May 22, 2014

A Summer of Books!

It's done, it's done!
Exams are over, first year of Uni is coming to an end. That means I now have so much time to read it's making my head a bit dizzy. Or, maybe that's the hangover. Probably the hangover.
Anyway, books are on my radar again because there's actually time to read what I want.
This is probably going to be a mixture of the books I already own physical copies of (that I really don't want to carry all the way back home), E-Galleys that have been collecting virtual dust for way too long but also a couple of new releases I'm excited for.
Long story short, these are the May and June releases I'm excited about!

 City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)The One (The Selection, #3)We Were LiarsAfter the End (After the End, #1)
Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4)Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures, #1)Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)Otherbound
My Best Friend, Maybe

What are you reading this summer?

April 22, 2014

How I Read When I'm Not Blogging

I'm guessing I don't need to say this, really, but just to catch up on where we left off here: I'm not blogging right now.
I haven't been blogging for months. It wasn't planned, but it was very, very predictable. I went from reading and blogging like crazy (16 books in January, all of them reviewed) to doing-something-completely-different in February to forgetting I even had something like a blog.

So, in the meantime, I was mostly very busy with Uni and friends and a bit (a tiny bit) of travelling. I do get that urge to write something very often. If you think about it, we bloggers are used to writing something completely out of the air every. single. day. And most of the time, we have people who read that. So, at times I really missed blogging. But whenever I sat down to type up a post, there was nothing to type. There were no topics and no words. Just my hands on the keyboard, quick as ever, but with nothing to say.

I have something to say now, though. It's an observation I made through not-blogging. Basically, it's how I read - and live, in general - when I'm not blogging. And it really is much more different than I thought.

We all know that first step. When you want to read something, but don't know what. Normally, when blogging, I always know what. At least, I know I have a daunting list of things to read waiting for me when I log on to blogger. So, there's never really a choice to make. There are always about 300 books I "really need to get to before the sequel/prequel/movie/TV show comes out".
Not having to read anything from that list set me free. In February, I'm quite sure I didn't finish a single book. Also, I didn't try. Because there was no need to! No blog to post on! No Goodreads to keep up to date with! I actually had time to finish reading the newspaper every morning, and keeping up to date with the news throughout the day. I got to watch a whole bunch of TV, catching up with Grey's Anatomy, starting to see what Orange is the New Black is all about, trying to wrap my brain around Pretty Little Liars again.
At first, I sometimes caught myself feeling guilty. Reading books is so much more...efficient than watching TV all day. But then I realized what I was doing was living. Really living. Just doing whatever I felt like in that moment.

I spend most of March in my bed. That is not an exaggeration. Without books, or TV. But very, very often with music. I could not even remember the last time I just lay on my bed, listening to music, thinking for hours and hours. I'm pretty sure it had been years. And that thinking process was so necessary! For my life, my studies, my goals, my attitude. Because I had completely lost track of everything! I was a little robot before, desperately trying to get everything into my schedule that I had wanted to achieve.

Now, I'm not saying I suddenly had a life again just because I stopped blogging. That's certainly not the point. But the point was letting go of the "old" stuff. Of all the things I used to  do (and enjoy!) that I just don't enjoy anymore. To make time and room for the things I really want to experience or wrap my head around.

You may (or may not) be pleased to hear that I have a whole bunch of books to review for you guys. Because I have been reading (a lot, even!) lately. I've just been reading very different books - and I must say, I certainly enjoy them.

With this, I hope I can get at least some of you to de-junk their lives a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I am still crazy about books and I would never tell anyone to stop reading! But my experience is that you can really get caught up in the massive universe that is YA and forget that maybe, there are other things (books, stories) out there :)

March 02, 2014

The Oscars and I

I know I've been talking a ton about growing up here on the blog and those of you who are already grown-ups (I'm aware, that's a LOT of you), this is probably getting boring and repetitive. Or straight up pathetic. I still think that people my age, at least, and maybe other people, too, can relate. So if you can, please bare with me :) 

I'm not watching the Oscars tonight. This is a decision I have spend most of my Sunday afternoon and night thinking about. And it is hard. 
Every normal person would have thought about it like this. 

Do I want to watch the Oscars tonight? - Yes! - Okay, let's do it. 
                                                            - No! - Okay, then not. 

For me the whole thing was a bit different. For me, the Oscars are actually super - duper important. 
Or, as so many things lately, they were super important to me. 
My obsession with Hollywood started at age 13. I would like to say it was my obsession with acting and the arts and I really like that stuff, too, but mostly, it was just an obsession about glamour, fame, pretty dresses and celebrity couples. 
Watching the Oscars was such a huge thing for me, because of timezones. I actually had to get up at 2 AM in the morning, watched the show until the end (5AM), then went straight to the bathroom and kitchen to get ready for my day. It's on Sunday nights, so I had school the next morning. 
My mom and I fought over it for two weeks, but eventually I won. 
Another thing that made the Oscars a pretty big deal for me was that they were live. Which means, they weren't translated. Which means, I watched my first Oscars, excited and amazed by every little detail. 
But I barely understood a word they were saying. 
The last thing I want to say about my first Oscars was that today, five years later, I remember two things. 
1) Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron sang part of a Highschool Musical song on stage. 

2) Kate Winslet's Oscar speech 

I was able to grasp most of the speech because she told a story in very simple words. She said that she had practised that speech with a shampoo bottle in front of the mirror since she was really little. 
I was thirteen at the time and from then on, to this day, think of Kate Winslet and her shampoo bottle every single time I make a new wish or dream a new dream. 

So, yes, the Oscars have been a pretty big deal for me. In the past couple of years, though, I have been getting out of bed only reluctantly to watch them. I started skipping the Red Carpet show, I skipped the ending. I checked my Emails while watching. 
And tonight, as I was considering watching them this year like I had every year, I realized there was absolutely no reason to do it other than that I'd always done it and that I am hilariously supersititous and cannot let go of things. For the life of me, I can't. 

But tonight I will. Because I might still have a slight interest in celebrities and glamour, but I have a bigger interest in running and books and Uni and having a career and falling in love. 
I don't want to watch the Oscars anymore. And there might be a day again when I want to, honestly and truly, but right now I have absolutely no desire to miss a night's worth of sleep to watch an award show. 
So, this is my goodbye for now, Oscars. 
I am going to bed. 

Now how about you? Do you find it easy to let go of things you "grow out of"? Do you feel like you're going to throw your entire personality away if you stop doing something you've always done? Let me know in the comments! 

March 01, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: Back to Reality Edition

Stacking the Shelves

Hello my lovely readers! 

This month, something strange was going on between my head head. 
It all started after I read 16 books in January - which was the first time I had read 16 books in one month since almost a year. 
SO, I decided to order all those books I was SO excited about so I'd have an even better reading month in February. 
Yeah, we all know how that turned out. 
Basically, I decided I was sick of YA and too old for it anyway and swore I'd never read it ever again. Or, at least not for a long while. 
The problem with that? 
Yeah, I knew I still had some books coming. 
I knew they were downstairs, at the reception of my student hall. 
And I thought I'd just leave them there to rott. 
Until Friday. 
Friday night I came back from Uni, soaking because of the rain, freezing, tired, uncomfortable, anxious, homesick, sad and just all around miserable. And I passed the reception desk. Turned around. Looked for my name on the little sheet where they keep the package records of all students. Found my name a couple of times. Collected the parcels. Went upstairs. Here they are: 

Unravel Me and Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi 
Infinite by Jodi Meadows 
Timeless by Julie Cross
Into the Still Blue by Veronika Rossi 
Cress by Marissa Meyer 

So, I'm still pretty confused. I still have days where I just can't see the same, old covers, the same old authors anymore. I think I've just overdosed a little. I don't know. Maybe this is some kind of midlife-crisis. We will see, I guess. As for now, I have some of the coolest books on my shelf, books that I've been waiting on for years (!!) and I will read them. 

Enough about me, how about you? 
Which books did you get this week? 
And, even more important, which adult books do you read? For someone who loves darker contemporary novels in YA (รก la Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Perfect by Ellen Hopkins, Sarah Dessen books etc.) what adult novels would you recommend??

Please help me out here!! It would mean so much to me!!!

February 20, 2014

The Vegan Project: My Favorite Website

In our generation, everything has a website. All of my hobbies are somehow connected to the Internet and - of course  - blogging! 
So what better resource to look for than a blog or website? 

The first one -and, to this point, my favorite one, is OhSheGlows! She has really good tips on becoming a vegan and on how to stock your pantry and how to survive eating out with friends PLUS a huge (!!) collection of recipes to try. I really find that impressive because she hasn't even been blogging for that long and there are still so many cool dishes she already developed and shared on her blog :) 

To get you started, I thought I'd show you one of my favorite recipes from her blog: 

The Best Shredded Kale Salad (Trust me. It really IS the best. I now eat three bags of a kale in a week!) 

All of these are super easy to make, taste incredible, use ingredients you'll have at home anyway...they're perfect :) 

So, what are your favorite cooking websites and blogs? What recipes do you like? Oh,  and they don't necessarily have to be vegan! 

February 17, 2014

The Vegan Project: A Vegan Diet

The Vegan Project is a week long special on the blog - focused all around the Vegan Diet and lifestyle! 
If you have any questions or suggestions or cool ideas, please do let me know in the comments, or on my Twitter or via E-Mail! This will be the most fun with lots of people contributing!

There are a million webistes with all kinds of information on the vegan diet and just as many books on the topic, as well as cookbooks, guides, the list goes on! 

In this post, I'll give you a brief overview over what's really important in a Vegan Diet

The Food Groups 

Fruit and Veggies

This one is easy - but one of my favorite parts! The fact that fruit and veggies make up such a huge part of the Vegan diet means you will never (hopefully) neglect eating all of you recommended servings (or even more) in a day. Also, it's easy. Everyone needs fruit and veggies, so no excuses for buying a ton of them! 

Whole Grains

Again: easy. Most of us eat the grains anyway. Just make them whole already, people! It's not difficult! And, in my opinion, tastes them same, if not better. Also: whole grains are easy again. We need them in every normal diet, there's probably plenty of them in your pantry right this second. 

Dairy Substitutes

This is where I see the problem. Not only are dairy substitutes sometimes hard to find - they usually cost almost double of what normal dairy milk/yogurt/ etc costs. And for some (like the poor University student...) this might be too expensive. 

Legumes, Seeds, Beans 

This group is a lifesaver!! Because if you're just thinking about nutrients, you probably won't need a lot of the dairy substitutes if you eat plenty of legumes, seeds and beans. Not only are they so healthy for you, we should all eat them everyday! They're also cheap, available in every supermarket, easy to cook and serve, fit into every meal and they have the protein so many vegans are concerned about!! With these, you might not even need all your dairy substitutes! 

Vegetable Oils, Fats, Sweets, Spices

This is the dot on the I. In my experience people, especially people my age who just start to cook for themselves, often underestimate the importance of spices!! You can easily ditch the expensive, artificial ready meals and cook a whole pot of pasta instead! You can make the sauce yourself, as well, with a can of plum tomatoes, some onions and - most importantly - the spices!! I think a lot of people don't realize how amazing vegetables taste once you've spiced them right! 

Now that we've got the basics straight, I may or may not have some real Vegan Recipe examples for you tomorrow :) 

February 16, 2014

The Vegan Project

The Before 

I've been a vegetarian since I was 14. I'm not at all an animal-person. That's why many people find it stupid that I still choose to live without fish or meat, but the way I see it, I'm fine and have been fine for years eating that way, I can doa bit of good in the world and maybe inspire other people to be more conscious about their food choices.

The Why

I'll admit I have been tempted before. Many of you will  find it crazy to get excited about a vegan lifestyle. No yogurt? No (real) milk? No cheese? And it's expensive! 
But on the other hand, there's something so clean and well...raw about eating a plant based diet. A lot of people who do it seem to feel happy, energized and strong.
For me, the main reason are my Sunday long runs. I manage to run exactly an hour without pain. After that, my stomach starts cramping, I feel really sick, bloated and dizzy. It got on my nerves, because I knew my legs could go on. I knew that I had the mental stamina to keep going for a long time. But I had to turn around and crawl (well...not literally) home, because my stomach was so upset.
Then I cut out dairy before my long runs. The days before my long runs. An entire week before my long runs.
And it got better. I actually didn't have any stomach problems at all!

The How

I don't plan on being a full time vegan. Hell, I don't even want to think about it! Full time vegan would mean SO many restrictions and they wouldn't be absolutely necessary, because apart from when running, I handle dairy okay. And in addition to that, I tend to be too strict with myself, so limiting my diet to such an extent is just not something I want to even consider putting on me.
However, I want to try not eating dairy when I'm at home, cooking for myself. There are so many meals you can make and you don't even notice they're vegan!!
My exceptions are going to be eating out or eating with other people in general. I will definitely switch over to vegetarian meals then, because you only live once.
The other exception is Sunday after my long run! I will definitely have as much fast food, ice cream, chips, yogurt, cake and candy as I can possibly fit into my stomach.

The Blog 

As I am getting further insides into the vegan lifestyle, I thought I'd share them on the blog. I'm oviously not a dietitian or an expert at veganism, but I am an expert at being 18, a student, poor and curious. And as such I'll share some of my experiences with the vegan lifestyle with you guys over the following week.

I hope you enjoy and tell me in the comments what you think of the project!! 

PS: If you've got a question about anything, just ask me in the comments, or on my Twitter or via E-Mail!

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