Favorite Books Releases of 2014 (by Zakiya of Books, TV, and Me )

I'm an avid reader and always has been. College can be a tricky time to read for leisure, but if I go to long without doing so, I definitely start to notice. I may go one month without reading anything more than the Syllabus for my Italian Renaissance Art History course and another month devour three novels back-to-back-to-back. 

I was thrilled when Zakiya of Book, TV, and Me contacted me with this post idea since books are something I always find myself wanting to blog about, but somehow never get around to. Some of these books are ones I've also been wanting to get my hands on and the ones I didn't know about before, Zakiya has fully convinced me into investigating a little further. 

So here are some of Zakiya's favorite books so far this year!

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This year was great for books and it’s only going to get better from here. I’ve lost count on how many book reviews I’ve done this year but it’s been plenty. I’ve been reading non-stop, every chance I get it. Here’s my top five of this year. Most have been released by now but one hasn’t yet. Take a look.

1. The One and Only by Emily Giffin
I’ve loved Emily Giffin’s writing since I read Something Borrowed years ago. She has this incredible ability to write love stories that challenge your thinking but also make your heart race. This novel focuses around Shea Rigsby a thirty something year old who’s life is thrown upside when her best friend’s mother dies. Shea is forced to think about her life choices and forced to wonder if she’s really doing what she wants or if she’s just stayed in her hometown of Walker, Texas because it’s safe. Shea begins to revaluate everything in her life and starts to figure what she really wants for herself in her career and in her love life. Such a good read!

2.  Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I’ve been obsessed with this series since I read the first book a year ago (I think). I own every single one and have been caught rereading them all from time to time. If you’ve never heard of the Lux series before it’s centered on a girl named Katy who moves to this new town after her father dies from cancer. Katy’s next-door neighbors, Daemon and Dee, are hiding a secret that Katy is determined to find out. Especially after Daemon saves her life. What Katy doesn’t realize is once she knows the truth it will change her life forever. Great sci-fi drama and of course there’s a great romance as well. This is the last book in the series and it was a fantastic ending.

3. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
I love this series! I loved the Vampire Academy series and although I still love those books more I absolutely fell in love with its spin off series. Richelle Mead is great at creating these intense, drama filled love stories where you have no idea how it’ll ever work but when it does you’re so excited. This book came out last month and it’s the second to last book in the series. If you’ve never heard of this series before it’s centered around a girl named Sydney Sage who is an Alchemist which is a human who’s sole job is to keep vampires and dhapmirs (half vamp, half human) a secret from humans. Although Sydney is at first down with the Alchemist cause, as the series progresses she rebels more and more from their ideals leading her into a heap of trouble. This was my favorite of the series so far.

4. Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
I’ve read almost every one of Ellen Hopkin’s books and she has yet to disappoint me. Although her books can get very dark they’re told in such a poetic way (she literally writes her books like poetry) that they’re not hard to get through. Her latest novel focuses on a teenage boy, Matthew, who lives in a town where religion is the epicenter but he doesn’t believe. Matthew’s younger brother was bullied into suicide and Matthew no longer has time for a religion that is filled with what he feels is hypocrisy and hate. As a Christian myself I found this novel to be very interesting and thought provoking but in a great way. I thought Hopkins did a very good job of handling a touchy subject that is highly publicized right now. Definitely a must read. Release date: August 26.

5. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a YouTube show based off of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. The Secret Diary is the book companion to the show and it’s brilliant. I listened to the audio book because I wanted to hear Ashley Clement’s (Lizzie on the show) voice read the book. It just made it feel more authentic that way. It was great. Although some fear it’ll be just like the show it’s not. Of course there are some scenes that come straight from the show but there’s also so much revealed that we never saw on the show and that explained some things. Definitely a great read but if you haven’t watched the show yet definitely watch the show first. Also, there will also be a Lydia diary released soon so there’s even more to look forward to. Yay!

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Thanks again for this awesome guest post Zakiya. Also, you can catch more books/tv talk on her blog!

Bid Day Do's & Don'ts



We have one of the largest bid days in the U.S.!

Hey everyone! How's your week going? I just started school Monday and I already feel slightly overwhelmed looking at a whole semester's worth of due dates. However, this past Sunday I wrapped up my last sorority recruitment and celebrated Bid Day. There was something extra special and awesome about this Bid Day. Maybe it was because this one was one of my favorite themes we've ever had or maybe because it was my last one as a member. I'm not sure, but either way Bid Day was the inspiration for this post because while I was jumping up in down at the Greek Theater, face painted, waiting for the new babies to open their bids I was thinking back to Bid Days gone by and what I wish someone would've told me.

DO

  • Go All Out - What's your sorority's theme? Ours was Delta Delta Delta Draft and girls went all out with painted faces, athletic socks, whistles, bows, glitter, etc. We completely decked ourselves out and you should too! The theme is half the fun and there's very few days a year where you can go all out in a costume worthy get up during daylight hours and have it be extremely encouraged. 
  • Get There Early - Get to the Bid Day festivities early! Soak it all in from beginning to end. Be there to help set up, get anything you need to prepare, take pictures with fellow sisters, and anything else. Getting there early is essential!
  • Have Fun - Yell, chant, sing, and dance around! They usually play music at our bid day and half the fun is dancing around and acting silly with your sisters while you wait for PNMs to open bids. No matter how your bid day is structured don't forget that having fun is one of the most important elements to a successful/happy bid day experience. 
  • Take Lots of Pictures - This one should be pretty self explanatory, but don't let capturing the perfect experience on your phone ruin having the perfect experience in the moment! Embrace it all! 


DON'T

  • Forget to Bring Water/Sunscreen - Somehow Bid Day always ends up being one of the hottest days of the year. If your bid day has any outdoor element part to it (almost all of ours is outdoors), don't forget to drink lots of water and sunscreen it up. Last year about 4 girls passed out from the heat and there's nothing scarier or more of downer on what's supposed to be a happy day.
  • Pregame - Drinking before Bid Day sounds lots of fun in theory, but I promise it's not. Most bid days occur early in the morning or early afternoon and no one likes somebody who's smashed before ten in the morning (that's just a general life rule). You won't be fully present, able to help the new members, be of any use setting up, and if your bid day is outside then you'll be more susceptible to feeling faint/ill if it's particularly hot. Also, there will be so many parents/advisers/officers/alumni in attendance and showing them your sloppier side shouldn't be on your agenda. You're begging to be sent to standards. So, if you're of age, save the hard celebrating until a more appropriate time.
  •  Scare The New Members - Remember when you were a new member? Yeah, your first couple hours as a new member on Bid Day are a complete whirlwind. So much information, chaos, and excitement surrounds these new babies on Bid Day. Don't overload or overwhelm them. Be understanding that they need to be shown the ropes, but not all of them within the first hour. Be supportive and understanding and as helpful as you can as they adjust to how things are done!

xoxo

Currently



Listening To: What You Know by Two Door Cinema Club and all of Jukebox the Ghost's Safe Travels Album (favorite's include At Last, Everybody Knows, and Oh, Emily)!
Reading: I just pre-ordered Happy Handmade Home as my first 'coffee table' type book for my apartment (I say 'type book' because I technically don't own a coffee table if anyone's asking). I love those gals over at ABM and I can't wait to soak up some awesome ideas for my apartment! If you pre-order now you can have free shipping so that it arrives on your doorstep the day it's released (aka August 26th) and get around a $5 discount on the book. Awesome!
Watching: I've been watching lots of feel good, light-hearted sorts of movies. The last thing I watched was 10 Things I Hate About You and She's the Man. Oh, and I've been re-watching Season 5 of Gossip Girl and it's quickly making me want to revisit the first two seasons because season 5-6 is just a complete mess.
Working On: getting things ready for school, finding ways to bring in a little extra income here and there, a workout schedule once school starts, not finishing the Smores Peanut Butter Dip in a week and a half again and making use of all my spare time.
Eating: Pancakes for dinner. This may or may not have happened two times in a week. Whoops.
Feeling: Overwhelmed by classes quickly approaching, slightly tired due to recruitment, and relieved because my scholarship money finally came through.
Calling: Jack everyday after he gets picked up from school to see how his day went. He's handling this whole kindergarten thing like a total pro. I'm one proud sister!
Loving: getting caught up on blog work, the excitement I'm feeling over upcoming football season, quiet time/down time the most, feeling put together, how comfortable my bed seems in the morning, the college community in which I live in, the master to-list I've come up with for senior year, and how long my hair is (but also how much I'm looking forward to giving it the chop before long).

What have you been up to? Do you have anything awesome happening? Let me know!

Fun & Fashionable Ways To Support/Get Involved With Animal Rescue (ft. Mary from Little Holly's Big World)

Hey everyone! Today I'm bringing you a different, but really fun and positive guest post into this space. I know I'm not an animal related blogger and I know that animal related content isn't something I generally focus on here. However, when Mary came to me with this post idea I couldn't say no. I love animals so much and more importantly, I love finding ways to get involved in something I'm not sure how to approach directly. 

I grew up with a dog, a shihtzu I got when I was seven, that we saved from a puppy mill. Spot, was the best dog and a true and probably the most beloved member of our family until my sophomore year of college. Ever since, I've wanted so deeply to have another dog and have decided that I would certainly like to rescue one if given the chance. Right now, being in college and living in a pet free apartment, adopting or rescuing a pup of my own isn't in the cards. I loved that when I read Mary's post I really felt like I could connect to this awesome cause of rescuing animals even with my inability to actually have pet myself. That's what makes this post alone worth the read. Without further ado, here are some fun, fashionable, and affordable ways to support/get involved with animal rescue!

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Hello there, Dearie Lovie Readers!

I am so excited to be stopping by today from Little Holly's Big World, where I spend my days writing about all the fun and fabulous things you can do (and wear) with your pup in New York City!

My dog, Holly Golightly, is a rescued Chihuahua mix from the Humane Society of New York, and she is the best gal pal a girl could ask for. Through working on my blog I have been so fortunate to connect with many amazing people who hold the cause of animal rescue close to their hearts, and hope to raise further awareness about animal adoption and all the ways we can help save every animal possible.

Since I know a lot of people are not in the position to bring a new rescue into their home, even as much as they would love to, I thought this would be a great place to share some of the fun & stylish products I have come across in my blogging experience that also benefit animal rescue. Looking cute and saving a cute animal is the best win-win situation I can think of! As an added bonus, everything here is under $50, proving that making a difference doesn't have to mean breaking the bank.

1. Alex & Ani Paw Prints Charm Bangle ($28, buy it here):

Until December 2014, Alex & Ani will donate 20% of profits from each bangle purchased to the Mayor's Alliance for NYC animals, which focuses on caring for and adopting out homeless animals throughout the city.


2. Hendrick & Co. William Tote ($30, buy it here): 

Hendrick & Co. is a brand dedicated to helping animals in critical need (they even support a skunk rescue!), and underfunded animal shelters. Starting August 15th, buyers will be able to enter their zip code into a special map on their website and select the local shelter their purchase will help. 

The "William" tote was inspired by the owner's own rescue pup, William, and is part of the SquareIt collection, which donates 2x more than a standard purchase to animal rescue. Head over to Little Holly's Big World this week to check out my interview with the company's CEO and a gift card giveaway!!


3. Crafting4Cause Little Dog Big Kisses Chihuahua necklace ($20, buy it here):

A portion of all proceeds from the pretty hand stamped jewels on this Etsy page goes to animal shelters. She carries a ton of products promoting everything from animal rescue to Autism awareness and even makes custom items, so whatever your cause, you can wear it proudly!


4. I'd Rather Be With My Dog Paw Print Tank ($27.99, buy it here): 

The founder of I'd Rather Be With My Dog created his collection of tanks, tees, mugs and stickers after getting a ton of response from a song he wrote about an ex with the line "I'd rather be with my dog, then be with you girl" (take THAT, Taylor Swift!). A portion of all sales goes to animal rescue. 

The company also offers breed-specific styles so you can rock your pooch's lookalike even when they aren't at your side! As an added plus, shoppers get 20% off with code BIGWORLD through August.



These are just a few examples of the fun and stylish ways you can help give back to the animal community. Of course, there are free ways you can give back as well, from volunteering your time at a local shelter to donating old quilts to shelters in need. Even sharing an article or photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram encouraging animal adoption or spay & neuter programs can have a huge impact (spaying or neutering one pooch can ultimately save hundreds of lives). 

No matter what you support, know your voice is enough to make a difference, and that is paw-sitively fabulous!v Hope to see you on the blog, darlings!

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Thanks again Mary for sharing and you can catch more of her journey with her rescued pup Holly in tow over at her blog!