December Favorites


Original Penguin / The Les Glasses

Apple / iPad Mini 4

Bullet Journaling
RinceyReads / How I Bullet Journal



'Tis The Night Before Christmas, So What Should You Read?

I'll be the first to admit that these might not be the most original suggestions for the perfect Christmas reads. In fact, I've recommended most of them before! But that's only because these recommendations are engaging and family-friendly stories that are perfect for snuggling up for some reading on Christmas Eve or Day.

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
This might be the most obvious one on the list. I mean, just look at that cover! Probably the most famous volume of the Chronicles of Narnia, this is a perfect story to share with adults and children alike. Follow the Pevensie siblings through the wardrobe and into Narnia, a snowy world ruled by the White Witch. With their arrival, Christmas will finally return to the endlessly wintery land.

2. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Over the past four years or so, it has become a tradition for me to read something by J.R.R. Tolkien during December. Out of all of Tolkien's works, I personally think The Hobbit is the most wintery and appropriate for Christmas. It feels like a real, old fable and if your younger family members haven't yet heard the story, Christmas is the perfect time to introduce them to the tale of the little Hobbit that left his cozy hole and changed the world of Middle Earth forever.

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
I'll say it yet again: almost any Harry Potter book will fit the bill for the perfect Christmas read. Rowling writes the most beautiful descriptions of Christmas time and I love that she focuses not on the presents, but on the friends and family that make the holiday truly magical. The Sorcerer's Stone has a particularly moving Christmas scene (it's Harry's first real Christmas ever), but I will always think of The Goblet of Fire in relation to winter and Christmas. Blame the Yule Ball!

4. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
I would like to correct myself; A Christmas Carol is definitely the most obvious choice for Christmas! Almost everyone knows the tale of the infamous miser Scrooge and for those who don't, the text itself is relatively short, humorous, and easy to get through. Not to mention that it is a great way to discuss the true meaning of the holiday season with younger readers. Want to experience A Christmas Carol in a whole new way? Check out the New York Public Library's recording of Neil Gaiman giving a dramatic reading of the whole text!


The Best of Vlogmas: 3 Ladies You Must Watch

As I start writing this post, I'm going to make an assumption about you, nameless reader, and that assumption is that you are an Internet-savvy sort of person. You are reading this blog, aren't you?

Now, if you're an Internet person like me and spend a significant amount of your free time on YouTube, you probably already know what Vlogmas is. For those of you who don't, let me explain: Vlogmas is the abbreviated term for a project in which people vlog every day until Christmas, starting the first of December. It seems that every year more content creators participate in the event and with so many videos out there, it can be a little overwhelming.

So I went ahead and narrowed it down to my three favorite people to watch this Vlogmas. Yes, I realize these videos don't represent the widest slice of of life (all three are British women), but these are my genuine favorites and the videos I look forward to watching every single day of Vlogmas.

1. Lily / LilyPebbles

If you're looking for the best of the more "traditional" Vlogmas videos (it was started by lifestyle and beauty vloggers), then Lily is your girl. She is a beauty and lifestyle blogger and vlogger and her Vlogmas videos share life behind the scenes. She works on decorating her new flat, shows her viewers around London, and eats amazing looking food. And for a cuteness bonus, the family puppy and her little nieces and nephews make regular appearances.

2. Jen / Jen Campbell

I have previously referred to Jen as the "fairy godmother of Booktube" and her Vlogmas videos are living up to that title. Author, poet, bookseller, and book lover extraordinaire, Jen's videos so far have included a bookish Christmas gift guide, a collection of beautiful children's books, and her thoughts on all of the books she read in November. My personal favorite has been her weekly vlog. As an aspiring writer myself, I loved getting a peak at what exactly an author does all day and, as Jen reveals, that's quite a lot!

3. Rosianna / Rosianna Halse Rojas

Rosianna has probably the most unconventional Vlogmas videos of the three, which is actually why she is one of my favorites. A Brit who moved this past year to Indianapolis, Indiana, Rosianna's videos seem pretty simple. She shares her love of vegan food, Taylor Swift, and cruelty-free makeup. She shares book and movie reviews as well as snippets of her ever day life. What sets Rosianna apart and makes her the unique vlogger that she is is her honesty. She is very open about her struggles with food, body image, and depression. That may sound dreary but, trust me, Rosianna is actually a breath of fresh air in my day. She is a deep thinker and even her daily vlogs include discussions about topics that most female twenty-somethings will find compelling and oh-so relevant.

Those are my picks for this year's best Vlogmas vloggers. Thankfully, all three lovely ladies are super organized and have created playlists for Vlogmas 2015, which I have linked above. Grab a drink and a snack because I expect you'll be unable to watch just one video. So happy watching and happy holidays!


Slowly / November Playlist

  1. Let A Good Thing Grow / The Hill and Wood
  2. I Met Up With The King / First Aid Kit
  3. Could've Sworn / The Brendan Hines
  4. Little Room / Norah Jones
  5. Wiser / Old Man Canyon
  6. Small Mistakes / The Brendan Hines
  7. The First Time / The Hill and Wood
  8. Heavy Storm / First Aid Kit


What I Learned from NaNoWriMo 2015

Today is the first of December, which means that another year of NaNoWriMo has come and gone. Back when I filmed my NaNoWriMo Tag video, I was full of inspiration and felt ready to seriously buckle down and get writing.

Unfortunately, as you can see by my stats above, I wasn't exactly successful. I obviously did not make my 50,000 word goal. I didn't even get halfway there! But I refuse to look at this experience as a failure, because I actually learned quite a bit about myself and how I write best.

1. I'm a writing marathoner, not a sprinter. 
I did my best writing when I had several hours, or even a whole day just to sit and dedicate to my NaNo project. It was a lot harder for me to get anything written if I was just sitting down at the end of the day for a couple of hours. I think this is mainly because it took me a little while to get warmed up and into the groove of writing.

2. I'm a method writer.
By this I mean that I found it easiest to write when I was totally absorbed in the world of my story. My story was fantasy set in medieval Japan, so that meant I was listening to a lot of Studio Ghibli soundtracks and watching Japanese cultural documentaries and anime. This might sound very weird, but I now know that it is difficult for me to write genre fiction while consuming other genres through movies or television.

3. I distract myself.
My worst distractions did not involve tv shows I'd rather be watching, games I'd rather be playing, or browsing Tumblr. Instead, my biggest problem was my own brain, which seemed keen to keep skipping way too far ahead in the story. This made it difficult to focus on the section I was actually writing and is definitely something I need to work on if I plan to keep writing seriously in the future.

All in all, I actually felt like I had a fairly productive NaNoWriMo even though I didn't make my word goal. Most importantly, I feel far more inspired and motivated than discouraged and hope to get the first draft of this novel completed by the end of the year so that I can start revising and polishing it into the detailed story it is in my head.

How did you all do with your NaNoWriMo goals? Did you learn anything about your own writing styles and habits?