Teen Screens: The Host (article I wrote 3 years ago)

So I really liked the book The Host. To be fair, I was an avid Twilight fan at the time that I first read it, which may have had something to do with it. But even after the Twilight crazy wore off I still have a lot of respect for this book. It’s complicated. It takes you out of yourself, out of our world, and makes you think about the morality of an issue you’ve probably never had to seriously consider (since you, as far as I know, are incapable of possessing others’ bodies). It’s really fascinating stuff. And of course there is a love triangle, which complicated things, but I kind of love it.

So check it out, and if you haven’t read it, do that:




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Easter Dirt Cake!

This Easter I made this great little dirt cake to take to the Boyfriend’s family Easter. It was super easy and fun, and I wanted to share!

Things you’ll need:

dirt cake

  • a boxed chocolate cake mix, prepared
  • a large instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 large cream cheeses
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 c powered sugar
  • 1 package of oreos
  • 1 large tub of cool whip


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2-3 T milk
  • orange and green food coloring
  • mini cadbury eggs or other decorations optional

Prepare your cake mix and instant pudding and set aside. Use a salad shooter or food processor to crumble your Oreos. Cream 1 stick of butter, the cream cheese, and 1 cup of powdered sugar, then fold in your pudding. Use a fork to crumble your prepared cake, then layer cake, pudding mix, cool whip, and crumbled Oreos in a trifle dish or flower pot (dirt, get it?). Repeat your layers 2-3 times, leaving Oreos to cover the very top. Now prepare your icing by creaming your remaining butter and powdered sugar.Add a teaspoon of vanilla and 2-3 tablespoons of milk mix until it’s combined. Color your frosting. Now, using a pastry bag or ziplock, pipe disks of orange icing. Refrigerate to harden. As you decorate your dirt cake you can pipe squiggles of green atop your orange discs as carrot leaves. Decorate with other candies if desired!





dirt cake8DSCeaster

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Dreamers Often Lie review

Dreamers Often LieDreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jaye’s life is complicated enough before she starts seeing Shakespeare characters. In a story that could have easily turned cheesy and annoying (Romeo makes an appearance or two), West manages a beautiful tale of healing and friendship, with a dash of hallucination thrown in. I was constantly a little off-kilter (in a good way) as I read this because Jaye and I were both constantly questioning her sanity, but by the end I was really pleased. In a novel that would be a fun read with no knowledge of Shakespeare (but is certainly more fun with a few plays under your belt), West has created a highly enjoyable read.

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Shannon’s (very) last minute gift guide


It’s Christmas Eve’s Eve! If you still have gifts to get here are some quick and easy ideas that are sure to be a hit.

For your mom, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, or bestie

Peppermint Sugar Scrub– I gave this my my mother- and sister-in-law a few years ago, and they’ve been asking for my recipe! Bonus points if you print out a pretty label or tie with a lovely ribbon.

For your friend, cousin, or sister

crocheted fox slippers– these take some crochet skill, so if you aren’t one to fly through stitches, it’s not last minute in the least, but I whooped these up  in about two days worth of watching tv around the house.

For your brother, dad, or guy (21+)

Leather wrapped flask– it’s on my list of things-to-make! Get a flask at a liquor store or TjMaxx and glue some leather strips on. Voila!

For the recent high school grad decorating a new place or the big kid in your life

Comic book coasters– just make sure to let the modge podge dry completely before coats or it is forever sticky

For your tea or coffee lover

DIY sharpie mugs– Made these for Boyfriend a few years ago and they were a hit. The sharpie begins to come off after a few years, but still, awesome stuff.


Need more ideas? Check out my Pinterest board!


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What to say when the relatives ask…

So Thanksgiving is coming. As is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years, and a variety of other holidays that are lovely, of course, but also always include that one (just one if you’re lucky!) awkward aunt or uncle that wants to examine your life choices and make you uncomfortable. 

Okay, that’s dramatic. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are just curious about our lives, but either way they ask the questions.

 When are you graduating? What’s your major (cue side-eye when I answer English and Journalism)? Who are you seeing? What are you doing after graduation? What are you doing with you life? Why don’t you know, you should know you’re an adult now and you’re stupid if you don’t know and the world is your oyster and you kids don’t even have the decency to explore it in fact in my day we walked uphill both ways in the snow just to see an oyster…. 

My family is crazy.

I’m kidding (mostly) but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to explain that no, I don’t really know what I want to do yet (unless writing books and drinking coffee counts), and I don’t really have a plan after graduation (unless following the Boyfriend to whichever city the grad program he gets into is located in because I don’t have another plan counts). I don’t really plan to use my journalism degree (my bad), and I don’t know if I want to go to grad school. 

This is really the first year I’ve actually felt this way, but since I am, I decided to come up with some ways to deflect or end these conversations.

1. Lie. Oh I’ll work at a magazine. I loved working at my college publication. (Hints of truth in every lie.)

2. Be vague. Oh, I’m keeping my options open. There are just so many things to do with a dual degree!

3. Pick one of your options and say it like it’s true. I’m loving my publishing internship, so I’m looking into publishing for sure. It’s great. 

To be fair, I am actually looking into publishing, I do have options (I just don’t know what most of them are), and I’ve considered working in magazines. The point is having prepared answers so you don’t wobble, panic, and end up in the bathroom with your mom sobbing about your life (or worse! Encourage advice). 

Just be prepared and save yourself the awkwardness. And awkward aunts and uncles of the world, if you’re reading this, please stop asking questions we dread. Ask us how things are, what’s been going on, or if anything exciting is happening.  Believe me, if we have something to brag about we’ll do it. 

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Back for renovation

Hey there you,

If there are any “you”s left, because I’ve been gone quite a while, I know. But here I am, so I hope here you are too.

I’ve been feeling that little tug on my consciousness the last few weeks. The one that says blog, write, think about things that aren’t school or your boyfriend ( which, to be fair, is most of my life right now). Not that Boyfriend isn’t great,  not that school isn’t important, it’s just that I need a little more that’s just for me. That’s what this blog was supposed to be. A place to share my thoughts on books and my own writing and life. A place for me… And you, too, if you’re there.

So I’ll be making a few changes. I’m going to move those lovely articles that I posted last spring over to my Portfolio page, and I’m going to reorganize a bit, so that this is a better space for us. And I’m going to post more often.

I’ve been working on my novel again, the one I really mostly wrote during National Novel Writing Month, and I’ve finally got two awesome readers (Boyfriend and one of my best friends, S). So hopefully there will be a bit more about that about as well.

So I’ll see you around…


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