The ABCs – ApollyCon 2019 Edition

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About 2 years ago I essentially retired my blog feature called, The ABCs. It had a really good run and I had a lot of fun doing it, but it was time to move on. When talking to some friends, Mary suggested maybe I do one for my visit to ApollyCon(this past weekend) and I realized what a great idea that was. So I give you, my ApollyCon edition of The ABCs. And if you are wondering more about ApollyCon, stay tuned for after the post for some bonus content and pictures.


Accessories-The great thing about book conferences is the totes you get. I have never walked away from BEA or ALA with only one tote and ApollyCon is not much different. This year I got the bag Titan pass holders received and a mini version of it at the After Party. But hands-down my favorite was this tote given to bloggers and influencers at the Berkley Romance party. This bag is so cool. It is a cross body and has an adjustable strap. Not to mention it came with 3 books in it. I love it so much!

Books-ApollyCon is one of those events where you bring all the books to get signed or buy them on site. Since I went last year I had a lot of my books signed already so my book total was down. I had 4 preorders to pick up (The Score, Brooklynaire, a mystery bag that included Four Day Fling, and Eyes on Me) and had planned to buy two books at the event book store (that sadly didn’t happen) and brought 11 books to be signed. I ended up going home with the 11 I brought, a borrowed copy of Finale, 2 books from the Berkley bag, a book Miranda Kenneally brought for me, my 4 preorders and an ARC I got at the meet and greet, Red, White, and Royal Blue. It was a pretty successful book event.

Clothes-The clothes party is a struggle for me. I honestly never know what to bring when I go on vacation. This year I did base my packing off of these Jack Rogers booties I have on(in the above photo). I just purchased them and I was in love. I ended up wearing them every day, all day for the conference. Between walking on the signing room floor, walking the National Mall in the pouring rain, walking around museums, and walking to bars and restaurants I put about 20 miles on these shoes and the never hurt me, not once. I recently became a Jack Rogers influencer (stay tuned for more on that) and am so happy I can praise these boots because they make me so happy.  If you are interested in them, here is my affiliate link. The style is called Layla. (I paid for these boots with my own money before becoming an influencer.)

Destinations-We actually had a lot of free time on this trip so we got some sight-seeing in which was nice. This time around we went to the National Portrait Gallery, the American History Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall (in the rain and again in the sun), and the Natural History Museum to name a few places. It was a lot of fun to see some new things this time.

Event– ApollyCon is filled with a bunch of different events which is a great way to see some of your favorite authors. I  got to hang out (and in some cases meet) with some of my favorite people! Between the meet and greet, the lobby bar, the signing floor, the lobby bar, the after party, oh and did I mention the lobby bar?!?!, I had a great time hanging out with so many. This is just a sample of my favorite faces from this year.

Food-It is no secret that I am not a foodie. Taking pictures of food is not something I usually do. And I eat like a small child anyway so no one cares what my french fries look like. But we did go to a delicious dinner in Georgetown which was nice. Also went to Georgetown Cupcakes (mine was gone in like 2 bites) and Olivia’s Macrons which luckily enough Gail snagged this picture which I am borrowing.

Getting Away– Finally, I used my Away suitcase for the first time. I had purchased the bigger carry-on back in February(I think) and was really excited to use it. It fit all my stuff (books included) perfectly. I didn’t end up carrying it on the plane though. I decided to check my bag because of the books, but based on the size of the overhead compartments, even on the smaller plan home, I don’t think it would have been a problem for fit. Honestly, I am really glad I made the investment into the luggage and into the everywhere bag. If you are looking to save $20 on one, click HERE.

And there you have it, my ApollyCon ABCs in a nutshell.

Have you ever been to ApollyCon? What is your favorite thing to do in DC?


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ApollyCon 2018 Recap

This past weekend Gail and I traveled to Washington D.C./Arlington, VA for ApollyCon 2018. As a first time attendees I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean I know I saw a lot of people posting pictures of a lot of books, but to be honest I truly had no idea what I was in for.

With ApollyCon starting on Friday we had decided to get a flight on the day before so we could get settled, hang out and meet some friends. Mother Nature wasn’t loving our plan and Boston was threatened with a lot of snow to take place Wednesday all day to Thursday early morning. My fair of the snow was not getting to D.C. since there are always flights there. I was more concerned about getting to the airport in the AM. Tuesday night we decided to get a room at the hotel by Logan and thus our adventure began.

I met Gail at the hotel carrying 19 books and all my clothes for the weekend in one small suitcase and a shoulder bag. (How I manged to pack the way I did amazing to me, but beside the point.) The room we had had a fantastic view of the Boston skyline and was really just gorgeous. After we were settled in we walked to the airport and found a place inside one of the terminals before security to have a beer and decompress the work day. When I tell you Logan was a ghost town it was a ghost town. I have never seen it like that. Anyway, after our drink we went back to the hotel and had dinner and then went to sleep unsure what the morning would bring us. Spoiler alert…we got no snow. 😀 It was snow showering when we were on the plane and the plane needed to be deiced(that was a new experience) but that was the end of our weather problems.

We landed in D.C. roughly around the time we were supposed to which was nice. We weren’t able to check in to the Hyatt right away but we did were able to leave our bags at the hotel and went a grabbed lunch and get a lay of the land. We ended up craving Thai food and found a delicious place not far from the hotel. After fueling up we went back to see if our room was ready. Luckily it was so we were able to go and get comfortable and relax before ApollyCon registration opened and our dinner reservations at The Smith with Miranda Kenneally and her husband. It had been about 2 years since I had seen Miranda, the last time I was in D.C. actually, so as soon as I knew I was going to ApollyCon we knew we were having dinner. It was really fun to catch-up and be able to hang out for a while.

After dinner everything just seemed to be timed perfectly. Suzanne Young‘s plane was landing and she would be at the hotel soon and Jen was going to meet us in the lobby so we could a) finally see each other again after 4 years and b) to pass on her cupcakes she made. (Side-note: DO NOT EAT THE CUPCAKES. You can never go back when you do and you will want them ALWAYS.) We all kind of ended up being back and available at the same time so it was one of those unplanned, perfect kind of nights. And Suzanne is just as awesome as I thought she would be and I was so happy to get to hang out and meet her finally.

Friday was the first day of ApollyCon if you had a Titan pass (we did). There were panels and then a Titan only signing. Gail and I decided to attended just one panel so we could get some sight seeing in and then head back for the signing. We went to the YA Contemporary panel and it was a lot of fun. We listened to Julie Murphy, Kami Garcia, Katie McGarry, Rachel Harris, Robin Talley and Brigid Kemmerer talk about love and romance and writing. And at the end we were given pouches from Book Beau and wooden coasters from The Bookish Box as fun swag.

When the panel was over Gail and I decided to head to the Smithsonian since I had never been. We went to the American History museum and saw some really cool stuff. I just  took a sampling of photos but some of my favorites were seeing the flag that was the inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner, Michelle Obama’s dress, a cool NBC mic, and an Apple Computer. When we finished with the museum, since it was a gorgeously sunny day, we walked the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial before heading back to the hotel.

I’m not going to lie, the signing was a little overwhelming. There were people everywhere and wheeled carts and bags and people carrying books. The space was pretty big, but there were a lot of people in the space so in parts it was very congested on that first time. I’m not a huge picture person so I didn’t get photos with authors but I did go and say hi to Christina June and had books signed by Suzanne, Cristin Terrill, Brigid Kemmerer (the sweetest!), and Sarah J. Maas (who looks so adorable pregnant). Oh and I stopped by Katee Robert‘s table to tell her how much I loved The Last King. These authors were all on one side of the room. The other was definitely tougher to navigate. There were a lot of really popular authors in this space and a lot of people. For this particular signing area there was some chaos on this particular day because I think it was unexpected how many people would want books signed in that particular room. I think I manged to get 2 done then and got out.

After that Gail and I decided to have a low key night and went for a walk around the hotel, not really all that hungry and then came back and met Lizzy Mason in the lobby for a drink and a chat. Seriously guys, I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ HER BOOK!

Saturday morning we got up early to eat breakfast and went to Arlington National Cemetery, another place I hadn’t been. We walked around and went and paid our respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (catching a ceremony while we were there) and to the burial place of President Kennedy and the enteral flame (photo is courtesy of Gail). It was a very somber place but also really beautiful and I’m happy I got to go.

After that trip we made it back to the hotel in time for the next signing which was opened to all. We were allowed into the ticketed area at 1:30 but the general signing area was opened at 12. We each had 4 books to get signed. After stopping by and saying hello to Suzanne, Christina and Robin Talley we got into line at around 1 for the ticketed author area. We were really nervous how it would go considering how crazy it was the day before with less people. I’m so happy to say that it was so organized and the volunteers and staff did an amazing job making changes from the day before. There were still lines and chaos, but that is a given at any big signing like this. They really made it easy and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all like I did the day before. Granted it took 4 and a half hours to get 3 books signed (I wasn’t able to get Cora Carmack), but all in all it went really smoothly and I got to meet Jay Crownover, Emma Chase and Jennifer Armentrout.

When  the signing was done we grabbed some pizza and got to repacking our stuff (our flight was Sunday morning) before the All Decades After Party. Naturally I went wearing a denim jacket, rolled jeans and my NKOTB tee shirt bringing myself back to the last 80s/early 90s. Really the party was a lot of fun. We drank and danced (thanks to the girl that requested The Right Stuff and said I had to dance) and just generally had a good time just being by and with other bookish nerds.

In conclusion, would I do it again? Gail and I already started to talk about how we can hopefully get Titan passes for 2019!



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BEA Recap Part 2



After surviving day one of BEA (my body disagreed with this!) it was time for day two. We didn’t go to the Javits quite as early as we did on Thursday which was fine with me as I didn’t need to be there until it was around Morgan Matson signing time. My roomies and I went and had breakfast first before starting day 2. Based on my schedule I knew I was in for a long day as I had a boat load of signings I wanted to get though and I was meeting Miranda Kenneally after her signing before heading to the Upper East Side (XOXO, Gossip Girl!) for dinner with my friend from college that I haven’t seen in years.

Anyway when Gail and I got to the Javits we made out way to the Harper booth to grab tickets for the Kiera Cass in booth signing. If you pay attention to me at all you know how much The Selection series ruined my life (in the very best of ways) and I wanted to be able to tell Kiera that (I was successful! HA). After securing the tickets we wandered around some before joining the line for the Morgan Matson signing which was one of my BEA highlights. I had told Morgan I was going to awkwardly tell her who I was based on my toe nail polish and it totally worked. She knew exactly what I was talking about. Serious highlight! After talking to Morgan I walked around until it was time to wait in line for Lenore Appelhans and Amanda Maciel. Then it was more wandering and galley scoring (Landline, Zac and Mia and Love, Lucy!!!) before getting in line for Miranda. I was so excited to get to meet Miranda for the first time. I had already read her new book Breathe, Annie, Breathe as a beta reader and then read the finished copy (note, the Andrea in the acknowledgements in the back…totally me!) and loved it and couldn’t wait to meet the woman behind it. Well I can tell you all she is just as awesome as expected. 🙂

Survived Day Two. One more to go!

fridaylookFriday’s look: Maxi dress and statement necklace

sourcebooksdisplaySourcebooks Booth photo of a book I want. (Just got approved for Some Boys! Thanks Sourcebooks!)

morganmatsonsigningfriSigned Since You’ve Been Gone and sunglasses

harlequincar Let’s Get Lost car in the Harlequin booth

jerePin Jen (Jenuine Cupcakes) and I made for Miranda Kenneally in honor of her new book and the hot boy in it.

bea2Day 2 of BEA Book Haul: Zac & Mia/The Vault of Dreamers/Breathe, Annie, Breathe (s)/Messenger of Fear/We Should Hang Out Sometime/Memory of After (s)/The One (s)/Since You’ve Been Gone (s)/Tease (s)/Landline/Love, Lucy (not pictured)

With three crazy days under my belt I had one more to get through, Saturday.

The day started off with the kind people at Bloomsbury inviting me to their offices with some other bloggers for breakfast and mimosas (probably the best I have ever had!) and a look at their office space. It was my first time in a publisher’s office so that was really cool to get to see. Got to meet Courtney, Erica, Lizzy and more while there and Sarah J. Maas was also there. I haven’t read Sarah’s series yet but it is going to happen with all the love I hear for it. After we were done with Bloomsbury, Gail and I headed to check out of the hotel and to the Post Office. The Post Office was definitely an experience. I was terrified my books wouldn’t come so I kept ones that I would cry if I didn’t get them. Luckily, they all came and I was able to let out a sigh of relief. When we were done with the PO, we headed to the Javits which was simply put a nightmare. Book Con was so poorly done that you couldn’t get anywhere near it. Gail and I looked at each other, shook our heads and surrendered to the BEA Gods and called it a day. We decided to cut our losses and headed to lunch before heading home.

saturdaylookSaturday’s Outfit

booksshipped26 lbs. 6.8 oz. of books shipped to my house (I traveled home with some too.)

saturdaylunch Final Beer in NYC for lunch

Day 3 of BEA book haul: The Bone Season/Positive/Heir of Fire

leavingnyc View from the train on my way home…2 hours late!

Even with the exhaustion my body felt, the 2 hour train delay we had to deal with and the aches in muscles I didn’t know I had, it was 100% worth it. I got to meet people I have been chatting with for over a year (Jaime, Rachel, Alexa, Rachel, Estelle, Tiffany, Emma, Nicole, Allison and April, Emilie, Danielle, Lauren, Michelle, Jen, Betty, Andye, Nikki, Gaby, and Brittany to name a few, if I missed you, sorry! Tried to remember everyone but I’m old!), some planned and some unexpectedly. I got to talks books with people that love them as much as I do for 4 straight days. And I got to introduce myself and my blog which I am really proud of. The 4 days I was in NYC was full of win. And I’m not just talking about the books I got (totally haul photo below). I’m talking about the experience itself. It was something that I will remember for a long time and something I can’t wait to do again next year.

Total Haul:


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BEA Recap Part 1


As you probable know I went to my very first BEA (Book Expo America) last week. I had been interested in going for a long time, ever since I was reviewing for Michelle over at Galleysmith, but the timing was never right. Well this year with my blog being close to a year and a half old and myself getting more and more into it, I decided to save my money and make it happen. And happen it did. It was probably one of the craziest, overwhelming “vacations” I have taken and it was so much fun.

Leading up to leaving I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had heard all sorts of stories and will admit that I was a little scared. Between the horror stories and the fact that I didn’t really “know” anyone that was going to be there minus Gail (Ticket to Anywhere) and that I’m pretty awkward in situations like that where it comes to being outgoing and introducing myself I was filled with anxiety the night before I left. But I can now say with 100% certainty that it was unwarranted. I had a great experience meeting bloggers and authors and publicists and doing all the book things.

My first stop for my BEA book journey was the Teen Author Carnival held at The Jefferson Market Library. First up was YA Jeopardy hosted by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. After that were the panels. I went to two panels. I attended the “I’ll Be There for You” panel with Kara Taylor, Sarah Mlynowski, Elizabeth Eulberg, Rebecca Serle, Anne Stampler and the “Time After Time” panel with Gayle Forman, Una LaMarche, Tiffany Schmidtt, Lauren Morrill, Adi Alsaid, Jennifer E. Smith. After the two panels, which were both fantastic, there was an author signing. I didn’t bring any books from home to have signed but I wasn’t passing up the opportunity to have Gayle Forman sign my book so I ended up buying two copies of If You Stay (look for one to show up on the blog around movie release time!) and got to meet Gayle. And she was totally awesome. She even complimented my jewelry and my nails. So that was full of win. I also was able to chat with Tiffany Schmidtt who I have met before and just love, and got to meet Rebecca Serle who is just the sweetest, cutest thing ever. She wasn’t able to sign, but she was all about the hugs. Oh and I was able to meet my very own Epic Rec partner Rachel (As Told by Rachel) which was awesome and she was just as awesome as I expected.

wednesdaySaturday Travel and TAC Outfit: Rocking my “Anna” tee shirt

tacpanel1I’ll Be There for You panel
L to R: Adele Walsh(mod), Kara Taylor, Sarah Mlynowski, Elizabeth Eulberg, Rebecca Serle, Anne Stamplertacpanel2Time After Time panel
L to R: Mitali Dave (mod), Gayle Forman, Una LaMarche, Tiffany Schmidtt, Lauren Morrill, Adi Alsaid, Jennifer E. Smith

tacTAC Book Haul: Famous in Love/If I Stay (signed)/Renegade/Are You Experienced?


badgeMy Badge!

javitsJavits (photo by Gail)

On Thursday BEA began. Like I said at the beginning I had no idea what to expect. I heard things about cell service being bad, the temperatures going from hot to cold in the blink of an eye, the floor of the Javits being harder than hard. I can now 100% say that this is all true. HA.  I have never been so sore in my life as I was after day one at BEA. My whole body just hurt. But man was it worth it. The day started off with the Harlequin Teen Breakfast which was held right at the Javits and I was lucky enough to get an invite thanks to a friend and the kind people of Harlequin Teen. The breakfast had a bunch of authors and the people that work at Harlequin in attendance plus bloggers, a bunch that I talk to on a daily basis on Twitter and was able to meet. We were given books, a notebook and my favorite tote bag of all of BEA. And we got to chat with the authors and publishing people. It was a lot of fun and an honor to be able to attend and talk to the people in the industry.

After breakfast was over it was time to hit the floor and get a real look at what I was in store for. Knowing I wanted Caragh O’Brien‘s newest book The Vault of Dreamers and that I wanted to meet her, I hightailed it over to the autographing area and waited in my firs line of many to get a signed book. Truthfully I expected mass chaos but I was surprised with how organized they were with signage and where lines should go. The line moved quickly and I got to meet Caragh and have a book signed. She was just as awesome as I expected. When the signing was over I wandered the floor and was introduced to some people and grabbed some galleys and talked to some more people until it was time to line up for Rebecca Serle’s signing even though I knew she wasn’t actually signing. In line I ended up with Rachel and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) so we chatted while we waited. After seeing Rebecca for again I headed back to the hotel where I ended up meeting a friend for dinner and drinks.

Day One in the bag and a success.

thursdaylookThursday’s Outfit of the Day

harlequinbreakfast  Harlequin Breakfast (L to R): Jennifer Amentrout, Alexandra Adornetto, Robin Talley, Julie Kagawa, Adi Asaid

toteTote from Harlequin Breakfast that I’m IN LOVE WITH!

thursdaysigningAutographing Area while in line for Caragh O’Brien

serlelinephotobyleilasalesRebecca’s Line taken by Leila Sales (here) That is me and Rachel with Brittany‘s head behind me.

bea1Day 1 of BEA book haul: The Vault of Dreamers (s)/Breaking Butterflies/Bombay Blues/Famous in Love/Night Sky/Iron Trial/Famous Last Words/The Fire Artist/The Girl Who Never Was/Lies We Tell Ourselves/Belhzar/Talon (s)/Invisible/Ghost House/Love is the Drug/Let’s Get Lost (samplers)/Sinner/I’ll Give You the Sun/Burn/Fashion Book/Harlequin Notebook


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