Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blogging, BookTubing, Reading, Writing AND Living Goals/Resolutions - 2015 | Top Ten Tuesday (15)

Funny story, I already filmed/edited/uploaded my resolutions for 2015 onto my YouTube Channel - Loving the Language of Literacy. The videos are split into two sections, the first part uploaded today and the second tomorrow. I obviously have Part One embedded into this post and will embed the next tomorrow when it goes live.

Work Harder on Posts | Draft/Edit
Schedule 1 Week Ahead
Post 4x/Week
1 Discussion/Week
1 Research/Month
1 Series/Month
Sign up for less blog tours
Don’t participate in blitzes/promo
1 Non-Bookish/Week

Find balance between clean editing/over editing
1 Month - VEDA/O/NaNoWriMo
Upload 2x/Week
Do more discussions/re-enacments complex, original videos

General Blogger Resolutions
Be Better @ Read-a-Thons
Run Goodreads Group Better
Comment More

 Read More Diversely
 1 Neo-Classic\Non-Fiction/Week 
 Finish 20 Series 
Read | 150 Books
Netgalley Approval Ratio | 75%
Listen to More Audiobooks
Re-Read | Favorite Books

 Outline | Reflective Parallels
Win | NaNoWriMo 2x/Year 
  Write | 5k/Week
Write | 250k Words/Year
 Finish Writing | Reflective Parallels

 Live/Experience Life
Workout 4x Week
 Learn Basic Coding
Focus On Photography
 B Average in French

Monday, December 29, 2014

What Has Book Blogging Taught Me? | One Year Blogoversary Celebration (8)

Do you tend to feel like this? I hate to break it to you, but time management is a trial-and-error situation
Time Management  
The most useful skill v/blogging has taught me is time management. I am a working girl (not of the paid variety) with school, homework, cross country, afterschool clubs, blogging, vlogging, writing, social media-ing, and just plain being a teenager. There will always be decisions I have to make in order to get everything I want to do. 

Do I watch the latest episode of Nashville or write my monthly wrap-up? 

Do I play an extra 10 levels of FLow Free or film my December Book Haul? 

These first world problems are ones I am faced with that constantly barrage me and force me to make decisions on what I should do when in order to get EVERYTHING (or at least a fraction, because we all know that my to-do list is waaay too long to accomplish in a lifetime, let alone a day) done so at the end of the day, I feel accomplished. There has been many a day where I have wasted my time being unproductive, which leaves me doing my homework up until the time I have to go to bed, and then when I climb into bed that night, I feel unnacomplished with the blog/BookTube channel items on my to-do list.

Time Management and Prioritizing are so linked and intertwined, they should be synonymous. There are times when you are so overwhelmed with so many things to do, you HAVE to place your butt on that chair and draw up your priorities. Now this is different from a to-do list because priorities make you realize and order what you want to do, so that you can then draw up your to-do list. 

What I do now is on the handy-dandy reminders app included on all apple devices, I put the "Priority Exclamation Marls (!!!)" next to each item on my list. That way, if I get at least a few of my high priority tasks done, I feel accomplished and even more so if some of the lower priority ones get done. There has been many a time where I get home from school, don't want to do my homework, and end up procrastinating my time away doing things like watching YouTube for hours on end (we all know you've done it, don't deny it). The thing I like to do is procrastinate WELL. Instead of spending that procrastination time before I do my homework on Tumblr, I'll spend it filming or editing or composing. That way, when I finally buckle down to do my homework, I will have at least done some productive things beforehand

For more information on how to utilize laziness, and find the cure to world hunger, click here.

Be Social!
The common belief is that if you have time to blog/vlog, making time for people on the internet, you are an introvert. This can and cannot be a misconception. Yet, for those of you who feel afraid to socialize online because you're afraid to do so in real life. I'm here to tell you that it isn't true.

On the internet, what's the worst that can happen if you leave a comment on someone's post? You don't get a response back? Don't be afraid to reply to one of your favorite (seemingly unapproachable) bloggers, YouTubers, and even the person you have just followed, not knowing anything about them. The worst outcome is that nothing comes from your reaching out, and the best is that you wind up with a new friend.

Even if you're not in it to make the big bucks or score the greatest ARCs.... networking is awesome. People will remember your being nice to them and if you develop a good friendship with them, all the better. I have a core group of three twitter friends who I come to for conversations that go BEYOND just bookish topics, and my biggest 2015 goal is to put myself out there, be more sociable, and make more friends.

Breaks = Awesomeness :)

Look! A gorilla is telling you to do it
Throughout all of the turmoil and experience with the human condition, I have had to take many hiatuses, both forced and unforced. What you really need to know is that taking a hiatus to regain blogging mojo is a lot better alternative to putting up several half-ass blog posts for the internet to see. You will have to step away for blogging if school/work gets too stressful or just to take care of yourself. What you have to remember (and what I must continuously remind myself) is that v/blogging is a hobby. It is NOT an obligation. This isn't your job, you don't get paid (unless you do, which I commend you for).

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy (I Bet That's The First Time You've Heard That)

As much as you would love to believe that you are the most wonderful person ever who never gets jealous.... There comes a time during blogging when you start to envy others in the blogosphere. Don't worry! This is 100% usual and expected, it's perfectly normal. My first pang of this was in my third month of blogging when I observed a fellow blogger/friend who seemed to be so much more successful than I. As a blogger, this jealousy can come in multiple ways, from better, more original posts, to more followers, to highly anticipated ARCs.

The worst part of all of this is that there is no solution. There is no magical cure you can take to make all of these green monsters inside of your usually saint-like head go away. What you have to do is turn that inevitable jealousy into motivation. Ask yourself the tough question of, "WHY?" Why does this blogger have more/better [insert jealousy topic here] than I do? After you determine this, all you have to do is create a plan for achieving the same (or better) status than the person you are jealous of.

The number one thing NOT to do is go onto one of the various social medias and complain about your lack of followers, because that is sure to get you UNfollowers (no one likes a crybaby). On top of this, you also shouldn't feel discouraged or like your blog is any less important or worth less because of follower count.

Friday, December 26, 2014

What Would I Have Done Differently If I Were To Start Blogging Tomorrow? | One Year Blogoversary Celebration (8)

Spend A Happy-Medium Amount Of Time On Blog Posts

There are two types of people in this world, the over-thinkers, and the care-freerers.

My advice to the over-thinkers is.... you don't have to spend HOURS and HOURS on a single blog post, especially in the beginning. You want to be able to create as much content with the highest quality possible. When I say this, I'm asking you to find a good balance, a happy medium. Don't write 8 crappy posts a week when you could write 4 good ones. At the same time, don't write, deliberate, and spend forever one 1 post every two weeks. It's all about finding your personal comfort zone and how much pride you want to have in the finished product.

For the care-freerer (aka myself), I would advise that you just look over your post. Spend 10 minutes the day before it goes live to proofread it, because you will find so many careless grammatical/ spelling mistakes that could have easily been avoided if you had scanned it. Check for consistency - in terms of topic, conciseness - get to your point, and cohesiveness - make sure the reader understands you. I don't always look over posts, and I find that they can be greatly improved with 10 extra minutes of work and I will be a lot happier with the outcome.

Cut Down On The Memes!!!

This is a personal decision as to how many memes you want to have on your blog in terms of frequency and your ratio of meme:review:discussion:unique feature. For the beginning blogger who wants to have a lot of content and a diverse mix of posts, throwing in a meme is a great way to do so. The thinking work -in terms of topic- has been done for you. All you have to do is answer the question, insert the synopsis, or whatever that particular meme requires of you.

It's all about testing the waters and seeing what's right for you
On the other hand, having a ratio of 5:7 of your posts per week being memes is a no-no. I find that they can be tedious for the blogger AND the reader. I cannot begin to count how many "Waiting on Wednesdays" or "Top Ten Tuesdays" are in my bloglovin feed come Tuesday and Wednesday. I am also less likely to click on the post if it's something EVERYONE else is doing, but there are always exceptions. In the beginning, just like with the kinds of books you read, you want to test out the kinds of posts you write until you find a good balance for both yourself and your readers.

Schedule! Schedule! Schedule!

On blogger, wordpress, and I'm sure other platforms, you can schedule posts. UTILIZE THIS! There will be times when you have an entire afternoon to compose posts and other times where you have time to do anything but. I say, when you have the time and the inspiration strikes, take advantage of this and utilize this. At times, it will take me 40 minutes to write a discussion and at other, it will all pour out of me (usually @ 2 am), and I can always go back and EDIT what I have word vomited up.

Even if you aren't much of a planner, in life you have to put on the calendar when you go to work, when you have a dentist appointment, and when you work out. At the same time, making a reliable calanedar/schedule for your blog posts is a good idea. Even if you have no idea what you're going to write specifically, it's a good idea to know at least what days you are going to upload/publish for both yourself (so you don't stress out as easily) and for the reader (so they know they can rely on you).

During the height of my busyness, I will post every other day or even every three days. Even if the frequency of your posts isn't good, your readers will love you for being reliable. For example, one of my favorite bloggers has features I read religiously on Mondays and Thursdays. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be visiting her blog every... Monday and Thursday.

So utilize a calendar, put it on your phone. Whatever you do, if the schedule has detailed bullet points and outlines on what the topic of the day is, or if you just label next Friday as a "Book Review" day, you will thank yourself for setting aside that day so you don't have to go scrambling for ideas.

This is what YOU could be like!
My biggest problem is that my attention span isn't the best. I sometimes panic the night before after not posting for four days, and other times, I can sit back and relax with a nice buffer. My blogoversary celebration posts were all completed in NOVEMBER (woot woot) because I had all of this inspiration and things to say. The gist of the matter is, whether you have to force yourself or the wrods come out like butter, you should seriously consider giving yourself a nice buffer of posts (a week, a month, even a few days) so that when life gets in the way, your blogging doesn't have to stop.

Cool It On the Promo

Promotional Posts are extremely similar to memes in terms of the fact that they are often considered as "filler." Blog Tours, Blitzes, and Spotlights all fall under the umbrella of promotional posts. The purpose is clear enough for authors/publishers, to make sure that as many people know about a specific book on a certain day. Yet, for the blog readers, it can get annoying when everybody and their mother has posted a stupid "copy and paste" HTML doc into the blogger draft and hit publish. It's completely up to you if you want to or not do promotional posts, but I would advise not to do them more than once a week or even more than once a month because they're annoying to me. Albeit it is easy for me when I'm in a pinch, and I SOMETIMES do promotional posts when it's a book/author I want to support or if I'm going to do a tour on a future date.

Post Frequently?

 When I first started blogging, I had this fixed thought in my mind that I had to post every day or people would forget about me. That obviously isn't true. Some bloggers (not book specifically) post once a month and get astounding traffic and followers. Those are not book bloggers, but people who spend hours on researching blog posts. So it is good to post consistently when the amount of work you put into a post doesn't total up to 30 hours. I would say to newbie bloggers that three or more well-written posts a week is adequate. For a beginning BookTuber, one or two uploads a week is more than fine. People (I'm speaking for myself here) enjoy reliability. When people know you have a schedule, they keep coming back on that day and likewise, are actually disappointed if you don't post/upload on that day.

The number one thing TO do is remember that everyone grows at their own pace and that hard work will get you where you need to go. (Now I sound like a self-help manual)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year | Top Ten Tuesday (14)

I haven't done one of these in FOREVER
In case you were scrambling for a last-minute Christmas gift for me, Sofia Li, I have an Amazon Wishlist (to all of you relatives out there who are obviously not reading this post). So most of these books come from this list. They're a mix of old and new releases, YA and Adult in my quest to become a more diverse reader in 2015.

I read my first Morgan Matson book in November and I CANNOT wait  to read another. The premise is terrific and the dust jacket is astounding (have you seen the image on the other side) and the naked book is simply gorgeous. I haven't read a good "finding yourself" awkward cutesy romance in so long and I think this would be the perfect choice.
There has been so much hype surrounding this novel and I am dying to read it. There's another stunning cover and I cannot wait to read the dynamic between a pair of twins.... especially with the slight mystery surrounding the entire premise.
The concept behind this seems like perfection with the paranormal mystery aspect behind it. It's Libba Bray's most highly praised novel and I am so looking forward to finding out why.... even if I have to end up buying it for myself.
I can't deny the fact that the number one reason I want to read this novel is because of how much Regan from Peruse Project has been encouraging everyone to read it. The fact that it's about a blind girl who makes friends with a boy in the Hitler Youth makes me want to read it so badly.
One of my best Twitter friends encouraged me to read this book. It sounds like it would be an astoundingly fast-paced thriller of a dystopian and I have a feeling it will be gain popularity.... or become one of my new obsessions.
There's a main character who almost blows up his entire school. It's unlike any other YA contemporaries of the 21st century. Yes, Pu-lease!
I seem to be the only human bean (I'm aware of the mispelling) in this universe who has not read and fallen in love with a stephanie perkins novel. I can't wait to see what everyone else has been fangirling about for ages and I can fall for E'tienne St. Clair.
I actually already own this as an ebook, but the cover is just so gorgeous that I would definitely not mind a print copy and I'm currently reading this at the time I am writing this post.
I cannot wait to plunge into the world known as Outlander and get all of the thrills from Jamie Fraiser. I'm most definitely due for a new book boyfriend and a scotish man from the 1800s would not be disagreeable.
I have been waiting to read this freaking book since before it came out in March and I have still not dragged myself over to the nearest B&N so I can purchase and read the darn thing.
What books are on YOUR Christmas wishlist?

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Blog For Myself.... But That Doesn't Mean I Don't Enjoy My Ego Stroked

Let's face it... I've already repeated (too many times than I care to mention) that my blog is not an empire of awesomeness millions of people wish to flock to. 

For the record.... Exodus was so long, it shouldn't have been legal
Yet, for those of you who feel like you have been blogging for a long time and STILL don't have enough followers for continuing on to be justifiable... you may be going through periods of self-doubt and the undying question for ANYONE with a serious hobby or an actual career. 

Is it worth it to continue on?

In terms of follower account and that nasty comparison monster (aka. jealousy), it is in no way worth it for me to continue v/blogging because of the ratio of personal validation (views/comments) to hours/effort put into posts/videos.

There are two questions I get when I tell people about my blog/YouTube channel from those who obviously don't know how crazy I am for books: 
Are you making money? 
How many followers do you have?

I will tell you right now (and anyone else can who blogs/vlogs), if your final goal is to make money... then you're in it for the wrong reasons. In Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech, says that he never take a job for money because - "If you don't get the money, then you don't have anything. If you do work you're proud of, and don't get the money, at least you have the work." 

I will also tell you here and now that if you are looking into blogging/YouTubing from scratch, it will take you 100x the hours you work on content for you to earn a single cent. You might as well get a minimum-wage job at McDonalds. 

On the followers aspect - You have NO control WHATSOEVER over how many followers you get. 

You're just as likely to say Taylor Swift's next single *might* be "I Know Places" and have your prediction become fact. That is a complete coincidence and you have ZERO influence on a person physically moving their mouse and clicking on the "Follow" or "Subscribe" button.

So why do I (and why should you) continue blogging without the rewards or money or a million subscribers? The answer is - I'm proud of my content and very passionate about books. The passion and effort you put into your work bleeds and molds into your content, becoming as much a part of your project as your topic sentence. People can tell when you are truly excited about a subject, and they can sniff out a phony in 10 seconds flat.

Onto the Ego-Stroking Part

Every once in a while, you will interact with a viewer/friend/subscriber that has truly been touched, affected, informed, or merely enjoyed what you talked about. That one comment, even if its a 134 character tweet, provides such a natural high, kind of like a teacher praising your work in front of the class. Everything seems worth it, and the world is all rainbows and gumdrops.

I admit there has been many a time where I question my sanity. 
Me? Making content for people on the internet to judge and gawk at? 
Me? Spending hours every day upkeeping a blog a YouTube channel when Netflix exists?
No thanks! 

The reason I am writing this post even is because of something very special that happened to today. I became a Book Depository affiliate. Somehow, this little occurrence spurred almost three hours of solid productivity (something very hard to obtain). Even more than 100 followers or almost 100 views on a single video. I guess it's just the realization that I can be like Katytastic & PolandBananasBooks when they leave disclaimers about affiliate links. Whatever it is.... this is just one occurrence of how hard work truly can pay off. Whether it's a nice comment, recognition from your idol, or becoming an affiliate to a good cause.... these are the small moments of ego-stroking interspersed amongst hours and hours of work. 

That leaves me with one question - Why do you v/blog?

PS. I'm doing a whole discussion on affiliate links & sponsorships soon. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

{Book Review} A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1): Claudia Gray

Rating: 87%
Series: Firebird Trilogy
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Fiction, Young Adult,
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Page Count: 357
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Nobles

Goodreads Synopsis: Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Fans of Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc (P.K. Hezro) & Dissonance (Erica O'Rouke) & Pivot Point   (Kasie West)

Background & Backstory
I heard about this book about a month before it came out, read it (mostly) because of the gorgeous cover, and read it. Not that much of a back story.

What Was My Reaction Upon Finishing?
Tons of buildup.... but not explosive ending.

Make It A Sequel Or a Standalone? 95% of the time, I agree wholeheartedly with the author's choice to make a book a standalone or leave it open ended for a sequel. (There is the case, of course, where I want to author to write more books, but you get my point) However, with A Thousand Pieces of You, I don't think there should be a sequel with the way Gray set things up. I feel like it would have been easier to add an extra 50 pages and call it a day. There is definitely set-up for a sequel, I just felt that I wasn't convinced that I immediately NEED the sequel. All of the action and suspense 

Premise | 100%: I'm not sure this book's premise could have gotten any better. It was about a girl chasing down her father's murderer through various parallel universes. That just sounds like the "it" book of premise AND cover. Parallel Universes as well as Time Travel are two incredibly difficult concepts for scientists, let alone everyday people to grasp. Yet, fiction gives people the chance to invent their own answers and theories and no one can LEGITIMATELY challenge an author on their scientific integrity because it's assumed there is none. With that said, the way Claudia Gray both explained and sculpted the parallel universes was so easy to understand and mind boggling at the same time. 

Different Universes | 60%: The universes were extremely interesting because each one was created if something happened/some choice was made in the past that effects the current time when the traveler jumps between universes. The ones Marguerite spent the most time in were the most developed. Especially the Russian one where she was royalty (for an image of that universe, look at the bottom half of the ATPOY cover). There was also one where she and her family lived in an underwater colony (which was an extremely interesting concept). Besides that, they were all extremely similar and I felt there wasn't enough differentiation between them to make a comment. Although the VERY first one she jumps through is featured on the top half of the cover and looks so futuristic-ey and cool.

Romance | 70%: It was hard for me to differentiate my feelings for the romance and characters because in each universe, although the same person, the person has been effected in different ways.... and is therefore different in mannerisms and characteristics, such as hobbies. For example, Marguerite is a drawer in one world, a painter in another. Therefore, her relationship with both Theo and Paul is different. Without spoiling things, I would like to say that Marguerite and Paul's relationship in Russia makes me want to swoon.

Originality | 90%: There has never been a popularized, Young Adult book with Parallel Universes that isn't an extremely complicated Science-Fiction. It's hard to answer, "What books can I read that are like A Thousand Pieces of You?" because there are literally no other ones like ATPOY. The premise is completely original and the plot is a basic murder mystery with the added bonus of different personalities and conditions in different universes. No biggie, right?

Cover | 100%: A Thousand Pieces of You won with a landslide in the Book Shimmy Awards for the Cover Lust award with over HALF of the votes. It's gorgeous online and even better in person. (Although the texture could be better) On top of that, the font is one that I haven't seen before that looks incredible against the dark purple naked book.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel?
Like I JUST said, I thought it would have been good as a standalone because the build-up for the next book isn't very large. I'm not dying to know what will happen, but if I have the time, I will definitely get around to it.... eventually.

Conclusion: A completely original premise with a gorgeous cover to match and a sizzling romance people are sure to enjoy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

{Blog Tour+Giveaway+Excerpt} One Song Away: Molli Moran

Series: None
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Page Count: 200

Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis: She needs a fill-in boyfriend. He needs a favor. It’s the perfect, no-strings arrangement until they both realize it’s too real…

Sophie-Claire Wright’s life is like a bad country song on repeat. She keeps running into her cheating ex, her songwriting career isn’t taking off, and her roommate just kicked her out of their apartment. With nothing to lose, she decides to do the one thing she said she’d never do: she moves back home. She left her small Southern town with big dreams, but now she’s going home with empty pockets.

Life moves at a slower pace in Sophie’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hometown, but her well-meaning, matchmaking mama doesn’t have a slow gear. Sophie invents a boyfriend to hold off her mother’s efforts, but she’s out of luck when her mom wants to meet him. Sophie panics until she runs into Jake Cooper. Her high school crush is back in town, too, and when he asks her for a favor, she agrees—on one condition. He says he’ll be her fill-in boyfriend, so it should be simple: introduce him to her family and then “break up” with him after a few weeks.

Sophie is sure she’ll be able to resist Jake this time and that their fake relationship will keep them both away from wagging tongues. Sure, she was in love with him years ago, but that was then. This is now, no matter how great he looks, or how she feels around him. But she didn’t bargain for moments that feel all too genuine. Dates that don’t seem fake. Kisses that leave her shaken and wanting more. And she didn’t count on old feelings resurfacing and complicating their arrangement—which is starting to feel less like acting and more like the real deal.

Soon, Sophie can’t tell which kisses are real or fake, but she knows she’s in deep…and she thinks Jake is, too. When she gets a chance to go back to Nashville and chase her dreams again, she has a choice to make: stay or go? Continue hoping that the life she wants is one song away, or write her own?

Molli is a Southern writer who doesn’t consider her day complete if she hasn’t written. She loves coffee and talking fast, things she attributes to being raised by Gilmore Girls. She’s a romantic at heart, and brings that to her books. When not reading or blogging, she can be found obsessing over Doctor Who, cuddling her various pets, or spending time with friends, family, or her girlfriend.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“I think we should kiss.”

I look up so fast that I’m fairly sure I have whiplash. He gives me an innocent look and I glare at him. “What?” I take my hair out of the ponytail and the freed strands float to my shoulders. “Did you say we should kiss?”

Jake nods, but for some reason, he seems fixated on my hair. My eyes stray to his lips, and I frown. I can’t say I haven’t thought about it. Couples are affectionate and steal kisses. If we don’t hold hands or give each other a quick kiss, we won’t sell this couple thing. And I’ll be on a blind date with Mr. Double Major in Accounting and Boring faster than I can blink.


“Okay?” Jake shoots me an unreadable look.

“I said okay, didn’t I?” I stand, hands on my hips. “You’re not making this very romantic at all. You’re a horrible fake boyfriend.” I try to sound teasing, but there’s something in my voice I can’t define. I’m curious and I’m afraid. What if I kiss Jake and I don’t like it? What if we don’t have any chemistry?

What if we do?

There’s a reckless smile tugging at his mouth. “That so?” He takes three steps and he’s in front of me. When I breathe in, I smell his cologne. I’m stretched taut enough to snap in two when I face him.

“Yeah.” I smirk at him, moving closer. “That’s so.” I imitate his drawl. “In fact, you’re—”

Jake covers my mouth with his, and my words go as transparent as smoke. One of his arms is around my waist, and he’s cupping my cheek with the other. His fingers press against my skin, and before I can remind myself this is a bad, bad idea, I step into him and open my mouth. It’s not even worth trying to pretend I’m not just as into this kiss as he is. Not when his hand presses into the small of my back, urging me even closer. Not when his lips move against mine as though he’s the only one who’s ever kissed me.

Since I’m already melded against Jake’s chest, I go all in. I wrap my arms around his neck at the same time I touch my tongue to his, and he makes a very male, very appreciative noise. When he eases one thigh between my legs, I let him tangle us together, because I’ve waited too long for this to do anything else.

I’ve kissed more guys than I can count, but the way Jake kisses me is confident, his hand never leaving my face. It’s a complete turn-on. His mouth is hard and then soft on mine, changing by the second, and I can only go with him and try to hold my own. He bites my upper lip gently and I moan into his mouth. When he turns me, I bump into a chair. It scrapes across the floor, and like dreamers jerking awake, we separate.

His eyes are wide, and in the dim lights left on, the gold and brown in those eyes are battling for dominance. I press a hand to my chest, even though I can already tell my heart is thrumming. I’m out of breath, and I have no idea what to say. I just kissed Coop. And it was…

“That was intense.” His voice breaks slightly on the last syllable. He’s quiet for a few seconds, but then he shakes his head, his face animated. “We’re definitely going to pull off this couple thing.”

Fuck. My. Life. He thought it was all an act? The kiss felt damn real to me. It was intense, like he said. It was hot…and it was all pretend for him. Clearly, I got way too lost in the moment. I’m going to have to find some way of keeping that from happening again.

I nod, quickly gathering my things. “For sure.” I laugh, but it’s an octave higher than normal, and sounds like a needle screeching on a record, to me at least. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Jake.”

Then I run away before he can notice how rattled I am.

So much for keeping my heart out of it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How To Decrease Laziness, Cure World Hunger, Increase Productivity, And Find the Key To World Peace

While I did lie about curing world hunger and finding world peace, this post is giving you my take on how to be productive and use your time wisely, because we all know that we like to get caught up with all of the YouTube videos and Tumblr when we should be doing things like drafting blog posts, cooking, and taking care of kids. The point is that humans are naturally lazy people, and, if given the option, getting caught up on the internet is always the better option than getting real work done.

Let me tell you something I've learned | Making detailed lists of things you want to do with the oh so inconvenient time frames will NEVER work: I used to think it was possible to map out a person's day to the very second. I hate to break it to you sweetheart, but you will never obey this out of tasks taking longer than you assume they should and pure life getting in the way. You will always allot the quickest, most wishful thinking time that will be impossible to accomplish various tasks in.

Instead, what I have learned to do is....
Utilize Laziness.

I know what you're thinking. What the hell does that mean? Laziness is laziness. I can't utilize it! I'm here to tell you that you can. Personally, I'm a mood lifer, to the highest extent possible, I do what I want when I want. (Not in the bratty toddler way, more of the "I'll stay in my pajamas all day if it pleases me" way) My mood in what I want to do swings the same way my taste in books does.

These are four possible moods I usually have and solutions on how to turn that laziness into productivity.

Mood #1 | I don't want to do this specific thing on my to-do list:

If I'm just not feeling a blog post and want to ditch it for editing a video.... I'll ditch it for the video. The desire to leave your current project for another one does not constitute a heart attack. The world won't end if you temporarily put something down for another more desirable thing. Because, let me put this into perspective.

Once you finish the other item you want to accomplish and come back to the original one.... you will feel like you have been so much more productive to have a complete task done and a good chunk of another in the same time it would have taken you to struggle through one.

Unless something you're doing is time-sensitive (or even if it is and you just want to throw caution to the wind"), PUT IT ASIDE because when you come back.... you will feel refreshed after having had a step back from the situation, and you might event have some newfound inspiration.

Mood #2 | You are NOT getting my butt off this couch! I will stay here and scroll through tumblr for eternity:

If the root of your laziness comes from the reluctance to move (don't tell me I'm the ONLY person with this issue) and you have your electronic device, I would say.... use it! Don't scroll tumblr forever or get caught up watching cat videos on YouTube. Use your phone to schedule a few tweets for a post you want to market. Interact with some people on Twitter, network, and see if you can make some friends. Write your to-do list. Outline a future video. Whatever it is you have to/should do, just get it done. Even without filming equipment or a camera at hand (my excuse during Thanksgiving Break), you can utilize your phone for something other than the latest Buzzfeed poll.

And if you're watching TV to pass time (and not because you will die of exhaustion without seeing the latest episode of Nashville), just get your book out instead! I'm not even going to begin to explain the reasons why you should read (maybe because it's a future post?), but you should. You will regret your time being sucked up by the Kardashians, and will not lose brain cells by reading your latest review book. So, win, win!

Mood #3 | I don't want to do anything but curl up in bed and watch Netflix 5ever:

I know I said this post was about decreasing laziness, but there are times when you should give in to your inner couch bum. Listen to your body and to yourself, if you can justify (not scramble for excuses) watching TV because of how much work you have done, WATCH TV. It's that simple. I have learned from hiatuses, both forced and otherwise, that they can do you good and be extremely regenerating, re-energizing, and re-inspiring. Time away from your hobby (even if you love it) can be good because you will miss it and what you're doing in that other time (if it's somewhat productive) might provide new voice and juice to your post writing/video filming.

Mood #4 | *devil on shoulder* Sofia, you don't have a computer or pressure from school, you don't have to blog:

There are times when you legitimately can't accomplish something, and times when you are just making excuses. This particular mood is the excuses one. Even if it's partially valid, you can always work around it and find SOME way to be productive whether it's relevant to the goal (such as marketing your latest blog posts) or another item on your to-do list (such as clean the house).

The point of this post is me saying - You are perfectly capable of greatness.... even if there appears to be obstacles.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the images without Loving the Language of Literacy or Sofia Li, nor do I claim to
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