Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blogging From A to Z- "A"


 "A" is for apple. I love all things Apple- iPods, iPads, etc... I have an iPod Nano that my mom and I fight over on a daily basis. We also have an iPod touch that is not my favorite, but if push comes to shove, I'll take it! I much prefer the computers to those little iPods.
    Which leads me to my next point... my mom and I share a Macbook that we got a couple of years ago. Last summer, the computer malfunctioned, and the hard drive had to be replaced. I  couldn't live a day without technology!
   I have a job working at our local grocery store, and I'm using my money from work to buy a new iPod Nano. I've been doing research, and the new iPod nano looks amazing! I can't wait to get it!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

Q: Tell us about the most emotional scene you've ever read in a book - and how did you react?

Oh dear, this is a hard question! I'm going to have to say that the last chapter of Tuesdays with Morrie (one of my all time favorite books!) is the most emotional scene I've ever read. Morrie is dying in this scene, and it's just really sad. I did tear up while reading this, and I also couldn't actually believe that what I was reading was true!  To give you all a little background on this true story, Mitch Albom is a student at Brandeis University, who is in Morrie Schwartz's sociology class. After graduation, Mitch promises Morrie that he'll keep in touch, but fails to do so for 16 years. Eventually, Mitch hears a story about Morrie dying of ALS on Nightline. He decides to go over to Morrie's house to visit, and eventually these visits are on Tuesdays. 

The Truth about Indoor Tanning Beds

We all know tanning is bad, but did you know that tanning in a tanning bed once a month doubles your risk of skin cancer? As a skin cancer survivor, my goal is to educate people about the dangers of tanning ( I never tanned, and never will). Even if only one person reads this, it'll be one more person who doesn't get skin cancer. Watch this alarming video about tanning beds and skin cancer!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tips and Tricks to Blogging

My first blog-oversary is in September, so I figured I'd post today about some tips and tricks to blogging for all the newbie bloggers out there.

1. Be patient!
This is essential for having a good blog, and I've learned this lesson the hard way. I was so eager to have followers that I was *gulp* going crazy. I was too impatient- give it time!

2. Persist!
If your first attempt doesn't work, try again. About a year or so ago, I made my first attempt at making a blog. I couldn't even win over one follower, so I gave up- big mistake! Eventually, I made this blog, and it's going so much better. When  If you don't succeed, try try again! It might take a few tries, but it is SO worth it in the end!

3. Promote your blog.
This is essential for people who want blog followers. You need to let people know you're out there. If you don't promote yourself, then you're essentially getting yourself lost in a huge sea of bloggers. Promote yourself on facebook, twitter, and whatever other social networking sites you use. Trust me, it takes time, but you will inevitably see results- I did!

4. Participate in blog hops and blog fests!
Like my tip #3, participating in these lets others know that you have a blog. The more of these that you participate in, the more followers you'll gain. You'll also have a lot of fun in the process! If you're looking for a good place to start, Alison can Read has a great weekly hop entitled "Feature and Follow Friday" that goes up every Thursday night around 9:00. She gives participants a fun weekly question to answer about blogging/books.

5. Be consistent.
Post as often as possible. A blogger that posts a few times a week is bound to get more followers than a blogger who only posts once a month.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blogging A to Z- Final Countdown!

A to Z Challenge [2013]
The blogging A to Z challenge starts on Monday. Between now and then, I will try to post as much as I can. I participate in the weekly "Feature and Follow Friday" hop that is hosted by Alison Can Read. For the challenge, I will be posting random facts about myself according to the letter of that particular day. Unfortunately, there were some letters that I could not come up with anything for, so I just took the easy way out and am planning on posting a cute/funny picture on those days. In order to make this challenge fun, I've already started writing out my posts ahead of time. I'm a high school student, so I don't have a ton of time to blog on-the-spot. Since this is my spring break, I decided to blog as much as possible ;) . I try to write one letter every day. I am currently on "I". I'm actually having fun with this- who knew?!? Check back here during the challenge to learn more about me! I'll be back for my last regular post before the challenge on Friday. *Dun dun dunnn*. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Express Yourself ( See below for "My So-Called Teenage Life" blog hop")

Q: What books did you enjoy as a child?

A: I used to love Berenstain Bears, Spot, Dr. Seuss, Max and 

Ruby, Arthur, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My So-Called Teenage Life Bloghop

It was hard to find something to share, since I mainly only write for school. However, here is my entry in an essay contest that I entered in January. I don't keep a diary. If I did, I'd be happy to share something from there!

          Cancer 101: A crash course

“You have cancer”. When I heard that on November 15,2011, I was devastated, terrified,  and shocked. 
   It all started on October 4th, 2011. I went to the dermatologist due to dandruff, and I also wanted to show her a weird bump on my scalp. It’d been there for five years (at least), and three pediatricians had identified it has a cyst, and there’d never been any cause for concern. However, I thought I might as well show the doctor. I was there, and I wanted it to be looked at. 
  When the doctor looked at it, she was concerned because it was red. “I’ll give you two choices”, she said. “ We can either take it off, or I can see you back in a few months to look at it again”. I thought for a second. I knew that if I were to get it taken off, it’d be really painful. On the other hand, I didn’t want to wait. What if it was something bad? In the end, I decided to get it taken off. 
We made the appointment for November 14th, 2011. During that entire month, all I could do was wait and hope for the best. I have to admit that I was freaked out about the whole thing. I hate needles, and I knew that there’d be at least one going into my head, if not more. I only thought about that one aspect, not about the results. I automatically assumed that the results would show that the bump was just a harmless cyst. But I’d soon be proven wrong!
   Before I knew it, November 14th came. My stomach felt like there were butterflies in it.  Unfortunately, that anxiety didn’t get resolved right away. We had to wait an hour for the doctor to come. All I wanted to do was get the procedure over with and go home so that I could study for my science test. My mom asked me, “ Do you want me to see if she has another appointment open?”. I said no. All I wanted to do was get it over with!
   It seemed as though hours passed before the doctor came in. When she finally did, I was terrified but relieved. This meant that the procedure was that much closer to being over! The biopsy was awful. Absolutely awful.I had to get shots of local anesthetic, which was the worst part. The doctor was terrible at giving injections. It was the worst pain I’d ever been in. However, after about fifteen minutes, it was over. I can honestly say that those 15 minutes were the worst part of this entire ordeal. 
   The next day, around 6:00, we got the phone call. My heart was racing- I had a feeling we’d get bad news. Why else would he have stayed on the phone for a half hour? Unfortunately, my suspicion of it being horrible news turned out to be correct. My dad said, “ It’s cancer. You’re going to have to have it removed again”. I started bawling uncontrollably. 
  There was, however, a good part to this story. I have been keeping in touch with my middle school english teacher for several years now. We’ve grown to have a special connection over the past few years. I finally made the decision to tell her about this whole surgery thing. I was reluctant to at first, but it ended up being the best decision I’d ever made. Part of the benefit having a friendship like this is that you have someone to go to for support. I sent the initial email telling her about it. I got a response the next day, and I was scared to open it at first. I guess I was worried about how she’d react. It isn’t everyday that someone tells you that they’re going to have surgery! However, when I did end up opening it, she did not overreact. She ended up helping me through this whole experience. I would have been worse off if I didn’t tell. You really don’t know until you try!
  Anyway, more on that later. Getting back to me, the next few weeks were spent going to doctor after doctor. I suddenly realized that there was a very good chance that I’d 1. have to have multiple surgeries and 2. that there was a very good chance that I’d be put to sleep for at least one. I was terrified at the thought of being put to sleep. I’d never done it before, and my mom has had several bad reactions to it. 
   A few weeks later, I found out that I’d have to have an MRI of my brain to see how big the tumor was. The dermatologist wasn’t sure if she’d be comfortable doing the surgery because she thought that the tumor might be bigger than she thought. 
  The day before the MRI, I was an emotional wreck. I had never had this type of test before, and from what I’d heard from other people, it’s not pleasant!! 
The day before the test, I went and saw my former teacher that I mentioned before. It turned out that that was the best thing. I told her about the MRI, and she said that,” I’ll be thinking of you all day tomorrow!”. That made me feel better. 
  So, the MRI was horrible. It took nearly two hours, and it was so loud that it sounded like a saw was going in my ear. I also had to have an injection of contrast, which is a dye to help the MRI pictures be easier to look at. That was the worst part. I was screaming the entire time.
  Eventually, we decided to go to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for the surgery. They have doctors who specialize in this sort of thing. My main surgeon was really nice. He knew what he was doing, but he also had an awesome bedside manner. I should mention here that right before the surgery, I was tearing up. My plastic surgeon (more about him later) just stood there looking at me, but my main surgeon was patting me on the shoulder, trying to make me feel better, which it did. That just goes to show how much difference a small gesture can make! I’ll get back to that day in a bit. 
   I also had to have an initial surgery to remove the cancer itself. It hurt a lot, but I had a nice Dr. doing it. In total, the surgery took about 5 hours. I was awake for it, and the local anesthesia didn’t even hurt. I got used to it pretty quick. I was relieved when it was over, though. Being awake for a procedure is not fun!
   For the next surgery, I would be asleep, and the doctors would close up the huge wound from the last surgery. Originally, the surgeons said that they were going to shave half my head for the surgery. However, after I broke down in tears at this news, they did a skin graft instead. It was very painful. Anyway, the plastic surgeon was pretty insensitive. He didn’t have a very good bedside manner. Oh well...
  The day of surgery was very overwhelming. We did a lot of waiting that day, and the worst part was the i.v line. However, everyone was really nice. I remember going into the operating room, but that’s it.  I wasn’t at all nauseous when I woke up, and I felt like a princess, with everyone there waiting on me!
  The recovery has been awful. Initially, I missed five days of school, and couldn’t wash my hair for five days. It’s been 11 months now, and the skin graft still itches- a normal part of healing. I have ultrasounds every six months, and so far I’m cancer free! 
  I have learned a ton about friendship in these past several months. Some of my friends were not supportive, while others were. I was hesitant to tell people at first, as I was not sure how they’d react. But the one main lesson I’ve learned through all this is that, “ You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. In other words, if you don’t reach out for help, you’ll never get it. When you’re a teenage cancer patient, you need all the help you can get!
  After this experience, I am doing everything I can to give back. I volunteer at Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital every summer, and I am going to participate in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life this summer. I know that even the smallest things make a big difference. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things ( see below for Feature and Follow Friday Post)

The small things that happened this week are: 1. It's Spring break on Monday!!!! 2. It's the end of 3rd quarted of Junior Year 3. I got a 100% on a math test!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Q: What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading? Is it a genre, or is it a certain type of book? 

My guilty pleasure has to be cupcake/ cookie/cook books. For those of you who don't know me, I love baking. I am always looking for new recipes, and the cupcakes in the books are just so darn cute! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My new love: Nonfiction

            I mentioned a few weeks back that I had started a nonfiction memoir for my research paper on eating disorders. Right now, I am more than halfway done with it, and I've also come across three books this afternoon for the same project. I never realized how much I loved nonfiction(memoirs specifically)! I've loved memoirs ever since I read A Child called "It" and Tuesdays with Morrie a few years back. The fact that these stories were both true makes them even more inspiring.
   The trick to finding a book for a research project like the one I'm doing is finding a bunch of books on your topic, and then narrowing the choices down to, say, your top two or three. I like to think of this like the Olympics, because you're picking only best books. For me, a good book has to actually have some substance to it. It has to have some valuable information. Surprisingly enough, I found a book in the school library today that looked like it could be written at a 6th grade reading level- I'm a Junior in High School!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

School reading vs.Pleasure Reading

I have  want  to read two books this month: one for a research paper, and one for pleasure. They are both good books, but I have come to the realization that pleasure reading is WAY more fun than school reading, perhaps becayse it's voluntary. However, what's nice about this particular school book is that I chose it. I can't help feel remorse because I am not enjoying this book as I thought I would, perhaps because I am forced to read it. The reason that pleasure reading is more fun is 1) you don't need to finish a book that you don't like and 2) you're not forced to read it (plus, we're never forced to read a book for pleasure!). What about you? Thoughts on pleasure reading vs. school reading?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest

1. Mean Girls-based on the high school that I attend- no surprise there.
2. Annie
3. The Pursuit of Happynes
4. My Sister's Keeper
5. Juno
6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
7. Cheaper by the Dozen 2
8. The Pregnancy Pact
9. A Cinderella Story
10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stacking the Shelves

This week, I've started reading Owning It by Donald Gallo. It's a collection of stories written by teens with disabilities. The disability can be physical or psychological. I am not very far into the novel ( I have to read a book for school), but this is a great read!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday (See below for Got Green? Blog hop)

Q: Activity! Hopefully warm weather for most of us is here soon…so tell us about your favorite outdoor reading spot. Or take a picture.

I absolutely love sitting under a tree and reading in the park. It's so relaxing, shady, and care-free! 

Got Green? Blogfest 2.0

     I am not Irish (I'm part German and part Polish), but I do love some Irish foods, such as 

Irish Soda Bread and scones, and of 

course there are those wonderful Shamrock shakes and Lucky  Charms! I also know some 

pretty great Irish people. My mom's former colleague was Irish, and my cousin's boyfriend is 

Irish as well. I've always loved the concepts of four-leaf-clovers and leprechauns! I apologize 

for the funky formatting of this post. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

National Wormhole Day Bloghop

What would you do or where would you go if you could traverse a wormhole through space or time just once? One safe round trip passage. Would you go back in time and talk some sense into a younger you? Go five years into the future and bring back the Wall Street Journal? See just how the heck the Great Pyramids of Giza were really built? View what the other side of the universe looks like? Kill Hitler?

This is a really tough question. I'd probably say that there are multiple options. Since I can't list one favorite, I'll list them all!
1. I'd love to go back to the day I was born (May 5) and see what I was like as an infant. That'd be really fascinating! 2. I would travel to the other side of the universe to see if there are really aliens (which  I believe there are), and too see some other planets.
3. I'd want to meet Abraham Lincoln.
4. I'd want to meet George Washington.
5. Go back in time to the American Revoution.
6. Meet Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison

Please follow me on twitter @katz_morgan!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Know Me Better

Things I'd rather be doing: sleeping
Time Wasters: Facebook, twitter
Games I like to play: hide and seek, monopoly

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

Q: What is a book you didn't like that all your friends raved about or what book did you love that wasn't popular?

Ok, I'll answer both of these questions.
1. I never liked Twilight or Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong- I love vampires and magic, but these books were just too long for my taste! I also never cared for The Hunger Games. I read the first one, and then lost interest. 
2. I love many books ( I'm a book blogger!) that are not popular. For instance, one of my favorite new books is entitled Game Changer by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and it's a science fiction/fantasy novel that I couldn't stop reading. I also loved A Time for Dancing. It was so touching and emotional, and I can relate to it because I am a cancer survivor, and I spend time volunteering in a hospital every summer. 

Please follow me on twitter @katz_morgan 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Officially reached 200 Followers!!!

I have recently been informed ( yesterday afternoon) that I have reached 200 followers! Thank you everyone who has followed me. I only started blogging in September 2012, so this is truly miracoulous!     On a side note, March is National Women in History month. This month is dedicated to the women in our lives that have made a difference(friends, family, teachers,etc...). Take a few minutes and say "Thank You" to those inspirational and impactful ladies in your life!

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Today, I'm planning to start a memoir called Wasted by Myra Hornbacher. I have to write a paper based on a nonfiction book for English class, and this seemed to be a perfect choice. This book tells the story of a girl's struggle with anorexia, as well as how she recovers from it. I have come to love reading memoirs in the last couple years.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Overcoming Adversity Anthology

Cover art design by D.R. Cartwright.
Cover art concept by Ella Wilson.
As you might recall, a bunch of bloggers, myself included, participated in the "Overcoming Adversity Blogfest" in February 2013. I'm honored to be included!! Read my story that's in the anthology here

[Overcoming Adversity is] a collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent.

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

This week, I'm getting into non-fiction reading. I'm doing a huge research project on eating disorders for my English class, and I found a great new novel/memoir that looks just perfect for the project. The novel is entitled Wasted  by Myra Hornbacher. If you like serious memoirs, check this out! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Follow Friday (Back to the Future/ Blog hop of Joy are below)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Q: Confess your blogger sins! Is there anything as a newbie blogger that you've done, that as you gained more experience you were like -- oops?

My answer is simple: I didn't promote my blog at all, and I didn't hop around the blogosphere! I also didn't participate in any blog  hops!

Please see below for the Bloghop of Joy and Back to the Future Bloghop!!