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Book Review: Between These Walls

Hey everyone! Quarantine has left me with lots of time to read. I recently read a fascinating book set in WW2. As many who follow me know, I always gravitate to WW2 books... I should venture out to other genres but I just can't seem to. I want to share this with all the other readers out there!

Between These Walls by [Michael  Newman]

The book Between There Walls by Michael Newman is a highly researched account of 3 families and an art curator during WW2 and in the years that followed the world worst war.

Here is the book description:

A novel of historical fiction that turns on two key events: the discovery of a beautiful blonde woman’s body in the back seat of a burnt out SS staff car during the last days of World War II, by US Army Medical Corps Colonel Samuel Singer, and the unsealing more than four decades later of a security-taped package from Germany, bearing a secret that changes the life of New York art curator Daniel Singer, the adopted son of Colonel Singer.

As Daniel learns more about the package’s contents, he unlocks the history of three families -- one American and two German – through tumultuous times, from the end of the First World War to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and through to three Middle East wars. Along the way, he gets entangled in the web of the Mossad, Israel’s top secret spy agency and Naomi one of its beautiful operatives, and is ultimately faced with a life-altering choice – and the opportunity to right the most heinous of wrongs.

 I enjoyed this book because it gave more perspectives of the war experience than the usual WW2 book- it delves into the German war experience more as well as the American experience. It is mysterious and though provoking and keeps you furiously turning the pages so you can find out what happens next. I don't want to say much more because I don't want to give any spoilers to the story. What I will say is that is a riveting read and you should check it out!!

How I went from Failing the Bar Exam to Passing in the 90th Percentile

These are words I have dreamed of typing- I am officially a Lawyer. I passed the February 2020 Ohio Bar Exam. I will be sworn in to the Ohio Bar in just 4 short days.

If you have followed me for a while, you will know that I failed the July 2019 Ohio Bar Exam by just a few points. More on that in this blog post. I decided to go after the February 2020 bar exam without mercy. I wanted to pass and I wanted to pass with a healthy cushion. I refused to fail by just a few points again. Thankfully, my tireless efforts were successful. Not only did I pass, but I passed in the 90th percentile. That means my score was in the top 10% of February 2020 exam takers. I had a perfect score on two of my essays and one of my MPT's. This was a HUGE increase from where my previous bar exam score was.

I do NOT post this to brag or boast in any way. I am posting all of this with the hopes that it can encourage others who have to retake the bar exam. I want people to understand just how high you can rise after a setback. I don't want people to feel like they can't success on this exam just because of one bad attempt. I want those who are preparing for this exam to understand that failing once isn't the end of the world.

So what made the vast difference in my scores? I cannot say with 100% certainty but I have some good ideas based on the changes I made as I prepared for my second attempt. I am going to share it with the hopes that it helps someone else conquer this monster of an exam.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a bar prep expert. I am NOT a professor or a bar examiner. I am just someone who has done this process twice, once unsuccessfully and once successfully, and I am sharing what I learned from that in the hopes that something here can help someone else. I am sure some of this advice will seem redundant or silly to some people and to others it will be enlightening. What worked for me might not work for you. Take everything with a grain of salt and at the end of the day, you have to do what works best for you. 

My Visit to Essential Skincare (Toledo, OH)

Today's post is geared toward my local Northwest Ohio folks. In February, I made my first visit to Essential Skincare in Sylvania, OH. I have never been to an Esthetician's office prior to this visit and I have to say, Janna was an absolute pleasure and my made first visit simply wonderful.

A little about Essential Skincare
Janna is an experienced esthetician with over 10 years of experience. She owns and operates Essential Skincare out of a lovely office in Sylvania, OH (just a touch north of the heart of Toledo).

Friday Five 4/10/2020

Happy Friday friends!

I hope that everyone is safe and healthy! Now that we are a few weeks into this new temporary reality, I know it has been easier for me. I have a routine and a schedule figured out now. It has also been amazing for my mood to have some warm, sunny days.

My Friday Five is pretty TV heavy today as I have been watching a lot of TV lately. I figured most everyone is in the same boat so I wanted to pass along some recommendations.

1. Tiger King

If you haven't heard of Tiger King, you must have been living under a rock for the last few weeks. I watched and I have almost no words. This took me on an adventure I didn't even know I wanted to go on. It was the most outrageously amazing and confusing thing I have ever watched. No level of crazy is out of reach for these people. There is no question- you must watch it. Buckle up and let it take you for a wild ride. Word on the street is that another episode is coming soon as well!

2. Prodigal Son

If you like crime shows and serial killers, this is for you! I don't want to give anything away so I am not going to say anything more than go watch it!

3. World On Fire

This new PBS show is super intense. It takes place during the very beginning of WW2 in both Poland, Berlin and England. I am truly obsessed with WW2 so of course I love it but my husband, who usually hates history, actually liked this show as well. It airs Sunday's on PBS.

4. Homemade Facemasks
Per the CDC, we should all be wearing fabric facemasks while in public. I have been sewing them in all my spare time for family and friends. The CDC website has information on how to sew handmade masks as well as no sew options. Stay safe friends!

5. I started a Podcast

I have been thinking about this for about 6 months now and with the extra spare time due to social distancing, I was able to make it happen. My podcast explores stories of famous horses in history and the role of horses in historical moments. I am a lifelong equestrian and horse lover and I have a degree in history as well as a love for it. This podcast seemed like the perfect way to combine my passions into something interesting and enjoyable for a wide audience. If you want to check it out, the links are below!

Tips for Remote Law School

I know this is a crazy and scary time for law students. 3L's are dealing with the lack of graduation and uncertainty around the bar exam and my heart just goes out to all of you. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone and my hope is that this pandemic will pass and everyone will have access to all normal opportunities.

What I want to discuss today is the change to remote law school. I know it has been a hard adjustment for everyone. As I am now working for my law school, I have remained pretty informed on the transition to online law school and the struggles students are facing. While I never completed law school online, I did study for two bar exams online from home and through a lot of trial and error, I figured out a few tricks to handle full time study online from home. I want to share these tips in the hopes that they might provide a little assistance to all the law students out there figuring out online law school.

1. Set a Routine 
It literally doesn't matter what your routine is, but find something that works for you. Personally, I would do work in 3 hour increments throughout the day. It was unusual but it worked for me. Having a routine gives you a reason to get up and get to work in the morning. Having a routine also makes it easier to ensure that you are getting enough work done. It is sometimes hard to keep up when you don't have the usual parameters. Having a daily routine keeps you in the rhythm of getting your work done and will help you to stay on top of the work load.

A routine also helps you make time for relaxation. You need to take breaks and rest your brain. Work hard and then enjoy your leisure time.

2. Make a Study Space
I think it is super important to have a defined area in your home for studying. Just like when you get home from class, you can relax and step away from school work, if you define a place in your home purely for studying, you can step away from that area when you need to relax. Further, when you get into your study space, it helps to motivate work just like arriving to class motivates you to be prepared and do your best.

3. Ask for Help
If you are struggling, absolutely reach out for help. There is no award for going it alone. These are hard times- these are unprecedented times. Everyone is figuring it out as they go. I urge you to seek out help if you feel like you are starting to struggle. Talk to professors, faculty, mentors.... anyone you trust to advise you and assist you. If you feel mental health issues beginning, seek out help. There are many free and online counseling options available. Please please please ask for help if you are struggling. I know personally I always hate admitting I need help but when I seek it out, I always feel better on the other side.

4. Have Grace with Yourself
Life has changed drastically- it's okay if your motivation and productivity changes too. Have some grace with yourself as you adjust to this new reality. It will get easier, it will get better and eventually, this pandemic will come to an end.

5. Helpful Products 
I put together an Amazon list of items I think are gamechangers for studying from home.
  •  Laptop stand to get your laptop up to a better position to improve your posture and alleviate neck strain
  •  Wireless mouse
  •  Wireless keyboard- it makes it easier to type while your computer is raised
  •  Ring light- clip this over your laptop camera and look like a rockstar on Zoom or Facetime
  •  Blue light blocking glasses help to alleviate the strain of computer screens on your eyes and help with headaches
  •  Seat cushion to help with posture
  •  Water bottle- I like to have water next to me at all times while studying at home 
  •  Coffee mug with lid- don't let your coffee spill on your computer!
Shop all these products here!

I hope this is helpful! Best of luck everyone!