A-Z Bookish Survey

A-Z Bookish Survey

Writing Heroine Training lessons, gathering materials for the Blogwarts Diagon Alley scavenger hunt, watching The Quest, and rereading some awesome books has got me in a bookish mood. So here are my answers to Jamie‘s A-Z Bookish Survey! I’ve tried to avoid repetition whenever possible. But there’s still a lot of Harry Potter.

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Ann M. Martin? Those were a lot of Baby-Sitters Club books…

Best Sequel Ever:
The Goddess Experience by Gisèle Scanlon

Currently Reading:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Water? Tea for writing. Oh, maybe hot chocolate!

E-reader or Physical Book?
Physical book! But for traveling and reading in queues, I do adore Severus, my kindle.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Remus Lupin.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Hidden Gem Book:
Yours Truly, Skye O’Shea by Megan Shull. Made me want to play ice hockey. [ME!]

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Being forced to read Sorcerer’s Stone. In second grade I was a stubborn nonconformist and refused to read Harry Potter because it was popular. As a moving away present, my friend gave me book 1, and it changed my life.

Just Finished:
Isla and the Happily Ever After. Aaaaaah!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
The second book in a series before the first book.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.

Major book hangover because of:
The Hunger Games. I couldn’t read for a couple of weeks after finishing that series, so I discovered Survivor in the interim.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
In Boston, two: one by my bed and one by my desk. In Edinburgh, none: just piles of books by the bed.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald.

Preferred Place To Read:
Curled up in a comfy chair, preferably my favourite armchair at the Barnes & Noble in Charlottesville. If it’s still there.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“Of course it’s happening in your head, Harry. But why on earth does that mean it isn’t real?”

Reading Regret:
Not reading Perks of Being a Wallflower sooner. I read it right before seeing the movie, ruining my cinematic experience with constant comparisons.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
Artemis Fowl! I still have two books to go.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Matilda by Roald Dahl

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Emma Approved. And The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. And anything written by Jane Austen.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Armada by Ernest Cline. I adored Ready Player One.

Worst Bookish Habit:
Reading at the table.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
I’ll go with my kindle shelf: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Your latest book purchase:
The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): 
Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

I’d love to see your answers as well :)

miss xandra bee

Mini Adventure: Walking in Wiltshire

Mini Adventure: Walking in Wiltshire Some of my favourite things about England: afternoon tea, English breakfast, sheep, and walks. [And Harry Potter, obviously].  Because it’s so walkable, Mini Adventuring in England is quite easy. When I moved back to Boston I had to get my driver’s license, first thing, or I couldn’t get anywhere. But here some decently comfy shoes or a bike can get you pretty far. Mini Adventure: Walking in WiltshireMini Adventure: Walking in Wiltshire During my first week back in the UK, the Monkey and I considered day-tripping to a nearby city, but factoring in jet lag and to do lists, we opted for a long stroll by the canal instead: it’s basically in his backyard. Mini Adventure: Walking in Wiltshire We passed fields and canal boats and puppies. It seemed secluded and quiet, yet our destination, a tucked-away pub, was packed! With a basket of English chips [waay better than American - or shall I say French - fries!] we sat under an umbrella during a slight drizzle, then retreated inside for reading time [Divergent for me, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for Monkey. No, I did not make him reread the Harry Potters this summer. He did that all on his own.] Mini Adventure: Walking in Wiltshire

monday mini adventuresmaking the most of one’s surroundings through conscious exploration and appreciation 

miss xandra bee  

Sunday Sampling: Be a Beginner


♡ This makes me want to have a moon party!

♡ What you miss out on if you wear sweatpants, aka the good things that can happen when you put in a little effort.

♡ A good reminder: personality begins where comparison ends

♡ How to be a beginner: it’s good for us, even if we feel like jumping ahead.

♡ A lovely list on a lovely coral background: 20 things creative people do differently

♡ Templates on what to bring for lunch, by the lady behind French Women Don’t Get Fat

♡ I’ve always thought that Lady Gaga has a gorgeous voice. This collab is further proof:

miss xandra bee

P.S. Have you enrolled at Blogwarts yet?

Your Letter to Hogwarts

Your Letter to Hogwarts

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting as much here, never fear! I am still writing just as much – in fact, more – but I’m splitting my time between Fashionably Light and my new project: Heroine Training.

Waiting for your Hogwarts letter?

With utter enthusiasm, I present Blogwarts: an 8-week online course and lifetime community. Based on the values we can learn from literature and structured by the merits of the four Hogwarts houses, Blogwarts is for heroines in training who tire of living vicariously through fiction and want to burst their dreams into reality. 

The four modules are:

  • Gryffindor / Dare To Dream
  • Ravenclaw / Ready Your Mind
  • Hufflepuff / Find Your Quest
  • Slytherin / Live Your Legacy

The deadline to apply is 29 August, so hurry over to Heroine Training to sign up! The train leaves on 1 September, of course. $197 for admission.

Saving your galleons?

Never fear! There are three options for heroines in training who want a bit of a tuition break.

1. You can apply for a FREE scholarship by blogging about either a) Who is your heroine role model and why? or b) What does being a heroine mean to you? Then tweet it out, linking to the Blogwarts page [], tagged #HeroineTraining.

2. Join the Diagon Alley scavenger hunt! Over the next week, 8 bloggers will be hiding items from the Hogwarts school supply list in their posts. If you find all 8, you get 20% off ($39.40!) tuition. For hints, follow me on Twitter: @missxandrabee [send me a tweet with #HeroineTraining and I may just leave you a special clue ;)] and request your free Personal Wizard Profile worksheet by signing up for our mailing list: 

Request your invitation  

3. You can also pay in two installments of $107, no extra quests involved!

Your training starts now

Your Letter to Hogwarts
Before term begins, browse our free lessons and try your hand at some heroine-worthy homework assignments.

Fuel your wanderlust

Your Letter to Hogwarts

Or, travel vicariously through some real-life heroines who take you through places they’ve called home. [These are so fabulous.]

♡ Seoul’s Myeongdong / Fit for a Heroine by Blogwarts Head of Slytherin Coco, minimalist queen of black, white, and grey

♡ Downtown Manhattan / Fit for a Heroine by Diane Pauley, postgrad coach 

♡ East London / Fit for a Heroine by Sarah Lambert, urban pixie

Well what are you waiting for? ;)

miss xandra bee

Mini Adventure: a Birthday Wish in Boston

Mini Adventure: Birthday in Boston

After a good, hard day of climbing at Rock Spot, we shower and head to the city for lunch. Last year I went to No.9 Park with my parents, so this year we try Sportello, a more casual, Fort Point-located Barbara Lynch Italian. I never tire of pasta, and the bread and dip is delicious. I feast on tiramisu, which is presented with a birthday candle, so I make a wish.

Next we detour to Flour Bakery, because Mama has never been. So yum. 

Off to Seaport’s edge for an afternoon at the ICA. I’ve been meaning to go for ages. Modern art is weird, and sometimes disturbing, but some pieces speak directly to my core. After wandering through a room of varied media, I realize that it is all by the same artist: Jim Hodges. My new favourite. My goodness is his work magical. As per art gallery tradition, I add his “Untitled (It’s Already Happened)” to my virtual salon.

Mini Adventure: Birthday in Boston

Mini Adventure: Birthday in Boston

I love it even more when I read that it’s called “Give More Than You Take.” 

Mini Adventure: Birthday in Boston

There is also a video piece, The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson, in which artists are placed in different rooms of a mansion, improvising a song together through their headsets. I got the Punchdrunk feeling watching that one.

Since we have time to spare, I request a stop at Newbury Street’s Fairy Shop to say hello to Michael, and to Lyra’s family. Somehow this shop always gives me just what I need; it’s filled with magic after all. Less than a day ago, I wrote on my Birthday List that I wanted to “add crystals”. Sure enough, the Fairy Shop has just started stocking them again. I select a clear quartz necklace to begin my collection. Sparkled with fairy dust, we say goodbye.

Mini Adventure: Birthday in Boston

We meet Dad for dinner at the King and I, a Thai place I’d never sampled. We brainstorm ideas for my 24th thing, and Sister’s idea is perfect: perform a planned, anonymous act of kindness.  

On the way home, I check my email, and finally: a notification from FedEx says my passport is on its way home [7 weeks late.] Looking at the time stamp on the email, it arrived shortly after I blew out the candle.

monday mini adventuresmaking the most of one’s surroundings through conscious exploration and appreciation 

miss xandra bee

Being a Heroine

Mini Adventures


Simple Fix