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The Let's Stay At Home 2020 Reading Challenge!

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash
Oh, 2020. You certainly have not turned out to be exactly what we were hoping for! For a lot of you, staying at home and being in self-quarantine/isolation is now the new norm, thanks to that novel V-word I don’t even want to say (it doesn’t deserve to have its name said! It’s already being said enough already!). And while you can fill your time with work (if you can, from home), cleaning, watching every movie and TV show known to man, and Zoom-ing with your family, friends, and now doctors (isn’t it weird when you now have appointments aka video chats with your doctor?? Like, what is life??), why not take this time to just stay at home (obviously) and read all of those books that you’ve been meaning to?

I know what you’re thinking: I’m already a reader! Why do I need a reading challenge? Well, what else do you have to do??? (I saw with the utmost respect and love!) The main goal of this reading challenge is to take advantage of the time you have now that we’re staying at home (and if you’re not, please stay at home as much as you can!), and take the time to read those books you’ve been meaning to, or ones you never thought you would! Let’s get a little adventurous while we’re bored, take a break from watching endless TV, and travel to new worlds, meet new characters, and (re)discover old books sitting on our shelves that we always meant to read, but never did. Because now is the time! Because we have the time! So let’s stay at home and read! (Also, an ideal date night for myself, FYI. With or without a date!)

I have graciously and creatively (if I do say so myself) created a fun list of categories to spark some ideas and inspiration for various books for you to read! You know you have a lot of books in your to be read list, and at least five of them will fit into these categories, I bet, so if you need the motivation to start reading those books you’ve always meant to read, then this list is for you! Not only will you be getting lots of reading done, but you’ll also be accomplishing that task that you’ve always been meaning to do: read those books you always said you would but never did! (Yet!)

Looking for more book-centric posts by me? Check out this list of posts I've written about all things bookish here!

The Let's Stay At Home 2020 Reading Challenge:

*A book you’ve had on your shelf for over a year (or two or three...) that you’ve been meaning to read but never did (the dustiest one! You know the one!).

*A book with a strong female heroine who kicks butt and saves the world (because who runs the world? Girls!).

*A classic children’s book you’ve always meant to read but never did (if it entertained children in the past, it could entertain your inner child still!).

*A best selling book that everyone else has read but you never did (just to see what all the fuss was about!).

*A young adult novel where a young couple fall in love but there’s something wrong with at least one of them that’s keeping them from being together (oh, teenagers!).

*A full series or trilogy of books (I know you can do it! And think how accomplished you’ll feel afterwards! But be sure it’s a finished trilogy or series or else the waiting for the next book will be excruciating!).

*A book from your teenage years that you were obsessed with (reread it and see if it’s still life-changing! Or just plain old cringey now. You were so different then!).

*A classic romance novel with old fashioned language to get enveloped in (why don’t people talk like that anymore?? Man, online dating and texting is lame! Mr. Darcy would never send Elizabeth Darcy an eggplant emoji!).

*A historical fiction novel that will transport you to another time and place (because it’s the closest we have to time travel. For now…).

*That one thriller that no one can shut up about currently (and that has been or will most likely be made into a movie. It’s inevitable.).

*A book that was made into a movie that you saw, but never read the book (it’s time to find out if the book is always better!).

*A tell all celebrity autobiography (it’s okay to read one every now and again! And you know you want that celeb dirt!).

*A book from your childhood to remind you of more simple, happy times (and by this I mean chapter books, no picture books! Let’s not get lazy!).

*A fantasy novel that will take you to another world with other beings and creatures that you could never have even dreamed of (but some authors definitely could and then wrote about them!).

*A nonfiction book that will make you sit back and think of the world in a completely different way (even better if it opens your mind to causes and histories of people and events that you had no idea about before!).

*A spooky book that has always creeped you out and prevented you from reading it- but now is the time to read it! (It can’t be any scarier than what’s happening in the world right now!)

*A book that you could never get into, but want to give it one last chance (you never know, you may love it this time! Or not…).

*A fun, light chick lit romance book that you always wanted to read, but were too embarrassed to have people see you read it (who cares! You’re inside! No one cares about how cute the cover looks!).

*A mystery that you don’t know the ending to (this is important) and will (hopefully) make your jaw drop when the killer is revealed (“It was HIM?? Nooooo!” Or it could turn out to be terribly predictable. The fun is that you don't know!)

*And a book you were supposed to read in school but never did (pick one that sounds interesting to you and remember, you don’t have to write a report about it afterwards!)

Bonus Non-Reading But Still Bookish Activities:

*Rearrange your books on your shelves! You can arrange by color (rainbow!), or go alphabetical, or however else you’d love to arrange your books! Go for pretty or functional, or both! Add some cute decor or lights (or both!) to make it look extra bookish!

*Go through old books and see if there are any you want to pass along or donate (a book you didn’t care for that much could be someone else’s next great read!)

*Set up some of your books for an Instagram photo session! Add in cute props and theme it by color, series, or subject! (Bonus points if you get your pet in the picture!)

And these are 20 suggestions of (very specific) categories of books to read! See if you can check them all off the list or even just a few of them! You never know, you could discover a genre of book that you loved that you never would have tried if you weren’t prompted! And see if you can unclutter (and dust) your shelves (physical or digital) by checking a few of these items off of the list, and better yet, see if you were missing out on some incredible reads that were just waiting around for you to read them!

Remember to, of course, use your local library (online resources at your local libraries are amazing! If you have a library card and a tablet or a phone, you can read ebooks for free!), audiobooks, ebooks, and your own books that you have piled up on your bedside table (or wherever you’ve put them throughout the house) to help you complete the challenge. I know you can do it! (You know, only if you want to. Like, if you want to pass the time by reading. If not, that’s cool. It’s just an idea. Just a suggestion. Whatevs.)

And also, you’re welcome for all the random book prompts! I had such a great time coming up with them (and yes, I looked at my own to be read list for inspiration!). I was going to add in book suggestions, but I figured my own reading choices may be a bit too niche, but if you need any suggestions, just feel free to ask! And let me know if you end up doing the challenge or using one of my prompts to read a book! I’m not going to create a hashtag or anything, but I’d love to know if my list helped get you to cross a few books off of your to be read list! (But also, if you think of a cute hashtag, let me know and maybe we can start a trend!)

Also, remember: not only are you getting some much needed reading done, you’re also doing the world a great service by staying at home! So for that, thank you so much!

Let me know what you think of my suggestions for reading prompts and if any of them make you think of a book you’ve been meaning to read! (I know I relate to at least 10 on this list!)

Happy reading, weirdos!

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Why I'm Trying to Be A Minimalist

Photo by James Hollingworth on Unsplash
I never thought I’d be the one who’d want to try minimalism. When I first heard about Marie Kondo and her book, I thought it was all pretty silly. I didn’t need any less things! I loved all of my things! They all serve a purpose; you know, even if it’s all thrown in my dresser drawers and closet! (To be fair, I did recently read The Magic of Tidying Up in preparation for this, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. Though I did glean some of her information that I liked from it!) But after a lot of soul searching and reading and watching a lot about tiny homes (I kind of went through a phase. Will get to that in a couple of paragraphs!), I kind of started to change my tune. I started to think: Do I really need all of these things that I have?

My whole life has been spent wanting things. I always thought things would make me happy. I would obsess over certain items, like a piece of clothing or a knick-knack, and could think of nothing else until I bought it. (I mean, sometimes waiting for something to come in the mail does give you a pretty good high from the anticipation!) And then...I’d lose interest in it when I finally got whatever it was. It was almost like the idea of the object or product really made me happy. But once I got it and reality set it… did it really make me that happy?

For some reason a while back, I started watching those reality shows about tiny homes. I just found them so cute and quaint! (Your own little tiny English cottage you can design in any way you liked! Sorry, that’s my Anglophile side coming out!) I loved the idea of tiny houses being environmentally friendly, as well. Plus, I liked that everything you needed was right in there. It amazed me that people could just have the basics, they all fit perfectly in their little house (no need for an attic, basement, or to rent a storage space!), and still live life in a totally fulfilled way. That made me start thinking about all of my things. Would they all have a purpose in a tiny house? Would I have room for all of them, even? And then the other questions started rolling in: do I really need all of these things? Are they a waste of money and space? And are these things really making me happy?

After reading Julie’s blog, Dark Blue Journal, where she blogs stupendously about minimalism and environmentalism, and also Marion’s wonderful and helpful blog, House of Kesar, where she also blogs about minimalism (she even wrote an ebook about it!), I got pretty inspired. Both blogs talk about how minimalism can help you, not just with your material goods, but with your life. And that makes so much sense to me. You can't do much with a cluttered mind (or at least I can’t!), but what if your space is cluttered or full of useless things? You can’t concentrate and find out what things really mean to you, if you’re so bogged down by all the things. And not just the physical things. The other important things, like who you are, what you want out of life, how you want your life to be. Those are the things I’m really hoping to get a grasp of through minimalism. I want to find a purpose and a way forward to the positive future in my life, and I’m hoping I can gain some insights to that through minimalism.

But I’m also hoping for a few other things I can learn through my minimalism journey:
  • I want to be less cluttered, in material goods and in my own life (and in my head!).
  • I want to be less materialistic and really think about my purchases before I buy them.
  • I also want to be thankful for what I do have and learn about what I can live without.
  • I’m hoping I can save some money by not being so obsessed with things (shiny, shiny things!), and put that money towards where I want to be in life.
  • And lastly, I also want to help the environment and lower my carbon footprint. Thanks to Julie’s blog, I’ve really been taking a better look at how our planet is progressing, and how I can do my part to help keep this beautiful earth healthy for as long as we can.
I love that both Julie and Marion stress in their writings that minimalism isn’t one size fits all. Minimalism is as individual as the person who uses it. Some people swear by having a capsule wardrobe with only X amount of clothing pieces in it. Others are for capsule wardrobes that are sectioned off into all four seasons. Some people are into minimalism for the streamlined efficiency of it, and others really want to help the environment by seriously cutting down on the extra material goods. Either way, people are getting good and positive results from cutting back on material things (and cutting back on unnecessary things in their own lives!), that I really want to see if it can help me, too.

After this experiment, I may turn out to be a minimalist. But I may not. Or I could land somewhere in the middle! (Man, I’m always a “medium” no matter what situation I’m in! Clothes, height, attractiveness. Ugh) Minimalism isn't for everyone, but I want to see if it’s for me, or if at least the principles can help me figure out what things really mean in my life. I’m really hoping I can be at least a tiny bit minimalistic and make some positive changes in my life! I want to have less to live more! (That’s a cute minimalistic saying, right? I feel like I saved that to a Pinterest board one time. Okay, you got me, I totally have a Minimalism Pinterest board now. For inspiration, okay??)

So stay tuned on this blog while I update you on what things I’m going through (wardrobe/clothes, trinkets, jewelry, books and media, digital, and more)- physically and emotionally. I honestly don’t know where this journey is going to take me, or what I’m going to get started on (clothes? Books? Trinkets? Ahhh I don’t know!), but I’m excited to go on this ride and see what happens!

Let me know in the comments about what YOU think of minimalism? Are you a fan or not? Let me know why or if you’ve tried it! I’m curious to see what people think and if you have any tips for me!

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Throwback: 13 of the Most Rad Foods From the 90's/2000's!

Photo by Sarah Takforyan on Unsplash
I don’t know about you, but right now in life seems like a good time for a trip down memory lane!

Remember when Trix cereal was still shaped like fruit? Those were the days! Sometimes I miss being a 90’s kid. Not necessarily for the 90’s component of fashion or trends (we don’t need the Bedazzler to make a comeback), but for those carefree times of being a kid. When all you did was go to school, then play and eat and drink all the sugariest snacks known to mankind while watching Saturday morning cartoons! The 90’s were just really a special, glucose and corn syrup-centric time, and an artificially colored world, without all of these fancy-schmancy organic and all natural snacks for kids now. (Which is wonderful, but let’s not forget to treat the little ones to candy or sugary snacks every once in a while so they know what taste is!) And yes, while the 90’s have had a resurgence (French Toast Crunch is back and so are scrunchies and mom jeans, and apparently Dunkaroos??? Which I honestly don’t remember ever eating, but I must have, right?? Then what kind of 90's kid was I??), some of these foods I’m going to list have gone away and are probably never coming back! I am literally still in mourning over some of these snacks. Especially the last one. Bring it back to the U.S., Coca-Cola! I know you still sell it in other parts of the world! I know it…

So 90’s kids (and other young whippersnappers!), please enjoy this total nostalgia trip of 90’s kid’s food!

Also, disclaimer: I know some of these foods are still available in stores even now, but to me, they really encompass the taste of my childhood in the 90’s, so I apologize for them not being 90’s exclusive! But even if they still make them today, their essence is still oh so 90’s/2000’s.

If you haven’t read my latest throwback post about my favorite toys from the 90’s/2000’s, click here to read it! It’s a total blast from the past!

Fruit By the Foot and Fruit Roll Ups

Yes, you can still buy these, but they definitely don’t have the same feel and nostalgia as they used to when we were kids. Trust me. But the big question as a kid was: were you more a Fruit By the Foot kid, or a Fruit Roll Up kid? I personally loved Fruit Roll Ups. You got to unroll them, plus, a lot of them had multi-flavored and multi-colored parts (for that fun tie-dye effect!), and you could punch out different shapes! (My favorite were the ones that were pizza shaped, and you could punch out all the toppings/slices, to make a fruity pizza sticky snack that was possibly even more unhealthy than actually pizza) So much more fun than just unrolling a sticky Fruit by the Foot that probably wasn’t even an actual foot in length! Lame! (I’d still eat it if given the chance though!)

Fruit Gushers

Oh man, Fruit Gushers were so awesome! They were fruit snacks, but with some weird, liquid-y corn syrup flavoring in the middle. Did they gush when bit into them? No. Did they all stick together when you tried to take one out of the pack? Well, yes. And no, they didn’t turn your head into different fruits like in the commercial, but honestly, that was terrifying, so I’m glad they didn’t. But talk about currency in the cafeteria! If you had one of these in your lunchbox, your mom was super cool!


Oh, Lunchables. How I lusted after you! Back when I was younger, they only had the turkey and cheese with crackers kind, but that didn’t matter. The fact that you could put your own little lunch together and it came with a drink and dessert? It was the perfect meal! You were basically a gourmet chef when putting your lunch together! Then they branched out into Lunchables pizzas (which you ate cold, so eww) and Lunchables nachos (again, cheese that you can heat up? Yuck), but that siren call of a drink and a dessert while you masterfully prepare your own lunch was such a siren call to a kid and such a status symbol in the school cafeteria!


Okay, I know this one is gross, but hear me out. I used to love these things! (Which is ironic because I hate most processed cheese products now). Whether it was the little cracker breadsticks with the cheese dip or the crackers and the red stick to spread the cheese-like concoction on the crackers that came in those little divided clear plastic containers, I found these oh so yummy! I literally used to ration the cheese spread so I could eat that last. I know, I know. I’m disgusted just at the memory, but that’s how good I thought they were! I saw that they still sell them at the store and I was tempted to try one for old time’s sake, but maybe it’s just better to leave some memories- and tastes- in the past.


If you didn’t have Otterpops in the summertime, did you even do summer right as a kid? I have no idea why their little mascots were otters, but I loved how they had cute punny names (“Little Orphan Orange” for the orange one though everyone went after the blue raspberry flavor, let’s be honest) and there was nothing better than cooling down on a hot day with one of these sugary frozen ice pops. Sure, the knockoffs were pretty good too, but nothing could beat the real Otterpops! (Not an ad, just a fan!)

Amazing Fruit Gummy Bears

We all know Haribo and Black Forest gummy bears (and other shapes they produce) are the kings of gummies, but do you remember Amazing Fruit Gummy Bears? Because I do! They came in a blue rectangular bag and had the cutest gummy bear mascots! Were they the best gummy bears out there? I honestly don’t remember, but they were so iconic for the times that I kind of wish they would come back so I could taste them and see if they were really as good as I thought they were! (Though no one is coming for Haribo!)

Hi-C Ecto Cooler Juice Boxes

For some reason, this flavor of juice box was so, so popular. And for a good reason. It obviously came out when Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters 2 came out (because it had Slimer on the box and also the Ecto thing in the name), but this flavor really stuck around for a long while after the movies were released. And I can see why: it was so delicious! It was a citrus-y orange flavor that was so addicting, that you just had to have it with your lunch at school. I remember sucking these boxes dry and being so sad when all of the juice was gone. I actually used to blow into the empty juice box and then squeeze it to pretend like I was putting on Ecto Cooler flavored perfume. Yes, I was a weird kid and am still a weird person.

Creme Savers

You guys. Creme Savers! Do any of you remember these??? They were hard candies that were either orange creme or strawberry creme flavored and they tasted so, so good! Literally the perfect mix of creamy and fruitiness! Plus, the swirl design on them was so much fun. They were like a younger, hipper butterscotch hard candy for the youth, and I loved them for it, so watching them be discontinued was like a knife in my young gut. Can we start a petition to bring them back, please??

EZ Squirt Colored Ketchup

There was this time back in the late 90’s/2000’s where some corporate exec thought they knew exactly what kids wanted and thought, “what if we took something normal colored...and changed it to a DIFFERENT color???” And guess what? They were right! Kids like me where super into it...until they actually got it and then had to eat it. I remember wanting the EZ Squirt Colored Ketchup so badly and then when I actually got it (purple, of course), I was so weirded out by it! It tasted exactly the same but the fact that it was purple (and I think it also came in blue and maybe green...?) was just so...icky! It just goes to show that kids think they know what they want and then when they actually get it… they change their minds real fast! (Also, does anyone else remember colored sunscreen? It would be blue or purple and then when you rubbed it onto your skin the color would vanish! We really loved different colored things in the 90’s/2000’s!)

3-D Doritos

What with personal computers and the internet and the new millennium being all the rage in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, 3-D was also big! We had 3-D animated movies like Pixar and video games now had 3-D, not 2-D graphic designs. So why not take a flat, practically two dimensional boring chip and make it...3-D?? And that’s exactly what Doritos did! Pretty much a puff (aka the 3-D part) with three sides to represent a Dorito chip, these came in plastic canisters (sooo much cooler and more high tech than a bag!) for easy snackage (I mean, you’re always on AOL so you need a snack that’s handy and quick to eat while you ask A/S/L in chatrooms). Did these taste better than regular Doritos? No, but the shape made them novel and made us feel like we were in the future! And that was kind of all that mattered back in the day!


My questions for this drink are: Why? How? Who? What gave you the right? And why did we think this was so cool? Now we all know boba with its tapioca balls is a pretty popping (no pun intended) drink. But Orbitz was on a whole other level! It must have been because of the nearing year 2000, where we imagined either the world was going to end or technology was going to be so advanced that it was going to affect our food and drink. Enter, Orbitz! The weirdest, most random drink ever known to man. It was basically a fruit flavored drink, non-carbonated, with these odd, small floating colored balls inside. It pretty much looked like a drinkable lava lamp (which did have a resurgence in the 90’s/2000’s!). They were the hippest thing when they came out and I remember someone let me have a sip of theirs, and it was honestly the most confusing thing I’ve ever tasted. All I can think of is that we thought it was kind of space-y and futuristic, and this being the new millennium, we were all for it! Not surprisingly though, it was discontinued. I guess it’s just boba for us millennials now!

Berry Berry Kix

You guys, I really miss this cereal! Every time I go to the cereal aisle at the store and see the regular Kix cereal, I always remember Berry Berry Kix. Not only did it taste yummy and berry-ish, but the berry cereal was just colored Kix all stuck together to look like a group of berries! So adorable! Kix is an okay cereal, a bit boring and plain, but Berry Berry Kix really elevated that mild flavor with some sweet tartness that was just perfection. Am I starting multiple petitions now to bring some of these foods back?


And I saved the best for last. If I were to wish anything on this list to come back it would be Fruitopia. In case you never had the pleasure or honor to delight in these delicious drinks (if so, I feel so, so sad for you), they were made by Coca-Cola and were fruit flavored beverages packed with Vitamin C (aka the easiest vitamin to put into any food or drink) and they were so so so so good! I seriously cannot tell you how yummy these drinks were! They came in so many different flavors, but my favorite one was green. Which after doing much research, I figured out that that flavor was called Kiwiberry Ruckus. These drinks were so popular back in the day, that they had vending machines of it everywhere! I remember visiting Disneyland and getting a Fruitopia drink! I remember visiting a farm somewhere in Amish country and stumbling upon a Fruitopia vending machine! I remember there’s even a shot in the movie Independence Day in the very beginning where you can actually see a Fruitopia vending machine! (Seriously, look out for it next time you watch that American 4th of July classic!) I was so sad when these drinks were discontinued back in 2003, but I heard a rumor that they still sell them somewhere in Asia, and one day, I want to find out if that’s true. Because these drinks need to come back and I know I was joking about petitions, but I will literally make one and have people sign it and send it off to Coca-Cola to make this happen! Who’s with me??

The best flavor EVER! Don't at me.
Those were just some of my favorite foods, snacks, and drinks from the 90’s and 2000’s! I know I probably missed a bunch of them, but these were the ones that stood out most in my mind and reminded me most of my childhood. Ah, I wish I could go back and eat and drink these foods without that knowledge of what all of the ingredients are doing to my insides. Those truly were the days!

Let me know what foods from your childhood were your favorites or if you recognized or liked any of the foods on my list! And what classic 90’s foods/snacks/drinks did I miss?? Also, should I do a part two list?? Because as I was looking for the images for all of these foods, I came across so many more foods from back in the day that I could have included! Oh, the memories!

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