What I’ve Done: January 2018

I’ve decided I needed to change the titles of my wrap-ups for when I go back and look at them because I already have multiple January wrap-ups. Hence: What I’ve Done. Hopefully I’ll have accomplished something each month this year.

I rang in the new year with some of my friends in town and from out of town. We played Bears and Babies and Cyanide and Happiness and ate a lot of chips and dip.

My computer crashed around the same time I got accepted into the first round of the Udacity Google Scholar program so I used a Chromebook for the first time ever. I realized I love how small they are but that screen gave me such a headache so fast. I’ve been coding a lot more and learning so much during this past month and I’m excited to continue for the next couple months.


And lastly: I went to Florida! I went to the Harry Potter Expo and it was amazing. It was so great to get out of the cold and out of the state for a while and there’s a more in depth squealing post here.


Unfortunately, due to all of this excitement I only finished two books.
Defending Jacob- William Landy
You Are A Badass- Jen Sincero

What did you accomplish in January? Any goals for next month?

Harry Potter Celebration

Harry Potter and the Return To Florida

I finally did it! I finally got to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. This past weekend was the Harry Potter Celebration. I grew up with Harry Potter. I remember getting caught trying to read the Prisoner of Azkaban during a spelling test in third grade (because it’s not like the words we were tested on would be in the book). I remember my sister running up to my dad, hugging him with one hand and searching the bag for the seventh book with the other. I read the series first to seventh and back again.

It shaped who I was. I watched all the movies in the theaters. I was terrified of when Quirrell’s face turned to ash because Harry touched it and cheered for Molly killing Bellatrix. Crying when Dobby died even though we all knew it was coming. These books were my life. I got to go to the studio tour when I studied in London so I obviously needed to go to the one in my own country.

Hogwarts Castle

The highlights you ask?

  • The panel: Stanislav Yanevski, Natalia Tena, James and Oliver Phelps and Bonnie Wright. They are all amazing. When they came onstage for the panel each of them decided to try to get the audience to sing back to them. Apparently the feeling of five thousand people singing back is awesome so if I ever become that famous I want to try it.
    • Question: What would you most likely go to Azkaban for?
    • Stanislav’s Answer: Killing Ron so I can have Hermione.

Harry Potter Celebration Panel

  • The rides: It has been so long since I’ve been on rides like this. I think the last time was last time I was in Florida. This time we went on the Jurassic Park River Adventure…. with an 85-foot drop. That was honestly more terrifying than when I did the Hollywood Tower of Terror. No clue why. After we went on that one and I felt the rush I kind of wanted to try the other roller coasters that went upside down. Unfortunately the lines were really long so we didn’t.
  • The weather: It was unbelievably gorgeous. I left the freezing cold, middle of winter and got off the pane in 60 degree weather. We ate, slept and then woke up with weather in the 70s the rest of the weekend. It was amazing. I got to wear shorts all weekend and didn’t have to worry about carrying my jacket and gloves with me. I am so impatient for summer to be honest. I got back and wasn’t prepared for the cold.
  • The food: We went all out for the food. We went to Hard Rock and Margaritaville and The Cowfish. It was all more amazing than the food before. I had sushi and a cheeseburger in the same meal. You’d think it was a weird combination but it was actually amazing. 10/10 would recommend.

Margaritaville Orlando

Honestly the trip was so amazing we decided on the first full day we’re going to start saving up and do it right next year. On-site hotel, better airline, costumes, getting to the panels earlier etc. It’s going to be even more amazing.


What’s your favorite Harry Potter Memory? Have you been to Orlando or London’s attractions?

secondhand books

My Love for Secondhand Books

Whenever I tell people my physical TBR is over 600 books their jaws drop. They wonder how I have spent that much money growing my book collection only to throw them to the side and not read them.  But honestly, it didn’t cost that much. The vast majority of my books are bought at used book sales and used book stores or when they go on clearance etc. I honestly don’t remember the last time I bought a book full price.

When I was younger my mom would take me to library book sales and give me no limit… which usually resulted in more books than we could carry and only costing $20.

Later when I was in college, all of us English majors were encouraged to write in our books. Notes about discussions, our thoughts, passages marked etc. We all quickly grew to grab the most annotated book we could find.

Early winter I finished reading The End Of Your Life Bookclub. I bought it at a library sale and it has writing in it. Through what types of passages were marked I could tell exactly why the person before me picked it up and what spoke to them.I feel like I know a little piece of them. It’s interesting because I can tell they enjoyed it and I enjoy it too but the two of us are marking completely different passages.

About halfway through the markings just…. stopped. And I keep trying to figure out what happened. The passages marked were about celebrating the past and being free from suffering. When I started reading it I was imagining the person before me coping with the inevitable death of a loved one. But then they stopped and I thought “what if the person who had this book before me was the one sick?”

The markings of people who have had my books before me also draw my eye to lines and phrases I may not have normally given a second thought. To me these are connections drawn between readers and someday I’ll probably pass on that book with my notes too and someone will see my point of view on things as well.

I know not everyone likes second hand books or writing in their books but for me it adds to my reading experience. I will take a secondhand book over a new one any day.

do you prefer new or secondhand? How do you find used books? Do you like writing in your books?

2018 goals

2018 Goals… or Lack of

2018 is going to be better than 2017. I can feel it. I can’t believe all that 2017 had in store for me and to be honest 2018 didn’t have the best first week. My computer crashed and I was having trouble getting back into WordPress etc. etc. but this week has gotten so much better. For starters I’m back into my blog (obviously) I have a lot of things to catch up on, with the end of the year lists and everything. I’m still debating whether I want to get a new laptop because I can’t have my computer crash after every single major update. It’s happened twice and my patience with the entire brand is thin.

Another amazing thing I found out last week was that I am one of the recipients Google Developer Challenge Scholarship through Udacity for the front end-web developer track. So what happens is everyone accepted gets placed onto one of two tracks (we got to put preferences in the application). Those tracks are three months long and then the top students get full scholarships to the nanodegree program. Obviously one of my goals this year is to make it into the nanodegree portion.

My other goals for 2018 are weirdly broad:

  • Clear off my immediate TBR shelf (that I made just for this year-31 books)
  • Read 100 books total (Yes, I am behind already but the year is young)
  • As always: Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  • Continue Learning. Always.

To be honest I haven’t thought much about my goals this year. Last year I’ve realized a lot can change in a year and to make a resolution to do something for an entire year is a lot of pressure. Life can change in a heartbeat and doesn’t stop for anyone.

What do you want to accomplish in 2018?


Blog Haitus

Every year I take a break from or at least back from blogging, social media, all that stuff.

Well, this year’s is going to be a little longer than i would like it to be. On New Year’s Day my computer crashed and for some unknown reason my email isn’t letting me get the password change. I haven’t had to sign in for over a year so I can’t figure out which password I used.

As we all know blogging from the app isn’t fun at all and quite difficult to format posts on. So until I can get the password stuff figured out there won’t be any posts on here. I will still be posting on my Instagram account.

Hope to be back soon-


Bookish Naughty List Tag

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Included in my list of amazingly talented and creative friends is Jenn, from jennily.com. As part of her Blogmas celebration she created a checklist to figure out if you are on the bookish naughty list (The gorgeous photo is hers as well). You tick off the things you’ve done this year and then tag another ten people.

  • Received an ARC and not reviewed it  ✔
    • I get ARCs at work. We can just take them and I kind of put them on my shelf, say I’ll read them before the date and then I don’t. 80ish percent that have been delivered to me specifically either electronic or physical I have read and reviewed though.
  • Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley
    • No! My ratio is over 70% and has been all year!
  • Rated a book on GoodReads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)
    • Actually my last review of 2017 was in July so that’s bad enough… and it says “Review to come.” That review made it to my blog, just not GoodReads.
  • Folded down the page of a book
    • It’s weird. I’ll write and highlight books but I won’t fold down pages. I did fold them in college but I don’t think I have this year.
  • Accidentally spilled on a book
    • To be honest I probably have. I know I’ve set my book in drops of water at some point this month.
  • DNF a book this year✔
    • For the longest time I wouldn’t DNF books and I started this year. I still feel like they’re on my currently reading list even though they’re physically in my donation boxes
  • Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it
    • It wasn’t no intention of reading them but there was a set of four books at a book sale and I bought them even though I thought I had copies already and I try not to have duplicates.
  • Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)
    • I probably have done this but I don’t remember a specific time. Normally I procrastinate on things by going on social media. If I read when I’m supposed to be doing something else I can’t concentrate on my book.
  • Skim read a book
    • I fail at skimming. I won’t remember anything.
  • Completely missed your GoodReads goal
    • My goal was 13 books…. at the time of writing this I’m at 54….
  • Borrowed a book and not returned it
    • This year I only have one book that’s borrowed from someone else and I literally just got it. I’m going to read it in either January or February (she’s in zero hurry to get it back).
  • Broke a book buying ban✔
  • Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about✔
    • Many times. I actually don’t write reviews that much except for advanced copies but I’ll decide I want to post a review for a specific book and if I don’t take notes I won’t remember.
  • Wrote in a book you were reading✔
    • I actually like writing in nonfiction books and marking them up with sticky notes and thoughts for if/ when I reread them.
  • Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads
    • I tend to put them in when I start and when I finish but lately I haven’t been updating the during portion.

So there you have it, I’m about halfway naughty. So I know it’s already Christmas but if anyone still wants to do this one I’m tagging you!!!

  1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it  
  2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley
  3. Rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)
  4. Folded down the page of a book
  5. Accidentially spilled on a book
  6. DNF a book this year
  7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it
  8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)
  9. Skim read a book
  10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal
  11. Borrowed a book and not returned it
  12. Broke a book buying ban
  13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about
  14. Wrote in a book you were reading
  15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

November wrap-up

This was the year I finally decided to try and conquer NaNoWriMo but it just wasn’t in the cards. I ended up getting to 12,000 words which is a massive accomplishment for me since I’ve barely written in the past couple years. However, that was mostly in the first week and a half. I am going to keep plugging away at my (still nameless) novel.

I went to Milwaukee for a weekend and split my time between three of my best friends. It was amazing to catch up with them, we mainly just hung out and talked and I ran some errands at Milwaulkee-specific places. We had a lot of delicious coffee and a lot of good laughs. I decided to go in November so I could beat the snow and then my hometown ended up getting snow that weekend. So I succeeded, but not the way I thought I would.

I also went out to my college town for a what was going to be a day trip, but the three of us haven’t been together in close to three years so we ended up staying the night so we went to the hockey game against one of the teams in my hometown and then went downtown and I got to see some of my other friends and we checked out the new bar that opened up and then got a flat tire on the way back to the hotel. It was an adventure but we’re all safe and sound in our respective cities and houses now.

The night before Thanksgiving bits and pieces of my boss’s old band got together so I finally got to see what they sounded like and they sound amazing! Unfortunately when I went to record a bit my hand was over the speaker. Fail. So I have no proof, but I can remember it pretty well.

With that and obviously work and Netflix I only read one book this month and that was Finders Keepers. It was really good, but it did feel like a filler second book as many second books do. However, I was still curious to see what would happen next and it was very entertaining and I went straight to End of Watch, the third book in the series.

What was your favorite thing in November? Anything you’re excited for in December?