Review: Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones

I got into bicycling a few years ago when my parents-in-law bought my husband and I a pair of bikes. Since we lived in Long Beach, we loved to take trips along the Los Angeles River. Long Beach has a great bike community, and the streets were always perfect for cycling.

Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones

Hello Bicycle Review by Bumbling Panda

I didn’t know much about bicycles though, which is why this book HELLO BICYCLES by Anna Brones was such a cute addition to my library. It’s a guide for bicyclists that touches on how to exercise to keep in shape to cycle and also how to keep your bicycle tuned. There are even crafts projects that will turn an old tire tube into a wallet and other cool objects.

Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones Review by Bumbling Panda

Hello Bicycle Review by Bumbling Panda

The illustrations in this book were also adorable. The book is aesthetically pleasing to look at and thumb through. I loved the color scheme. I think it would make a perfect coffee book as well as an informative guide for the bicyclist. If you have a friend who loves to cycle, I’d definitely recommend buying this book for them.

Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones Review

Review: Red Queen and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardGlass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I’ve been on this huge YA kick, probably because I’m trying to write one of my own and mostly because they’re the best stories out there. I’ve never been into those super literary novels. Sure I love my classics (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will always have a special place in my heart), but once in a while I like to indulge in gripping action-y teen romance, fickleness and all.

That being said, I’m really sick of these series where the books just end mid-cliff-hanger.

I get it. Sometimes stories are long and a trilogy or series is necessary. But even so, each installment in a series is meant to be a story on its own, complete with beginning, middle, end; inciting incident, growth, rising action, climax…you know, that mountain thing our English teachers were always drawing on their white boards.

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But lately the series I’ve been reading, especially YA, are all just one long story that drags on for as long as possible, broken into three chunks that aren’t really complete in and of themselves. And then you’re forced to wait and read the next story just because you’ve already started this one and you need to know how it ends.

Now that my tirade is over, here’s what I thought of Red Queen and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard.

I like a strong female character.

Mare isn’t a simpering female fool, and it’s refreshing to see a female character grow into her own in a realistic way (as realistic as developing magical abilities and rising to great power in a matter of months can be).

Thank God there was no love triangle.

I’ve never been a fan of love triangles, so I’m glad that any hint of one in this book is pretty clear cut. I don’t like characters that go back and forth between their love interests. That’s greedy. Make a decision.

Action and progress.

These books were pretty easy to read, because there was a lot of killing and fighting and attempted murdering; and scenes that didn’t involve action sequences were very short.

But there was no sizzle.

However, while having shorter, progressive scenes made this book fly by, it also made the world, story, and characters feel distant. I could never quite connect with Mare because I felt as if most things were summarized. Unless she was killing something or someone was killing her, there was a slight fuzziness to the story, like I was viewing it through a glass. I couldn’t get myself to care about the characters that she cared about, because I never got close enough to them. I’m usually a sucker for romance. Any mention of a blush or faster heartbeat in the presence of a muscled prince, and my spine goes ramrod straight. But with Mare and Cal…there was no sizzle for me.

The villain didn’t get to me.

Along that line, when (spoiler alert) Mare is betrayed by a certain someone…I didn’t feel betrayed. I didn’t hate him. To me it was just another…[insert plot point here]…sort of thing.

Overall, I enjoyed these novels. My opinion might be overshadowed by how upset I was that the book ended abruptly on a cliff-hanger, and I really just don’t appreciate getting sucker punched like that. I also normally wait until a trilogy is complete before I embark on the journey because this is a personal pet peeve. I don’t like having to wait until the next installment to find out what happens. The fact that the second book ended the way it did, added to the fact that I now have to wait for the next book made it even worse.

But I will be reading the last book. So it was a pretty entertaining series nonetheless. I would give these a solid 3/5. Hopefully by the time the last book comes out, my anger will have dissipated, and the story will justify its spread across three books.

Missing Pieces

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 1

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 5

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 4

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 2

cut out blush shoes

I’m so into this cutout trend right now, and I love everything about these shoes, even the missing pieces. The Oxford, the lace, the detail, the blush color. Again like my cutout boots, I have no idea what to do about the sock issue… I just sucked it up and wore the ones you wear with flats, so sorry for the faux pas yet again.

I have this nerd-fetish for libraries. I love them all. The smell and feel and quiet and solitude of them. The way that everyone leaves you alone the moment you step inside. (Well, except for this one traumatic incident in my childhood, but I won’t get into that right now.) I especially love the Huntington Beach and Newport Beach library, which are both just gorgeous places.

When I worked at this one fabric store, I used to come to this library during my lunch. It’s a gorgeous, small place in Signal Hill, so of course I went there over the weekend to check out some books.

I love pairing navy blue with yellow, especially mustard. Actually I just love the color mustard in general. I thought the blush-colored oxford flats would go well as a neutral balance to the rest of the outfit.

blue polka dot with yellow cardigan 3

:: Outfit Details ::

White Polka Dot on Navy Blue Dress (~$15 at Ross)
Mustard Yellow Cardigan (~15 from Papaya)
Blush-Colored Lace-up Cutout Oxford Shoes ($10 from here)
Handmade Crossover Body Clutch(~$20 from Etsy, but I can’t remember which store ūüôĀ¬†)

DIY Planner with Recycled Book and Paper

As a notorious procrastinator, I’m plagued with a combination of contradictory habits: I’m messy but I’m also extremely organized. Or rather, I like to pretend I’m organizing my time and managing my projects, when really, what I’m doing is putting off having to do those projects themselves. As a result, I start a lot of “journals” where I attempt to plan. I’m obsessed with notebooks, pens, post-its, dividers, index cards… Needless to say, my desk is a mess and I hate it but I also love it. It’s quite a dilemma.

My obsession with organization came in handy when I got the itch to¬†stitch make something yesterday! I didn’t just want to buy a new SONY DSCplanner for a number of reasons. Mostly because they are so limiting with pre-filled sheets, and I like some room for creativity. ¬†Plus I knew that my daily planner sheet needed to be specific to what¬†I¬†need to focus on to actually get things done. Lastly, I wanted to recycle and repurpose materials that I had laying around my house.¬†I’ve been dying to make my own planner, especially when there are so many free printable planner sheets on the Pinterestosphere.¬†So I finally sucked it up and got to work.

Step One: Decide what sort of planner you need–day, week, or month–and what your pages will look like

Personally, I prefer daily planners. I know there are some of us who like to use weekly or monthly planners, which is fine. But I like to break my tasks up into small, quick-to-finish steps, and a daily planner is more ideal for me. There are lots of free printables, but I wanted something specific to fit my needs and what keeps me on track. I created my own, which I’m uploading here (Day Planner Sheet)¬†for you to download for free if you would like to use it yourself. My daily sheet is based on the “one thing a day” concept. In this day and age where people are constantly running around, getting things done, life can be overwhelming, and just concentrating on one task a day, even if you will obviously do more than that one task, is a relief and gives more focus to your day.

I also created monthly sheets (Monthly Planner Sheet) because even though I need to see my tasks on a day-to-day basis, I also need to glance at the bigger picture now and then.

These sheets are sized at 6.5″ by 9″ to fit the cover that I used, but if you’re using them personally, you can still print them on regular sized¬†paper by adjusting your printer settings so it fits at 100%. These don’t have dates so you can fill them in as you go, and that gives a bit more room for breathing.

I printed these pages on used paper, so it’s like double recycling! You could also print on both sides of the paper to save space.

Step Two: Decide on the cover

My favorite children’s book of all time is¬†Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I always feel like I’m committing the biggest sin when I use a book for a crafty project (AKA cut it up, rip it apart, completely destroy it). But I had to remind myself that books are for sharing and learning, not gathering dust on your bookshelf. I decided to use my copy of¬†Green Eggs and Ham as my cover for my planner, but instead of just using the cover, I left the pages in the planner itself. I randomly dispersed the pages throughout the planner so the story and the book in its entirety are still part of the final project.

Step Three: Decide on your binding

I punched 2 holes into the pages, drilled 2 holes in the cover, and binded everything with book rings (I bought an assortment from Target, but you can also order them from Amazon). You can also use blinder clips, thread the pages together (Design Sponge has a great tutorial), or use a binding method that you like.

Step Four: Sort your paper and bind everything together

Planner Once I had all my paper cut (since my planner sheets were 6.5″ by 9″ to fit my book, I had to do a lot of cutting. Poured myself a large glass of water and set up my table on the balcony to soak up the sunset and nice breeze), I assembled my pages. I put all the months at the front, then all the daily sheets after. The pages from¬†Green Eggs and Ham were dispersed throughout the book. Make sure the holes are aligned, then insert the book rings or bind them in whatever way you want. Presto, you are done!

I like the way mine turned out, although my printer did cut off some parts at the top and left hand side of the pages. It’s really thick, but that’s because I only printed on one side of the page (since I printed on used paper), but you can minimize this by printing on both sides. Also, I pretty much stuffed it with as many daily sheets as possible so that I don’t have an excuse not to use it.

What do you think? I hope you were inspired to create your own planner with reused materials! What would you make your DIY planner with? If you do, be sure to email pictures or leave a comment below and tell us all about it. ūüôā