Friday Lists

Recent Thoughts

Can one ever wear too much color?

Adding art to a room instantly makes it a home.

Seeing a photo of yourself in someone else’s photo frame would make anyone smile

It feels good to know you were missed

Saying goodbye is never easy, but finding your way home is never hard


Blogs I Check Rather Frequently 

DesignLoveFest (where type & images totally make out)

Fire and Joy (journal-like storytelling about all of life’s tender, barefoot moments)

H. Nicole Martin (breaths and moments)

Red, Speckled, White (a friend from Chicago’s daily musings)

Kate Spade blog (of course)


Things to Buy 

New lamp/lamp shade

Spanish textbook

Black skirt

Comfortable flats

A week’s worth of groceries

Things I’m Excited About

Surviving and thriving in my first year off campus

Making lots of food at home

Visiting the city as much as possible while while the weather is nice

Having all my friends arrive this week

Splurging on a few great meals out

Thrifting, thrifting, thrifting for things for my new place!


Happy Friday! xoxo


Thursday Lists

Songs on Repeat

Call Your Girlfriend – Robyn

Stay – Jackson Browne

Crazy For You – Madonnna

Bel Air- Lana del Rey

Cake by the Ocean – DNCE (Guilty pleasure, okay? Also, contains language)


Items on My Ebay Wishist

Colorful patchwork quilt from the 60′s

Vintage blue enamel articulated fish earrings

Anthropologie floral rug

J. Crew polka dot swimsuit

Breathless by Godard dvd

Embroidered Iranian blouse


Last Text Message I Sent

To Tim: “Maybe if I get a lunch break, I’ll come over and eat with you.”

To my mom: “I have your Mother’s Day gift here so I need to remember to pack it and bring it home!”

To Hannah: “Wowww….”

To my friend Sarah: “Lying in bed and I just realized we never added egg to the cookie batter.”

To my friend Liv: “What do you think of this rug?”


Food I Can’t Wait to Eat at Home

Potato salad

Corn on the cob

Scrambled eggs with bacon bits

Blue corn tortilla chips


Things I Still Want to Do Before Summer Break

See the Van Gogh Bedrooms exhibit at the Art Institute

Go to the Harold Washington Library

Hit up Salvation Army one last time

See the Kerry James Marshall exhibit at the MCA


Recent Movies Watched

The Land Before Time (I used to have this on VHS)

The Big Lebowski (four stars)

Raising Arizona (three stars)

Breathless (four stars)

Cheatin’ (four stars)

Thursday Lists

Items on my ebay wishlist

Hot pink wool coat with fur collar

Rhinestone starbust brooch

Blue polka dot tights

Vintage hand hooked rug

Black pom pom flats


Food I’ve been dying to make

Chunky Monkey brownies

Stuffed zucchini spears

Steak and cheddar mac and cheese

Cucumber, avocado, and feta salad


Last text messages I sent

To Tim: I really wish you’d come back home with me

To Sarah: It’s a book that can hook you by page 12

To Elaini: Your gift is going in the mail today!

To Liv: This should be on tumblr or something


Songs on my newest playlist

Beside the Yellow Line – The Avett Brothers

Stuck on the Puzzle – Alex Turner

Best Thing – Machineheart

Come Alive – WE ARE TWIN

Only Love Can Hurt Like This – Paloma Faith


Art you should check out

Whispers by Arne Quinze

Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny

Mobi Gate by Sung Jang

 Dare alla Luce by Amy Friend


Recent movies watched

Spotlight (four stars)

Aliens (four stars)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (five stars)

Darjeeling Limited (five stars)

Nightmare Before Christmas (three stars)


Friday Lists

Non-Guilty Pleasures

Peanut butter

Taylor Swift

Vanity Fair Magazine

Netflix doumentaries

Free People bralettes

New Girl


Recent Purchases


Fresh flowers from Trader Joes

Starbucks chai latte

$5 Kate Spade espadrilles from Goodwill

Jiffy Lube oil change Groupon


Books on Hold at the Library

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist


March Music Playlist

This Must Be the Place – Talking Heads

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

Violent Silence – Beatrice Eli

Shake Me Down – Cage the Elephant

Piledriver Waltz – Alex Turner

Helena – Nickel Creek

Wild Heart – Stevie Nicks


Things I’m Excited About

My boyfriend comes to town tomorrow!

Next week it should finally feel like spring

Soon the cherry blossoms in DC will be in bloom

I finally made it to the halfway point in Book #3′s first draft

Tickets have been bought to visit my grandpa in Key West this May

I’m now a staff writer at Local Wolves Magazine

It’s practically the weekend, right?


Happy Friday! xoxo



First “Lists” Post of 2015

Great lines from great songs:

“Time makes you bolder / Even children get older / And I’m getting older, too” – Landslide, Fleetwood Mac

“I’ll stop the world and melt with you” – Melt With You, Modern English

“In shallow shoals / English soles do it / Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it / Let’s do it, let’s fall in love” – Let’s Do It, Cold Porter

“And you should never cut your hair / Cause I love the way / You flick it off your shoulder” – Wake Me Up, Ed Sheeran

“I can’t forget the glamour / Your eyes held a tender light / And stars fell on Alabama / Last night” – Stars Fell on Alabama, She and Him

Famous people I’d like to have lunch with:

Stevie Nicks

Ernest Hemingway

Julie Andrews

Frank Sinatra


Aforementioned people I’d also like to raid the closet of:

Stevie Nicks


News headlines I’d like to see:

“Eight-six year old Tap Dancer Wows White House”

“Pushing Daisies Brought Back From Television Grave Six Years Later with New Season”

“Americans Respond to Acts of World Violence by Filling Strangers’ Mailboxes With Flowers”

“2015 Sees Unexpected Surge in Jazz Record Sales”

“Churches in America Filled to Maximum Capacity for Fifth Week in a Row”

“New Radio Station Dedicated to Announcing Births as They Occur and Celebrating the Never-Ending Miracle of Life”

“Couple in Antigo, WI Celebrate Eighty Years of Marriage”

Facts that should make you happy:

Gas prices are low

The fact that you can feel the ice in your lungs on a cold day means you’re still breathing

There are probably clothes in your wardrobe you can afford to giveaway

Chances are, you will go on a trip at some point this year with someone you love

People still publish books of poetry

Sweet potatoes won’t taste this good again until next winter

These days, they make hats and gloves in a wide variety of colors

So if you want to, you can wear a yellow hat and purple gloves

Another week has passed, you learned something new, and your life is still going on



Friday Lists

Blog posts I need to write:

Photography tips

An interview with Hannah

Plus a photo tour of her studio

Something Christmas-y

And more lists since everyone likes them

Cookies I’m baking next week:


Chocolate chip

Sugar with lots of icing

White chocolate macadamia nut


Things I can’t believe I actually like:

Drinks that can be purchased at Starbucks

Oversized sweaters

Black nail polish



Recent Google searches:

“How to spell macadamia nut”

Cyber Monday sales

Lana del Rey tickets

Giving Tuesday

Vintage cape coat


Things I’m looking forward to:

Family time this evening

Hosting a Christmas party for my friends

Visiting friends in NJ

Seeing Christmas lights in NYC


Seeing my boyfriend again



Thursday Lists

Reasons I went AWOL this week:

My site crashed for two and a half days

I had a sick day that lasted three days

I bought Netflix

Hannah & I spent a day in the city & I ignored my obligations


Pies I’m making next week:

Pumpkin praline



Chocolate chess


Albums I’ve been playing on repeat:

Taylor Swift’s “1989″

Lana del Rey’s “Paradise”

Ed Sheeran’s “X”

Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors”


Recent purchases:

Gold glitter eyeshadow

Black high-waisted pants

Starbucks gingerbread chai tea latte

Half a dozen donuts (to share)

Movie ticket to “Interstellar”


Christmas songs I approve of:

All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

Christmas Tonight – Dave Barnes

Christmas Waltz – She and Him

Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth) – Bing Crosby & David Bowie

What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder


Things people don’t know about me:

I want a tattoo someday

I think riding motorcycles is fun

Horror movies are actually my favorite

I’ve always disliked The Chronicles of Narnia

My favorite musical genre is classic rock

As a child, I told everyone my favorite Bible story was that of Jezebel



The Best Moments So Far

One of the best and most chilling moments of the YALLFest last week was a small snippet of a story shared by author Sarah J. Maas on one of the many author panels I listened in on. Someone had asked the question, “What was the moment when you felt like you’d really made it as an author?” and Sarah answered with a cute retelling of the first ever time she saw her book in a bookstore. Her husband taped her blubbering tears and overexcited squeals.

I have to admit that throughout most of those author panels I felt very small and very overwhelmed. The thought “How do I even consider myself a writer?” crossed my mind at least half a dozen times. Looking up at the faces of multi-million dollar women with faces brightly lit from stage lights and books that have more copies than I could ever dream of was pretty daunting. I’m just a tiny little author. Hardly noticeable. I haven’t done any of the cool and exciting things that these women have, and I’ll probably never be able to throw out phrases like “movie adaption” and “prequel” and “best seller list” like they can.

But in that moment, a tiny hot bubble popped in my chest. Because I know that feeling. I can actually remember my Sarah J. Maas moment, blubbering in a bookstore and feeling like I’d finally made it as an author.

November is unofficially and very predictably dubbed as a month of thankfulness, and while I don’t ever want to be one of those “Things I’m Grateful For” kind of bloggers, I did sit down and write a list of the best moments of my career so far. Some are big and important and others are tiny and special. But after writing the list, I didn’t feel small anymore. I may not be selling out box offices in movie adaptions of my books, but my stories have taken me places and opened me up to experiences that few nineteen-year-olds can hold on to.

I want to share these moments with you so that you can realize how non-small you are, too. I sat listening to Sarah Maas feeling like a tiny nobody until I really took time to reflect on what I’ve been able to do. And at nineteen, it made me realize how much time I have to do more. Whoever you are, and whatever your passions, never let someone you admire make you feel tiny. We need to learn to listen to the big and small moments of others and let them guide us back to our own moments.

The Best Moments of My Career So Far

Watching the Interrupted trailer. It was months before the book was released and I’d never even held a copy in my hands. But one day I stumbled across that trailer (I don’t even think Zondervan had emailed me the link yet) and started crying. It felt so real. The people I had created in my mind were flesh and bone and walking and talking and it was actually going to happen. My story was going to become a book. I’ll never forget that day.

Seeing Interrupted at our bookstore the first time. It was around the time the first Hunger Games movie came out, because I remember seeing it in theaters with Hannah and then wondering if the bookstore next to the movie theater would have my book. It felt like a long shot, but we went in and took deep breaths and scanned the shelves. And my heart plummeted and I might have screamed because there it was. Blue and soft and real. Sitting on the shelf of a bookstore. I was having a bad day and wearing a lumpy sweater and I didn’t want to stop taking pictures.

The first time I got a comment on my blog from someone I didn’t know.

Flying to Philly and mom commenting on how many people will never be able to experience something like this. We had a six am flight and the sun was just starting to rise as we climbed into the clouds and my mom turned and looked at me and said, “You do realize all the other sixteen-year-old girls in America are waking up and going to school and you’re flying to Philadelphia to go to your own book signing. Out of all the people in the world, you get to experience this.” And my throat caught.

Walking into Barnes and Noble with Hannah to check out Chasing Jupiter. This time we knew it would be there. It was early January and it had been out for about a week so it was bound to be on the shelf. And there it was, all orange and new, sitting next to the other new releases. This time we were unashamed of our squeals and jumping and the way the employees must have thought we were crazy. Their loss. They were the ones who’d selected my book as one of the staff picks of the month anyway.

Walking into a middle school and seeing posters of my books to get students ready for a signing.

The school that made me peach pie.

Sitting at the Christy Award dinner in St. Louis surrounded by literary greats and actually being counted as one of them. My knees were shaking and I kept wondering, even after I was there, if I was dressed appropriately and looked alright. Janette Oke was seated at a table across from me. They were calling out the authors behind award winning books and oh my gosh, I was one of them. You can’t forget nights like those.

Every time a reader emails me or someone comments on my blog. Every. Single. Time.

The first time I heard someone say, “Interrupted  is my favorite book!”

The Dream Factory Workshop and being surrounded by six beautiful souls for four days. Hearing their stories and learning their voices and knowing that I was having a part in shaping their creative futures.

Hosting the most recent contest on my blog and getting to see my characters come to life through the creative talents of others.

Hearing Jenna’s song “Rocket to Jupiter”.

Walking up to my signing in Seattle and seeing a booth stacked with two hundred copies of Chasing Jupiter and realizing I had to sign them all. Hand cramps are the most incredible feeling in the world, when they come from something like that.

Getting a text from a friend telling me I was in WORLD Magazine.

The first time I was on tv. Or the radio. Or in a magazine. Anytime someone wanted to mention my books at all.

The month my hometown decided to put me on the front page of the newspaper for Women’s Month (February). I swear I could feel the excitement of all the old people at church.


Finally meeting my agent in person in Seattle – or spending several days with his family out on a lake in Oregon.

Realizing I met my best friend in the world through this blog. What if I had never started blogging? Or written a book? Would I know Elaini?

Hearing my dad tell me he is proud of me. Out of all the moments and all the mentions and all the praise, that’s probably the best moment so far.


I hope this didn’t come across as a narcissistic post bragging on all of the cool things I’ve done. On the contrary, I know I will probably never be Veronica Roth or James Dashner or Shannon Hale. But I’m learning to find grace and gratitude in what I have been able to do, and this post is to encourage you to rejoice in your tiny victories too.



Monday Lists

Books I have on hold at the library:

A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway

Moon over Manifest – Clare Vanderpool

The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach

Gilead – Marilynn Robinson

1984 – George Orwood

Collected Stories – Raymond Carver

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown


Most recent text I sent:

To my mom – “Taste buds don’t age. We are making Oreo layered brownies for dessert tonight.”

To Hannah – “We have no monies and no free time.”

To my best friend – “I think I have a girl crush on Brooke White.”

To my boyfriend – “Stop trying to text me while you’re doing your homework!”


Songs on my latest Spotify playlist:

I Melt With You – Modern English

Brandy – Looking Glass

Riptide – Vance Joy

Carolina on My Mind – James Taylor

The Ghost Who Walks – Karen Elson


Recipes I’ve Recently Tried:

Avocado and pesto stuffed sweet peppers

Roasted acorn squash with sage butter

Gluten/sugar free Reese’s Cups

Red roasted carrots


Things I promise to do this week:


Wear an oversized hoodie and read books under the covers

Take more photos with my camera, less with my phone

Remember that I own a journal and use it

Send letters

Be on time

Show love to my body

Send gushy, reckless texts telling my friends what they mean to me

Keep writing