gambling on the stars

Books to Start Your Summer

Forever and Always, Lara Jean– Jenny Han

This recently released book is the third in what was originally only a two book series. I highly recommend all three books (you can start with To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before). I was excited when I found out that I could read about Lara Jean one last time, and I think readers appreciated having one last story to tie up Lara Jean’s journey. 

Red Queen- Victoria Aveyard

I picked up this book at a Barnes and Noble without any background on the series except for what I had read on the back cover. Mare Barrow is a strong character attempting to navigate this new world in which she finds herself. Even though I have not had the chance to completely finish the book, I’m already looking forward to reading the next one! 

Comment below with any book recommendations you have or thoughts on any of the books mentioned on the blog! 

~K. Newell 



April Booklist

Work has been crazy, which I actually find to be a good thing; however, it has really cut into my book reading time. I find myself too busy to make it through the stack of books that keeps building up in my apartment. Fortunately, time has not stopped me from posting this month’s book list, which includes a book I’m currently reading, a book that I love to go back and reread, and a book on my never ending list of books to read in the future.

  1. The book I am currently reading: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin- This is a book I’m currently reading with a friend of mine for our very own book club! Neither one of us can put it down, and I’m betting you won’t be able to either! I have enjoyed learning a little bit about Queen Victoria through this fiction lens.   
  2. The book I will always be rereading: Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt- This book is my favorite young adult novels. Lauren Barnholdt is an author I’m always looking for when I enter a bookstore. In this book I love the characters and the journey they take. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read YA romance novels. 
  3. The book that is next on my list: Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins- This book has connecting characters from Anna and the French Kiss  and Lola and the Boy Next door– both books that I have read and enjoyed. I’m excited to see what the final book in the series has in store. 

Hope you enjoy!

One for the Bucket List

Over Spring Break I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Rome with one of my best friends. (Check her out here!) Traveling is one of my favorite activities, and I was so excited to visit Rome because it was at the top of my bucket list! I may have several posts about Rome because I had such an amazing time in the city….so be prepared!

I want to start off talking about my favorite memories from Rome. When you return from a trip, the first question everyone asks is “what was your favorite thing you did?” This particular question is one I really hate to answer. In fact, I tried to come up with my answer before I even made it home, just to avoid those awkward moments where I pause and can’t think of anything to say. When I was asked this question, I found myself answering with some of my favorite moments from the trip instead of just a site I saw or an activity in which I participated. I think talking about my favorite memories makes for an easier and more entertaining answer than the average “oh I really loved the Vatican” response.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this trip, so here’s my list of favorite moments:

IMG_4075.JPGCastel Sant’Angelo- The sky was so blue, and when I made it to the top, the view from Rome took my breath away.IMG_9748.JPG

Cannoli- I never knew I had such a love for cannoli, but now all I can think about is eating more cannoli. I especially like the shells that are coated in Chocolate! (Note that I never got a picture of cannoli before I started to eat it.)

IMG_9806.jpgRoman Forum- I am a bit of a history nerd/ political science enthusiast, so visiting the Roman Forum and seeing where every day Roman life took place so long ago was definitely a highlight of my trip. Taylor and I walked up Palatine Hill, and while it was exhausting, it provided a great view of the Forum. I also remember being really thirsty by this point in our day. I guess that’s what a lot of walking will do to you!

IMG_9976.jpgIl Papa- While in Rome, Taylor and I saw the Pope and ended up being only about 15 feet away from him! This was one of those days where timing really worked out well for us!

IMG_9735.jpgSt. Peter’s Basilica- Nothing prepares you for the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica. I think what blew me away was the height of the ceilings. It seems like the Basilica is endless. Words cannot describe it; therefore, I hope that those of you reading this will someday make it to Rome to see for yourself.

Until next time!

~K. Newell




March Booklist

A double post today just for a quick note on the March booklist! This month, I challenge you to visit your local bookstore. With technology, it’s easy to get all of our book needs online. However, sometimes you just need a little R&R and a bookstore is the best place to get that.

Hope you enjoy these recommendations!

  1. Before I Fall– Lauren Oliver: This book has been turned into a movie and is in theaters now! Read it before you go and check out the movie trailer here!
  2. Girls in the Moon– Janet McNally: As you could probably tell, I love music. This book covers music, boys, and family. Try pairing it with this month’s playlist!
  3. Did I Mention I Love You– Estelle Maskame: Part 1 of a trilogy about a boy and a girl who fall in love…oh and they are step siblings. It may sound a little weird, but I couldn’t put it down!

March is for Music

Today’s blog post is all about the music. It’s a new month, so that means a new monthly playlist! It includes a few of my favorites at the moment.

March’s Playlist:

That’s What I Like- Bruno Mars

Eraser- Ed Sheeran

Body Like a Backroad- Sam Hunt

Can’t Shake You- Gloriana

Please Don’t Go- Joel Adams

Woke up in Nashville- Seth Ennis

Galway Girl- Ed Sheeran


Ed Sheeran’s music is packed full of raw, emotional lyrics. You can listen to his songs and know exactly what the narrator is feeling. The honesty in his music is what makes him an incredible artist, but it doesn’t just end with the songs he writes. Ed Sheeran is by far one of the best talents I have seen live. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of his concerts, I strongly recommend it. Here’s a look at some of my favorite songs from his new album:

  1. Castle on a Hill
  2. Eraser
  3. Save Myself
  4. Happier
  5. Supermarket Flowers

I’m Back!

After a 12 month long hiatus…I’m back! Between graduating college, moving to a new city, and starting a new job, it has been quite a year. I’m slowly starting to feel more like a full-fledged adult, but there are moments where I have a hard time wrapping my head around where I am in liFullSizeRender-4.jpgfe. I’ve always believed that good friendship are the key to happiness, and I’m here to report that that doesn’t change in the “real world.” I don’t know where I would be without all of my amazing friends in my life, so this post is for them.

Friendship is what got me blogging in the first place. My friend Taylor has been very influential in both the start (and now the restart) of my blog. Only a true friend could convince you to do something you hate, and for me, that is writing. You can check out my influential friend on Lefty
Living Life.
Hopefully her style inspires you the way it does me.

So, you’re probably wondering, what’s the point of this post? I don’t really care all that much about your wonderful friends, no matter how amazing they may be. My response is that today, I want to talk about a journal I received for Christmas from my friend Valerie. It is called 52 Lists and provides weekly inspiration for a year. The book follows you through the seasons and asks you to reflect on topics such as your goals for the year and the moments from your past that have shaped you the most. It’s nice to take a minute once a week to appreciate life and the wonderful moments within it. For this week’s list I’m working on a list of songs that make up the soundtrack of my life. Music is such an important part of who I am, but I find that I’m having trouble picking songs that reflect that. I like to make playlists for my friends, but it seems making one for myself requires a bit more inner reflection than I would have thought. I challenge you to take a moment this week to reflect on your life, who you are, and who you want to be. You may find there are aspects of your life you take for granted when things get a little busy. I know I do.


Goodbye January Hello February

For some reason February has always been one of my favorite months, and this month, I want honor that by establishing a couple of traditions. I am going to try to introduce a book list and a discovery list from the past month as a way of closing one chapter and starting a new one.

This month’s book list:

  1. The Presidents Club- Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
  2. The Gardner Heist- Ulrich Boser
  3. Murder at Hatfield House- Amanda Carmack

January’s Discoveries

  1. History Music Video
    1. One Direction released one final music video before their hiatus. Images from the past provide viewers with nostalgia, but Niall’s glasses really stole the show.
  2. Fox’s Grease Live
    1. Overall, I thought the production was well done, even with all of the rain. Vanessa Hudgens stole the show with her incredible portrayal with Rizzo, and who knew how well Doody could sing?
  3. Snow Days
    1. Snow Days continue to be the best days of the year!
  4. Peach Green Tea Lemonade
    1. Starbuck’s has introduced this drink, and it is awesome.
  5. Chief’s playoff win
    1. I am a huge Chief’s fan and for the first time in 22 years the team finally won a playoff game. Going from 1-5 to making the playoffs was more than I could have imagined and winning even one playoff game was enough for me. 
  6. Fossil Bags
    1. I recently discovered new Fossil bags….and I am in love….that is all.
  7. Agent Carter is Back!
    1. I love watching a strong female lead kick some butt. I couldn’t be happier that the second season of Agent Carter is here.

Here’s to a great February 2016

~Kathryn Newell

Snow Days Are the Best Days!


As the East Coast witnessed this passed weekend, winter is upon us. I, for one, love the snow. Nothing’s better than sitting at a window overlooking the falling snow, with a book and hot cocoa in your hands. Stepping outside in that snow to go skiing, sledding, or even to build a snowman with friends are also perfect activities for snow days. Memories made in the snow last a lifetime. As I’m nearing the end of college, I’m reminded to treasure every opportunity I have to spend time with the amazing people in my life. Here’s to a new year with great friends and amazing moments.


My Top Six Snow Activities:

  1. Baking cookies with my mom (Especially snowball cookies!)
  2. Reading a good book (I’m currently into Elizabethan mystery novels)
  3. Skiing (Fresh powder and moguls make for the perfect skiing conditions)
  4. Sledding (The bigger the hill the better)
  5. Playing in the snow (Snow Angels anyone?)
  6. Putting on a favorite movie (Farris Bueller’s Day Off)


Music and Family: The Best Life Has to Offer

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

I used the holiday to take a nice needed break to be with friends, family, and catch up on TV shows. My favorite award show, by far, has to be the American Music Awards, which aired last Sunday night. By now there has been significant coverage on the best and worst acts and who had the best and worst outfit of the night (did you see all of Jennifer Lopez’s costume changes?), but I thought I would list out some of my top moments from the night anyway.

  1. Jennifer Lopez’s mashup at the opening- there are no questions about it, that woman can dance
  2. Demi Lovato’s “Confident” was strong along with her vocals
  3. Nick Jonas showed the world that he is quite a talented individual by highlighting his piano, drum, and vocal talents (but then again, I’ve known that for years)
  4. One Direction had a solid performance by singing one of my favorites, “Perfect”
  5. Justin Bieber ended the night with quite the water works, during which I spent the majority of the time being concerned someone was going to slip fall

There were some not so great moments of the night, but I like to focus on the positive. Music has always helped me through the good times and the bad, and I love any night where I am able to watch multiple performers show what they can do.

This week I played an old Mayday Parade album, if you haven’t listened to them you should check them out. I love going back and listening to tracks I haven’t heard in awhile. It can be refreshing to listen to something different.

~Kathryn Newell

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