to all the boys trilogy review | meg talks media

if i was a character in these books, i’d be kitty.

In honor of To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You premiering on Netflix in two days (February 12), here is my review of the books written by none other than Jenny Han. I watched To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for the first time this past Christmas, almost a year after it premiered. After that, I went a little crazy. I honestly couldn’t tell you why it took me so long to watch it, but, needless to say, I am obsessed. I’ve watched the movie almost every day and it only took me one day each to read the books. I repeat: I am obsessed.

If I had known it was a book first, I feel like I would have been more inclined to read and watch it. Honestly, I remember seeing all the hype on social media but could never bring myself to play it. I could make a billion excuses, but what really matters is that I’ve watched the movie and read all three books, so now I’m going to tell you my thoughts. Similar to my last book review, I have written everything in bullet point form. And again, my thoughts tend to be all over the place and may or may not make sense.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Don’t read below the lines if you’re not about that.






To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

  • very easy read
  • saw the movie first, it’s not the best book-to-movie adaptation
  • but both are very, very good!!
  • I want a Peter K (sorry Donald)
  • I like Kitty’s character better in the movie
  • there’s much more Korean culture in the book, which is cool
  • the book is a CLIFF HANGER, unlike the movie!! the end of the movie is the beginning of the second book, sort of.
  • 9/10 would recommend; 5/10 would read again (I liked the movie better)

P.S. I Still Love You

  • JOHN. AMBROSE. MCCLAREN.
  • Peter loves Lara Jean so, so much and I love that
  • such an emotional rollercoaster, I cried a few times
  • book-Kitty is growing on me
  • the NECKLACE Peter K gets LJ
  • Peter freaking Kavinsky ok
  • much more character development and a more captivating story line with the ‘love triangle’
  • I wish I did a time capsule with my friends
  • not tryna be deep but it makes me think of friendships I had that have dissolved
  • definitely liked it better than the first
  • 9/10 would recommend; 8/10 would read again (I can’t wait for the movie!!!)

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

  • my favorite of the three
  • they go to NY and mention Levain Bakery!!!
  • PETER K + LARA JEAN MAKE MY HEART MELT
  • i love in-love-with-LJ Peter K.
  • Hamilton references!!!!! ‘and Peggy’ lol
  • peter & kitty’s relationship is adorable
  • PETER FREAKING KAVINSKY.
  • peter’s prom & birthday surprises for lara jean were adorable
  • UNC!!!
  • (at this point I am halfway through the book, WHAT ELSE CAN THERE BE)
  • a post-grad, week-long beach trip with the senior class?? we went to andretti lol.
  • why does Mrs. Kavinsky have to be like that
  • PETER. GRANT. KAVINSKY.
  • the ‘amended contract’ is absolute perfection
  • 10/10 would recommend, 10/10 would read again

Series Overall

  • alright, you know what I’m going to say
  • amazing
  • they were very easy to read, but extremely captivating
  • honestly, books with mystery or about espionage are more my cup of tea
  • but I loved it
  • 10/10 would recommend; 9/10 would read again

20 in 2020 Challenge Update: 4 out of 20 complete.

**all rights to Jenny Han**

the third month | two at twenty-two

theo’s third month faves: spitting up everywhere, his spaceship, and playing battleship with his kuya.

I truly cannot believe that it has been three months already, so much has happened. We celebrated his Kuya Zeke’s second birthday, his first Christmas and New Year, and he got his first set of vaccines. When I really think about it, this month has been the easiest so far because we had a lot of help over the holidays. For a solid two weeks, we had a steady flow of family coming to visit and help out.

Theo is definitely growing up. He sleeps a little better than before, lasting about 3 to 4 hours between feeds. I have to give myself a little pat on the back because by the time Zeke was this age, I had stopped breastfeeding. It’s been challenging, to say the least, because I’m not very good at taking the time to pump, so it falls solely on me to feed him. But that just means I’m tired, and that’s entirely my fault. I hope to do better with that. His Lolo and Lola bought him a cool swing/bouncer/spaceship-looking thing that helps him sleep without having to be held all the time, too.

He cries less, I think. Or maybe I’m just immune? But he’s definitely starting show more personality. When he’s dry, fed, and awake, he smiles and coos, and honestly I live for that. Every time I start to feel stressed or get frustrated, I see him smile and hear him coo, and that makes it all worth it. One of my favorite things about being a mom is seeing them grow and learn new things day-by-day. I love it so much.

During this month, Donald went back to school for his second semester, and I think we’re getting a hang of this. The first week was a little rough trying to get Zeke back into a schedule after such a long break of doing things whenever. But now, we are back in the swing of things. Zeke doesn’t seem as jealous of Theo anymore, and actually helps out sometimes by getting me diapers or maybe burp cloths. It depends if he knows where they are. He also tries to tickle him and make him laugh.

To sum up the third month in one word: better. He is sleeping better, we have a better routine, he’s holding his head up better, everything is slowly but surely getting better. And you know what? It can only get better from here.

ally carter book review | meg talks media

i aspire to be part cammie morgan, kat bishop, grace blakely, and maddie manchester.

Let me just start with this: I absolutely love Ally Carter‘s writing. If you kept up with my Blogmas 2019 posts, you may recall my mini-rant about the Gallagher Girls (see: the start of the decade). This is my favorite book series ever, I can go on, but for some reason I never got around to reading the rest of Ally Carter’s books. Until now.

It is January 16 and I am already seven (technically nine because two were novellas) books (two series and a stand-alone) into my 20 in 2020 challenge. And they are all written by Ally Carter. I have a feeling this will be really long, so here are my opinions and reviews in simple, bullet-form. Straight from my mind. May or may not make sense.

Not If I Save You First

  • President’s Son: Logan; Head of Security Detail’s Daughter: Maddie; relationship: best friends
  • told in third person to easily switch from Maddie’s POV to Logan’s POV
  • ten year old Maddie & Logan are adorable
  • the girl saves the day, with support from the boy
  • not your average survival story
  • the letters are cute
  • very action packed, which is unexpected
  • “I never leave the house with just one knife. Seriously. Do I look like a one-knife kind of girl?”
  • “Logan was going to kill Maddie. As soon as he was certain she was safe, of course.”
  • 9/10 would recommend, 10/10 would read again (because I actually did… yesterday…)

Heist Society Trilogy (plus novellas)

Heist Society

  • third person is cool because it allows the reader to see into more than the protagonist’s mind or give background
  • Kat Bishop is just a teenage girl trying to find herself outside of the ‘family business’
  • but family is family
  • book about thieves instead of authorities trying to catch thieves
  • book about teenage thieves
  • don’t judge a book by its cover
  • W. W. Hale the Fifth. Period.
  • “It’s okay to break the rules, but only sometimes, and only if you know them very, very well.”
  • 8/10 would recommend, 9/10 would read again

Uncommon Criminals

  • better than the first
  • so much happens, you think it’s over but it’s not
  • W. W. Hale the Fifth. Again. Period.
  • so many breadcrumbs to follow that you miss, makes you want to reread it (which I will)
  • your modern-day Robin Hood, sort of.
  • “I for one like chaos. Chaos looks good on me.”
  • 8/10 would recommend, 9.5/10 would read again

Perfect Scoundrels

  • my favorite of the three
  • Kat & Hale being cuties
  • I repeat. W. W. Hale the Fifth.
  • more Hale character development than Kat
  • power of big families, power of family in general; “You have a powerful family, boy.” “Yes, sir, please don’t hold them against me.” “Who said I was talking about them?”
  • “We’ve seen what you will do for strangers, but how far will you go for your friends?” or something like that
  • 10/10 would recommend, 10/10 would read again (because… yeah, I did already.)

The Grift of the Magi: A Heist Society Novella

  • half the length of the other books
  • post-Perfect Scoundrels
  • not your average Christmas story
  • Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh
  • “This is my gift to you, Hale. Let me give it.”
  • “You didn’t steal me, you rescued me.” I CRY.
  • 8/10 would recommend, 8/10 would read again

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story

  • I am a SUCKER for a good crossover
  • especially with anything Gallagher Girls
  • Macey McHenry is bae
  • W. W. Hale the Fifth!!!
  • both born into rich families but have, como se dice, ventured away from their family businesses
  • no Cammie ): but we love Abigail Cameron
  • 9/10 would recommend if you’ve read both series already, 10/10 would read again

Series Overall

  • not as good as Gallagher Girls (seriously, please read it) but still very good
  • makes me want to be a thief
  • but I won’t, I promise
  • Kat’s huge family is awesome
  • 9/10 would recommend, 10/10 would read again

Embassy Row Trilogy

All Fall Down

  • slow build up, kinda confusing
  • but the end was a page turner
  • written in first person
  • the way Ally Carter writes Grace’s flashbacks is GENIUS
  • Noah and Rosie are the best friends ever
  • 7/10 would recommend, 8/10 would read again (mainly to understand it better)

See How They Run

  • Adrian history is very interesting even if it’s a fake country
  • faster paced than the first
  • Grace struggles with her mental health
  • Alexei Volkov is bae
  • the end was an even bigger page turner
  • I had to read the next one immediately
  • 9/10 would recommend, 9/10 would read again

Take the Key and Lock Her Up

  • best of the three
  • Alexei is even more bae
  • gave me trust issues there are so many twists and turns
  • more Adrian history
  • her friends are so loyal
  • Noah and Megan are cutie pies
  • Rosie is the coolest twelve-almost-thirteen year old ever
  • 9/10 would recommend, 9/10 would read again

Series Overall

  • my least favorite of Ally Carter’s books but not by a lot, I love them all
  • i love grace and alexei
  • i love the way she discusses mental health through her characters
  • the overall concept of each person being from a different country is pretty awesome
  • 8/10 would recommend, 9/10 would read again

Don’t judge books by their covers. I love Ally Carter.

If you guys didn’t realize how much I love Ally Carter’s writing before, you do now. She is definitely my favorite author, the Gallagher Girls series being my favorite books. If I were to rank them, it would be Gallagher Girls, Not If I Save You First, Heist Society, then Embassy Row. But honestly, you best believe I’m going to read all of them again and again.

I love how all of her stories have strong female leads with love interests who basically say “you’ve got this, but I’ll be here if you need me.” They are all so unexpectedly action packed, they’re amazing. If you read them, please let me know, I would love to chat with you. I could go on forever.

20 in 2020 Challenge Update: 3 out of 20 complete.

**all rights to Ally Carter**

my drugstore makeup products | meg talks beauty

i love makeup, but it’s so expensive.

I love make up, I really do. I wrote all about my everyday make up products, but some of them are way too expensive for me to buy every time I run out. And let’s be real, that’s a lot. So to all my homies trying to find some cost efficient make up, this is for you. I’ve provided mainly Amazon links, but you can find all of these at your local drug store, Walmart, or Target.

Primer. NYX Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer – Makes your foundation look all nice and smooth. But honestly, sometimes I’ll just use my moisturizer.

Foundation. Revlon ColorStay Makeup – I’d say it’s pretty full coverage. I use the one for normal/dry skin, but my sister uses it for combination/oily skin, so it’s great for anyone!

Concealer. J.Cat Beauty Staysurance Concealer – I actually don’t remember the last time I used a concealer from the drugstore, so I turned to my good pal KathleenLights. She’s stands by this concealer, but I only found it online at Ulta. It’s cheap, though.

Setting Powder. Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder – The whole Maybelline Fit Me line is really good, and this powder makes your face look so flawless.

Bronzer. Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer – I dunno what else to say except I like it.

Blush. Milani Baked Blush – I really like baked blushes.

Highlight. Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder – We love a good, cheap highlight.

Eyeshadow. Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Palette – I love Makeup Geek eyeshadows, so when they came to Target I was very excited.

Eyeliner. Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner – I don’t wear eyeliner all the time, but when I do, this is it.

Mascara. L’Oreal Telescopic Lengthening Mascara – I’ve bought this time and time again over the years. I’m not sure where I first heard about it, but it’s really good.

Setting Spray. Milani Make It Last Setting Spray – It’s not quite my Morphe one, but it does the job.

Lips. Your favorite chapstick. I don’t really wear lip products.

2020 goals | into my mind

new year, new decade, improved me.

Happy New Year!! It’s a new year, a new decade, and, apparently, that prompts everyone to start anew themselves. I am no exception. After all the changes 2019 brought to my life, I’m ready to get back into something, anything. So, during one of my many breastfeeding sessions where I just sit there on my phone, I thought of a few things.

This blog. I really want to keep up with my blog this year. For me, it gives me something to do. With Donald at school and myself at home with the kiddos on my own, I need this. I will be starting to take one class at a time towards my degree in March, and I might find a part-time job, but even then, I need more. That being said, stay tuned every Monday and Thursday, at the least, for new posts!

Read 20 Books/Series. I love to read, so I thought reading 20 books in 2020 would be a fun thing to do. But considering how fast I can go through your average 350-page book, 20 in 2020 sounded a little too easy. Therefore, I’ve extended this to books or series. If the series is less than 5 books, it counts as one. I asked people for recommendations on my Instagram story, any genre, any length. I want to try to read all of the recommendations to expand my horizons, and I’ll only count books I have not already read. If you have any other suggestions let me know!

Lose 15 Pounds. This particular goal is one I feel a lot of people do. Lose weight. Work out. Eat healthy. This goal for me is less wanting to lose this specific number of pounds, but to try and get my body back to pre-baby state, to an extent. In the year between giving birth to Zeke and getting pregnant with Theo, I didn’t do anything to get my body back in shape. If I really think about it, it’s been a good few years since I’ve actually been in shape, especially my very weak core. This is the year to change that.

I have a few other mini-goals – keeping up with a 1 Second Everyday video, not missing Sunday Mass, cook more/eat out less, things like that. I’ll post updates every once in awhile to see how these goals are going in hopes that this will keep me accountable. Hit me up if you want someone to keep you accountable for your goals, too!

my instagram: megan.etmercado

Subscribe to my blog with the “Hit It” button on the right (or below if you’re on your phone). I will love you forever.

2019 recap | into my mind

i have a toddler, an infant, and a husband, oh my.

2019 was such a year. When I really think about it, I don’t know how I didn’t go crazy. I mean I did, but let’s just assume I’m always crazy. In 2019, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus changed the country scene with “Old Town Road”, Billie Eilish told us she’s a “Bad Guy”, and I personally always had “Sunflower” by Post Malone & Swae Lee stuck in my head. The Jonas Brothers got back together, I turned 22 years old, we found out what came after ‘the snap’ in Avengers: Endgame, and we were taken back to East High with High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

2019 brought a lot of change in my life, and most of it happened during the second half of the year. First of all, I’m not even ending the year with the same last name I started with. On July, 20, 2019, in the presence of some of our closest friends and family, I married the love of my life and became a Mercado. It was a small wedding at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Gainesville. Our reception was at the Blue Gill Restaurant. The whole weekend was everything I could have asked for.

Throughout the whole month of July, we were packing up our apartment and slowly moving things to Lakeland until, finally, we moved out of our Beacon Hill Condo of three years on July 30, 2019. A lot happened in that house. First, it was Donald, Justin, and Chief who lived there, and I really got closer to Justin. Then, when Jut moved out, Mickey and I moved in, and we waited for the birth of our first son, Zeke. This house watched us evolve from college students trying to find our way and into parents still trying to find our way.

We stayed at Leo’s house for the first couple weeks of August. Donald turned 24 on August 8, I quit my job on August 13, and on August 14, 2019, we left Gainesville to start the next chapter of our lives in Lakeland. It was an adjustment at first, especially with Donald starting his first year of his Physical Therapy program, but we finally had a good flow going after a month or two. Then came Theo.

On October 19, 2019, Sir Elijah Theodore came screaming into our lives. I wrote all about his first month here, but long story short, he is still screaming. He is getting chunkier and more interactive, but definitely still screaming. Two months later, we still haven’t really gotten a routine together, but hopefully that’s something that will come quickly in the new year. On December 20, 2019, our bigger little man, Zeke, turned two years old, and man. Time flies. We had a blast throwing him a party and going to Legoland. But most importantly, I had a blast looking at how much he has grown.

It’s so surreal to think about how much has happened in the second half of this year alone. I went from engaged to married, one kid to two, and a Gainesville resident to Lakeland. My goals of 2020 include reading 20 books, running at least one 5K, and keeping up with this blog. I have a few other aspirations up my sleeve, but I’ll tell you guys about them at a later date. Until then, I hope you all have had a great 2019, and I pray that 2020 will bring you so much joy.

For the last time in 2019, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. See you in 2020. A new decade! Wild. Love, Meg.

maligayang pasko | into my mind

this is it, folks. maligayang pasko. | blogmas day 25

Traditions are awesome. It gives me something more to look forward to during the holidays. Growing up as a Filipino-American, it was fun to learn the traditions we have at home and compare them to the traditions of my friends at school. I thought it would be fun to write about the Filipino traditions I grew up with. We haven’t been able to do all of them this year, but they are still strong in my heart.

“-ber.” First off, the Christmas season does not start after Thanksgiving. It doesn’t even start after Halloween. It starts on September 1st. We celebrate during all the months ending in “-ber.” September, October, November, December. Trees, music, the works. It’s amazing. It officially ends on the Epiphany, January 6.

Parols. When I was little, I just called these “pretty stars.” They are made out of colorful papers and bamboo sticks. Pretty much every Filipino house had one or ten in it. Just like any other Christmas decoration, they make the Christmas spirit so much more prominent to Filipinos.

Noche buena. We definitely did not do this particular tradition this year, but we usually do. We attend Mass at midnight, and then, we feast. Pancit, lumpia, lechon, ham, everything. It’s better than Thanksgiving. We party into the early morning, then we wake up and do it again.

Simbang Gabi. Starting on December 16, Simbang Gabi is a daily mass celebration to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, ending on Christmas Eve. We didn’t attend any Simbang Gabi masses this year, but when I was little, I loved them because I got to see my friends every day. Now, I get to appreciate it for what it is. Mama Mary is awesome.

Now that I have my own family, I’m excited to continue these traditions and begin some of our own. This was my first holiday season with Donald as a married couple and our first as a family of four. Our family is growing, and our traditions are changing. I can’t wait to see where we go in the years to come.

From my family to yours, Maligayang Pasko!