Sunshine Blogger Award – on books, swimming, and fun facts

I love being tagged in book tags, and this one feels even more special because it has the word “award” in it (yes, I’m one of those people). Huge thank you to Amelia for nominating me–y’all should go check out her blog for sure ๐Ÿ’œ

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

What was the book that made you fall in love with reading?

I actually think I fell in love with books before I knew how to read. There was a book called Sweet Hearts for Dolly that I loved to have my mom read to me when I was really little. I had the whole book memorized but would still ask her to read it to me; she would sometimes try to change a word for fun (like swapping “ran” for “dashed” or something similarly inoccuous), and every time I would catch her and correct her. Again: at this point, I did not know how to read. I just loved the book and its words.

When I came home from my first day of preschool, my mom asked me how my day was, and I told her it was just okay. My reason? “They didn’t teach us how to read.” At that point, my mom knew she had to actually do something, so she got me the books and cassettes for Hooked On Phonics, taught me the first couple lessons, and I taught myself the rest because I was too impatient to wait for her to teach me ๐Ÿ˜‚

But if we are talking the first set of books I really started binge-reading? Probably The Boxcar Children when I was in first grade, or else the American Girl books (all of them, or all they had at the time–Kata, Felicity, Josephina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Kit, and Molly). Then I started Harry Potter in second grade, and all hope was lost.

If you had to choose a non-natural color for your hair, what would it be?

I’ve thought about this a lot, actually. Since I’ll be going to law school, I’m kind of expected to keep a conservative-ish appearance (or at least no crazy hair), but I have so much respect for colorful hair. I’m indecisive, but I think I would do one of these three:

Teal. The color seems universally flattering, even for someone as pale as I am. (And honestly I love her purple eyebrows too.)

Picture is Amy Sheppard, one of the lead singers of the band Sheppard

Lilac (this specific color is “chocolate lilac,” but there are a lot of varieties of it that I like). The colors are just so dang pretty.

Auburn, with a bit more red than is natural–it would set off my green eyes really well! The only time I ever dyed my hair, it was a similar color to this one, just not as intense, and people really liked it, so…seems like a safe bet!

What is your favorite holiday?

I’m not one of those people who obsesses over really any holiday. I can’t stand Valentine’s Day, so that one is out for sure.

But my favorite holiday tradition is this big Christmas Eve dinner my family does every year, and has done for as long as I can remember–all the aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents from the Polish side of the family come over to my mom’s house. My mom makes an ungodly amount of desserts and some sort of pasta dish, someone else makes a ham, someone brings mashed potatoes, etc…and my grandma is the real MVP, making pounds and pounds of Polish sausage that she buys fresh from a specific deli in the city, then boils all the sweet and sour cabbage and cooks bacon and basically spends forever making a dish that will be 100% gone by the end of the night because everyone loves it.

And then Christmas day, aside from opening gifts and eating a specific cherry coffee cake that we only make for Christmas morning (don’t ask me why), we have nothing on our agenda, so it is super casual.

I guess the real takeaway here is that I like eating lots of good food.

Do you have any special books in your collection (ex. signed books, special editions, etc)?

Oh jeez, I have quite a few signed books from preorders or attending author events. Some favorites are An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Turtles All the Way Down, Our Numbered Days, Like a Love Story, We Set the Dark on Fire, and Six of Crows. I have some signed books I still haven’t read yet because I procrastinate, including Darkdawn, The Star-Touched Queen, Ninth House, and The Merciful Crow (as well as a handful of others).

Probably the most special signature to me ๐Ÿ’œ

If you could get away with one crime, what would it be?

Uh…probably something that would involve illegally acquiring money so that finances are never a concern for me again? I don’t have any major grudges I need revenge for or anything, and if I’m going to get away with it, then there is no point in doing something for notoriety like stealing the Mona Lisa, ya know?

What is a scent that always brings back a good memory?

Chlorine. I used to swim all the time, first on local summer teams when I was in first grade, then competitively from 7th grade until junior year of high school, when frequent shoulder injuries and dislocations (courtesy of hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I now know) forced me to stop. I also taught swim lessons basically up until I left for college.

The chlorinated smell of a swimming pool never fails to make me smile and remember the effortless gliding through water, the endless hours of grueling work, the long meets spent sitting on uncomfortable towels, the sound of a voice saying, “Take your marks…” followed by the loud buzzer, the thrill of a new best time…swimming was a surreal experience, and it formed a lot of key aspects of who I am today.

What is your favorite format to read books in (e-book, audio, hardcover, paperback)?

Generally I prefer paperbacks. I like real paper, and without the hardcover, they are easier to hold and I don’t have to worry about scuffing the jacket. But I will say, sometimes e-books are helpful for writing reviews, because highlighting is easier on a Kindle, and it is faster to search.

I do like audio, especially for during things like walking or driving, but only if the narrator is good.

What makes you laugh until you cry?

I don’t know, it just kind of has to happen. There’s no pattern to it, and my sense of humor is all over the place. But typically it comes from obnoxious friendly banter!

If you were a cartoon character, what would your signature outfit be?

Ooh, what a cool question! It would definitely involve a skirt, like a skater skirt or circle skirt, solid black or else black with a white floral pattern. Since I’m a cartoon, I wouldn’t have to worry about it being too short even in action sequences–and I love skirts anyway. My top would be burgundy, probably a sweater with a white Peter Pan collar. And then black tights and booties with a small block heel. Possibly some sort of quirky jewelry, because I have a lot of that.

Or if the skirt was definitely solid black, the sweater could have an image in the middle of it! Like a llama or an owl or a cat or something else that goes with my personality or changes every episode.

Who is a person you admire and why?

I’m not big on celebrity heroes, but Misha Collins is incredible. After growing up very poor and often homeless, he went to the University of Chicago, interned at the White House, and then went on to become an actor, now known for his role as Castiel on Supernatural.

He uses his fame now as a huge platform for doing good–he founded the charity Random Acts, which does tons of work for a variety of good causes, and he created/runs GISH (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt), an annual, global, week-long melee of acts of creation, kindness, and sometimes sheer madness, all in the name of spreading joy and helping those who need it, from food banks and women’s shelters to school music programs and the LGBTQ+ community, to survivors of the Rwandan genocide and Syrian refugees. I’ve participated in GISH for the past 6 years, now, and it is absolutely one of the highlights of my summer every year. (Ask me questions about it–I love telling people about all the things we do!!)

What’s the weirdest fun fact that you know?

Giraffes have black/blue tongues. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. Almonds are a member of the peach family. Are those enough?

And now, the nominees!

I’m not sure I can do 11, but we will see…

  • Dini and Yolanda (two separate blogs), who I can always count on to leave thoughtful comments ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • Shyla, whose amazing book/snack pairing series through all of October was so dang cool
  • Jen, Ally, and Meagan, three of my newest followers (thanks, guys!)
  • Mir and Mel, at TBR and Beyond, for their super amazing Facebook group
  • Vee, for your candid commentary on the stresses of life as a Millennial (I know you aren’t a book blog, so you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but I figured you still deserve a shout-out)
  • Lyn, who reads and likes every post without fail and actually makes a point of actively visiting everyone she follows
  • Anna and Charlotte, at Reads Rainbow, for promoting diverse literature and causing my TBR to grow exponentially as a result
  • Kristi, for some fun conversations about author visits and Anderson’s Bookshop
  • You, dear reader, for actually reading this far!

Finally, your questions:

  1. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but we sometimes do. What is your favorite book cover?
  2. What real-life award would you like to win? Grammy, Oscar, Nobel, National Book Award, Ig-Nobel…? Anything goes!
  3. What is the last song you listened to?
  4. Poof! You have a fairy that will do one specific mundane task for you for the rest of your life so you don’t have to (e.g. laundry, filing taxes, cleaning the bathroom, etc.). What would you like it to take care of for you?
  5. If you could spend a day with any author, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you guys do?
  6. It is a little-known fact that everyone has a tiny horse inside them. Some say that this horse represents…your soul. What does the tiny horse inside of you look like?
  7. If you had to personify yourself as a shoe, what shoe would you be?
  8. You have to choose one book that is so fine, it deserves to be dipped in chocolate. What book gets that honor?
  9. How would you complete the following? “Stop! _____________.”
  10. If you could swap names with any fictional character, whose name would you want?
  11. Favorite dipping sauce? (For any food you like–fries, veggies, fruit, chicken nuggets, whatever.)

And…that’s it! Hopefully my replies were sufficient, without being excessively wordy. Thank you again to Amelia for the nomination!

Until next time,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)


19 thoughts on “Sunshine Blogger Award – on books, swimming, and fun facts

  1. Lyn*Nomadic Worlds November 4, 2019 / 12:33 pm

    Thank you so much for thinking of me and the nice words. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good to be appreciated. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Hey, I didn’t know that about Misha Collins. You’re right, he’s incredible. Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathryn Speckels November 4, 2019 / 12:48 pm

      You’re quite welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I know, right? Misha is just amazing. He recently published an article about his childhood in the New York Times that you should totally look up. And the work that Random Acts does is also definitely worth looking into–money from GISH and directly from the charity have helped fund, among other things, an orphanage in Haiti, a school in Nicaragua, prosthetic limbs for people injured by land mines in Laos, a dance school in South Africa to help at-risk kids/teens, and the creation of independent farmland and markets for women in Rwanda. And those are just the super big items!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. confessionsofayareader November 4, 2019 / 2:17 pm

    Thank you for the tag! You have some cool questions. I love that you said chlorine for the smell. I swam at the beach a lot, but we had a pool. That smell is something I enjoy when others think it’s gross. Now I love the ocean smell more (not the fishy areas), but chlorine still reminds me of summers swimming and hanging out with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathryn Speckels November 5, 2019 / 8:32 am

      Haha I really try to come up with interesting questions for people. I used to do interviews for my living-learning community back in college, and we emphasized free thought, inclusive community, and creative expression, so I had some weird questions I would use in those…and I definitely stole a few of them to use in this post ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Also, very glad that I’m not the only one who loves the smell of chlorine–a lot of people think it’s kind of weird, and I’m so glad someone else gets it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Writes Things November 4, 2019 / 3:07 pm

    Ahh thank you so much for the tag! Your cartoon outfit sounds so adorable!


  4. quibblesandscribbles November 4, 2019 / 3:30 pm

    Thank you so much for the tag! I love Misha Collins as well. He doesnโ€™t get enough credit for all the work he does. I also love watching his kidsโ€™ โ€œcooking showโ€ on Youtube โ˜บ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathryn Speckels November 5, 2019 / 8:38 am

      Oh god yes, his cooking show videos are HILARIOUS. West is a true gem, and pasta with jam sauce is iconic. Did you see he (Misha, not West) has a cookbook (“The Adventurous Eaters Club Cookbook”) that just came out today? It has all sorts of weird/healthy recipes that are kid-friendly, and he is donating all the proceeds from it to organizations that provide access to healthy food to underserved families!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. V November 5, 2019 / 3:45 am

    AWE! This is so sweet of you. Thank you so much โค

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathryn Speckels November 5, 2019 / 8:29 am

      You’re welcome! I really enjoy seeing things you post–so much of it is incredibly relatable (even if not always in a “happy” way), and I have major respect for anyone who is willing to talk about not just the perfect parts of life, but everything in between as well.


  6. dinipandareads December 6, 2019 / 9:07 am

    Omg, thanks so much for the nomination, Kathryn! I can’t believe I missed this post originally but I’m so glad that I saw it now from your monthly wrap up! ๐Ÿ˜GISH sounds like it’s amazing! Since it’s international I’m definitely going to look it up–it sounds like such a wonderful, crazy and fun way of spreading kindness and joy! ๐ŸฅฐAlso, that autographed book by Hilborn!!! I would so love to hear him read his works and to meet him and have him sign a book–it’d definitely be one I cherish a lot too! These were such fun and interesting questions and your answers were great too–awesome post!


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