Welcome to another blog post! Today, I have pretty pictures of pretty books to share with you all. That’s right – this is my December Book Haul! Per usual, I will provide the Goodreads average rating of each book, as well as a link to where you can buy it if you so choose. I’m really excited to dive into each of these novels, and if you’d like to hear more, check out my latest video version of this blog post! It is linked at the bottom of this post.

Dive by Stacey Donovan

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Goodreads rating: 3.86 | Buy this book here!

Winter by Marissa Meyer

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Goodreads rating: 4.56 | Buy this book here!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads rating: 4.18 | Buy this book here!

Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen

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Goodreads rating: 3.71 | Buy this book here!

Saga, Volume Five by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Goodreads rating: 4.44 | Buy this book here!

Harry Potter: The Coloring Book #1 by Scholastic

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Buy this coloring book here!


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I don’t really have any plans for this post. I don’t have a draft, notes, or intentions behind my writing this time. I don’t know exactly how to phrase this well, but I think my title does it simply enough: I am sad.

I am sad to hear and read about the constant terrorist attacks occurring all over the world. I am heartbroken to hear of yet another mass shooting on U.S. soil in San Bernardino, California. I am devastated to learn that in my own city, in my own backyard of King County, there are over 10,000 homeless individuals sleeping on the streets every night. I’m torn up. I’m appalled. I’m in shock. Because this is the world we all live in.

I’m a sensitive creature. These issues have been weighing on me day in and day out for years, but especially lately. I’m a busy body, a scheduled maniac. I am constantly running from one thing to the next and I’m starting to realize that maybe it’s partly because when I slow down to look at the world around me, I feel hopeless. Perhaps staying busy is my way of coping, of distracting myself from what’s really going on.

 I have so many convictions, beliefs, theories about this life and the next, but I can’t make sense of this violence. I can’t make sense of this pain.

Humanity is flawed; we’ve been killing, beating, torturing, and terrorizing each other for all of our existence. We’ve also been loving, uplifting, empowering, and living with each other for all of our existence. But where is that now?

It’s clear to me that I am a bystander in all of this chaos. I don’t know quite what to do, so I have been doing nothing, besides reading the news articles, and shedding tears when stories hit particularly close to home. But my words have carried little weight as my actions have been next to non-existent.

It’s clear to me that I am overwhelmed. It’s clear to me that I am not alone in this. But nothing will change if I do not change. Nothing will shift if I do not get off my ass and act on what I stand for. Nothing will progress forward if I do not pop the bubble I live so comfortably in.

I stand for Love. I stand for compassion, community, laughter. There are daily little ways to demonstrate those values I hold, and there are much larger ways as well. More importantly, it’s time to stop sitting down, taking a back seat, and ignoring the state our world is in.

I believe in the Goodness and Light and Love that is all around us. Despite the everyday horrors we are facing day in and day out, I know that Love will always win. But saying and doing nothing is synonymous with being on the opposite side of Love. I will no longer be complacent. I will no longer use my feeling of hopelessness as an excuse. It’s time to make Love a daily habit, a daily action, and a daily verb. Are you with me?

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I should be working on homework right now. I should be responding to emails. I should be editing, filming, thinking about new ideas and new content. But instead I’m sitting on my bed listening to the duet of both my new Sinatra record and the sound of Oprah and Gayle munching on hay.

Ever since school has started up, I’ve been slacking on my blog. I knew it would happen this way; it always does. My days get filled with work and school, and instead of sitting down between classes to write my next post, I’m running from one meeting to the next trying desperately not to be late.

It’s like this every year. I say that I’m not going to get as busy as I usually do. I say I’m going to set clear and strict boundaries for myself. But I’m in the perpetual habit of not knowing how to say “no”. And I think I’ve developed a serious case of FOMO.

The term “FOMO” was introduced to me this past summer. I don’t know how I wasn’t aware of it before; it practically defines my college existence. FOMO = Fear of missing out. And I’ve got it bad.

It wasn’t always this way. Although I’ve always been a relatively involved student, I also found myself saying “no” a lot back in high school. If I didn’t want to do something, I wouldn’t do it. And more significantly, I didn’t worry about the consequences.

My mother raised me to be an independent woman, and I definitely exuded an attitude of “always doing my own thing” in high school. But as I came upon graduation during my senior year and as I entered into college, I started to realize how much I had missed out on. I started to realize that there were so many experiences, people, and places I would never have the chance to repeat.

So half-way through my 1st year of college, I decided I would not miss out on the next four years of my life. I wouldn’t spend most of my days hanging out in my dorm room or the library. I would research and join clubs I was interested in. I would apply for jobs on campus and internships in the area. I would make the most of my college experience, and I wouldn’t say no to new experiences, new people, and new opportunities.

Well… I stuck to my word. And sophomore year just about killed me.

I was overcommitted, incredibly stressed, and unable to balance it all. There were at least a dozen times throughout the school year when I broke down and threatened to drop one or all of my commitments just so I could sleep a full 8 hours. Those breakdowns never actually resulted in me cutting down on anything. I would just cry out my frustrations and start all over the next day. At the end of sophomore year, I said no more. I will not repeat this again.

Which brings us here. It’s 11:04 pm. I have a class in the morning and I haven’t finished the book for it. I have four jobs on campus, 2 internships, and a blog to run. I also have friends and family that I adore very much that deserve my time and attention. Basically, it’s sophomore year all over again.

Except… It isn’t. Somehow this year isn’t going so bad at all. Even though my days are just as long as before, I have a new energy in me that I didn’t have before. I’m enjoying my involvements and commitments, and whenever I’m feeling incredibly stressed, I remind myself that this is what I chose. This is the life that I cultivate. My theory is that despite nothing slowing down, I’ve learned how to run alongside life a little better. I know how to prioritize and manage a busy schedule now.

I like being busy. I like running from thing to thing. I like meeting new people everyday. I like having each day look different than the next. I don’t know if this is exactly healthy, and a close friend of mine recently tried to be my psychologist and asked “Ali, have you asked yourself why you like to be so busy?” 

Yes. Yes, I have. And it’s a multifaceted answer. In some ways, I’ve always been this way. I’m a product of the “go go go” consumer/producer American mentality. In other ways, this is the best way I know how to heal. I’m more productive when I’m slammed. I’m more creative when I’m bouncing from thing to thing. These are the times when I know best how to take any pain from my past and turn it into art.

Call me a busy body. Call me overcommitted. Call me the physical embodiment of FOMO. I may be all those things, but I am much, much more.

Despite my never-ending commitments, I also find myself to be a thoughtful person. I’m thinking a lot more than I’m doing, and I am not afraid to slow down. Unlike my 18-year-old self, I know how to say no. It just turns out I like saying “YES” to life a whole lot more.

For those of you that follow my blog consistently, I apologize for my lack of content. That is indeed a negative affect of my busy schedule. But don’t you worry – I’m always thinking of new ideas, new posts, new concepts I want to explore.. And all these new experiences are giving me endless inspiration and countless stories that I can’t wait to create and share with you all.

Now I’ve just got to find the time…

 Do you experience FOMO? Tweet me some of your stories! 

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I’ve become the perpetual third wheel. The missing sock in a drawer full of pairs, the earring that has lost its match, the one burnt out headlight. And I’m totally okay with it. My best friend of nearly 15 years has been dating this new guy for about 6 months now, and I have to say that I’ve become really comfortable being the single friend in that group. I actually really like it.

If you feel like you’re the constant third wheeler, or you’re just bored with being on your own, here are 5 reasons to remind you why being single is the bees knees!

1.  You have a ton more free time.

Let’s be honest: being in a relationship is like having a full-time job. It takes commitment, communication, attention, effort, energy, and lots and lots of time. In fact, relationships are only truly successful if they are given the care that they deserve from both parties! But now that you’re single, you don’t have to worry about all the extra stress that comes from putting your energy into a significant other. You can just chill. You can spend your extra time exploring new hobbies, hanging out with friends, catching up with family. Your don’t have to feel like your days off are tied down to one specific person. You can go with the flow of your life.

2. You can focus on yourself.

Often times, focusing on yourself when you’re dating somebody else can come across as entirely selfish. When you’re not tied down, you have the opportunity to truly dive into who you are, and who you want to be. You can explore yourself independently, and really discover your goals and aspirations outside of being in love with another human. Because it’s true, being in love can be super distracting from the many other things we want out of life. It can take you away from the endless meaningful opportunities than lie in front of us daily. Right now, you don’t have to worry about that!

3. You don’t have to “check in” on anyone.

You don’t have to feel obligated to see what anybody’s up to, and you can completely check out for a while if you want to. You don’t owe anybody a phone call or text explaining what you’ve been up to the last few hours; you don’t have to worry about giving detailed descriptions of your day; you don’t have to talk to anybody if you don’t want to. You are free of emotional and romantic obligation to a partner. Phew!

4. You’re probably going to save a lot of money.

In my past relationships, I’ve always been the type of girlfriend to really spoil her partner. I’ve always been a really hard worker, and when I’m dating someone who identifies as a man, I try my best not to conform to the bullshit notion that he is supposed to pay for everything. And let me tell you – that can be expensive! Being single allows me to save more money, as well as treat myself more. And it can do the same for you! When you want to buy a book that’s been on you to-read list for a while, you can just go and buy it. When you want that new shirt that you saw while window shopping the week before, you can go back and grab it. Not that you’re not able to do any of those things when you’re taken, but still! Everything adds up, and because you have one less birthday and anniversary gift to worry about, you have a little more cash in your pocket.

5. You can enjoy the flirtatious fun of being single.

If you meet a cute boy, you can flirt it up as much as you want. If you start to crush on that girl that sits next to you in class, there’s nothing holding you back from letting her know. If you want to go out on a bunch of dates and have a hoot, you’re free to do so. You can give your number to whoever you want, and you can talk to whoever you want. There’s a lot of freedom and fun that comes from being unattached, and there comes a lot of opportunity to meet a lot of new people.

As I read through this list, I laugh a little at the fact that it kind of sounds like I’m trying to convince myself that I like being on my own. The truth of the matter is that there was a point in time when I really didn’t. I felt insecure and unloved and unsure about myself. But I am so grateful to say that I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel really, really free.

Until I meet someone who makes me want to leave the single life behind, I’m going to dance, laugh, smile, and enjoy my incredible life all on my own! Because it feels good. It really does.