Sunday, December 21, 2014

#4.14: Read 25 New Books; #6.9: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – Being Henry David

101 in 1001

BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013

"How can you move on with your life when you can't even remember it?

He wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. All he has in his possession is a worn-out paperback of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. All he knows is that he's on the run. 

And so he becomes Henry David, "Hank" for short. With the book as his guide, he sets out for the only destination he can think of: Walden Pond. There, while sleeping in the woods and hiding around town, it seems like he can begin again, with new friends and a girl he can't stop thinking about. 

But when pieces of memories start coming back, Hank realizes the stranger he fears the most is himself. What's in his past that his mind won't let him face?"

I've been pretty impressed by all of the books on BuzzFeed's list so far, including this one (I guess being a well-written book is a prerequisite to making a list entitled 21 Best YA Books of 2013?). Again, this book had a plot that I hadn't experienced in books before; it was suspenseful and exciting, but was also romantic and sweet and I 10/10 recommend ok

Thanks for reading, no one!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

#18.1: Make 10 DIY Projects – Advent Calendar

101 in 1001 

It's no secret that I really like Christmas. I'm a pretty festive person, especially October through December, and Christmas is without a doubt my favorite holiday. My birthday is actually on Christmas Day (I know, I'm better than you), so that may have something to do with it.

I figured out what advent calendars are last year, and by the time I realized how cool they were, it was too late to make one. The idea to make one popped into my head again after I saw this video on YouTube. It seemed fairly easy, and I liked how you could customize it however you wanted.

I actually didn't realize that making this fits in with my 101 in 1001 challenge, and didn't take any pictures of the whole crafting process. But here it is anyway:

The pouches are made from cardboard tubes (I used empty wrapping paper rolls, but paper towel or toilet paper rolls work just as well). To decorate them, I used Christmas-themed washi tape, ribbon, silver and gold glittered paper that I cut into various, Christmasy shapes, scrapbook embellishments, and different gift tags. The black tags are actually chalkboard tags. Each pouch was filled with chocolate and a little tag with a different holiday activity:

These were from the first three days that we already opened:

 And here are all the tags close up:

 It took me a while to figure out how I was going to hang it up. At first, I was just going to use twine, but all the pouches just stupidly collected in the middle when I tried to hang it up. Then, after unpacking the christmas decorations, I saw that we had an extra yard of this greenery (wth is the name for it?). I put it on the wall and hung each pouch like an ornament. Here's how it looked the night right after I hung it up (do a shot for every 'hung/hang' in this paragraph):

I think it turned out alright. I've never really done a DIY type thing like this before, and I learned a lot from it. What do you think? What's your favorite pouch/day on my calendar?

Thanks for reading, no one!


#4.13: Read 25 New Books; #6.8: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – Out of The Easy

101 in 1001 

BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA of 2013

So, it's been about a year since I started this challenge (actually, 11 months today), and it's just hit me how little I've accomplished.


But anyway, I read another book. This was another that wasn't part of a series, and I picked this to read next because the premise was so interesting:

"It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secret, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan to get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in a police investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in a quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secret, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny. 

I loved this. It had elements of romance, which we all know I love, but was also suspenseful. It had murder, violence, and mystery, which is something I love in film but hadn't ever really experienced in books before.

Thanks for reading, no one!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#4.12: Read 25 New Books; #6.7: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – Eleanor & Park

BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA of 2013

101 in 1001

"'Bono met his wife in high school,' Park says.
'So did Jerry Lee Lewis,' Eleanor answers.
'I'm not kidding,' he says.
'You should be," she says, 'we're 16.'
'What about Romeo and Juliet?'
'Shallow, confused, then dead.'
'I love you,' Park says.
'Wherefore art thou,' Eleanor answers.
'I'm not kidding,' he says.
'You should be.'

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."

This book was so many things. It was passionate, and sexy, and loving, and realistic, and funny, and, in the end, heartbreaking. I don't want to give too many details away, because I think everyone should read this and because I'm too exhausted to think of anything witty to say, but just know that I highly recommend it. 

Thanks for reading, no one!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventures in Depression

I stand there in my oversized sweatshirt and gym shorts, greasy hair at the result of not having showered in five days, 30 pounds heavier than I was ten months ago, across from you, with your perfect body and busy social life and beautiful, symmetrical face. Every expletive in existence runs through my brain, but I still have some semblance of willpower, and manage to not curse you out.

I've had depression since I was in the fourth grade, almost ten years ago.

This one'll be a doozy. Brace yourselves.

Ten years is a long fucking time. Sure, there have been times within the last ten years where the severity of my depression has varied (2009 destroyed little 13 year old Autumn, and I'm still in the midst of a foggy, lonely cloud of existence that descended on me mid-December 2013), but overall, I've gone through the past almost-decade numb. Without much feeling. Just observing the world around me rather than participating in it.

I'm not going to say what specifically led me to such crippling grief. Depression is highly subjective, and if I were to tell you, you'd probably chuckle and say, "Oh, Autumn. People recover from much worse in much less time!"

Which is true. It's not like someone close to me died, or I was assaulted or anything. But still. Just imagine that the worst thing imaginable that could happen to you, happened to me. And roll with it.

Have you ever been depressed? If so, then you will know that no matter what you do, no matter who you surround yourself with, you will be isolated. The only person who knows just how heartbreakingly deep your sadness is, is you. You might reach out to someone else in desperation, internally screaming, "PLEASE INTERACT WITH ME! MAKE ME NOT BE ALONE WITH MY GOD-AWFUL SELF! I'M DROWNING IN SADNESS! SOS!" but they will run away frightened, not wanting to, and probably not equipped to, deal with you and all your baggage. 

Others don't understand. Because mental illness is such an internal thing, it doesn't carry the same weight that something like cancer or multiple sclerosis does. It can't be physically seen on the body, and when you're physically perfectly healthy, how sad can you really be? Oh, you're depressed? Oh, boo hoo. Take a hike! Meditate! Exercise! Choose to be happy! Suck it up! It's not a life-threatening disease and I don't care what you say!

Some people will acknowledge you with their false pity and say "You can get through this." or "Things will get better!" all while secretly thanking their lucky stars that they're not you. They 'recognize' that depression is something concerning, but again, are too happy to not be like you to really take it seriously.

It's hard to relate to anyone who doesn't seem to share your struggles. Because again, they do not know the extent of your sadness; they probably think the way you're behaving is superficial and immature, and are dying to slap you and scream "SNAP OUT OF IT!"

I think this particular part is also true with eating disorders. Time and time again I've caught myself thinking, "Fuck you, and your ability to view food as fuel for when you're hungry, and not like me where it's literally my worst enemy and a substance that I abuse and as the cause of so many of my problems! Fuck you for being better than me!"

If you couldn't tell by now, I am quite cynical. I am bitter. I am also lonely, and that in and of itself amplifies all those negative traits times a thousand.

I have so much more to say, but I'm not articulate/eloquent/organized enough to adequately write it down. Just take this as like a very generalized, extra-short summary of what I'm thinking right now. It feels incomplete, but my foot's asleep and I want to get back to my book and there is a cookie calling my name.

Thanks for reading, no one!


P.S. I apologize for the expletives. But I rescind that apology because I like expletives.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#4.11: Read 25 New Books; #6.6: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – The Beginning of Everything

BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013

101 in 1001

I've been really tied up with college applications, working, and being sick the last week. A bit overwhelming. And naturally, when things get overwhelming, I turn to Netflix and forget about my commitments because I am a responsible adult and you can't tell me otherwise!

"Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them – a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was printed to lose it all: In one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met – achingly effortless and fiercely intelligent.

Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like boys, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: If one's singular tragedy has already hit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings."

This was such a sweet book. The writing style was so clever and unique and funny, and I was immediately mesmerized within the first few pages. I honestly might read this book again, and will probably read the author's other work, just to experience her writing more.

The book didn't end the way I originally wanted it to, but I'm not going to go into it for a couple of reasons: 1. the feels, and 2. I don't want to spoil it for anyone out there who may want to read it. But I highly recommend.

Thanks for reading, no one!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

#4.10: Read 25 New Books, #6.5: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – Perfect Ruin

I'm applying to colleges again (much excite, very stress), and everything that comes with college admissions is taking up a lot of my time. There are a lot of feelings going on, but I'll spare you an angsty sob story.

That being said, though, all these things I'm dealing with has prevented me from reading as frequently as I would have liked to. It took me over two weeks to finish this book, which is a shame, because it was really well written, and the plot was exciting, and it was just immensely entertaining overall.

It was a sci-fi book (is that the right genre?), though, so at first I didn't think I would like it. I actually had no idea what it was about when I picked it up at the library, and I didn't read the summary before starting it; I just knew that it was on my list and that I needed to read it.

Look at how artistic these purposely shitty photos are

"Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge of Internment, the floating city in the clouds where she lives, can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. If she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in her best friend, Pen, and in Basil, the boy she's engaged to marry.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, he is the boy being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find – or whom she will lose."

The only issue I have is that it had SUCH a cliffhanger ending. I mean, it'd be fine if I could just go straight to the next book, but I have to wait UNTIL MARCH, 2015. NEXT YEAR. But nevertheless, I definitely plan to read it when it comes out.

Thanks for reading, no one!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#17: Watch a Complete Series

I originally had a really big idea for this post, and am slightly sad that it never came to fruition.

Have you heard of Monk? It's one of my all time favorite shows, and I was going to write all about it. I've already watched it through a couple of times, but I wanted to figure out the "numbers" of the show. In other words, I wanted to count all the murders that took place over the course of the series, the number of times someone tries to kill Adrian, the number of times Adrian is shown in an outfit other than his signature slacks and button down.

But life happened, and watching was put on hold. We only own the DVDs, so it's not like I can watch anywhere and everywhere like I can with something on Netflix, and we have yet to buy the last season. I've been watching other things while watching Monk again, so it hasn't been my top priority. And really, I've already seen every episode several times, so it's not like I'm watching something new (and am therefore kind of cheating on this task).

So, I will be writing about something else.

I really, really, really like history. And, consequently, I really, really, really like everything about the Titanic. Like, a lot. 

So when I saw this series available on Netflix, I got super excited. 

That excitement quickly turned into anxiety, however, when I saw that it would only be on Netflix until the 14th. So, I assumed binge-watching mode and got to work.

I really enjoyed this. The costumes were amazing, and, being a history nerd, I really appreciate getting a glimpse into how life was way back when.

There were a lot of aspects/subplots to this series, which I think was a double edged sword. On the one hand, it kept everything interesting, but at times it seemed a bit overwhelming and hard to follow.


Thanks for reading, no one!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#4.9: Read 25 New Books, #6.4: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – Where the Stars Still Shine

Just like the previous book I read, this one is also not part of a series. 

"Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from Laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she'd like to forget completely.

But when Callie's mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie's real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

By turns heartbreaking and hopeful, this sweet and sexy romance offers a whole new take on happily ever after…"




It had everything I love in a book, and I couldn't put it down. I read it in the span of about three days, which I haven't done with a book in a long time. I only wish the ending wasn't so terribly sad, but other than that I wouldn't change a thing. (Don't want to give too much away, but seriously, read this book)

However, after reading such an amazing little piece of art, I am not very excited to read the next book sitting on my nightstand. It's another fantasy, and the only reason I picked it up was because it was the only one at my library available also on my list. 

Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading, no one!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

#3.5: Make 20 Recipes From Pinterest – Chicken and Garden Veggies Quinoa Skillet


  • 1 large onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs EVOO
  • 2 large bell peppers
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 10 oz grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch parsley/dill/basil

First, chop and prep the vegetables. 

I use this handy green thing specifically for onions. You only need to roughly chop them up, and cranking the handle minces them for you. I'd strongly recommend getting one if you're at all interested in saving your skin from mascara stains or your ego which is usually bruised when other see you crying uncontrollably.

Dice the chicken.

Heat the oil in a skillet.

Sauté the garlic and onions until browned, about four minutes.

Add bell peppers, and cook everything for an additional three minutes.

Add chicken. Cook for five minutes.

Add quinoa, water, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes.

Throw in the zucchini and broccoli, and cook covered for 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes and whatever herbs you chose.


This was soooo good. I didn't run into many problems while making this. The only major thing was I ended up adding way too much water (way more than the single cup that was called for), but it was mostly absorbed after being in the fridge for a couple days. 

I also discovered that I hate zucchini, so when I make this again I'll replace it with more broccoli, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Maybe I'll even add some carrots. I'm SUCH a connoisseur.

Thanks for reading, no one!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#4.8: Read 25 New Books, #6.3: Read BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 – The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Listing reading BuzzFeed's 21 Best YA Books of 2013 may have been a mistake; I'll have to read a lot more than I was originally intending to, and it's keeping me from rereading certain books that I haven't in a while (i.e. Harry Potter).

BUT that's why it's called a challenge, right?

I picked The Coldest Girl in Coldtown off the list to read because it wasn't part of a series (there are a lot of books on that list that are the second or third book in a series, and obviously I'm going to have to read whatever books precede those, so once again, I'm going to have to read a loooooot).

A little background about my reading preferences: I am not one for fantasy or sci-fi. The only exception to this is the Harry Potter series, which I've read 10 times and am still obsessed with. I like books about romance. I like books about people my age. I like books that are funny. I like stories that are real, in the sense that they could feasibly (or unfeasibly, whatever) happen.

Back to the book.

"Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mixture of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of range and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black."

Spoiler alert: it's about vampires. That initially turned me off, and I had a hard time getting into the story, but once there was romance happening, I was ALL IN. I thought the book ended in the middle of what could have been a great opportunity for even more romance, and there really was a lack of closure. Maybe this means there'll be a sequel? I sure hope so.

Thanks for reading, no one!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#16: Win a Contest

Several months ago I entered a contest through The grand prize was a trip for four to Disney's Aulani resort, themed as "Frozen in the Summer". Before you get too excited, no, I did not win a trip to Hawaii. But I was close!

I ended up winning an Olaf stuffed animal. Not a vacation, but I was excited nonetheless.

Cute, right?

You can even mutilate and dismember his body! Fun!

Thanks for reading, no one!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

#3.4: Make 20 Recipes From Pinterest – Chicken Pesto Quinoa Bowl

Time is passing so quickly, and to be honest, it's scaring the shit out of me. There's a lot on my plate at the moment that I don't want to deal with, and when that's the case, I distract myself with the Internet. A bad idea, really, as that in of itself makes time slip away even faster.

Anyway, I made this recipe over a month ago (I think?). It was one I found through Pinterest relatively recently, but it immediately caught my eye and I wanted to try it. Do you remember The Protein Bar? It was a restaurant I tried during my DC trip, and I wrote a little bit about it here. To summarize, it's a small restaurant chain that specializes in healthy, high protein meals, everything delicious and made with natural ingredients. 

I didn't get the Chicken Pesto Quinoa Bowl the two times I visited, but I think (lol idk??) I remember seeing it on their menu. 

• 2 c quinoa
• 2 chicken breasts
• 1 c spinach
• 2 T pesto
• 2 T grated parmesan
• 1 t lemon pepper
• 1 t garlic
• 1 T EVOO

Boil 4 cups of water, and add the quinoa. Simmer for 15-ish minutes, or until done.

Cut the chicken (and season with the lemon pepper) and garlic...

…and add to a warm skillet with the olive oil.

After the quinoa and chicken are done, add them plus the spinach, pesto, and parmesan to a large bowl, and mix.

All done!

I did have to make adjustments to the recipe, but once I did, it was sooooo good. At first, once I had mixed everything together, the flavor was weak. I ended up adding more pesto, parmesan, and salt, and wanted to add more chicken and spinach, but this could easily be solved by using less quinoa. It does make a lot anyway, so using less quinoa would be good if you don't want a lot of leftovers.

Thanks for reading, no one!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#4.7 Read 25 New Books – The Body Book

Before I took off for Oklahoma, I wanted some new reading material. I had been on the waiting list for The Body Book at my library for a while now, and finally getting through it could not have come at a more convenient time.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Naturally, I was a bit skeptical about a nutrition/fitness/health book written by an A-list celebrity, as they are typically known for indulging in the latest fad or having a diet and fitness routine that isn't realistic for anyone not in Hollywood. That wasn't the case with this book at all. Cameron really stressed eating whole, natural foods, avoiding anything processed, and the importance of incorporating activity into your daily life. Simple information, but that's really what it comes down to.

I didn't learn anything new while reading this book, but that's probably because I'm pretty knowledgeable about fitness and health anyway. It was nice having all that information organized into concise, clear, and easy-to-read chapters.

Two thumbs up.

Thanks for reading, no one!

101 in 1001

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#3.3: Make 20 Recipes From Pinterest – Cheesy Taco Spaghetti Squash

I had my first experience with spaghetti squash a few months ago. I had heard of them before, but had always been skeptical (how is a VEGETABLE supposed to replace pasta???). They were on sale at the grocery store, so my dad picked one up and cooked it in the crockpot. Admittedly, I was hesitant to try it at first; squash has always been disgusting to me.

But, I sucked it up and tried it, and I was pleasantly surprised. The taste reminded me of hash browns, and a bowl of it with salt and pasta sauce satisfied me as much as a bowl of pasta would have. I haven't had any since then, mainly because I didn't know how to cook them or where to buy them.

This recipe had been sitting on my Pinterest board for a while, and, as I was incredibly bored one night and had no dinner plans, decided to make it.


• 1 large spaghetti squash
• 2 green bell peppers
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 vidalia onion
• 2 jalepeños
• 1 1/2 pounds turkey burger
• 1 T olive oil
• 1 can corn
• 1 can black beans
• 1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chili
• 2 cups Mexican cheese

1. Chop the bell peppers and onion, and cook them in the olive oil until slightly brown.

2. Add the turkey burger.

2. Cook the spaghetti squash while the turkey is cooking. Taralynn (the girl who runs the blog where I got this recipe) made hers in the microwave, so I decided to follow suit.

3. Drain the black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

4. When the spaghetti squash is done cooking, cut it in half, remove the pulp, and scoop it into a large bowl.

5. Add the turkey/vegetable mixture, taco seasoning, and cheese.

6. Stir, and let sit until the cheese is fully melted.

7. Eat (it tasted better than this photo suggests).

I liked this for the most part, but there are several things I would do differently next time. 

First, I wouldn't cook this in the microwave. It took way longer than the 10 minutes mentioned in the recipe. I kept having to put it back in the microwave until it was soft enough, and it ended up being over an hour before it was done. Maybe my microwave wasn't powerful enough. Who knows. I'd cook it in the oven or crockpot next time, which I'm sure would give it a better flavor as well. 

Secondly, I would not use canned corn. I have everything that comes in a can, especially corn, so I should've thought this out better. When I first started eating, all I could focus on was the canned corn. I ended up picked it out, which took a while, but vastly improved it. I like fresh and even frozen sweet corn, and I think using that would improve this a hundredfold. I might even use freshly cooked black beans, too. The beans didn't bother me that much, but I think fresh would taste even better and really enhance this dish.

Lastly, I would add more red bell peppers and taco seasoning. The taco flavor was pretty weak, and I think one more packet would be just the right amount. And I just really like red bell peppers and I can never eat enough of them.

Although I did have some critical comments about this recipe, I am already planning to make it again (I even picked up a spaghetti squash at Walmart the other day, shh), and am excited to implement the above changes.

Thanks for reading, no one!