Recently Reading (Dec 2016)

Like I mentioned in Monday's post, I ended up reading quite a bit first semester and during Christmas break. In today's post I will be finishing my recap of the books I read and letting you know which ones I recommend!

"22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . ."

This was a book that I was excited to get my hands on, and it ended up being as good as I hoped! I was able to predict how it ended though, which made it not quite as good as I had hoped. Overall, it was a good book though and I would recommend it if you were a fan of Gone Girl or other similar suspenseful books. 

"I always thought we'd be friends to the end."
Grace and Kya always do everything together, and nothing can get in the way of their friendship. They have a pact: Sisters Before Misters. Buds Before Studs.
Only Grace knows what Kya's been through, or how much she needs someone to stick by her. No matter what. Besides, Kya keeps life exciting―pulling Grace into things she'd never dare to do on her own. But inch by inch, daring is starting to turn dangerous. And Grace will have to decide how far she can go to save her friendship with Kya...before she ends up losing everything else."
This was another young adult book that I enjoyed, mainly because I could relate to the main character. About a year ago I had a best friend who ended up "ghosting" me and we haven't talked since. So I felt Grace's struggle about trying to decide if it is worth it trying to be friends with someone. I really liked the way that Gurtler dealt with losing a best friend, too. If you have ever been ghosted (apparently about 80% of millennials have been at some point!) or if it sounds like an interesting topic to you, I definitely recommend checking this book out. With so many books focusing on romantic relationships, it was refreshing to read one that dealt with real friend issues. 

"Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie—and life as Lane knows it will never be the same.
Robyn Schneider's Extraordinary Means is a heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about the miracles of first love and second chances."

I picked up this book because I read The Beginning Of Everything by Robyn Schneider a few years ago, and I remember I really liked it. This is a book I would pick up if you are a fan of John Green books, since the description sort of has a similar feel to The Fault In Our Stars. This was also one of my favorites of 2016! 

"Ever since V’s mom dumped her with her grandparents, she’s bounced from guy to guy. That is, until a fateful hockey puck lands her in the lap of Sam Almond, who is different from the start. But V makes an irreversible mistake at her graduation party and risks losing Sam forever, spurring her on a crosscountry road trip to visit her mom in hopes of putting two thousand miles between herself, Sam, and the wreckage of that night. With humor and compassion, Carolyn Mackler takes readers on an unforgettable ride of missed exits, misadventures, and the kind of epiphanies that come only when you’re on a route you’ve never taken before."

This book was pretty good, and also a quick read. But I also felt like it was pretty unrealistic, which made me not like it quite as much. Overall, it was a pretty average teen book, but I won't be raving about it any time soon. 

"Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance. 
Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated. 
Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger. 
Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind. 
Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other."

This was another one I really liked, because you are aware something happened to Abby from the beginning, but you slowly learn the story as you keep reading. I am currently in the middle of another book by this author because I liked this one so much! This is one I would definitely recommend! 

"What do you do with your last day on earth?
There are 27 hours and fifteen minutes left until an asteroid strikes North America, and, for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home last year. Since then she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.
The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them that he has been granting people's wishes. He gave his car away so a woman could take her son to see the ocean for the first time, and he gives Emerson and Vince all the money he has in his wallet.
Suddenly this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in 27 hours --- maybe even their own."

This is another quick read that would be good for a beach read. I think the concept behind it is pretty interesting, and most of the book was good. The ending was very abrupt to me, and it left me with quite a few questions because I felt like there were loose ends that were not tied up. Overall, it was still a pretty good book and one I would recommend. 

"Is it possible that charity and missions efforts have unintentionally harmed those whom we are trying to help? Through real stories form the developing world, this book will provide you with a better understanding of how to ReThink your current missions efforts in ways that allow for maximum impact on those you are seeking to help. This quick read connects the ideas of PovertyCure to real examples and shows what it practically looks like when we rethink poverty and rethink missions. It also draws from many great resources including When Helping Hurts and Toxic Charity, giving a quick snapshot of perspectives."

This was a required read for me before I went to Jamaica, but it was definitely an interesting book that brought up quite a few good points. If you have been on a missions trip or plan to go on one in the future, I highly recommend reading this! 

And now we are finally caught up with all the books I read in 2016! I have been working to read more of the books on my to-read list, and I can't wait to try even more in 2017. Let me know what your favorite book is in the comments below!
xo, Scarlett


Recently Reading (Sept-Nov 2016)

As I was coming up with content to schedule for while I am traveling, I realized I hadn't don't a recently reading post since the end of summer! This semester I challenged myself to read a few books throughout the semester, and I ended up reading more than I thought I would! In fact, I am splitting this up into two posts since I usually only have 6-8 books per Recently Reading post!

"For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?"

This book was a pretty quick read that would be such a good beach read! If you like reading young adult books, even if they are slightly cheesy, try this one out!

"As the new girl in town, Samantha just wants to fit in. Being invited to a party by her fellow swim team members is her big chance...especially since Zee will be there. He hasn't made a secret of checking her out at the pool. Sam didn't figure on Alex being there too. She barely even knows him. And she certainly didn't plan to kiss him. It just kind of happened. 
And then Alex dies—right in her arms...
Consumed by guilt and grief, Sam has no idea what to do or where to turn when everyone at school blames her. What follows is Sam's honest, raw, and unforgettable journey to forgive herself and find balance—maybe even love—in a life that suddenly seems to be spinning out of control."

This was another quick read, but I did like this one as well! It was a well written story of a girl's fight to be normal again after her classmates turn against her.

"It’s summertime in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a blue-collar dockside neighborhood. June and Val, two fifteen year-olds, take a raft out onto the bay at night to see what they can see.
And then they disappear. Only Val will survive, washed ashore; semi-conscious in the weeds.
This shocking event will echo through the lives of a diverse cast of Red Hook residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, hopes that his shop will be the place to share neighborhood news and troll for information about June’s disappearance. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father’s murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect, but an enigmatic and elusive guardian is determined to keep him safe.
Val contends with the shadow of her missing friend and a truth she buries deep inside. Her teacher Jonathan, a Julliard School dropout and barfly, wrestles with dashed dreams and a past riddled with tragic sins." 
This description drew me in since I am always down for a good mystery. I did finish the book, but it took me a few weeks because it was not super compelling, especially to begin with. I also felt like I couldn't really relate to the main characters, so that made it difficult to become invested in. Overall, I probably wouldn't recommend this book, because in my eyes it was just average. 

"For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana, to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim.

Under the big sky, Hattie braves hard weather, hard times, a cantankerous cow, and her own hopeless hand at the cookstove. Her quest to make a home is championed by new neighbors Perilee Mueller, her German husband, and their children. For the first time in her life, Hattie feels part of a family, finding the strength to stand up against Traft Martin’s schemes to buy her out and against increasing pressure to be a “loyal” American at a time when anything—or anyone—German is suspect. Despite daily trials, Hattie continues to work her uncle’s claim until an unforeseen tragedy causes her to search her soul for the real meaning of home.

This young pioneer's story is lovingly stitched together from Kirby Larson’s own family history and the sights, sounds, and scents of homesteading life."
I accidentally read the sequel to this book last year, so I wanted to read the original this year. I like reading books that are set in older time periods like this, but I would only recommend this book if you like them as well! It definitely gives some Little House On The Prairie vibes, so if you liked those books as a child like I did, this could be a good choice for you! 

"Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister. 

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it. 
Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood..."

Pretty sure you are all familiar with this story. I had watched the movie so I had known what happened, but I still wanted to read the book. I literally read it in one sitting because it is not too long, and it was pretty compelling. Definitely would recommend if you like Nicholas Sparks books but haven't read this one yet!

"A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.A revolution. An accident. A secret.Lies upon lies.True love.The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it.And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE."

I had heard so much about this book, but the description is pretty vague so I never picked it up. If you are looking for a well told story with a twist, I definitely recommend this one! I honestly did not predict what happened AT ALL, which is one of the reasons why I loved it! This was definitely one of my favorite books from 2016, so check it out if you haven't yet! 

What is the best book that you have read recently? I would love to hear your recommendations! 
xo, Scarlett


How To Set 2nd Semester Goals

Phew. We made it through first semester, but now we still have another one before we can make it to summer. But instead of just trying to just survive second semester, I recommend setting some goals for yourself so you can thrive.

1. GPA- the first and most obvious goal is grades. Instead of setting a lofty goal for yourself that will leave you stressed and frustrated, try to push yourself just a little bit harder than last semester. If you had 2 B's but you want all A's, try to get yourself down to just one B this semester. You can always push hard and surpass your goal too, but make sure it is achievable with effort!

2. Skipping- I know lots of people have to set a limit to the number of classes they skip. For me and my major, I really can't skip major related classes or else I get really behind and more stressed out than if I would just have gone to class. But if you are someone who skips often, try to set a goal such as only skipping 3 classes this semester.

3. Sleep- college students are always behind on sleep, but try to set goals that will help you get a bit more sleep this semester. Try to give yourself one or two nights a week that you will go to bed early, or if you are feeling ambitious try to go to bed 30 minutes normal that you normally do every night!

4. Workout- I am definitely guilty of saying I am too busy to workout, or even go on a walk some days. But try to set a goal that you will workout at least twice a week. And if you already do that, try to set a goal that will challenge yourself a bit more too!

5. Friends- It can be all too easy to push friends that you don't see often aside when you get busy. But this semester set goals to at least Skype friends who live far away once a month, or set up at least one coffee date a week to catch up with friends who go to the same school as you!

Just remember to set specific goals, and not just tell yourself to study harder or work out more. Why not make this semester the best one of your college career so far?! Let's stop putting off goals and dreams for "someday" and start working towards them today!

What are your goals for the semester? Leave them in the comments below!
xo, Scarlett


6 Dorm Room Food Essentials

I have talked about this before, but at the school I go to most people spend freshman and sophomore years in the dorms. I kinda have a love/hate relationship with this, since it is a great way to meet new people and create great relationships with those living without you. On the flip side, I am getting extremely tired of the dining hall, and I am SO EXCITED that I only have one more semester of eating there. In honor of this, I wanted to share 6 of my staples that I now try to keep in my dorm room at all times. They are perfect if I have to skip a meal, or if a meal just was not good and I am hungry an hour later.

OATMEAL- I prefer instant oatmeal that I can just pop in the microwave for a minute each morning, but even with that there are so many different kinds to choose from! Also, TJ Maxx has the cutest microwave bowls right now that are the perfect size for oatmeal or soup. I highly recommend investing in a cute bowl or two that you can microwave to keep in your dorm room.

GRANOLA BARS- there are SO many bars out there, so it is fun to try new flavors and brands.

YOGURT-  this is another item that has so many different flavors! Just make sure to eat if before it expires!

FRESH FRUIT- clementines and apples are my faves, but any fruit will work! Fun Fact: I like almost any fruit but I HATE bananas. And ironically, my roommate loves them and eats at least one a day. So if you were to talk to her, she would recommend keeping a banana (and peanut butter to put on it) in the room at all times!

TRAIL MIX- the combination of salty sweet hits the spot many nights!

EASY MAC- I never claimed this was a healthy list, but honestly this is such a lifesaver if dinner wasn't good! It is so quick and easy to add water and pop in the microwave.

What food do you always keep in your dorm? Share in the comments below!
xo, Scarlett


Top 5 Posts of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what worked on The Trendy Chick and what didn't work so well. I didn't have much time to spend on the blog over the past year, but I still am proud of all the posts I did put up! Here were the ones that got the best responses from readers:

1. Guide to Exploring Your Own Town in 2016- this is a great post to revisit as we go into another year! It is so easy to focus on traveling to new states and countries, but don't forget to go on adventures in your own town as well! 

2. Freshman Dorm Room Tour- last year I shared how I set up my dorm room, and you guys seemed to love this peek into my life! My room is pretty similar this year since I reused a lot of the same decorations, but let me know if you want an updated tour! 

3. What NOT To Bring To College- if you are heading off to college next year, this is a post you might want to save! There are so many posts telling you everything you NEED, but you rarely get inside info about what people ended up not needing. 

4. Chicago Photo Diary- I took a trip into Chicago last summer with my BFF's and it was such a fun day. I wanted to document all of the pictures in one place, so checkout that post to see what we crammed into about 10 hours in the city! 

5. Dear Future Freshmen- This is another post that I would refer back to if you are going to college next year! This one was actually my most popular post of the year, which was really interesting to me since it was so different from what I normally share! But if you want some tips on how to make a smooth transition into college, check it out! 

Which post was your favorite? Share in the comments below and let me know if you have any content you'd like to see on The Trendy Chick in 2017. Happy New Year!
xo, Scarlett


How To Get Organized on Christmas Break

Ahhhh. The sweet smell of Christmas and the great feeling of being able to sleep in and not worry about school. Christmas break is a great time to have fun with friends and family, but it is also a good time to get organized. Between studying, socializing, and sleeping, there isn't much time in a college student's schedule to do much else. This means life can get a little chaotic and disorganized by the time a busy semester is over. Today I am going to share a few ways that I will be getting organized over break, and I hope some of you will be inspired to organize your life before second semester hits!

-clean out your backpack-
I can't even tell you how many gum and candy wrappers are currently in the bottom of my backpack after spending almost 2 weeks straight locked up in the library. Sometimes a trash can was a few steps away, but honestly it was just easier to toss the wrapper in my backpack and keep studying.

-back up your phone-
I am horrible at backing up my phone, but I would be devastated if anything happened to my pictures on there! Take the time over break to back it up to your computer, and even again to an external hard drive if you are feeling ambitious!

-organize your computer files-
Delete things from the previous semester that you no longer need, and archive things into folders. I like to keep my desktop fairly neat and clean, so I will be removing all of the files from it!

-organize your inbox-
Delete all those old emails from the semester that you don't need and archive the important ones so you can easily find them

-order next semester's books-
Start planning ahead for next semester by looking around and getting the best deals on the books you need!

-get rid of old notes-
I keep notes and papers from my major related classes, but not from core classes like Statistics or Music. Take this time to get rid of old notes and organize the ones you want to keep!

How are you planning to get organized for the new year? Share in the comments below!
xo, Scarlett


Hello New Camera!

I am sure I have mentioned this before, but December is basically just one long celebration to me. My mom's birthday is just a few days before mine, then my birthday is on the 6th. The 8th is my blogiversary, and then of course we have Christmas! 2 of my grandparents also have birthdays between then and Christmas, so there is always a reason to celebrate in December! Sometimes having a birthday and Christmas close together can be boring, but I have always really liked it. When I was little, if I didn't get something I reeeeally wanted for my birthday, I didn't sweat it because I always had a chance at getting it for Christmas a few weeks later. It is also great, because as I have gotten older I have wanted more expensive gifts, and I sometimes will get them as combined presents for my birthday and Christmas! This year was one of those years as I decided I finally needed to take the plunge and get a DSLR camera.

I got the Canon EOS T5i, and I already love it so much! I am basically just going to be spending the next two weeks taking thousands of pictures and practicing until I can take great pictures! Luckily I live with 3 great furry models, and I have quite a few friends who don't mind being in front of the camera.

Here are a few pictures I took the first day, and a few that one of my friends took of me and Chester!

Keep in mind this is basically my first time using a DSLR, and it is definitely going to be a learning process! But I am very excited to practice and improve my photography skills in the upcoming months.

Do you own a DSLR camera? If so, do you have any tips? I'd love to hear in the comments!
xo, Scarlett