Top 10 Apps

Here are my top ten app picks: for life, adventure, and everything in between!

*All app descriptions from the companies that made them

Strava: Strava lets you track your running and riding with GPS, join Challenges, share photos from your activities, and follow friends.

Nike Training: Up to you, as it should be. Drills focusing on HIT, yoga, and pilates will push you – hard. Audio cues will help you keep good form. And video guides and step-by-step images make following a breeze. Some of the best fitness minds in the world in the palm of your hand. They’ll stop if you press pause – for those times you need a breather.

Fooducate:  Eat better. Lose weight. Get healthy. SCAN & FIND HEALTHY FOOD. ASK, DISCUSS & LEARN. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS. My note: With daily tips, recipies, and a built in food scanner, this app allows for the best. Fooducate empowers you to achieve your diet, health, and fitness goals.

Level: THE MOBILE MONEY METER. Spend smarter. Do more. Live better. Level Money provides you with a simple and clear picture of your finances. Draw a straight line from everyday decisions to savings and accomplish the things that matter. Level provides you with your Spendable – or safe to spend number – for the day, week and month.

GiveGab: Raise More, Engage More, Do More with Give Gab. GiveGab offers Unique Solutions. Volunteering Made Easy. Volunteering goes mobile with GiveGab’s new iOS app. Connect with friends to make a difference in your community.

Sweat with Kayla: Join the world’s biggest female fitness community and fast track your journey to Bikini Body Confidence today! Female personal trainer, Kayla Itsines, has touched the lives of millions of women worldwide with her Bikini Body Guides, helping them achieve their health and fitness goals with workouts completed in just 28 minutes. Get results now using: Weekly coaching recommendations for best results. Quick 28 minute workouts that require minimal or no equipment. Daily menus including recipes that you can tailor. Suitable for general, vegetarian and vegan eating preferences
Shopping lists to make healthy eating easy. Compare weekly progress pictures side by side privately, or share them with your friends to stay accountable. 300+ pages (and growing) of education content you can use to expand your fitness and nutrition knowledge. Participate in global fitness challenges and compete with your friends and share your results
Weekly workout trackers: No gym required, workouts are able to be completed from the comfort of your own home. Available in 5 languages (English, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano). Sweat with Kayla has Apple’s HealthKit integrated. The app will provide step counting for all cardio type workouts. With the ability to workout anytime and anywhere, this app is perfect no matter who or where you are. Enjoy a beginner workout from the comfort of your lounge room, or an advanced workout in the gym and be supported by a rapidly growing, global community of women while you sweat! Take control of your health and fitness and download Sweat with Kayla today! SUBSCRIPTION PRICING & TERMS: Sweat with Kayla is free to download. All consumers are welcome to a free 7-day trial period.

The Outbound: WELCOME TO OUTBOUND “The app where travellers connect” Find like-minded travellers, no matter where in the world you are! Outbound allows travellers to discover and connect with other like-minded travellers. No matter what type of traveller you are, Outbound has you covered.

With Love from Kat: My note: A complete travel guide to many cities with main sections labeled: EAT, STAY, SHOP, RELAX, PLAY, and WEAR. It is the best new travel app on the market in my opinion.

VSCO: My note: The best filter and editing app on the market in my opinion.

Instagram:Instagram is a simple way to capture and share the world’s moments. Transform your everyday photos and videos into works of art and share them with your family and friends. See the world through somebody else’s eyes by following not only the people you know, but inspirational Instagrammers, photographers, athletes, celebrities and fashion icons. Every time you open Instagram, you’ll see new photos and videos from your closest friends, plus breathtaking moments shared by creative people across the globe. My note: If you don’t have it, get it, now. It is one of the best photo sharing apps on the market for creatives and commoners alike.

 

Movie Review: The Royal Tenenbaums

 

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The Royal Tenenbaums was directed by Wes Anderson in 2001. This charming film includes many major actors, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, and Bill Murray. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend it to any Wes Anderson fan. The central concept to be gleaned from this movie is that every family is still a family, no matter how dysfunctional.  The Royal Tenenbaums is the tale of the three lives of prodigal siblings who, after experiencing significant success in their youth, hit rock bottom during their teens and continuing after their father who was the figurehead of the household, Raleigh St. Clarie, abandons them as well as their mother.  Starting with a brief history of how the Tenenbaums came to acquire their current residence, the three children (Margot, Chas, and Richie) learn that their father is being kicked out of their house. Margot, an accomplished playwright, was adopted by the Tenenbaums at age two then won a large grant for a play she wrote her freshmen year of high school. Chas is a mathematical whiz who has a ‘natural knack’ for understanding how global finance works. Chas is so successful that Royal steals from him. Richie, the only child who receives affection from their father, is a tennis pro as well as a struggling artist. Going out on regular outings with their father, he convinces the others to let them stay in their home later in the film. The final central character is Eli Cash, who lives with an elderly relative across from the Tenenbaums and is a pseudo-sibling of Margot, Chas, and Richie as they grow up. A majority of the movie is centered on their young adult years and the transition into growing up, something that evaded them despite their success. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who can understand the dialogue and enjoys satire. After a thoroughly enjoyable plot full of twists and turns, the film ends with Margot releasing a new play based on her family, Raleigh publishes a book involving a child he studies througout the movie, Eli becomes drug free at a facility in North Dakota, and Richie teaches a competitive junior tennis program at the YMCA. Royal has improved his relationship with all of the children before he dies with only Chas to accompany him at age 68. The final scene is everyone exiting the graveyard after the funeral and a sense of peace that settles over both them, and the enchanted audience.

Movie Review: Marie Antoinette

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Marie Antoinette (Official Trailer) | Sofia Coppola

Many movies have been made about one of the greatest female villan figures in all of history. Yet, no movie has ever been made like this. The fall of once strong leaders through rebellion is something we see daily, whether it occurs through elections like the United States or through revolutions where rebels get put under house arrest while their ideas still roam free, as seen in Burma with Aung San Suu Kyi. Marie Antoinette is a fun movie to watch with breathtakingly beautiful scenery and costumes; though, it does have major historical inaccuracies and tends to take liberties involving the direct encounters, dialogue, and emotions of the characters. Made by Sofia Coppola as a drama, this movie shows a side to the French Revolution rarely seen and emphasized with: royalty. I would rate this movie an 8/10.   I loved the stunningly done Marie Antoinette, possibly more than I should have. Overall, the beautiful cinematography, dialogue, intrigue, and scenery more than make up for the lack of historical accuracy in portions of the plot. Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman both play the parts of awkward young teens thrust into royal responsibility remarkably well, with Kirsten carrying a large portion of the movie on her capable shoulders. Marie Antoinette is a fairy tale type world saturated with delicate color, as if a Hans Christian Andersen tale was brought to life. The overall tone of the movie is of a high society that cannot maintain it’s fake ways for long, which is perfect when set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. The music was not prevalent in the movie; however, when it did appear, in pop songs and bright beats, it brightened up the movie and set the tone better, if slightly awkwardly. Acting overall was convincing, though there were times when a bit more emotion could have been added to create depth to the ultimate character performance. In the end, Marie Antoinette is a wonderful movie to watch for entertainment, just make sure you understand a bit of the history behind her first.

Book Review: Me Talk Pretty One Day

 

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Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris, is an intriguing read. The book is separated into two main parts: before and after. Before his move to Normandy France, and after him journeying across the pond. Starting off by discussing his rural childhood growing up in North Carolina with his four siblings: Amy. Gretchen, Lisa, and Rooster. It continues to explain his relationships with others as he leaves Raleigh, goes off to New York, and eventually France. Moving to France was never a goal for him, as explained in the novel, but he journeyed there with his partner, Hugh. Without speaking French, the natural comedian David is allowed for many humorous moments to be – quite literally – lost in translation. Published the same year I was born, 2000, it has not lost its charm, or its intrigue over time. A collection of short stories and essays from the author, an American humorist, it captures the reader’s interest from beginning to end. It is not the best book I have ever read, nor has it impacted me in some deep, profound way; however, it is still a good read. Starting off in North Carolina, where David chronicles moments from his childhood, to how he ended up in France the same way people end up anywhere: by accident. The book hits real emotional points and feels as though you are speaking with a true confidant instead of reading another novel. Many people should be able to identify with the emotions of the writer throughout the story, which underlines one of the main points of the story: everyone struggles, some struggles are just more humorous than others. I would recommend this book for ages 14+ as long as the reader has an understanding of the negative effects of drug use because drugs and their effects intertwine with many plot points in the story.

Movie Review: Wild

 

wildThe movie Wild deserves a 9/10 if ten is amazing and zero is horrible. By far one of the best movies I have ever seen, you do not have to be a hiker or a recovering drug addict to enjoy this film. Though being a hiker or recovering from drugs probably would help with the appreciation of Wild, I would not suggest it. The first thing to mention when speaking of this movie is how beautiful the setting is. Having grown up in Northern California, I feel as though I have always had a deep appreciation for nature. Every time I see forests, valleys, snow, wildflowers, and sunrises through the lens of an expensive camera from a unique view, nature startles me with its beauty. The PCT, or Pacific Crest Trail, is described on Google “as a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie about 100 to 150 miles east of the U.S. Pacific coast.” The movie Wild is created based on the life of Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with no true hiking experience to escape and confront the demons of her past. Without a doubt, this movie contains lots of demons. Her loving mother dies from cancer, a divorce with someone she got matching tattoos with, all contribute to self-destructive behavior. Yet, ten minutes into the film, you understand that there is nothing else for the woman who had no hiking experience, too small shoes, and a large backpack, but hike nature wilder than her past.

Gift Guide: Pets

DOGS
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Boyfriend Scarf $15.99

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Woolrich Heritage Pet Carrier $42

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Barbour Quilted Tartan Dog Coat $55

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Barkbox Price varies depending on subscription

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YARK FINELY COLLAR  $75

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Waggo Stripey Soiree Bowl

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Harry Barker ‘Fetch’ Small Canvas Bone Dog Toy

 

CATS

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Whisker City® Pet Holiday Bright Woods Igloo Cat Toy $6.99

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Armarkat Enclosed Pet Bed $28.99

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Drinkwell® Platinum Pet Fountain $59.49

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THROW PILLOW / INDOOR COVER (16″ X 16″) $20

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Carrier  $29.97

FISH
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Contrast Leaf Aquarium Plant $3.99-$4.99

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Pirate Ship Aquarium Ornament  $4.24

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Artificial Plant Pack  $19.99

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Holey Rock  $13.99-$28.99

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Caribbean Sea Gravel $5.49-$8.99

 

Book Review: NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL BY LENA DUNHAM

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just finished reading Not That Kind of Girl and I know I am behind the curve on praising this; however, it is SO good. A fun airplane read or when you want to zone out before bed, Not That Kind of Girl is funny, honest, and entertaining. This book is a collection of short stories from the life of Lena Dunham filled with emails, love notes, and essays. Even though Lena is known as a serious actress and feminist, this book showcases those points yet does not make a political statement so much as a personal one. Serious? No. Serious Literature? Definitely not. But a fun read? Sure. If you like funny stories told in an autobiographical sense that aren’t anything you have heard before, pick this up today! The opening of this book is “If I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you,” she writes, “or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile.”From the get-go, it is clear Lena is writing to act as the cool yet crazy older friend some of us were lucky enough to have as we were growing up – and still want in our lives. Occasionally, however, the theme does feel a bit too familiar in this collection of crazy tales. Struggles to lose weight,  sibling conflicts, getting a job, and going to camp all have funny stories about them, yes, but are ways to remember and recount your own relationship with each of these things throughout your own life. When reading this, please remember to not think of Lena Dunham as a person to support or be against, or as someone we all have to listen to, even if the events seem repetitive, just think of her work as “A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned.”

Gifts for Him

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 7.29.08 AMStickR TrackR  $24.95

About the size of a quarter, grab the StickR TrackR and stick it on keys, wallets, anything you don’t want to lose. When something gets misplaced, just pull up the app on your phone and use directions or ring it to find your item. It connects through Bluetooth with iPhone’s, iPad’s, or Android 4.4’s so that he never loses anything again. Well, except maybe his pickup basketball games.

 

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bacon jam 7oz gift set $36.99

It arrives on his doorstep in its box (so no gift wrapping, yay!) and inside there are two 7oz. Jars of Original Bacon Spread and one 7oz. Jar of Fennel Black Pepper Bacon Spread. Whether the guy you are shopping for is already a chef or will google what a skillet is as soon as you drop the gift off, as long as he isn’t vegetarian, this is perfect. As the company says, “Give the gift of bacon and share the Skillet love style.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 7.38.52 AM.pngPERSONALIZED HANDMADE FOLDING REAL WOOD MUSTACHE COMB $24.99

Whether his initials are on it, or the comb is left blank, the mustache comb (with a mustache carved into it) it is the perfect gift for any mustached man.

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Crosley’s Revolution turntable $79.95

The cheapest turntable I have ever seen, it is battery powered and has a platter smaller than a teacup saucer. This turntable has two speeds and a USB hookup for analog to digital and digital to analog transfer, this allows your man to listen to his favorite songs anytime from vinyl in his headphones.

 

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Wooden MacBook Air Cover $89

Made in the USA from Portland, OR it adds a bit of the outdoors with a lightweight and green wood cover. It is eco-friendly because it uses scraps of wood left over to create it. It even has an easy peel and stick feature to go on and off the laptop.

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Baseball Game $50

A classic, smaller version of the manliest American game (in my opinion.) All ages 6-106 can play this fun game, and it is quite the unique gift. It is America’s favorite pastime in your living room, just roll the dice and move the batter and you are set! As the creators said “Turn off the TV, silence the smartphone, and gather ’round as you enjoy hours of old-fashioned fun with loved ones. Play ball!”

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 11.49.40 AM.pngPea Coat $99

It is a double breasted pea coat under $100, and there are wide notch lapels, lined all inside and in inner pockets, there are even tabs at cuffs! It has it all and your man will too.

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You Suck At Parking, Seriously. Set of 10 Cards. Funny Gag Gift. Stocking Stuffer. $6

For the guy who has road rage, which at some point, is every guy. Handmade and card stock, they are a super easy gift to give and receive funny stories later on.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 11.57.09 AM.png RED CEDAR CANDLE

20% when first purchase from the website, the 100% vegetable wax candle smells amazing. They are made in the US from renewable resources and are hand poured into 8-ounce recyclable glass containers. Natural fragrances that a man won’t mind, they are the perfect compliment to every room.

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IPHONE CASES / SLIM CASE $35

As soon as your ocean loving guy “seas” this gift, he will love it. Even the ombre blue on the back of the iPhone case is really cool and come shark week, your guy will have the coolest case in town.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 12.02.16 PM WES ANDERSON Inspired Posters, Art Print Movie Poster Series – 12 x 18 Minimalist, Graphic, Hollywood Regency, Vintage Style, Retro Home $50

At $50 a print, scoop up all 3! Wes Anderson inspired prints that are artistic enough to go in a college dorm or a sophisticated loft. If he’s a film buff, perfect. If he likes art, perfect. If he just has good taste, perfect.

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Guitar Pick Punch $25

Instead of having boring business cards or used up coupon, make a cool guitar pick to throw out at his adoring fans or just to strum at home.

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ROVER PACK $139

Perfect for the hiker or just a way to tell him about a trip you two could take, this heavy duty plastic hardware lightweight backpack that has straps with mesh backs, a drawstring closure, inner laptop sleeve, zippered front and top pockets, side pockets for water bottles or additional gear with compression straps. It is even made in the USA and right in Colorado.

 

 

Gift Guide for Her (all under $50)

ten over ten nails polish $18

Ten over ten nail polish is awesome. The color below, 005 Commerce, comes in a beautiful midnight blue. The multitude of cute colors is not the only cool thing about this brand: it is cruelty-free + “8 free.” 8 free means ALL of their polishes are free from 8 chemicals that are totally toxic… and totally standard. If you do not know, the eight chemicals dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and parabens. So you can feel good & look good with this polish. Now that’s what I call nailing the holiday season.

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lip2cheek RMS Beauty $36

lip2cheek from RMS beauty is a two in one formula that hydrates and protects to leave a “no makeup makeup” look for both lips and cheeks. There are seven colors, the one below is SMILE, and RMS Beauty has worked on this product for over 20 years to make sure the shades are friendly to everyone. Plus, it is certified organic so even those with sensitive skin will love it. According to their website, you can even use it as an eyeshadow. Before they apply: make sure to tell them a little goes a long way, the pigments are very concentrated. 

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JONATHAN ADLER ZEBRA DISH — NAVY BLUE $24

This gift is a fun, quirky piece to put jewelry in.

DD: Because our accessories need accessories too… A cheeky accent for your bedside table and a perfect spot for your everyday earrings, this navy Jonathan Adler zebra dish adds a little bit of zest to your space.

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Very Volatile ‘Cabarnet’ Riding Boot (Women) $47.97 marked down from $79.95

Nordstrom:

A classic riding boot is given a modern update thanks to a curved topline and a notched back-shaft, while thin ankle straps and a goldtone buckle add an on-trend finish.

  • 1″ heel (size 8.5).
  • 18″ boot shaft; 15″ calf circumference.
  • Partial side zip closure.
  • Synthetic upper, lining and sole.
  • By Very Volatile; imported.
  • BP. Shoes.

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NEON FLORAL PRINT $25

DD:

If it isn’t neon, it shouldn’t be on! A bright bouquet pops against a dark background.

8″ x 10″ giclee print by artist Hayley Mitchell on archival paper with a 1″ white border on each side.

Frame not included.

 

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horoscope shop kate spade  $38

An easy way to personalize a gift and make sure they always think of you fondly when they see it: a horoscope keychain. Now, I know what just ran through your head – some garish, vivid nightmare sold from Limited Too in the early 2000’s. But fear not my fashionable friends, these keychains, bangles ($58) and co. in the Kate Spade horoscope shop are all chic, clean, and gorgeous. I received the bracelet as a gift a year ago and loved it. I like the idea of a keychain because they can carry the thought of you wherever they go, and the personalized message on the back is ‘picture perfect.’  I chose my horoscope, Virgo, in the image.

 

 

 

MARIO BADESCU Facial Spray With Aloe, Herb and Rosewater $7

This facial spray is the perfect gift for any woman on your list. It hydrates the skin without causing breakouts and smells fantastic. I was in Anthropologie the other day and thought it was a perfume when I first smelt it. Mist on the face, neck and hair as needed. Will not disturb make-up. A refreshing, hydrating mist that you can use anywhere, anytime. It is made directly, with extracts from fragrant herbs and rosewater for a  refreshing, pleasing “pick me up” for the dry, tight, and dehydrated skin. You can spray your day and night creams for a boost of moisturizing power or spray on dry hair during the day. It is safe for all skin types because it is gentle and non-irritating.

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Deluxe 8 Pack Sparklers $16

From Free People: Light the night with this party-perfect show-stopping set. Pack of eight sparklers made for any celebration or occasion.

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Skinny Dip Ear Buds $22

Free People: Super stylish silicone tip earbuds are featuring metal accents. Cotton printed cord.

OVERSIZED NEON LIPS PRINT $45

Design Darling: Oversized 16″ x 20″ print featuring Pantone 812 neon pink lip kisses on a high-quality matte white cardstock. Designed by San Francisco artist Taryn St. Michele. Frame not included.

Flounce Side-tie Cheeky Bottom $6.99

VS: With a lacy flounce and ribbon ties, our sleek low-rise is just sweet enough.

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Ikat Monogram Letter $16

Available with all the letters of the alphabet, colorful letters made of cotton, hardwood, and brass, are personal and cute.

passion planner classic 2016 (8.5 by 11) $29.99

ALL CONTENT ABOUT PASSION PLANNER FROM PASSION PLANNER WEBSITE Inner Pages: Annual goal setting guide to help you brainstorm, define, and create actions for your goals your lifetime, three years, one year, and three-month goals. Weekly layouts (Sunday – Monday) that run from January 2016 – December 2016. Annual and monthly overview calendars. Periodically check in reflection questions to get you thinking about progress, gratitude, and steps for improvement. 20 Additional blank pages and 23 Additional gridded pages. Weekly Layouts: Weekly and daily focuses where you can ask yourself “What is the most important thing that needs to get done?” today or this week. A Sunday – Monday appointment calendar that runs from 6 AM – 11 PM broken down into 30-minute increments. Good Things That Happened section to keep you focused and to look for the positive in every week. A motivational quote and a matching challenge to encourage you to translate those words into positive action. Dual personal and work to-do lists organized by priority to support private and work life balance because all too often we get caught up in work and put our needs on the back burner. A blank section that you can use to take notes, draw, journal, brainstorm or customize to your needs of the week.  Outer Specs: Soft and durable faux leather cover; animal and vegan-friendly. Super smooth high quality 100 gsm thick paper, about twice as thick as a standard sheet of printer paper to resist ink bleeding from fountain pens. Spacious A4 size 8.5”x11″ (about the size of a sheet of printer paper). About 212 pages (106 leaves). Fabric pocket. Ripped paper pockets are our biggest pet peeve, so we’ve solved this issue with an extremely durable black fabric pocket, Longer, bookmarking ribbon, and Higher quality binding. What’s Different: Dates reflect the upcoming 2016 calendar year-Streamlined Design-New weekly challenges and quotes-New “Tying it All Together” Page-Full 2016 and 2017 annual overview.

EVERY LAST WORD BOOK REVIEW

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The title suggests that writing and words will be importance and writing will play a big part in this book. The introduction starts off with the sentence I shouldn’t be reading the notes. Throughout this entire book, we will experience the novel as the protagonist/main character Samantha “Sam” McAllister does. Once reading the whole book, the author’s note explains important details, yet coming in without any background knowledge of the mental difficulties faced by Sam lead for a much more entertaining read. The genre is fiction involving the themes of obsessive compulsive disorder, self-acceptance, poetry, love, and high school. The book is written from the viewpoint of Samantha McAllister, as previously mentioned. I agree and enjoy how the author portrayed this book because I feel as if reading it was a much more personal experience because we were inside the narrator’s mind.A summary of the book, written by the publisher, Hyperion, is “consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off, a girl coping with Purely-Obsessional OCD learns to accept herself and take control of her life through her experiences in the poetry club.” The main characters were Samantha “Sam” McAllister, Caroline Madsen, Andrew Olsen (AJ), Alexis, Kaitlyn, Hailey, and Olivia (Sam’s original friend group) Shrink Sue, and various members of Sam’s family. The characters were over dramatized but credible. Relatively easy to follow, the informal style that the book is written in is perfect for the intended audience of everyone who enjoys reading teen lit. Some of the plot events may seem far-fetched and occasionally drawn out. Additionally, the information in this book does not always display how difficult mental disorders can be. Overall, “every last word” by Tamara Ireland Stone is a real enjoyable read at 355 pages in length. I was able to finish this book in under a week. While it is not my favorite book I have read by far, it was a good read, and I will probably read it again. Anyone searching for a good, fun, read has found it with “every last word.” I would give this book an 8/10.