the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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what I’m currently reading

Lately, I haven’t been reading as fast as I was only two weeks ago. This is because 1) I went to visited family, which included lots and lots of social time and not very much reading time, 2) I worked way too much when I got back, and 3) I had an emergency root canal done on Wednesday, and the pain has been debilitating ever since. To the point where reading is annoying (and you know it’s bad when I’m like that).

Despite all the hold-ups, I still have had way too many books waiting for me at the library.

Here’s the typical me: I put books on hold at the library before I forget I want to read them, knowing there are long waiting lists for most of them. When I go to pick them up, there’s usually three or more waiting for me. But on my way out the door, I glance at the new releases the librarians have tempted me with on the end caps and usually pick up one or two of those (my library is special in that is it the only one in our system you cannot request their books on hold and have to physically grab them. Thus lots of new and popular books).

Anyway, here’s my long list of what I am currently reading:

me-talk-pretty-one-day1.  Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Excellent book of essays. Slow going because it’s located at my work and I can only read it to my clients occasionally. But I have enjoyed it immensely thus far.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashnerthe maze runner

Of course I am reading this because I saw the movie. Basically, I want answers. And a friend graciously borrowed it to me but unfortunately then the slew of books came in. Another one of my YA-read craze.

unbroken3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

So so good. On hold because, again, library books a’calling, but oh so good. My mom borrowed this to me maybe… right before the movie came out. I went and saw it about a month ago, even though I hadn’t finished the book, and the movie did not disappoint. But of course the book has way more depth and I am excited to finish it.

4. Things That Are by Amy Leachthings that are

Since I own this delightful Milkweed Editions book of essays, it is also on hold. But beautimous. (Yes that is a word). I hope to get back to it soon.

you-must-remember-this-web5. You Must Remember This: Poems by Michael Bazzett

Another wonderful Milkweed book, this time borrowed from a friend. So good. It has reminded me that I want to read poetry more often (:

6. On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Bisson immunity

This is a popular Graywolf Press book that just came out that I am super curious about. So far, it’s truly remarkable and fascinating. Definitely not as light as all my YA, but very insightful and interesting. Unfortunately I had to return this to the library yesterday, but I am about halfway through and can’t wait to get it again.

neverwhere7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Decided to go with some adult fiction instead of YA! So far it’s super mysterious, so I’m having a hard time keeping up. But I do like it enough to keep reading.

8. Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies_new-cover

Another YA dystopian, but one that’s been around for around 10 years. I’ve been meaning to read this for about that long, but forgot about it with all the new releases that are catching my eye constantly. I’m halfway finished and so far I like it but not as much as others in the genre.

So that’s it for now! I’ll probably start another library book tomorrow though 😉

What are you currently reading? 

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7 best friends for fighting cold symptoms

honey-and-cinnamonLet’s face it. Everyone gets sick. Especially with those pesky cold symptoms, even if you got the flu shot this year.

When my husband told me he had a sore throat last Monday, after just having kissed me no less, I knew my time had come again. With the end of winter hopefully upon us, these may not be as applicable to you now. But keep these ideas in mind for the next time you get the sniffles. They certainly helped me this weekend! I cut my cold symptoms short by more than half their usual endurance.

I used to have a terrible immune system and get sick about once a month with symptoms continuing for sometimes weeks. Last year was bad as well. But this year I vowed to find something new. And I think they work. I’m already completely better!

Here are my secrets. No science, just what I’ve found to work for me. Hopefully these 5 things will be your best friends when you’re sick as well.

Note: These are not medications! We all know NyQuil is heaven for some people. But for some, like me, maybe you find that the medications don’t do a thing, and you’d rather try non-medicinal ways to get healthier. Start here:

1. Extra vitamin C. 

As soon as you experience that first symptom — the one that makes you go “oh no, here it comes” — take an extra dose of Vitamin C, either by eating lots of oranges, a vitamin pill, or an Emergen-C packet for your water. I take 1,000mg a day with lots of water when I’m experiencing cold symptoms. The nice thing is, if you don’t use it, you don’t need to worry about it building up in your body.

2. Lots of water. 

This is a must for everyday life, of course, but given that we 20-somethings don’t usually drink our recommended amount a day, it’s especially important for when we’re under the weather. Even if you’re running to the bathroom more often than you prefer, this is helping to keep your body hydrated and happy.

3. A humidifier. 

I didn’t use mine this time, but last year when I had a bad cough and felt really dry, I found that my humidifier was my life saver. Also, I’ve never tried it but Vicks makes products you can put in their humidifier to help relieve congestion (I’d love to know if it works!). Just don’t shut the bedroom door or leave it on too long.

4. Naps. 

Sleep may be hard to come by when you’re sick, but naps are a different story. My prime time was in the mid-afternoon in the bright sun while trying to read a book. Napping until there’s hot chicken noodle soup waiting for you? Dream come true. I hope you get that lucky, too. But either way, I feel so much better when I let myself fall asleep and leave fighting the symptoms up to my body.

5. Honey and cinnamon. 

I’m going to swear by this one! I read about it from multiple resources, and the honey I use is raw, so there’s really no harm in it besides the extra sugar. This has worked for me twice — and is what has cut my symptoms in half both times. Just eat plain or mix in hot water 1 tablespoon of raw honey (regular from the store is fine too) with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (which is a lot!). It takes some getting used to, but I do this once or twice a day depending on how I’m feeling for the duration of my cold symptoms.

I mean, what can it hurt to try it? (Seriously, just Google this, I’m not kidding).

6. Smoothies. 

Eating well can be hard when you either have no appetite nor the strength to make anything. If you’re sick of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, try making a smoothie (if you can). Throw in any carrots, spinach, celery, or other antioxidant-rich veggies you’re willing to risk juicing and then add fruit (oranges are best!) and whatever else to make it taste good. I know that I feel better when I’m eating well while sick.

7. Netflix. 

What more can I say? Reading may be hard, finding friends willing to endure your nose-blowing impossible, but our good friend Netflix will never leave you. Marathon on, my friends! When you’re not napping, use the time to get caught up on all your shows.


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book reviews have moved!

Since I was bogging down this 20-somethings blog with book reviews, I decided to become an official book blogger and make a book-reviewing blog. Especially since I am trying to debut in the publishing world and get as organized as possible, I thought this would be better for everyone.

Check it out at The Bookcase Wall.

I will still be posting book-ish posts like what I’m reading or maybe short summaries of recommended books. But this way you don’t need to read reviews of books that aren’t so great (: And now I can focus more on getting the articles and humor posts that you guys want out there.

my reading challengeOh, and this picture pretty much sums of why I need to have a book-reviewing blog. My goal for 2015 was just 35 books and I’m already halfway! I had no idea I was going to be so crazy about reading this year. Maybe its because of this Minnesota cold 😉

Thanks for bearing with me!


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the jumble of my brain, growing up, and other messes

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Do you ever have something you really really want to say, talk about, or bring up, but you don’t know how to do it?

This is me when it comes to my Christian, fundamental, homeschooled upbringing.

Yes, that is a Lion King quote. But if you’re around my age, maybe you remember and relate to that move as much as I. It was my favorite, and I thought of this quote when writing this post.

I don’t know what to say about my past because I don’t want to bash – I didn’t hate it, and I mean no disrespect to anyone who endorses all that. I love my parents and am thankful for their excellent parenting in many areas (pretty sure I turned out all right!).

But I’m realizing now how much I disagree with many of the books I read, concepts I was taught in churches, and leaders who spoke to me throughout my entire life – including my private, Christian university. I’m having trouble sorting it all out, what’s “good” what’s “bad” (if those categories are even okay!), and whenever I’m asked about it, I want to explode. So many thoughts in this brain.

I’m only a year removed from all of that – a year since graduation. I’m not removed from my faith, I just attend a different church than I did even while at college, and I am surrounded by friends who don’t constantly bring our childhoods up. But when one of us does, and we have childhood stuff in common, it’s like I’m a top that can’t stop spinning. Or we exchange similar memories one on top of the other like caffeinated pre-teens.

I guess I’m writing this post because I literally do not know where to start. I want to share what I am learning and the opinions I am forming about stuff I’ve known about my whole life but that looks so different to me now. I want to talk to 20-somethings who grew up similarly to me, about things we were all taught, about youth groups, Christians who hurt us, Bible verses and concepts that hurt us, books that confused us, maybe even people who judged us. But to talk about it all in order to sort out the good that existed, that came, and that continues.

I’m tired of being angry or hurt.

And I don’t just want to talk about faith and the Christian church. However, that is the lens through which I used to look at every single thing on the planet. So to think about my childhood and teenage years while excluding Christianity is like trying to look through purple sunglasses without seeing any purple. It just can’t be done.

So bear with me, if you are interested, in the jumble of my post-college and growing/changing-of-my-faith brain.

And as I invite you to participate in the ramblings, please don’t hesitate to share your experiences too! I think it’s time our generation spoke up about homeschooling, fundamentalism, the Purity Movement, or whatever burden you are carrying around unspoken about. And then turned it into a conversation about how we can do even better for the next generation.


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thoughts on The Hundred

the 100

(Source: Wikipedia)

Another YA dystopian! Will it stand the test of trilogies that are making Hollywood? Not so sure.

Honest review! The premise? I just learned it is based on the CW Network TV show, so if that scares you, be warned. I won’t say whether I’ve seen any of the show or not.

100 teenagers from Confinement are sent down to Earth after 300 years of living up in space. The government on the space ship wants to know if the radiation has gone away enough for them to come back to Earth and repopulate. But the only way of knowing is to see if the 100 survive. Follow Clarke, Wells, Glass, and Bellamy through this gripping new dystopian YA romance to find out.

Now that I think about it, it really does sound (and truly is) so so so unrealistic. Um, radiation? Nuclear war? Is Earth really gonna be livable and why wouldn’t they know that through technology? They survived 300 years in space! Also, how do not all of the 100 not die when landing on Earth? Seriously, the amount of details that were stretched and skipped to make this book – and TV series – possible is insane. It’s so unrealistic it’s not worth listing all the details. Just stay away from it if you’re a sci-fi fan (this is not sci-fi) or need a book to be realistic at all in order to enjoy it.

The other downside, if you’re able to look past the missing details of the background and surroundings and the almost-completely-absent explanation of why the way things are the way they are, is that there are four main characters POVs you must follow. Four. And if that wasn’t hard enough, there’s a good amount of flashbacks per chapter that all explain the background emotions and actions of the characters. A little confusing and hard to follow, to say the least. It was hard to differentiate the voices as well, even though two are girls and two are guys.

Lastly, this is not a survival novel. This is a romance, plain and simple. But hey, I’m a sap. This book confirmed that I still fall for contrived, cheesy teenage romance in thrilling environments. It’s true – all the actions the characters made were not from common sense but out of their teenage emotions (some of which drove me crazy by the end). It didn’t make me cry, and I didn’t really feel anything for the characters. No plot, no “survival,” no actual details of what Earth is really like. But oh well, I guess.

But for some reason, the book kept me reading. It went very fast (hardly any background given before the plot just takes off), but I went with it. Goodness, I don’t mean to rant. I just like it and I wanted it to actually work. I want to end by saying that it gave me hope: even when a book isn’t perfect or the “best,” it can still be enjoyed.

Will I read the next two books? Maybe, if I’m in the mood for a quick, YA romance, yes. And I sort of still want to know what happens… but there’s always the (very different) show.


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thoughts on The Zookeeper’s Wife

zookeepers wife

Time to catch up on some book reviews! I have been reading and putting books on hold at the library so much. But for this book, I took a break from YA and fiction even to read a historical story I will remember.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by poet Diane Ackerman is the non-fiction story of Antonina Żabińska, the Warsaw, Poland zookeeper’s wife, during World War II. Based upon Antonina’s diary and other research, naturalist Ackerman paints the tremendous story of an unlikely heroine’s care for refugees and animals during the world’s most darkest time.

Ackerman, as the poet that she is, paints a rich description of not only the environment of living during the war in Warsaw but the emotions of the zoo itself. I’ll admit I’d never even thought about what happened to animals during the war much less exotic ones. I came away from the book with a greater appreciation of them – almost caring more for them than the protagonist! One is definitely able to become lost in the beautiful words Ackerman uses. Learning the history was very informative and interesting, although I didn’t feel it was as complete as it could have been.

If you are not into reading about facts and history, you may not enjoy this book. I couldn’t decide whether I liked her style of going back and forth between research and the “made up” stuff (filling in the gaps of the diary as there obviously were), all the while including quotes from the journal. It reads like a history book in that she provides a plethora of background information (the Ghetto and a few of the famous people the Żabińskas come into contact with, to name two examples).

What I did not enjoy was the extreme focus on this background information as well as the descriptions of the animals. I never really understood the wife the story was supposedly about. It didn’t read like a story or a bibliography, and I honestly have no idea what the characters were like. It not only continually lost its focus on Antonina Żabińska but failed to give a complete picture of any character or setting featured. The diary quotes were not enough. Overall, it lacked the emotion I was expecting to feel.

I won’t give spoilers in regards to the ending, but I didn’t much like the post-war details either. Honestly, the details and people Ackerman chose to focus on were seemingly random. As a reader, I wanted to know the facts about how they went about harboring Jewish people in their zoo, but I really couldn’t tell you after having finished the book. She pays a little too much attention to beetles, artists, politics, and superstitions, etc.

Overall, I’m happy for Ackerman’s fulfilling journey to Warsaw to visit the places that may be still there. She still writes beautifully, and now I have more emotions for animals I suppose? But maybe I should return to her poetry and leave the history writing for the historians.


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you don’t need to achieve everything before 25

With my recent birthday – 23 – the age where I could no longer deny my post-college age and lifestyle, I have been thinking a lot about the way I function through my age. We 20-somethings deal with so much social pressure to be the best we can be right now without realizing the age we actually are.

Now, I agree with being your best (you should always be your best), but maybe we should define what “best” means for you. Maybe that means being the best at the age and place you are – excelling at your current job, building your experience, and meeting people.

For me, it means doing a little something towards my future every day, even if that just means going to work to earn my paycheck. Recently I’ve been getting down over not blogging every day, not working on my poetry/creative work, not “doing” anything to make myself the 20-something I want to be soon, career-wise.

What is this sense of urgency that drives me to feel this way? I don’t need to achieve everything before I’m 25 (or 27, or 30)!

I find myself becoming self-conscious when I see someone’s resume with tons of internship experience, or a literary agent’s assistant with all of his or her credentials, or a published article written by someone who has so many more. I think I want to be like them! Why am I not there yet!? 

But when I think about my actual life, I remember that I’m only newly-23. They probably are not, and if they are, good for them!

I’m only one year out of college – a year spent getting to know the special needs and health care community, a year spent getting to understand their behaviors, thoughts, and actions, a year spent figuring out what direction I want to go besides to be an advocate for them, and a year spent forming my marriage to my husband (don’t laugh at me, but since I’ve always treated marriage as the beginning and not the “end life goal,” I act like it’s no big deal that I got married. It is. And I shouldn’t take it – or the fact that it took a lot of work/time/energy to get here – for granted).

We are told the lie that we have to be achieving things now to be getting to where we want. But the fact is that these things take time. 

Have you made a LinkedIn profile? Edited your resume on InDesign? Written cover letter after cover letter, editing and making sure that everything looks perfect? Given yourself a well-earned episode of Friends after submitting your application, resume, and cover letter because you just spent all your energy on that one job application?

Well, I have. And even if you get that dreaded rejection email/phone call, know that your time was still well spent.

You don’t need to write a novel, publish a million articles or poems or creative work, or land a starter position at your dream company before you turn 25 (or 30). If you’re a 20-something like me, relax and keep at it. If I do achieve things in the next 2 years, I hope it’s something I can be proud of rather than something rushed or that caused anxiety, too much stress, or made me forget my other priorities in life.

enhanced-buzz-wide-19586-1410542686-13

(Credit: Buzzfeed. Quote: New Girl)

What other priorities? Exploring my fabulous city, spending time with my husband and close friends, reading great books, trying the best food at recommended restaurants, and keeping up with pop culture, world news, and the best new music.

I’m learning how to be content with 23, with slowly working my way up in the world while also enjoying my life. Are you?

Can you relate to wanting to “do all the things” before you reach a certain age? What are your priorities that you don’t want to let achieving your career overshadow?