Why I Write About Books and Bookish Things

I could make this blog post rather short by answering with a simple “why not blog about books?” response, but that wouldn’t be as much fun! So without further ado, here’s the top five reasons I write about all things books!

1. Free books: Getting free books in exchange for my honest reviews is the same thing as getting paid for me. Why? The money I might make from it (if publishers did that, but they don’t. Something about it being illegal..whatevs), would go on books anyway, so it all equals out in the end. But for real, I love it. Whenever I get the monthly email from Bethany House Publishing or Litfuse for upcoming releases to request, it’s a little something like STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’, CAUSE I’M ABOUT TO RUIN.. you bet that email always gets the quickest response. So yeah, free books make me happy.

Free books? Yeeeeaaahhh!

2. I can say I use my college degree. I paid beacuop for my education*, so I count this type of writing as journalism, thus putting those years to work. I do love writing though, even if it’s not in the “traditional” sense, so thank you world wide web and WordPress for making that a possibility.

3. I get to act like I’m friends with my favorite authors. Thanks to social media and the internet it’s so easy to connect with authors! And if they respond to a tweet or something on Facebook, y’all I feel like I’m famous. But if I ever had the chance to actually meet them in person, we all know what would happen

4. The community. Oh, you love books? You know we’re best friends now right? Just like I love talking sports, I love talking books. Like the day this discussion happened? Or this one? Oh and recently this one??  Yes please!

So yeah, connecting with fellow bloggers and readers and such for the sole purpose of sharing our love of literature…All day baby..all day!

5. It makes my heart happy. When someone tells me they read a book I recommended and loved it – I feel like my life mission is complete.

You like the book I recommended????

I love the power of story, so sharing it and people getting something from it is such a blessing. I know, I’m a cheese ball.

And if this blog ever gets me a job? Y’all..I will pass.out.

How about you? Do you blog? If it’s about books or cats (no judgement) or whatever, I’d love to know your heart behind it! And if you don’t blog, but follow along, I’d love to hear some of your favorite blogs!

*While an education at Azusa Pacific was rather costly I wouldn’t trade those years for anything!

Why it’s Better to Admit the Nerdy Things in Life

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a nerd. And not just because I read a lot (although, increasing your knowledge isn’t nerdy people…it’s brilliant :). It’s because lots of the things I like and do are well, a bit nerdy. I admit I wasn’t always secure enough to freely admit this, but good thing you grow up and become much more wiser right?

Here’s the thing: in the age of the Internet there’s lots of people who portray a persona of someone they’re not. Trying to look “cool” for a world of strangers. It’s bad enough for our kids to fear being who they really are, but if they look to adults for guidance, they sometimes don’t see a difference. I vote no to that.

You do the world a disservice ignoring this because you’re uniquely you. No one else is. We’re wired certain ways for an amazing and incredible purpose only we can fulfill. That’s why I’ve learned to embrace exactly the way I was made.

So this month’s Why post is where I gladly admit things about me I know are totally nerdy/quirky/only I do, but still me!

1. I memorized the Gettysburg Address for chuckles because it’s one of my favorite American speeches. It’s so beautiful and profound (if you ask me to recite it in person, I might get stage fright and mess it up though). I also have it hanging on my wall.

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2. I may have watched Denzel Washington’s Academy Award acceptance speeches on Youtube recently. And teared up.

3. I only eat Vanilla ice cream. It’s not that I don’t like the other ones. I just don’t mess with the best. Hate away ;).

4. I watch Disney classic cartoons on a regular basis. And still cry. I mean have you seen the part when Mufasa dies?? Good golly, I’m a bawlin mess every time.

5. I have ordered the same exact thing at Del Taco my entire life. I kinda wish I was joking, but alas, I am not. It’s the original #3: Bean and cheese burrito with red sauce, fries and a root beer. If I feel like “mixing” things up, I’ll get a Cherry Coke. Mind blown right?

6. I buy costumes for my cat. This past Halloween he was a dinosaur. As you can tell from this picture, he was thrilled.

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7. Speaking of my cat, I considered creating his own Instagram account. This still might happen people.

8. If someone offered a class to learn elvish, I’d be all over that in 2.8 seconds flat.

9. I recently needed to write a bio for myself and this is what happened: “She wishes she could go to Hogwarts, live in Narnia and hopes one day Gandalf will show up at her door and invite her on an adventure. She also could never part with Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Giver by Lois Lowry or Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers.” P.S. If you’re wondering what it’s for, check out this awesome new board I’m on here!

Well Internet, there’s a few to kick things off. Hope you enjoyed them! Now, it’s your turn! Please join in and share what makes you – you! I’d love to hear it!

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Why the Hey Did I Watch These Movies as a Child? Plus some 80s Classics

Today’s kids grew up on Harry Potter. You know what they missed out on? Movies featuring balls of fur rolling around eating people.

Jealousy, my friends, should be the only response.

Today belongs to my youth. This month’s “Why? Series” post is an ode to my youth and the crazy movies I stumbled upon. Why I watched many of these, one will never know. Will I include photos for the first half? No. That image search would give me nightmares.

So without further ado, here’s three of my “favorites.” And by “favorites” I mean, what.the.hey.

IT – I’ve talked about this many times before. That’s probably a hint for all you psychologists  about the effect this had on me. Clearly I’m still working through my issues of a murderous clown preying on small children on rainy days. What a great film to watch before the age of 10. By that I mean DON’T.EVER.WATCH.THIS.FILM. I should also bold that last statement just to get the point across. I still have the dialogue between Georgie and IT in the sewer seared in my brain. Apparently I thought it would make me seem cool if I watched it. It didn’t.  (I should confess…my parents had no idea I watched this until after the damage was done)

Arachnophobia – The name says it all kids. The name says it all. It’s bad enough I watched this when I was eight. It’s even worse I WANTED to see it on my birthday. Because nothing says happy birthday to an eight year old child like a screaming spider flying across the screen. I still remember the amount of air I got during the first scene that included a spider jumping out of a plant. I guess I thought I was ready to act like I was 30. Kids, don’t grow up too fast. There’s plenty of time for that. But who am I kidding?? If a movie like this came out now, you wouldn’t see me near it. The fear Indy has of snakes doesn’t come close to my hatred of spiders.

Critters – After watching this, I couldn’t touch an Easter egg for years (the little jerks hatched from eggs and unsuspecting people painted them as Easter eggs one year in the movie). According to wiki, this series (why yes, there was more than one) is about “a group of malevolent carnivorous aliens from outer space, called Krites, that have the ability to roll into balls and combine into a pernicious sphere that can roll across the landscape and cause mayhem. In appearance, the individual Krites resemble small furry/spiky animals with large mouths and many sharp teeth. Throughout the movies they attack humans by biting and attempting to eat them, or at least a piece of them.” Why wouldn’t you want to watch such a film??

But friends, not all my childhood was full of petrifying films. Oh no! I grew up in the 80s aka the decade of awesomeness. Photos from these? Heck yes, they’ll give you a clue to the incredible-ness of each film.

80s classic moviesBack to the Future – This is a given. “McFlyyyyyyy!” The good news is, 2015 is just around the corner, so I’m pretty excited for the hover board to finally make its appearance. Oh and flying cars.

Goonies – If you have to ask why, then please stop being my friend. Unless it’s because you are young, then I’ll gladly regale in tales of this film. Every time I watch this movie, I still want to drop everything and go look for a pirate ship.

Every Disney cartoon ever created. Except The Fox and the Hound. Kuddos to producing the second most depressing cartoon ever Disney (second only to Dumbo).

Cloak and Dagger - It took awhile for me not to fear the Riverwalk, less I get kidnapped by a crazy grandma lady with missing fingers, but I simply love this film! Following little Davey, who stumbles across secret information from spies in a video game, it’s full of adventure and espionage. Seriously, still one of my favs. Plus, you have to appreciate the old school video games they have.

Flight of the Navigator – This film makes me want a pet alien. It’s a simple plot really: “In 1978, a boy is moved 8 years into the future and has an adventure with the alien ship that is responsible for that.” It’s as awesome as it sounds. “Compliance!”

Labyrinth – The only negative of this film is David Bowie’s creepy pants. Other than that, it pretty much sums up the 80s (and maybe the effects of the 70s….) “Allo….No, I said “‘allo,” but that’s close enough.”

Dark Crystal – Between this and Labyrinth, it makes me wonder what was going on with Jim Henson during the creation of these films. This movie is so tripped out I don’t even know how to describe it. All I know is my siblings and I loved the recorded-from-TV version we had and watched it all the time. Well, if you must know, here’s the official description: “On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.” Add puppets and you know that’s award-winning material right there.

Alright my fellow children of the 80s (or anyone else really), what are some of your favorites? And for you youngins (I kid! I kid!) who grew up in the 90s, what are your favs (because I’ll actually remember those like yesterday)?

Why We Should Change The World

After reading the title of this post did anyone else bust out in dance to Captain E.O.’s “We are here to change the world….gonna change the world!” No? That’s odd.

While it is a worthy topic, MJ’s jams aren’t the topic of discussion today. I’ll save that for another time. As you might have noticed (or not at all ;) ), this “Why” series is full of posts I do once a month that discuss whatever my heart desires. Sometimes it’s related to books, but most of the time you find things like tv, sports and other such shenanigans. Today it’s about changing the world. Daunting no?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the rather annoying “YOLO” term (if I ever use it, please know it’s in a sarcastic/let’s make fun of this and it usually involves friends and I deciding to eat ridiculous amounts of candy), but I do have to admit, it’s true. You do only live once. So let’s make it count (If you ask me, speeding in fast cars or making as much money as possible isn’t making it count).

Instead I can’t express enough how much more life matters and comes alive when you invest and give to others.

One of the places and organizations I’ve recently partnered with is Reach Out and Read. It’s awesome. Each week I head over to a medical clinic and read to kids in the waiting room. They also get books too. While this might not seem like a big deal, statistics show it is. Having a book of their own, reading more can drastically affect how well they do in school. As they mention on their website: These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.

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I love doing this. It’s fun and when the kids want me to keep reading more, my heart melts a little.

The program in central Austin is starting to gain momentum and it’s a blessing to be a part of! Sometimes there’s a ton of kids, sometimes just one. And don’t worry if you’re not the outgoing-let’s-get-this-party-started type, I promise if I can do it, so can you. I have yet to master the use of the puppet (y’all I.have.tried), but puppets creep me out (which I’m sure can probably be traced back to a creepy 80s film I stubbled upon).

To my fellow introverts, don’t you worry, most of the time when the kids see me, my first thought is “please like me! please come be my friend!” You know, just like any other 31 year old woman. I promise I survived my youth years with no major mishaps.

But internet! Once books start to be read, it’s a whole new world. It’s worth pushing myself beyond my comfort zone every single time! You want to talk about Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed? Got that one down like a lyrical gangsta. Clifford, Dr. Seuss and Llama Llama are my b/f/fs for life.

Seeing kids run to the bookshelf, anxiously picking out their next book, then coming back makes me wish my lunch hour was all day long.

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I want to change the world. I have this crazy idea I’m working on of a fundraising Read-a-thon. I don’t know what it will look like, but why let that stop me right? :). And even if reading isn’t your thing, I bet there’s something out there waiting for you to join and change a person’s life.

So what about you? I’d love to hear what you think and if there’s something awesome you’re connected to!

If you’re wondering who the hey Captain E.O. is (a.k.a Disney’s greatest invention ever) please see below and you’re welcome!

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Why I’m a New Orleans Saints Fan

Do you know what starts in two weeks and four days? FOOTBALL! Pre-season, schme-season. I’m ready for the real thing. While soccer has my heart, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I get just as excited for football or basketball.

As I sit here writing, sipping from my Saints tumbler, I have come to the conclusion this year is going to be amazing. Why you ask? Because, if you didn’t guess from my previously mentioned kitchenware, I’m a Saints fan and I’m ready. Ready for some Who Dat football and better yet, victories that await us this season!

All y’all better watch out, because as my aunt used to say, we ain’t clownin’ this year.

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Image courtesy of the world wide web, specifically Pinterest. Can anyone read the artist name? I would love to see more of their work!

Recently I was chatting with some friends on Facebook and asked why they loved the teams they do. It’s fun to see how and why we became fans. Were you born into it? Married into it? Or just stumbled upon a player one time and then stuck with the team? Such fun and great stories – even if it’s a team I don’t like.

Which leads to the point of this post – why am I a Saints fan? I get this question a lot as soon as people find out I’m from Southern California. They then proceed to assume I’m a recent bandwagon fan. To which I say: Ummm..rude and false!

The truth is I can thank my grandparents from the lovely town of Edgard, Louisiana for my Saints fandom.

And So Cal football. While there’s about 87 baseball, hockey, lacrosse, basketball, underwater basket weaving and synchronized swimming teams in LA area, there are zero football teams (Don’t hate me, but I don’t count the Chargers).

Y’ to the all…Growing up I had the Rams or Raiders to choose from. Let’s take a moment to consider how awesome those options were… I’ll make it easy, they weren’t.

No matter, they both ditched us natives anyway. Good thing I never committed to them.

When I finally reached an age where I cared, I couldn’t possibly choose any other team besides the Saints. My Dad’s side always talked about the Saints and my grandparents instilled in me a love for NOLA and Who Dat football. So really, it’s genetic. They were my destiny ;). My Grandma also taught me to never watch a game sitting next to her, less I wanted my thigh slapped off during exciting plays. She did.not.play y’all.

I know what it’s like to support a team for a years (read: decades) only to be heartbroken time after time. Two words: California Angels. Which leads me to a side note – They will never be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim/Orange County/LA County/Minnesota/Africa/Antarctica/North Pole to me. That name change is still one of the most embarrassing moments as a California native.

But I digress.

I also know the taste of sweet victory after waiting for so long. And it usually involves me running around screaming and hugging whoever is in sight.

I’ve weathered the storm, so the Saints are stuck with me for life. Through thick and thin. Just like the city the Saints reside, through the good times and the bad times, you can always count on the people coming together.

Especially to celebrate a Super Bowl Win.

Oh and another reason? We (Yes, I like to think I’m actually part of the organization) still claim the greatest Sports Illustrated cover EVER. I 100% want to be friends with Drew Brees.

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Any other awesome Saints fans out there? Even if you aren’t a Saints/football fan, why do you love the teams you do? Would love to hear your sports story!