Most Likely by Sarah Watson ARC (Spoilers) Review

Welcome!

With my spring break, I took time to visit my sister and spent time just chilling. Like, actually relaxing. And, man, I am glad I had ‘Most Likely’ in my bag to devour in less than 24 hours! I could not set this book down for so many reasons. Let’s jump into it:


Most Likely by Sarah Watson cover and synopsis

title: Most Likely

author: Sarah Watson

category/genre: YA/NA contemporary

book depository* // barnes and noble // amazon

Add Most Likely to Goodreads!

The book opens right before a future presidential inauguration in which one of the ladies is about to become the President. The only ‘hint’ readers get before jumping into present-times is that the future President is somehow connected to Logan Diffenderfer. I literally spent the entire book trying to figure out the mystery based on this one clue. And let me tell you… Logan Diffenderfer is literally connected to every single character in this group. I nearly threw my book across the room multiple times with frustration from how well done Sarah kept the ending unsolvable.

Which brings me to the plot twists... my mind was literally blown from how well done Sarah Watson delivered the dynamic shifts. The plot twists didn’t so much as change the plot as they changed how I viewed certain characters’ decisions and lives. For me, I loved how Ava went on a journey to find her biological mother. On that trip to Stanford, she broke down any perceived stereotypes about people who choose adoption for their children. When Ava went to a “junky hospital”, she didn’t find a Mexican woman with a drug addiction. Instead her biological mother was the doctor who provided care for her community. I loved how Ava not only discovered her biological mother but also her calling to go to Stanford instead of an art school. Ava’s storyline is probably the most interesting for me personally.

CJ’s storyline made me smile with warmth. Her struggles with coming to terms about the SAT (or any standardized test to be honest) hit me hard. Personally, I never struggled with standardized tests score-wise, but, when people began comparing scores and placing the pressure of a specific score, I crumbled with comparison. Seeing CJ struggle with removing her worth from the score is a struggle students feel when they grew up taking standardized tests every year or two in K-12 education. What really made me smile, though, was how CJ navigated her relationship with Wyatt. I loved seeing how their friendship shifted into a romance and the conversations they had about being a person with disabilities. Also, CJ’s personal essay for Stanford literally made me start crying. I could talk about her storyline forever.

Jordan’s story made me feel like I could take over the world. I will say I was surprised to find out she wasn’t the future President. Sarah Watson set up the book to make Jordan the most probable candidate for becoming President. When she worked the entire book to keep the playground, give hard-hitting interviews, and focus on everything the future had to offer to her. Jordan’s romance always felt a little off to me, but I kind of love how Jordan took back control of how the romance was told. While she did launch her birthday night off with some crying, Ava, CJ, and Martha made sure there were laughs there, too.

Martha developed extremely well over the book’s entirety. I love how complex of issues her character alone tackled: sexuality, financial pressures, etc. You name it, and Martha probably conquered it. I love how seamlessly Sarah Watson drew Martha into a well-rounded character and showed how issues are interwoven. The glimpses into Martha’s parents’ lives and looking at a community’s history with income allowed me to truly see how every decision a community makes impacts lives in different ways. Martha’s perspective brought such a fresh twist to the cast of characters who all came from relatively well-off economic backgrounds. Martha drives past this, though, and goes on to conquer her future.

I categorized this book as young adult/new adult since every young person needs to read this powerful and motivating story of young women. As a twenty-something college student, I found such inspiration in reading about women finding their purposes and discovering themselves. In a digital age, people compare themselves to others and focus on what they don’t have. This book made me look at the women around me and just how much they support me in my journey like the Ava, CJ, Jordan, and Martha did in the book.

As to which character actually became the President of the United States, well, I think it would be more fun to try to connect the dots on your own. 😉

‘Most Likely’ by Sarah Watson is ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ for Gen Z with a cast of diverse characters perfect for leading the United States of America. Go ahead… pick it up now. Or… order it online.

Do you have a favorite cast of characters? Any sisterhood books you recommend? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

xo,

Charley

What’s On My Spring 2020 Reading List

Welcome!

With all the craziness of school getting cancelled and daily work changes due to COVID-19, I didn’t particularly have the energy to write a post. But then, I reminded myself how much of an escape reading and books can be for me when I’m stressing. I know Tuesday is technically already past us, but I wanted to jump aboard Top Ten Tuesday’s topic for this week: Spring 2020 TBR.

throw like a girl by sarah henning

Throw Like a Girl Cover by sarah Henning

Throw Like a Girl was recommended by @booklovinjean as part of my ‘Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends’ challenge for this year. Technically, it’s a book for May, but I might just get around to it before then.

the betrothed by kiera cass

The Betrothed Kiera Cass cover

Y’all, I am so excited to get my hands on this book. I pre-ordered through Barnes and Noble, and I can’t wait until May begins to dive into a new royal world from Kiera Cass. This world is sure to be full of glamor and politics and everything I loved from The Selection series… AND MORE.

they went left by monica hesse

They Went Left Monica Hesse cover

They Went Left is the May Barnes and Noble YA Book Club pick, and I cannot wait to dive in to a historical fiction again. I haven’t read anything by Monica Hesse yet. Her book ‘Girl In the Blue Coat’ has been on my list for a while now. I am intrigued to see a WWII era book from after the war ends and the effects the Holocaust had on the Jews.

most likely by sarah watson

Most Likely cover by Sarah Watson

I am such a huge fan of ‘The Bold Type’, so when I heard Sarah Watson wrote a book along the same feminine-power ideas, I knew I had to pick it up. As Barnes and Noble’s April YA book club pick, I am even more excited to talk with other people about what happens in this book!

live by sadie robertson

LIve cover by Sadie Robertson

I grew up watching Sadie Robertson on Duck Dynasty, but I recently rediscovered her with her podcast. I picked up this book to buddy-read with one of my friends, and I can’t wait to read it with her. Sadie’s podcast is always full of so much wisdom and purpose which I’m sure will carry over into this book. I flipped through it quickly before buying it, and I love the mixture of pictures, short chapters, and color!

clean getaway by nic stone

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‘Clean Getaway’ by Nic Stone is another ‘Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends’ choice for April which @gryffindorbooksofficial recommended. I read ‘Dear Martin’ by Nic Stone earlier last year for a class, and I enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see how her writing style differs with a middle-grade book compared to a young-adult book.

a thousand perfect notes by c.g. drews

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Technically, ‘A Thousand Perfect Notes’ was recommended by @hanneasinhannah for my January read. The book came super late, though, so I was not able to get my hands on the book until early February. Hopefully, I will find time to read it before the end of the semester for sure.

Which books are you hoping to read this season? Do you have any ways you destress? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Why I’m Doing a Social Media Detox for Lent 2020

Welcome!

what is lent?

Each year for Lent I follow the practice of giving something up for the season of 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. For those of you who may not know, the practice of Lent began in the early Christian Church days to symbolize the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert before he began his ministry. With the season, however, comes a lot of confusion with the denominations of the Church that split from the Roman Catholic Church. I have not always fasted during the Lenten season since I grew up in a Protestant church. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized the importance of this season beyond simply giving something up. I think the following video really breaks down the purpose of Lent into something easier to understand:

how does this connect to social media?

In the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on what distracts me from spending intentional time with God. Each morning I find myself picking up my phone and scrolling through my various social media feeds: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook (and repeat). I discussed this problem with my friends, and I realized social media is what I needed to give up for Lent.

When I look back at my social media life, I see eight years of my life on Facebook, six years of my life on Instagram and Twitter. As a twenty-one-year-old, my time spent on social media has been a third of my life. I have childhood memories of spending hours outside without interruption or reading a book in a day or even a life with less comparison of stats. In a few years, that fraction is going to grow. When I’m older, I will have spent more time being on social media than begin off it.

My brain has become hard-wired to constantly check social media in any downtime or even when I’m in class. I want to release my life from this hold. For Lent this year, I want to redirect my morning or night time to not be spent mindlessly watching Facebook videos or liking random Instagram pictures. Instead, I want to spend that open time in my routines to focus on God. I want to actually complete Bible devotional plans, read the Bible with intention, and enjoy life again.

what does this mean for the blog?

I will still be updating the blog regularly. I hope to knock down my postings to once a week during the semester. With the lack of social media, though, I won’t be promoting my posts beyond the initial (and automatic) shares since I have my Twitter and Facebook pages connected to the blog. If you found this from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, you can keep getting notified of my new posts by following through WordPress or email. (Just look to the right side of the screen to find that box!)

a final note:

My biggest hope and goal to come from this Lent season is to reset my relationship with social media and God, but what comes next is the most important part. I want to do social media detoxes at least once a month, if not more. I want days to disconnect from being online in order to continue to have a healthier relationship with being online and to continue my intentionality exploration.

I hope you can take a moment to reflect on what is taking your time away from being intentional and focusing on God in your life. If you aren’t a believer, thank you for reading this post. I hope you can still take away being able to detox from social media in order to focus on an area in your life where you need to be productive.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever done a social media detox and/or what you’re giving up for Lent!

xo,

Charley

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Celebrate Singles’ Awareness Day!

Welcome!

Today is a very special day because my best friend Hannah Marie is visiting the blog today! She is here to share some secrets about the best way to celebrate being single on Singles’ Awareness Day, aka February 15. And guess what: it doesn’t have to be SAD! Enjoy.

xo,

Charley


Hey, everyone! So it seems that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and now we are left with the next best thing: Singles Awareness Day (aka discounted chocolate day)!

Many people look at being single as a bad thing—like some kind of terrible disease that no one wants to catch—but some of us savvy, single people know better. Singlehood is something that you can thoroughly enjoy, and today, I’m going to let you in on my top-secret singles-only blueprint to having an amazing Valentine’s Weekend, or any other weekend (even without a significant other).

So without further ado, here are 5 super fun activities you can enjoy 100% on your own!!

1) Cook Yummy Treats

There are so many cute treats on Pinterest, it would be a mistake to not try to make them! Or, if you’re not much of a sweets person, you could even pick out a nice, yummy dinner recipe to spoil yourself a bit.

So many people don’t think about this, but cooking at home can be an awesome way to practice self-care. We put a lot of emphasis on food being a communal thing, but good food is something that can be enjoyed alone too! Talking the time and effort required to cook a delicious meal is one of the best ways to show yourself some love. True, it might be easier to grab fast-food, but at the end of the day, eating is an experience, and cooking the food you eat can be a very special part of taking care of yourself.

2) Have a Spa-Night

Sometimes you just need a spa-night to make your day better! Go to the store (or online) and pick out some new face masks, bath bombs, nail polish, etc… Or you can even search Pinterest for some easy, homemade spa-treatments. Whatever you do though, go crazy with it! The goal is to make yourself feel completely pampered.

  • Do your usual skincare regime
  • Use pore strips
  • Put on a face mask
  • Run a bubble-bath & toss in a bath-bomb (extra points if there’s glitter!)
  • After you wash your hair, do a hair mask or a deep conditioning treatment
  • Turn on a soft, relaxing playlist while you soak in the tub
  • OR you can rewatch your favorite episode of your favorite sitcom
  • Exfoliate and shave
  • Dry off and moisturize
  • Paint your nails your favorite shade
  • Wrap yourself in your favorite pajamas OR a silky/fuzzy robe
  • Extra points again if you have fuzzy slippers or socks!

Spa days are great because it is a way for you to show your body some love. Especially after a busy week. Remember to take care of yourself every day, not just on “special” days.

3) Watch a Rom-Com

There’s nothing like curling up on the couch and binge-watching your favorite romantic comedies. And with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, you have hundreds to choose from! Or, if you don’t have these services, you can always find good, half-priced movies at Half-Price books.

(… but if you have Netflix, I highly recommend To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before + the brand new sequel, P.S. I Still Love You)

Watching movies like this can be really good because it lets you be able to simply enjoy something without thinking too hard about it. It gives your brain a bit of a break and (hopefully) makes you smile!

4) Explore Your Nearest City

If you need to get out of the house, I’ve got an activity for that too! When I need a day out, I’ve found that I enjoy exploring my nearest city. I pick out an outfit that is comfortable but also makes me feel super cute and confident, and then I just start walking/driving.

You’d be surprised how many little places you will discover if take the time to slow down and find them. By driving through towns without stopping, you often miss all the little antique shops, coffee shops, and local businesses that your city has to offer. So take a moment to slow down and truly explore. Who knows? You may even discover your new favorite hangout place!

5) Try Something Completely New

This one might feel a little intimidating at first, but I can almost guarantee that you will be glad you did it. Many times we are unwilling to put ourselves out there and try something new (for instance, a dance class!) because we feel like we have to have a partner or someone there with us.

But let me tell you, trying new things, making memories, and collecting new experiences should not be hindered because you don’t have your best friend with you or because you’re a “Single Pringle.” Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a sure way to grow and become a stronger, more well-rounded person. So instead of waiting on a partner, get out there and try that thing you’ve always been wanting to try!

I use Facebook to find local events to attend and have found some real gems because I was willing to try.

  • Join a dance class
  • Take a crafting class (sewing, knitting, baking, etc…)
  • Go to a local open-mic night
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Join a book club (local libraries often have these)
  • Attend a trivia night
  • Go to a concert

There are so many more amazing things you can do as a single person that can be just as fun and fulfilling as they would be with a significant other, but you have to have the right mindset for it. Allowing yourself to be open to being your own friend takes time and can be difficult. However, once you start the journey, you will learn so many things about yourself and learn to enjoy your own company. Being single doesn’t have to be sad and miserable. It can actually be one of the most special times of your life.
Just start small… and push yourself a little more each day.

Hannah Marie is a 20-something college lifestyle blogger who has an affinity for hot tea, gentle music, and blush pink. She can often be found hiding behind the enormous stack of books she needs to read for school, where she is most likely scribbling poetry or editing her novel. You can follow her on her Blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Wattpad (and most other social media platforms).

how to spend less money on textbooks (and a free spreadsheet template!)

Welcome!

Today I wanted to share something I have been perfecting for the three years I’ve attended college. The biggest struggle as a college student is always finding the best price for textbooks. I literally have spent hours before toggling between tabs trying to remember which site had the best price. Anyone else? Well, I have created a spreadsheet that I’ve used for two semesters now and love.

I’ve split the spreadsheet up into sections:

  • Class
  • Textbook Title
  • ISBN

  • University
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Amazon
  • Chegg

  • Final Costs

The first three sections (Class, Textbook Title, ISBN) are all one color to differentiate from the store costs. I find that keeping track of which books go with which classes also help me once the semester starts, so I remember to bring the right books to class. I add in the ISBN code with the book’s title since many professors require to have a specific version of a book, especially if you’re an English student.

The next four sections (University, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Chegg) are all places where I shop for textbooks. You can easily change these depending on where you shop by changing the titles. Under these sections I divided them into the four main criteria associated with purchasing textbooks: “Buy New”, “Buy Used”, “Rent New”, and “Rent Used”. By the end of the semester, I always forget where I got which books and whether or not they were rentals. Being able to refer back to this spreadsheet has been a lifesaver for me.

The final section (Final Costs) is the most important to pay attention to when you’re entering your prices from the stores. I have coded the spreadsheet for each row to automatically choose the lowest price from the textbook’s row which also gets calculated for a final total at the bottom of the column. I added instructions to the spreadsheet for if you are to add additional rows for more textbooks or classes, so this final section calculates correctly. Having this estimated total actually saved me from accidentally buying a duplicate textbook since I noticed the total seemed off in the website’s final total.

This spreadsheet does all the work for me! I copy the ISBN code into each site’s search bar, enter the totals, and add the cheapest one to my cart. Looking for textbooks takes less than an hour now instead of multiple hours adding to the stress of starting a new semester.

Click the picture below to be taken to the Google spreadsheet:

You will be able to make a copy or download the spreadsheet for you to edit to your specific preferences. I hope this helps you when you’re searching for textbooks this semester!

One final tip: I have found using Honey, a built-in browser coupon search engine, also helps me find coupon codes for free shipping or textbook specials right before I check out. For example, it saved me $20 extra with shipping from Chegg this semester where I was already saving money simply by having it connected to my browser. I clicked the little ‘h’ in the corner, and it does all the searching for me. 10/10 recommend!

Do you enjoy the beginning of a new semester? What stresses you out the most about a college semester? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

January 2020 Bullet Journal Flip-Through

Welcome!

I could not be more excited to show you my 2020 bullet journal. I know I just set up a new bullet journal last June, but I decided I wanted to start fresh with the new year in order to avoid having the awkward timing in the middle of the year when I need to transition everything over to a new journal.

Anyways… one of my goals for 2020 was to have a bullet journal that was not only functional for me, but also ‘Instagrammable’. I wanted to be inspired to show and use my bullet journal by having it look pretty. Let me tell you, I spent much of the week between Christmas and New Year’s scrolling Pinterest, cutting apart magazines, and shopping for stickers and washi tape.

Blank dusty blue bullet journal

I recently was recommended on a previous bullet journal post to check out AmandaRachLee on YouTube, so I watched her 2020 bullet journal set-up video. In the video, she has a 2020 cover page with a ‘Roaring ’20s’ theme, which I love, so I knew I had to reflect that set-up in my own bujo.

Art deco 'roaring 20s' theme for the 2020 cover page in my bullet journal
Inspired by AmandaRachLee

My lines and dots are far from perfect, but I was doing this freehand at a planner party where I forgot my ruler. But I loved the color combo of the gold and black, so I carried that theme over to my 2020 resolutions spread. I have more general resolutions on the left page and broke those goals down into specifics on the right page. I find having the specific goals allows me to more easily attain the general ‘be financially proactive’ resolution for the year.

2020 Resolutions and specific goals.

If you’re interested in seeing my process of choosing my resolutions and creating this spread, check out my first IGTV video. It’s mainly my face (because I just did a quick set-up), but I do show the end results and the markers I used for the process.

Debt payoff spread with student loans

In 2020, I am preparing myself for trying to be proactive in paying off student loans. I created this spread to give myself a visual of the debt rather than be a floating number in my mind. Since I’ve started college, I have definitely become more financially aware, and this spread helps reflect that.

I wanted my monthly overviews to be two-page spreads, so I added in this general page to showcase the start of a new year. I got all the images off of Pinterest and added small strips of washi tape to the corners for extra color and border.

Bullet journal year at a glance spreads

I created a yearly overview since I tend to plan months in advance for specific events or look for school breaks, etc. I originally intended for January to begin at the top of the page, like March, but messed up the dates.

This is where the amazing pictures come into play, which I actually fell in love with being at the top of the page. For the bottom ‘love yourself’ quote, I crumpled up a ripped piece of old paper lunch bag and used a Papermate flair black pen.

My second spread for the yearly overview.

I added some more pictures in the second spread for my yearly overview. The top of the pages felt a little bare, so I just added in two simple reminders as I reach what will be a seriously stressful end of the year. I had to cram in December and November on the right page, but I know those months will mainly just be filled with schoolwork.

Budget and financial bullet journal spreads.

I wanted to look at all my expenses in one place since I am trying to be more financially proactive this year. I added in ways I can lower my budget overall with minimal effort.

I created two graph spreads in order for me to keep track of followers on different social media platforms as well as followers, views, and visitors on the blog. I put one in my last bullet journal, and I loved seeing the growth of it all.

January 2020 cover page and calendar spreads

Since I have all my yearly spreads set up, I started my January spread. I wanted my cover page to be more reflective of the entire month. Plus, I wanted a blue and cozy feeling overall in my January spreads.

January monthly calendar bullet journal spread

I created a calendar spread for me to fill in with work hours and bill due dates. On the left, I put space for important dates, such as birthdays, holidays, and other events. I like the idea, but I may adapt in February to have more space in the boxes.

What I've read, watched, and heard spread for January 2020.

The spacing in this spread definitely needs to be changed for February, but I love what I’ve done with this spread. I gave myself a page to record all the books I’ve read, movies/TV shows I’ve watched, and any specific podcasts or songs I enjoyed listening to in January.

Not going to lie, I’m failing miserably at wanting to write in January. The first week I have had no motivation to really do anything productive. Six days into January, and I have still not written a single word of a story. BUT… I will definitely have a few weekends to be productive and not work. I can’t wait to pump out either a new story or a develop a dusty plot bunny from my drafts. I can’t decide what I want to do right now either way. This spread is to help me track my accomplishments, though.

This may seem overwhelming at first, but let me break it down. The blue and white striped boxes are for me to list the specific places and amounts I spend my money at each day. I like to have the physical expense tracker to resemble my bank’s online system in case I find a discrepancy somewhere. This is also for the entire month, so I gave myself plenty of room for my spending habits.

You can see the breakdown on the left page. On the right page, I gave myself space to show my percentage breakdown of each paycheck since I do a 70-20-10 percent breakdown. I also created a small box for any items that aren’t necessities I may want to spend money on during the month. I have already purchased a few books and succulents, so next is a new tapestry! I’m hoping this helps me limit my unnecessary spending.

I wanted my weekly spreads to all look a little different, so I could find the best layout for the rest of the year then. Each spread has images from Pinterest, washi tape, and probably a magazine clipping or two.

This weekly spread just may be my favorite, but I literally cannot replicate it again unless I find the same magazine that I clipped the images from to create this spread. I definitely showed my fastly-growing love of washi tape on the right page here, too. Layering washi tape is just the look I’m excited to be serving in 2020.

This weekly spread was made at 12:30 am on New Year’s Day when I stayed up late to see how long Netflix would keep Friends on their service. I didn’t make it much longer, but I do love how the simplicity really gives itself to a ‘self-care’ vibe.

Self-care challenge and blogging planning spreads

My two final spreads for January 2020 are a self-care challenge being hosted by @bohobujogirll on Instagram and a blog planning checklist. I recently started following Em on Instagram, and I fell in love with her bujo style. When I saw that she was hosting a self-care challenge for January, I knew I had to join in! Her spread is 1000x cuter, but I still love how mine turned out. I used some stickers from Pipsticks to add a little extra flair.

I have a lot of plans for blog posts this January, but it’s all just a matter of actually writing them. I hope to have a lot more fun with this blog in 2020, but that also means some planning. I may have to add a blog yearly overview spread in order to properly plan out posts. But I will be sharing here if I create those spreads!

Do you have a bullet journal? Which spread was your favorite of mine? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

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