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. 

sucks
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 and...my 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 (√° 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!




February 07, 2014

Something I Never Thought I'd Say

I have never understood how people could just stop blogging. Not before, when I was just reading their blogs and not after, when I typed up my own.

All the content.

All the time.

All the passion.

And all the energy you put in. It's all yours. It's your baby. You love coming back to it, reading comments, responding, thinking about new ways to say this and that. You see something on the Internet and think "I've got to blog about this!". Or, you have something to say but don't know to whom, so you'll just post in on the blog because someone usually wants to hear your opinion.

So, no, up until now, I never understood why you would stop blogging.
And I will stop with the suspense building and tell you straight away that I, Laura, the Booksmartie, who has been MIA for the past 2 weeks, am not planning on stopping in the near future.

But I've been thinking.

And every time I look at my blog or think about writing a review or what new book to pick up, I realize this is not really me anymore. I read a lot during January and it was all YA. I read more than I had in months. Almost a year, I think. And there were times, days, where I felt like this is it again. This is what I fell in love with when I first started reading and then blogging.

But I've come to the point where I can't even look at my blog anymore. It makes me feel sick. I'm not proud of it anymore, just sick of it. I don't want to see it like that.

A LOT has happened for me in the past year, most of you know that. I have moved out of home, and my home country, to a big city, went from school to University, started actually literally living my own life.

And along with that came a feeling of adulthood. I know you don't grow up with a snap of your fingers and there you are, whole new person. But I also don't think you can keep holding on to things if every voice in your head screams to let go.

As I said, I don't want to stop blogging. I don't want to stop reading. But I also realize that I am not sixteen anymore, blogging from my bedroom while listening to Disney songs and doing Spanish homework.
I know there are a lot of adult readers and bloggers out there who read almost only YA - but I don't think  I can be one of them.

I want to explore new worlds and areas, as a reader and as a person. I don't want my blog to be bright pink anymore. I don't want to do a meme every week that makes me reflect on books I cared about two or three years ago. I barely remember what happened now!! I know I liked them in the past and that's great and awesome and yeah, I recommend them to everyone because if I enjoyed them, maybe you will, too.

But I doubt I'll ever reread them. I doubt I will ever care for them this much again. They are a great memory, but it's enough to bring it up once in a couple of years, not every single week.

Basically, this little essay is supposed to explain what I'm trying to do with my blog here. I'm trying to make it fit me more. Fit my needs, my wishes and aims. Make it fit my dreams.

So, you might not see all that many Top Ten Tuesdays appear anymore. I still have a LOT of YA reviews to post, but those will probably get less, as well. I might actually start reading bigger books and that might take me longer. I might start sharing recepies or my favorite songs or a picture I really like. I might start reading about history and philosophy and psychology, because I'm interested in those things. I might actually start reading Game of Thrones or Ken Follet's books or Dan Brown. I might post poems I liked or poems I wrote.
Oh, and I will find a way to ban the pink from the blog.

With all this, I really hope you guys will stay with me. I can't promise exactly what this blog is going to be a year from now and I wouldn't want to, but I really hope that by then, you'll still all be with me.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of love,

Laura

January 29, 2014

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A Tucker


Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)


Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

Ten Tiny Breaths was a guilty pleasure novel. 
It had a messed up main character, a hot guy and a lot of steamy scenes. 
The problem is exactly that mixture. I know a lot of people  don't like New Adult novels because serious topics get messed up with the steamy and romantic stuff until they seem irrelevant and -this is even worse - curable through the relationship with a hot boy. 
I have to say I totally, completely understand those complaints, but still liked the book. 
At some points, loved it. 
I liked the romance in it. I really wanted Kacey to end up with her love interest and everything that came between them almost made my heart break. Well, yeah. I was in an emotional phase there. 
Relationships in general were well done. I liked the friendship between the two sisters and their neighbour, Storm. The whole dynamic in the apartment building the sisters lived in grew together as a family a bit and as unrealistic as that seemed, I liked it and needed it at the time. 
Just like with the clich√©, Kacey's emotional problems sometimes faded into the background, so that could be critisized. Admittedly, some other details of the story were only not annoying for me, because I kept both eyes closed while reading over them. Some of the things that happened to the sisters, like the job Kacey got or how she got to know her love interst in the first place, were a bit too cheesy and a bit too unrealistic for the reasonable person. 
Then came the ending. 
Yeah...about that. 
The plot twist at the end was obvious - but only slightly before it happened. Throughout the novel, I didn't have a clue. 
What really bothered me was the real ending. I honestly thought it was some sort of joke. It was about the cheesiest, most unrealistic thing I've ever read about. 

All in all, I wouldn't recommend this book if you want something really dark and deep. However, for a quick read, a little distraction when life is not-so-good, this is perfect. I might even read the sequel just to see how we go from this pink-ish, corny-ish ending to another novel. 

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