MY FAVORITE SUMMER READS

hello & welcome to or welcome back to christina raquel!! i hope you’re all having an amazing day <33

recently I’ve been doing a TON of reading (like 10 books a week) and i’ve been loving it. without having school i’ve had so much more time and it’s been so nice to just relax with a book. even if you don’t like to read, these books are so good and you will for sure fall in love with at least one. today i’m sharing some of my favorite books that have lots of summery vibes and are perfect to read in the summertime!

Continue reading “MY FAVORITE SUMMER READS”

june 2020 recent reads

hey frens! today I’m sharing some of the books I’ve read this month and doing some mini reviews. I love reading but it’s so hard to find good books sometimes! if you have any recs share them below 👇👇


After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry. John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past? 

true to you – going into this book, I assumed it would be a pretty typical fluffy, cheesy romance with zero depth. I was wrong. True to You surprised me with a couple plot twists and some depth to the story that I wasn’t expecting, but it still tied itself all up with a bow and had plenty of fluff. this book also had a lot of christian themes to it and was pretty clean (no explicit language, but some mature themes including rape/assault… these are a part of the story but aren’t described in detail at all.)

Willow Bradford is content taking a break from modeling to run her family’s inn until she comes face-to-face with NFL quarterback Corbin Stewart, the man who broke her heart–and wants to win her back. When a decades-old missing-persons case brings them together, they’re forced to decide whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

falling for you – this is the sequel to true to you (there’s actually four books in the series but I’m not sure if I’ll read all of them) and I ended up reading it all in one afternoon! i wasn’t sure what to think going into it but I actually loved it way more than true to you?? I could relate a ton more to willow than nora so I think that was part of it lol. again plenty of christian themes, a little bit of talk about premarital sex (not in detail at all) + a pregnancy scare and also this story centered around a mystery just like true to you. the mystery for this one did involve an affair but nothing was described in detail so I’d consider this book super clean and a great read!

Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say. Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home. There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

allegedly – I saw this on another blogger’s book haul and thought it looked interesting so I decided to read it. oh my gosh, you guys, I was not prepared at all for this book. it’s SO SO GOOD but also so messed up!! if you read this just know that you WILL cry haha. it’s so painful and I felt punched in the stomach after reading it. the writing is so good and I could not believe this is a debut novel?? like what?? in the middle I did feel like everything slowed down a bit but push through because the ending will shock you so much omg. this book literally stabbed me in the heart and I have no clue what to say. also this book is not a cotton candy rainbow unicorn book. it’s terribly unfair and it’s so hard to read. AND OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS THE ENDING. i was not expecting what happened ahhhh. to summarize: I feel so manipulated by this book but I would definitely recommend it! there is a lot of language/violence/abuse/some sexual content but the message is so good. and bring tissues you will definitely need them. if you want to talk more about this book after you read it dm me because I have so much more to say but I don’t want to spoil omg!!

What if America had a royal family? When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

american royals – haha this book is totally opposite of the previous one. full of soap opera style drama without a ton of depth to it. BUT I live for this type of story so I loved this book! I also love the royals so if you do too you might enjoy this read. there’s a sequel coming out in september and I CANNOT WAIT! there are a ton of plot twists in this story but honestly that just feeds into the soap opera style. content warning: there is some language (not peppering the pages but it’s definitely there) and some sexual content not described in detail. overall this was a good read and I’m pumped for the sequel.

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. 

the summer I turned pretty – ahh I really, really wanted to like this book. but… I didn’t?? i think it could have been way better but here are the things I didn’t like

  1. there’s a love square. i don’t even know what it’s called. belly likes THREE people the whole summer just make up your mind girl!!
  2. also there were a ton of flashbacks which could have been good but they were super confusing? it was kinda hard to tell what was going on.
  3. also i loved belly but she could be really bratty and annoying sometimes.
  4. it was just… weird sometimes. i don’t know.
  5. drugs/smoking/sexual things mentioned/alcohol (not too much but it was there)

but there were some redeeming qualities

  1. susannah. i loved her so much!! I feel like her character personified summer and she was pretty much perfect.
  2. cam. he was weird but just the right amount of weird so i liked him.
  3. jeremiah and conrad. they annoyed me a ton but i still liked them. I kinda sympathize with belly tbh because how can you choose between all of them??? they’re all so different but they all fit belly’s personality.
  4. belly’s mom. she wasn’t perfect and there were definitely times where she wasn’t a great role model. BUT i feel like throughout the story belly really learned how much her mom loved her and I started to see that even though she wasn’t perfect she definitely loved her daughter a lot.

so, to summarize this rather long review – I really wanted to love this book and while it didn’t quite meet my expectations I’m still going to read the other books in the series and see if they’re good! I would recommend this book though, just be prepared for it not to be amazing i guess?


I’ve definitely read more books recently, but these are some of the main ones! currently I’m reading present over perfect, the third book in the bradford sisters series, christy miller (for the millionth time), and the outsiders (for school).

what are you reading? do you have any good book recommendations?

some of my summer favorites

Copy of camp nano (july 2019)

I feel like summer is going by so fast – even though it’s only almost halfway over (at least for me). When do y’all go back to school? I go back the last week of August but my crazy schedule doesn’t start until a couple weeks into September.

Today I’m going to be sharing some of my summer favorites so far – mostly books and blogs I’ve been loving recently but also some other random things 😛 

books 

Image result for roadside assistance bookEmily Curtis is used to dealing with her problems while under the hood of an old Chevy, but when her mom dies, Emily’s world seems shaken beyond repair. Driven from home by hospital bills they can’t pay, Emily and her dad move in with his wealthy sister, who intends to make her niece more feminine—in other words, just like Whitney, Emily’s perfect cousin. But when Emily hears the engine of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and sees the cute gearhead, Zander, next door, things seem to be looking up.
But even working alongside Zander can’t completely fix the hole in Emily’s life. Ever since her mom died, Emily hasn’t been able to pray, and no one—not even Zander—seems to understand. But sometimes the help you need can come from the person you least expect.

Sooo I FINALLY read Roadside Assistance and GUYS. WHY did I not read this sooner? It’s soo good and way better than I expected. I cried… which is something I rarely do when I read a book but this one was an exception. At the beginning I lowkey hated Emily (I KNOW, sorry, but imo she was acting really annoying or even prejudiced maybe?) I also felt like some of her claims that Zander was selfish/stuck up just had no proof behind them. Otherwise this book was amazing and I would highly recommend it!! 

It all starts the summer Christy vacations on a California beach and meets two friends who change her life forever. But after moving across the country with her family, Christy must begin her sophomore year of high school uncertain where she’ll fit in. A red-headed new best friend, a try at cheerleading, a job at a pet store, and expectations for the prom fill Christy’s high school years with a string of laughter-and-tears moments. Fireball Katie keeps everyone guessing what she’ll do next, and surfer Todd keeps showing up while popular Rick has determined to get her full attention! As these memorable years unfold, Christy and her God-loving friends find out what it means to be a “peculiar treasure.” Follow Christy Miller as she stays true to her identity in Christ, drawing closer to God for help in realizing her dreams and dealing with her disappointments.

I only read volumes one and two of Christy Miller, but I also read her diary (BAD IDEA: that thing has MAJOR spoilers lol). I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! In this type of book, most aspects of the book are “too perfect”, and while this series (so far) has plenty of that, it also has a more “real” storyline than most books like this I’ve read. I LOVE the characters and… just everything. GUYS READ THiESE BOOKS PLEASE!!! 😍

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low ExpectationsA generation stands on the brink of a “rebelution.” A growing movement of young people is rebelling against the low expectations of today’s culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God. And Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge. Do Hard Things is the Harris twins’ revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential. Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life. Then they map out five powerful ways teens can respond for personal and social change. Written by teens for teens, Do Hard Things is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of an already-happening teen revolution challenges a generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today. “Most people don’t expect you to understand what we’re going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don’t expect you to care. And even if you care, they don’t expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don’t expect it to last. We do.” – Alex and Brett

I finally read Do Hard Things and guys it is AMAZING. If you haven’t read it yet you 100% should. I loved loved LOVED it and it is soo inspiring! It will definitely challenge you to “do hard things” and to be honest I would recommend it to everyone – not just teens!

blogs

The Rebelution | rebelling against low expectations

This is the sight that the authors of “Do Hard Things” run. Their articles, which are authored by a wide variety of Christian writers and bloggers, are super encouraging. They have a huge variety of topics and I highly recommend just heading over there and reading a couple! 

The Art of Being Isa

Recently, this blog has been a favorite! I love Isa’s posts – one of my recent favorites was her 15th birthday post – she is GORGEOUS! I also loved her “I got saved” post – it was really great and I *might* have cried? Just a little bit? Okay fine a lot 😂❤

Pananaw

If you don’t follow this blog SHAME ON YOU. Okay… sorry… but seriously Jo is pretty much the best person ever and her posts are AMAZING! ❤

 

That’s all my favorites for now – have you read any of those books/blogs? If not you should!! See you guys in a couple days 🙂 

❤ bye, 

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BOOK REVIEW: Andora’s Folly by Abigayle Claire

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NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Stellae Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.

I have really high hopes for this book… guys the author wrote Martin Hospitality (aka probably my favorite book in the universe!!) Josiah is the cutest and Gemma 😍 Plus FARRIS. Please. Before this turns into me fangirling over Martin Hospitality (wait it already has), let’s get started with the review.

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A n d o r a ‘ s   F o l l y

by Abigayle Claire

The synopsis of the book is from Goodreads.

A Pandora’s Box retelling

Andora is a beautiful young woman with insatiable curiosity. Raised in splendor, she is spoiled by her privileged life. When a love letter is slid under her door, her life takes a drastically unromantic turn. Nothing makes sense—her arranged marriage, the gifts her parents bestow on her wedding day, or her new husband’s temperament.

As Andora begins to unravel the mysteries around her, she ignites a chain of events that have the power to sabotage her entire village forever. Only her new-found wisdom as a desperate peasant’s wife can save her from her folly.

I’ve really never read/heard a lot about Pandora’s Box (only a tiny bit) but I was still really excited to read the book! Plus the author had set my hopes very high 😂 (I love Martin Hospitality okay?)

As I read the book, I began to enjoy it more and more. Andora annoyed me so much at the beginning, but when she got married, I actually began to like her 🙂 By the time the novella was over, I was SO sad. I mean please can we have a sequel? SO GOOD.

C O N T E N T

Knowing Abigayle Claire, I excepted little to no content issues, and I was right. SPOILER At the end, there are a couple kisses between Theus and Andora (who are married), but they’re not detailed. SPOILER Quite honestly, I can’t think of anything questionable in this book aside from a few very non-detailed kisses. There was violence SPOILER And in the end, death SPOILER, but it was not detailed in a gory way.

R E C O M M E N D A T I O N

I would recommend this book to girls and guys over age 11. While I think the story would appeal more to girls, I can see guys enjoying it as well. It took me 30-45 minutes to read the whole novella (while taking some notes for the review), but I do read pretty fast so this may take around 1 hour. Still, it’s definitely worth it! I don’t think anyone 10 or under would enjoy the story very much, but some kids might!

F I N A L   T H O U G H T S

I loved this book. ❤

I already knew that Abigayle Claire was a great author from reading Martin Hospitality (!!!!), but Andora’s Folly confirmed that! I can’t wait for Abigayle’s next book, and like I said I’m hoping for a sequel to Andora’s Folly! It will probably never happen but a girl can wish right??

Anyway. Go buy this book! (you will not be unhappy with it!) Let me know what you think 🙂 It ends really quickly but you will enjoy it!

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Recently: Books, Podcasts, Blogs, and Music

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Today I decided to do a compilation post about what I’m reading and listening to! I don’t know why but I really like this type of post so I wanted to do it today. On Monday, I’m going to post my reactions to your assumptions about me (you guys… they were the BEST) and that’s going to be really fun so definitely stay tuned. Anyway, enough with the intro… let’s get started!

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B O O K S

*Soo little disclaimer here… I read a ton more books but I wanted to pick two favorites. And these won!*

Cover image for The war I finally wonThe War I Finally Won// Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I read the previous book in this series to my siblings and honestly I really just wanted to know what happened to Ada… also now I want another book in the series. TBH I got so annoyed at Ada halfway through but now… i’m so sorry Ada! The ending 😰

 

Hardcover Anne of Green Gables Book

Anne of Green Gables (the whole series)//L. M. Montgomery

I don’t have this cover… BUT HOW PRETTY! OFC I’ve already read this series but I just had to read it again. My favorite book in the series is Rilla (the last one) just because. Even though it’s SO sad. null

P O D C A S T S

Ariana’s Flying Life//Ari’s podcast is the best just like her blog! It’s been so fun to listen to her talk about diverse topics… guys I have a feeling that she’s AMAZING at debating. 😉

Blogging 101//If anyone should make this podcast, it’s Hannah. Because she’s a (very) successful blogger and entrepreneur, I’ve been hanging on to every single word of her podcast 😂 It’s amazing and you should definitely check it out!

Do you guys have a favorite podcast? If so, let me know- I’d love to check it out!

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B L O G S

Soo I limited myself to five blogs… WHAT. Bad idea. 😲 There are so many blogs I wanted to include but didn’t because I wanted to do the first five that came to mind… no hard feelings if I didn’t include you! 😁

Ari//Ariana’s Flying Life//I know Ari’s blog is pretty much nominated in all my tags and I talk about her all the time but her blog is amazing! She’s a really sweet girl and her posts are always really uplifting and encouraging. She posts often so definitely go over and follow her! 

Maggie//Dreaming of Guatemala//Recently, Maggie’s blog has been one of my favorites. Her posts are very uplifting and are great reminders about God’s love for us. She also has been doing weekly challenges and positive change a lot recently, which is one of my favorite topics and a great reminder for me! Maggie’s blog is wonderful and you will not be disappointed if you go over and follow her.

Audrey Kate//The Junebug Blog//Audrey is so creative and her posts are so fun! I always love seeing a new one in my reader 😊 I found her blog pretty recently, and I’ve really been enjoying it. If you like creative posts, then check her blog out!

Covah//Dancing in the rain//I love Covah’s blog title and her design has me like… 😍 I really like her style of posts and they are always really fun. I would recommend her blog for sure!

Allison//A Farm Girls’ Life//Allison’s photography is really good, and I’m always really inspired after reading her posts. I don’t really know what to say about her site, but it’s really great and her photography is impressive. 😂

 

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M U S I C

Soo I pretty much make a new playlist on Spotify every. single. day. But these are the songs that I include pretty much every time! Most (actually all) of them are worship songs…. 😂😂

  • in christ alone//the solid rock
  • washed away//nothing but the blood
  • oceans (where feet may fall)
  • our god
  • this is amazing grace
  • how great is our god
  • you say
  • blessed be the name of the lord

What did I tell you? 😂

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This post was so fun! I hope you all enjoyed as well. Let me know your favorite podcast!

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Recent Reads

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Wow! It’s a lot of work to blog twice a week, but so far (lol this is like the first week of doing this) I love it! Today’s post is basically going to be reviews of my favorite books that I’ve read recently. This is one of the categories of posts (book reviews) that you all really wanted to see when I asked– feel free to still comment on that post or comment what you’d like to see next on this post. Anyway, let’s get started with the post!

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recent reads called for life

 

Related imageThis book. It’s certainly not fiction but I think everyone should read it. It’s the story of Kent and Amber Brantly, who were medical missionaries when an Ebola outbreak started. (Ebola is a super dangerous sickness that can be transferred through pretty much anything and almost always results in death). Spoiler alert: (don’t worry only the white text is a spoiler. Select it and then you can see.) None of the main characters die. This book is great (but it made me cry so much guys. like I NEVER cry when I read…) and I really recommend it. It’s very medically detailed (but pretty easy to understand, and not super gross-you-out, if you know what I mean).

recent reads fish in a tree

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The book cover for this is a little creepy (hello fish staring right at me) but the rest is ADORABLE. I love the colored letters (and I *think* they’re really significant in the book too).  The name is based on the quote by Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Agg this book is so cute. It’s geared for a younger (maybe upper elementary?) reader, but the story is so deep and sweet that it really doesn’t matter. Ally goes through such a transformation in this book and learns to live without a label. Guys just read this book okay? Seriously, you won’t regret reading it.

recent reads one for the murphys

Image result for one for the murphys

 

This book is great! It’s probably intended for like sixth grade (maybe? I guess?) but it’s another one of those books that is great for every age (at least 10, though). I wish a couple scenes were taken out (the bread//rolls scene, maybe all that extra stuff with Toni, and some of the scenes with Mrs. Murphy.) Other then that, this book was great- I would recommend it.

 

I recently discovered a video for this book that’s super cute. It’s a group of 8th graders acting out the book, and it’s certainly not professional by any means, but it’s *pretty* true to the story and doesn’t take out that much. Anyway, if you want to watch it, check it out on this link: YOUTUBE LINK.

recent reads the giver

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This book. You’ve probably read it before (I have!) but it’s just so good.  While it’s intended for middle and upper grade readers, anyone 10+ can read it. It’s very clean, but I don’t think that anyone under 10 would appreciate or understand the story. The story is just the sweetest… I’m off to read the rest of the books in the series (again) now. But really, just read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sooo… did you enjoy this post! I enjoyed writing (and reading) this.

 

 

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My Plum Paper Planner: Thoughts

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How has your past week been? Mine was good, but busy as usual. This week, I’m going to share my thoughts on my Plum Paper Planner (this is my third month using it). I’m really excited about this post!

Watch the video below for a flip-thru of my planner (the meat of the post, honestly!)

 

 

 

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Do I still like it?

If you read my initial review post, you will know that I gave it a 4.8/5 stars.

Here was my original criteria (with comments in purple):

  1. Pretty Has a nice cover- looks nice enough to have on desk. Yes! My planner cover looks great still, so this one is the same.
  2. Durable Not going to break or fall apart, will stay clean and won’t rip. Yeah… not so much. I’m pretty careful with my planner, but the plastic “mat” is really gross (but I haven’t tried cleaning it yet) and the pocket fell out. However, the other pages have stayed in (even the tabs, which I’m constantly pulling), and the binding is still fine. 
  3. Inexpensive I don’t have tons of money, so under $50 was my goal. Was it worth the money? I’m going to say… YES! 
  4. Good Size Doesn’t take up lots of room, but has enough room to write. I’ve been able to fit all of my assignments in perfectly, and it fits in my drawer neatly. 
  5. Customizable Something that I can personalize to fit my needs and that doesn’t have extra pages I don’t need. Though I don’t actually like some of the categories I chose myself, I have been able to block them out with my gold brush pen.

so i’m going to say that….

the plum paper planner IS worth it!!!

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A Peek at my Book spread:

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One of these photos was taken on the 3rd and the other on the 8th. Can you guess which is which of course you can?

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September Review & August Goals

 

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As is my custom at the beginning of each new month (that sounds so weird), I’m going to do a review of how September went and go over my goals for October!

September Review #1

Ooh, this one is lots of fun! I have quite a few photos that I took in September, so buckle down and enjoy the ride 🙂

 

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September Review #2 (1)

August Review + September Goals

Calico Critters Photoshoot

A non-expert’s overview of Bible Journaling

How I write my blog posts

September Review #2 (2)

Goals from September:

  • Post 4 times on C & C ✔- I did this one! Check the “Posts this Month” section in this post to see what they were!
  • Post 4 times on QTE ✖ Nope! I’m actually taking a (hopefully temporary) break from QTE because I’ve been majorly busy. Hopefully next month I’ll have news along these lines to share with y’all- I have something really exciting coming up!
  • Send out a Monday email on the C & C mailing list twice✖ Nope! However, if you’re on the mailing list, you did get an email explaining some of the new changes 🙂
  • Participate in a challenge/giveaway on another blog ✖ No… If you’re hosting a giveaway or challenge on your blog, please let me know. I love participating in things like that !
  • Start using my school schedule ✔ Yup!! I did this one, but I changed up my school schedule just a bit.

September Review #2 (3)

Next week’s post is all about the Planner- YAY, but for now, I’m going to give y’all a little peek into my planner for October!

 

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^ My adorable reading log. I’m writing this on the 3rd, so I’ve already added some fun books!

I know this is blurry and oh so behind-the-scenes, but this is reality when I was setting up my planner. Plus, if you read my How I write my blog posts post, you’ll recognize what’s up on my computer screen!! I really like this photo, which is weird because it’s really bad! But I love the reality of it 🙂

September Review #2 (4)

  • Start using the mailing list again- send out emails on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th (Mondays)
  • Use Habit tracker in planner
  • Use reading log in planner
  • Participate in a challenge/giveaway on another blog

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Thanks for reading! What are your goals for October? Did you finish everything you planned to do in September?

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