Books, Reading Challenge

The 26 books I read in 2015
(A Roundup)

February 1, 2016

06.10.14 (1)

Last year, I decided to take the Popsugar Reading Challenge i found on Pinterest (follow me!) as my one and only New Years Resolution. I was able to read 26 of 52 books in the challenge, which is half and I’m pretty proud of myself! *high five* I shared reviews on all of the books (except The Beginning of Everything which I totally forgot to add). Here is a roundup on all of the books I read! 

A book based entirely on it’s cover – The Here and Now by: Ann Brashares
A book set during Christmas – Let it Snow by: John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
A book based on a true story – Eat, Pray, Love by: Elizabeth Gilbert
A book you can finish in a day – The Duff by: Kody Keplinger
A book with more than 500 pages – The Interestings by: Meg Wolitzer
A book with a one-word title – Wild by: Cheryl Strayed
A book with magic – Fan Girl by: Rainbow Rowell
A Pulitzer Price winning book – All the Light You Cannot See by: Anthony Doerr
A popular author’s first book – Still Alice by: Lisa Genova
A mystery or thriller – Gone Girl by: Gillian Flynn
A book by an author you love that you haven’t read yet – Attachments by: Rainbow Rowell
A classic romance – Price and Prejudice by: Jane Austen
A book with bad reviews – If I Stay by: Gayle Forman
A book that made you cry – The Book Thief by: Markus Zusak
A book set in another country – Above the East China Sea by: Sarah Bird
A book with a love triangle – The Husband’s Secret by: Diane Moriarty
A book that became a movie – Paper Towns by: John Green
A book published this year – Emmy & Oliver by: Robin Benway
A book by a female author – Girl on the Train by: Paula Hawkins
A book a friend recommended – Orphan Train by: Christina Baker Kline
A book by someone under 30 – Love, Fortunes and Other Disasters by: Kimberly Karalius
A book by an author you’ve never read before – The Beginning of Everything by: Robyn Schneider (totally forgot to review, oops!)
A book set in high school – Love Like Crazy by: Megan Squires
A book with non-human characters – Carry On by: Rainbow Rowell
A book with a color in the title – Grey by: E.L. James
A book at the bottom of your to-read list – Landline by: Rainbow Rowell

Books I purchased but didn’t have time to read:

A book more than 100 years old – Ann of Green Gables by: L.M. Montgomery
A book that was originally written in a different language – The Japanese Love by: Isabel Allende
A book with antonyms in the title – Life and Other Near Death Experiences by: Camille Pagán
*Just finished this one and I absolutely LOVED it! Part of it was set in Puerto Rico (!!!)
A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t – To Kill a Mockingbird by: Harper Lee
A funny book – Where’d You Go Bernadette? by: Maria Semple (this book isn’t available on the Kindle in English, finally found it at Narita Airport and then accidentally left it on my last flight… UGH!)

Books I started but didn’t finish:

iBlog: Everything you need to know about blogging by: Amy Stults, Jimmie Lanley and Jemerrill Stewart (why? I felt like I knew most of the things they were talking about and I got bored..)

It Starts with Food by: Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig (why? I’ll finish it when I do the challenge)

Unbroken: A WWII story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by: Laura Hillenbrand (why? could not get past all the technical aviation writing and got bored.. oops)

Lock In by: John Scalzi (why? could not for the life of me get into it)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Even though I wasn’t able to complete the challenge, I’m really happy with how much I read in 2015! It was a great New Year’s Resolution and I may try and finish it in 2016!

Puerto Rico, travel

Cueva Ventana (Window Cave)
– Arecibo, Puerto Rico

January 30, 2016

The first few weeks in Puerto Rico we mostly relaxed and stayed home to spend some quality time with our families. After Christmas, the first touristy thing we did was visit Cueva Ventana or the Window Cave in Arecibo. After seeing pictures of the amazing view at the end of the cave pop up all over the internet in the last few years, it was at the top of my to-see list; and the whole family went!

Cueva Ventana has recently become a very popular touristy destination in Puerto Rico. Apparently the owner of the gas station, next to the entrance of the trail, started charging an admittance fee due to it’s popularity and since then the fee has gotten higher and higher; now they offer tours! Their guides will talk to you about the history of the caves, the bats and other creatures found in them, as they take you through both caves, ending at Cueva Ventana. The tour fee includes an information booklet, hard hat and flashlight. It’s expensive >> $19 + tax unless you’re a Puerto Rico resident, we pay only $10 + tax (be sure to bring an ID if you are!) << but soo worth it!

IMG_3804IMG_3807 IMG_3810IMG_3812 IMG_3813^^ adorable little souvenir stand! ^^ IMG_3817 IMG_3819
^^ family pictures with our hard hats, as we waited for the tour to begin! ^^IMG_3821IMG_3823^^ try some Maví, a tree bark based native Caribbean drink ^^IMG_3822 IMG_3824IMG_3826^^ our tour guide telling us a bit about the history of the caves ^^IMG_3908 IMG_3830IMG_3836IMG_38411IMG_3843 IMG_3844 IMG_3845 IMG_3849IMG_3856 IMG_3862IMG_3865^^ the creepiest of all of the drawings in the cave!! ^^IMG_3868 IMG_3870IMG_3866IMG_3878IMG_3909^^ that hole is the same one as two pictures above, from the inside of the cave! ^^IMG_3905 IMG_3883 IMG_3890_12 3 IMG_3903 4

Cueva Ventana (Window Cave) 
PR 10, KM 75 (beside the Puma gas station)
Hato Viejo, Arecibo 00612, Puerto Rico
787-322-3554

Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm Mon – Fri
8:30am – 6:30pm Sat, Sun and holidays.
Last tour at 5:00pm. Tours are on the hour and as needed.

For more info: cuevaventanapr.com
Admission: $19 ($10 for Puerto Rico residents, with ID!) per person + tax
Free Parking!

New Years

2016 New Year’s Resolutions
(a little late)

January 20, 2016

New Years Resolutions 2016

Happy New Year everyone! It’s already January 20th… but better late than never, right? I just realized that I never wrote New Year’s resolutions for 2015.. what a bummer because I always like looking back at stuff like that when the year is over. Oh well. Here are some of my resolutions for 2016.

  1. Make the best out of my time in Puerto Rico – I’m wanting to take advantage of these few months I have in this other little island of mine, to spend time with family, re-visit some of my favorite places, eat some of my favorite food, but also to explore new places! It’s not until you move out of the place you called home for YEARS that you realize how little you explored your home turf.
  2. Graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree! – I’ve decided to stay home after our Christmas vacation to finish my last semester of school and although i am NOT looking forward to going back to school (after 3 years of freedom), I am looking forward to graduating!! But mostly to be able to add my degree to my resume, lol!
  3. Plan a big vacation for Fall 2016 – Since moving to Okinawa we’ve only done small trips to surrounding countries; Mainland Japan (2 days in each city), Taiwan (5 days) and Hong Kong (4 days). This year I am wanting to plan a 2-3 week vacation either to Bali or to New Zealand, the top countries on my bucket list!! Have you been? Leave any advice in a comments below! :)
  4. Plan a trip to Sapporo Snow Festival – One of the things that are high on my Japan list is to visit the Snow Festival in Sapporo and we are planning on going in 2017 with friends!! Since it’s such a big deal, the trip has to be planned pretty much a year in advance, so i’m adding it to my New Year’s Resolutions so I don’t forget!
  5. Take blogging to the next level – I have an idea for an e-book that I would like to try and work on/publish in 2016. It would be awesome to make some money from this little blog of mine!
  6. Do a Whole 30 Challenge – I purchased ‘It Starts With Food‘ and read most of it before realizing you should read it as you do the challenge, so I stopped, but it was soo interesting! One of my goals for 2016 is to do the 30 day Whole 30 challenge, learn how to eat healthier and then continue to do so afterwards! (Plus maybe loose some weight while I’m at it.)
  7. Find a job in Okinawa – Before coming on this trip to St. Louis/Puerto Rico I (sadly) had to quit my job at the Fleet Gift Shop. It sucks because I loved everything about the store, the volunteers, the vendors, the flexible schedule (hello travel!) and my awesome co-workers. I’m wanting to find another job when I go back to Okinawa, preferably something that has to do with my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. We’ll see.

Can’t think of anymore.. so if I come up with any more New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll add them later.