Sunday, January 26

12 Books in 12 Months (12x12)

As I'm sure you remember from my 2014 resolutions, I really want to read at least 12 books this year. With work, law school and life, I hardly read at all last year and I'm pretty sure I only read one new book. So, for this new year, I really wanted to change that.

Reading has always been a huge part of my life. When I was little, I would stay up late reading almost every night. I was completely obsessed with the Animorphs series. It's actually what J and I first bonded over when we were 7, haha. Whenever I was feeling down, I would pull a book from my bookshelf and read. It always seemed to put things in perspective for me; even if I was mad at my mom for something, I would read about someone who had far greater problems than me. My anger would dissipate and I would leave my room feeling so much better than when I entered it.

I also have a "bad" habit of re-reading books instead of reading new ones. I get attached to stories and characters, and when I know how a book makes me feel, it's a lot easier to pull it off the shelf when I need it. For example, Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books of all time. I've re-read the book at least 10 times, probably more. I literally miss Anne when I haven't read the book in a while, like a childhood friend I haven't seen recently. I re-bought the book in London when I missed her.

Anyway, because of this habit, I don't tend to read new books. But how am I going to make new literary friends if I don't read new books? So for my 12 books in 12 months, I chose only books that I haven't read (or finished - I kind of cheated with a few of them).

Without further adieu, here are my 12 books! (Mind you, these are in no particular order)

Game of Thrones: The Song of Ice & Fire - George R. R. Martin
I started reading this book in 2012, and I'm still not done. I got about a fourth of the way through it before I stopped reading. Maybe it was because J and I were moving, maybe it was because I started watching "GIRLS." I don't know. Whatever the reason, I have just about a third of the book left and I am absolutely obsessed. A third of this book will still take me a while, but since I'm deep into it right now, this is the first book I'm going to read this year. Hopefully I'll start making time for this instead of Netflix this weekend and next week!

Study Smart, Study Less - Anne Crossman
This is a pretty small book, so I'm hoping I can finish it in a day. I'm also hoping to finish this one pretty early on so I can use some of the tips for law school!

Women Food & God - Geneen Roth
It's no secret that I've struggled with weight issues and self-love, so when my mom bought me this book, I was definitely excited to read it. But as all books that come around Christmas in my life, it got shoved onto the back burner. It seems like it's kind of a hippie way of looking at spirituality and food, but that's totally my jam, haha.

God and Boobs: Balancing Faith & Sexuality - Angie Schuller Wyatt
This was also a Christmas present that got forgotten on my book shelf. My college roommates and I had long discussions about how the Christian faith views sexuality (or, more often then not, tries to avoid sexuality). I'm really excited to see how this book addresses it. I have no idea if I'm going to be swayed either way, but I'm trying to keep an open mind to what this book has to offer, because I have a feeling it's going to be incredibly thought-provoking!

Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women Religious Leaders in Their Own Words - Marueen E. Fiedler
This is a book of interviews by Fiedler on interfaith issues, gender equality, and women church leaders. I've kind of been obsessed with it since the moment I got it, and it discusses my main topics of interest in scholastic Christianity! If you couldn't tell, there are a lot of religious books in my 12, mainly because they're the ones I haven't read. I'm really interested in seeing how my faith changes this year because of them.

Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman - Robert K. Massie
I'm a history nut, but mostly about Tudor England... But I think I might be a changed woman after this book. It's about (surprise) Catherine the Great, who was a German princess who became the Empress of Russia. Just from the inside cover, I'm pretty sure I'm going to fall in love with her swiftly and entirely!

Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke
My mom sent me this book while I was in London and thinking about becoming a writer. I'll admit, I've read parts of it, but never a substantial chunk, let alone the entire thing. It's actually really short - only 68 pages - so this will definitely be one of the shortest reads. I feel like this is a classic though, and fully deserving of the time it'll take to understand the flowery language!

Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, & The American Girl - Susan Campbell
I've already read parts of this book as well. I started several years ago and got to the point of her childhood baptism in elementary school, so clearly I didn't get very far! I really love how Campbell writes and her witty sense of humor! It's almost Catlin Moran-ic, haha.

Sex With Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, & Revenge - Eleanor Herman
I've read several chapters of this book, but never finished it. It's amazing though! It's basically about all the famous mistresses throughout history - what they were like, how long they were mistresses, and why they were loved by their respective kings/presidents/etc. It's kind of crazy to think how much these women changed the world from their beds. Not that I think women today should be doing that (I'm fully capable of changing the world from my desk, thank you very much), but it's a really interesting, captivating read!

Bossypants - Tina Fey
I don't know how I haven't read this yet. I'm embarrassed. Getting on this train ASAP.

Good Girls, Bad Girls: The Enduring Lessons of Twelve Women of the Old Testament - T.J. Wray
As you could probably tell from the title, this book looks in-depth at 12 biblical women. We assume a lot of characters in the Bible were "whores or virgins," but this book looks deeper into their stories. I got this a few years ago but never read it! Whoops!

Grimm's Fairy Tales
I'm 2/3 of the way through this, but haven't read it in the past year. I started reading it my senior year of college and stopped some time after J and I moved into our apartment in Coralville. You understand nothing of fairy tales until you read these. Like, you think Sleeping Beauty got woken up with a kiss? Technically. The prince raped her unconscious body first. Personally, I think it was wise for Disney to gloss over that part. They're a lot darker and a lot more full of death than the ones we remember from our childhood, but these are the real deal! I'm actually super excited to keep reading these. Even though I've read a lot of the book, it's small type and over 500 pages, so that last third will definitely take a while!


Phew, that was a lot! My plan for this project is to post when I've finished a book, along with my thoughts on the book, how I liked it, what I learned, etc. Hopefully the first post will be soon, but I can't make any promises. Law school's pretty demanding, haha. I hope to read a lot over any breaks that I have, like when I go to Hilton Head over UNH's "winter break," which is in late February. And of course, my goal is to read these 12 - it doesn't mean than I can't read more than that! :)

Have you read any of these books? What books are you reading right now that you'd recommend?

Thursday, January 9

Life Lately {vol. 15}

I have had a pretty incredible Christmas break, and I still have a few days left. I got to see my family for most of it, J for all of it, and my mom even visted Iowa City earlier this week! I've had so much down time, so I've gotten a lot of fun reading done and watche a bunch of new movies.

Tomorrow, J and I are going to celebrate my (very early) birthday! We're going to get sushi for lunch, then see "Her" in theaters later in the afternoon. I'm so excited! :)

At the same time, I've had to prepare for leaving and starting my second semester of law school. I bought my books earlier this week, so I'll hopefully have them all delivered by the time I get back to New Hampshire on Sunday. Abby and her husband, Andrew, are going to pick me up at the airport. We've already gotten homework for two classes! Ouch, right?

How has your Christmas/Holiday break been? :)

Tuesday, January 7

2014 Resolutions

I know some people aren't big fans of New Years Resolutions, but I like them! I love new beginnings and I'll take any excuse I can to try and better myself. And trust me, there's a lot of bettering that I should be doing, haha.

Last year, I chose several resolutions to stick to. I think I did alright with them, though I certainly wasn't perfect in 2013. It's taken me a few days to decide what my resolutions for this year would be, but I'm really happy with the ones I picked!

  • Find a church in Concord
This has been a goal I've had since I moved to Concord, but that got swept to the side once law school started. During school, I'm constantly exhausted, and it's hard to convince myself to get up early on Sunday morning. I also majored in religion in college, so it's difficult for me not to judge a service while I'm experiencing it. I also am very biased against contemporary services, so finding a liberal, theologically-sound church with a traditional service tends to be a difficult task. Despite all that, it felt SO good to go to my home church with my family and J this break, and I know I need to make an effort to find a church home in New Hampshire.

  • Read 12 new books for fun
This is the goal that I am most excited about this year! Last year, I probably read 3 books for fun. I am so embarrassed about this, but between working full time and then going to law school, my brain was too fried to deal with adding literature on top of that. I also tend to re-read books rather than reading new ones, because I get attached to the stories and characters. This year, I want to make a huge effort to read instead of just turning on Netflix or watching a movie. I also want to read books that I haven't read before - I have tons of them, so I'm excited to choose those books once I get back to school!

  • Be encouraging towards J and myself about getting fit
J and I decided that we both wanted to work harder on getting (and keeping) fit this year. This is definitely an easier task for J than it is for me, but we will be encouraging each other to work out more often. He wants to start running more often, and I want to make time each week to workout using my workout videos. I also want to do a 5K in April, so I'll have to start running again!

  • Say "Yes" to social occasions more often
I am a self-described homebody and nothing is quite as appealing to me as a night in bed, watching movies, drinking wine, and hangout out with friends. However, this doesn't happen very often. A lot of my law school friends go out downtown on the weekends, but I hardly ever go with because I'm always tired. I've also wanted to go to "meetings" for the music group on campus but never gone. I'm going to start going this semester, and hopefully I'll get some of this musical rage out of me one way or another!

  • Get rid of 200 things
I did this last year and absolutely loved it. We accumulate so much junk and unnecessary stuff over the year. I plan on going through my closet, bathroom, and room and donating (or throwing away) things that I don't need or want anymore. I have the whole year to do this, though I did it last year in less than a week!

  • Do at least one craft a month
I'm not a particularly "crafty" person, but I am very creative. However, especially when I'm stressed or overwhelmed, the creative stuff gets put on the back-burner. I'm going to try to do one "craft" a month, whether that's a recipe, sewing, or doing a Pinterest craft. I need to do fun little things for me more often, and what better way than doing crafts?

  • Try to live more in the moment
I'm a planner and I like knowing that everything is in its place before I make a move. Not that I'm not spontaneous or relaxed, because I totally am… but I'm the kind of person who worries about the logistics of how something will work before I've even done something. I've been worrying about what I'm going to do this summer since almost the first week of law school, which was not helpful or useful in the slightest when I was supposed to be worrying about the classes I was taking. So, this year, I am going to live in the moment more and try to avoid worrying about the future or how things will work themselves out before I have to worry about those things!

What are your new years resolutions? Do you believe in making resolutions? Do you think mine are do-able? :)

Wednesday, January 1

2013 {post 3 of 3}

This year, I…

  • Celebrated Halloween at law school as Jess from “New Girl”
  • Got my bangs cut (Still obsessed with them)
  • Fully embraced my status as a crazy cat lady
  • Passed out Halloween candy with Penina & Adam
  • Cuddled with James every night
  • Experienced my first winter in Concord
  • Learned how making bread was like legal writing
  • Went to some house parties
  • Travelled with James to Iowa
  • Had the most amazing Thanksgiving weekend with J
  • Became a redhead (and partially a pinkhead)
  • Put up Christmas lights and listened to Christmas music nonstop
  • Studied for law school finals
  • Made homemade tom yum soup for the first time
  • Got a Christmas present from my Grandma and Grandpa!
  • Had my red hair touched up at The Beauty Lounge
  • Saw "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" with Abby, her husband, Andrew, our friend Matt, and one of Andrew's friends
  • Somehow survived my first law school finals!
  • Flew to Des Moines and met J there that night (we stayed at my mom's apartment in Des Moines)
  • Was reunited with my kitty babies!
  • Celebrated J's 24th birthday on Christmas Eve
  • Had Christmas at J's house with his family! Santa even visted me from South Carolina! ;)
  • Received so many amazing and thoughtful presents
  • Watched "Les Mis" and read "Game of Thrones" while J worked
  • Drove with J to Des Moines to see my family!
  • Spent time with family friends and celebrated several little Christmases!
  • Visited the side of my family in Atlantic, Iowa
  • Watched "The Hobbit: 2" again with my family and J
  • Celebrated New Years Eve in Des Moines with my family and J! We went to a really cool restaurant (Alba) and watched movies in our hotel room!
2013 was quite a year! It was full of challenges and setbacks, but I can say with certainty that I grew up a lot, learned more than I could have imagined, learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and learned a lot about J and I as a couple! 

Where 2012 was full of hopes and possibilities (I had just graduated and J and I had just moved in together), I think 2013 taught me more about the realities of life and the difficulties of being a "grown-up." That's not to say it wasn't full of love, fun, silliness, and wonderful things! It probably didn't help that 2013 was the year I started law school, which I've heard isn't the easiest experience, haha.

It's been quite a year… Though I hope 2014 is a little more fun and a little less stressful! ;)

Did you do anything fun for New Years Eve? How did 2013 treat you?