Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review -The Hunger Games

I recently purchased, and finished, the first of Suzanne Collin's young adult trilogy "The Hunger Games." I've heard raves about the series, and I've been waiting to finish the other books I bought over the summer before I got my hands on this one. 

Well, the time came that I finished "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards (it took me longer than I anticipated, because quite frankly, I didn't like it that much) and I got myself over to the nearest Barnes and Noble stat. 

Once I got the book in my hands, it was very difficult to put down. 
Here's the Scholastic Summary:
In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'American Gladiator.' Book one of a planned trilogy.

Katniss is one of my all time favorite protagonists.  She isn't wondrously humbled by the experience, because she was so humble to begin with. She didn't come out of the games with a new profound view of life, because that's not real. Collins created a character who is not only lovable, but believable and real. She is incredibly strong, unselfish, nobly maternal, amazingly smart, gallant, and dangerously vulnerable. Everything I'd like to see in myself.  

I love a book that can invoke a multitude of emotions, and between fear, anxiety, giggles, surprise, and tears, this book did just that. It's also a very easy read.  Yes, it is a Young Adult novel (although I'd be very nervous for an adult any younger than 15 to read it) and yes, I was a little embarrassed going over to the "Teen" section to find it, but it presents a lot of thought provoking societal themes and moral concerns. The post-American setting has you internally debating our society today and wondering what ways are lives are parallel to the barbaric civilization of Collin's suggested future. Hmm. If you were my sixth graders, I'd start lecturing right about now.

I'm not a Harry Potter reader, I am a moderate Twilight fan, but I am officially now a Hunger Games devotee. 

"May the odds ever be in your favor."

Now go read. And if you want to link up, go visit Blonde...Undercover Blonde and share your most recent reads. 

Happy Weekend

Happy weekend, lovelies! 
Today I'm getting an early start and hitting the road toward home for a weekend of family and football. I come home bearing all of my summer clothes that need to be swapped out for their warmer counter part (choking back tears), a batch of Breast Cancer Awareness-themed sugar cookies, and a suitcase full of blue-and-white outfit options (the only thing less certain than Jersey Shore weather is my decision making when it comes to what I want to wear.) 

The road to home is but a 3 hour trip and I can't wait to get there.
I hope you all have something exciting to look forward to this weekend.
Happy, safe, traveling xx 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Trivial Updates

Every semester our campus leasing company has us update a "living agreement" to avoid any dramatic roommate issues that I'm sure are not rare between 18-22 year old college students living in close quarters. Here are some of the highlights my witty roommate Jill added to ours this month: 

- No candles. Call cell phone if someone is missing for an extended period of time (>2 days).

- Borderline uncomfortable with blow up dolls in the living room. Comfortable with all other things/activities (within reason). 

- Jersey, Outer Space, and Essex are all compatible cultures, so we see no issues that may affect living together.

Dietary Restrictions:
Maggie - White foods (especially those that must be eaten with spoons)
Sarah - Mixed nuts with extra fiber 

Katlyn - Apples 
Jill - unrestricted 

- Christmas will be the December holiday of choice. 

- Should there be a disagreement of conflict we will buy wine, discuss, love, and move on.

Aside from being brilliant living arrangements, the above are also some of the many reasons I love Jill and wish I could live with her for a very, very long time. 

I just popped a pimple I've felt developing on my face all day, and now my cheek feels like it has a pulse independent from the rest of my body. It was satisfying at the moment, but I almost regret it right now. 
I updated my blog layout! And it was less painful than I anticipated.  Still need to make some changes, but I'm working on it. What do you think?
I've been diligently researching Halloween costumes because I want to be something fabulous this year. So far I am not successful because I just wish I could wear this and look half as cute. 
Any suggestions otherwise?!!?!? 

And, In order to Link Up with What I'm Loving Wednesday let me share these trivialities: 

I'm loving my new MAC Mascara. It's awesomeness in a small black bottle. 
I wish those were my eyes, they're not. 

I'm loving a short school week, which means Wednesday begins my weekend. Which means I get to home soon to 
a) Go see Newsies the musical with my momma and sister! Newsies was our favorite Disney musical growing up -I hope the play doesn't dissapoint! (But seriously, of course it won't.) 

and b) Cheer on C and the Hawks on Saturday at a home game. Woo hoo! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Because sometimes dreaming about a vacation is not just okay, but completely and unquestionably necessary. 

1. What is your dream vacation?
I’m torn between sharing two of my “dream” vacations; one is a cruise through the Mediterranean (with an extended stay on the Greek Isles), and, because I’m not quite ready to venture to the turmoil of Greece if this dream becomes a reality any time soon, I dream of island-hopping in Hawaii with my handsome boyfriend. 

2.  What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?
My 7 1/2 week journey through Spain and Rome last summer. I “studied” for five of these but really I explored the magical city of Barcelona during the week, sunned on its beaches, expanded my Spanish language and had more fun traveling than I thought was possible for the capacity of individual weekends. I left a nervous American traveller, and came back a knowledgeable explorer, a confident voyager, a proficient Spanish speaker and a passionate writer.

3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why?
Hmm good question. Even though I’ve already been there, I’d say Barcelona. The shopping is fantastic. There is a beach. There is rich culture. Good food. And I have some knowledge in the language. Sounds like a perfect girls week to me. 

4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
Um, no. I’m not very travel (or tech) savy. I leave that up to my travel partners typically. 

5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?

6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?
Usually when I have an opportunity to take a trip, I take it. So I guess not really. 

7.  You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Honestly, my cell phone. I need connection to family and bf .. and twitter. So yes, my smartphone needs to be with me. 

8.  What’s one of your favorite traveling memories?
Ahhh two words: Costa Brava.  See this post for reasons why.  ALSO watching Spain win the world cup IN SPAIN. 

9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
All included resort. Because, do you know me? 

10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights?
I am a hardcore sun bather, but I really do appreciate sight seeing.  But I dedicate sight seeing to, lets say, two-three action packed days so I can relax in the sand the rest of the stay. ;) 

One of my favorite beaches in Alicante, Spain.Take.Me.Back. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Fun!(?)

So I thought it might be fun to link up 
with Savannah Smiles today since I always seem to take slipshod pictures on my second-rate blackberry and never do anything with them but a) upload them to twitter or, more often, b) send them to loverboy who rarely cares at all. So here's the exciting pieces of my week in low-quality camera phone form. Enjoy. ;) 

I saw THE most gorgeous rainbow after the miserably rainy day we had on Friday. Jill, Katlyn, my sister and I tried the new restaurant "Bus Boys and Poets" and while we were parking noticed THREE rainbow segments .. within seconds it turned into the most giant and vibrant rainbow I had ever seen. I wish I had a real camera to capture it's amazingness!!
Monmouth Football won two weeks in a row! Woot Woot .. my favorite part of the games is watching the awkward performance of the Boys singing the Alma Mater post victory ;)

The school I intern at puts a piece of candy in each teacher's mailbox on Friday mornings with a cute saying or play-on-words with the school name, Hollywood, to put a smile on our faces at the end of the week.  Last week, the candy said "You're the bomb! Great Job, Hollywood!" in reference to a bomb threat we had earlier in the week. Luckily we only had to keep our students under control in evacuation mode off-premise for about an hour before the police determined the building was bomb-free and safe for reentry.  It was an exciting day, nonetheless.  And totally worth a Blow Pop.  


Alllllsooooo .... I need to thank Sarah @ Simply Sarah for awarding me with the "Versatile Blogger" award - you are too sweet and I am SO so so excited to receive a Blog Award.  I'm a novice to the whole Blog World and it just made my day to get such nice feedback :) 

Rule #1: Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. 
Thank ya thank ya Ms Sarah! 

Rule #2: Share seven things about yourself.

  1. I am an aspiring teacher: student teaching in a 6th grade classroom currently, assisting in a pre-k after care, and graduating in May to hopefully find myself with a teaching job.
  2. Improper grammar and unpolished toes are my two biggest pet peeves. Unrelated yes, but equally irritating. 
  3. My favorite color is sparkle. Is that a color? I don't care. If it shines I love it. 
  4. Every time I brush my teeth I have to pee. (TMI?) Seriously though. Every.single.time. 
  5. I was named after both of my grandmothers. 
  6. Some people don't realize this, but I'm overly sentimental. The first time C kissed me, he kissed me three short times in a row before we said goodbye and I got out of his car.  Now, I won't get out of his car without 3 pecks. (I don't think he even realizes I do this...) Maybe it's silly, but I like remembering :) 
  7. I am a group fitness instructor at my campus recreation center and I love it! 

Rule #3: Pass the award on to 15 bloggers that you recently discovered. 
The following blogs are totally worth reading and I mean it because I don't follow just anyone. I think the "versatile blogger" doesn't just write the same fluffy stuff every day but writes worthwhile posts! Thanks for entertaining me, guys :) 
(I'm sure most of these wonderful bloggers have already received the circulating award, so I apologize, but just realize how totally awesome that makes you.) Also, the last two are my real life BFFs so totally check our ma gurls Ash and Laur. 

Another Football-Filled Weekend

During college football season my Saturdays are dedicated to two teams: the Maryland Terrapins and the Monmouth Hawks. No matter which game I decide to be present for, have no doubt I will be following the tweets of the opposite game minute by minute.

It's fun to have two teams to cheer for, because it increases the chance for celebration.  And celebrating is the best part about football. 

Week one of college football, I suffered a MU loss, but celebrated an MD win. Week 2 was unbelievably boring with two byes. Week three MU had a huge win, and MD had an unfortunate loss.  This week I was hoping to FINALLY have double the reason to celebrate with a W across the board.  

Well, C and Co made me proud by ending Central Connecticut State's 15-game winning streak at home with a 21-10 victory. (Yayyyyy) Unfortunately, the Terps were annihilated by Temple at home. I am SO SO SO happy for the Hawks who have already beat last season's record and are making a name for themselves in the NEC. However, I wasn't able to be in Jersey to celebrate with the Hawks like I was last week :( Instead, I was stuck in College Park, land of the depressed.  

There he is, my 49 - ready for the win :)
MD's O'Brien, not so ready for a win.

Sundays are spent watching my NY Giants, who thank GOODNESS pulled out a fantastic win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter. With three Baltimore fans as roommates, there isn't much time for celebrating before the Ravens come on, but a girl can gloat. 

Win or Lose, Football definitely consumes my weekends these days ... and I can't say I'd really have it any other way. I hope you guys had at reasons to celebrate this weekend, too. (Sorry if you're a CCSU or an Eagles fan though... can't help you there. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Sunday

This is the first Sunday in a long string of unproductive fall semester weekends that I will be indisputably productive.  Sundays are my absolute favorite day of the week because they usually mean comfy clothes, time spent with family, down-home cooking, reading new Post Secret submissions, and during this time of year, football.
Others may argue that it is the least favorable day of the week due to the threats imposed by an encroaching Monday Morning.  I choose to ignore such threats. 
My bff and my bf baking on a Sunday. Love love love.

However, recently I've found that I've been spending the majority of my Sundays traveling, blaring country music with the windows down for 3 (or more) hours of I-95 driving.   It's quite difficult to enjoy any of the previously stated joys of Sunday in the confines of a moving vehicle, nor is it possible to accomplish any form of productivity typically left for the college student to complete in a mad rush of school-week-anticipation.  

Today will be different because I actually woke up in my own bed, after a night in, reading text books accompanied by the lull of the dryer and a sleepy roommate named Jill curled up on the couch beside me.  

I woke up (sort of) refreshed and immediately set out to Starbucks to push through my work for the week, invigorated by the sweet smells of fresh ground coffee.  

I bid adieu now (I am simply taking a break after successfully crossing off two large items on my to-do list) to continue working before 1:00 comes around and I can give myself a well-deserved break to watch my G-Men give a serious Eagle beat down, followed by grocery shopping and washing the heaping pile of laundry I abandoned in my closet last night.  
Go Giants! 
Who knows, maybe I'll even have time to do some long awaited baking this evening before bed time. It is fall, after all, and bake I must.  

I really want to try this recipe for Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies... Mmmmmm

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's OK...

Its Ok Thursdays

... to have taken a blogging hiatus (and a social life hiatus) for the past few days due to sickness. I've needed my sleep! 

... to not want to do anything this weekend. Seriously, this chica needs a break. 

... to take Tylenol PM at 7:00 PM. Sorry I'm not... but this fever needed to go ASAP. 

... to count down the hours left in the school day.. starting as soon as you get there.

... to absolutely cringe every time someone uses "underneath of." Underneath is a preposition on its own, it does not require "of" to come after it.

... to be celebrating "Thirsty Thursday" literally as a very thirsty, dehydrated person. The only thing I am thirst for is water and orange juice.  Bring on the Vitamin C .. wild night!! 

... to completely understand there is a direct correlation between fall weather and junky eating. One of the 9237 reasons I wish it was still summer...  but who can resist pumpkin spiced anything? 

... to totally put anything productive on hold for Thursday night television.  I can't wait for Whitney Cumming's new show. What are you guys watching?!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Most Brilliant Thing I've Ever Done.

My name is Maggie Y. and I am a caffeine-aholic. 

If every day went exactly as planned I would have a large Iced Coffee in the morning, followed by a Fountain Diet Coke in the afternoon. 

I prefer Iced Coffee to Hot Coffee for reasons that are unclear even to me. Maybe it's a psychological aversion to hot liquid after one too many burnt tongues, or maybe it's a similar aversion to miserable cold weather that makes me always opt for the iced version of my favorite morning-pick-me-up. 

The only problem with iced coffee: when you don't have the time to immediately gulp it in inhuman capacities and the ice melts, resulting in watered-down joe. I've discovered that teaching a classroom of sixth graders doesn't allow time for much coffee sipping, therefore the iced coffee I (or Dunkin Donuts) typically packs becomes weak and border-line disgusting by around 8:30. No bueno. 

Therefore, I experimented with a cure to the melted iced coffee epidemic. 
Two words: Coffee Cubes. 

I know this looks absolutely horrible, and it's partially due to the lighting of a 6am photo shoot while trying to not disturb my roomies, but mostly it is pretty gross looking.  But I assure you, it is the perfect solution.
I simply poured 3/4 part coffee and 1/4 part skim milk in each cube shape of the tray and froze over night. And, Voila! Coffee Cubes for the days you just can't drink your Iced Coffee fast enough! 

My Iced Coffee lasted well into the afternoon and I was one happy, caffeinated teacher.  

Seriously, the most brilliant thing I've ever done. 
Happy Monday - Keep yourself on track with this new Monday "Recipe" ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend Spontaneity

For the typical College Student, the weekend begins on Thursday.  And this Thursday, I was looking forward to a weekend filled with time to relax and catch up on "school stuff" I so effortlessly put off in my state of end-of-summer-denial.  After technically being in school for four weeks, I thought this weekend would be a good time to actually buckle down and get myself organized and into "school mode," as I like to call it.

Oh how quickly plans change. 

After a long week of waking up before the sunrise, I was ready to veg out after our weekly Family (roomie) dinner and enjoy a trashy episode of The Jersey Shore before I passed out for the evening. Little did I know that Jill had planned on making homemade Thai Food, and with homemade Thai Food comes the requirement of wine, and apparently not just one glass. A delicious Thai meal and two bottles of vino later the roomies and I had unintentionally put all things on hold that weren't a) girl talk or b) cookie baking.  Oh, and not just any cookies. We were baking cookies in "fun" shapes for Katlyn's cousin's bachelorette weekend.  I leave most of this to your imagination as my father reads this blog, but I just hope the beautiful bachelorette had half as much fun eating the cookies as we had baking them.  

I'm pretty sure I fell asleep around midnight (late night for me, early night for the rest of College Park) with a bellyache that could have been the result of laughing to the point of convulsions or eating too much raw cookie dough. Probably an ideal combination of the two. 

Friday I took a field trip to the zoo. Yes, a field trip. And no, not with my sixth graders. Purely college students.  And you know what? It wasn't as painful as I anticipated.
 I typically hate zoos. Mostly because I don't really like animals (except for dogs and horses and elephants...don't ask.) But also because they stink - they stink like the feces that isn't cleaned up and also like the B.O. of people who walk around for hours staring at depressed animals behind bars. And they are just boring. So I hate them. 

But I like these guys because I can relate: 
I, too, am a MD Terp who loves the Sun. 

Luckily for me and the poor victims classmates that had to be with me for the two hours inside the National Zoo, it was a beautiful Autumn Day. I was able to wear my favorite attire: shorts and long sleeves, and I wasn't even that angry that I had to spend my Friday at a jail for animals.  

At least I got a cute photo-op out of the deal ;]
Then Saturday, once again, I planned on doing nothing but organizing my school work and reading. Instead, I made an impromptu visit to see my sister at WCU and an even more spontaneous trip to Villanova to see my loverboy and his football team play their second game of the season! I am SO SO SO happy I made the trip because they WON and totally kicked Wildcat BUTT!!!! It was so much fun cheering for C and the Hawks- the adrenaline from the unforeseen upset was inexorable and I couldn't just drive away from the game that pumped up. So I made my second spontaneous trip to MU this month and spent the night celebrating with C and his teammates.  
The three hour drive back to MD felt longer than usual this afternoon, but it was so worth it to see the Hawks earn a well-deserved W and to spend the night with my handsome #49 :) 

Boys singing their alma mater after the win. 
Me and my handsome boy 

Now it's almost 9:00 and I haven't done anything I planned on doing this weekend but I think I'll go to bed anyway. 

I hope you all had a spontaneously wonderful weekend :]  
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