Sunday, February 1, 2015

January 2015 Reflect & Renew

A monthly post looking back and reflecting on how the month went in terms of blogging and otherwise, as well as looking forward to the next month and "renewing" myself for all that's to come. (Get it?) Read on to find out what went down with me this month and what will go down next month!

what happened.

1. Dog sledding trip. This feels like it happened ages ago but really it was just one month ago. At the beginning of January, my family and I headed out to Algonquin Park a little north of Toronto for some winter fun before I had to head back to school. We only stayed up there for three days and two nights but it was amazing! At that point, we hadn't gotten snow in Toronto yet so it was so nice to be able to play in all the snow and take in the beautiful views. I felt like a kid again! (Though I am still very much a kid so I don't really think that statement holds up.) And as the title suggests, we did get to go dog sledding which was so freaking cool. The dogs were ADORABLE. I've never even really considered myself to be a dog person but I think that's changed after the trip. So yep, I had a really great time on this trip. Though we did get into a teeny car accident because driving during the winter sucks... But all is well now.

2. Back to school! Ugh gross. I was so content doing nothing over my winter break! But school has been okay. Not horrible. I mean, we did get a TRUCK load of homework after the break which is so weird because we just got back from break? That made me so stressed but luckily, things are easing now. I have a midterm coming up and a math test as well that I really haven't even begun to study for but apart from that, nothing else. Though, knock on wood because I don't want to jinx anything even though I'm pretty sure more's coming.

3. Flu. Another highlight of my January. I was sick for a solid week this month. It could have been worse but it was already pretty bad so I can't even begin how "worse" would look like. I had a high fever and jumped between shivering and sweating and coughed like CRAZY. And while I've recovered from it, I also think that that period of sickness has really taken a toll on my body? Does that even make sense? Or maybe it's just my horrible sleeping patterns catching up with me but I feel so tired and dizzy so often now and I get migraines a lot more too. It might be hereditary if there's such a thing because my mom gets that feeling a lot as well but maybe it's just me...

4. World Junior Gold/Toronto Maple Leafs. So yay, Canada won gold in the World Juniors! I think this was the first time we've won the championship since like 2009? So that was nice. But what's not so nice is the Toronto Maple Leafs currently... It physically hurts me to watch any of their games now. It's just sooo bad. So hopeless. Still, I'm crossing my fingers that they'll go on an upswing soon because they're inconsistent like that and because I just need something to hold onto.

5. Reading not-slump. Back in November/December, I was in the worst reading slump where I just did not want to read anything. And now? It's waaay opposite. I'm so excited about reading for the first time in like four months and there are so many books I want to read that I can't even read fast enough to keep up. I can't say it's a bad feeling though.

latest obsessions. 

1. Overdrive. I started using Overdrive this month to borrow eBooks from my library. And I'm obsessed. Because it means not having to get up from my couch to get books to read. Although the wait time is extraordinarily long and I'm not sure why I have to wait even when there are FOUR copies available and only TWO people including me with a hold on it. How does that make any sense? But I'm so lazy that I'm willing to wait five months for a book if it means I don't have to walk to my library. Isn't that so sad?

2. Google Keep. I love making to-do lists and found this app this month and am IN LOVE. I used to use Any.Do but the thing was with Any.Do, I couldn't have multiple types of lists and see them all at a glance whereas with Keep, I can. I've gotten into the habit of using this app in lieu of my actual agenda instead of in addition to which is a bit of a problem because that will throw off my entire organization system so I need to work on that.

3. Elevate. A brain training app. Sorta like Lumosity except not. And free, for the most part anyway. I don't know if I'm actually getting smarter/increasing my brain power because it doesn't say though I have a feeling that it isn't really doing anything at all... But the games are a lot of fun so I've been sticking with this! There are three individual mini games you can play each day that work different parts of your brain like speaking, reading etc. And they're all really entertaining! Good for commutes.

4. Trivia Crack. So I actually have yet to download this app but I've played a few rounds with my friends and am in love because I'm actually such a trivia nerd. I don't know if I have space on my phone for it because I have a dumb Samsung that only allows me 2GB OF SPACE!! Which is nothing! But we'll see...

5. The Newsroom. My friend recommended this to me and I watched a few episodes while I was sick. I'm really slow with watching TV shows so I'm still only on episode 6 but I've really enjoyed it so far. Honestly I like the part where they report the news much more than all the other parts. I learned so much about the BP oil spill just from the pilot alone! But everything else is good as well. I love Jim and Maggie and am kinda rooting for them. Olivia Munn's character is fantastic and I love Neal. And Mackenzie and Will...

6. Bankrupt! by Phoenix, good kid m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar and Every Kingdom by Ben Howard. Album obsessions! I usually don't listen to entire albums but these were on hand so I listened and am IN LOVE. Prior to this month, I only knew about two or three songs from each of these albums that I really liked and now I've just found so many more I'm enjoying. Really all I listened to in January.

currently reading.

I was in a contemporary mood (and also at a point where I really needed to get cracking on my Contemporary challenge) so I picked up Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. Not expecting to love this book but it has been that nice and comforting in its familiarity which is exactly how I expect Dessen books to be. I've also started on one chapter of Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. Don't know if I'll make it honestly. My eyes glazed over just reading the first page. It was also late though... But I don't want to throw in the towel just yet because the story does sound intriguing, contemporary challenge and also I love Zoe as a youtuber. Oh, and finally - Richard III by William Shakespeare. Reading this for school but it's actually really interesting! I'm incredibly fascinated by Shakespeare as a literature lover so reading it and looking at it in class has been so fun. His wording and phrases are just... amazing. Like wow.

challenge updates.

  • The 2015 Goodreads Challenge: I'm on track! For the first time ever! Woohoo! I've read 6 books so far towards my 70 book goal so things are looking good.
  • 2015 Debut Author Challenge: Err... zero. Which is okay because I typically don't get to debut novels until later on in the year. So I'm not worried about this. Yet. Although I did put down one debut a month...
  • Flights of Fantasy: Zero so far as well. But I am reading Throne of Glass very soon so there's that...
  • 2015 Bookish Bingo Challenge: This card is so much harder to fill out than I thought so I've only managed to cross off three so far (Book by someone under 30 - Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney, Memoir - Never Have I Ever, and Second book in a series - Just One Year)
  • 2015 Classics Challenge: Again, zero. But once I finish Richard III, I'll have one because Shakespeare is a classic right? And then I'm also planning on reading 1984 soonish so hopefully I'll have two done by February!
  • 2015 Contemporary Challenge: One book which was Just One Year by Gayle Forman. I suppose I could also count the Pushing the Limits books I read but to me, I sorta categorize them more as romance so I didn't allow myself to put that towards the end count.
  • 2015 Discussion Challenge: My goal was one discussion a month and in January, I wrote two! So hurrah!
  • 2015 TBR Pile: Two checked off! (Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney and Hockey Confidential by Bob McKenzie)
  • Hail to the King: Zero... 
  • Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge: Crossed off five for memoir, book set somewhere you've wanted to visit, book turned into movie, female author and non-fiction book.
  • Fairytale Retelling Challenge: Zero
  • Reread Challenge: I reread one book in January! Yay! (That was Confessions of a Shopaholic)
  • Dive Into Diversity: This challenge is a little bit of a CHALLENGE because I'm not exactly sure what they're looking for. Diversity is a little bit of a vague term... but I counted Dare You To to this challenge just because it deals with a familial dynamic that's very different from mine and Beth also comes from a background that's very different from mine. So still not sure if that's what the challenge is asking for but I went with it anyway because it is diverse from my experience.
  • Around the World Challenge: I did really well on my map this month thanks to globetrotting Willem in Just One Year. I also filled out some mini challenges but I'll update you at the end. View my map on the Challenge page!

highlights of the runaway reader.

what to expect in february.

  • The 2015 Love-a-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books. Yes, I'm joining in again!
  • Plus, a slew of posts that should've gone up months ago. Still in the process of figuring things out. Bear with me!

and that's it! tell me what you did this month in the comments. and stay tuned for another month filled with blogging goodness!

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