Learn to make beaded bookmarksRead More
Beaded creations& a reivew of the beadsoup used for these pieces.Read More
Sharing some of my favorite qutotes and talking about my favorite cheracters.
...or books that left me confused...Read More
Happy New Year Everyone!
Today I wanted to go over my plans for my blog for this coming year as well as a darling video of Penny. I’ve been holding on to it since December, but life has gotten in the way of me sharing. I hope you enjoy. (The video may be a bit long, but I seriously did a lot of editing and included all the best shots of Penny—if I do say so myself.)
As you’ve noticed, over the last few months, my content has changed a bit. I’ve stopped creating reviews of beauty products, as I’ve found that becoming an expert on the subject matter is just not within me. I’ve focused more on bookish related content as they honestly provide me the most inspiration. I haven’t posted any fashion related content, which has more to do with how self-conscious I’ve become about some extra pounds I haven’t been able to shed than with the lack of interest in the subject. Accepting my new, curvier figure has been a challenge as not only do I find that only a fraction of my wardrobe fits, which I’m slowly working on letting go of, but figuring out items that flatter my figure and that make me feel confident has been a challenge. Anyway, I am working on improving my confidence (I’m thinking about posting an update in the future as I think it’d help me stay motivated)—as well as working on improving my beading skills.
I opened my shop in February of 2016. To be honest, it had more to do with the fact that I didn’t know what to do with all the extra bookmarks I was making than with my dream of learning to bead or of my desire to open an Etsy shop. I’ve since become invested in perfecting my craft and in learning how to make my shop a success. Thus, my content has diminished, which is not to say that my blog is not important to me. It’s just that, given that time is such a scarce resource, I’ve devoted a lot more of it on honing in on my craft and less on creating content, or my preferable kind of content. I did focus quite a bit on Instagram and on Pinterest as I just love taking part in these platforms. I’ve found that I’m quite drawn to image heavy blogs and these social media platforms really cater to me.
Now, without further ado, here are a few things to expect on my blog in 2017:
Given my love of photography and that I have sooooooooo many pictures I want to share, and because I don’t want to inundate my Instagram account or blog with too many images, I have opened a few pages solely devoted to pictures. One is completely devoted to Penny, the furry love of my life; another is devoted to books, and in the future, I plan on opening up another where I share pictures from customers that share their beaded purchases—of course, everyone will receive full credit as well as a link to the site.
2. Bookish Content
My YouTube Channel will be devoted to a lot of bookish content as I find that I love talking about books a lot more than writing about them. I will continue to share some of my favorite quotes from books but written bookish blog posts will not appear on here as often.
3. Beading Projects/Bookish Projects
Given that I’ve opened my shop, and the fact that I’m constantly working on new projects, I have a lot of misses and hits and lessons learned along the way. I plan on sharing these as well as I think it’d be fun to look back on my work and to see how far I’ve come since then.
4. Longer Videos & Personal Blog Posts
I love filming and editing videos. I am not the best at it but I do really enjoy the medium and I find that given the type of content I enjoy creating, bookish related content, this is a medium I really should be focusing on perfecting.
Up until now, I’ve been dedicated to making my videos as short as possible. Going forward, this will change. I really love watching videos that don’t look too edited or overly produced and I think that my videos wouldn’t be the kind of videos I’d like to view if I were new to my own channel. Coming to this realization really bummed me out. That is why I plan on producing the kind of videos I love watching.
Also, expect more personal blog posts. The sort that focuses on personal life experiences, as these too are the kind of blogs I gravitate towards. There are just some things that are better expressed in written form than on video which is more candid, and less well thought out.
So, this one is a bit funny to me. When I restructured my website, I focused on the content I especially love creating, observing and sharing, which consist of images and videos. Given the new layout, I will be posting a lot of the same images on different areas of my website. My goal here was to make the images more accessible and to keep my blog personable.
6. A schedule!
What?! Yes!! I am committed to posting something on my blog every Monday—may it be a YouTube video or a blog. Ideally, it would be a bit of both but, again, as time is my biggest constraint I can’t say that both will take place.
I hope you don’t mind these changes and that my content continues to be of interest to you as I really respect the time. Thank you so-so much for following me on my journey until now. Cheers to a fabulous 2017!
What are some of the things you’re most looking forward to in 2017? Any new movies/shows/music you can’t wait to experience in 2017? Anything you’ve changed for yourself?
I put “planner peace” in parenthesis because I truly can’t testify to ever feeling truly at peace with my planning system. It’s either too excessive and complicated or too simple and unsatisfying or, as it stands today, it could be tweaked if ever so slightly to become truly perfect.
With that out of the way—how are you? Hopefully really well; enjoying either a semester in college or the school year or just having a lovely day in general. It’s generally been a tradition of mine to start a new planner around this time of year, actually it’s between July and August that I generally question my organizational system. My birthday and the start of the school year fall around this time, hence I become overly critical of…life…and a fresh new planner brings me hope and joy.
I’m no longer in school but when I was, I was a big fan of the academic planne0,r or the horizontal layout. Honestly, I don’t think I ever noticed any other layout back then. I used the planner that was what was handed out to us as part of our back to school kit. I’d start using it enthusiastically at first and then, inevitably, I’d stop and fly by the seat of my pants. While I was always very diligent about finishing my assignments on time, I could have probably been more successful had I not stopped using my planner. This cycle started in the 6th grade and it ended my last year in college.
Once I graduated and started blogging, I began using a big beautiful vertical planner I'd purchased from Etsy shop, Paper Lotus Co. They now specialize in printable planner goods but back then they mainly sold beautiful hardback coiled planners. From their selection,I picked out a beautiful pink polka dot design with my name on it. Sadly, I rarely used it as I found it too bulky to carry around and, to be honest, I really didn’t understand how to use it given my lackluster usage history with previous planners.
The planner community on YouTube really encouraged me to keep at it, though. Specifically, Annie Smith really helped me get a grasp on how to use my planner. She has an amazing selection of videos to reference; everything from how to use your planner to the essentials of planning, to her beautiful planner spreads. I highly recommend you watch her videos if you find that you need a bit of guidance.
Even after devouring Annie’s videos, I found myself starting and stopping my planning process. I found that her planning system wasn’t working for my lifestyle as I don’t have children and while I blog, vlog and work full time, and now I run an Etsy shop, tracking everything on paper seemed to overwhelm me. I know it’s counter-intuitive to stop planning just when life is getting hectic BUT that’s exactly what was happening. I was creating deadlines for myself and missing them—all the time. It was so discouraging. The thing is that my day job had me working odd hours, and still does from time to time, hence my expectations for myself were unrealistic. I realize that now but back then it just seemed like having a planner was like having a constant reminder of what a huge failure I was at life.
It was right around May when I realized I couldn’t go without a planner anymore and that my perspective needed to change. I took a step way back from all the bells and whistles of the planning glitz and started a bullet journal. I did this in part to save money, and in another part to force myself to work on it week to week as I had to put it together myself. I did this for about a month and a half before I realized that I was spending far too much time creating each week’s spread. I needed to buckle down and buy a preprinted one that would accommodate my existing system.
The system that I’d embraced was as follows:
1. Create a monthly vision/mission page
2. Create a weekly to-do list based off of the vision/mission page—not assigning a due date to anything but to work on crossing things off on a daily basis the week it was assigned.
3. A gratitude section
4. Finally, making plenty of space for additional ideas for the blog/vlog/Etsy shop
What I found was the Daily Bloom Vision Planner. I seriously cannot believe how perfect this planner is for me. I had no idea that it existed as the planner community basically sticks to Erin Condren/The Happy Planner. This planner, though, basically has space for all of the items I was making room for—and it is preprinted! It’s like we were meant to find each other. I have now been using it for over 2 months and still going strong.
Here are the things that I love about this planner other than the items I’ve already noted:
1. It’s portable.
I find that anything thicker is overwhelming and not something I’d use on a daily basis.
2. It’s beautiful.
Every part of this planner seems so well thought-out.; its weekly quotes; its monthly goal for the user, the how to use this planner section. It all comes together beautifully. I will say, though, that the color of the font and blocked sections of color get in the way from time to time, mainly because stickers (and I love my stickers!) that are close in tone kind of disappear, but that is such a minor detail in the grand scheme of things. If they ever come out with a black and white version, you better believe that I’ll be switching over.
3. It’s spiral bound
For a while, I considered The Happy Planner, but the fact that the pages are removable made me hesitate. I’ve always preferred using spiral bound notebooks over loose-leafed paper. I have a tendency of ripping pages out when they’re filled or when they no longer work for me—because I can. With a ring-bound notebook I don’t, given that the spiral gets grubby. Set aesthetics aside, I really like looking back for reference. This, of course, is a personal problem but that was one of the many factors that convinced me that I had to go for The Daily Bloom Vision Planner.
As I look over what I’ve just noted, it at first appears as if these items aren’t that big or important, but they are for me—right now. These items basically make it easy for me to use my planner, to carry it everywhere and to keep me focused. They are the little details that have allowed me to stay on course.
Love makes us do some crazy things…
· Learn to cook
· Try scary things
· Forgo all childhood dreams of a dream wedding in exchange for eloping because it’s so much easier to get to the end result
· Accept and support the unthinkable
· Forgive a cheating man
When I started reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes I was incredibly excited to get through it because it’s a love story and apparently quite a powerful story. After chapter one, I wasn’t quite as eager. The subject matter…just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. It was much more intense than what I had expected. It took me about three weeks to get through the book as the anticipation…of getting to the end…and the possibility of it not turning out the way I wanted…made me really anxious. Once I got to the end, it all made sense. I finally understood why so many were talking about this book in both positive and negative perspectives. This book broke me. It’s now been about three more weeks since I finished it and I’m still thinking about it for both good and for bad reasons.
The short version of what I think about this book and how I’d rate it it is that it is fabulous; it’s not for everyone; it’s definitely one to make you question your belief system, your commitment to any relationship. It’ll provoke your vulnerabilities and it’s a book that shouldn’t be missed.
The long version....
I won’t talk too much about the story as I think most of us have read at least a synopsis of the book and in the case of this book, I think it’s quite perfect.
The thing that is most startling to me about this story is the end.
What would you do if you were Clark? Would you stick around or take the high road? What would you forgive or accept in the name of love? Where do your values and beliefs lie among all of it?
These are just a few of the questions that I asked myself once I stopped sobbing. The main one being, would I forgive him for leaving me? Some of his last words were that he’d had the best six months—ever! If this were true, why go through with it? But then…I realized that all of my thoughts revolved around what I wanted, and needed. (It should be noted that at this point I wasn’t thinking so much about Clark and Will, but about my own relationship because sometimes reality surpasses fiction.) A relationship isn’t one-sided—it’s a multifaceted symbiotic relationship and, to a greater extent, life is multifaceted. While finding the love of your life is one of our greatest accomplishments, it’s not all there is to life. We often need more and so, as a partner, we need to support each other’s decisions…even when it breaks us; even if the thing they want most in life defies all reason. The alternative is to let them go and to find the person that more closely understands us, but this is easier said than done as the heart has a way of dictating how we respond in precarious situations.
Love…it makes us accept and forgive things we would never in our right mind accept. It’s resilient and ridiculous.
That is all I can really say about this book, as it's really heard not to cry a little every time a new memory from the book arises; again, for both good and bad reasons.
If you’ve read the book, what most touched you? If you didn’t care for it, what were your reasons?
I don’t think I can watch the movie, not in public, anyway. I’d be a crying mess. If you have watched it, what did you most enjoy about it? Did you think it was a good adaptation of the book?
Some of my favorite quotes
Mum is a martyr to the cold and keeps the heating on all year round. Dad is always opening windows, complaining that she’d bankrupt the lot of us. He says our heating bills are larger than the GDP of a small African country. (Page 5)
“Can that thing get a puncture?” I said, finally nodding at the wheelchair. “Because I have no idea where I would put the jack.” (Page 52)
“You’ve never been to a concert?”
He looked genuinely shocked.
“Well, I did go to see Westlife once. But I’m not sure if that counts. It was my sister’s choice. Oh, and I was meant to go see Robbie Williams on my twenty-second birthday, but I got food poisoning.”
…I frowned at him. ”I’m not your project, Will. This isn’t My Fair Lady.”
“What?” The play you’re referring to. It’s Pygmalion. My Fair Lady is just its bastard offspring.”
You’re the most terrible snob, Clark.”
“You cut yourself off from all sorts of experiences because you tell yourself you are ‘not the sort of person.” (Page 157)
“You don’t look sorry.”
“Well…okay…maybe I wanted you to hear it. I wanted you to think about what you’re doing.”
“What, how I’m letting my life slip by…”
“God, Will. I wish you’d stop telling me what to do. What if I like watching television? What if I don’t want to do much else other than read a book?” My voice had become shrill. “What if I’m tired when I get home? What if I don’t need to fill my days with frenetic activity?”
“But one day you might wish you had,” he said, quietly. “Do you know what I do if I were you?”
I put down my peeler. “I suspect you’re going to tell me.” (Page 203)
“I get really, really scared of how this is going to go.” He let that settle in the air between us, and then in a low, calm voice he carried on. I know most people think living like me is about the worst thing that could happen. But it could get worse. I could end up not being able to breathe by myself, not being able to talk. I could get circulatory problems that mean my limbs have to be amputated. I could be hospitalized indefinitely. This isn’t much of a life, Clark. But when I think about how much worse it could get—some nights I lie in my bed and I can’t actually breathe.” (Page 246)
“You don’t need me to tell you it wasn’t your fault,” he said quietly.
I twisted the tissue in my hand. “Yes. Well. I still feel…responsible. I drank too much to show off. I was a terrible flirt. I was—“
“No. They were responsible.”
…”Right. Are you listening to me?”
I murmured a yes.
“Then I’ll tell you something good,” he said, and then he waited as if he wanted to be sure he had my attention. “Some mistakes…just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that night be the thing that defines you.” (Page 247)
“You know, you would never have let those breasts get so close to me if I weren’t in a wheelchair,” he murmured.
I looked back at him steadily. “You would never have looked at my breasts if you hadn’t been in a wheelchair.” (Page 265)
…But I understand why your friend might well have had enough. It’s tiring, leading this life, tiring in a way the AB can never truly understand. If he is determined, if he really can’t see a way of things being better for him, then I guess the best thing you can do is just be there. You don’t have to think he’s right. But you do have to be there. (Page 355)
“It has been,” I told him, “the best six months of my entire life.”
There was a long silence.
“Funnily enough, Clark, mine too.” (Page 359)
How is it you have the right to destroy my life, I wanted to demand of him, but I’m not allowed a say in yours? (Page 361)
So this is it. You are scored on my heart, Clark. You were from the first day you walked in, with your ridiculous clothes and your bad jokes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt. You changed my lfie so much more than this money will ever change yours.
Don’t think of me too often. I don’t want to think of you getting all maudlin. Just live well.
Have you ever looked back on your life and ever thought—who was that? Why did I act that way? Where was the real me because surely I never would have done or said that? …I have. On numerous occasions. For example, I can’t believe I ever considered myself a chola…this was way back in the day…in my early teens…Yes, I still cringe. I also cringe when I look back on my days as a party girl. The things party girl me wore were amazing! I mean, I had guts! On a good day, I looked lovely but, honestly, I remember not feeling all that comfortable. My friends were very complimentary, of course, as we all dressed alike hence it made me feel confident that I wasn’t making a fool of myself. I also presumed that I’d grow into my swanky outfits and that that feeling of discomfort would stop…but I didn’t. I was young, and I had a hard time voicing my opinion, luckily eventually it happened.
I think that we’ve all probably had moments of uncertainty about who we were or are; about whether or not we’re being real, and true to our values and beliefs. While it does happen—we look back, we question ourselves and cringing at the imposter that overtook our body. Truth is, we should embrace that individual and accept that that person really was the real us because, as Emily V. Gordon puts it, these are all real versions of us. We take on these personas in response to our environment given our state of mind at that point in time. As our environment changes, so does our persona and its okay because that’s part of being a living breathing being—as such, we adapt and evolve.
So, if we are able to move past our own different personas I think it’s okay to expect others to accept our evolution because this struggle is not unique to one person, we all experience this in one way or another. In turn, we should return the favor by being more accepting.
The question of whether someone is real or not has become evident to me since I’ve become more active online. I hear accusations of online personalities not being “real”, of being fake for the sake of increasing views or traffic, or whatever. Personally, I’ve never had such thoughts given that I truly believe that there is no such thing as being “fake”. The quote, “It’s what you do that defines you” comes to mind. Which I perceive to mean, that our actions are part of who we are.
I think that it is a well-accepted fact that we cannot be the same person at home with family as we are with our friends, or in our place of work. It is evident through our demeanor as well as through the way we dress. Sometimes when people from the various parts of our lives intersect they act surprised by our change in character. Think of the Meryl Streep in the Devil Wares Prada, at work she’s a beast but at home, she’s a sweet caring mother. (That’s what I think people might say about me… :) )
The idea that we need to embrace our different facets is reinforced by the innumerable amount of self-help books available. Many attempt to help you find stability between work and life; some help you find the go-getter in you. Some books are dedicated to the advancement of women in the corporate world and place an emphasis on being less “girly”. (Argh! By the way…I really dislike books that tell me to be less of a girl and that being a girl will be the thing that keeps me at the bottom of the totem pole. I refuse to accept that as there is a great deal of merit in being a “girl.”) Notably, I’ve read a few books in each category as I do see merit in them. Some have more relevance than others and Super You is certainly one of them. Having said all that, I still encounter too many incidents where accusations are being flung around like candy where someone proclaims that another person is not being “real”. And often times the accuser thinks they are doing that person a service by pointing it out because “it’s for their own good.” I disagree and, dare I say, so does Emily V. Gordon. She defines this as brutal honesty, a weapon used to hide behind. Being honest is great, and necessary, but you have to be tactful and considerate in your delivery. These are things many users of this weapon fail to apply, especially when online.
A personal story
Once upon a time a coworker overheard me cussing while working on an excel project, alone. He approached me and said that it was refreshing to see that I was “real” and that I wasn’t always a perky goody two shoes. (Really?) My response to him was that I couldn’t believe that he would say something like that and that I found it inappropriate. He then defended himself and said that because he was “real” he just had to say something and that he wasn’t trying to be mean. I then had to excuse myself from my own workstation as his hostility had made me uncomfortable. (Of course, he would never acknowledge his ill behavior.)
A few weeks later he apologized in person and noted that he acknowledged that he had been inappropriate. This revelation came to him after he was reported to Human Resources by another woman for sexual harassment. (Wish I’d had the guts to do the same as he had a way of being inappropriate, often.) I was quite relieved, following this interaction, as I felt quite uneasy while being in the same room with him prior to it. He still had the tendency of being inappropriate from time to time, but less towards me. It’s almost as if it were a part of his personality. Eventually, he was let go.
While my situation was remedied by his apology, to some degree, not everyone has the luxury of it stopping and much less of ever receiving an apology.
In conclusion, let’s work on not accusing each other of being fake. Let’s instead attempt to understand where we’re each coming from. We may be masking fear of rejection through inopportune laughter or overly enthusiastic presentations. or through an exceedingly solemn personality. We just can’t tell through a video, or tweet, what it’s like to be in that person’s shoes.
By the way, I’ve only touched the surface of realizations that Super You presented. I highly recommend picking up this book for yourself given that if I were to dive further into it, this post would be substantial (to say the least).
A few weeks ago I held an international giveaway for this book as I really feel strongly that it’s a book more people should pick up.
Congratulations to Tea (@deadlywendyhandly)!! I asked participants to share their superhero name and she chose The Procrastinating Papergirl, which I found quite delightful.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Whether you agree with me or not, please let me know your point of view.
Have you ever been on the short end of the stick and been misjudged? I’m very sorry... Unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last time, but let’s try to learn from each situation and follow the Golden Rule—not do on to others what we don’t like having done onto ourselves.
Goodreads makes me feel easy—is what I originally wanted to title this post but I thought better of it as it might be too much of a sexual innuendo, and that is not what my blog is about—generally speaking...just kidding.
I was inspired to write this post given that in the beginning of the year my average rating on Goodreads was around 4.0, now, as of 5/17/16, it stands at 4.13 out of 5.0. I have identified 116 books as having read and finished in my lifetime, there may be more but I just can’t remember them all (not that it would make my reading resume that much more impressive as many of them were read during my early years on earth), of these I’ve reviewed 63. Please note that my reviews are quite short and purposefully ambiguous. I write what I think is important in tracking my reading journey and to help those that may share a similar approach to books as I—I want to know as little as possible about the events that make up the book and am more interested in the feelings provoked by the story.
After browsing through the list of books I had read and rated in early January, I started asking myself if I still thought these deserved the ratings I had originally assigned, and for the most part my opinion was steadfast. I then embarked on a soul-searching journey as I could not for the life of me identify how it is that I rate books I read. I have rated Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a 2/5, which has an average rating of 4/5, and Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer 5/5 stars, when it’s average rating is 3.85/5. This insight then brought about the following question—what is wrong with me?! My conclusion is that nothing is wrong with me. Nothing at all. The thing is, my approach to rating books is a bit unconventional. I have determined that I primarily take into account my emotional connection to a book, then my overall enjoyment of it and finally the technical competency of the book.
Developing an emotional connection to a story is a top priority for me. This may mean that I seek it out instead of objectively taking in the story and as a result I’m quite successful at developing this connection to most books. With that said, I tend to immediately give a book three stars if I am quite moved by it—sometimes four stars. It just depends on how engrossing, fun or romantic I found the journey.
In making this proclamation, I confess that I tend to not be very critical about the technical aspects of the story. I wouldn’t even know where to start as I read for pleasure and have not studied literature or creative writing past the general courses mandated to all college students, nor is this exercise a favorite pastime of mine. I read for the sole purpose of escapism. This world is harsh enough as it is; to sit down and pick apart a story like a jigsaw puzzle sounds absolutely exhausting hence I just don’t do it. (This may be why my video reviews are sort of all over the place…generally…)
This criterion might seem redundant at first, but the truth is that while a book may be emotionally driven it is not always enjoyable; such was the case with Ruby by Cynthia Bond for me. This story was absolute heart wrenching and powerful. It started off by breaking my heart and slowly it squeezed and reamed it dry until there was no other choice except to bawling my eyes out and fall into a bit of a depression that lasted well beyond the morsel I read, which was about 113 pages worth of story. This story was inspired by true stories of horrible events that happened to real women. It is gritty and vivid and the idea of finishing it and continuing on with the series would be torturous for me. I prefer to be swept away by a romantic story with a bit of humor and magic, instead of grit and realism; for such grit and disenchantment, I turn to nonfiction.
As you might expect, if I find a story enjoyable then it gets another star—which then makes it a four star worthy book or a five star worthy book. To my delight I was on a bit of a role the beginning of this year as I read a great variety of four star worthy books. These included Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone, Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern and Return to Longbourn by Shannon Winslow among others.
Notably, I listen to a lot of books via Audible and have found that a good narrator definitely adds to my enjoyment of a story, and on the contrary, a bad narrator can definitely ruin a story. It’s generally not my preferred format of experiencing a book but given my lifestyle it’s become a constant, and it also helps me get through what I consider books well beyond my reading comprehension—those pesky yet magical classics.
Some of my favorite narrators include Jennifer Ikeda, Kate Rudd, Arielle DeLisle, Fiona Hardingham, Katherine Kellgren, Dan O’Grady and Jonathan Keeble. A book I highly recommend listening to is Dracula as multiple narrators take part in the presentation without including too many sound effects. These tend to be a bit distracting, or at least I thought so while going through The Chronicles of Narnia. Do you have any recommendations for good narrators? I get on audible at least once a day because 1) they offer daily deals on interesting books for under $5 and 2) because I love discovering new narrators. I tend to gravitate towards those that provide distinctive voices to the cast of characters and to female narrators. They are much more soothing to listen to during heavy traffic on my way to and from work—very important to Penny’s and to my safety.
Finally, if a book hasn’t already reached a 5 star rating given the criteria noted above, I consider grammatical errors, the plot, the tone and the structure of the book. As I mentioned before, I’m not a trained critic but if a book has too many grammatical errors, my enjoyment of the book is greatly diminished (same rule applies to anything I read really) and the rating stays as it was before considering this criterion. If there are too many grammatical errors I do not finish it, such was the case with the first ARC I ever attempted reading. (I have since developed a great appreciation for the publishing process and don’t really read ARC’s unless I am thoroughly intrigued by the storyline.) In the case of that ARC, I didn’t rate it as I couldn’t really say anything positive.
I have a great deal of respect for authors, actually for creatives in general. I genuinely believe that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all unless you can make a difference in the final product (and even then I tread lightly). The fact that someone has sat down and worked on something they believed in is amazing. If my negative opinion deters them from working on future projects I would never forgive myself…weak? Maybe so but this is what I believe hence I will continue approach book reviews as I do and Goodreads will continue to, sort of, make me feel easy.
What do you take into consideration when you rate a book?
Hi, everyone! Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Valentine's Day. Ours was quite sweet and subdued. We ate in; he had flower delivered to the house—AND, most impressively, he gave me a love letter as my gift. It's been my wish that he do so as often as possible, because when times get tough, I like to go back and reread them. It reminds me of all the things I tend to forget when I get upset—so really it benefits him as much as me. Admittedly, he doesn't always have time to write a letter but he tries and gets a lot of the little things right, which is also quite sweet and important.
I am not here to talk about us, though, I want to talk about Mr. D. I started off talking about our Valentine's Day because I tend to reread Pride and Prejudice around this time of year, most years. I listened to it this time around and it was wonderful—as always. Unlike most of the previous times, I looked at it from a more critical point of view. You see, I recently watched a YouTube video where the creator questioned the hype around most people's love for Mr. Darcy. I think she noted that he's not very charming and kind of lackluster. So what could possibly provoke so many women, myself included, to fawn all over this character? (Confession—I watched the BBC series as a young girl before ever reading the book so I was predisposed to love the book.)
I can't speak for all, but I can definitely speak for myself. After all, he really was the man of my dreams until Ryan came along and took over. So without further ado, here are just a few of the many qualities of Mr. Darcy make me swoon.
Dependability has always been at the forefront of my list of uncompromising characteristics for the man of my dreams. For some reason—personal experience—I thought this would be most difficult to find. I think that beyond personal experience, it's also because some of the most popular reality TV shows revolve around undependable men—Real World, 16 & Pregnant, The Real Housewives, etc.. Mr. Darcy was anything but from the start.
Let's consider Mr. Bingley's high regard for Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley had the fortune of knowing him a very long time and it is this, along with his own unintelligible regard for his own instincts, that lead him astray when it comes to courting Jane, ultimately the love of his life. This alone speaks volumes of Mr. Darcy's dependability, although he was terribly wrong when it came to advising Bingley about Jane, we later forgive him once he confirms that he was mistaken (another charming quality of his—humility).
Another example, and one that presents him through better light, is how he handled the situation with Wickham when he led his sister astray then again when he became involved with Lydia. In both instances, he took it upon himself to handle these situations with great urgency and with esteem to both ladies, although for varying reasons.
Yes, he has pride but he is understanding enough to be forgiving when it is merited. He forgives Elizabeth once he realizes that she's right—he did act hastily with regard to Bingley and Jane and he had all at once given her a great compliment with his proposal of marriage as well as insulted her substantially when he cited all the reasons he shouldn't feel as he did. As we know, in the end, everything is clarified for all involved and it's mostly due to his understanding heart.
I think that what intrigues me the most about him is that he actually admits to his follies and asks for forgiveness. Men in my family seldom acknowledge verbally when they are wrong or when their actions were unwarranted. It is quite a struggle, to be sure, but we love them and forgive them as through their actions we come to understand that they are sorry…sometimes though, you just want to hear the words, "I'm sorry." (As it happens, Ryan often does so and with quite a bit of charm as well. He's very clever that way. Another of the many reasons I love him.)
He is loyal to a fault to his friends, his family and to those he considers most important to him.
Even after being rejected by Elizabeth he continues to love her. He defends her whenever her character is criticized and when she proposes to make him feel uncomfortable. It's all quite endearing and, perfect.
Given that the divorce rate is so high in this world, I often wonder what could be the main cause. My hypothesis is—while I know that there isn't a singular cause but a plethora of them—that it's due to infidelity which is caused by a lack of loyalty. Many things can lead to this outcome, but I find that having loyalty to one's partner can go a long way towards fighting for the health of the relationship and prevent it from happening altogether.
I think that at the heart of the title of the book is the fact that we can all derive incorrect conclusions about a person's character upon first meeting them. It's human nature to criticize, and yes, first impressions are quite important, but we don't always get them right. Once slighted by someone, it's easier to dislike that person than to try to rationalize our misperception of them. I think that is why the book is titled, Pride & Prejudice. Pride referring to our first impression of Mr. Darcy being an unlikable snob and "Prejudice" based on Elizabeth's impression of Mr. Darcy.
No, he is not the whimsical colorful character as is Mr. Wickham, but he does have a lively sense of humor that is most evident towards the end of the book when he recollects all that's happened with Elizabeth. He is unassuming, smart, and needs a bit of time to warm up to new acquaintances—but once he overcomes his cautious nature he is as amiable as the next good natured lively gentleman--and he has 10 thousand a year!
And, I'll stop here. I could honestly go on for quite a bit longer but I fear that that'll be overkill.
So tell me are you Team Darcy or Team Indifferent? I'd also love to know what your ultimate bae is! Girly chatter is always welcome on my blog.
Latest YouTube Video
In addition to loving P&P this month I've been loving a lot of different YouTubers. I go more into detail in my latest video:
Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to talk about bookish slang.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always been a bit behind when it comes to embracing slang. I think it’s because I’ve generally been more focused on learning English and also because I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to most things in life. Even so, I really love learning new terms and, yes sometimes, fully embracing them as I tend to overuse the same terms over and over and over again—prime example, the word “amazing” or “adorable” or “lovely”. (Is there a word you tend to overuse? Please share and maybe share an alternative you’d like to embrace.)
Anyway, 2015 was the year that I discovered the BookTube community and with it a great assortment of new terms and phrases I’d never heard of before, which was both fascinating and frustrating at the same time.
Here are just a few of the terms I’ve especially found troublesome.
Bookish phrase: “So and so is bae… ”
The way this word is used is what confuses me. It almost sound like it’d relate to being at bay; which I immediately knew I had all wrong as it’s used in a positive way. It seemed more like a term of endearment instead of a way of cautioning “so and so”.
Definition: Before anyone else (a.k.a. babe, baby, boo, lover, sex) (Source: Urban Dictionary)
After looking up its definition I realized that I really love this term. It is so sweet and, yes, a bit unexpected hence I will most likely fully embrace this term.
Bookish phrase: “I ship them.”
My reaction: Where will you send them?
Definition: To “ship” a couple means to have an affinity for it in one way or another; a shipper is somebody significantly involved with such an affinity, and so forth (Source: Wikipedia)
So…to “ship” a couple means that you love the idea of the couple together more than apart. If I were talking about a couple I especially love, I would simply say they are perfect together…they are meant to be…they ought to live happily ever after…or simply my happily ever after (when referencing the story not my reality; I’m very happy with my husband (aka. The man of my dreams.).
Point being, I’m not a fan of this term as to me it sounds impersonal.
Here’s another toughie. I really had a hard time understanding the context of what the person was saying when they referenced an OTP.
Definition: One True Pairing; meaning your favorite combination of characters in a fandom. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
In other words, the perfect couple; similar to SHIP, but not quite. I think the main difference is that the word SHIP is applicable to more than just a romantic pairing whereas an OTP mainly references a romantic pairing.
To be honest, I don’t see myself using this term very often as, again, I find it very impersonal. I appreciate its use but it just doesn’t flow well when I say it so that’s another reason I won’t be using it.
These terms are very commonly referenced within the book community, mostly in a negative context and most often DNF rather than DNR.
DNF—did not finish (Source: Urban Dictionary)
DNR—did not read (Source: Urban Dictionary)
I DNF’d a book for the first time last year. I started reading Ruby by Cynthia Bond and was absolutely blown away by how beautiful the writing was as it was very descriptive and lyrical. Cynthia Bond is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to storytelling. I only read the first part of the book and at first fully intended on going back and finishing the book but the story made me so sad. I didn’t just cry, I sobbed at one point as the story got so intense. It was here that I decided to put the book down and come back at a later point. Before putting it down I flipped to the back and read the Author’s Note, which left me stunned for words. Here Cynthia Bond explains that many of the events that happened—many of them tragic & heart wrenching—were based off of real life events. She derived inspiration from her students experiences as well as from her ancestors. Knowing all of this made continuing with the story unbearable as topics such as rape and abuse are not topics I deal with well…at all. Cynthia Bond’s book is brilliantly written, but I can’t bare so much trauma, hence I will not finish this book.
Having said all that, I think DNF’ing a book is quite telling of a person’s taste and really important when taking into consideration their perspective as a fan and critic. I think it helps us understand one another better and we shouldn’t be afraid of admitting to not being able to finish a book especially when the book made a striking impression on you—positive or negative.
I am unabashedly in love with it! Just take a LOOK! I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. (Even I understood it’s meaning upon first hearing the term but I just couldn’t not include this link. These images are just so stunning!!)
Another commonly used term, I couldn’t quite deduce without a little assistance as it seemed so similar to a “reading slump”. I thought they were synonyms for a while there, but in fact they are very different. (I think I thought that because a biological hangover renders you inoperable for so long. You kind of feel like you’re getting over a slump when experiencing a hangover.)
Definition: When you’ve finished a book and you suddenly return to the real world, but the real world feels incomplete or surreal because you’re still living in the world of the book. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
Ever had a book hangover? It’s brutal...I experienced one after finishing the first book in The Hunger Games series last summer. The only way I managed to get over it was by talking about it and really dissecting the ideas presented in the book that were most impressive to me. (I go into detail in this video.)
Definition: A reader’s worst nightmare; not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
Upon first reading this definition, I thought it was awfully close to a “book hangover”, but really a book hangover can cause a reading slump and a reading slump may or may not have anything to do with your book hangover. (It’s kind of like the rule—a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square. In this case a book hangover often causes a reading slump but a reading slump doesn’t cause a book hangover.)
Commonly used, again, in a negative way.
Bookish Phrase: “My TBR keeps on growing and growing…”
My reaction: Where is it? Why is this a problem?
Definition: To Be Read (Source: Urban Dictionary)
The fact is many things contribute to your TBR (to be read) pile—continuous purchase of books, watching book related videos, browsing Goodreads, etc.. I think most book lovers feel the worst when it comes to purchasing of books and not reading them right away. I, personally, don’t see anything wrong with this instance—as long as it’s not creating a financial burden or a situation where you can’t live comfortably with your collection of books. But that’s just me…what are your thoughts?
Definition: Advanced reader copy. A free, not-quite-final version of a book often distributed to reviewers or book convention attendees. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
For the longest time, after figuring out what this term meant, I thought it would be the coolest thing to be given an ARC of a book. I thought, “I’d be so honored to be provided with the opportunity to read a book that is close to being published…hopefully one day I’ll get the opportunity to read one…” Well, sure enough the day came and I jumped at the opportunity. I wish I could say that the experience lived up to all of my expectations, but it didn’t. It was a total flop. Not so much because I didn’t fancy the plot, but more so because it was bursting with grammatical errors. The thought that this could be a possibility never crossed my mind…I wasn’t expecting a perfect book but a nearly perfect book. I received a less then imperfect book. It was bad. Really bad. Following this experience, I’ve been much more cautious when accepting ARC’s as I really don’t want to waste any time, whatsoever, on a book that hasn’t, at least, been proofread.
There are many more terms I’ve discovered, and have yet to discover. These are just a few that have been ongoing issues with me. What are some of yours?—book related or not I’d love to hear!
2015 Favorite Reads
How do you manage your own? I'd love to hear!Read More
I seriously can’t get enough of watching these sorts of videos, as well as reading these sort of posts. I think it’s because the excitement of getting new things—wants, more so than needs—is quite infectious. I know they aren’t very informative—but I don’t care. I’m in it for the excitement of shiny new things.
I will be reviewing these products—both beauty products and books—as I test them out and read them on Instagram. So if you’re interested in a more thorough review of these products, join my little IG fam. I might do a post in the future about a few of these products, but more likely than not, I’ll post something on Instagram.
My purchases were made before any of the Black Friday sales—although I still shopped on Black Friday, mostly online though so those items haven’t arrived yet. As for many of these products, I just couldn’t wait for some of them as they were essentials, or I was just too excited to wait any longer. Such was the case with my book purchases.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik has been all over the internet, and it looks amazing! I don’t really know much about this book other than it’s a fantasy novel driven by folklore. Doesn’t that sound just amazing!! I think so. (If you’d like to know more than I do here is the Goodreads page for the book.) I really don’t want to know more about this story as I tend to enjoy books more when I go in blind. The only thing I really look into is the overall Goodreads rating as it’ll give me a faint idea as to how enjoyable I might find it.
The Martian by Andy Weir is another one I just couldn’t wait to purchase. For one thing, this book has been made into a movie and for another it’s supposed to be a story about survival with a funny spin given the awesome main character. Yet another selling point for me is that the book takes place in Mars!! I’ve had this book on my radar since February but just picked it up as I’m just dying to watch the movie. (If you’d like to learn more, here’s its Goodreads page.)
I don’t know what it is about December, but this is the time of year when I stock up on all things skincare. I think it’s because this is when gift sets/starter kits are most prevalent and given their very alluring prices, it’s really hard to turn down a deal. Prime example, The Environmental Shield Starter Kit by Murad. I purchased it for $45, while the suggested retail price was $77. I still think it’s quite expensive but given how impressed I was with the Murad Invisiblur earlier this year, I went for it.
The kit includes:
· Essential-C Cleanser (1.5 oz.)
· Active Radiance Serum (0.33 oz.)
· Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum (0.25 oz.)
· Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 / PA+++ (0.7 oz.)
While shopping in the Murad section of the store, I also picked up the Intesive-C Radiance Peel and the Advanced Acne & Wrinkle Reducer. I have high hopes for all these products. (…I sure hope I don’t regret my investment...you just never really seem to know how your skin will react…regardless of how many reviews you reference….at least it’s been the case for me...)
I also picked up the It Cosmetics contouring brush set with the hope that I’ll finally grasp a handle on the science of contouring, a Juice Beauty lip moisturizer, two NYX brow pencils (both very essential) and a Mario Badescu Peptide Renewal Cream (first time purchase). Mario Badescu has a great affordable range of skincare products. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for something that doesn’t have a bunch of strange chemicals.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, Jessica went shopping with a sleeveless dress…it was chilly….she cursed herself. Lucky for her, there was a Rhapsodielle in the shopping center she stopped at for groceries. It was glorious realization.
The last time I stopped at this store, it was still known as Q Mode. It’s been so long! This was the store I used to go to frequently before discovering Forever21. Both are very comparable except I think this store is unique to Las Vegas…I think. Unlike Forever21 you don’t get the nightclub music experience, and that is why it was such a lovely experience. I saw so many lovely shirts and sweaters but I settled for this heather gray sweater. I purchased it in a size large as I find that the bigger the better when it comes to sweaters and layering.
While on the topic of sweaters—here is my response to the Sweater Weather Tag.
I’ve discovered the gloriousness which is shopping at Hobby Lobby! I’ve been reluctant to visit it as I was quite partial to Michaels, and I tend to stick with what I know. One day I got a bit adventurous and took the plunge and I haven’t turned back.
If you are reluctant, let me just tell you—stop! Stop being reluctant and just go. The magic of Hobby Lobby resides not only in its amazing selection of home décor and crafting supplies but also, and most importantly, in its low prices. I definitely suggest shopping seasonally, as their deals are the best then.
Lately, I’ve been really into decorating with seasonal decorative flowers. They seem to have a perfect assortment of flowers and a great variety of different length stems. I’m partial to flowers with a shorter stem as most of my vases are small, but if you’re looking for those amazing long stemmed flowers—you won’t be disappointed in their selection.
Okay…I’m gushing too much about the store but I just can’t help it! It’s always just such a joy when you discover a new store you love.
Hope you enjoyed my not so little haul! What stores do you seem to shop at the most? Are you at all like me and tend to stick with what you know?
This book is quite charming and relatable. In this post I share a bit of a personal story.Read More