recent reads: january & february

Recent Reads - January and February 2018

Hi everyone!

How was everyone’s long weekend? I semi-enjoyed the extra day off but I was mostly in the library studying for my midterm that’s tomorrow (wish me luck!). My sorority did have our winter formal on Friday night though, which I had a great time at. Nothing like a little dancing to rid the mid-winter blues!

Today I wanted to share with y’all what I read in January and February so far. Consider these mini-reviews!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

If you’ve been following the most popular books of 2018 so far, you’ll undoubtedly come across Little Fires Everywhere. I solely picked this one up based on its hype, and from Celeste Ng’s prior praise from her debut, Everything I Never Told You. This story is one of those quiet, intricate, and poignant novels that keeps readers engaged the entire time. From the beginning, I felt like I was tiptoeing along an empty hallway, and every so often, there would be a creak in the floorboards. Little Fires Everywhere doesn’t necessarily have a big “twist” in the story, but there are multiple small ones all throughout the story. Ng seamlessly develops each character one by one without making it obvious when she shifts the focus of each character’s backstory.

One thing I thought was interesting was the setting, both location and time. It’s set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and when Ng first introduces the town, I didn’t even realize it was a real place. It seemed too perfect, too quaint – but Ng captures that exact essence. Second, it’s set in the 90’s, and I’ve come to the conclusion that she chose this time period because of the lack of technology and resources that makes the story more compelling and mysterious. Essentially, the lack of technology makes it harder to track people down.

In all, I really enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere. While it was a little overhyped, I can certainly see the appeal that Ng has on her readers. I’m looking forward to reading Ng’s future novels.

Defiance by CJ Redwine

I’d say that these days, I don’t naturally gravitate toward post-apocalyptic fantasy novels, but I bought this one on my Kindle right when I got into ebooks and it was honestly probably on sale for $1.99. If you know what sunk costs are, know that I don’t believe them. I feel guilty if I don’t read what I bought!

Defiance had a lot of potential in the beginning; I forgot what it was like to be immersed in a fantasy world. As the story went on though, I was a little let down by how little world-building was involved. I think C.J. Redwine could have talked more about the history of the world and how it became.

What I did love was the dual perspective of the two main characters, Rachel and Logan. I really enjoyed reading about their character development and how their circumstances affected their decisions.

While it was an enjoyable read overall, I feel that there are better high fantasy reads out there with much better developed worlds. There are two books following Defiance, but I can’t say I’m interested and invested enough in the world and the characters to continue.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

Y’all know that I’ve been missing Europe ever since I came back to the States mid-September. I find something almost everyday that reminds me of my trip, and my heart is squeezed by nostalgia every time. When I heard about I See London, I See France, I jumped on it. It’s a YA Contemporary about two best friends’ summer getaway to Europe. There’s drama, romance and all of the touristy things. It’s a super light beach read, but perfect for those who miss Europe (aka me). This was just what I needed. Definitely keep this fun read in mind if you’re heading to Europe anytime soon (or read it on the plane!)

Finishing three books throughout a month and a half is pretty good, I’d say! I’m currently making my way through Americanah which I’m reading for Panhellenic Book Club and Meet Cute, which is the ideal Valentine’s Day anthology. I’ve been sneaking in 30 minutes or so every other night to read a little before bed. I’m pretty happy with my consistency so far!

What did you read in January and February?

Thanks for reading,




happy galentine’s day

Hello, and happy Valentine’s Day!!

Or should I say – happy Galentine’s because that’s what I primarily celebrated this weekend! Since last week was stressful with all of my exams, I pretty much had the most relaxing weekend ever.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Earlier in the week, a few girls from my sorority and I headed over to a different sorority’s feed and enjoyed some milkshakes as a study break.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

I pretty much didn’t do any homework all day on Saturday and caught up on Riverdale and just got together with some friends. One of my good friends is working on her own passion project and wanted to interview me. We got together at Broadcast Coffee and just chatted and did a mini photoshoot. I can’t wait to see how the pictures turned out!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Sunday was all things Galentine’s! I met up with a lovely group of ladies at Thackeray and it was the most amazing brunch experience. The whole restaurant/bar had a farm-chic vibe, which I totally loved. I wished we could have gotten seating at the gingham (!!) booths, but maybe next time.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Yes, it was a mimosa kind of morning. So delicious!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

I ordered the biscuit + sausage gravy but really, I don’t think you could have gone wrong with any dish.

I continued celebrating Galentine’s with a different group of my girlfriends later that night by going to Hokkaido Ramen in University Village and grabbing frozen yogurt afterward. Such a treat! I think it’s so important to celebrate a good time with your closest friends, even if some of them are in relationships. Because Valentine’s Day is about celebrating all kinds of love.

What are your plans for the night? Whatever they may be, I hope y’all have a good one. Thanks for reading as always!

Jen xx


currently listening: podcasts

Hello hello!

How is everyone doing? I have to be honest – this past week was pretty stressful and really not the most fun for me. I took two midterms and also won a case competition (woohoo!) but I was so stressed that I slept restlessly. Needless to say, my brain still feels a little frazzled – it’s definitely time to de-stress. I do pride myself in still eating healthy during all of this midterm craziness though. I’ve been pretty good at staying away from sugar and still exercising regularly.

So what’s been keeping me sane? Podcasts, to be honest. I’ve been listening to a few while I get ready in the morning every day and while I’m working out. You might remember me talking about podcasts earlier from the fall, but I’ve definitely gotten back into them. I wanted to share with y’all some of my favorites today so maybe next time you’re commuting or just getting ready in the morning, you’ll be a little more educated, entertained, or thought-provoked after.

NPR Politics and NPR Up First: Before listening to these two podcasts, I always felt so out-of-the-loop about what was happening in the world. Besides seeing recent news updates on Twitter or the little right-hand column on Facebook, I really didn’t know the up-to-date information. With NPR, I could get details and listen to conversations about current events. Let me tell you – it feels good to know what’s going on (I also love NYT: The Daily‘s news updates!).

Happier with Gretchen RubinGretchen Rubin wrote The Happiness Project which I have yet to read, but I’m liking a lot of the conversations that are happening on this podcast. There are full-length episodes but also “Littles”: short, less than five-minute reminders or mottos about living a happier lifestyle.

Lady Lovin’: This one’s definitely tailored to female listeners, but it’s straight-up hilarious and I can’t even explain how much it’s like being at a sleepover with your best girlfriends. It’s hosted by three women and they have the funniest, most genuine conversations about relationships, empowerment, and being best version of yourself in general.

Hurry Slowly: I started listening to this one based on one of my favorite bloggers out there, Bella from Ciao, Bella’recommendation. It’s a great lifestyle podcast that talks about ways to slow down in a busy life. I definitely need this because I feel like my life is always go-go-go.

Girlboss Radio: Obviously. And it’s not all about girlbosses in the corporate world: it’s girlbosses everywhere. My favorite recently was when Sophia Amoruso invited author Rupi Kaur (author of Milk and Honey) on the show!

The Moth: If you love short stories, definitely give this one a go. Each episode has a certain topic and a ton of storytellers perform a story regarding that topic. These stories are usually recorded from live shows. It’s so neat!

I feel like podcasts are definitely the next big thing, if not already. Have you listened to any podcasts lately? Which ones are your favorites?

Thanks for reading,



january favorites

January Favorites 2018

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

How is it the last week of January already?! I swear just yesterday I was still making my New Year’s resolutions (how are you doing on your resolutions, by the way?). School was pretty chill for the first month but this week, things definitely ramped up. I’m in the midst of doing yet another case competition (I present tomorrow, eep!) and I have the first of my midterms next week.

I did want to share with y’all some of my favorites from January, since I discovered some new things this month that I think are worthwhile to check out.


Youtube // Over winter break, I was at home being bored and started browsing Youtube for new channels to subscribe to. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a sucker for college Youtubers who do “day in my life” videos that show what they do on campus. It’s always so interesting to me how other college students do college at different universities! I subscribed to Allison’s channel, a bubbly, adorable gal who attends University of Floriday & also Katie’s channel, who attends University of Alabama!

Music // As most of you know, I learned the choreography to Kyle Hanagami’s How Long routine, so I’ve still been listening to that all month long. Troye Sivan’s newest single also came out in January, My My My, which I’m obsessed with. For studying, I bought a coffeeshop jazz album, which has been nice to plug into if I’m in a noisy environment while studying.

TV // Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to watching Lady Bird or Call Me By Your Name in theaters, but I did get to watch Netflix for a little bit. I got through the sixth season of Parks and Recreation! I can’t say it’s the best show ever, but I definitely see the appeal and look forward to getting around to completing the show. And of course, Riverdale started back up so I’ve been trying to keep up with that.

Book // I read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng in January and really enjoyed it. Look out for my review in February!!

Eat & Drink 

Mr. West Cafe + Bar // I visited Mr. West over the long weekend and loved the space. It’s clean, has marble tables, and just feels like a productive space. I’d love to go back! If you frequent downtown Seattle a lot, I highly recommend!

Molly Moon’s // Obviously I’ve been loving Molly Moon’s ice cream since freshman year of college, but their seasonal winter flavor, Meyer Lemon, is BACK and y’all know that’s what I’ll be ordering instead of Earl Grey until spring.

Tulio // An accounting firm took me and a few of my peers to Tulio this month, an Italian restaurant and I absolutely fell in love with the sweet potato gnocchi appetizer. So, so amazing. I can’t stop thinking about it, to be honest!

Study Spot

My closet // Okay okay, let me explain. Every quarter, everyone in my sorority changes rooms and this quarter, I decided to save some space and moved my desk into a large closet. All the girls in my house have jokingly called me Harry Potter for the last month because of it – it’s quite cozy! It’s a pretty great study spot because I’m so isolated, haha.

That’s it for now! Did you (re)discover anything in January that became a favorite?

Thanks for reading, as always! Talk to y’all next week.




my next travel destinations x how i plan

Summer 2018 travel

Remember when I traveled all over Europe this past summer? I never thought my blog would have a “Travel” tab up on the top bar, but here I am. If you enjoyed reading about my Europe adventures, get ready for more! Long story short, I’ll be interning this summer with a company that warrants a lot of travel in the U.S. I can’t even explain how excited I am to be interning with this company because I’ll be conducting internal audits and learning about how the company operates. It’ll be really different being able to apply what I learn in the classroom to real, hands-on work.

Even though summer is still half a year away, I’m already planning (Type A problems). Cue up the Pinterest boards and Google Sheets, because that’s how I planned for Europe too: months in advance. I thought it would be fun if I shared some of my destinations that are on the top of my list and how I plan.

First thing’s first: jot down the places I’m dying to go to. I love Excel sheets, so even that initial list is its own sheet. Everything’s pretty tentative at the moment, but on the most basic level, I have the week number (I told you I’d be traveling a lot!), the dates of travel, my ideal locations, and the purpose (people I know that I want to visit).

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 10.06.30 AM

Next up? Research research research. I’ll mostly be browsing on Pinterest for my eat/drink/sleep/activities. Sometimes I’ll go on Youtube too for those “travel diary” videos that I love watching to get ideas. Since I have a few connections in some cities, I can skip the lodging part for a few cities, but I definitely start planning my must-see sights and activities. Each city will get their own Pinterest board and Google Sheet.


As you can see, I’ve organized the columns into neighborhood, the place I want to visit, the category, and any notes that are associated with the activity. I think for the purpose of trying to be more spontaneous, I won’t be making an hour-by-hour detailed itinerary until I talk with whoever I’m traveling with and then schedule everything onto my Google Calendar a month before I decide to go.

Once I have a pretty solid list of the sights I want to see and things I want to do, I look at the area with the most activities and then if needed, find lodging in that area via Airbnb. As of right now, I’m not sure what my budget will be yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

That’s essentially all the planning I do! I like the system I have, but research takes up a huge bulk of time. Plus, planning early is such a fun way to procrastinate (when I do, that is).

Do you guys have any suggestions on places to visit within those cities (or any city!!). Conducting this initial research always gets me so excited.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of the week!

Jen xx