Passing by a Starbucks on your way to work/class/anywhere? Try the Butterbeer Hack!
COLD: Order a grande Vanilla Bean Frappachino (or any creme based frap). Ask for 3 pumps of Toffee Nut Syrup and 3 pumps of Caramel Syrup. Depending on your sweet tooth, you can also get a caramel drizzle on top. Adjust the size/pumps depending on your taste.
HOT: Order steamed milk. Add Caramel Syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti). Add Toffee Nut syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti). Add Cinnamon Dolce syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti). Whipped cream and salted caramel bits on top. If you prefer to add a coffee taste: Add a shot of espresso (2 for a grande or venti)
Who doesn’t love eating/drinking food from their favourite books? CHEERS!!
OKAY…WHAT?! IT’S PERFECT! I know I spazz at every beautiful book cover, but seriously LOOK AT THIS! I’ve always loved Kiera’s classy theme for the Selection Series; each one showcasing a girl in a breathtaking gown. Very couture/ethereal. And if you look carefully, they all totally play into the story lines each time. Anyways, much love to Kiera Cass for capping off the series with another beauty. The One is to be published May 6th, 2014 by HarperTeen and let’s be honest, that is ridiculously far away 😦
“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea” – Isak Dinesen
We are blessed to call “grandparents” those who treasure us unconditionally and beyond comprehension; who love fiercely and generously as if that’s a given. I’ve lost the last of mine a few days ago, but only in life. For everything they’ve helped me become has made them eternal. Rest in peace and with all my love.
Isn’t it beautiful?!?? I love it!
Let’s talk about death. “Really?”, you ask. Really. Let’s talk about death because we all talk about life too much. We have bucket lists, to-do lists, and plans. We encourage each other to live rather than waste away. We tweet out tear-jerking, motivational quotes pulled from the likes of Oscar Wilde and paint dreamy futures that have no foreseeable end. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
But in the words of Woody Allen, I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens, most of us (okay, practically all of us) shy away from the one concept that is just as inevitable as life. Death.
I’m making assertions on the human condition as if I’m not a part of it, so let’s call for full disclosure. It sounds morbid to admit, but I have a high tolerance regarding anything death-related. In university, I desperately wanted to take a course called The Psychology of Death and Dying. My friends thought it was creepy and my family thought I was crazy, but it was actually a highly popular class. And when I finally got the chance to enroll, it did not disappoint. Granted, there were the occasional silent tears from students when something hit close to home and the material was depressing. Yet, there was a strange freedom in spending three hours a week talking about all things that are generally taboo in polite conversation. Suicide, palliative care, bereavement – it was nothing fabulous. But death is the less glamorous and loyal companion to life. It happens to all of us, will happen to all of us, but we forget that it’s what makes life that much more precious.
Philosophy aside, let’s talk books (finally moving on to the real point haha…I beat around the bush, it’s a talent 🙂 ). Call me hypocritical, but even though I claim to be some death-hugging-not-afraid-to-talk-about-it psycho I’m not one to go for books on the subject. I can’t do it. All those heartbreaking, sweetly-tailored stories on losing someone you love just don’t appeal to me which is why I was hesitant about reading The Fault in Our Stars. Of course, I’m an idiot because this book is the absolute best.
Ah, where were we? So I met Emily Giffin; the perfect boost to my writer’s ego. As it turns out, meeting authors and being surrounded by bookworms is natural drug in a class of its own. It gives you such energy!
One of the coolest, and definitely top 5 moments of my year, was attending the Ontario Bloggers Meet-up in November, hosted by the Ontario Blog Squad. It was the first “blogging” event I had ever been to and I was incredibly excited. No, seriously, my excitement level was off the charts! I was about to meet all these amazing people who had become a part of my daily routine, who’s reviews I valued, and who’s friendships I valued even more. It honestly felt like one giant blind date! (except in this case, you know 100% that the other person has the exact same interests as you, haha)
The event was held at the Watermark Irish Pub which from my intense investigation (…Google) looked super nice. I was able to get in touch with Kaley (see Part One) and met her in Toronto, along with Natalie from Browsing Bookshelves and Andrea from Cozy Up With A Good Read. It was really cold and rainy, but thankfully the rain had tapered off (lucky us!). The four of us walked down to the Watermark and as we stepped in we just knew it was the right place. There were people EVERYWHERE! We were welcomed by the lovely ladies of the Ontario Blog Squad who handed us our very own name tags and the biggest, heaviest, most wonderful swag bags ever! So basically, I had somehow wandered off into heaven…
Blogging is tough.
I came to that realization somewhere between juggling research for my undergraduate thesis, a part-time job, tutoring, and basically life in general. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE blogging! But I found myself resisting and putting off writing reviews as if I’d gotten some sort of “blogger’s block”. I guess sometimes other things dominate your life and so it felt easier to step back and go on a hiatus, rather than turning my hobby into obligation. Now that I’ve finally graduated (!!!), there’s a degree in my pocket, an endless amount of student loans, and a fresh start. It seems like the perfect time to do what I love again.
2012 has been an amazing year. In fact, “amazing” doesn’t even begin to define how incredibly blessed I have been with opportunities, adventures, and people. When I look back, I realize how much I’ve grown, but more importantly, how much I’ve let myself grow. My mantra last year was to reconsider every time I stopped myself from doing something spontaneous. We all do that sort of thing, don’t we? The idea of adventure comes along and instead of embracing it wholeheartedly, we shrink back with doubts and hesitation. But I really tried to change that habit and I can honestly say it has been one of the best choices I’ve made.
First of all, I can proudly say I stuck to my resolution of reading more. The 50 Book Pledge, an initiative by Harper Collins, was a big reason for this because it allowed me to realistically get back into reading for fun. I used to think I didn’t have time for it, but I found myself making time. I’d be reading on the bus, the train, in waiting rooms, in between classes, at work – it was crazy. For the past five years (and anyone who’s a student will agree) I’ve been suffocating under textbooks and articles. And while they’re kinda useful in their own right, they only let the practical, left-side of my brain get some breathing space. I wouldn’t take back any of the knowledge (useless and useful) that I’ve somehow managed to cram into my mind, but I can definitely say that reading fiction let me get in touch with my creative side again. And I started writing more because of it (which is always a plus).