that tackles being bisexual, society’s expectations, and probably so much more. I cannot wait to dive into this book which will be sure to make me cry. If you haven’t read any of her other books yet, please do!

peter and the starcatchers by dave barry and ridley pearson

Peter and the Starcatchers cover

PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS is part of my ‘12 Book Recs From 12 Friends‘ challenge as recommended by Evie. Evie is an absolute angel, and she always has the best book recommendations. I have known her for just over a year now from book club. I cannot wait to read one of her favorite books this year!

the beautiful by renee ahdieh

The Beautiful cover

When this book came out, I heard so much hype about vampires returning to YA. One of my best friends recommended this book to me last year, and I never got around to it. After another one of my friends, Hannah Marie, watched THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, I knew I needed to get a vampire fix from somewhere. I am pumped to jump into a vampire world again.

unfiltered by lily collins

Unfiltered cover

UNFILTERED is definitely a shift from all of the above books. I fell in love with Lily Collins in THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS movie, though, and I got this book from a thrift shop a while ago. I am trying to incorporate non-fiction books into my TBR for the rest of 2020 (and beyond!). When I saw this one sitting on my shelf, I knew this would be my next NF read.

queen move by kennedy ryan

Queen Move cover

In the past year, I keep adding romance books to my TBR in order to expand my comfort zone. Through Instagram, I found The Romancetheque Book Club which always strives to bring in a variety of romance. I can’t wait to dive into this book since it’s a childhood friend to lovers trope. Nothing is truly more wholesome.

becoming by michelle obama

Becoming cover

BECOMING was also a book rec for my ‘12 Book Recs from 12 Friends’ challenge. This turned into a buddy read from Amber who recommended the book. I absolutely have been failing at the buddy read, but I hope to fall into a routine with my busier work schedule soon to allow me to read more. The chapters I have read, though, blow me away. Michelle is an amazing writer, and I can’t wait to fall into its rhythm.

stamped by jason reynolds and ibram x. kendi

Stamped cover

I added this book to my TBR when it first released, but I didn’t realize it was a YA version of Ibram’s STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING. When I saw C. Forte’s read-along starting on Juneteenth, I knew now was the time! I am still waiting on my order for STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING, but I’m hoping to supplement the two titles together.

What’s on your summer TBR? Have any bucket list items for summer? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (spoilers!!) book review

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cover

title: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

author: Suzanne Collins

category/genre: YA dystopian

book depository* // barnes & noble // amazon

Whew! I can’t even begin to say just how much I prepared for this book. If you didn’t read my last post, I rewatched all the movies and re-read all the books in the week leading up to BALLAD OF SONGBIRD AND SNAKE’s release date. I hadn’t read the books since 7th grade, and I am really glad I re-read the books prior to reading the prequel. That has been my number one recommendation for anyone who says they are going to read the prequel. Make sure to revisit the world and characters before diving into this prequel.

In the prequel, I legit gasped after reading the first page. We discover Tigris is the cousin to Coriolanus Snow (I’ll be calling him Snow), and I was intrigued to see just how Tigris ended up hating Snow by Mockingjay. We don’t get to see the shift, but I now know whatever Snow does is big enough to destroy his relationship with his cousin. That’s an entirely different level of villain if Snow can turn his adoring family against him.

Speaking of Snow’s family, I began to understand where Snow learned a lot of his beliefs and tendencies when introduced to his grandmother. His grandmother clung to pre-war beliefs which I saw mirrored in Snow’s behavior. Obviously this does not make anything he does in these books forgivable. He takes his grandmother’s beliefs and twists them from terrible to a real-life nightmare. I went through this entire book reminding myself just how terrible Snow acted in the trilogy. Since the book is in third person limited, we get to see Snow’s rationale for his actions. This is where I saw the connections between his upbringing and his beliefs.

Moving on to the romance in the book, I had troubles with Snow’s relationship with Lucy Gray. Their relationship was pitched as romantic. I would categorize it as obsessive and manipulative. I don’t believe Lucy Gray ever loved Snow. Perhaps a crush prior to the Games, but she thought she was gong to die and never have to deal with him again. Snow’s behavior from the very beginning before he ever met Lucy were obsessive and possessive. (Yes, that rhymes, and I’m proud of it.) He keeps referring to Lucy as ‘his girl’ during the process before the Games and afterwards. Snow assumes Lucy is in love with him and gets jealous way too easily. He assumes the worst of her when she discusses her ex-boyfriend or has any interaction with other men. I quite frankly did not like this relationship.

Once Snow becomes a Peacekeeper and heads to District 12, I knew things weren’t going to go well. I hated how Snow assumed Lucy would be overjoyed by his appearance in her District. At the end of the book, Lucy runs away from Snow in the woods. At this point, I brushed over all of their interactions. I did not like their encounters or how things played out. Once Lucy runs away, all of the obsessive behaviors I saw in Snow became magnified. He did not hide any of it. I am surprised Snow just left the woods assuming Lucy was dead, and I’ll share why in a little bit.

Most of this book dragged for me. I sped through each of THE HUNGER GAMES’ books in the days before jumping into BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES. I prepared myself mentally for reading this book in a day, maybe two. Technically, I finished this book in two days’ span of time. I tried to spend an entire day reading this book, but the pace was too slow for my liking. I believe this book dragged since I wasn’t in first person point-of-view, and Snow wasn’t technically IN the Games (except for those few random moments). After re-reading the trilogy, I did not prepare myself for the density of this story.

I loved seeing Snow’s hand in developing the Games into what it is in the trilogy. The Games prior to Snow are unrecognizable. I would even go out to say Snow made the Games more humane in some ways while dehumanizing it in many many ways. Since BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES only goes up to when Snow becomes a Gamemaker, I would like to read another installment of Snow’s history solely to see how he develops the Games more and actually becomes president of Panem. I was hoping for more of a direct connection with this book and the trilogy. Another installment would do that for me.

Okay, time for my theory as to how Snow’s hatred of Katniss and obsession with Lucy Gray are connected. In this book, we see Snow’s hatred for mockingjays develop in the hangings. The mockingjays echo the screams of the dead which would be traumatic for anyone. We also learn the origin of The Hanging Tree (which Katniss learns from her father and sings in a propo for District 13) comes from Lucy Gray’s ex-boyfriend. Lucy Gray sings it multiple times at concerts and the such. Snow hates it from the beginning, but Lucy Gray uses it as a signal for Snow to meet up with her towards the end of the book. Snow mentions in the book how the mockingjays stop singing when Lucy Gray starts singing. Peeta says the exact same thing about Katniss and her father in the trilogy.

Are you ready for this?

I don’t think Lucy Gray died in the woods. Snow never looks for her body. No, she survived. And she continues to live in the Seam. She lives a low-profile life as Snow rises in ranks in the Capitol. Perhaps Snow even keeps tabs on Lucy, but who knows? What I do think, however, is that Lucy Gray is Katniss’ ancestor. Maybe a grandmother, perhaps a great-grandmother. I think Lucy Gray is Katniss’ father’s mother. The mockingjays stop singing for all of them. They all lived in the Seam of District 12. The timing would be accurate for Lucy Gray to be Katniss’ grandmother. Katniss and her father are, at the very least, somehow connected to the Covey clan. But this is also why I need a second installment of Snow’s books. I need to see if my theory is true.

Phew! Okay, I did it. I struggled so much to write this review, but I think I laid it all out well. If you’ve read this far, let me know what you think of my theory. If you haven’t read the trilogy in a while, I recommend revisiting! Nostalgia has powered me through this quarantine, especially with all my favorite middle school authors releasing new books this year.

xo,

Charley

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I Rewatched/Reread ‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy in a Week

Welcome!

I want to preface this post by saying I LOVED THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies in middle school. I only read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy once in sixth grade (nearly a decade ago!!) and never picked it up again. Only recently did I begin re-reading books (see my Sarah Dessen Summer Readathon). I have seen the movies numerous times, but only when they first released in theatres. I may have watched my DVDs once or twice, but I have not watched any of the movies since my junior year in high school (four years ago!). Needless to say, I have not consumed HUNGER GAMES content for more than a few years.

rewatching the films

With quarantine draining my motivation, I decided to watch the movies after I finished my finals’ work for the day. I completely spaced on the fact BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES released within the week. I had not watched the first film since seventh or eighth grade, so I had a general sense of what happened. I forgot a lot of the details, though.

In the first movie, I could tell the budget was lower than the rest of the films because people weren’t sure how well it would do. I forgot how bad Peeta’s hair looked. His hair is so stiff through the entire movie. I also forgot how sassy Peeta was in the movies. As I re-read the books, I laughed at his sass 1000x more. The first scene I cried at with THE HUNGER GAMES movie was Katniss volunteering for Prim. I know, it’s literally less than 30 minutes into the film. This became such a common reoccurence.

I fell in love with Katniss and Peeta all over again. As I watched the first film, I truly appreciated Haymitch and Effie more than I did as a middle schooler. Perhaps that’s a sign that I’m truly an adult. I don’t know. Haymitch’s relationship with Katniss made me cry because he became like a father figure to her through the films. He took care of her but also pushed her in the arena. Effie became just as attached.

By the end of the first film, I was pretty sure I had felt all the emotions and could not cry anymore. I was wrong. Within a few minutes into CATCHING FIRE, I was a mess again.

I knew where the movie ended, so I was prepared for those emotions. For the majority of CATCHING FIRE, I was frustrated with Katniss being blind to her emotions. Actually, I think she just wouldn’t allow herself to truly feel her emotions towards Peeta to protect him from herself. She saw herself as broken, but Peeta helped Katniss see herself as whole again. Katniss helped Peeta, too, in numerous ways.

The scene that got me crying in CATCHING FIRE was when Katniss asks Peeta to stay with her on the Victory Tour. I was not prepared for that scene to bring up so many emotions. I loved everything between them in this film. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson truly brought these characters to life so well. When they kiss in the arena on the beach, I could see the moment in Lawrence’s eyes that Katniss realized how much she loved Peeta. CATCHING FIRE truly did a wonderful job of developing their romance in the film. And, yes, I bawled at the end even though I knew how it ended.

MOCKINGJAY PART ONE was frustrating for me with how much Katniss relied on Gale. What really made me frustrated was how much the film has Katniss and Gale kissing. They kiss way more in the movies than in the books. Perhaps this it to play up the love triangle, but at this point in the films everyone knows Katniss will end up with Peeta. CATCHING FIRE made that obvious. Gale as a whole made me upset. This is how I feel about Gale:

I started crying when Katniss first sees Peeta. In MOCKINGJAY PART TWO, I bawled at the first sight of Peeta. I basically cried any time Peeta was on screen for the last two movies. For PART TWO, I cried five minutes into the film all the way to the meadow scene. Josh Hutcherson did a phenomenal job acting as hijacked Peeta. Rewatching these films reignited my love for Peeta but also Josh Hutcherson. I even made a TikTok about Josh Hutcherson.

I don’t know how much else I can speak about the films because I basically cried through watching all of them. By rewatching the films, though, I realized how much I missed THE HUNGER GAMES. This led me to listening to the first book on audio while working. Once I reached the halfway mark of the audiobook, I realized BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES released the following Tuesday. At that point, I figured out I could actually reread the entire trilogy before the prequel released if I read a book a day.

rereading the books

While listening to THE HUNGER GAMES audiobook, I was surprised by my enjoyment of the first six chapters. I know this is odd, but I specifically remember my entire friend group (myself included) discussing how slow the first six chapters of the book were in middle school. While I was listening, I appreciated how well Suzanne Collins wove in history with action. She did a great job of keeping the pace of the book moving while explaining the intricate history of Panem.

Peeta and Katniss’ connection in the books is more obvious than the films. Gale truly never stood a chance to book Peeta. He has sass, can bake, and helps Katniss see the best parts of herself. Gale meets Katniss where she’s at, but he was just someone who helped her through a tough part of her life. He was never meant to help her grow as a person. The intimate moments between Peeta and Katniss made me cry. I even knew what a majority of those moments were going to be from watching the films, but I still cried!

I finished the audiobook in less than two shifts at work. I even started the first few chapters of CATCHING FIRE, but I finished reading it physically. I read CATCHING FIRE in an afternoon, and I loved how Peeta is rebellious in his thinking. He is more subtle than Gale, though, which I appreciated. He knows how to work the crowd into seeing it as compassion instead of a direct rebellion against the Capitol.

When Peeta brings up a baby, I was confused at first as to how anyone could think Katniss got pregnant. Then I remembered from the train on their Victory Tour and the time before the Games in the Capitol where they slept in the same bed. Naturally, everyone else thought they were having sex, but they weren’t. Peeta is quite something in CATCHING FIRE.

On another Peeta note, I love how Suzanne Collins develops his character more by showcasing him as more than just a baker. I got more glimpses into Peeta’s life pre-Games in CATCHING FIRE. Everything made me fall in love with him more. Katniss also fell in love with him more. The beach scene in the book confirmed my movie suspicions where Katniss truly knows she is in love with Peeta at this point. She doesn’t outright say it, but she describes it as more of a warm feeling when she forgets about the Games. This is where I get the idea she’s trying to protect Peeta from herself since she won’t acknowledge her love for Peeta. But I also have to remember she’s only 16/17 in these books.

When I finished CATCHING FIRE, I forgot Katniss actually saw Gale and was in District 13. The film ended earlier than the book did for dramatic effect. When I started MOCKINGJAY, I knew I had to finish it that day since BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES came out the next day. While I flew through the book, I still cried numerous times. I took a TikTok break or two to control my emotions. In the book, I got so frustrated with how clingy Gale was to Katniss. The scene where they makeout in District 2 got my blood boiling. He KNEW at this point how in love Katniss was with Peeta. Gale literally says he will never be with Katniss while Peeta is around because she loves Peeta. Gale just needed to let her go, especially when he got jealous of Finnick simply talking to Katniss. Like, Gale just… he just needs to stop.

MOCKINGJAY really brushed over a lot of the deaths, too. I nearly missed Finnick’s death (I KNOW!) since I was reading so quickly. Prim’s death is seen more through Katniss’ grief than in action. Suzanne Collins brilliantly showed Katniss’ grief in the following months. I loved how well everything flowed together and emphasized Haymitch’s importance in Katniss’ life. He understood her on a new level after Prim’s death. I appreciated their relationship developing after the Games.

Peeta returning to District 12 made a bigger impact on me than in the films. Obviously, I cried during the movie. But in the books, Peeta is literally planting bushes in memory of Prim when Katniss catches him outside. I love Katniss’ reaction of finally taking a shower, getting dressed, and eating once Peeta returns. He really brings her to life again. But she also anchors him at the end of MOCKINGJAY. Together they are literally unstoppable.

I would also like to take a moment to appreciate how Suzanne Collins foreshadows the end of MOCKINGJAY in CATCHING FIRE. This queen has Katniss talking about seeing Peeta with his future children playing in the meadow in a world free of the Capitol and its Games. Like… let’s just take a moment. There were multiple other moments of foreshadowing throughout the books. I could never have truly appreciated these books without re-reading them at least once. I can see myself reading these books numerous times in the future. I can only imagine what more I can notice with every reading.

If you made it this far, please comment below your thoughts! I feel like I ran a marathon writing all my reactions and thoughts to the movies and books in one post. I am currently reading BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, but I will be sure to write a (probably spoiler-filled) review within the next week.

xo,

Charley

may 2020 bullet journal flip-through

Welcome!

I finally got around to creating my May bullet journal after barely using my April spreads. Maybe someday I’ll show the world my April bujo, but for right now I wanted to share spreads I’m super excited for showing!

After two months of quarantine, I decided I needed to mix things up a bit. In April, many of my spreads went unused since they didn’t fit my quarantine lifestyle. I really wanted to embrace the life changes in this month. In order to do this, I adapted a lot of my spreads into my weekly spread. I have been taking things day-by-day and week-by-week instead of an entire month at a time.

Let’s jump right into it:

May 2020 bullet journal cover
artist cred: @sarafaber_

I found this picture on Pinterest, and I cut out the girl for my May cover page. I pinned this picture a while ago to use in my bullet journal, but I just never got around to it. When I was feeling creatively drained at the beginning of this month, I pulled it out to give me a jumpstart. Something about how peaceful she looks really made me want to be her.

artist cred: @sarafaber_

I actually ended up following Sara Faber on Instagram after I discovered who the artist was! I love the style.

artist cred: @sarafaber_
Deuteronomy 30:19 verse page
Deuteronomy 30:19

In April, I started working through Sadie Robertson’s LIVE book, and she used this verse for a reference. I absolutely fell in love with it. I love the idea that I have a choice each day when I wake up. I have it posted above my desk right now. I wanted to remind myself that even in these safer-at-home orders and relentless negative media, I have a choice for my response to my circumstances. (Let me know if you want a full post on these thoughts!)

Monthly calendar may bujo 2020

If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably immediately looked for the ‘y’ stamping effect in May.

I legitimately bought an alphabet stamp set without a ‘y’ and chose the month of MaY to use them. I tried my best to not make it super obvious, but it’s hard. A stamp is a stamp, you know? I still really love how the calendar came out. It was my first time this year making it a two-page horizontal spread. I wasn’t convinced I would have enough room for my ‘Important’ column, but this turned out better than expected!

What I devoured bujo spread
artist cred: @sarafaber_

Here is where I combined a few different spreads, and I used up more of Sara Faber’s drawing. I combined my ‘What I Devoured’ spread with my goals tracker. I felt like I have been watching more shows and movies than reading lately, so I needed a space to plan my TBR and watchlist. April really had me floating in a limbo space. By making an intentional TBR, I hope it helps me become more motivated to read again. On the right, I have what I actually read, watched, and accomplished. I needed to have a space to track what I actually did during the month since I ended April feeling very unaccomplished.

I started my first weekly spread out for next week. I work the rest of this week, so I didn’t feel like I would have enough time to complete a to-do list. I’m excited to start planning out my weekly to-do list, though. I created three boxes under each day to prioritize three things from my weekly list to complete each day. I’m hoping this helps my productivity because I won’t be as overwhelmed by the impending list.

bullet journal weekly spread finance and habit trackers

With the right side, I put a weekly finance tracker instead of having a monthly tracker. My finances are pretty fixed since my work is currently only allowing a certain amount of hours each week. I also haven’t been spending as much due to quarantine. I also added in a weekly habit tracker. I usually fail at using habit trackers, but I thought this would be helpful for me to hit daily goals.

weekly spread trackers

And that’s my bullet journal for May! I hope you enjoyed it. This month is definitely a different look for me, especially with my color scheme. I really wanted to incorporate Sara Faber’s artwork style, and pink naturally came to me. I dialed it down a lot with the neutrals, but I’m feeling it for May. ✌

What has been the biggest change for you in quarantine? Do you like the combined weekly spread look? Let me know in the comments!

As always, you can follow me on Pinterest for more bujo content. You can usually tell when I’m about to start new spreads or what my theme will be from this board.

xo,

Charley

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My Quarantine TV Show Watchlist

Welcome!

During this quarantine, I have found myself watching more TV shows on Netflix this past month and a half. I wanted to share a few of the shows I have found comfort in watching!

girl meets world

Girl Meets World (TV Series 2014–2017) - IMDb
Google Images

I started watching this show after using the first episode as part of a lesson plan for school. When I was younger, I grew up watching Boy Meets World, so I had been meaning to watch Girl Meets World since it came out. This was exactly the show I needed during a stressful time. I loved everything about the characters: their development, support with each other, and personalities. Seriously, I used the first episode to show how secondary characters necessarily support the main character. THAT’S how good they are. I will say the love triangle gets a bit ridiculous towards the end, but the show gets better.

new girl

New Girl (TV Series 2011) - Trailer - YouTube
Google Images

If you follow me on Twitter, then you definitely know just how quickly I fell in love with this show. I legitimately watched half a season a day for the past few weeks. I couldn’t get enough of the brilliant way the writers developed the romantic relationships over several seasons. Nick and Jess were my favorite couple, and the show wrecked me when they broke up. But I also cried several times with all the proposals and romantic gestures. Don’t get me wrong: the show is not a rom-com. It’s definitely a comedy-centered show.

this is us

Watch This Is Us Episodes at NBC.com
Google Images

This Is Us was the first show I caught up on while in quarantine. I was a season and a half behind from the last time I watched it. I started watching the show when it first premiered since I loved the premise and Mandy Moore with Milo Ventimiglia. Catching up wrecked me emotionally since the show makes me cry once an episode. I couldn’t believe just how powerful the latest season was for character development in the show. I definitely recommend this for anyone who is a writer simply due to the grace it approaches the complex plot lines.

normal people

Normal People (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb
Google Images

This show is actually on Hulu, but I definitely recommend if you are looking for a moving and aesthetically-pleasing show. I am a third of the way through the show, and I am in love. The show brilliantly displays the difficulty of relationships and societal pressures. I literally fell in love with Marianne and Connell within two episodes. I may have cried, too.

never have I ever

Never Have I Ever Netflix
Google Images

I have only watched the first few episodes of this show, but I absolutely am in love with the characters. The way the show is approaching grief so far is raw. I can’t wait to dive into the show more over the next week.

Which shows have you watched during quarantine? Any shows you recommend rewatching? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Self-Quarantine Diaries No. 02

Welcome!

A few weeks ago, I shared a few reflections on my first week in quarantine due to COVID-19. I had been furloughed by work, started my first experiences with online classes, and started a puzzle. Well, a month later, a lot has changed.

To begin, I went back to work in a very limited sense. My work is only fulfilling curbside orders or ship-to-home orders for books. The biggest focus is having us rearrange the entire store and deep clean everything. I returned to work on Tuesday, and I legitimately could barely walk by the end of my shift. I had moved bookshelves, loads of books, and laughed with my coworkers again. I know I am incredibly blessed to be back at work.

Which leads me to my next change: I am giving back to my community. With the stimulus check and returning to work, I have some extra money to provide to my community. I have shopped a few small businesses, ordered contactless delivery food, and donated to food banks. My donations are nothing huge, but I know the difference a small act can make. I encourage you, if you can, to look around your home and see if you can help in any way you can. Perhaps it’s staying within your home.

Before quarantine, I bought two puzzles with the idea that I would have an abundance of time. I didn’t even finish one puzzle. My brain could not focus on the puzzle for extended periods of time, and I grew frustrated. I quickly fell into binge watching shows. Within a month, I watched a season and a half of This Is Us, all of Girl Meets World, and five seasons of New Girl. I can confidently say I will have New Girl finished by the middle of next week at the latest.

I have not been able to focus on reading in any capacity. As I scroll through Twitter and Instagram, I know many other readers are feeling the same way. Reading is usually an escape for me, but, after a full day of terrifying news and online classes, I simply cannot focus enough to start a new book. I did manage to finish Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden.

It was a light enough book for me that I could easily sit down and read it in bigger chunks. I loved the focus of the humanitarian work, but I did get irritated by the main character not believing in the importance of baking. Let me know if you would like to see a full review here on the blog about this book.

As far as school goes, I officially was late to one of my Zoom classes since my professor changed the time, and I forgot about it. I have definitely gotten less motivated throughout the month to actually do my work in a consistent manner. A few of my professors have even stopped posting consistently which does not help my procrastination. I can feel the drain of online classes every day from my classmates, professors, and myself. I have three weeks left, so I can only hope to find motivation somewhere.

Realistically, I am feeling the drain of quarantine on my spirits. I try my best to check in with my friends and family with video chats or texts. As well all know at this point, it’s not the same. I know I have to do my part, though, to stay home as much as possible for those around me. I am doing all that I can to practice my part in this whole system.

How have you been doing during COVID-19? What does quarantine look like from where you are? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Matching Outfits to YA Book Covers

Welcome!

I recently saw this trend on TikTok and Instagram where people matched their outfits to book covers. Personally, I didn’t think I had any outfits that would match the books I own. After a quick video chat session with my friend, I found some pretty awesome combinations!

shiver by maggie stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater matching book cover outfit

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass matching outfit

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War matching book cover outfit

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge matching book cover outfit

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets matching book cover outfit

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer matching book cover outfit

I had a lot of fun putting together these outfits! I did make this a TikTok (follow me @themisscharley) and added in an extra outfit. Make sure to check out the TikTok to see the full outfits and a bonus one!

xo,

Charley

Guest Post: Bullet Journal Spreads You Can’t Live Without

Hey everyone!!

I’m super excited to be collabing with Charley on this bullet journal blog post: we’ve wanted to do this for so long and am just now getting around to it (#thankscorona). As the title may suggest, we are both doing each of our bullet journal spreads that we can’t live without. I’ll share mine here on Charley’s blog, and she’ll share hers on mine, so be sure to come check it out here!

I’ve been bullet journaling for four years now, and have used lots of spreads with differing uses and styles. Some I’ve found are more helpful than others, and so today I’m here to share the bullet journal spreads I can’t live without! Grab yourself a whipped coffee, because I’ve been OBSESSED with them recently (and you can see mine featured in all these photos 😂)

Yearly Goals

To start off, we have my yearly goals list. Every year, I set some goals for the upcoming year, and the best way to keep track of them, I’ve found, is to write them in my bullet journal so that I don’t forget! Every month, when I set up my new monthly spreads, I refer back to these spreads to see how I can be making progress towards them that month.

Grid Spacing Chart

I got the idea for this spread from AmandaRachLee, and ever since then, this spread has been a LIFESAVER. Basically, this spread makes it super easy to figure out how many spaces horizontally and vertically you have. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend putting one in your bullet journal!

Photo a Day Tracker

I started using this tracker last year, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it again this year! I try to take a photo every day of the year, and it gives me such a cool look back on what I did every day of the year! This spread doesn’t actually reflect the photos taken, but having this tracker in place makes it that much easier to keep track!

Books to Read

I always have a huge list of books I want to read, and this spread makes it a lot easier to keep track of the books I want to read! It’s super simple but super cute, and it makes my life so much easier!

Monthly Habit Charts

These habit charts are almost like daily routines: I have my morning routine, daily routine, and nightly routine all on this chart. Having everything written out makes it so much simpler for me to keep track, and keeps me from forgetting anything!

Weekly To-Do Lists

And of course, the weekly to-do lists, my second brain, which save my life several times this week! I’ve tried out all sorts of weekly spreads, from super fancy and with a ton of functions, to really simple and literally being just a list of things to do. Here are two of my favorite weekly spreads that I’ve done.

Those are all the spreads that are invaluable to me in my day-to-day life. Thanks Charley for letting me post on your blog! And make sure to come over to my blog to see what Charley’s favorite bullet journal spreads are!

Let’s talk. Which spread from this list is your favorite? What do you use your bullet journal for? Have you tried whipped coffee yet?? Leave a comment and let me know!

Hanne is a college student studying biology during the day, and a lifestyle and book blogger at night. She is passionate about getting the word about people’s books out into the world, as well as making time to do the things that you love. To this end, she also bookstagrams, bullet journals, and drinks too much coffee. You can find her everywhere @HanneasinHannah (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) and her blog at losingthebusyness.wordpress.com

Self-Quarantine Week One Reflections

Welcome!

I started writing three different posts this week, but none of them felt quite right. I struggled with knowing whether or not to write about the Coronavirus quarantine. One part of me wants to create “timeless” blog posts that don’t mention the quarantine at all. The other part of me wants to be relatable and express where I am in life right now.

So here goes a reflection on what has happened since I went into self-quarantine:

I got furloughed

If you’re like me at all, then you may have never heard the term “furloughed” before COVID-19. I know I certainly had no idea this term existed which was scary when I heard it the first time from my store manager. Furlough is when you are still an employee of a company but you don’t go to work for an extended period of time. It’s not a vacation, but you can get paid depending on company policy. I am so lucky to get my PTO and two weeks’ worth of pay.

The last time I didn’t have an hourly job was my freshman year of high school. Even in middle and high school, I volunteered after school or babysat. My spring break week was strange to have no schoolwork or work to do. I will touch on what I did later, but I had to create a routine for myself to feel some semblance of normal.

Luckily, my state governor announced being able to file for unemployment even if you are just furloughed, so I will hopefully be able to start seeing an income in that way. Unemployment has a negative connotation in society, but these circumstances will hopefully change the shameful words used.

classes went online… to Zoom

Many of my classes this semester are teaching methods courses which requires going into schools, group work, etc. With schools shut down for the rest of the semester, half my professors are requiring Zoom calls. I had never heard of Zoom until two weeks ago. As I’ve gotten used to it, I do think it’s a pretty neat program for classes with breakout sessions, whiteboards, etc.

I struggled to get into a zone with online schooling since I have always attended school in-person. I rarely used my desk for homework, let alone lectures. My chair definitely isn’t as comfortable as I thought it was. I have construction going on outside that literally shakes my entire house while I’m trying to concentrate.

Overall, this week went pretty well with classes. My schedule is blocked out for my morning classes, lunch, and then three hours of strict homework time. I surprised myself with how productive I have been recently. Thursday was a struggle, though, since I didn’t sleep well. I tried and tried to focus in my homework block, but I was simply too tired. Thursday turned into a nap and mental health day for me. I pushed myself during the rest of the week, and I thought I was alright with the quarantine. I discovered I need to structure my night for more relaxation than normal.

I re-downloaded TikTok

If you missed my Lent post, then you may not know I gave up social media for Lent. No Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. This week I downloaded TikTok, though, out of pure boredom. I watched just about every YouTuber I subscribe to on YouTube try to learn new TikTok dances in their videos. I decided to download the app and allow myself an outlet to be creative or just goofy. I have a timer set, so I don’t sit on it for hours. I haven’t downloaded the other apps onto my phone unless absolutely necessary (i.e. I’m a small group leader for middle school and the weekly large-group teachings are on there.). By the time this post goes up, I will only have about a week left of Lent.

I started a puzzle, read four books, and watched too many TV shows

Before I went into self-quarantine, I picked up two puzzles from work for spring break. I decided to start with the really difficult bookshop puzzle, but I have lost some steam with it. I didn’t realize how large the measurements are for the entire puzzle, so I started putting the puzzle together on my floor. With my bad back, I can’t sit on the floor for extended periods of time like I would enjoy. Perhaps on the weekends, I will put more of the puzzle together.

When I visited my sister for spring break (pre-“safer at home” orders), I read three books while in self-quarantine. I shared those reviews on Goodreads (and one here). I just finished reading A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews aka Cait from PaperFury (recommended as part of my ’12 Book Recs from 12 Friends’). I devoured that book in a matter of days. I cried at the beginning, the middle, and the end. I really wanted some vegan cake. I can’t believe it took me so long to read that book. 10/10 recommend!

For the past two years, I have fallen behind in watching so many shows. Well, last Saturday I watched half a season of This Is Us. The combination of a comfy bed, rainy outdoors, and a cry-worthy show made the entire day escape me. I also started watching New Girl for the first time. I am weirdly invested in that show now.

Let me know what you’re doing in quarantine! Any recommendations for what I should do next? Also, let me know if you want more posts about how I created my weekly schedule, reviews, etc.

Stay safe and healthy! Be mindful of those around you.

xo,

Charley