The Goodreads Challenge | Hopes for 2022

Hello!

This year I am doing something completely different on my Goodreads Challenge. If you don’t know what this is, Goodreads is an app that allows you to find books. You can make up lists or shelves as they call them to categorize all of the books, like fiction and nonfiction. At the start of a new year, they give you a spot to choose a number of books you want to read in the 12 months. I’ve tried to make one in the last five years I’ve had it. Since 2019, I’ve been trying to up the number of the previous year, and even though I did get to 40 books in December, I decided to go for it in 2022.

I like the Goodreads Challenge a lot. I’m not one to make any big goals for the year anyways, so being able to set a somewhat large number of books for one year can be thrilling as a whole. I am always so pumped to start on a new one, but this time I decided to change it up a bit. I had the though back in September of splitting it up to focus on books that have been turned into movies. I love movies, and last year I learned how much I missed making time for them so I thought I could connect the two and hope I could make room for both loves. At the moment, I’ve only done one but I have been very distracted lately so I hope I can up my game a bit as the year goes on.

There is one drawback about this. I am not sharing my thoughts about these books and their film adaptions on my blog. I actually have a separate idea for that, but don’t worry I have two books that I am getting ready to publish–one might be coming out this Friday! I couldn’t just stop creating my book reviews though. I like being able to talk about thoughts on certain books and it just seemed silly to quit on all fronts, so I will continue doing those posts every month.


Now you’re probably wondering I am doing with the books on my other list. I do have something really cool to share with you today.

Around the same time, I came up with first idea, I was watching a lot of videos on YouTube about these reading journals. I was puzzled by them at first, but then I started watching like 10 a week and I knew I was hooked on the idea of creating a different space away from my blog to talk about my books. I was a bit hesitant at first, but I am always looking for something to be more creative and I thought this would be pretty cool to try out.

I ended up talking about it a lot with my mom and she agreed that it would be a good idea to try something new. Once I found out about monthly trackers, I was pretty much sealed on the deal and basically asked for a brand-new journal, calligraphy markers and pens, and more books that were being turned into movies this year on my Christmas list. I did receive the dotted notebook I asked for and it’s been a learning curve for me so far! I have the markers and pens as well, but I haven’t really used them that much. And out of all the books on my Christmas list, I got one book and it was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

In the videos I’ve seen of these reading journals, everyone comes up with a different theme and I decided on Harry Potter, and I hoped to capture a bit of the Wizarding World and place it throughout the different spreads, but I’ve had a rough time just making simple banners, so it is a bit plain in some areas, but I am getting better at it. I also have the standard bookshelves but I totally forgot to include the House colors for the various types of reading, because I want to explore them as well, so, gray is for Kindle while pink is for Audiobook and Print is in the color turquoise. I don’t include the titles on the spines because I write too large to do that and I just want to see which way wins.

One thing I have learned in the past two years is that I am obsessed with words. Every time I found one that seemed unique, or it was used in another way than we normally say it, I wanted to collect it for later, so when I got my journal, I decided I would make a section just for my words and it’s been a fun thing to keep track of, and even my parents have enjoyed them too!

Here were the words I was obsessed with in January, and I have to apologize if any of the words are misspelled as well.

Words included are: synapes. candytuff, cur, filgree, ells, hewed, crux, tedium, signews, skein, bishopric, morose, trounced, brocade, whetstones, alight, coffer, chignon, commencement, gythia, truncated, primsigned, saccade, demesne, vehemence, daub, architaves, granary, manses, crux, hinterland, and picaresque

The last spread I made in my green journal was my end-of-the-month-stats. I want to keep track of everything like how many books, days, pages, and words I would make it to every month. I have these long rectangles going vertically on two pages (I actually have three because I made the boxes too big to include November and December!) and I assign different colors for each one and it’s easily my second favorite thing in the journal.

After hearing me complain about it in the beginning, my mom found a little book called “My Reading Life” by Anne Bogel on one of the people she follows on Instagram and we looked at it because despite my best efforts, I knew I needed some help, so I got it around the second week of January, and the main thing I use in it is the monthly tracker. I really love those pages, because it is so easy, but you have to be really careful because you only get little diamond shapes in each block, and you can feel lost once you get into the thick of a month.

I only have one book written in there already, and it was Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I like to start a new year with disability themes. I just like to get them out of the way honestly! I found this book featured on Kindle Unlimited and it was a great read but I’m so thankful I’ve only watched the film once since it came out in like 2016. There were some changes made throughout, I really like Julienne Moore and Kristen Stewart for both Alice and her daughter Lydia. My second book will be 12 Years A Slave for Black History Month and I have always wanted to watch the film and luckily HBOMAX played it all month long, so I have that to look forward once I’m finished. And yes, I have decided on my March read but I’m keeping it a secret for now.

I am reading rather slowly, and I don’t know why I’m doing this because I’ve always read multiple books with opposite genres at once, but I think it has something to do with the fact I hadn’t published this post out for January and I wasn’t able to relax in between the two areas, so let’s hope I zip right through the incoming books and their respectful movies too!

How many books do you hope to read in 2022? Do you have an app to help you keep track of your books like Goodreads or are you one to use a reading (bullet) journal instead?

snowflake

Life | Getting A Late Start

Hello there!

It seems so weird to be writing this post.

I have not felt inspired to talk about anything lately. I’ve been like this since the end of October. I made myself dive hard into Blogmas in December and I genuinely enjoyed the posts I did for those three weeks, but by Christmas, I knew I needed to take a longer break from blogging. At one point, I was even comfortable with the idea of never blogging again…

Technically I quit on the 23rd of December, so depending on when I’ll actually get this post out, it would be about two months of nothing to do with writing, publishing, and networking. This prospect is a frightening reality I am currently living with because all I know to do is blog. I may not get paid for my posts, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think of it as a job anyways, and I wonder if that’s also part of it; when I am “working” I feel like I have that constant need to do this or that and it has just taken away all of the fun it brought me in the early days.

I created this blog in May 2011, to give me a space to work on my writing style but the reason why I focused my attention on discussing disability topics is because I wanted to show people of various ages that you can have a wonderful life with a severe disability. I have fallen out of that a few times in the last 12 years of blogging, but I always found a way to come back stronger. The last five years, I have enjoyed how far I’ve come as a writer, I was taking chances and it felt amazing to see all of the hard work pay off.

For my birthday last November, I had this strange feeling inside and it felt like I was turning into a better version of myself. It was “strange” because when I began my 20’s, I sought out finding my soulmate, getting married and raising a family by a certain age like most young women do. It wasn’t until I hit 28 that I realized my overall dream of what I wanted to have as a life wasn’t going to come and although the realization hurt like hell at first, I felt like I could breathe better. Honestly, a lot of things changed at that age! I became an aunt for the first time, and I think it was a great wakeup call for me! I love babies and children, but I have never spent the day/night with them before so being around this little human has humbled me to the core.

This would somewhat happen again a year later, as I asked my cousins about how they knew they were attracted to others, and they proceeded to discuss being in relationships, and all throughout that conversation I wanted to throw up but ironically enough that was one visit I did not come home with the stomach flu… I was shocked that I really couldn’t sense myself entering a relationship and being comfortable about it at this point of my life, and I still don’t four months later! I’ve never been the type of person that would get married, I like the way of having a life partner instead.

Even though the new year is already here, we can always enter a new path at any time. It doesn’t always have to start on your birthday or NYE, and you can never make a mistake on your journey either. You can always come back after a setback so please try not to feel bad or foolish because tomorrow is a whole new day to begin anew.

If you have been reading this post all the way though, I appreciate you for your commitment. I would like to know how long you’ve been a part of my blog in the comments. You don’t have to say the exact date, but if you do indeed remember the day, you started visiting Got Meghan’s Blog, please list it down below.

snowflake

Blogmas: Wooden + Dots Ornaments

Hello!

As you may have noticed, and I still don’t know what happened because I had plans, but we didn’t put out any pumpkins this fall. My sister did, she decorated her entire front porch with various sizes of pumpkins, but we did not. I found it very surreal, because that’s my favorite thing to do in September and October is paint pumpkins. After that, I think my body was like, “okay, we need to find an alternative fast!” because this project came out of nowhere, but it ended up becoming a new favorite of mine.

In mid-October, I started looking for birthday gifts that weren’t books (I know it’s shocking!) and I found these wooden shapes and I sort of fell in love with them and then I found ones that were Christmas related and then all hell broke loose in my brain!

In the last year and a half, I’ve been watching a lot of reels and regular videos on YouTube of dot art. I still don’t remember what inspired the find in general, but I’m forever glad it came into my life. I used it in my 3 projects last Christmas. It was only a simple red dot here and there with a Q-Tip but it was still a new thing for me and I loved it. I have been working on it throughout 2021 and I finally felt comfortable enough to use the technique in my new project: the Christmas ornaments!


What you will need for this DIY:

  • Wood cut outs – it’s important for them to be “unfinished”
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dotting tools
  • Damp washcloth
  • Paint palette or paper plate(s)

Before we get too into this part of the post, I wanted to show you how the ornaments came in the mail.

They were perfectly stuffed into this cute Santa Claus box. I was originally going to get the 160 pieces but I’m glad I switched to the 40 pieces because I would still be painting right now! Anyways, they were four traditional Christmas characters: a snowflake, bell, tree and baubles. You get 10 in each stack, so you have multiple designs you’d like to trade off, you are welcome to do it evenly. If you would like to purchase this set or the others, click here for the Amazon page. You also get clusters of string for each of the ornaments, plus a small bag of metallic beads, but I did not use them.

Raining Dots

I started with the Christmas trees, and I copied the same color scheme I did with my last project, so I mixed my green with a tiny bit of blue and I love how they all came out. After finishing all 10 trees with their base coats, I moved on to the trunk and I poured a small amount of brown into my palette, and I used one layer of paint for that part. I am a lover of DecoArt acrylic paints, (thanks to Lydia May on YouTube!) I usually don’t need more than two coats depending on the shade, and I was very happy with my color choices this time around, including the yellow!

Once everyone was in the process of drying, I switched my attention on my design ideas for a few of my baubles. I knew I wanted to create a series of animals, but I’m not really good at it so I went looking on Pinterest and found a great step-by-step guide of the Fox for my friend Brittany. She was the one who really inspired this part in the first place. I continued to search for guides of the Cow and Pig, but I wasn’t able to find anything, so they were basically all free-foot sketches. After that, I stopped for the day, and came right back to it the next day.

A couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to add another selection of dotting tools. I have the smaller sizes, and I’ve been using them for about a year now and they are very nice for me to grip my toes around and make my dots, but the others are various sizes and I have been wanting to get them for a while now because I wanted to try my foot at the larger dots. I am having issues how to grip them, but I expected that to happen. I knew I wasn’t going to go all out with my designs (honestly, I had the phrase, “less is more” in my mind the whole time!) and I tried to keep it that way.

When I came back to my trees, I was ready to decorate everybody, and I used two colors: yellow and a light gray (I mixed my gray with a tiny bit of white!) and I painted the stars with those colors and would switch the yellow star with silver garland. I was smart with this; I drew out a zig-zag design on most of them and would follow the lines with my dotting tool and I really loved it! Some look like traditional Christmas trees, but there are five of them with the “walking technique” which is coating your desired tool with paint and dotting down the canvas, I love this so much I did it to my Bonsai pot in the spring! My parents saw the final tree with this design, and they love it. Honestly, everyone I’ve shared it to, has expressed the same thoughts too!

So, here are how the trees turned out.

There Goes Rudolph!

The second (or third) shape were the bells. I wasn’t impressed with the bells at all, they were very boring even without paint on them…

My thinking behind them was the golden bells you normally see on pictures, but I could not get the yellow to turn to a pretty gold and I tried like three different times and was only successful after finishing with them. I was so mad at that point, but I moved on though. Since I had 10 of these bells, I was influenced by a fragment of a carol “with silver bells ringing” I kept hearing while doing the base colors and I created the silver hue again for the rest of my bells and I thought they looked so adorable!

I left to dry overnight and I was really worried about how boring they looked, so that night I thought about adding a reindeer face on it and in my dreams they looked so cute and I was over the moon when I started sketching out how I wanted the antlers to go, but once I started doing my dots I got a little worried because the design started to look a little bit like a pair of balls and by my second bell, I became terrified at what was appearing but thankfully my mom thought they were great, especially after I put the eyes and big red nose at the end.

The reindeer/bells are definitely my favorite, even with the cock and balls antlers, they still look amazing! I did a good job on them and that’s something I rarely do when it comes to painting, is enjoy what I am creating, and lately it’s been so fulfilling to believe in my artwork for the first time.

Let It…

For the third ornament, we have snowflakes.

I think both the trees and snowflakes were the easiest to do because they required a small set of skill. You can free hand your designs to make things simple and they would still end up being very beautiful. When I began on the snowflakes though, I thought I would be able to play with my various sizes of tools, but I rarely got away from the blue tool, which is a little bit bigger than the purple tool. I basically treated the flakes like the trees when it came to their designs and used the walking technique quite a bit throughout the process.

And like the trees, I kept my color scheme pretty limited, I only used white for the base and used two different blues, but my favorite shade was the bright, neon like because it reminded me of the Frozen films. I’ll be honest, I had Queen Elsa and Princess Anna (and of course, Olaf too!) in my head all while I was working on these and I’m glad I did because it got me out of my head, and I allowed myself to make mistakes with them because I mean every snowflake is one of a kind so I just left them the way they were… well, some of them! There were 3 that definitely had to be fixed but after I was done, I basically pushed them as far away as possible, so I wasn’t able to add more dots!

The Cast of Characters

Lastly, the bauble balls were my least favorite because I knew what I wanted to do with a few of them and it scared the living daylights out of me! I got through in one piece thank God, but not without psyching myself out in the first round.

So, like I explained above while I was waiting for my trees to dry, I got started on figuring out what I wanted for three of my baubles, the rest was pretty much left until I did the base coats. I treated the baubles like the bells, as I split them up as they were painted in traditional Christmas colors: green and red. I was so worried the red would be too dark for my animal baubles, but thankfully they design held up great against the paint, and I was still able see every part.

My biggest worry now was, do I have a brush that was small enough to paint the character without creating a big mess around it, and I was thoroughly surprised as I found a tiny brush that was not only perfect for the designs, but it quickly became a favorite of mine because it allowed me to gain back some of the control as far as what I wanted to bring into each animal. I didn’t stop using my dotting tools though as I had made the eyes and noses with a small tool, and they turned out as adorable as my Rudolph/reindeers in the end.

When I was done with them, I was fairly tempted to leave the rest of the baubles plain, but I thought they looked too boring for that, and I started experimenting and I made array of different ones but I did one that spells the word “Woof” for a family friend, they have a Pittie and they recently got a Beagle puppy so as my mom told me, “it fits” for them, and then I surprised myself again but creating two baubles in a Ugly Christmas Sweater design and I’m still upset I did just do that with the rest but it was just a beautiful disaster that I need to remember for next Christmas!

Bring Me the Rainbow

My final bauble is very special because it is my nephew’s. Nolan has become obsessed with the moon and rainbows, and since I already got him a Moon phase garland for his room, I figured I needed to bring out his love for the rainbow too, so I reserved a bauble ornament for him. I don’t know why I didn’t do this with my nana’s ornament since she too is obsessed with the rainbow! Oh well, I will make a note of this for next year!

I was thrilled to do this for Nolan but I was also terrified too because I had to use the ruler to create a series of lines for each color, and honestly, this was a doozy! I was having a hard time making six, somewhat equal, lines for each dot and it was a hard task at first but once I got it all figured out, I poured out my paint on my palette and got to work on the actual dots.

This media has also become a favorite of my nephew too. He currently had two or three CDs I’ve made in the last year or so, the first one he just took home and the others I gave him because he kept holding onto them. I think in the new year, I will try to teach him how to do it so he can be excited about his own creations too! Anyways, I used my pink tool, which is the middle size and honestly, it was actually perfect for this design. I was going to use the tiny brush again to remove the empty spaces in between the dots but I stopped myself from doing it and messing the entire ornament up. Nolan was very excited to get his ornament. I don’t think he understood at first why I had given him a different design compared to his mommy’s pink reindeer, but I know he will cherish it nonetheless!

It is strange when a small thought that can appear in the middle of a sleepless night, can grow into such a huge project and yet bring so much good to a slice of the world. Homemade gifts are good for the soul. I give kudos to anyone who has a small business and fix up orders every day, because that is no small feat! As I told my nana the other day, now that I am done painting and the cards were shipped out and people are receiving their ornaments, I still feel like I need to be doing something, and I really hope it was finishing this post.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading my process with this project. It was fun while it lasted, and now I can relax for the rest of this break. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a lovely time with your family, friends and/or pets. For anyone else, have a wonderful weekend!

Blogmas: Gift Ideas for Readers

Hello!

For this year, I will be discussing for the reader(s) in your life, because we can be somewhat tricky to buy for on Christmas. I hope to give you some ideas below and this week on Got Meghan’s Blog is full of festive vibes, so I also hope you enjoy what I have for you because I had a lot of fun creating them!

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post discussing interesting topics for my fellow disabled and chronic illness bloggers out there. I thought it would be a great idea to create one of my own and there was awesome feedback from people with and without disabilities! Anyways, I still adore the way I set up that post and wanted to do it again to hopefully give you some ideas into what a reader would REALLY love under their Christmas tree or stocking this year!


Before we get too into this, I need to make a point and say, if you decide to do any of the ideas below, you should know the person treasures the most. Despite the fact I included Harry Potter, it doesn’t mean EVERYONE enjoys that series! There are thousands of fandoms and products out there so hopefully you’ll be able to find something they love, but also be honest with yourself as well. If you can’t get something because you can’t afford it at this moment, find something else and hopefully they will understand your struggle and move on from it.

Speaking of money, I arranged everything below into their own category as far as price goes, so we have a somewhat cheaper collection of items that don’t go over $25. The middle will have a selection that could change depending on the various qualities and websites; I’d say they might start at $30 and stop around $60 and then the final box is everything I feel can go into the $100+ and those would be things that you would expect in that range too.

Easy on the Budget

Bookmarks
Stickers
Candles
Fairy lights
Coffee Mugs
Teabags/Instant Coffee Cups
Cat Inspired Gifts (or any other animal!)
Earbuds/Headphones

The Prices Can Change

Book Ends
Throw Blankets
Journals
Calendars
Bluetooth Speakers
Harry Potter Items
E-Readers (like NOOK, Kindle, and Audible)

Get Your Checkbooks Out

Book Subscription Boxes (like Book Of The Month, OwlCrate, etc.)
Limited Edition Books
Boxed Sets
Childhood Favorites
Bookshelves

Last summer, I was able to work with a company that specialty is making unique bookmarks and holders, and they are TILIMSA and I really love their products. They are reasonably priced since all of the items are handmade. I’m still so happy they were nice enough to work with someone like me who doesn’t exactly hold a book in the way everybody else does, so they customized their regular items to fit my needs, however, I’m not sure if everyone will be able to get the same treatment. If you are trying to find something for someone with a disability who loves to read, you could try to get into contact with them but again, I’m not sure if it will happen, so please keep this possibility in mind beforehand.

Are there any other ‘bookish’ products I should add to this post? Comment below with your suggestions, plus which money category I need to list it too!

Blogmas: Why I Decided on 8 Days

Hello everyone and welcome back to Blogmas!

I absolutely adore this theme and it’s one I continue to do every year, even if I’m not feeling very festive. I was first introduced to Blogmas back in 2014 when I found the blogging community on Twitter. I still look back on that memory quite a bit and wish we were all doing the fun chats and checking out everybody’s newest posts without any drama going on behind the scenes.

For those of you who do not know what blogmas is, it’s a concept based around Christmas, you create a series of different posts talking about the festive holiday. Some people will do every day leading up until the 25th, or sometimes they will shrink it down and release 8 or 12 days instead. I’ve always done whatever I could get done and it’s been a hit and miss throughout the years, so that was one of the reasons I decided to only publish for eight days for 2021.

Before I go, one thing I try to do is give people, especially new bloggers a collection of previous blogmas posts, I’ve included what I wrote in 2020. So, I really hope you enjoy what I have in store for you in the next couple of weeks on Got Meghan’s Blog!


How Do I Read?

This post is all about how I read my books. Last year, I had the chance to work with an awesome company called Tilisma. They create a variety of bookish products. I saw them while watching one of my favorite YouTubers and she showed her viewers these really cool things; it is in the shape of an eye made out of wood with a nice hole carved out in the middle, this is where your thumb (or in my case big toe!) and it is supposed to allow you to hold any type of book and of course make reading easier!

I was given four different products and the nice people of the company, customized every item to my size! The little one is definitely my favorite because it is just perfect for my toes and it has made reading outside or just in the house a whole lot easier for me! Click here if you want to read the whole post on Tilisma. I definitely recommend anyone checking out their stuff on Amazon and/or their Instagram as they share photos of various people using the holders a lot so you could see what you could use for yourself.

Things That Make Me Feel Christmas-y!

In this one, I basically talk about the things that make me feel very festive, and I share quite a bit of photos of putting up our family Christmas tree and baking and decorating the sugar cookies. 2020 was the year we could finally do things with Nolan. My mom and I decorated cookies the year before but we all agreed that Nolan was just a little too young to be around that many cookies and frosting–this was a very good call considering how many he did eat last year! I think it was three and a half cookies and I don’t remember how many times he licked icing off his fingers…

The 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

Here’s the thing, I had a sticky note with array of blogmas topics saved on my laptop, and when I was getting ready to figure out my schedule for this year, I guess I forgot to strike both “Things That Make Me Feel Christmas-y” and this tag. I’m not going to lie; I am pretty proud of myself for looking back just in case or else I would repeat these posts again and I would be really upset with myself.

This post is a survey discussing two loves of mine: books and Christmas. I always enjoy doing these types of posts at the start of blogmas because it is easy, fun and I’m not stressing myself out too much to make it look so perfect. However, now I’m wondering what I will be doing for Friday…

DIY: Christmas Tree Projects

For the longest time, my nana and I would do a bunch of seasonal crafts and despite the fact we loved our pumpkin related projects, the largest job were Christmas things. The final project we did was making everyone their own goody bag full of cookies, lotions, socks, and chocolate bark. And yes, I did a post about it and you can click here to check it out now.

A lot has happened since then, and she lives up north and I am up to no good coming up with ideas to continue the tradition a little, although I wouldn’t say this one wasn’t for family, this was my personal job to see if I could bring back that spark again. I was fairly proud of myself on the work I did on these but now there is only one still on the back wall of the hallway, there is another hanging up in the playroom and Nolan took home the final canvas!

I am doing something similar to what nana and I did with those brown bags, but that’s all I can say about it at the moment. You might see some things on my Facebook and Instagram pages here and there. Once I finish everything, I will have a post up before the 25th.

2020 Christmas Tree

This post is exactly what the title says, it is all about my black Christmas tree for 2020. I’m not entirely sure if I will discuss what I do with my tree this year, but we’ll just have to see what happens later on in the month!

Ultimate Christmas Playlist

As for the final post of the day, you get to know about my favorite Christmas songs. There are a lot of beloved jazz artists like Frank Sinatra, Stan Kenton, Ray Charles, and Michael Bublé, but there is a bunch of different people and songs that inspire that feeling of the holidays as well like, Home Alone soundtrack, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Frozen soundtracks, Lindsey Stirling, and even Celtic Woman.


Well, that’s it for this post. These are all of the topics I talked about one year ago to hopefully spark the joy of the beautiful season. As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve done this for a pretty long time, so I have a huge selection of Christmas-y posts you can search in the box on the top right corner of the home page.

What is your favorite thing about Christmas?