Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Day After Christmas!

     At the beginning of the Holiday season, I decided that I was going to bake up a storm--oreo balls, haystacks, ginger bread cookies, and, most exciting of all, my grandmother's French crackers. French Crackers are very similar to sugar cookies except better. These were my mother's favorite cookies as a child. She would sneak down to the basement to steal a cookie, or two, or three. I do not remember her every baking them for me, but I found them while I was searching for the ginger bread recipe.
     When I made them at the start of Christmas week, Mom nearly cried at her first bite. She was immediately taken back to her childhood in her mother's kitchen. They were gone within the next three days. Glad that I could provide such a memory for my mom, I decided to make them again, this time to send to my grandma and great aunt, with the hope of taking them back to their younger years. Naturally, mom stole one...or two or three cookies before I could pack them away.

Now, I'd like to share this recipe with you to share with your family! Happy Holidays and enjoy!


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of crisco (I use the stick)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in hot water
  • 2 cups of flour
  • Cinnamon sugar or colored sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Mix the sugar and crisco together with your hands.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks--I use a mixer for this step. 
  4. Hand mix in the flour and baking soda solution.
  5. **The dough might seem crumbly, but when you start packing it into a ball, it packs together well. 
  6. Flour your counter, rolling pin, and cookie cutters. 
  7. Split the dough in half (I find that you lose less batter to over-flouring if you split it), and pack one half into a ball.
  8. Roll it out and cut your dough.
  9. Cover the cookies with your choice (color or cinnamon) and bake for five minutes. Don't let it go past the five minutes or they will burn. 
  10. Let cool and enjoy!! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All We Wanted Was A Cup of Hot Cocoa...

I live in a relatively small, progressively growing town with lots of charming people. There's a small private college here and several public and private high schools within driving distance. However, it seems, nothing is open in this town past ten o'clock...a new discovery of mine.
     My friend and I were driving home from Mannheim Steamroller's concert last night and decided that we were in dire need of a nice cup of hot chocolate...but where to go? By the time we got back into town, it was ten fifteen. We tried Panera: closed. My favorite coffee shop: closed. An ice cream shop: closed. Starbucks: closed. Four places! Basically the only places in this town--CLOSED! Ridiculous! We just wanted a cup of hot chocolate. So I suggested IHop, open 24/7, of that, I was sure. We pull a full circle and drive to IHop, sit down, and look at the beautiful pictures of delicious looking hot chocolate. Our waitress approaches the table, asking for our order, and I think you can finish for us...HOT CHOCOLATE!
      Plot Twist: IHop had JUST run out of hot chocolate. I'm sorry, let me repeat that in plain terms. The only place in this town opened past ten o'clock with the hope of having hot chocolate was OUT OF hot chocolate. Both of us just looked up at the waitress, dumbfounded, ordered water, then broke out into a fit of giggles at the pure irony of the situation. I thought about ordering apple cider, but when your tongue is ready for hot chocolate, apple cider just won't do it.
      As bitter as we are about not every getting that greatly-desired cup of hot cocoa, I kind of loved being at IHop. A friend that I haven't seen since college started sat with me for over an hour just catching up, eating breakfast food at eleven o'clock. We giggled, laughed, got somber, and then laughed again. It was a good night. I love nights like these, especially now that I'm in school. You don't really understand reconnecting until you get to college and you come home to see your high school friend. It's a great, kind of sad, nostalgic feeling. And it's great right now because it's so easy to just pick up where we left off. I don't know if it will be that way come college graduation, but as of right now, it's wonderful. And I'm going to treasure it.
So Merry Christmas! Go make yourself a cup of hot cocoa...or go to IHop with the hope that they aren't out.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Christmas!

Hello! Yes, I am one of those terribly annoying souls who begins to celebrate Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Don't you worry--I give my thanks. I help with the food, the clean up, and the giving of thanks because I have plenty of things to be thankful for. I do not play Christmas tunes or begin to pull up my decorations...until the day AFTER Thanksgiving.
Believe me, I understand those of you who roll their eyes at people like me. I empathize--let us at least get through the month of November, right? Why rush Christmas; it just means that the end of the year is inching up on us as fast as the Bullet Train? But I have good reasons for beginning to celebrate the season as soon as possible. Not that I need to justify my actions, but I'd like to...just so you know.

1. My Christmas decorations are heavy, as I'm sure many of yours are. We have several boxes and lots of stairs on which I must pull these several boxes up. I dedicate the majority of my day to lugging boxes up and down the stairs, which are not a straight shot by the way. Turning and maneuvering is involved. And it takes a while to set up everything after that. In fact, set up is sometimes a two day process, depending on the schedule of the day and if I'm still in a turkey coma from Thanksgiving. This year is a two-day set up. All decorations except the tree and the garland are finished. The tree is up, just not fluffed to its fullest or decorated. (I bet money that fake trees are more of a hassle than real ones, and real ones don't smell like musty basement). So, since I complain of the hassle of set up day, I like to appreciate my decorations for as long as possible because my mother and I work hard to get them up. We might as well revel in them for a full month.

2. I see no error in getting in to the Christmas spirit early, especially if your spirit is about giving, not merely the commercial aspects of the holiday. With the decorations set up, I'm ready to pick my angel tree, I'm ready to wrap presents for Habitat for Humanity, and I'm ready to make people smile by saying "Merry Christmas" as I pass by. Come on--tell me that doesn't bring a smile to your face.

3. I never allow myself to forget the reason for the season. God gave his son to us, and his son then gave so much to us. This is a time to remember every blessing that we have and a time to in turn give to those who are not as blessed as some of us--a time to share god's love. This should be all year round, but Christmas is a special time to show God's word and love through our actions and spirit. I'm not saying "Ho Ho Ho!" spirit, but "God Bless you" spirit. Let the Spirit flow through you into your society.

So there you go. See, I have good reason to start celebrating as early as possible. Be thankful that I don't set up before Thanksgiving--even I might become annoyed with myself if I started doing that.

So...Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Frohe Weihnachten! Buon Natale! God Jul! C рождеством! Nollaig Shona! Vrolijk kerstfeest! Happy Holidays--whatever you celebrate, remember the reason for your season!

Friday, November 21, 2014

HAMily Thanksgiving

Happy early Thanksgiving, dear readers! I just had an amazing out-of-family experience with my HAMily. You would think having a thanksgiving dinner with people that aren't your family or don't have some relationship with a member of family. But that's what is so cool about my very unique college experience. With my freshman introduction to college, I have been adopted into this new, revolutionary family called the HAMily. I have my awesome roommate Rachael--the weirdest, nicest person every! But then there's these tons of amazing people that have become brothers and sisters. They are all amazing people who have come together and become a family. We don't all get along. We argue and scream, then we hug and laugh. It's great. They drive me crazy, and I need my alone time. But at the end of the day, I love and respect each one of them.
Tonight was an amazing night that showed just how much of a family we are. We put together this WONDERFUL dinner, decorations. We sat at a long table, ate together, conversed, took pictures, pictures, and more pictures. The food was wonderful, and the company even better. I'm so lucky to have gotten to know all of these fabulously interesting people that I'm blessed to call my family. Thank you, friends, family, for making my college experience the best it can possibly be. I am so, so thankful!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey, Hey, Hey!

Hey, Hey, Hey, it's college girl Hannah here to give you a brief outlook on college life as I now know it to be in my infinite wisdom that amounts to a little less than five weeks of higher-education.

First and foremost--the first weekend of college sucks. At least in my case, but I have a feeling I'm not the only one. You don't really have friends yet, and if you have friends from high school there, they're trying to make their own new friends and are too busy for you...sorry. But it's just a matter of anticipation and not really having anything to do. There are small activities planned here and there, but nothing to take up a whole day. And you know, if you're like me, you just want those classes to start up so that you can get in a rhythm, so that you can be busy and have a schedule. Being busy helps a lot to distract from the inevitable sickness for home. Sorry guys, I don't care how tough you are--home sickness is a real thing, and you can't deny it. I can't really give any advice on how to conquer the first weekend better than I did, which I didn't at all. I called home several times a day bawling my eyes out (she says under her breath). The thing to remember that everyone keeps telling me, yet I'm not fully convinced of, is that every freshman in college is in the same boat as you--new environment, new people, outside of their shell. You just gotta go for it. Don't have any regrets.

Secondly, if you actually successfully participated in your high school AP classes, you are most definitely prepared for college level reading ' ain't a cake walk, let me tell you. I'm talking hours of reading, of memorizing, of online homework that you think is useless but you'll be begging for that online homework when you're in a class that only has one exam/paper grade. That's another thing--do your homework if you're teacher is generous enough to provide you with such an opportunity. Not every class is that lucky.

Thirdly, and I personally find the most difficult--you have to find a balance between getting your homework done and socializing. Being social is a GIGANTIC aspect of college, but so is the actual. School. Work. Do your work! Your parents are not paying thousands of dollars for you to waste! But go out in make friends. I'm lucky in my Living Learning Community (my HAMily) that we're a tight knit group with open door policy. If you're in  your room, unless doing personal things (phone calls, showers, etc.), you're door is open so that you can converse, connect, and make friends. If you're dorm isn't like this, I strongly encourage you to make it so. This is an excellent way to make friends and form a line of communication. You might really wanna use that person's George Forman Grill who lives down the hall--but how are you going to use it if you never talk to the owner? Exactly.

Fourthly, (I promise I'm almost done) be PROACTIVE. I wanted to be a part of the music department, but they weren't going to contact me. So I went to them and found out the information I needed, even if it was a little late. Oh well. I'm still taking private lessons and practicing as often as possible. If you see a club you like, go to it. If you don't see a club you want to be a part of it, make it happen. I'm going to try to form a creative writing club here...we'll see how far that goes. But just put yourself out there, don't be afraid to try new never know what you'll find.

Okay almost done. So people say it's cool to leave your laundry alone...yeah, that's a lie. Don't do laundry unless you have the time to do sit there with it. I'm not saying someone will steal it. There's a guy in my HAMily who left his laundry, and some other guy mistakenly thought it was his, so he took it. (Don't worry, the HAMster got his laundry back). But you just never know what people are going to do. I personally am not going to risk hundreds of dollars worth of clothes. And do laundry as often as possible. The rooms are small and musty--you'll start to stink.

So I'm done! I'm going to try to give as current updates on college life as I can. For those of you curious, I'll explain what my HAMily is in my next post. Keep reading and stay lovely!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Big news everyone!

So five years ago, I set the goal for myself that my novel would be published by the time I graduate. A few years later, I adjusted that goal to at least having my novel sent out to agents and editors before I go to college. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have arrived at an extremely happy medium!!! Audrey Press, a local publishing company, has shown interest in publishing People of a Different Tongue!!!!! We have already signed the letter of acquisition, and book contract negotiations will begin in November. Keep your eyes out for more news concerning the publishing of People of a Different Tongue. You can also follow my page on Facebook here:

Thanks everybody!! Can't wait to see what's in store for the next part of this journey!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Themed Movie Nights

Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered a great injustice on the internet. Last year, a few of my friends and I started monthly (for the most part) movie nights. All our movie nights have a theme, and if possible, we try to match food to said theme. Anyway, I was looking for a new movie theme last night, and guess what? I couldn't find theme nights anywhere. Whenever I typed in themed movie nights, all that popped up were movie decorations. Lame right? So anyway, I thought I'm not the only one that might appreciate some themed movie night inspiration! Here ya go:

Greek:                                                            Italian:
   My Big Fat Greek Wedding                           Letters to Juliet
   My Life in ruins                                             Eat, Pray, Love
Teenage Masterminds:                                   Southern:
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off                                Steel Magnolias
    Catch Me If You Can                                     The Help
                                                                           Fried Green Tomatoes
Classics:                                                          80's Chick Flick:
     Back to the Future                                         Pretty in Pink
     Young Frankenstein                                      Sixteen Candles
     Blues Brothers                                               Breakfast Club
Pets:                                                                Marvel Comics:
    Air Bud                                                           Hulk, Captain America
    Flicka                                                              Thor, Iron Man
    Dreamer                                                          Avengers
Baseball:                                                         Independent Film:
     Sandlot 1 and 2                                              Juno
     Field of Dreams                                             Little Miss Sunshine
     Angels in the Outfield                                   The Way, Way Back
     Million Dollar Arm
Wedding:                                                         Food Junkie:
     Bridesmaids                                                   Ratatouille
     Bride Wars                                                     No Reservations
     You Again                                                      Julie and Julia
Sci-fy:                                                             British Lit:
     Star Trek 1&2                                                 Romeo & Juliet
     Aliens                                                              Hamlet
     Men in Black                                                  Much Ado About Nothing
Jason Bourne:                                                 Mythology
    Bourne Identity                                                Percy Jackson 1 & 2
    Bourne Supremacy                                          Hercules
    Bourne Ultimatum                                           Troy
    Bourne Legacy
American History:                                          Law:
    Lincoln                                                            Legally Blonde
    Gettysburg                                                       To Kill a Mockingbird
                                                                             A Time to Kill
Music:                                                             Band:
    August Rush                                                    Almost Famous
    Mr. Holland's Opus                                          School of Rock
    The Soloist
90's Teen:                                                        Halloween:
    10 Things I Hate About You                            Addams Family and Values
    She's All That                                                   Edward Scissor Hands
    Boys and Girls                                                  Hocus Pocus
Bruce Willis:                                                   Sandra Bullock:
    Die Hard                                                           Miss Congeniality
    RED                                                                  Miss Congeniality 2
    Armageddon                                                     The Heat
Vince Vaughn:
    The Internship
    Delivery Man
We're doing the Indie Movie Night Next week :) Have fun and enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Write a Novel While Successfully Surviving School

High school is no slice of cake. No matter what classes you're in, what type of student you are, or how many activities you're involved in. It's four long years of hard work. Let us count the countless activities you must partake in whilst in these four years:
       1. Waking up early five out of seven days (sometimes more if you work)
       2. Going to school between 7:30 and 8 am
       3. Sitting through seven hours of classes and teachers talking mostly about things that you really             don't care about but have to pay attention to to be successful.
       4. Partaking in after school activities (A.K.A. Marching band, clubs, private lessons, tutoring, community service, jobs)
       5. Completing several hours of homework (sometimes all nighters depending on your previous record of procrastination)
       6. Having friends and a social life (although that's not the most important thing in life, FYI)
       7. Catching up on recent movies and good TV
       8. Reading the best books (because to be a good writer, you have to read and read more)

And that's just a very short summary. Now add writing a decent sized, thoughtful, interesting novel into all that. You need about ten more hours in the day right? Well, here's the thing... Multitasking is your BEST friend. You know, maybe do a little homework, take a break and write. Turn on your favorite TV show, pull out your laptop or journal. Believe me, unless it's a show like Sherlock, TV does not need your full attention. Weekends are also you're best friend. Get your weekend homework done early so that you have the entire two days to just relax and write your little heart out. If you finish your class work early, pull out your journal and write and page or two.

The key to being a high school novelist is knowing how to utilize every minute of your day. Spare moments are crucial. Just know when to steal them. It's okay if you don't write the entire novel in a couple times. Take your time. Make sure every word counts. This is something you love to do, right? I know I love it. Don't make it into work, or else you won't love it anymore. Don't force anything, and don't tire yourself out to where your work is just meaningless words scribbled onto a page.

But remember...high school is your first priority. I know it seems overrated, but without a high school diploma, life will be hard. And I don't mean, the TV's not working; I can't find a pen hard. I mean real life hard. So study up, make good grades, and graduate! And...go to college. I'm not kidding. Just keep your priorities in mind, and always remember to love your writing!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Goodbye, America!

Can I be more excited? Tomorrow afternoon at this time I will be on a plane to Germany! From there, I will zigzag to Austria and Switzerland! This is my first time out of the country, and I cannot wait. I've been packed for a week and have looked up all my destinations. I'm going to try to blog, but it just depends on my level of exhaustion and if I have access to Wi-fi. However, stay in tuned. There will be pictures and a recap of my amazing adventures!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

I'm sitting here watching Pretty In Pink. I love 80s movies, but I have a confession. I wouldn't love them if it weren't for one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.
Three years ago, I had major surgery on my wrist that involved cadaver bone, screws, a plate, and rotating the bone 360 degrees...just to give you an idea. Sounds like fun, right? Well, in a full armed splint for three weeks and quieted by the drugs, I didn't really have anywhere to go. My best friend had just moved away, and I mean, it was one was really in town. But then there was my youth pastor--a woman that had become like an older sister to me. Being an only child and living a significant ways away from any family, you kind of make your own local family. But anyway, I digress.
My youth pastor, a mirror image of myself in some odd years, came over for a movie marathon. My mom naturally needed a break from being my caretaker. So with Mom gone and a couple movies, an 80's marathon was definitely what I needed. For the life of me, I cannot remember the first movie we watched...all I remember was that it had Freddie Prinze Jr. in it. But then we watched Pretty in Pink. She was astounded that I'd never seen this apparently monumental movie! I mean, come on--it's Pretty in Pink!! So we watched it and I loved it. We talked, but I still watched it and fell in love. Then I watched it again after she left. And I watched it again that night when I had restless leg. I watched it again the next night when I had restless leg yet again.
To her, it was just a movie night. I'm sure she remembers it, but it's no bright memory in her past. But to me, it meant and still means so much. I mean, sure she introduced me to one of John Hughes' best films. But she sat with me for maybe five hours...talked to me in my drugged state, laughed with me at Duckie and mourned with me when Blane started acting like a jerk.
Now, she's leaving. I mean, it's not far...30 minutes at most. But I'm going to college an hour and a half a way which means it's more like two hours. No more movie nights or afternoon pedicures or just hanging out in her office that could possibly be the place where all missing items in the world end up. (Missing some shoes? They might be under her desk.)
I leave for Europe in a week, and when I return, she won't be preaching in the pulpit. Her office will be filled by a new pastor. I won't have anymore Wednesday Bible Studies at my favorite coffee shop with her. Life's changing so fast, and I'm not quite sure how to deal with it. I know she's the one leaving, but don't they say sometimes it's harder for the people that are left behind? Maybe it will be easier once I'm at college, experiencing new things, making new friends, gaining new knowledge. But for now, I'm gonna miss her. And I don't care what anybody says, I'm still gonna call her.

But now I can't watch Pretty in Pink without thinking of that rainy July day, talking, being introduced to the brilliance that is John Hughes' mind. I challenge everyone to think of their Pretty in Pink moment and remember it for always. You never know when that memory will be all you have.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Here is my first short short story to be posted. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Bullied: By Hannah Rials

Suddenly, Marie was in a corner, portfolio clasped tightly against her chest as she glanced furtively from left to right. Had they followed her? Was she safe? She could see her art classroom, just a few feet away—a sanctuary in a school of torture. When no one appeared around the corner, she allowed herself to relax, to take a deep breath. Instead of sucking in her flabby stomach, she let the muscles go, her shoulders falling with them. The knots in her back uncoiled, and she slowly loosened her tight fists.
She could feel heavy tears weighing down in the corners of her eyes. She blinked away the forming drops and bit her quivering bottom lip. She could still feel the spot on her head that no longer has hair. They’d torn it right out. Quick as a prowling cat, she only realized what had happened when she looked down and saw a chunk of her greasy, unwashed hair in the girl’s hand.
“Try showering,” they’d hissed, giggling as they threw her hair into the trash.
They’d circled her like a flock of vultures, waiting for her to cry, to crack like she had countless times before. Marie had continued walking through the crowded halls, her eyes down, staring at the spotted floor tiles. A jab to the back. A nail clawing into her arm. Someone stepping on the back of her worn in converse. Then her portfolio was gone , pulled right out of her callused hands. She heard their piercing giggles high above the chatter of the hall. Then the one sound she dreaded most—“RIPPPPPP!” Then another, another, and another…
…She looked down into the portfolio—only one painting left. How to explain this to her teacher?…
…They’d danced through the crowd of students, pulling her hair, whispering names in her ear, names she dare not remember. Her ruddy face grew even redder—red as the blood on her scalp…
…She gently touched the hairless spot, now coated in dried blood, covered by the rest of her greasy, dirt-brown hair…
…Then she’d walked right into them, waiting for her, cruel girlish smiles on their perfectly plastic faces. She couldn’t go back, and she couldn’t go forward. So she stopped, parting the sea of students like Moses, except they weren’t opening her escape; they were opening her to torture.
The girls took slow, calculated steps. Marie tensed, ready to sprint if they touched her, except she didn’t get the chance. All at once, they converged on her, knocking her to the ground, ripping at her hand-me-down clothes, scratching her bare skin, calling her those horrible names, giggling all the while, .
They were prepared for her tears and her futile attempts at escape. However, they never once expected her to scream. Why would they? For all they knew, she was mute. So when she did—when she let that terrible, unparalleled scream rip through the empty hallway—they leapt back in fear, not of her, but of the awful sound. 
This gave her a window of opportunity. She snatched her nearly empty portfolio out of one hand then sprinted down the hall, not turning back to see if they’d followed…
…She glanced down at her now broken watch just as they turned the corner, their piercing sights set on her. No one else was in the hallway. They were closer to the art room than she was. She was a deer in headlights, frozen in place and time. One girl giggled. The others just stared silently like sirens, willing Marie to crumble and fall to her demise. She sunk her teeth into her bottom lip and closed her eyes waiting for what was sure to come.
Then…the bell rang. The sound of their high-heeled footsteps stopped. Her eyes remained closed. When the heels clicked again, she cringed, except, she realized, they were growing fainter until they disappeared all together. Only then did she open her eyes, warily glancing down the hall, the sound of their giggles echoing in her ears. 
The door to the art room opened and her teacher stepped out, looking at Marie ignorantly, waving her into the room. Once, just once, she looked back over her shoulder after the girls.

She was safe…for now. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

I know you've probably had your ears gnawed off about this, but remember the reason for the day. In this day and age, we sometimes forget the true meanings for our out-of-school/off-work holidays. We buy presents or sleep in really late, or, in today's case, barbecue then barbecue some more...with a little swimming thrown in, weather permitting. But I cannot see how we overlook the meaning of this day. I guarantee every person in this country knows a veteran or an active serviceman in the military. Did you thank them today--thank them for their service to our country, to their fellow Americans, and to you? They take great risk every day of their lives to ensure our safety as a nation. Thank them!

Many of us have stories of ancestors that fought in past wars. I'm proud to say that both my grandfathers fought in World War II. My maternal grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge and at one point was trapped in a barn shootout. For most of his life, he suffered from PTSD and relived his service through nightmares. He was an amazing man who taught me loyalty to my family, how to love unconditionally and that true love actually does exist--you just have to be brave enough to find it. And he taught me that all roads lead to home. He was a man that loved backroads...longgggggg back roads. But his detours always ended up as a gorgeous site-seeing trip and before we knew it, we were back safe in our homes. No matter where we were, he always got us home. And he was lucky--he came home from World War II. Millions did not. Take a minute to remember the soldiers who have lost their lives protecting us.

Happy Memorial Day, God Bless!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Make an adventure

A few years back, my Mawmaw and I were flying back down to her hometown in Mississippi. I was younger and not trusted to fly solo through the Big-Scary Atlanta airport. Except this time, instead of flying through Atlanta as per usual, we flew through Memphis. So, we arrive at the Memphis airport with no problems. We come to our gate early, eager to get home. Then the announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, our flight to Baton Rouge has been delayed for an hour. We will keep you updated." Okay, no problem. Mawmaw and I had our books. We could hunker down for an hour. Then the next announcement thirty minutes later: "Ladies and Gentlemen, our flight to Baton Rouge has been delayed for three hours." Can you hear me groaning? You're groaning too, aren't you? I call my parents, give them the update, then hunker down for the next three hours until the final announcement came over the intercom: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm sorry to say that our flight to Baton Rouge has been rescheduled for 9:00 AM tomorrow morning. Please see the desk for hotel arrangements." More groans. But you don't understand...I was with my Mawmaw, the amazing woman who can turn any bad situation into an adventure.
We head over to our hotel and settle in for the night. Without car and unfamiliar with the city, we decided to dine in the hotel restaurant, and there we had the best burgers of our lives. The bun was buttery and the burger perfectly seasoned. We walked around exploring the hotel and just talking. Then we hunkered in for the night and prepared for our flight the next morning.
We could've become grumpy and irate about the cancellation. We could've remained trapped in our hotel, but we made our misfortune into an adventure. Four years later, I have never had a boring summer with my grandmother. She has no cable, which means no TV or internet. Her town doesn't have a movie theater or a zoo or even that great of shopping mall. But it doesn't matter. I meet the most interesting people in this country. Through my new acquaintances I've heard stories about African Safaries, published authors, and the craziest animal lovers you've ever met. Last year, I held a chicken wearing a hat while I sipped sweet tea in their hen house. This year, a donkey gave me a kiss on the lips. I cannot wait to see what next summer has in store.
But there's an obvious lesson to take out of this, especially during the summer season. If things don't go your way: a flight cancellation, rain, or plans just go wrong--don't mope about it! Turn that frown upside down, and make your misfortune into an adventure that you'll remember for a lifetime. I know I'll never forget the world's best burger in a hotel restaurant. Go find your burger, hold your chicken, and kiss your donkey. Have the summer to remember!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Did You Know...?

Did you know...that not only is Julie Andrews a beautiful, wonderfully talented actress, but, in conjunction with her daughter, she is also a celebrated children's author. Their new book, The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl! has just been released, and the blog I work for, Jump Into a Book, has had the honor of reviewing this enjoyable, adorable story. Check out the review and a nice personal touch

Sunday, March 30, 2014


I'm just letting you know a little bit about what's going on in my life right now. I have recently been encouraged to submit my query letter for People of a Different Tongue to several YA agents, which I am currently in the process of doing. Wish me luck in this risky endeavor.
On another note, I'm going to be adding a new aspect to the blog. To get my name and my writing style out into the world, I will start posting short stories, personal narratives (short), and chapters of books in progress (not People of a Different Tongue, you eager beavers!). If you have anything that you would specifically like to see on the blog, please feel free to contact me through my Facebook page, and I will message you back as quickly as possible! I appreciate your input!
*Remember, to be allowed to comment on the blog, you must subscribe, which you'll find on the right-hand side of your screen! Thanks so much for all your support, and look for the exciting new material!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I will be concluding The Spring Break Reading List of 2014. And today, I'd like to share with you Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful story of Shiver. 

Grace really really likes wolves. They are fascinating to her, and it's pure luck that is just so happens a pack of wolves occasionally ventures into her backyard. But there is one wolf in particular. One that protects her, and she feels like she almost communicates with. But that's not possible. He's just a wolf. Or is he? Ever heard of a mythical creature called werewolves? Well, they're real. But not in the creepy, howling at the moon, half-man, half-wolf horrendous creature. No, these wolves are just men with a disease. Men and one woman. In the summer, they are humans with jobs to keep their family alive. When the temperature starts to drop, they feel the change coming on them, and soon, they are back to their wolf form.
This wolf that Grace feels she has a special bond to has a name--Sam. And he works at her favorite bookstore when he's not running around the woods as a wild animal. And these two, they're meant to be. Now, talk about a long distance relationship. Several long, cold months of no communication, only knowing that Sam is alive, with his pack, and waiting for summer to come again so that they can be together.

This is the first of the Shiver trilogy, followed by Linger and Forever. I must admit, I'm in love with these books. Sam and Grace's story is absolutely beautiful, wonderfully told by Maggie Stiefvater. I grew up with this trilogy, and in my head, these are my friends. When the third book came out, I was unaware that it was to be the last book. So when the ending came, and it was the true ending, I literally cried and threw the book on the ground I was so mad. But I couldn't stay mad at Sam for long--he's just too lovable. Looking for a heart-gripping, magical romance to fill your reading hours with? Then Shiver is the book for you. You'll regret not reading this book!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Welcome to guest blogger Olivia George. We hope you enjoy her review of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.
Many of you have probably heard/seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. Well, you haven't read the book, and the movie just isn't good enough.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café follows the interconnected lives of several folks living in Birmingham and Whistle Stop, Alabama. In 1987, Evelyn Couch is lost in life. She is overweight and can't stop eating. She is putting up with her husband's affairs. And she just can't find anywhere to fit in. That is, until she meets Ninny Threadgoode. A kindly old woman who lives at her mother-in-laws nursing home, Mrs. Threadgoode is the epitome of chatty-cathy. She doesn't even know Evelyn when she begins to tell her about her life in Whistle Stop and all the colorful characters she knew there. There's the Threadgoode family, who she married into. A big, wonderful family, they took Virginia (Ninny) in as a little girl and raised her as one of their own. So from then on, every visitor's day, Evelyn would politely say hello to her mother-in-law and then scurry into the lounge to listen to Mrs. Threadgoode's fascinating stories.
Traveling back in time, Ninny tells Evelyn about Buddy Threadgoode, a charmer to be sure, who was killed by a train. Then there's Idgie, the baby of the family, the tomboy. There's also Cleo, Leona, Essie Rue, and a few others. But let's just focus on Idgie.
Idgie is a loner, and she likes her freedom. Okay, loves her freedom. She's never loved anybody as much as she loved her brother Buddy, and it nearly killed her when he died. That is, until Ruth Jamison came to town. The best friend she's ever had, Idgie swears to protect her and love her. And she stays true to her word. Idgie saves Ruth from an abusive husband. She opens The Whistle Stop Café to support her. She helps raise her boy Buddy Jr. And when Ruth becomes sick with cancer, she cares for her night and day. She takes care of Buddy after she dies and forever honors her memory.
Evelyn becomes caught up in the world of Whistle Stop and often imagines herself living there, talking to Idgie and Ruth. Seeing Buddy's death. And there are so many other characters to become acquainted with: Dot Weems, Smokey Lonesome, Grady Kilgore, Big George, Sipsey, Onzell, Naughty Bird, Artis, Jasper, Willie Boy.

Believe me, you'll fall in love with all these characters. You too, like Evelyn Couch, will lose yourself in Whistle Stop. You'll become friends with Smokey and Grady. You'll imagine Onzell's buttery biscuits and Big George's mouthwatering barbeque. I unfortunately saw the movie before I read the book, and now that I have read the book, I might never go back. I hate movie that change the endings of books. That's all I have to say on it.
I love this book. I live in the South, and I understand the culture. But it's a beautiful story for anyone about loyalty and love and confidence and finding yourself. This is a good read for anytime, but especially when you need a boost. Be sure to check this book out, or you'll regret it!    

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Welcome to our new guest blogger Elizabeth Morton! We hope you enjoy her review of Sarah Dessen's newest novel, The Moon and More.

Emaline is a senior in high school who lives in the beach-side town of Colby. After seeing all of the teenage visitors during the summer meeting new people and having the time of their lives, Emaline wonders if she can have one of those experiences this summer before heading to college. She already has the perfect boyfriend, Luke. However, when the sophisticated and exciting Theo comes to town to work on a documentary, her entire world begins to change.
Not only must she decide between guys, but she must also decide which college to attend. Her mostly nonexistent father has helped her get into an Ivy League school and feels that she should have a better and brighter life outside of Colby. However, Emaline also craves the comfort and stability of her hometown.

Emaline desires the moon and more, but what will she choose?

Sarah Dessen's The Moon and More is the perfect spring break read for any teenage girl. Its fast-pace and constant action is sure to please! 

Check out some more of Sarah Dessen's Novels: This Lullaby, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, and many, many more.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just a quick quick announcement: I know this is not exactly new news, but Lauren Morrill's new book Being Sloane Jacobs is on the market, and I hear it is fabulous. It is sitting on my book shelf, begging to be opened, but I have not been able to sit down with it yet! I'll let you know what happens. If you have beat me to the finish, let me know what you thought! 

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Want to take a break from the streamline fantasy romance and read something real...something that could actually happen to you? Then you most definitely want to pick up this laugh-out-loud, slap-your-knee book about a young average girl trying to have a normal life in England. Being a teenager is hard right? Well, Georgia Nicholson understands. First day of school, what does she do? Manage to shaver her entire eye brow off! Talented, I know.
When two gorgie boys move to town Georgia and her best friend make it their mission to win these sex-gods' hearts. Easier said than done--especially when everything you say should be filtered first. Georgia and Jazz's story of love is jumbled up with twisted plots, icky boyfriend stealers, and maybe a kissing lesson or two. But will all the hard work be worth this Sex God when he doesn't even know what he wants? Maybe boys just aren't worth it.

So, what I love about these books--most of the accidents that happen to Georgia actually happened to Louise Rennison when she was growing up. And the accidents and misfortunes that she goes through aren't absolutely unthinkable--in fact, you've probably thought about them a lot since they've happened to you. But I promise, it's funnier to read than it is to experience first hand. I read this book a few years ago at the beach and could not put it down. I received funny looks when I would laugh out loud on the beach, but you know, who cares, right? There is a movie rendition of the book, but I don't think it's nearly as funny as the book. It's worth a rent, but maybe not a buy. Anyways, I hope you get lost in the Uh-oh world of Georgia Nicholson and her zany friends and family while relaxing on the beach or wherever you are and momentarily forgetting your own Uh-oh world!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patty's Day Party

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Tomorrow, I will be throwing a party to celebrate this day with the three little girls I babysit/nanny. Last Halloween, I started the tradition of doing holiday parties, and now, a holiday is just not complete without one of Miss Hannah's Holiday Parties  (I know this is mainly because they get treats, but I don't mind). So here's tomorrow's game plan:

1. Help the Leprechaun find his treasure!
        I just found some green coins in Target's dollar section, and I'll hide them around the house while the girls are distracted with the TV.

2. Making Mommy a Clover:
        Hobby Lobby has 2 small canvases for $6. I found some green paint, and tomorrow we'll paint one of each of our hands. Between the four of us, we'll make a clover with our handprints.

3. This isn't really Saint Patty's, but we're going to be planting some sunflowers and an undecided pink flower in their yard. Just to bring a bit of spring cheer to the house!

4. My awesome Saint Patty's Cupcakes. Ready? Here we go:
        Ingredients for cupcake:
            White Cake Mix
            Neon Food Coloring
            Green cupcake liners
        Ingredients for Icing:
            2 cups powdered sugar
            2 tbls milk
            2 tbls butter
            1/2 tsp vanilla
        Extra ingredients:
            Green sprinkles
            Airheads Xtremes

            1. Follow instructions on the cake mix box. Once the batter is mixed, divide evenly into five different bowls.
            2. The Neon food coloring provides blue, green, pink, and purple. To make an extra color, I wanted orange. I mixed 8 drops of green and 3 drops of pink. Make sure everything is mixed really well, no more white.
 3. I started with the green batter, spooning a thin layer into the liners. Then spoon blue, purple, orange, and pink. I only got 12 cupcakes out of this, but that's okay. There's only four of us.
           4. Bake for 18 minutes, let cool before icing.
           5. To make icing: combine all ingredients. You might need to add a bit more milk if the consistency isn't right. Dye green to appear like grass.
           6. You can ice however you want, but I spooned my frosting into a plastic bag and bit off the tip. Starting in the middle of the cupcake, I drew
squiggly lines to the edge and filled in whatever areas didn't get covered. Sprinkle green crystal sprinkles if you so choose.
           7. Set two Rolos in the middle of the cupcake. Tear an airhead in half and set it over the rolos like a rainbow. Mine tilted. If you can come up with a cure for that, let me know!
           8. Voila! Now dig in and enjoy!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Welcome to this week's first guest blogger, Courtney Gale! We hope you enjoy her review of Divergent, and if you haven't already read it, you will be inspired to do so!

If you are up to date on the most popular books currently being sold, the name Divergent has most likely reached your ears. Yes, Divergent is one of those dystopian novels, yet the plot is fascinating and will make you want to read it all in one sitting.
     Divergent follows the journey of Beatrice, a member of the faction Abnegation. Each of the five factions of Beatrice’s society revolves around a single trait. The Abnegation embody selflessness, the Dauntless represent fearlessness, the Candor value honesty, the Erudite have intelligence, and the Amity symbolize peacefulness. As a sixteen-year-old in her society, Beatrice is faced with a choice to leave the Abnegation, her home, and family to join the faction of her choosing. Although allowed to pick factions, it is universally understood that as a transfer, you will likely be an outcast from the faction you used to call home. Beatrice’s decision to join the Dauntless will not be the only tough decision that she has to face throughout the novel.
As she transforms from Beatrice of Abnegation to Tris of Dauntless, she learns of uprising and errors in the seemingly flawless society, and her newfound skills are put to the test. She must risk everything she has gained to save the people she loves.
I don’t think I’m the only teenager out there who has grown weary of dystopian novels. They were intriguing for a while, but I’d personally like to read about something other than a future government takeover. That being said, I did thoroughly enjoy Divergent, and it was a quick read taking just about three days. I’m one of those people who always has to read a book before seeing the movie, so if you are planning on going to see the movie coming out on March 21st, go read the book. You still have time, and it will be worth it.
Released March 21st in theaters!
3 Main Positive Points
·      Features a fierce, headstrong heroine who isn’t afraid to take her life into her own hands
·      Intriguing view of dystopian Chicago with the factions and technological simulations
·      Action packed and exhilarating

3 Main Negative Points
·      Value of friendship is overlooked in portions of the novel
·      Lack of clarity in the history of the factions
·      Little character development

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Break Guest Blogger Week!

Hello, readers! Get ready this week to hear from guest bloggers on their favorite books to enjoy during your spring break! Stay tuned!!

google images

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Frozen Birthday Cake

Want a cake that tastes like summer but looks like Winter? Than this is the perfect cake for you. My friend absolutely adores Frozen, and who can really blame her. So I decided that for her birthday, I wanted to make a cake since we were already planning on having a sleepover. Why shouldn’t we get to make her a wicked awesome cake right? Only what to do?? Well, Frozen of course. So my other friend and I joined forces to make the best-Frozen-cake-made-by-best-friends-for-an-informal-party-EVER!! Want to recreate our masterpiece? I don’t blame you, so here’s your instructions…

What You’ll Need:
2 cans Vanilla whipped frosting
Strawberry cake box mix
Blue Gel writing icing
4 Dowels

1 pkg (16 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries , packed in sugar and thawed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Ice (Glass Candy):
Corn Syrup
Neon Blue food coloring
Lemon extract

Olaf (marshmallow fondant):
A bag of mini marshmallows
2 lbs of confectioner’s sugar
1 dowel

Step 1 (Which we didn’t and should’ve done)
Make the marshmallow fondant the day before and let it refrigerate over night so that it’s nice and stiff to work with the next day. 
Step 2  (Strawberry filling)
Drain strawberries; reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 1/4 cups. In large saucepan, combine strawberry liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely. Stir strawberries into the cooled mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Step 3 (Obviously)
Make the cakes following the box instructions. You’re making a two-tier cake, so you’ll need four layers. Ours came out a little round on the top, so we just shaved off the excess just so that it would lay flatter. 
Step 4
Lay out Cake 1, spread filling over top, then set Cake 2 on top. If need be, go around the edges with a spoon (or your finger depending on who’ll be eating the cake later on) to collect any drippage.
Step 4
Ice this layer. I didn’t use any special tool for the main cake icing, just a knife. Make sure the icing is spread out evenly. Good. Then just to add extra decoration, we used a neat tool, but you can easily decorate with a plastic bag. 
Step 5
Place Cake 3 on the bottom tier. Make sure it’s centered before setting it down. Spread filling on top then set Cake 4 to finish it off. Again, go around to collect any excess and make sure the red filling doesn’t drip on the white icing. Evenly stick in four of the dowels for support.
Step 6
Ice top tier. Again, make sure it’s even. It’s okay if you mess up a little bit of the bottom tier. Just go back with your icing and fix it. 
Step 7 (the fun part)
So you have this long, thin brick of glass candy right? Well, now it’s time to make it ice. Typically, when you let it drop out of the cookie sheet, it’s cracks a little bit on its own, but now it’s time to make ice shards. These will be going around the bottom tier. Make them varied—fat, skinny, short, tall, dull, pointed. The works. But don’t use it all. You’re going to want three, tall, bigger shards to serve as “walls” or “backing” for the top tier. Once all your ice is cracked, (good job Cristoffe), place it around the bottom tier. Make sure they’re all touching, but just decorate it to your liking. 
Step 8
The age of the recipient of the cake will determine what you write, but this girl, who is the spitting image of Elsa, loves “Let it Go.” So we wrote “Let it Go at 17!” around the top tier of the cake with the blue gel writing icing. 
Step 9 (now life gets hard…sorry)

Time to bring Olaf to life, ladies and gentleman. You’re gonna need a warm hug after this one. But I’m not going to attempt to write out all the instructions and confuse you. So I’m just gonna let you follow the pictures:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day Check list

Happy snow day from East Tennessee! Those of you up north might be wondering, "why's this such a big deal?" Well, you see...I go to a school where for the most part, we never get out for snow. Conditions have to be uber-bad for us to be released, even when every other school system in the surrounding area is cancelled the night before. Well, for us, six inches of snow that covered the road proved to be bad enough conditions. We do not get these days often (even though we've had several this month), so today I decided to take advantage of it and make a snow day check list. These are must do's--you'll regret it if you just lay inside all day!

1. Make a mini-snow man/woman -- Check! I think they're harder to bring to life than the big ones! 

2. Make Snow Cream--here's a recipe:
     Needs: 6 cups of fresh, untainted snow (don't eat the yellow snow!)
                 A cup of milk
                 1/2 cup of sugar
                 1/2 tsp of vanilla
    Combine the milk, vanilla, and sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Then mix in to snow a cup at a time. You might need to add some extra milk and vanilla depending on your taste. Freeze until ready to devour!

3. Sledding! Duhh
     The fine, powdery snow is preferable. But if you have the thick, packed snow like we did, that'll work too. You're just going to have make a path before you can get some real speed. 
My dog enjoyed the cruise

4. Snow angels. Does anyone know a trick to getting up without getting footprints in your wings?? 

5. Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? Of course you do! We built Olaf...well, a likeness of Olaf...before Elsa brought him to life. the best you can! :)

6. Snowball fight!!! Recommendation: Wear a couple shirts under your jacket. Or zip your jacket up. Unless you want your torso to go numb. Oh, and in regards to the hard packed snow, no face shots people--they hurt! 

7. And final. Hot chocolate! Once your gloves are soaked through and your little fingers are frozen to the bone, trudge inside, kick off those boots and winter wear, mix up a nice cup of hot cocoa, and warm up! You deserve. Now just enjoy the rest of your day!

I hope, if you haven't already had one of these days, you have one before the weather starts warming up and all hope of snow disappears! If you have any suggestions to add to the snow day check list, hit up the comment box!