Endless Bliss | Happy Lifestyle Blog: October 2014

Halloween Pumpkin DIE-orama.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and one of my favorite parts of fall. I try to carve or decorate a pumpkin every year, and this year, I saw a pin on Pinterest that just inspired me, and I decided to run with it, and it turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself. 

I did this all while watching this week's episode of Supernatural, so that may have inspired some extra morbidity. What's so great about my pumpkin diorama is that everything I used is from the Dollar Tree! How awesome is that?! And of course, major shoutout to Jon for helping me carve the diorama part out. 

If you want to make this pumpkin, you totally can. It's easier than you think. All you need is:
A pumpkin (le duh)
A knife 
Spoon (or an ice-cream scoop)
Navy paint
Yellow paint
Large foam brush
Small paintbrush 
Mini skeletons
Scary knick knacks
Black cardstock
Hot glue gun

1. Use the knife to cut an opening in the pumpkin then scrape out all the nastiness with a spoon (I used an ice-cream scoop. Worked liked a charm).

2. Paint the inside of the pumpkin with navy paint using the large foam brush.

3. Use the small paintbrush to splatter yellow paint on the inside of the pumpkin (hello starry night).

4. Spread dirt onto the bottom of the pumpkin.

5. Place the small knick knacks and the stick (creepy tree) wherever you desire. Spread more dirt around the knick knacks if you'd like.

6. Break up the skeletons and scatter the pieces about as desired. 

7. Cut the black cardstock into bat shapes then thread some string through one end of the bat. Tie the string around the tack then stick the tack into the top of the pumpkin for hanging bats!

8. Use a hot glue gun to glue the crow to the top of the pumpkin.

9. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

10. Wala! Admire your handy work!

I had so much fun putting this pumpkin together with the help of Jon. He did all the nitty gritty stuff like carving the pumpkin, collecting the dirt, and finding a good branch to use as a tree. I did all the fun stuff! Making this pumpkin diorama definitely put me in the Halloween mood!

I hope y'all have a super fun Halloween!

What are your Halloween plans?

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So About This Whole NaNoWriMo Thing...

Okay, y'all, I actually decided to take the plunge and participate in NaNoWriMo this year. As much as I love writing blogs, writing a book has always been a dream of mine. In middle school, my friend, Sammi, and I came up with an idea for a book, and while that didn't pan out, the idea of writing a book stuck with me. I've started writing two books and a children's book series since then and haven't finished, but I have a good feeling about this one. I'm going into NaNoWriMo with a completely new idea, and I'm really loving the direction that it's going so far in the planning stages.
So what is NaNoWriMo?
For those that don't know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place in November, and it's basically a way for aspiring novelists who have had an idea in the back of their minds for awhile but haven't had the time or motivation to actually take the plunge and write a book to join thousands of like-minded individuals in the same boat and take time to focus on writing and finishing your book (run-on sentence, much?). As a participant, your goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. If you do that, you become a winner, which is awesome. Everyone can win! And as great as it is to get to 50,000 words, the ultimate goal is to finish the first draft of a novel. 
I've loved the idea behind NaNoWriMo ever since I first heard about it, but this is the first year that I'm diving in and really doing it. I've already connected with some writing buddies through the website and Twitter chats, and it's amazing what ideas you come up with through creative conversations and brainstorming with people you've never met before. I've loved connecting with aspiring novelists who have participated in NaNoWriMo before and even those who are first-timers like me. It's also great to get an outside perspective on something you've been working on. I've pretty much had tunnel vision with my novel for quite some time, and by talking out plots points with both writing buddies on NaNoWriMo and also Jon, I've been able to create something that I'm really excited to write about and that I think will end up becoming something awesome.
So what have I been doing to prepare for November?
As I've said before, I've been connecting with people on the NaNoWriMo site. I have a few writing buddies, and I've also found a few fellow bloggers who are participating in NaNo as well. I've have also joined two Twitter chats and watched a webinar with NaNoWriMo's founder, Chris Baty. I've connected with fellow NaNo's in my area, Shreveport/Bossier. Hopefully I'll be able to attend the local launch party and bounce some ideas off of them.
Because I love music so much, I've created a playlist for each of the key characters in my book, as well as a playlist for one of my main settings and one with some slow, mellow songs for writing. It's amazing how much these songs have impacted my characters, because they fit them perfectly. 
I'm also a very visual person, so I created collages with pictures that represent my characters. Pictures include outfits that my character may wear, hairstyles, shoes, physical attributes (such as eye color, facial hair, etc.), and so much more. The combination of the music and these collages have really made my characters come to life. 
Of course, I've also made outlines for my book and even had Jon read over them to see if they made sense and if the general flow of it all was okay. I've run my idea past a few people just to see if they think it's even interesting and if it's something that they would like to read.
As you can probably tell, I'm getting really pumped about my book, and I can't wait to see what results come out of participating in NaNoWriMo. All that being said, my blog will probably be a lot less active in the month of November while I'm delving into this world of my own creation and hopefully coming out of it with something that I'm really proud of.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo?
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7 of My Book Boyfriends.

photo credit: risaikeda via photopin cc

Admit it. When you've been reading a book, you've fallen head over heels for a fictional character. Surely, I'm not the only one. It's amazing how authors tend to write these perfectly imperfect characters that are so easy to fall for. These are some characters that I fell in love with while reading. 

7. Clay Jensen
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I know that Thirteen Reasons Why focuses on the story of Hannah, but I really adored Clay and the story that we got to hear from his perspective. I love that he just kind of developed this crush on a girl and watched (non-creepily) from afar until he finally had the courage to dive in. You can tell that he has a big heart, and what more could you want in a leading man? 

6. Xander 
Matched by Ally Condie
I'm so upset that Cassia (*spoiler alert*) didn't pick Xander. Seriously, he's perfect. They grew up together, and they knew everything about each other. He was willing to do anything for her, and she threw that away on a whim. Argh! But enough about Cassia's stupidity. I love that Xander was still loyal to Cassia even after she screwed him over. You can tell that he's willing to do anything for those that he loves and the things that he believes in. He joined the rebellion at a young age without a second thought because he stands by his beliefs and his choices. He's just overall a good guy in my opinion. 

5. Prince Maxon
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Aside from him being irrational and quick to jump to conclusions at times, Prince Maxon is as dreamy as you'd expect a prince to be. I wouldn't want to meet Maxon in the conditions of the books though. I don't think I could handle all that madness. If I wanted that, I would just hop on over to The Bachelor signups, but no thanks. Maxon is super intelligent and thoughtful, and he's willing to bend the rules a little bit to make people happy. Hello, Mr. Perfect.

4. Will Blakelee
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
We'll start with the obvious. He's obviously hott (two T's) with an athletic body, so that alone gets him an A++. Beyond that, he's pretty much perfection. He's clever and keeps people on their toes. He's sweet with a heart of gold. Everyone loves him. He's mysterious. Plus, he's secretly rich, and doesn't think he's better than people because of it. Bonus: He loves animals. I mean, come on! Of course this guy only exists in books. 


3. Levi
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
What I love about Levi is that he is so imperfect. He's not the most attractive guy on campus, and he's not the most intelligent, but he likes what he likes, and he marches to the beat of his own drum. He's not afraid to express himself and his thoughts, and he doesn't worry about the opinions of others. Plus, he's funny. I think that's a must when it comes to fictional boyfriends. He just has a presence about him, and he can't walk into a room without you being aware of it. He's outgoing, and everyone loves him, including me.  

2. George Weasley
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Some may go for Harry. Others may go for Ron. Some may even go for Neville, but not this girl. I always adored the twins. Fred and George were always hilarious and confident, and there was certainly never a dull moment with them. In addition to making everyone laugh, they also had big hearts. They were brave and willing to fight alongside Harry against the Dark Lord. They risked their lives for the greater good, and that's such a beautiful thing. Of course, I love both of the Weasley twins, but as morbid as it sounds, I did choose George over Fred because (*spoiler alert*) Fred doesn't survive in the end. Sad. 


1. Augustus Waters
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
It was impossible for me not to fall in love with Gus. He is seriously everything any girl would want in a guy. He's honest and says whatever is on his mind. He's passionate about living life, even though he knows that his days may be numbered. He is funny with a huge heart and is willing to go above and beyond for the people that he loves. Who wouldn't want that?


What fictional characters have you fallen in love with?

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Make 6 Freezer Meals in 60 Minutes (or Less).

Warning: You may become obsessed with freezer meals after trying these recipes.

I know I'm not alone when I say that cooking every night can easily become a hassle. This is why I was attracted to the idea of freezer meals. It's so easy because you just take an hour one day to mix and prepare all your meals for the week (or longer) and then go on your merry way. 

The freezer meals I'm sharing today are all ones that I found on Pinterest and slightly adapted for my own tastes or reduced to feed just two people. They're also all recipes for slow cooking in a crock pot all day, but you can always just defrost them and cook them in the oven for a reduced amount of time as well. 

General Steps:
1. Gather all of your ingredients

2. Label your freezer bags with what the recipe is and how long to cook it in the crock pot

3. Mix ingredients in the freezer bag

4. Place freezer bag in the freezer

These five recipes will make six freezer meals. (Note that I made two of the pork chops freezer meal, but the ingredients listed are just for one meal). For your convenience, I've compiled the ingredients into a shopping list! I would recommend putting it in the refrigerator the night before to thaw so that it'll be ready in the morning to just throw into the crock pot.

- 3-4 pieces of chicken (thighs or breasts)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 packets ranch mix
- 3 cloves minced garlic
Cook on high for 3 hours.
(Note: This recipe is a bit salty, but I like salt, so I love it. If you're not big on salt, reduce the amount of ranch mix seasoning or add some milk before cooking.)

- 3-4 pieces of chicken (thighs or breasts)
- 1 cup teriyaki sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

- 4-6 pieces of chicken (thighs or breasts)
- 12 oz. BBQ sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

(I made two freezer meals out of all the pork chops I bought)
- 4-6 thick-sliced pork chops
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 2 packets ranch mix
- 1 cup milk (don't put in freezer bag)
Cook on high 3-4 hours after adding 1 cup of milk to the mix.

- 4-6 pieces of chicken (thighs or breasts)
- Fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp. - I just bought lemon juice, but it's up to you!)
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Cook on low for 3-6 hours.

I'm seriously obsessed with freezer meals now. They're convenient, and the meat is always so tender and juicy. Not to mention, when I come home from work, the first thing I smell is the delicious aroma of an amazing meal that I didn't even have to slave over.

Have you ever tried freezer meals? What are some of your favorite freezer meal recipes? 

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Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies by Christie Young (Book Review).

As a recent college graduate, I feel like I'm always looking at articles and advice for women in their 20's. Whether it's things you should do before you turn 30 or how you know you're turning into an adult or anything of the sort, you better believe that I'm going to stop and take a moment to read it.

When I stumbled upon Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies, I knew that this would be a book that I would enjoy. I love articles, books, etc. that offer advice in a comical way because it shows that all of the insecurities you have, all the weird things you do, and all the unspeakable things you think are things that other people have, do, and think as well. It really makes me feel like I'm part of this 20-something club where we're all just trying to figure out how to live life in this awkward, yet exciting stage. 

Girl Talk is unique in that it isn't a traditional book; it's told through both pictures and words drawn by Christie Young. It's full of sarcasm, humor, and little truths that some of us may not ever have the courage to speak aloud. It forces us to relive all of our embarrassing moments as well as the moments that we'd love to relive forever. 

Some highlights for me: 
Festivals: I love that it gives you advice on what to pack and that she also included book festivals and ComicCon, because we all know I'm officially obsessed with both of those.

Friends Forever: This section pretty much gives a breakdown of the types of friends you have including best friends, former friends, an hour late friends, a dollar short friends, the "I'm so busy" friends, and several more. You'll find yourself reading each one and automatically assigning one of your friends to that category. 
Holidays: For Halloween, it mentions Hocus Pocus, and we all know that's a must watch in October (and year-round)!

One thing I must say is that some sections of the book made me think it was for an audience older than me. There were a few things that I couldn't relate to and others that I hadn't experienced yet. It does have a few 90's references that I could totally get down with, like Ashanti and Sister, Sister

I give this book a 3.5 out of 5. While it did include a lot of hilarity, I felt like I wasn't the intended audience for the book. But if you're looking for a quick read with a bit of sarcasm and quirkiness and also a bit of advice, then Girl Talk may be exactly what you're looking for.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

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Simply BOUQ-iful!

I remember when I had my first boyfriend when I was fifteen-years-old. I pestered him for about a week to buy me flowers because I just thought that's what boyfriends were supposed to do. When he finally got me flowers, I was elated. I don't even remember what kind he bought me or what they looked like. I just remember the happy feeling of getting flowers (even though I knew I was going to get them because I pretty much begged for them. Sheesh. So demanding.). 

I think most women can relate to the happy feeling of receiving a bouquet of flowers, which is why I was so excited when I heard about Bouqs. It's an online company based in Venice, California that specializes in bringing fresh flowers to the flowers' recipient and unforgettable customer service to the buyer. I could talk all day about how awesome my flowers are (because they are pretty dang gorgeous), but the customer service I received during this whole process was amazing. 

As a blogger, I receive emails all the time from companies who want to work with me, but a lot of the time, I can tell that they haven't even read one of my posts, have no idea what my blog is about, and they talk more about what's in it for them rather than what they can do for me. The customer service that I received from Bouqs was so fun, and the person I corresponded with, Adam, was personable and just nice. If I got that kind of treatment, imagine the treatment that you, the consumer, would get. Amazing, right?

Okay, back to the flowers. I ordered the Hot Lava Bouq, because I was so attracted to the bright yellow and pink flowers. I have a horrible camera, and even that couldn't stop these flowers from looking flawless (#iwokeuplikedis). 

Awesome things about Bouqs:
- Shipping is always free. Read: Always.
- Their customer service is incomparable.
- You can choose from three different size bouqs: Original, Deluxe, and Grand (helloooo options)
- There's always some kind of special going on.
- They're eco-friendly (and straight from the farms of an active volcano).
- They believe in giving back
- The checkout process is super easy.
- Their flowers are gorgeous.
- If they're good enough for Lea Michele, they're good enough for me.

A photo posted by Lea Michele (@msleamichele) on

I could go on for days, but those are the highlights. Working in hospitality, I know that people love to do little things for people to make their days or make them feel special, but they don't always have a convenient way to do that. Now, if you want to, say, order flowers online, there's finally a user-friendly website where you can just use your credit card at checkout and have your flowers delivered whenever and wherever you want them to be delivered.

So next time you want to send your parents or siblings or friends or coworkers or anyone a little somethin' somethin', you should definitely check out The Bouqs Co.
Have you ever received flowers from someone? 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary Bouq for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Haaaaave you met Taylor?

Hi! My name is Taylor and I blog at A Cup of Tay. I love traveling, can never decide what to wear, have an unhealthy relationship with Starbucks, and turn into J Cole at karaoke parties. A Cup of Tay is where I document the craziness that is my life, complete with a little humor and a lot of sass. 

Check out these posts to learn a little bit more about Taylor:
A Letter from 30-Year-Old Tay
19 Things Every Blogger Knows to be True
Life Lessons from Tiny Taylor
What is your most memorable Halloween costume?
My most memorable Halloween costume was the witch costume that my mom made me when I was in second grade. I had the whole package: the broom, the pointy hat with spiders hanging from the brim, and black lipstick. I wore that costume for like three years straight. 

What song are you currently obsessed with?
I'm currently obsessed with "Break Free" by Ariana Grande. This song totally pumps me up and gets me ready for whatever the day brings. 

If you could live a day in the life of anyone, who would you choose and why?
I would live a day in the life of Beyonce. I want to know what it is like for her to wake up every day and know she is one of the most powerful/perfect women on the planet. Also, I totally want to play with Blue.

Name 5 things that make you happy. 
1. Spending time with my boyfriend (we're in a LDR so those times can be rare!). 

2. Learning something new. I feel like with my blog, I'm always learning some new way to do things or improve my craft, and it makes me excited.

3. Simple things, like a cup of good tea first thing in the morning. 

4. Visiting new places. I've recently caught the travel bug, and I love seeing new sights and trying new cuisines.

5. Having goals to work toward. Goals give me direction, and meeting them makes me feel accomplished and happy. 

For more from Taylor, follow the links below!
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Best 10 Seconds of My Life (Dallas ComicCon).

I know what you're thinking: "Tiffany? At ComicCon? This doesn't make sense!" Even if you weren't thinking that, I definitely was when I was considering attending. I didn't even know there was a ComicCon in Dallas until I mentioned Supernatural on my blog recently, and someone commented saying they met Jensen Ackles there, and I was like whaaaat?! So I decided to check it out and see when the next ComicCon would be and who would be going. Little did I know that it was just a month away, and two people from my favorite book/movie series were going to be there - James and Oliver Phelps aka Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter

Now, if you've read my blog before, you know that my love for Harry Potter runs strong, so this was definitely a huge deal. What was saddening was that I already had plans the weekend of DCC, so the odds of me going were looking slim. But alas, I made it work, and it ended being an amazing day.

I don't think anything could have prepared me for the craziness that is ComicCon. I can't imagine what the big one in San Diego must be like, because this one was pretty cray. I knew to expect costumes, and a frequent question when I told people that I was going to DCC was "Are you dressing up?" Unfortunately, time was of the essence, and it slipped away from me, so no, I didn't dress up, and instead just sported my Hogwarts sweatshirt. I loved seeing all the work that other people put into their cosplay costumes though. A lot of attendees went to DCC all three days of the weekend. My sister and I only went on Sunday because that's when all the Weasley action was going down and Saturday was all about TTBF
"Go away, Anna!" "Okay, bye..." Met someone cosplaying Anna in line, and she was so sweet! A little boy came up and sang "Let It Go" to her. Absolutely precious. 

I'm not a Dr. Who fan, but how could I not take a picture with this guy?

When we first got there, we took some time to browse all the exhibitors. I was tempted to buy so much. There was a booth with records, and I wanted to buy at least five. Also, the amount of Supernatural stuff there was amazing, and everything was calling my name! I ended up not buying anything though, but it was really hard. There wasn't a booth that had anything with Harry Potter, which I was really disappointed in, but at the same time, it's a good thing, because I definitely would have bought some Harry Potter memorabilia. I feel like this was just the year for Harry Potter because my sister and I visited Harry Potter Studios in London and went to Platform 9 3/4 earlier this year. The only thing that would set it in stone would be to go to Harry Potter Land in Orlando. Hmm...

After a little browsing, we went upstairs around 10-ish to get in line to take our picture with the twins. Pictures didn't start until 11:15 am, but we wanted to get there early so we wouldn't have to wait as long. There ended up being a ton of people with the same idea. The line went pretty quickly though. They were literally just snapping the picture and moving you along. We still had a polite exchange with the twins with simple hellos. I unintentionally did a little jump when we got into the room. It was embarrassing, and I had no idea where it came from. Oliver started laughing at me. I didn't realize how tall they were! And they seriously smelled so good. It really was the best 10 seconds of my life. Well, probably not, but it's up there!

A photo posted by Tiffany Khyla White (@tiffanykhyla) on

After the picture was lunchtime. We headed outside to the food trucks. This was my first food truck experience, so I had to document it. We decided to go to the pizza truck, but we got gyros. They were so tasty!

We wandered around the exhibits a bit more after lunch. There were so many! If I actually liked comic books, I would have been in heaven. There were 50 cent and $1 comic books everywhere! People were going nuts. 

I thought it would be a good idea for us to get in line for the twins' panel around 1 pm so we could be toward the head of the line and get decent seats. Yea...'bout that. There were tons of people already there, and we ended up being toward the end of the winding first line. The line was so long that they had to move people into a separate area to line up. It was insane. Their panel started at 2 pm, and it was worth the wait. They're so silly and adorable, and I was literally hanging on their every word. They talked a bit about their acting careers and life on the set of Harry Potter. They were so sweet and humbled that so many people came out to see them. 
Waited in line for over an hour, but it was worth it. 
Horrible picture, but you can still tell that they're adorable. 

Also, James replied to two of my tweets, which pretty much made my life. 

I must say that DCC was my favorite part of the weekend. It was so exciting to see everyone's costumes and meet these people that I have idolized for so long. Simply incredible. The next DCC is in February, and if they bring some more awesome people in, I might make the drive back up to meet some more of my favorite celebs. 
Oh, and on the way out, we passed a Chevy Impala with a sun visor that had Dean and Castiel on it. Duh, I had to stop and snap a pic.
Have you ever been to ComicCon? 

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Texas Teen Book Festival 2014.

So last year, my sister and I made the drive down to Austin to go meet some of our favorite authors at the Austin Teen Book Festival, but mainly it was me because I read a lot, and my sister barely does, but I digress. We had so much fun last year, that we decided to drive five hours to do it all over again (now called the Texas Teen Book Festival). 

This year was a completely different experience. It was held at St. Edwards University, which has an absolutely beautiful campus, albeit confusing. They had a map telling us where to park for the festival, and we ended up parking in the wrong spot because 1) I don't know how to read maps, and 2) it was just all so confusing. I panicked, and I parked where I found a spot. I didn't get a ticket, so I guess it was all good. I guess it's impossible for us to go to the festival without getting lost, because we got lost last year too. Oops!

We were overall confused by the setup of everything, so we just sat down in the gym where most of the days' activities were being held, including the announcements. (Before I go on, I want to point out that their gym was carpeted. I don't understand why. Is there such thing as temporary carpeting? I don't know, but I just found it strange that their basketball gym was covered with a carpet. Moving on...) During said announcements, the authors walked across the stage and someone read an interesting fact about them. It was a lot of fun to see all of the authors' personalities. I hadn't read books by most of them, but I started adoring them after seeing them throughout the day.

The first activity was the Texas Throwdown Game Show. A girl named Sarah moderated, and she was so adorable and hilarious. It was three against three - Paolo Bacigalupi, Frank Portman, and Simmone Howell versus Marie Lu, Jason Reynolds, and Joelle Charbonneau. They did lots of fun tasks like karaoke (I'm still obsessed with the song Frank Portman sang inspired by his book, King Dork. The song was called "Cinthya with a Y," and now that I've typed that, it's going to be in my head for the rest of the day), chubby bunny (everyone's favorite game, and Jason came out victorious), and a talent portion (Marie Lu won with her drawing of a chubby bunny). Just overall fun times. 

Frank Portman singing my new favorite jam, "Cinthya with a Y"

A very important thing I need to mention is that I got to meet a fellow blogger at TTBF! I met Brenda from The Daily Mayo, and we took it upon ourselves to pose with this not-so-artsy sign because we like big books, and we cannot lie.

Next, was the first panel. Sister and I attended the "Come On Feel the Noise" panel, which I loved because it was filled with authors who had big music influences in their books. I read two of the books from this panel - If I Stay by Gayle Forman and The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos - but now I really can't wait to read the other two - King Dork by Frank Portman and Exile by Kevin Emerson. 

After the panel, we stood in line for an hour and a half to buy books. I kid you not. I don't know what they did differently last year, but when we bought books, it took a max of 20 minutes. This year, it was absolutely ridiculous, and what made it worse was that we were outside, so we stood in the blazing sun for an hour and a half just to buy books, and we missed the panel we wanted to go to. I hope they work on that for next year, because it was seriously awful. I'm glad I was able to buy the books though, because a couple of the authors left before I got them to sign a book for me, but I bought a couple books that were pre-signed. 

I also had a fun moment in line with Frank Portman, who is probably my new favorite person. After he left, I realized I should've asked for a picture, but I let the moment pass, and I'm sad. He retweeted me, and when I mentioned it to him, he thanked me, and he was just so humbled by the fact that I did that, and it really just made me happy. He seems like a nice guy, that one. And he writes catchy songs for his books, which gets him an A+ in my book (not that I have a book...yet). 

After waiting an hour and a half to buy books (only putting emphasis on that because I'm still upset that we missed meeting a few authors and some panels), we went back to the gym for all the keynote speeches/special talks. First was James Dashner, who is just as dashing as one would imagine. He really inspired me because he talked about his journey as far as writing goes. He shared how his first novel went from selling dozens of copies to getting The Maze Runner published. He also shared some fun bits about his family and how he gets to hug Dylan O'Brien. #jealous

Yes, those are pictures of James Dashner in high school, and no, I can't ever look at him the same again.

What I was most looking forward to was Scott Westerfeld's Special Talk. I've been reading his books since middle school. My favorite series are The Uglies series (obvs) and The Midnighters series. I got him to sign the first book in both series, because I'm just a tad bit excessive like that. Anyway, during his special talk, he talked about his writing journey, where he comes up with ideas, the importance of having a writing group, and he shared tidbits about Uglies and his new book, Afterworlds, that I really really really want to read, because it sounds incredible. 

The only decent picture I got of him during his speech. I really need to invest in a decent camera. 

The last panel of the day was the "From Shelf to Screen" panel, which was incredible. It was so interesting to hear the process of getting a book to the big/small screen. Books discussed in this panel were The Maze Runner by James Dashner, If I Stay by Gayle Foreman, and The 100  by Kass Morgan. It was moderated by Ransom Riggs, whose novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, will eventually become a movie. Ransom reminded me of Matthew Gray Gubler. I couldn't get the picture out of my head. They don't look like twins in pictures, but in real life, Ransom really looks like Matthew. It's uncanny. He even has some of the same mannerisms.

The closing speaker was Lauren Oliver, who is just absolutely adorable. She also talked about her journey to becoming a published author, and of course, her words were very inspiring to me as well.

The last part of the day was book signings! There were other signings held throughout the day, but I couldn't get to any of them because I was either 1) in a panel, 2) hearing a speaker, or 3) waiting in line for an hour and a half to buy books, which makes me so mad, because I really missed out on meeting some authors that I really wanted to meet. I didn't get to get books signed by James Dashner and Gayle Forman, even though I specifically bought books before the festival for them to sign. Arghhhh! 

I did get to meet Scott Westerfeld, which I'm thrilled about. He was my main reason for wanting to go to the festival. I have to admit, that I was so awkward, and when I told him that I had been reading his books since middle school, he said that I made him feel old. My bad. I'm happy that he was willing to sign two books for me though.

Like a kid in a candy store. Biggest. Smile. Ever.

I also met Lauren Oliver, who was super nice. We weren't supposed to take pictures at this point because the festival was ending, and all the authors were trying to get through their lines. Hence, this monstrosity. Eek!

I got to chat with Frank Portman in the line, as mentioned above, but I didn't get him to personalize my book. Luckily, I bought a signed copy. I also got my book signed by Kass Morgan, who is just so sweet. I finished reading The 100 before the festival, and I'm excited to read the second book in the series and watch the TV show as well. 

I met many of the other authors as well, and got them to sign my poster since I couldn't afford to buy everyone's books. I have a lot of books on my TBR list though. 

I was excited to meet Julie Murphy, because she was at the festival last year, but her book wasn't out yet. I can't wait to read Side Effects May Vary. I have a feeling I'm going to love it.

These are all of my signed books. They're so pretty!

I have to say that I had a better time at the book festival last year because it seemed like everything was more organized. Everything was in one place. There was no need to go outside for anything. I was able to attend almost every panel (this year, you could only choose two panels to go to aside from the "From Shelf to Screen" panel, because that was held by itself. The others were held three at the same time and only once each.). I also didn't have to wait so long to buy books last year (last time I'm mentioning it; promise). 

All that said, I still had a fun time at the book festival this year. I loved meeting the authors, meeting a fellow blogger, and getting lots of advice from authors that I really admire. Plus, I got tons of compliments on both my hair and my deathly hallows tattoo, which was really nice and unexpected. If there are awesome authors coming next year, I may find myself going for a third year.

Have you ever been to a book festival? What authors would you like to meet? 

read more " Texas Teen Book Festival 2014. "
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