Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 In Review


 (My fave pic from the past year: Snow in Minneapolis

2015 is just about in the books. It's been a whirlwind of a year with so many things happening both personally and to others around the world. Since I'm from the Myspace/Xanga generation, I thought it fitting to end the year with a survey. Found this end-of-year survey here. It was from 2014, but easily recyclable to fit this year:




    1.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
Starting the week in Austin (went to a Stevie Wonder concert) and ended it in Minneapolis (drove almost cross-country to attend AWP) The whole week was long and a blur, but I had the time of my life. 
 
    2.If you had to describe your 2015 in 3 words, what would they be?

A learning experience 
 
    3.What new things did you discover about yourself?

That I can't do it all at once without major physical ramifications. 
 
    4.What single achievement are you most proud of?

I made it through another year on this side of the dirt. 

    5.What was the best news you received?

That my baby cousin was born healthy

    6.What was your favourite place that you visited in 2015?

Minneapolis. That's a really cool city, but one that I don't think I would have seen just because

    7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

Being slow to anger...there were some times this year where that really came in handy

    8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?

My mom 

    9.Which new skills did you learn?

 Didn't get a chance to learn many new things, but I was able to improve on some skills I already possessed.

    10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?

Family that have become friends and friends that have become family 

    11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2015, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?

Either comedy or horror depending on the day (and my mood) 

    12.What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2015?

"...every smiley face isn’t necessarily brethern..." --DJ Maj's "Hill Street Blues" (learned that again this year, but the lesson will stick this time) 

    13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?

Writing. I made it to a point this past year where I never wanted to write another word. (Just about) over that now. 


    14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?

My family (yes, more than five people but I can't choose) Living so far away has begun to take its toll on me. 

    15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?

If I really want to do this, it'll have to be because of some and in spite of others. 

    16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?

I have a relationship with them now. That wasn't always the case. 

    17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?

Selma

    18.What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?

"You're a good writer." 

    19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?

Sleep. Oh my goodness sleep. Oh, and Shondanights.

    20.What cool things did you create this year?

I'll get back to you on that one.

    21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?

Overwhelmed. 

    22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

Traveled alone (I've taken road trips before, but it's always been to visit someone else)

    23.What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?

Minneapolis and Nashville with my Memphis friends; just chilling like we used to with my home friends.

    24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?

A career in academia (I hope) 

    25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

My grades in the spring (said worry was warrented in the fall) 

    26.What experience would you love to do all over again?

Being in Minneapolis. It reminded me of my life in Austin before the social anxiety hit. 

    27.What was the best gift you received?

*cue stereotypical college student answer* cash

    28.How did your overall outlook on life evolve?

Life is either too short to deal with what you don't want or its too long to be stuck where you don't want to be. 

    29.What was the biggest problem you solved?

Financial issues. (having a job >>>>> being unemployed) 

    30.What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?

Somehow, a conversation with my mom delineated into wondering what would have happened if Rochester Anderson would have been in the planning room of major World War II battles. Don't ask me how. 

    31.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?

My car. Saved my keister since I live in a city where I need to be places that don't coincide with bus schedules.
 
    32.What one thing would you do differently and why?

Staying where I wasn't wanted because there's no worse feeling than someone not wanting you around and making sure you don't go more than a few minutes without knowing it.  

    33.What do you deserve a pat on the back for?

Surviving? We all deserve a pat on the back for that *pats everyone's backs* 

    34.What activities made you lose track of time?

Sleeping...football (of both persuasions)...reading...the same things that have made me lose track of time for over a decade now. 

    35.What did you think about more than anything else?

What could have been

    36.What topics did you most enjoy learning about?

Business and entrepreneurship 

    37.What new habits did you cultivate?

Using my social media profiles to like and follow influential people in my field. My timeline and feed are mainly filled with articles, posts, and tips instead of friends' baby pictures (sorry friends...) so when I'm on Facebook or Twitter, I'm learning something new. Still stay on them too long, but I'm getting something good out of it.

    38.What advice would you give your early-2015 self if you could?

It can wait until tomorrow. Go to bed. You'll run yourself into the ground and make yourself sick otherwise. 

    39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?

I kind of 180ed back to where I was socially at 19 and 20. My social awkwardness/aversion came back full force this year. 

    40.What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?

Can't pinpoint one person. I try my best to learn something from every situation and person I find myself near...even if it's don't act like so and so, there's always a chance to learn from someone/something.
                                                        
                                                YOUR 2016

    41.What do you want the overarching theme for your 2016 to be?

Stay the course

    42.What do you want to see, discover, explore?

As much as I can without it affecting my schoooling or health 

    43.Who do you want to spend more time with in 2016?

Everyone (though not at the same time...) 

    44.What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

Not seeking people's approval. That's not what we're here for and the people's whose approval I seek aren't the ones I need to be impressing in the first place. 

    45.Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

Discernment. 

    46.What do you want your everyday life to be like?

Different. New. 

    47.Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?

I would like to be able to just go out and take a walk without worrying the whole time. Other than that though, I've just about made the changed I've needed to make...okay, and eat healthier...but other than that, I'm good. 

    48.What do you want to achieve career-wise?

I've still got a few years before I'm officially on that track, but I want to make sure that I remain focused on doing the right things now so it'll be an easier go once it's that time. 

    49.How do you want to remember the year 2016 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?

The beginning of something new and beautiful 

    50.What is your number one goal for 2016?

To make 2016 the beginning of something new and beautiful. 



                                          Happy New Year's everyone! 



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WWW Wednesday: December 30


IMG_1384-0
 
Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

Still efforting on Catcher in the Rye and Lorraine Hansberry's Audio Collection (copious amounts of bowl game watching, TV show catching uping, and Hamilton listening put a damper on my reading this past week)

However, I have kept up with submission reading and have been enjoying reading new issues of two of the literary journals I work with  (One Throne and Your Impossible Voice). It's a very different experience reading the final result as a reader as opposed to a reader of a submission or an editor of pieces that were accepted.

• What did you recently finish reading?


In the middle of the aforementioned football watching, TV watching, and Hamilton listening, I did manage to read about 15 or so contest and journal submissions.

• What do you think you’ll read next?


I checked out  the audiobook of Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford. Really looking forward to being introduced to a new series, especially one that I've heard really good things about. Checked out a couple of other audiobooks the last time I was at the library as well, so I may just listen to books and read submissions and fanfics until classes start back up.

P.S: I've purchased what I need so far for the spring (only 21 books between four classes so far (and other things only English majors say) ) I'm already looking forward to reading Sherley Anne Williams' Dessa Rose, so I may go ahead and start reading that before the semester begins.


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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Dream Literary Collection #1


A few weeks ago, Ryan from Invaluable emailed me about creating a Dream Literary Collection post. Invaluable is an auction website with scores of antiques and collectibles, and perusing through all that they offer was so much fun..

Here's the first post (of what I'm hoping will become a regular series) talking about my Dream Literary Collection.


1. a signed copy of Lauren Bacall's Now:
 


I grew up watching movies of all kinds, but I especially loved watching movies on TCM. I grew up watching movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s and because of that, Lauren Bacall is one of my all-time favorite actresses. This book is already on my to-read list, but I would love to own this copy in particular and get the chance to learn more about one of my favorite actresses.



2. a signed copy of Joyce Carol Oates's Marya; A Life
  

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the authors that I've wanted to read more from, but haven't been able to yet since it's been really hard for me to fit reading for fun in with reading for school if I'm not able to find an audiobook version. However, I'm trying to change that (it's actually one of my 2016 Resolutions) and since what I've really liked what I have read from Oates, I think this would be a good addition to my collection. 



I fell in love with Edgar Allen Poe in sixth grade (ELA had a Halloween unit with Poe's stories making up a vast majority of what we read) and have enjoyed reading him ever since. This collection would be really cool to have and read from during Halloween (I try to read or listen to at least one of his stories during Halloween. I'm not a big fan of the horror genre, but I try to get into the spirit of things anyways.)


I'm a 20th century girl. Until this semester when I took African-American Literature 1850-1900, the only pre-20th century lit classes I took were two Shakespeare classes during undergrad. However, 1850-1900 sparked an interest in 19th century literature. I also want to start reading more poetry, and I've heard nothing but good things about Ralph Waldo Emerson and that period of literature. I figure this would be a good place to start and kill two birds with one stone. 


5. signed copy of Jack Kerouac in Amsterdam

Granted, this would only work out if this edition is in English (or I learn Dutch), but I've been wanting to read non-On The Road Kerouac for awhile to see what else he wrote before his death. 

 Bonus: 

Thinking about my Dream Literary Collection got me thinking about those closest to me and their literary collections. When I saw J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return Of The King, I immediately thought of my mom. I never got into The Lord Of The Rings, but she loves the series and I'm sure she'd love to add this to her collection: 



  ***all pictures taken from Invaluable.com***

***To see what other books they have to offer, click here***

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

WWW Wednesday: December 23


IMG_1384-0
 
Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next? 

• What are you currently reading?

I'm not currently reading anything book-wise as I'm recovering from a very long, very difficult semester (that included a two week period of reading about fifty articles and books to write forty four pages worth of papers and essays for finals). Taking my mind a little more time to decompress than usual, but I'm excited to get back into reading. 

I am however currently listening to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (still) as well as the Lorraine Hansberry Audio Collection. I'm also getting back into the swing of reading submissions (took a couple of weeks off for finals/post-finals brain drain) and catching up on all the fanfics I missed out on the past semester. 
• What did you recently finish reading?


I recently (okay, maybe not so recently by now) finished reading the last few weeks' worth of assigned readings for class. Some good reads mixed in with books that I have already placed for sale on Amazon and hope someone gets them off my hands sooner rather than later.
• What do you think you’ll read next?


I am most definitely reading or listening to Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford next. I want 2016 to be a Year of Series and the first on my list to tackle is the Mitford series.



Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Photo Of The Day: December 14-21

 12/14

 12/15

 12/16

 12/17

 12/18

 12/19

 12/20

12/21

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year





(I'm back...took longer than anticipated to recover from this past semester, but I'm back)

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Changing this up a little since a goal for 2016 is to read through entire series instead of just individual books. For the most part, I read the first couple of books before I tapered off and am looking to finish what I started. 

1. Jan Karon's Mitford series

2. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House On The Prairie series

3. Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series

4. August Wilson's American Century Cycle

5. Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon series

6. The Dear America series and its spin offs (love love love historical fiction and I really loved reading the books that were published when I was still in high school)

7. Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series 

8. Ann M. Martin's The Baby-Sitters Club series...(maybe not the Mysteries books, but yes to the rest)

9. The American Girl series (I've read the full six-book series for some of the girls, but the list of characters has doubled since then, so I'll like to see what I've missed)

10. The books that are assigned to me for the Spring 2016 semester that I don't already have

Bonus: a bookshelf to hold all of these new additions would be nice...mayhaps Book Santa can rendezvous with Storage Santa and make something happen??? 

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Photo Of The Day: December 6-13

Sorry I dropped off the earth for a minute. Finals were...wooo...but they're done now and I've fully recovered, so time to catch up:


 12/6

 12/7

 12/8

 12/9

 12/10

 12/11

 12/12

12/13

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Photo Of The Day: November 28-December 5

(sorry it's been so long...traveling, preparing for finals, and working have combined to leave me without a lot of free time lately) 

 11/28

 11/29

 11/30

 12/1

 12/2

 12/3

 12/4

12/5

Monday, November 30, 2015

Finals Week (and a half)

It's that time of the semester again.

Just turned in my historiography for my Civil Rights Movement class, but I still have a seminar paper to write for my Amiri Baraka class, an annotated bibliography for Women and Social Movements, an essay to write for African American Literature 1850-1900, two essays to write and a final to take for Civil Rights Movement.

So if this is my last post until...say...a couple of weeks from now...it's because I'm buried in these last assignments.

Hooray university!

*laughing hysterically emoji*

*passes out from exhaustion emoji* 


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WWW Wednesday: November 25


IMG_1384-0
 
Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?
  • African American Literature 1850-1900: all done! 
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: Amiri Baraka's S.O.S. Poems 1961-2013
  • Civil Rights Movement: journal articles and books for class and my Historiography assignment
  • Women and Social Movements: journal articles and books for my annotated bibliography  assignment 

Pleasure/Other Reads: 

Still listening to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (catching up on my TV shows at the same time...) and reading some rad prose and poetry submissions.


• What did you recently finish reading?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: Paul Laurence Dunbar's Selected Poems
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement:Amiri Baraka's S.O.S. Poems 1961-2013
  • Civil Rights Movement: journal articles and books for class and my Historiography assignment
  • Women and Social Movements: Lisa McGirr's Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right

Pleasure/Other Reads: 
Had a submissions reading-a-thon on Saturday and Sunday. Read about 60 prose and poetry submissions in all.   


• What do you think you’ll read next?

 
Still haven't decided what I want to read next, but our contest is starting soon (more info here if you're interested). So whatever it is, I'm hoping for it to be a quick read so I can be ready to go on 12/15
As for audiobooks, next up is the Lorraine Hansberry Audio Collection

Once school gets back in from Thanksgiving Break, I'll finish reading Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death and Macbeth alongside the 10th and 12th graders I work with respectively.  




Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Themed Freebie

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Thanksgiving Themed Freebie (I'm doing Ten Bookish Things I'm Thankful For...because tis the season ;) )

1. Audiobooks: they're literally the only way that I've been able to keep up with pleasure reads with all of the books, articles, and essays I have to read for my classes.

2. A job that allows me to listen to audiobooks: when I work my full shift, I'm averaging one book a week, which is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Thankful for the time and chance to get out of the academia realm and escape to another world.

3. Overdrive and YouTube: my top 2 go-to places for audiobook listening. YouTube is just amazing on so many levels, but I love Overdrive because I can listen through my local library for free (perfect for me because to check out a physical audiobook costs money where I live). 

4. Sequels: Go Set A Watchman and Lila are my two favorite books of 2015 and they're both sequels. So glad that both were written. This leads me to...

5. Series: along the same lines as sequels, I have fallen in absolute love with entire series (Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove comes to mind, but there are others) I don't know about everyone else, but when I get invested in a story and its characters, I get in-ves-ted. I love getting more than one chance to enter their world.

5. Adaptations: some of my favorite movies (Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Godfather) were adapted from books or stories. Adaptations remain some of the only movies on my must-watch list.

6. Bus rides: I made the drive home once since moving here. Since then, I'm all about Greyhound. This averages an 8-10 hour ride home which gives me pppplllleeennnttttyyyy of time to read or listen to a book (for some reason, on a bus is the only time I can read on the road...not sure why) 

7. The Internet: specifically Facebook, Buzzfeed, and Twitter because I don't go a day without stumbling upon a link to an amazing story, post, or article. I learn so much every day just by liking different people and organizations and get to read some amazing work.

8. Lazy weekends: it's been a while, but every now and then when I have nothing going on for the weekend, there's nothing better than putting on some football, grabbing a book, and just chilling all day. I can't wait to not be so busy so I can experience it again. 

9. My friends: I've gotten lucky to make some amazing friendships with people who also love to read. I never go too long without getting a book rec from someone (which then gets added onto my ever-growing To-Read list)

10. My parents: Both were bookworms and my mom still is. As a kid, I always had more books than toys which was good because I could read all day, but would only play with a toy for a few minutes before I got bored. My parents didn't out and out instill much in me, but my love for reading came directly from them.


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Photo Of The Day: November 18-22

 11/18: Still Standing 
 
 11/19: Night Photoging
 
 11/20: Sick Day
 
 11/21: Post Blur 
 
11/22: Sunday Morning Sighting

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WWW Wednesday: November 18


IMG_1384-0
 
Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?
  • African American Literature 1850-1900: Paul Laurence Dunbar's Selected Poems
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: Amiri Baraka's S.O.S. Poems 1961-2013
  • Civil Rights Movement: journal articles and books for class and my Historiography assignment
  • Women and Social Movements: Lisa McGirr's Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

I'm currently listening to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye in addition to reading prose and poetry submissions.
• What did you recently finish reading?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: Charles W. Chestnutt's The Marrow of Tradition and Paul Laurence Dunbar's The Sport of the Gods
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays and pieces from the S.O.S.--Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: journal articles and books for class and my Historiography assignment
  • Women and Social Movements: Stephanie Gilmore's Groundswells: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

Got about four hours of submissions reading done last week and also read Edgar Allan Poe's Cask of Amontillado alongside the 9th graders I work with.
• What do you think you’ll read next?


It's the end of the semester for me, so my next read will be a pleasure read (just not sure what yet) in addition to poetry and prose submissions

As for audiobooks, next up is the Lorraine Hansberry Audio Collection

I'll also be reading Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death, Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, and Macbeth alongside the 10th, 11th, and 12th graders I work with respectively.  
 



Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

You can also email me by clicking here or follow me at  the following social media sites: 

Thanks again for reading 
Alana