Tuesday, December 6, 2016

BC9: Part 4

22 February 2016
Day 3
Sea Day

The following day was another 'Fun Day at Sea'. Again, I started my morning by reading on the Lido deck while eating some breakfast.

Carnival is really great about having age-appropriate activities for kids and teens. When I was young enough to participate, I always had a blast.  They divide the kids into categories based on age: Camp Ocean (2-11), which is divided into three subgroups: Penguins, Stingrays, and Sharks; Circle "C" (12-14), and Club O2 (15-17). Arabella was in the Stingray (6-8) category of Camp Ocean. In the past, my shy sister didn't really attend camp; however, she attended quite a few times on this cruise, including this morning. After going to Camp for a few activities, it was time for me to pick her up.

We decided to play mini golf, followed by some soccer in the SportSquare. Afterwards, we meet our parents for lunch on the Lido deck.

Later, Bella and I met with Anna, a family friend who's the same age as me whose family usually cruises with ours, and went to the ship's library to play a few card games. We all love the game garbage, so we played that for a while, followed by a game of war. The library is a floor below as all the shops, so we looked around in each of them and bought some candy in the onboard candy store, Cherry on Top. Next, we headed to the Arcade for air hockey and, Bella's favorite, claw games.

That evening I went for a walk as the sun was setting, which I captured (above), followed by a night relaxing in the hot tub with Anna.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BC9: Part 3

21 February 2016
Day 2
Sea Day

My family woke up early today again. I woke up with them, took a picture of the sunrise from our balcony (below), then went straight back to sleep (like a true teenager).

The Gulf of Mexico from our balcony

When I awoke again I headed to the Lido deck with breakfast in mind. I brought a book with me and read poolside after eating. Around 10, I met my family at the casino for the casino slot pull we were participating in with our cruising group. Since it officially started at 10:30, my dad and I played a few slots (and he snuck the picture on the left). This was my first time ever in a casino! No one in my family scored any money on the slot pull, but a couple of our friends did. Afterwards, my dad and I played roulette, which I liked and was surprisingly good at.

The rest of the afternoon was leisurely. I went back to the room and read, followed by a nap. At one point, I was awoken by a member of the crew announcing that they were slowing down because of a potential raft out at sea. This raft was on the same side of the ship that our room was on, so I went on the balcony to search for the raft. It was sunny and difficult to see, so I used the binoculars that my dad brought with us to try to locate it. From far away it did appear to be a floating raft, but once the ship got closer, we were able to see that it was actually a big buoy. 

This was also the first elegant night aboard the cruise! On all Carnival ships there is at least one night where everyone dresses super fancy (this one has two). My family and our cruising friends planned ahead and brought color coordinating outfits.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: August

The Selection, The Elite, and The One
by Kiera Cass

This trio of books can essentially be described as The Bachelor in a post-war time period. Following a war between Asia and North America, new countries were formed including the setting of these novels, Illéa. Illéa was named after its creator, Gregory Illéa, with an eight-tiered caste system, which is explored more deeply in the third book, The One. America Singer and her family are considered fives in the caste system, making them artists. Her family is better off than some, but they often still struggle to afford food and other basic necessities. Since women take on the caste of the person they marry, they rarely marry down; however, America is fully ready to marry Aspen, a six, who she's been secretly dating for several years. America is the only child in the Singer family eligible to enter the selection, a competition between 35 girls from across Illéa to win Prince Maxon's heart and become the future queen. Her whole family, especially her mom, pressure her to enter the competition, but she refuses until after Aspen encourages her to, thinking that she won't be chosen, but still not wanting to hold her back. Alas, the day comes and much to America's dismay (and her mother's excitement) she is chosen for the selection and is soon shipped off to the castle. America and her fiery red hair quickly make her a fan favorite, but this shifts often throughout each novel. Similarly, her relationship with Prince Maxon changes frequently, and often quickly, throughout all the books. The girls quickly realize that living in the castle isn't all it's cracked up to be when they find themselves under rebel attacks several times in each book. The motive behind the attacks is explored more when the attacks become more frequent and more deadly. In the end, can America learn to love Maxon, letting go of her long-time lover Aspen? Will Prince Maxon choose America to be his bride? And will they both live to tell about it? Well, you'll just have to read them to find out. Series rating 6/10. Buy The Selection here on Amazon. Buy The Elite here on Amazon. Buy The One here on Amazon. Buy the box set here from Amazon.

Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Jo is a sixteen-year-old high school student living in Los Angeles who just so happens to be a paparazzo. Her small frame and height give her an advantage in the field and she can easily make a few hundred dollars a night, all of which she's saving to go to a photography school to make her dreams of becoming a portrait photographer come true. Her favorite star to shoot is teenage heartthrob Ned Hartnett, so when she's offered sixty thousand dollars to go undercover and take pictures of Ned at a retreat facility, she finds it way too hard to say no. Next thing she knows, she's face to face with Ned and the more she gets to know him the harder it is to sell his pictures. Faced with a huge moral decision, deciding whether or not to sell the pictures and make her dreams come true, or respect Ned's privacy, Jo's job just got harder when she finds out where the sixty thousand is coming from and why. Rating 5/10. Buy it here on Amazon.

If you read any of these books or have read them tweet me here!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: July

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

After her mom dies, Lina gets sent to Italy to live with a man she's never met (who just so happens to live in a World War II memorial aka a cemetery. Oh, and he's her dad, too!) to fulfill her mother's dying wish. Howard and Lina's relationship is awkward, to say the least, as they attempt to bond over food and her mom. However, Lina's trip to Italy takes a turn for the better when she's given her mom's old journal from her time spent in Italy as an art student. Lina finds herself visiting the same statues, fountains, bridges, churches, and places as her mom did, alongside her new Italian-American friend, Ren, all while trying to find out more about her mom's mysterious lover and why she left a place she loved so dearly. Rating 10/10 (Warning: This book may cause gelato cravings and inspire a trip to Italy). Buy it here on Amazon.

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Meet Erin, Isabel, Apple, and our hilarious narrator, who are all totally obsessed with the 4-piece boyband, The Ruperts. When tickets for the boy's NYC Thanksgiving Special sell out before any of the girls can get their hands on one (let alone four), they plot to stay at the same hotel as their beloved band members. The p is that at some point they'll meet them and get tickets to the show; however meeting one of the band members and holding him hostage was definitely not part of that plan! Now that they have access to his phone and hotel room, these four girls have the power to ruin his life. But when he ends up dead, who's to blame, and will they end up meeting the rest of the boyband? Rating 8/10. Buy it here on Amazon.

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

"What if..." are Summer Everett's two favorite words. She's about to board a plane to France where she'll meet cute boys, visit art museums, and help her father in his painting studio. But what if she'd taken that one phone call before boarding? Instead, her summer would be spent taking a photography course and growing closer to her long-time crush, Hugh Tyson. In both summers, Summer experiences ups and downs, including the heartbreak of find out her family secret, all while growing more confident in herself. Rating 6/10. Buy it here on Amazon.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

A hilarious story centered around a six-year-old with cancer? (I never thought I'd be typing that before) Annika Truman's little brother, Jeremy, has cancer. Annika Truman's little brother is also obsessed with the TV show Teen Robin Hood. So, in a last-ditch effort to get her brother to think positively about his upcoming brain surgery, Annika pulls out all the stops. She tells her brother that she has a genie with two wishes left. The last wish they'll use for his surgery, but he can use the second wish to ask for whatever he wants. Annika thinks he'll use it to ask for the Teen Robin Hood action figure that he's been wanting; instead, he asks for the Real Teen Robin Hood to teach him how to shoot arrows. Now, Annika must travel to Hollywood to track down Steve Raleigh, the actor who plays Robin Hood, and bring him to her hometown to meet Jeremy before his surgery. What could go wrong? Rating 10/10. Buy it here on Amazon.

If you read any of these books or have read any of these books tweet me here!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Adventures with Arabella

Seeing as both of my parents work throughout the entire year, my sister, Arabella, attends camp during her summer break, just as I did when I was her age. However, last week my family was going up to Gladwin for an extended weekend (Friday- Sunday). On Thursday, my sister wasn't scheduled to go to camp, so I stepped in and took her out for the day. 


First, I drove her to Grand Blanc to go see The Secret Life of Pets, which had just been released in theatres the week prior. She loved it (!!) and her favorite character was Duke, a fun-loving, bed-hogging Newfoundland (voiced by Eric Stonestreet), while mine was Chloe, a sarcastic tabby cat that loves food (voiced by Lake Bell). Afterward, we ate lunch at the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, followed by a short trip to a playground before we headed back to our home. After playing inside for a few hours, we headed back out, this time to the Linden Library and Mill pond to return some books and take some pictures.

Afterwards, we headed to the wooden park in town where she played for a short time (monkey bars are her favorite) before we headed back home for dinner.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: June

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Would recommend if you want to read about the prestigious Sinclair family's dramatic summer breaks while helping the main character and narrator fill in the blanks on what really happened during summer fifteen after she suffers a traumatic brain injury that leaves her with amnesia. What really happened will shock you all and the ending is something you'd never expect. Rating 10/10 (and possibly my new favorite book). Buy it on Amazon here.

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

What happens to a teenage girl after her boyfriend skyrockets to
the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and every other girl's heart? How will fame and stardom affect the inseparable teen's relationship? Read all about it in Now and Forever. Rating 7/10. Buy it on Amazon here.

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Crime fighting Russian/Ukranian spy story meets teenage romance novel? Eight years ago, Natasha Romanoff (AKA Black Widow) saved her mini- me, Ava Orlova, from Ivan Somodorov, their harsh and remorseless Red Room instructor. Now, after many years without contact, Natasha must seek out a less than enthused Ava after she gets intel that Ivan (who was previously thought dead) is now on his way to America to retrieve his prized red heads. She runs into a little trouble after abducting Ava at a fencing tournament when she's first followed by Alex Manor, a boy Ava vividly dreams about, then pursued by Ivan's personal gunmen. What happens when they find out what Ivan is really up to and how are Ava and Natasha truly connected, you'll have to read it to find out. Rating 8/10. Buy it on Amazon here.

If you read any of these books or have read any of these books tweet me here!