Tag: about me

July 12, 2016

10 Bookish Facts About Me

Top Ten Tuesday

As a longtime, hardcore bookworm, books have made a huge impact on my life. Here’s a few bookish facts about me that you might not know.

  1. I earned my degree in English lit. My favorites? Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and W.B. Yeats. Best contemporary book I read in college? Possession. YOU. MUST. READ.
  2. My grandpa bought me the first Harry Potter book and launched my lifelong love of reading. I still remember the bookstore clerk handing us the book, saying “There’s this great new series about a wizard…”
  3. I usually prefer books over movies, but with the big epics (think Outlander and A Game of Thrones), I love being able to see the characters first, then read them.
  4. Oh, and the first time I red Outlander, I hated it. Blasphemy.
  5. I named a family cat Sebastian because I was reading Twelfth Night in college.
  6. On our last move, I had ten paper boxes (you know, the ones offices get paper shipments in) full of books.
  7. I am on a lifelong book-buying freeze, unless I absolutely love the book. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to fit them all in our house.
  8. Anything by Sarah J. Maas and Amie Kaufmann are excluded from that ban.
  9. We always do a literary tour stop and bookstores on our vacation! Seattle has been the best so far.
  10. There’s a very good chance our firstborn child will be named Hermione. Don’t tell M.

Share your top ten Tuesday post below! I’d love to get to know you. 🙂

Posted July 12, 2016 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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August 22, 2014

I’ve Got to Be Honest…

It drives me nuts when I feel like I’m not going 100%. For the last two weeks or so, I haven’t been able to give 100% on The Canon. 

To keep it short, life’s been a little long the past few weeks. Not bad, not at all. Hours at work are very long, so much that I come home, go to bed, and get back up to go back to work. I haven’t been able to answer comments or emails, even write posts well (feels like my mind is constantly falling asleep on me). Yesterday, my staff had to repeat each question to me twice. I think they found it funny, so there’s a bonus! 

Anyway, things are changing starting today. I have a post in the works for tonight (sneak peek here!) and I’m reorganizing everything. I don’t like being this stressed out, so time for change. When I feel frustrated or starting to lose it, I blast this…

It makes me smile and want to wear bright red lipstick to work today. Shaking it off, picking up the pieces, and moving forward. Thanks for sticking with me. 

Posted August 22, 2014 by Ellen in the canon talks, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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August 6, 2014

Behind the Canon | My Blogging Resources

We’ve all got tips and tricks up our sleeves when it comes to blogging.

Google Docs Most of the time, I prefer to write on paper…well, for everything, but I love the versatility of Google Docs. The cloud server has saved me many times, especially near the end of the semester in college when I, utterly sleep-deprived, printed out my paper at home and left it on the kitchen counter. Having a USB key was must, but Google Docs provided a great backup.

Draft If you haven’t checked out this site, please do! I found it on brit & co a few weeks ago and fell in love, especially with Hemingway mode. 

Evernote I didn’t really understand the power of Evernote until I was wandering in the grocery store and had a plot idea pop into my head. I had made notebooks for everything (shopping lists, stories, blog, recipes, etc) but hadn’t really used it. Evernote has saved my purse from the clutter of scraps of paper with random ideas scribbled all over them and I actually get my grocery shopping done (do you always forget that one thing, too?). I keep three blog notebooks on Evernote: a template notebook, a ideas notebook, and a review notes notebook. Having these three different areas to jot down blog ideas has made me much more efficient when I sit down to write.

Google Calendar I love the idea of those productivity timers, but I still haven’t found one that doesn’t drive me crazy. Blocking out time on my calendar was a productivity trick I used in college, especially when I was working on essays for four different lit classes. Setting brief timers to remind me to switch to the next task keeps me on track. It’s always such a great feeling to look back over my day to see what I’ve completed.
SimplyNoise and RainyMood Some people work really well with music, coffee shop sounds, or listening to the radio. I am not one of those people (although there are some Spotify playlists I’ve fallen in love with recently). SimplyNoise puts me in the zone, especially the oscillating brown noise. I pump out reviews and posts like there’s no tomorrow with these sites. Another favorite? Noisli!The customization makes it perfect for reading.
Pinterest This site is dangerous. It’s so easy to flip through pages and pages of hairstyles, makeup and cute DIY (at least, that’s what I look at). There are so many fabulous blogging tips and tricks that I’ve found, so I’ve devoted an entire board to it! I have become a better blogger from searching out Pinterest (and I make a mean cinnamon roll now as well).

Canva PicMonkey is a great site, but Canva’s easy-to-use interface and customizable colors have made it easy to create blog graphics. 

Twitter My go-to social media platform for The Canon. I love the challenge of writing 140 characters! It’s so easy to connect and promote on Twitter. The hilarious accounts I’ve found to follow are just a bonus!
Bloglovin’ Bloglovin’ has easily become my favorite blog reader. I gave Feedly a shot, but I love the big, clean interface of Bloglovin’. Make sure you follow The Canon

Are there any sites that are crucial to your blogging? Let me know! I love finding new favorites!

Posted August 6, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 4 Comments
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July 27, 2014

24 Lessons I’ve Learned by 24

It was my birthday early this week! M took me to San Francisco for the day (photos coming soon!) and on the way down, we talked about the random lessons we’ve learned over the years. 

1. Your parents were right. They will continue to be right about things.
2. Don’t ever say you’re bored…


3. People really are good at heart. Give them a chance.
4. It’s better to lose than to never try. 
5. Always take a book. You’ll never know when you have time to read!
6. There is nothing that can’t be fixed with a makeup shopping spree and a good friend.
7. Some things in life are free. The ones you have to work for are worth it.
8. Do what makes you happy. Life’s too short. 

9. People don’t really grow up. This is both good and bad.
10. Be polite. It’s free and it makes people happy. 
11. Mornings are better with coffee.
12. Let it go. Breathe.


13. Disneyland is really magic. 
14. Sometimes someone else’s bad mood has nothing to do with you (Sometimes = 99% of the time).
15. There isn’t a good way to break up with someone. Sorry.
16. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it wrong.
17. Count to three before you talk. You’ll be amazed what happens.
18. Show up, smile, do your best, and don’t worry about the outcome.
19. There’s no place like home.
20. Find someone who knows all your deep, dirty secrets and is head over heels in love with you anyway. 
21. Eat the frog first. 
22.  When in doubt/stressed/upset, go running. Then try to figure it out.
23.  “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” – Kathryn Stockett

24. Read about love, drama, war, humor, kindness, fairies, sports, whatever. Just read. Be curious. 

And just because this only always makes me smile…


Posted July 27, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 22, 2014

Sunday || The Book Blogger Test


I found this fun test on Books Keep Me Sane and fell in love with it. Consider yourself tagged!
What are your top three book pet hates?
  • When books in a series don’t match. I like to have either all paperbacks or all hardcovers. I know. It’s OCD.
  • Flat dialogue. It makes it so hard to keep involved in a book.
  • When animals are hurt/abused. I will put that book down, no matter how loved it is.
Describe your perfect reading spot.

Tell me that doesn’t look amazing. Put a pile of books by the side of the bed, some tea/coffee and some relaxing music? I’m in.
Tell us three book confessions.
  • If I get bored with a book, it’s really hard to resist the urge to skim.
  • I will pick a romance novel any day of the week. #sorrynotsorry
  • Sometimes books loved by the literary crowd just make me a little sad. There’s so few happy endings.
When was the last time you cried during a book?
How many books are on your bedside table?
  • Ah…four. The Collector by Nora Roberts, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, Time of Death by J.D. Robb, and a Sookie Stackhouse novel. 
What is your favorite snack while you’re reading?
  • Tea. I bought a sample pack from teapigs a few weeks ago and now it’s a must in my reading routine. 
Name three books you would recommend to everyone.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.
  • My bookshelves look terrifying. It’s on my to-do list tomorrow to clean those monsters. 
Write how much books mean to you in just three words.
  • Whole new worlds.
What is your biggest reading secret?
  • I dogear my books. I don’t use typical bookmarks, mostly because I tend to forget where I put them. I use pencils, pens, Post-Its, bobby pins, whatever’s handy (even my wallet on one special occasion). I’m also really slow at getting books back to people who loan me them, for a variety of reasons. 

Posted June 22, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 5, 2014

Book Blogger Confessions, Vol I

All right. Let’s be honest. 

I get self-conscious about my posts.

I love to write, especially writing about books. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, more so when it comes to my writing. There’s always something that could be fixed, improved, whatever. Five years as a undergrad in the English department taught me how to write analytically, but I feel really self-conscious when I write conversationally. Some of my favorite book blogs have fantastic voices, which I love. But when I try it, it just feels…stilted. Like the voice in my head goes flat when I translate it from my mind to the keyboard. 

I struggle to write reviews.

I tend to over-think. Sometimes way too much, to the point where I’m second-guessing each word. When I love a book, I want to find the write words to express how much I loved it. Same thing when I dislike it, but I’m trying to make sure I actually tell you why I didn’t like it instead of just writing how much I don’t. 

That moment when everyone else loves a book that I marked ‘not for me’…or vice versa.

I posted a list of books recently of books that the book blogosphere loved, but were only “eh” for me. Every time I see a blogger I admire mark a book highly that I didn’t enjoy, I get a little moment of disappointment, wondering what on earth I missed. Maybe it’s just different tastes in books, or maybe I missed the secret glory of the book? Gah.

Am I crazy? Do you have the same problems? Let’s talk!

Posted June 5, 2014 by Ellen in the canon talks, Uncategorized / 3 Comments
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May 11, 2014

Dear Mom // Happy Mother’s Day

My mom is incredible

She has the best dry sense of humor and loves a good mystery. Every time I watch Perry Mason or Murder She Wrote, I think of her. She taught me the importance of listening and thinking before I speak. She gave me her dark curly hair, her freckles and her smile. She taught me to be patient, kind and to love ballet. She gave me her love of animals and art. 

So, Mom:

Thank you for being my cheerleader as I chased my dreams in college. 

Thank you for standing by me in my mistakes and being honest with me when I messed up. 

Thank you for listening and giving me the right advice, every time, over the years, even if I didn’t want to hear it. 

Thank you for teaching me to bake and enjoying everything I created, even though I suspect it didn’t taste all that good…

Thank you for pushing me to do better in school, sports, and life. You installed in me the ‘never give up’ spirit. 

Thank you for suggesting I make a blog. This is all your idea. 

Thank you for the Nutcracker every Christmas and the gifts left from ‘Santa,’ even after I found out the truth.

Thank you for being there, no matter what, every day. I want to make you proud. 

All my love, 

Your Texan Californian Girl

Posted May 11, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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May 11, 2014

If We Were Having Coffee…

Last November, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner posted her take of Ashley‘s original post at Your Super Awesome Life. I fell in love with the idea. 

If we were having coffee…I would tell you all about how I’ve fallen back in love with blogging again. It was a bit rough in the past few months, but changing up my posts and adding new features has really opened my eyes to the options. I would tell you I have had many mixed feelings about books I’ve read lately, especially ones that other bloggers have raved over. I would ask you what you’re reading

If we were having coffee…I would tell you about the five adorable kittens in our backyard! Well, more like our postage stamp-sized patio. The mom is a neighborhood feral cat whom we’ve all been taking care of. She had her kittens in our neighbors’ yard, then moved her kittens to ours when the gardeners came in. They’re about six weeks old now and utterly adorable. All of their personalities are coming out and it’s been so much fun to watch them grow! To be honest, I would probably ask you if you want a kitten…

If we were having coffee…I would tell you how much I loved Seattle. Honestly. It was amazing! The vacation was long overdue and I miss it already. I would ask if you’ve been on vacation recently and subtly suggest that you need to go to Seattle…

If we were having coffee…I would tell you I’m considering going back to school to earn my Master’s in Library Science. In Seattle (sorry – can’t help it), we visited the public library and I loved it. There was one librarian who solely worked on the recommendation counter. I want that job. I would tell you I’m a bit worried about taking on school again, but it sounds so intriguing, and maybe help my job prospects. 

If we were having coffee…I would tell you how the job hunt is going. It’s definitely a hard task. I would say I think I’ve found a niche as a writer or researcher, but getting my foot in the door is what’s worrying me the most. I would ask you how your job or job hunt is going

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that M and I are planning a trip to the ocean soon. I have a mad desire to stick my feet in the ocean and read for hours. Maybe have a strawberry margarita or two. 

If we were having coffee…what would you tell me? 

Posted May 11, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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April 23, 2014

Behind The Canon | How I Organize My Blog Notes & Calendar

I love reading posts from other bloggers about how they organize their blog notes and calendars. Honestly. I devour them. Every time I see a how-to post pop up on my Bloglovin’ home feed, my heart gets all light and giddy. I know. I’m a nerd. 

My blog notes and calendar organization has evolved over the years, adapting ideas from other bloggers and using my own note-taking system I developed in college. 

I use three notebooks for The Canon:

Blog Notebook {peach polka dots} // I carry this notebook in my bag for the random blog idea (they tend to come to me while I’m working) or when I’m looking at blogs to write down an inspiration and the source. All of my lists are in here too: TBR, challenge lists, feature ideas. 

The Canon Review Planner {chevron pattern} // My review planner keeps me on track and from wandering into my TBR pile. This book has a monthly agenda as well as a weekly one. On the monthly page, I write my ideal plan for the month; the weekly one is the more accurate schedule for the week. 

Rough Draft Notebook {blue Five Star notebook} not shown //This notebook has all of my crazy scribbles. For each book, I make a layout with headers for characters, plot, and writing. I fold the page in half and write all of my reading notes under each category on the first half. In the second half, I edit and refine my thoughts a little. I use the second column as a blueprint for my reviews. I also rough draft my other posts in here, so I have everything in one spot. 

The purple polka dot notebook in the middle is actually my menu planner & grocery notebook. I got a little carried away when taking photos!

I picked up these notebooks from May Designs. Their notebook patterns are so gorgeous and the custom options sold me. (By the way, guys. This isn’t an affiliate link or anything like that. It’s a product I love and has worked for me. Promise!)

In college, it took a long time for me to develop a good system of note-taking. I figured out by the end of freshman year that I pay attention more if I have colors to play with. So, therefore, my paper blog calendar looks like this: 

This is a page from January 2014 – my current monthly calendar looks like a monkey wrote it. It’s terrifying.

Green – Non-review Bookish Posts
Pink – Top Ten Tuesday
Purple – The Canon Classics – Monthly Feature
Orange – Monthly Rewind
Blue – Book Reviews
Red – The Great TBR Pile-Up Posts

In my reviews, I write my reading notes in blue and adjusting wording, tense, whatever, in black. 

The crazy arrows are so I remember certain points. I’m a big fan of crazy arrows. 

On the left page, I write all the book’s pertinent info: author info (site, twitter, etc), publication date and publisher, rating (I still haven’t found a rating system I like enough to publish on my posts) and genre tags.

Google Calendar became a big part of scheduling my time during my last two years of college, and I still use it for The Canon. It helps me schedule time to work on the blog before I go in to work for the day and having it as a separate calendar within my personal calendar helps me look at reviews at a glance. 

In January, Debby from Snuggly Oranges published a post on how she keeps her blog (and other) spreadsheets. Her post inspired me to keep my own scrapbook and Google Drive’s accessibility has made it easy to keep track of all blog-worthy statistics. I want to color code according to genre, but that’s a project for another day.

I do most of my blog work in the mornings after my run, so I always have a lot of coffee nearby. I fell in love with Storyville Coffee when we visited Seattle and I think it’s an addiction to last a lifetime. Their Prologue coffee is just…ahh. Hold on. I’ve got to go make some… The bag of Prologue I brought back from Seattle is almost empty…

I hope my (slightly OCD) organization has inspired you in some way! If you have a post like this or your own organization for your reading, let me know! (Seriously. I love these posts.) Thanks for stopping by! 

All of the links and stores mentioned in this post are not affiliates. I was not compensated in any way for this post. I provide these links simply because I love the product & I hope you will give it a try! 

Posted April 23, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 2 Comments
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May 17, 2012

About Me

So you know my name is Ellen, but I figure you deserve to know a bit more!

My parents read me every story under the sun when I was a child; in fact, half of our pets are named after storybook characters!

I am an amateur photographer. I prefer black and white film, but I wouldn’t say no to a digital camera. =] I don’t have a lot of time to tinker with my camera during the semester, but I’m hoping to get out there armed with my camera this summer.

I am a Starbucks addict.

My grandpa bought me my first Harry Potter novel. He is the one that really inspired me to read.

I am an amateur wino and a wannabe foodie, but I am just as happy with a Big Mac (my mom is going to be worried about my eating habits when she reads this… )

I’m a fourth year lit student. Even though I am asked “What are you going to do with that degree?” all too often, I am so happy I went with English Literature as my major. I love reading and I love seeing what others decipher from the same text I read.

My favorite Shakespeare play is The Taming of the Shrew.

I love to organize and clean.

I could easily watch The Office for hours on end.

The library is my favorite place. It’s filled with books! For free! It’s my favorite place to spend time.

I’m so excited about this blog, I hope you all enjoy it! Since this is my first venture into the world of blogging, I ask your patience while I learn.
<3 E

Posted May 17, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments