Want to step up your IG game? Today I’m teaching you exactly how I take my own photos for the ‘gram!Read More
Hi friends! So, here we are, the third day of the year. Around this time, we are bombarded with everyone’s “new year, new me” proclamations and also lots and lots of “resolutions are pointless” commentary. I think either approach is totally fine, but I personally love any reason to take a look at life and consider what I can improve. January 1st is just a day, but it also usually comes after a much needed period of rest, relaxation, and connection with family and friends, which lays the groundwork for renewed motivation, goal-setting, and introspection. In a deeper way than just the beginning of a new calendar year, this period of energy is a really good time to assess life.
I did just that over the last week and was able to pick out a bunch of things I loved about 2018 by going through lots and LOTS of photos! I also considered all the main factors of my life and considered what was going well and what needed some work. From there, I came up with a few things I’d like to achieve in the upcoming year:
Be conversational in Turkish by December 31, 2019.
On day three of the year, I’m so excited about this one. However, I’ve started and stopped learning Turkish about 10 times by now, so I’m being realistic here and assuming I will be less excited in about three weeks. With that in mind, I am putting this one out in the universe so that I can be kept accountable! As many of you know, my husband was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, so his first language and family’s language is Turkish. I’ve always loved the idea of being bilingual, but I haven’t put in the work to get there, so this is going to my year! Please send tips if you’ve learned a language, I need all the help I can get …. 😊
Steps to get there:
Daily Duolingo (a free app that gives daily lessons!)
Outside studying twice a week
Eventually, one English-free hour daily
2. Read 65 books
This number goal is less of a hard deadline, and more of a bar to make sure I’m still keeping my reading habit sharp and also as an assessment to make sure I’m still pursuing and enjoying my hobbies. I have a tendency to be a bit of a workaholic, so gotta have those checks. 😊 This year I read 60, so 65 seems like a worthy challenge.
3. Keep growing on Instagram
A year ago I would never guess that this would be a 2019 goal, but here we are! I’ve decided it’s best to shoot for the stars here and hope more book lovers come into my life this year. Still left to find on IG, there are many, many new friends, creative fulfillment, career opportunities, financial freedom, and LOTS more books to be read!
4. Take one real vacation with Murat
In my life assessment, I realized two things. One, we haven’t taken a real vacation since Paris / Germany etc. in the summer of 2016 and, two, if we want to travel, we have to do some serious planning. At this point in our lives, there are a LOT of hurdles to jump and I don’t know if this goal is realistic. Immigration takes a lot of time and resources, so we will see where this year takes us!
Steps to get there:
-Save from every paycheck, and know that in the end, that savings may need to be spent elsewhere
5. Continue finding passion and creativity in my career.
This last one doesn’t really warrant elaboration here, but I think we all have this goal in some way. Cheers to us for pursuing it!
That’s it! I’m not trying to change my whole life over here, I’m just trying to improve on the life I already love. Time to kick some 2019 booty. 😊 What are your goals for this year?
This is my very favorite list to make, so I’m very excited to present my Top 10 books of 2018!Read More
Book lovers gift and receive all the books for Christmas, so here are the books I gave and received!Read More
All about my book club, how I started it, and how you can start or find your own!Read More
A book plus a present for every person on your list!Read More
All the holiday gifts, but inexpensive and made with love by you! <3Read More
Hi my sweet friends! I hop you all had the most wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrated, full of turkey and time with loved ones. Mine was fabulous and I hate too much food and lost way too many games. As we speak I am considering going down to the kitchen for a midnight leftover snack ….
But, more importantly, it is now the legendary shopping day: Black Friday. I have compiled all the deals I’m eyeing and two of the deals I already went in on for all of you! I love shopping and it’s the best time to buy Christmas gifts that might be a litttttle bit out of your price range. I’d love to not care about BF, but I love shopping. So you could say Capitalism: 1, Megan: 0. I’m comfortable with this reality. Anyway, here are the deals! Tell me what you’re buying below. :)
Barnes & Noble - 20% online (use BLKFRIDAY) or 25% off any one item in stores
I fully intend to hit my local B&N tomorrow to pick up some books both as gifts to my loved ones and POSSIBLY one or two as a gift to myself … ;)
Planners + books + home decor from Ban.do - 30% (use THIRTYOFF)
I used a Ban.Do planner for a full year and absolutely loved it in 2017. These planners are fun, as they come with stickers and cute reminders, but also are structured in a very productive, helpful way. Definitely recommend if you need a new one for 2019.
The New Yorker subscription — 12 weeks for $6 + a free tote
This is another thing on my Christmas wish list this year. I love reading The New Yorker when I find a copy at the dentist’s office or anywhere else I might be waiting, but I’d love to actually receive them to my home and set aside time to read the issues. Also, love that cartoon section. Judge me. This is a good time to sign up because it’s inexpensive (this deal is run regularly) but you also get the cute lil tote bag! (as if we all don’t have enough of those … ;) )
Christmas trees - 40% off at Target
Murat and I haven’t totally decided on artificial tree vs. real tree, but these are a great deal if you are firmly in the fake tree department! I’m very suspicious that they will go back to being very expensive for us procrastinators next week.
Google Home mini - From $50 to $25
I really want my house to be a Smart house, mostly because we have no ceiling lighting in our bedroom and telling a tiny baby computer to turn my lights off sounds GREAT. BF is a great time to invest in starting your Smart home collection.
Also, if you’re like me and like to do research on these things, here’s an article I read about the Google Home vs. Amazon Alexa. :)
Kajo earrings - 50% off
I have been following Kajo Jewels on Instagram for months and lusting over their adorable, trendy earrings. The tortoiseshell resin styles and the insane line art-style faces are my personal favorites.
Levi Jeans - 40% off (use the code INDIGO)
I have needed a pair of black jeans for … practically as long as I can remember at this point, so I finally pulled the trigger. I own two pairs of Levis and I love them to death!I went for the Wedgie Fit Straight Leg in Black Heart.
Artistic Bae Co. - 50% off everything
I’m mad about this one because this is one of those companies I found because Instagram is ALWAYS advertising this sweater to me. Well, it worked. Are you happy now IG?!? But, I do think this sweater is so fun and that price made me finally pull the trigger on it. (This company also has similar line art earrings as Kajo!)
H & M home section - 30% off
I looooove H&M’s homeware. This is a more recent addition to this massive store’s range and they’ve really been nailing it. I think if you’re dcorating a home and looking for details, this is the move for you. Some things I’m looking at:
Alright, that’s a wrap! I did lots of my Christmas shopping outside of Black Friday, which I don’t always do, but there are a few small things I picked up form this list. With that in mind, though, no more looking at sales for me this year before my wallet revolts. ;)
There’s hardly anything I like more than reading seasonally, so I am very excited to share with you my holiday reading list!!Read More
A review of the three-month subscription box from Page One Books. Mine is called “For the Foodie,” aka my dream sub box!Read More
A wrap-up of all my favorites, all the fun activities I did this month, and lots of fall-related things!Read More
I hate to pile-on to the fall obsession taking over the world, but, who are we kidding, no I don’t. Autumn is my favorite time of year and this time presents ideal moments to whip out all my favorite books with lots of ambiance, spooky weather, witches, and magic of all kinds!! This stack of books changes every year because, of course, I have an entire list of books that contain those tropes and tones to test out for the new year in hopes that some of them make it onto my favorites for the next fall.
I know it can be hard to decide what to read, especially since fall is tragically fleeting, so I mixed up my favorite books to read in the autumn and my TBR for this fall and made a reading map for you. Follow the lines, and leave me a comment with which book you landed on! (Don’t be shy, click it to enlarge!)
Here are my favorite books + explanations for the autumn categorization, in case you’re a skeptic and need a few more words on the subject. Click to read full reviews!
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
This book was one of my favorite reads of 2017. The familial connection is so powerful, as is being in the heads of each sibling in their own right. They have their own earthly-type of powers, which keeps the magic in this book grounded. Perhaps most importantly, Hoffman’s writing really sweeps you up and away into the 1960’s NYC.
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
This was a very recent read for me and I was so impressed. It takes a very classical approach to the genre and actually aligns more closely to the long-abandoned mystery style. I appreciated that the anticipation was consistent throughout, but much of the gore so popular in today’s thrillers was left behind.
The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye
This book is so autumn to me because of it’s tone. The book itself spans across an entire year, but the eerie, “somethings-not-right” ambiance of the entire book never leaves. I loved this book, but it may not be for everyone so check out the full description or my review!
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Hardly any classics grab me like this one does. In high school, when I first read this book, I related to it in the lamest possible way. But it certainly made an impact and when fall comes around each year, I think about Heathcliff and Catherine and their many, many weather-filled journies between their estates. If you’re trying to read more classics, this is perfect for autumn!
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I am due for a re-read of this awesome classic. I read this Christie book for the first time as required summer reading in middle school and I completely fell in love. No one does “who-done-it” better than Agatha Christie, and if you’ve never dabbled I highly recommend you start here this Halloween season!
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I don’t think I need to expound on this. Rowling does fall and winter better than anyone else.
Now, for the books I’m hoping to fit in this year! There are TONS and many of these I don’t even own, so you could say I have my work cut out for me. ;)
And that’s that! All my favorite autumn books + all the books I’d love to read this autumn. What’s on your list? I’d love to know what you’re reading and, of course, what the map brought you!
Let’s talk about permission, giving proper photo credit, and, in general, not using Instagram accounts as free stock photos.Read More
I cannot wrap my brain around how many amazing books are coming out in September, October, and November. Read about the most exciting 11 here!Read More
Three hundred and sixty-five days ago, I was sitting at work mulling over a few possible names for the bookish Instagram I wanted to start. At the time, I was working nearly full-time at an indie press, but also was somehow making less than $3 an hour. (But that’s a blog post for a different time. 😉) In order to live, I was also perfecting my latte art, cultivating a dairy intolerance, and dabbling in social media consultation as a barista at a cute coffee shop. Every day, I would stand on chairs, set up props, and take photos of a morning mocha with a newspaper or a croissant or sometimes whatever book I was reading that day. Through hashtagging, engaging, and exploring at this side hustle, I stumbled upon “#bookstagram.” This was INCREDIBLE. How had I, a lifelong reader and millennial with an iPhone, somehow not discovered this beautiful niche yet?! I needed to join my people.
Some of the names I first considered are unspeakable. I cannot bring myself to utter most of them on the internet, but let’s just say one of the top contenders was “Let’s Get Word.” I think I can speak for all of us when I say I really dodged a bullet by coming up with The Spines. From there, I designed a cute logo and started standing on chairs to take pictures even more often. Now, it has been a full year and I couldn’t be happier to be a full-fledged member of the bookstagram community!
Here’s the thing about Instagram, though. It’s a monster. The kind of monster that looks like a precious baby Frenchie sometimes and a hideous, evil troll at other times. It can’t make up it’s mind. It likes your hashtags, it hates your hashtags. It shows your mom your pictures, then it decides she’s done with you. You can’t predict it! Easily the most wonderful thing I allowed myself to do this year is let go of it. Accept that you can do your best and Instagram will do the rest.
With that in mind, we can get into the best part of Instagram. This year, I have made REAL. LIFE. FRIENDS. on the Internet. Before bookstagram, I didn’t know many (any?) people who read as much as I did. I frequently attended author readings and book sales alone (which, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved doing) and never had anyone to dissect plot twists, awful characters, and perfect books with. Now, though? I follow people on Instagram that I may never meet in real life, but whom I consider to be great friends. How great is that?!
At some point, I also decided it was time to bridge the gap between IRL and the internet. My first endeavor in this was an adventure and I think we need to take a walk down memory lane here…
I met Yadi from @abookifullife at one of our favorite coffee shops. I was early, so I had plenty of time to both worry that I wouldn’t recognize her from her TINY avi on Instagram and chart every exit route. Thankfully, both were unnecessary. Yadi walked in with a book tote and I instantly knew we’d be friends. As we said goodbye, we made new plans to go to an author reading and I walked away feeling like the luckiest person in the world to have met someone who loved what I love. On the walk home, I called my mom and greeted her with, “I met up with an Internet friend and she didn’t murder me!!” The next week at that event, Yadi introduced me to my beloved Hailey, aka @hayhails. A month or so later, I found Stephanie from @rooreads at a Roxane Gay event I attended alone that certainly would have been horrible without her. (The place was packed and the seating was banquet-style. An accidental blind date most definitely would have been forced on me if it weren’t for Steph.) If it isn’t obvious yet, the Internet presented me with a bouquet of wonderful humans that have made my life so wonderful this year!
On the brink of my second year in this space, I can say I have been humbled by the Internet. You all already know I put soy sauce in water to make coffee, that I travel long distances to find pink walls, and that I have sustained injuries while taking bookstagram photos. (PLEASE someone teach me to stop standing on chairs with wheels.) But I’ve also stepped outside my reading comfort zone, explored half the coffee shops in Chicago, and learned a lot about the person I am happy to be. I wouldn’t want to be apart of any other community. Thanks to all of you for being around to hate on Fifty Shades of Grey, rank Harry Potter novels, and share all the books with me. I ADORE YOU!
Answering all your burning questions about the publishing industry!Read More
A book list filled with essential summer reads. Enjoy!Read More
Do you ever look at your shelf and see twelve books you know you’ll never read again? Me too. Today, we are going to #freetheshelf!Read More
A gift guide for Mother’s Day— because mom’s are superheroes!Read More
A conversation with Samantha Irby: Chicago-born author, essayist of epic proportions, comedian, bad bitch, and expert Tweeter.Read More