Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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All Fall Down by Ally Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All Fall Down is the first novel in Ally Carter's new series Embassy Row. It comes out January 27th.

All Fall Down focuses on Grace, a 16 year-old Army brat who always finds trouble. When she was 13, her mother died. Everyone insists it was an accident, but Grace knows what she saw. When she returns to Embassy Row after 3 years, she is overwhelmed with memories of the past. At the ball Grace see a man she know to be her mother's killer and decides to have her friends help her track down the man, since no adults will help.

This novel really wasn't at all what I was expecting. I tend to enjoy novels with unreliable narrators. (One of my favorites being Ketchup Clouds) However, this one was kind of weird. I really didn't like Grace and I think that kept me from liking the story more.

It was also very strange to me how obsessed Grace still was over her mother's death.  It had been 3 years, I'm not expecting her to have forgotten about it, but in the novel it's as if no time has passed.  I would think she would have started to calm down and understand some of it.  When she's at the US Embassy, it bothers me greatly that she hasn't THROWN OUT HER MOTHER'S TOOTH BRUSH.  It's been 3 years.  What is she going to do with it?

At some points, the novel was really confusing.  The setting wasn't always completely described and sometimes events just occurred without any explanation whatsoever.  Generally what was happening could be figured out by inferring, though.

Grace didn't really act 16 and her acquaintances all acted younger than they were described as well. I think it would have been better if they were described as younger, even if nothing else was changed.

Overall, I did enjoy the novel and did not expect the ending. This would definitely be better for more in the 12-13 age range, though.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 Reasons You Should Have Another Piece of Pie

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Pumpkin pie is probably the second thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Thanksgiving.  It is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, though, am I right?

Tragically, some people limit themselves to one piece.  I can't even imagine what this must be like.  Sure, it's dessert, but it's also extremely good for you!

So, in honor of the upcoming holiday, here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin.

+ Pumpkin is loaded with carotenoids, including beta carotene, which our body converts to vitamin A.

+ Carrots aren't the only orange food that helps your eyes.  Pumpkins also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are good for your eyes!

+ Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.

+ 1 cup of pumpkin contains only 49 calories- around 2.5% of your recommended daily intake!

+ 1 cup of pumpkin also has only 2 mg of sodium and <1 g each of saturated fat, polyunsaturate fat, and monounsaturated fat.

I'm sure even pumpkin pie can get boring after eating it for a while, but there are many other ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.  Some of my favorite recipes include

Pumpkin Apple Bread title

+Pumpkin Apple Bread

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

So, enjoy your leftovers, sometimes they're healthier than you think.


Sources x x x

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be.  For more information regarding the nutrition of certain type of foods please talk to your doctor.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Celebrity Representation in the Media

Children and teenagers are extremely impressionable.  Celebrities are always shown in the news, magazines, and in other media.  Their work acting, singing, and modeling tends to be the main focus of this media.  However, these are often not the only activities celebrities do.  The media has the opportunity to filter the content adolescents see.  Maybe they should be showing more of the humanitarian side of celebrities instead of the glamorized one.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) was a widely known actress of her time and is now a household name.  Between 1948 and 1989 she starred in nearly thirty films.  Though she's mainly remembered as a film icon, she did so much more with her life than act in movies.  Maybe the media has been focusing on the wrong thing.

Audrey Hepburn Picture - Image 28
Hepburn dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina when she was a child.  The war made her dream physically impossible, but not before she was able to raise money for the Dutch Resistance by secretly dancing for groups of people.  She also gave ballet lessons to refugee girls in her grandfather's house.

In her later years, Audrey Hepburn served as a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador.  For five years, starting in 1988, Hepburn traveled to more than twenty countries.  According to Madeline Eisner, who was on a mission with her, "She insisted on seeing the worst of the worst."  On her mission in Somalia, Audrey witnessed countless innocent children struggling for survival.  According to Audrey, "Every child has the right to health, to tenderness, to life."  Most of the children she met did not have any of these, though.  These gruesome truths were reported to world leaders, governments, and international media.  The time Hepburn spent with UNICEF inspired many to reach out and work to improve the lives of children all over the world.

Audrey Hepburn won around eighty awards throughout her lifetime as well as posthumously.  The number of awards given for being a humanitarian only total around twenty.  Her work for UNICEF caused far more of an impact on the world than her acting, but she was not as recognized for it.

What does this say for celebrities today?  Many will be idolized for acting in films, modeling in magazines, or singing on the radio.  While people who spend countless hours of their time helping others go unrecognized.  Children and teenagers are very impressionable and people in the media have the largest opportunity to leave that impression.  Seeing Audrey Hepburn star in Breakfast at Tiffany's may inspire a child to take up acting.  However, seeing Hepburn idolized in the news for being a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador may inspire the same child to make a difference in their world.  Which would you rather see today's youth doing?

Cardillo, Margaret, and Julia Denos. Just Being Audrey. New York: Balzer Bray, 2011. Print.

Giles, David C., and John Maltby. "The role of media figures in adolescent development: Relations between autonomy, attachment, and interest in celebrities." Personality and individual differences 36.4 (2004): 813-822.

"Life & Career." Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. <>.

Spoto, Donald. Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn. New York: Harmony, 2006. Print.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

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Atlantia by Ally Condie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wow. I was just really disappointed with this book. The Matched trilogy has never been one of my favorites, but it was at least decent.

Rio, a siren, lives in a society where the people are separated, Above and Below. Children get to choose if they want to stay Below or go Above at a ceremony. Rio knows all here life leading up to the ceremony that she NEEDS to go above. However, when her mother dies of a mysterious and unknown cause, Rio's sister, Bay, begs her to stay Below and keep her company. When the ceremony comes, Rio holds her end of the deal and chooses Below, while Bay chooses Above, something no one expected. Rio now has to go Above and figure out why Bay made the decision she did, though getting there proves to be tougher than she expects.

I think the concept here was excellent and Condie built an amazing dystopian society. However, the end was far too rushed. I'm still not really sure how they solved everything- it all happened in about three pages. I think the book definitely could have been longer in order to finish the plot.

Then there's Rio and True's relationship. Why? I just don't understand. I feel there was absolutely zero need to bring them from platonic to romantic. The parts where the relationship is emphasized were just boring and provided no plot development. Plus, if Rio was interested in being in a romantic relationship with True, you would think she would have talked about it at some point, but she doesn't. I think True and Rio had an excellent platonic relationship that was most definitely fine as it was.

I think the hardcover version of this book is absolutely gorgeous, though.  The inside has a pretty black/ silver paper and all the teal is beautiful.  I would want to own it if I didn't dislike the actual content so much.


Monday, November 3, 2014

November Goals

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November is a month that seems to be full of huge goals.  National Novel Writing Month, No-Shave November, No-Spend November, etc.  I just don't understand it.  November is probably one of the busiest months of the year for me, with Thanksgiving and getting ready for Winter holidays I don't have time to commit to such a large goal.  So, I'm going to keep my goals small and obtainable for this month.

+Hit 2,000 views for the month.  With not posting much in the past few months, our views have been pretty low.  I'm hoping that we'll get back on track this month.

+Post at least 15 times.  This goes with my first goal.  I've not had a bunch of time to post, but it helps if I schedule posts in advance, so that's what I'll be doing.

+Drink more water.  This is honestly just a constant goal for me.  I find that I never drink enough water and I think it has been leading to  all the headaches I've been getting recently.

+Stop starting so many books and finish them already.  I swear to you I'm in the middle of just about 20 books.  It's ridiculous.

That's it.  Not too outrageous, right?


Sunday, November 2, 2014

October 2014 Recap

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Favorites

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I swear October was about three days long.  It still feels like we just got back from Green Bay.  Overall, it was a pretty good month and I feel like I got a lot of big projects finished up.  While I found myself pushing back some small ones (for example, barely posting on here).

Oct Favs

I was introduced to some new lovely things this month and I rediscovered some of my old favorites.  For example:

I found out about Oatmeal Squares.  This was truly one of the best things that happened to me all month.  They're so good and they have a decent amount of protein which is something I'm always looking to get into my diet since I don't eat meat.  Great alternative to sugar cereal and it gets me to drink more water.  Win-win.


I've rediscovered Starbucks' apple cider.  I will take it over a PSL ANY day.  It's soooo good and warm.  Perfect for right before class.

I also rediscovered my favorite eyeliner when I realized I probably should try to look like I didn't just roll out of bed when I go to the library to volunteer.  (I did, but no one needs to know that)  The reason I stopped wearing this in the past was because it wasn't a good black.  However, I've learned that it is perfect with ELF liquid liner on top.
I've also been loving my Coldplay radio on iTunes.  It's the perfect blend of mainstream and indie- I listen to it all day.

Lastly, I learned about Tsu.  Tsu is a social media site that believes you should get paid for the advertising on a site, not the site.  So, that's what they do.  Tsu shares up to 90% of it's revenue with it's users.  Check it out via my referral link.

What are some of your favorite things from October?