Book Review: “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han

Hello!

It is time for the final book review of Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. I cannot believe I finished all of them! I’m still wrestling with all of the emotions I had while reading this series, especially this book, because it is the last piece of a very complex puzzle for me.

After I finished reading P.S. I Still Love You a few months ago, I thought I would give myself a chance to recover before jumping into the next book, but I didn’t. Everything that I loved about that book, made me want to continue down the road to Lara Jean’s love story. So, the day the review was published on here, I begin reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean and now I get to talk to you about everything I loved about it too!

WARNING: There are some spoilers below, so continue at your own risk!


35247769._SY475_Lara Jean is having the best senior year.

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

taken from Goodreads.


When the story starts, you quickly realize we basically skip a year; as if by magic we end up starting Lara Jean’s senior year. I thought this concept was interesting considering the fact that I am celebrating 10 year of becoming a high school graduate, so a good chunk of the material about everyone trying to figure out what they were going to do after school was interesting because it brought back almost everything I was feeling when I was in my last year of high school as well.

There were a lot of things that made me rethink about my own early adult life, but even though I really tried (and also failed) to look past my own experiences during this important time of any young girl’s life, it was also nice to see how everything played out for both Lara Jean and Peter’s love story. Now with that being said, there was also some things I wasn’t a big fan of in this book. The most important was Stormy’s death. To say I was a wreck for a couple of days is a bit of an understatement, because this was a character I absolutely adored, probably because she reminded me of my nana in just her personality alone, so to see that part of Lara Jean’s story kind of left out at such an important time in her life really sucked!

Another element that “bothered” me was Peter’s attitude towards the end. Even though we have seen Peter have sensitive moments in the past, I really didn’t like the fact that he pushed the idea of them going to the same college after attending a year at other campuses. I know Lara Jean wanted to go to UVA as much as Peter, but as she has been really supportive towards him in the things he’s done throughout their relationship, he wasn’t truly there for her to make a big decision on the next phase of her life.

Once I realized in my mind that this was starting to remind me of when my sister began a long distance relationship with her boyfriend, I just got it into my head that they should break up. My sister kept fighting for a love that obviously didn’t care as much for her as she did for him, and I became very afraid for Lara Jean. I didn’t want her to experience that kind of pain, so in a way I turned into Margot–who I’ve never been a huge fan of throughout the series–and I started to agree with her mom’s advice to Margot about not having a boyfriend before entering college when she left for St. Andrews two years prior.

Even though I was on the fence about that situation, I did choose to think happy thoughts about how they were going to attempt to make it work and I actually really enjoyed how it ended. A part of me is really glad we don’t get to know what happens next for Lara Jean and Peter, and all of the other beloved characters like Chris, Kitty, and Lucas! The last sentence was so perfect and very Lara Jeanesqe as it gave me back a little snippet of what initially got me to this series in the first place!

This series has meant a lot for me! I brought me back to some memorable moments in my life, and in a way let me see what could have been had other things worked out. Later on, it felt like fate that I was reintroduced to this story, because now I can say I have completed a whole book series! I have never done that before in my life and so, this series has created its own little section in my heart for two but equally gratifying reasons!

Fun fact: I found that Romeo & Juliet film on our movies channels last month and I have had quite a bit of chocolate chip cookies. So, I thought since I’m done reading the series, I could pull a “date” night with just myself enjoying the two together with Lara Jean Song Covey and Peter Kavinsky deep in my heart. ❤

Have you finished this book? If you are watching the film series on Netflix, what are you hoping they include that wasn’t mentioned in the end? Last but not least, how are you doing on your 2020 reading challenge?

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A-Z Disability Challenge | G : Long Term Goals

Howdy!

For today, this post will hopefully be lighthearted; the kind to make you smile with some of the things that I’ve been collecting as part of my long term goals to accomplish in the future. It’ll have the same format as the other post about my goals for 2019, but I’ll explain a little more about each one, so you will understand why they are important to me.

I like to think there’s a big difference between a bucket list and long term goals. In my Pinterest board for my bucket list things, are not very realistic. You’re wishing to do them rather than actively trying to seek them out. Now, I’ve seen a lot of people who make bucket lists and actually cross off certain ones, but not everybody is that lucky. I’ve never thought about having or even listing out my own personal long term goals like this before, but since I wrote out my other top five goals for the year, I figured maybe I’d be lucky and actually push myself a little bit to actually make a dent in my list. I’m hopeful that’s all that matters to me!

When I created this list, I tried to list them in some kind of order, but we all should know that life doesn’t always follow this rule all the time, but at least it’s organized for me to explain each one for you below!

Write A Cookbook 

I’ve always wanted to write a cookbook, between being my dad’s guinea pig for years and the beloved recipes that my nana was taught by her parents, and then papaw’s family, I just feel like this is the next step! What I find interesting is that I have these big plans of writing it and including inventive gadgets that could help other disabled aspiring cooks and/or bakers, but I still have yet to actually do anything in the kitchen.

When I was with my nana, I could convince her to let me help her mix or pour the various things into the bowl, but I can’t even do that with my own parents! Recently, I went out into the kitchen to watch my mom make broccoli and cheese soup and she would not let me do anything. In her defense, she hadn’t made it in a long time so she was basically panicking making sure she had everything and it was all coming together. I was basically there to express my cooking knowledge with her, which that part was fun, but I yearn to actually do something. I’d love nothing more than to make my parents dinner one day, but these two goofballs won’t let me!

Go To The AMC Convention 

In 2012, I found out about the Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita Convention. This was also the same year, I found the whole mother-load of fellow AMCers and the fact that we even had an awareness day for us! I was extremely happy because I love to talk to people, especially family members of kids that have various types of disabilities. Parents and guardians are always looking for others that may have experienced similar situations, and I enjoy being a voice to the younger generations to gain some independence and be who they want to be. This was one of the main reasons why I created my blog in the first place!

It wasn’t until 2017, when the AMC group basically announced to everyone where they were going to host the next convention – because they go to a different state every year, so it keeps things interesting for everybody that attends. Well, I usually like to look on their Facebook page on the last day to see where they will be going to, and for 2018 they were going to Louisville, KY. I was happy! I showed it to my mom, who basically told me “if you can talk your dad into it, then maybe.” Now this came out at the end of July, my sister announced to us in October that she was pregnant and that she was possibly due at the beginning of July… So, my nephew was the reason why we basically dropped that idea from ever happening.

I would love to go to the convention one day, which is why I have included it onto this post. I would love to meet other people to see how they’ve managed to do things. I also think it would be a good thing for my family too, because I’m always hoping that they’ll want to help other families, especially my sister, she’s very helpful and I think she’d enjoy meeting the siblings and basically talk to them about her experiences of being the younger sister of someone with such a physical disability. I just think it would be a great experience for all of us!

Speak On A Panel At AbilitiesExpo

A couple of years ago, I heard about the AbilitiesExpo. I know there is one in Chicago and the other is in Los Angeles. I saw a vlog on YouTube of an attendee that jacked a tripod onto the foot pedals of his wheelchair so he didn’t need somebody else holding his camera for him. I was stunned at this, and I immediately showed it to my dad, we’ve been tempted to do something similar to mine. Anyways, I think the expo is very cool! It is usually for three days, and includes small sections of different companies for fashion, wheelchairs, biotechs, etc.

I have had the same recurring dream of speaking on a panel with other wheelchair users, it usually included Tiphany Adams, Jordan Bone, and myself. These ladies are very special to me as they’re always talking about their experiences of becoming a wheelchair user, and what keeps them going and thriving! I think being able to speak to a large crowd with several other fellow disabled ladies would be interesting! We could discuss real topics like sex and relationships, and give people another outlook to women with disabilities. I don’t know if AbilitiesExpo has ever done anything like this, but I thought it would a cool idea to do in the future!

Visit England

I think everyone knows about this one. I actually didn’t have it in the original line-up, I had a totally different goal but I realized that it kind of went with the first one, so I switched it out.

I’ve talked about how much I love England, and yes, most of it goes with the royals, but I have become kind of obsessed with the overall history of the country. I love the cities, London being my favorite! Bath and York are two of my favorite cities that like to show off their impressive structures, from the cathedrals to a row of houses.  Recently, I’ve been loving various pictures of the countryside. The villages are beautiful, they’re completely different compared to what I see here in the United States. Buildings and houses that were built in the 1600’s still being used to this day, the architecture is gorgeous! If you’d like to know all of the places I’d like to visit one day, click here.

Have A Baby

For a long time, this was the only long term goal I ever had and as the years go by, it continues to go further down the list. I’ve talked about this in the past, so I’m going to attempt to keep this as short as possible.

Years ago. I did include the words “get married” before it, but I’ve sort of lost my interest in wanting to do that. Even though I have my parents and sister’s marriages to look at for inspiration, marriage as a whole in this day and age doesn’t appeal to me. People make vows and sign a certificate but will cheat on their spouses anyways. I don’t want to say because of my disability, I’d always be faithful, because I am not invincible to anything, especially my own temptations.  However, being attached to someone that could be the one to give a child frightens me, because they could always come up with a story that I could be a bad mom, adding to the stereotypical image of people with disabilities can’t bear and raise children.

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. My maternal instincts come out whenever I am around young children. I want to teach them how not to be afraid of someone like me. It is hard sometimes to be around my sister and nephew together, I still get fairly jealous that she has a son to call her own, but I also have to tell myself that I get the easy job as an aunt, but I’ve always wanted to do the things that she does on a daily basis. I have met with other disabled moms out there and they do ease the questions of whether or not, if it’s possible to have a child, but it’s getting to that point where I can fulfill that dream of mine that feels impossible. Hopefully one day it will happen.

Do you have any long term goals? What have you done to try accomplishing them?

Blogmas | Mr. G (writing prompt)

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Howdy!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Today’s post will be another story that I found online. It really surprised me how little Christmas/winter writing prompts there are anywhere! It took me so long to find ones that I liked to create something for you. The fact that I have one for you for this week kind of freaked me out, but once I read it, I knew it was going to be the one for me. The first thing that popped into my mind though was the Gingerbread man in the movie Shrek so I really hope you like this!

Originally, I was just going to use this prompt to create the story, but as I was dealing with the issues of trying to find a good one, my mom suggested that I talk about the Elf On The Shelf and its doings around the house at night. While I thought it was a good concept, I didn’t want to mess with my other one. After a couple of days, ideas started floating around in my head that combined both of them, so this was the ending result!


Grandmother pulled the last tray of gingerbread men from the oven. Suddenly…

Hilda enjoyed her time with her grandchildren, so she decided to make it easier on herself and finish making the beloved gingerbread men at nine o’clock in the evening. The house was somewhat quiet as the only noise throughout the house was her humming and the occasional dinging of the oven. It was very relaxing to her to bake before everyone came over, but it didn’t last…

As she was pulling out the last tray of men from the oven, she began to hear a light rustling and even some grunting noises coming from the other side of her island. She put down the tray of freshly baked gingerbread softly before quickly locating a cast-iron pan from her shelf and gripped it hard.

“Is anybody there?” She said in her tiny quivering voice. “Don’t come any closer, I’m armed” the pan shook in her hands as shear terror rippled through her whole body. She took a step forward to see if she could catch a glimpse of the stranger down below. As she took the step, the floor creaked under her feet and she froze. By this time, a tip of a tiny red and while cap slowly appeared on the opposite side, climbing its way up unknowingly what he was walking into at this moment.

“Ugh, the things I will do for a little snack.” The little creature poked his long but little arms from below and his shiny head suddenly movable kept looking back at the drop he’d make if he wasn’t careful with his footing. Once he got his upper limbs over, he just crawled across the top to make things easier on himself. After safely making the journey, he sighed and stood up to wipe off the dust of his plain Christmas-y suit. Now he was clean but saw something in the corner of his eye and it made him turn around halfway to face a very terrified Hilda.

Ahhhhhh!

As Hilda screamed, she accidentally dropped the pan on her foot. She was conflicted to deal with the pain of her toes or the mysterious intruder. After several seconds, it dawned on her that this little man looked oddly like her elf on the shelf that she does with her grandchildren. So, she approached it slowly and said,  “Rascal, is that you?”

“Rascal? My name is not that ratchet disgrace. The name’s Mr G and you can tell your little hooligans that the next time you see them too.” He said as folded his long arms together.

Hilda was shocked that he actually talked back to her, in such a rude tone, at that. “That’s what the box named you, Rascal.” Hilda calmly said back as she slowly bent down to pick up the pan on the kitchen floor. “I must be sleep baking again. How are you alive right now?” She gently put the pan on the island closes to her body as possible, you know just in case she needed it.

“Well we’re supposed to keep our identities a secret but then I smelled the cookies from the ridiculous position you had me in on the mantle, and since I was going to be there until dawn, I figured I deserved a treat.” G said as he made his way over to the freshly spiced cookies that were finally cool to the touch. He grabbed the smallest one of the bunch and shoved the whole thing into his mouth, licking his fingers to make that the rest of the crumbs were off of his outfit.

At this time, Hilda was in a daze. She couldn’t believe that this seemingly plastic toy could be eating a real cookie in front of her. “There’s more of you? Will all of my dolls come alive like you too?” As soon as she said that, she began to fear them move around and talk in a rude manner like Mr. G, which would help explain the loud banging and creaking sounds coming from the living room and kitchen late at night.

“Eh, I don’t think so.” As he finished the cookie and pushing the last bit of crumbs off the edge as they landed on the floor. “Unless they are Santa’s helpers, but they look too delicate to be one of us.” G looked at him with love on his face. “I wish they were, they are so good-looking and I haven’t had a decent date in decades!”

She turned her head to face the most expensive dolls she has and back to the creepy little dude on the island. It was just too crazy that this “Rascal” would be alive in the middle of her kitchen, and oozing over her $1,000 dolls on handmade shelves. He shook his head before looking back at the tray again, debating another cookie, before heading back to his hideous spot until Hilda began to speak once again, “You know I can put you in a more flattering place, if you want.”

G looked at her with delight, and walked towards her and as he stood at the ledge, he put his hands up at her like a baby would wanting to be carried around, she hestianted a bit before taking the chance and cradled him inside her arms and put him on the coffee table where she’d eventually place the milk and cookies in a day or two, but for now it’ll be Rascal–I mean, Mr. G’s new placement for the night.

Before she left his view for good, he spoke one more time to her. “Hey, if you could, please do not tell those little idiots about me being alive at night? Although it would be fun to scare them for once in my life.” She looked at him and smiled, signaling that she’d keep quiet for him. Afterwards, he suddenly looked away and became so sincere in his plastered smile on his face. The end.

So what did you think of this little story? I thought it was adorable! Would you like to see more of these types of stories during other holidays? 

snowflake

Favorite Scents

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Howdy!

So I wanted to talk about my favorite scents today. I literally feel at times like a damn bloodhound because I smell so many things! I can literally get up in the middle of the night and smell something my dad is cooking from the kitchen through the vent. Sometimes I can come out of deep sleep because I can smell something so heavenly!

We’re not going to talk about food scents necessarily in this post, however as you will notice quickly, I have nothing against them! I do love the smell of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon in the fall! Even though I’m not into the whole pumpkin spice lattes or apple pies at Thanksgiving! The only reason why I’m perfectly fine with cinnamon in general is that it makes me think of cinnamon rolls and that’s my #1 favorite breakfast item.

My mom and sister do have their favorite baking scents though. My sister got mom into this Wild Berry Cheesecake and the first time Blondie had it going around in the apartment it wasn’t so bad because she has a big living room so it has room to breathe really, but at our house it only has the living room and kitchen, it can get very overwhelming at times! My dad can’t handle very many sweet smells so this doesn’t mix well with him and it doesn’t make me feel good either when she’s put a whole cube inside the burner. The other one that Blondie likes to use is this Brownie Pecan and it actually really good, but mom and dad absolutely hate it!

My mom had a Scentsy burner that she didn’t really use and we have one in living room, plus a couple of smelly candles – those are mostly used in case of emergencies though! This other burner is now by my window. I don’t use it a lot, but every once in a while I like to put it on and it kind of soothes me throughout the day. I actually like the fruit scents. I don’t know why I gravitate towards them so much but they’re those kind of scents that help generate cravings. I have enough cravings as it is, so different fruits are good to keep me and my stomach neutralize, plus it helps my dad as well!

One day my mom was washing my hair and she used this mango shampoo and it smelled divine! Ahh, I was seriously addicted to it. I could have done without the champagne layer it had but you could mostly smell the mangoes. And I’m not really into mangoes, I’ve only just tried them a few months ago! They’re not bad! So when I found out my parents were going to the store one afternoon I had them try and find me a mango scent to put into my burner and they find this Peach and Mango Citrus blend.  My dad was the one who found it as my mom couldn’t find anything that was just mango. Luckily, I do love peaches so it works too!

One of the most used is the Sangria scent. I really like this one! It’s not a strong scent but I don’t try to use a whole cube because I like to close my door throughout the day and since it’ll only get colder I tend to keep my window locked as well, so mom only puts a small chunk of it and it usually lasts about a week before I need to add more in the little bowl. I know it has berries in it, because a regular sangria does have berries, but it’s not over-ly berry, it’s actually kind of musky too. It’s very subtle but I don’t know if it’s just because I don’t use a lot of it at one time or if it’s just a mild scent in general.

On the day I decided to work on this post, I put up a status on my Facebook asking one of the questions I have below and I got a lot of interesting answers. I knew about the good things about lavender but I had a few people say both coconuts and peppermint. I thought that was pretty interesting too!

What are your favorite scents? Do you change with the seasons? Is there a smell that you think companies should create?

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DIY: Painting A Mason Jar!

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Howdy folks!

So today I’m here with the second post about the mason jars that my nana and I previous used for the cake in the mugs last week! I separated them so it didn’t look too chaotic in the week!

We somehow did this backwards, I think our original plan was to decorate the jars first so they would look cute with the mixture inside, but like always we didn’t do it that way!

I don’t know what exactly to explain first because my nana and I have never painted a mason jar before so this was a new one to us! She also had quite a few different paints too! She had oil paints, glittery paints in bottles that you can squeeze and regular watercolors. I originally wanted to use the oil paints but when she explained that you couldn’t use water with it, I kind of backed out of it. I figured I would make a mistake on mine and wouldn’t have a way to fix it so I used the watercolors instead, not knowing if they’ll work any better!

Let me say this was the first time in a very long time where I enjoyed painting. I hated whenever we had to paint in art at school, absolutely dreaded it! Drawing was my forte. My nana had a lot of paints for two reasons: we like to do different crafts but she also had us do little crafts as kids too! I don’t remember if I hated painting as much as I did at school, probably, but not as much as baking a cake! I forgot to mention that in last week’s post! I only remember baking a pineapple upside down cake with my sister and hated it because of how much I couldn’t do. I think I’ve redeemed myself since then and that’s why I was okay with trying painting again.

In ways, I felt I was back in art class where it was quiet and I was very quiet, concentrating on covering every surface of the jar in blue and green.

I used a fold up chair that my nana tends to keep in the kitchen. It’s at a height that I can reach while sitting in my push wheelchair. We also decided to leave the paints and dish of water on the floor because there was not a lot of room with both the aluminium foil and the jar sitting above it. I started to use a skinny brush at first for the blue because I figured if it didn’t work she wouldn’t have to clean a bigger brush instead and not saying a BIG brush either. It’s small but the actual bristles space is larger so you can have more paint on it and cover more area. Of course, it wasn’t until I was almost finished with it that I started to use it! You need more water in the paint so it will show up as you paint it on the sides of the jar. The darker colors show up better, I didn’t necessarily try out the orange, yellow and pink but I honestly don’t think you’ll be a good enough shade to appear on it. I’ll try it out and see how it does next time!

She used the glittery paints as I mentioned in the beginning as she has a better time (or usually) squeezing the paint out than I do. We used these for our pumpkins a couple of years ago, it usually turns out pretty well! She mostly went around the design of the actual jars. She used both gold and silver paints. I like these a little more than her purple one that she mainly used regular Elmer’s glue and purple glitter that you sprinkle out of a little cup. Afterwards she had glow-y legs and socks! I’d say leave them out for an hour with a napkin underneath it in case any paint dribbles down to the bottom, I left mine on her counter overnight. When we do another cake mix, I’ll take home that decorated jar that I sort of have called “the ombre jar” because the colors just intertwine with each other!

Have you ever painted a mason jar before? If so, what did you use? 

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