What I did: July 2018

July was a pretty great month. I felt like I went down the coding rabbit hole for the first couple of months and then hung out with some friends the second half. I did get go to a couple brunches to satisfy my constant cravings for french toast and pancakes.

I also somehow managed to find time to finish eight books??? (Okay, three were audio and some I had started months ago but they still count).

My favorite weekend in July was my birthday weekend because I got to Chicago and see my sister and explore a bit, go to some breweries, the pier, Shedd Aquarium and the bean. It was amazingly fun and we got definitely sunburned when we went to the beach the next day. Also: I didn’t realize I would actually tan because I don’t remember the last time I tanned so now I have really weird tan lines.

I unhauled an entire xerox box of books to Half Price books and you honestly can’t even tell the difference in my shelves. (ignore the mess in the background, I was deep cleaning my room and this was just going to go to a couple friends).


Books read:
Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson
What Happened- Hillary Clinton
Gathering Blue- Lois Lowry
Messenger- Lois Lowry
Son- Lois Lowry
NOS4A2- Joe Hill
Campfire- Shawn Sarles
The Cabin at the End of the World- Paul Tremblay

How was your month? Did you read any good books?

#MakeMeRead Readathon

#MakeMeRead Readathon Take 3

Ely and Val are hosting the #MakeMeRead readathon again! This year it’s running from Aug 6-13. Basically you pick the book I read that week. I’m ending the voting the night of Sunday the 5th.

This is my favorite readathon (yes I say that every year). I actually decided in January or so I wasn’t really going to do any readathons while I was working toward my nanodegree but I kind of have to do this one. However, I’m only choosing one book. I’m cheering for a specific book but whichever gets the most votes is the one I’m going to read.

This year all of my choices are non-fiction because I have been kind of craving one of those motivational books. I really don’t think any of these are going to be preachy or cheesy, which is something I try to avoid since I just end up mocking it, even though it could be good advice.

Vote for one book. Choose carefully.

The Tipping Point: This is the only book on this list that is not from my “want to read in 2018 list.” It talks about what is the final straw in something that spreads like wildfire, whether it’s an

#GirlBoss: This one seems like it’s going to be a quick and fun but informative read. I watched the Netflix show and instantly bought the book. It’s more about that drive to be successful and how you can make anything happen.

Daring Greatly: Topics covered in this book are vulnerability being courage and how you should put yourself out there for more risks.

Rising Strong: As the title indicates, it’s about rising after you fall, with stories taken from leaders in companies to artists and parents.

Are you participating? Leave links to your polls below!

Wildlife Sanctuary

What I did: June 2018

I swear June didn’t actually happen. I have some theories:
1- We had weird snowstorms in April which makes me feel like it’s a month and a half earlier in the year
2- I went down the coding class rabbit hole… never to be seen again.

Looking back (using my photo album to help as always) June was actually a pretty full month and so has the beginning of July. Basically my summers are always super hectic.

I had my coworker’s graduation party as well as the one for the girl I used to babysit. That made me feel so sold… and also realize how young some of my coworkers are. Both had amazing food, raspberry filled cupcakes, homemade lemonade, cheesecake bites etc.Books on Books

Our employee extra discount days ran into June and I bought a total of 13 books… whoops. One was a coding book, one was a replacement since the print was so small in mine and a couple were so that I could have the collector’s editions. Worth it. 100 percent.

I got to hang out with one of my friends from college and we went to the farmers market and the wildlife sanctuary and got cookie dough and it was an all-around amazing day. The weather was gorgeous. It wasn’t ridiculously hot like has been the last couple weeks.

The quarry was recently opened to the public in my town (we’ll see how long that actually lasts). I went with a friend one day and it was so gorgeous out. The water was a lot colder than I expected, so if we had gone in the middle of the day it would have been a lot more refreshing.

My sister and her boy came up a couple of times to visit and see their friends so it was nice to catch up. We didn’t do much since we were both busy with our own stuff but I did drag her to one of my favorite bars because that roof view is amazing.

One of my bestest friends FINALLY turned 21 so we went out for her birthday and another one of my best friends came up from Florida so it was great to see everyone and much needed friend time. I’m not a huge fan of this whole adulting and living so far away from everyone thing.

Books read: 
Saga Vol 1- Brian K Vaughan
Lying in Wait– Liz Nugent
The Outsider- Stephen King
The Girl You Lost- Kathryn Croft

How was your month? What books did you read? Did you do anything Interesting?

Google Udacity Scholar

Phase One Recap: Google Developer Challenge Scholarship

On April 17th I got the email saying I was accepted into phase two of the Google Developer Challenge Scholarship so I decided to talk about how I got into phase two and some tips for people who are learning coding.

Back in October I applied for a scholarship that is a partnership between Google and Udacity, an online education system that focuses mainly on internet and electronics classes.  There were multiple tracks focusing on web and app development and I applied for the front-end web development track. I got accepted in January and went to work.

My entire life I learned the same way: in a classroom. I had lectures and set homework and group work. Online classes are so completely different and I had to change my approach and learned a lot about how I learn.

Advice for Beginning Coders and Google Developer Challenge Scholarship RECIPIENTS

  • No, you can’t watch TV or movies and learn how to code. It takes total concentration, especially if you want it to stick or get things done faster. Watching TV makes it take at least twice as long per lesson.
  • Apply for scholarships but budget for more classes because you’ll want to learn more and more.
  • Take breaks. Set a timer on your phone, study an hour take a break, then another hour (or whatever works for you).
  • Take time to figure things out. As tempting as it is to go straight to the forums as soon as you have a question take some time to think it through instead. Take a step back.
  • Keep going. Keep a schedule up. Put it in your phone. Do whatever it takes to make you sit down and study because when you get to a wall you won’t want to go back but you have to do it anyway.

What tips and tricks do you have for when you’re learning something new?


What I did: May 2018

If I publish this before midnight it means I wrote it before the first half of the month is done. The illusion of me planning is still there.

The month started off with a lot of friend time and Harry Potter since one of my best friends got accepted into the Disney college program so she will probably never return. At least it gives me an excuse to go down to Florida. Another one of my friends moved as well so we had a going away party with the most delicious ice cream cakes I’ve had since last time I had ice cream cake and it was great to have one last party before she left.

One of the breweries partnered with the new cookie dough restaurant here in town to do a pairing. I was pleasantly surprised with some of the pairings because they  made some of my least favorite types of beer into something I would actually want to drink? I definitely went back for more cookie dough a couple days ago with one of my friends. Pro tip: Only have one scoop. There is such a high chance of gut rot from so much sugar.

Stephen King’s newest book came out toward the end of the month and I attempted to binge read it before the month was over… that didn’t happen but it’s amazing so far I just need some time to finish. It does have one of the characters from the Bill Hodges trilogy who talks about the ending so read that first.

Books read:
Steve Jobs- Walter Isaacson
The Death of Mrs. Westaway- Ruth Ware
Every Exquisite Thing- Matthew Quick

Update: Got it done. 10:30 p.m. my time.

Lying In Wait: eARC Review

Author: Liz Nugent
Publisher: Gallery Books
US Pub Date: June 12, 2018

In Two Sentences:
To everyone else the Fitzsimons are the perfect family, but when their son learns the secret life as they know it comes crashing down. As lives intertwine the plot thickens.

My Thoughts:
I read Unraveling Oliver earlier this year and it took me a while to get into. By the end I loved it and wanted something else by her. And there was NetGalley to the rescue.

Liz Nugent is unlike any other thriller author I’ve read before. You go into this story knowing exactly what happens and who did what. And then the story begins. You start to understand why and get to know the family members and how their stories intertwine.

If you are expecting an edge-of-your-seat, jump-scare, keep you up at night thriller Lying in Wait is not it. They will keep you wondering what will unfold but it is nothing like Stephen King, Gillian Flynn or B.A. Paris.

Nugent excels at character-based thrillers. You get to see these characters grow up throughout the years and change. You know how they will react and then life changes, just like real life.

Told in alternating views, this was actually very easy to follow. Whereas some novels with multiple viewpoints are confusing because all of them have the same writing style or repetitive, Lying in Wait was none of these.

Then there was the ending. That ending was everything. I didn’t see it coming and even looking back there isn’t anything that leads up to it. It’s such an amazing surprise ending.

If you haven’t read anything by Liz Nugent I would say start with this one and go in expecting a character-based thriller with plenty of plot.

I buddy read this book with Regina @BookishInBed and Luna @BookishLuna.

Bring Me Back: ARC Review

Author: B. A. Paris
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
US Pub Date: June 19, 2018

In Two Sentences:
When his girlfriend, Layla, disappears, Finn only tells the police part of the story. But when he’s about to marry her sister he starts getting messages from Layla.

My Thoughts:
I read The Breakdown a while ago and I knew I needed to read more by her. When I saw Bring Me Back on NetGalley I instantly hit request and I did not regret it one bit. I buddy read this with Regina so go check out her review as well.

The storytelling sucked you in and wouldn’t let you go. I read every night until my eyes burned and I was about to fall asleep. I was reading it between jobs and attempted reading on the treadmill. Unfortunately I forgot my eyes aren’t used to reading without glasses anymore.

I loved every single character. Normally there’s at least one I cringe when they come on the scene but there wasn’t one! I thought I would know how everyone would act in a given scenario but then another layer was added to the story and it was completely different. There were so many different layers to the story and I never knew what would happen next. I am falling more in love with B.A. Paris’s novels with every one I read.

I had so many theories running through my head so obviously one of them was right and it was the one Regina from Bookish In Bed put in my head kind of early on… and I fought against it the entire time.

The only problem I had was toward the end, during a kind of key turning point there was a flaw logically. However, spoilers.

If you haven’t read anything by B.A. Paris I highly suggest you start.