Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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All Fall Down by Ally Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All Fall Down is the first novel in Ally Carter's new series Embassy Row. It comes out January 27th.

All Fall Down focuses on Grace, a 16 year-old Army brat who always finds trouble. When she was 13, her mother died. Everyone insists it was an accident, but Grace knows what she saw. When she returns to Embassy Row after 3 years, she is overwhelmed with memories of the past. At the ball Grace see a man she know to be her mother's killer and decides to have her friends help her track down the man, since no adults will help.

This novel really wasn't at all what I was expecting. I tend to enjoy novels with unreliable narrators. (One of my favorites being Ketchup Clouds) However, this one was kind of weird. I really didn't like Grace and I think that kept me from liking the story more.

It was also very strange to me how obsessed Grace still was over her mother's death.  It had been 3 years, I'm not expecting her to have forgotten about it, but in the novel it's as if no time has passed.  I would think she would have started to calm down and understand some of it.  When she's at the US Embassy, it bothers me greatly that she hasn't THROWN OUT HER MOTHER'S TOOTH BRUSH.  It's been 3 years.  What is she going to do with it?

At some points, the novel was really confusing.  The setting wasn't always completely described and sometimes events just occurred without any explanation whatsoever.  Generally what was happening could be figured out by inferring, though.

Grace didn't really act 16 and her acquaintances all acted younger than they were described as well. I think it would have been better if they were described as younger, even if nothing else was changed.

Overall, I did enjoy the novel and did not expect the ending. This would definitely be better for more in the 12-13 age range, though.

-Cassi

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 Reasons You Should Have Another Piece of Pie

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Pumpkin pie is probably the second thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Thanksgiving.  It is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, though, am I right?


Tragically, some people limit themselves to one piece.  I can't even imagine what this must be like.  Sure, it's dessert, but it's also extremely good for you!

So, in honor of the upcoming holiday, here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin.

+ Pumpkin is loaded with carotenoids, including beta carotene, which our body converts to vitamin A.

+ Carrots aren't the only orange food that helps your eyes.  Pumpkins also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are good for your eyes!

+ Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.

+ 1 cup of pumpkin contains only 49 calories- around 2.5% of your recommended daily intake!

+ 1 cup of pumpkin also has only 2 mg of sodium and <1 g each of saturated fat, polyunsaturate fat, and monounsaturated fat.

I'm sure even pumpkin pie can get boring after eating it for a while, but there are many other ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.  Some of my favorite recipes include


Pumpkin Apple Bread title

+Pumpkin Apple Bread



Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili


So, enjoy your leftovers, sometimes they're healthier than you think.

-Cassi

Sources x x x

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be.  For more information regarding the nutrition of certain type of foods please talk to your doctor.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Celebrity Representation in the Media

Children and teenagers are extremely impressionable.  Celebrities are always shown in the news, magazines, and in other media.  Their work acting, singing, and modeling tends to be the main focus of this media.  However, these are often not the only activities celebrities do.  The media has the opportunity to filter the content adolescents see.  Maybe they should be showing more of the humanitarian side of celebrities instead of the glamorized one.


Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) was a widely known actress, and is now a household name.  Between 1948 and 1989 she starred in nearly thirty films.  Though she's mainly remembered as a film icon, she did so much more with her life than act in movies.  Maybe the media has been focusing on the wrong thing.

Audrey Hepburn Picture - Image 28
Source
Hepburn dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina when she was a child.  The war made her dream physically impossible, but not before she was able to raise money for the Dutch Resistance by secretly dancing for groups of people.  She also gave ballet lessons to refugee girls in her grandfather's house.

Source
In her later years, Audrey Hepburn served as a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador.  For five years, starting in 1988, Hepburn traveled to more than twenty countries.  According to Madeline Eisner, who was on a mission with her, "She insisted on seeing the worst of the worst."  On her mission in Somalia, Audrey witnessed countless innocent children struggling for survival.  According to Audrey, "Every child has the right to health, to tenderness, to life."  Most of the children she met, did not have any of these, though.  These gruesome truths were reported to world leaders, governments, and international media.  The time Hepburn spent with UNICEF inspired many to reach out and work to improve the lives of children all over the world.

Audrey Hepburn won around eighty awards throughout her lifetime as well as posthumously.  The number of awards given for being a humanitarian only total around twenty.  Her work for UNICEF caused far more of an impact on the world than her acting, but she was not as recognized for it.

Source
What does this say for celebrities today?  Many will be idolized for acting in films, modeling in magazines, or singing on the radio.  While people who spend countless hours of their time helping others go unrecognized.  Children and teenagers are very impressionable and people in the media have the largest opportunity to leave that impression.  Seeing Audrey Hepburn star in Breakfast at Tiffany's may inspire a child to take up acting.  However, seeing Hepburn idolized in the news for being a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador may inspire the same child to make a difference in their world.  Which would you rather see today's youth doing?


Cardillo, Margaret, and Julia Denos. Just Being Audrey. New York: Balzer Bray, 2011. Print.

Giles, David C., and John Maltby. "The role of media figures in adolescent development: Relations between autonomy, attachment, and interest in celebrities." Personality and individual differences 36.4 (2004): 813-822.

"Life & Career." Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. <http://www.audreyhepburn.com/>.

Spoto, Donald. Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn. New York: Harmony, 2006. Print.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

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Atlantia by Ally Condie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Wow. I was just really disappointed with this book. The Matched trilogy has never been one of my favorites, but it was at least decent.

Rio, a siren, lives in a society where the people are separated, Above and Below. Children get to choose if they want to stay Below or go Above at a ceremony. Rio knows all here life leading up to the ceremony that she NEEDS to go above. However, when her mother dies of a mysterious and unknown cause, Rio's sister, Bay, begs her to stay Below and keep her company. When the ceremony comes, Rio holds her end of the deal and chooses Below, while Bay chooses Above, something no one expected. Rio now has to go Above and figure out why Bay made the decision she did, though getting there proves to be tougher than she expects.

I think the concept here was excellent and Condie built an amazing dystopian society. However, the end was far too rushed. I'm still not really sure how they solved everything- it all happened in about three pages. I think the book definitely could have been longer in order to finish the plot.

Then there's Rio and True's relationship. Why? I just don't understand. I feel there was absolutely zero need to bring them from platonic to romantic. The parts where the relationship is emphasized were just boring and provided no plot development. Plus, if Rio was interested in being in a romantic relationship with True, you would think she would have talked about it at some point, but she doesn't. I think True and Rio had an excellent platonic relationship that was most definitely fine as it was.

I think the hardcover version of this book is absolutely gorgeous, though.  The inside has a pretty black/ silver paper and all the teal is beautiful.  I would want to own it if I didn't dislike the actual content so much.

Cassi

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Goals

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November is a month that seems to be full of huge goals.  National Novel Writing Month, No-Shave November, No-Spend November, etc.  I just don't understand it.  November is probably one of the busiest months of the year for me, with Thanksgiving and getting ready for Winter holidays I don't have time to commit to such a large goal.  So, I'm going to keep my goals small and obtainable for this month.


+Hit 2,000 views for the month.  With not posting much in the past few months, our views have been pretty low.  I'm hoping that we'll get back on track this month.

+Post at least 15 times.  This goes with my first goal.  I've not had a bunch of time to post, but it helps if I schedule posts in advance, so that's what I'll be doing.

+Drink more water.  This is honestly just a constant goal for me.  I find that I never drink enough water and I think it has been leading to  all the headaches I've been getting recently.

+Stop starting so many books and finish them already.  I swear to you I'm in the middle of just about 20 books.  It's ridiculous.

That's it.  Not too outrageous, right?

-Cassi

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October 2014 Recap

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-Cassi

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Favorites

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I swear October was about three days long.  It still feels like we just got back from Green Bay.  Overall, it was a pretty good month and I feel like I got a lot of big projects finished up.  While I found myself pushing back some small ones (for example, barely posting on here).

Oct Favs

I was introduced to some new lovely things this month and I rediscovered some of my old favorites.  For example:

I found out about Oatmeal Squares.  This was truly one of the best things that happened to me all month.  They're so good and they have a decent amount of protein which is something I'm always looking to get into my diet since I don't eat meat.  Great alternative to sugar cereal and it gets me to drink more water.  Win-win.

(source)

I've rediscovered Starbucks' apple cider.  I will take it over a PSL ANY day.  It's soooo good and warm.  Perfect for right before class.

I also rediscovered my favorite eyeliner when I realized I probably should try to look like I didn't just roll out of bed when I go to the library to volunteer.  (I did, but no one needs to know that)  The reason I stopped wearing this in the past was because it wasn't a good black.  However, I've learned that it is perfect with ELF liquid liner on top.
(source)
I've also been loving my Coldplay radio on iTunes.  It's the perfect blend of mainstream and indie- I listen to it all day.

Lastly, I learned about Tsu.  Tsu is a social media site that believes you should get paid for the advertising on a site, not the site.  So, that's what they do.  Tsu shares up to 90% of it's revenue with it's users.  Check it out via my referral link.

What are some of your favorite things from October?

-Cassi


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Facts About Cassi #Blogtober 2014

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Initially, Katie and I planned to do so many more of these than we wound up having time for.  I feel like this is what we have been saying for 4 months now, though.  Our lives are just very busy at the moment and I think we're having a hard time finding a nice balance.

But, today I'm here sharing some facts about myself.

1. I'm 15 and a sophomore in high school.

2. I just got my permit in August so I've been driving a lot.


3. I've been dancing since just before my third birthday and have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.  (10 points if you can guess which one I am)

4. I live on a boat with my parents and little brother during the warmer months.


5. I either read 8 books a week or 1 in three months- there's no in between.

6. I still volunteer at the elementary school I used to attend.

7. I never anticipated getting as much out of blogging as I have.

8. This is my third year doing online school. 

9. I have no clue what I want to do after graduation high school (if you want to pay me to blog full time, hmu)

10. When I was little I refused to drink soda because it was "spicy".


11. I've been to London, Prague, and Toronto.

12. I was a Girl Scout in elementary school. 

13. I sing constantly. . . 

14. but I'm tone deaf.

15. I enjoy making tea and forgetting about it until 4 hours has elapsed and it's cold.

16. Sometimes I make 100 cupcakes for fun.

17. I've a small (huge) Tumblr obsession.


18. Other than getting it trimmed, I haven't cut my hair since I was in 4th grade.  (It's a bit long now)

19. I don't procrastinate school work- I'd rather be two weeks ahead.

20. I prefer to be everywhere 30 minutes early.

21. I keep a lot of stuff in my purse.  I could honestly probably live out of it for a week or two.

22. I read every single Sarah Dessen book in chronological order summer of 2013.

23. I thought reading was kind of a lame way to end this so I added this bullet?

-Cassi

Helene in Between

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meet Fawn

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Today, we thought you guys might like to meet our blog "little", Fawn.  We did a quick interview with her the other day.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Fawn I have been married to my husband Matt for 9 years and we have two kids. My sweet girl Riley  (4) and my handsome Cohen (2). I am from sunny San Diego California, but have lived in Colorado ever since I got married. I stay at home with my kids which has always been my dream.  I am slightly obsessed with reality t.v. and social media (instagram & pinterest.)  I love anything health and fitness related as well as fashion and beauty. 

How does Matt feel about your blog?

That is a great question, one I haven't thought much about until now. My hubby is totally the anti-social media person so we are complete opposite. However, he does read my posts if I tell him about it and he is glad that I have something that I love to do which is write.

Do you ever let/ ask him to help?

I don't think it would be his choice to help me lol but there are a few times when I have needed his help with html stuff. He is really smart and helps me out once in a while with something like that. Otherwise he's not involved at all.

How long ago did you begin blogging?

I began blogging when I had my daughter Riley so almost 5 years ago.

What was your original goal for the blog?

My original goal was to keep my family (who all still live in California) updated with Riley and her life. I know it was hard for them to not be here and see all of her milestones growing up. 

Has that changed?  How so?

Yes it has changed. Now that we have instagram and facebook to keep our famlies updated with pictures of the kids my blog has turned into more of a "Me" out let. It is a way for me to share what is on my heart , my passions, interests and to connect with others.

What originally inspired you to begin blogging?

I was inspired by my daughter. I always loved writting and keeping journals, when I became a mom that passion came back.

What are some of your favorite blogs to read?

I love to read Casey Leigh from The Wiegnads, my friend Amy from Set Free, Bailey Jean from Brave Love blog, Jess Connolly oh there are so many but those are a few of my faves.

Where do you come up with ideas for your blog posts?

Usually it's just what is on my heart at the moment. There are times when I do join up with linkups or challenges to help with writing prompts or ideas from other bloggers that inspire me.

Do you have a routine for writing?

Not really I kind of just go with the flow. The one thing that I try to do though is pray before I write. I don't ever want my posts to be just "about me" I want them to connect with the reader so that they don't feel alone.

Can you share some of your favorite posts you’ve written?

One of my favorite pots is called "Paul Walker and God" it's a real honest post about faith and life. I also love my post on our recent trip back home to visit family because I put a ton of pictures up from our trip to California and I love seeing my kids cute little faces on vacation.

Anything else you’d like to leave our readers with?​

Just that if your new or old to the blogging world remember why you started blogging in the first place whenever you feel like your in a slump or wondering why am I doing this. Don't forget your "why".

Friday, October 10, 2014

$50 Target Gift Card Giveaway | Not Just October

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October is Breast Cancer awareness month, but every month should be seen as such.  (Hence Not Just October)

If you don't count some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter race or ethnicity.  It's also the most common cause of death from cancer in Hispanic women.

In 2011, 220,097 women and 2,078 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.  Also in 2011, 40,931 women and 443 men in the United States died from breast cancer.

Not Just October is a non- profit organization to fund raise to help find a cure.  You can read more about their mission here.

Now for a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Never Thought Blogging Would. . .

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Well this week has been insane to say the least, but TGIF.  So, on to Blogtober

I never thought blogging would bring me closer to my little cousin.  We've always been fairly close, but now we have something we share.

I Never Thought Blogging Would

I never thought blogging would introduce me to so many people from all over.  It's interesting how close you can become with someone without ever actually meeting them in real life.

I never thought blogging would allow me to get to know myself more.  Blogging about my thoughts has really helped me grow as a person.

I never thought blogging would make me obsessed with snail mail.  (If you're interest in being pen pals hmu)

Cassi


Helene in Between Blogtober

Monday, October 6, 2014

10 Things I Should Have Told Myself When I Started Blogging

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Oh gosh.  If you have read any of our posts from 2012, you probably know there was a lot I should have told myself.

1. Is this an image you think would properly represent your blog?  If not RETAKE IT so it isn't as blurry.

2. SOCIAL MEDIA!  You can't expect people to just show up if you aren't promoting posts on twitter and the like.

3. Don't expect companies to fall at your feet offering you products when you get 15 views a day.  It's just not going to happen.

4. Don't expect to get a stable income from AdSense.  Yeah, also not happening.

5. Ask would you take time out of your day to read this?  If not don't share it.

6. Before hitting publish, take out one smiley face.  Trust me on this one.

7. Size pictures consistently and don't try doing wrap text.  It just looks stupid.

8. Don't do so many giveaways that are irrelevant to the blog's topic.  100's of followers do you know good if they don't care about your content and won't read.

9. Can you see what's going on in the picture?  Maybe add some light.

10. Don't post just to post.


Helene in Between Blogtober

Sew Nauti Embroidered Halloween Bag

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*Product Provided for Review*

Halloween Candy Bags Embroidered

We're super excited for Halloween!  Although we're not quite sure what we're going to be yet, we know we'll definitely be toting these cute bags for candy.

Candy Corn Embroidered Halloween Candy Bag

They're handmade and feature cute embroidery!  I love these little candy corns.

Halloween Canvas and Burlap Candy Bags

Plus you get to choose between burlap and canvas for the bag.

Model Status Fall Halloween Candy Apple Embroidered Canvas Bag Cute Scarf

Plus, when you inevitably wind up carrying your child's candy (and stealing a few here or there, they probably won't notice) you can still totally rock it!

If you're the one at home handing out candy to all the trick-or-treat-ers you can use this awesome basket.

Are you as excited for Halloween as we are?

Cassi & Katie

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cassi's Fall Bucket List

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1. Enjoy not having snow on the ground.

2. Enjoy pumpkin spice everything.  Yes, I've waited until October.  No, I don't think it is right the PSL started in September.

3. Spend quality time with family for Thanksgiving.


4. Carve a pumpkin.  (and bake pumpkin seeds of course)

5. Rake leaves.  

6. Drive a ton.

Pretty simple, huh?

Cassi
Helene in Between

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September Recap

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Honestly if you were to ask me what I did in September I would probably spend 10 minutes talking about the Ed Sheeran concert.  But, since you can read/see all about that here, I'm going to try to avoid spamming you with concert photos.  Seem fair?

I started school again :(


I got new glasses 


I added like a billion books to my TBR


I drove a bunch and even went through a few drive-thrus (I'm up to 50 hours!)



I had a sleepover with Katie

We had a photoshoot (more "normal" photos coming soon!)


Saw If I Stay


Planned all our posts for October (including this one)


Then on Sunday I babysat for 10 hours straight



What did you do in September?  Any concerts you're still talking about?

Cassandra