June Playlist

Hello! 🌈

June was a long month full of interesting things, some bittersweet and others were wonderful!

During the first week, we had birthdays to celebrate, and you saw the last of the DIY projects I had done in late March; the dotted sea turtle! It was such a fun and somewhat abstract kind of experiment for me, and I do hope to share more artsy stuff soon! The other birthday was my papaw’s. As some of you know, my papaw on my mom’s side died in 2016 and it’s still as fresh as it was then to all of us, and I don’t tend to share a lot of my personal life on my social media, much less on here, but I had shared a photo I had found a few months ago and wrote something special about him for the special day.

Two weeks later, we had another birthday, which was my nephew’s and he turned FOUR years old already! It doesn’t seem like he should be that old yet, you know?! I mean, he definitely seems older because of the way he talks, figures out things, and the fact he’s so excited to go to preschool in the fall! He’s become a little human now and its crazy how time files with him. I hope his sister grows somewhat slower for us, or we need to take more photos/videos…

Besides these celebrations, I’ve had a really good early summer, despite the scorching weather; it’s been in the upper 80’s and 90’s since the second week and my mom and I keep saying, “we’re only in June! It’s going to be even worse by the time we get into July and August!” Apparently, we’re not alone in that assumption as I saw somewhere, cattle have died in Wisconsin and Kansas, which sounds more like they were neglected, because isn’t the farmers responsibility to provide shelter and water to their animals? I mean, that sounds really shady but I’m not animal farmer.

Speaking of farming, my family have really upgraded our landscaping as I’ve talked about in last month’s post, but my parents have wanted to grow our own food on our property and this year seemed like we could do it, so I have decided on doing a garden tour for July or August, depending on what I have time for next month. I am pumped to get it out to you because I know a lot of people have been curious about it and even though I don’t have any role in the creation of the garden, I thought this could be my way of contributing to the whole thing.

All right now let’s turn our focus to music as that is what this post was supposed to be about, but you know, I kind of enjoy summarizing the last 20 or so days for you, so I hope you like this new feature because it might stay as part of this post.

Here are my Top 20 songs I loved in June 2022. If you want to check out the entire Spotify playlist, click here.

Before I Ever Met You by BANKS
Dark Star by Tarja
SOLO by Jennie
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
I Don’t Want To Be by Gavin DeGraw
God Is A Woman by Danielle Bradbury
Everybody’s Fool by Evanescence
Die4u by Rain Paris
7 Rings by Ariana Grande
Boyfriend by Dove Cameron
All In by 2WEi featuring Marvin Brooks
My Heart’s Grave by Faouzia
I Want My Tears Back by Nightwish
Anything But Ordinary by Avril Lavigne
Boston by Augustana
Let’s Go by Trick Daddy featuring Big D & Twista
Heels by Hysterica
Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Angel by Sarah Brightman
Simmer by Hayley Williams

What were you loving this past month?

snowflake

Book Review: “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga

Hello!

Last year, I was scrolling through Facebook and this meme had popped up from a library, stating mainly to those who are adults, that it is okay to enjoy reading YA (young adult) books. I took this to heart because I have heard of my favorite booktubers feeling uneasy about checking out books in this genre, and to see this slip all throughout my social media has influenced my own journey branching out from other genres that I feel weird reading like children’s literature. I wasn’t a lover of reading (of any kind) when I was little, so now I’m diving deep into classics I had pushed aside in the past.

This book isn’t part of that list, but it is middle grade, which is targeted for students in junior high or middle school, at least that’s what I believe is the meaning behind it. An example of what is considered middle grade are the Harry Potter books. Of course, they take a darker note after ‘The Goblet of Fire’ but for the most part they are always regarded for pre-teens around the ages of 10-15.

WARNING: there are some spoilers below. So, If you are planning on reading the book in the near future, you might want to skip this post!

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I am learning how to be
sad
and happy
at the same time.


Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

taken from Goodreads.

This was one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and a brilliant read for this month as it is Ramadan in the Muslim communities. As you may know, I love to learn, and a few years ago I was introduced to the holiday event Ramadan and Eid. This was one that I was not familiar with, but I was thrilled to learn what people do to celebrate the month of fasting, praying, and ultimately the renewal of life that comes with it. I’ve learned a lot in the last three years, as I always read at least one book around Ramadan, and this year I chose “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga.

This story of a little girl who spent her early years in Syria, living with her family, going to school, and having the typical childhood, until the start of the violence there breaks every thing she is used to, and it immediately made me remember an old friend of mine, her name was Reem, and she lived in Syria. One of her last tweets was in 2014, and honestly, every time she came on with new updates about her and her outlook on the country as a whole was so heartbreaking for us. I haven’t talked about her much because it hurts to know how close she was to it. I don’t know if she made it out of Syria and I’ve checked her previous accounts on Twitter, but there’s nothing there. I always hope she is somewhere free of the chaos and that’s all I can really do.

For our main character Jude, you are able to see the innocence of this young girl navigating this new world in a way; I liked the way, we as the reader, were able to see the good and bad in Jude’s life. She goes to a school in America with her cousin, who was born here. It was interesting to see the differences between these little girls as they are part of the same blood but has been through different things. For Jude’s cousin Sarah, she wouldn’t be totally comfortable accepting a hijab after starting her period. You get the gist right away that she wasn’t raised like that and isn’t very accepting of Jude to being like that.

and I know I am not back home, but here, in this home.

Despite this, there was one girl that was a great addition to Jude’s life, and her name is Layla. She was born in the United States, but her family is from Lebanon and own a Middle Eastern restaurant that Jude visits to enjoy food and love of her native homeland. Layla is a great insight into what it is like for a child who doesn’t feel like she belongs and feels like she’s punished for it. I believe Sarah and Layla respect two sides of what it’s like being a girl in America. If people don’t understand something, they are afraid of it. I heard this phrase a lot as a teenager, but it really spoke to me while reading about Jude in this book.

A way of getting acclimated to her new school was instantly being in an ESL class. ESL means “English Second Language” and I can remember seeing several students in school growing up, having to be hallways to learn English, because as far as I knew we didn’t have those at the time. Honestly, it wasn’t until high school we were allowed to choose between two languages to learn as an elective, and they were German and Spanish. In Jude’s case, she has three other students in her class, and they were from other parts of the world, and it was sweet to see them learn slang words like “bougie” (which I did not learn about until I was 28!) and phrases such as, “you know?”

There were so many things I truly adored about this book, but I did not enjoy how it ended. I felt like it should have given the reader more of what happens after that final scene, but instead we were left with a cliffhanger ending and it really angered me because I thought it could have continued on a little more, but I’ll get over it.

Have you read “Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga yet? If so, what were your thoughts? What was your favorite scene(s) of the whole book?

snowflake

Monthly Favorites | Baby Names

Hello!

This is my final post of the week and In my act to bring something different to my blog this month, I thought about putting together a collection of my favorite baby names since the start of 2022.

If you have been on here a while, you might know I have a HUGE obsession with names; I’ve done a lot of things in the past, but my favorite thing is discussing what could be the next royal baby’s names. I’ve been wrong on Prince Louis of Cambridge, his cousin Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, and Prince Gabriel of Sweden, but I somewhat right for both Princess Eugenie’s son August Brooksbank and Prince Gabriel’s little brother Prince Julian of Sweden!

I love doing those types of posts, but I mainly create them to have fun, so with that, I thought I could come up with something that you as a reader might enjoy, but I would love to look back on to see what has changed in the future.

In 2019, I made up a Pinterest board that would help me keep track of all the names I came across each month, and I attempt to list my ultimate favorites on my name accounts on Facebook and Instagram at the end of the year. I have surprised myself quite a bit, but that’s kind of the point though. For this post, I will be including ALL of the names I’ve been into from January to March, as I say this, I could forget a few just before I publish the post in general. but everybody should be ready and updated for you today.


January

Girls: Anne, Agnes, Arden, Amaryllis, Audra, Betty, Caroline, Cecilia, Chantal, Frances, Freya, Hannelore, Hedy, Henrietta, Hermione, Honor, Iris, Juniper, Lavinia, Leta, Lynlie, Maud, Monaco, Rue, Skylynn, Sophie, Taryn, Victoria, Wilhelmina, Winifred, Wren, Yuna, Zita

Boys: Adolphus, Athelstan, Barclays, Bridgemont, Dempsey, Ford, Isaiah, Joachim, Jon, Kade, Khair, Kohl, Lancaster, Ludo, Odin, Santos, Sherwood, Somerset, Ralph, Winston

Unisex: Asa, Denali, Shiloh, Joss, Lennox

February

Girls: Abigail, Adelaide, Amy, Andie, Ashlyn, Atlas, Arizona, Brielle, Brookline, Brynn, Bubbles, Carlyn, Colbie, Claudia, Daphne, Deirdre, Eleonore, Ethel, Fiona, Freya, Gertrude, Halla, Hannelore, Honor, Imogen, Isla, Ira, Ivy, Jane, Jessamine, Jo, Julissa, Kendall, Kiernan, Kira, Kyla, Laney, Leni, Letha, Liselle, Lovelyn, Mako, Mary, Mayim, Moira, Nercissa, Ocea, Oceanne, Orna, Ottilie, Remy, Riverlyn, Roseline, Runa, Salome, Sierra, Sophia, Soraya, Story, Suki, Verena, Yuna,

Boys: Aiden, Alfred, Alonso, Asher, Braylin, Brexson, Byron, Cameron, Caspian, Gregory, Hayden, Hunter, Falcon, Jaxon, Ledger, Leonidas, Mark, Maverick, Mosaic, Nevada, Neville, Nikos, Orlando, Ptolemy, Ryan, Spade, Spencer, Taurien

Unisex: Albany, Ashton, Eiffel, Emerson, Linwood, Noel, Sayre, Vesper

March

Girls: Adelaide, Alessia, Aoife, Astra, Avril, Beatrice, Catherine, Catriona, Cecilia, Clover, Davina, Dorothy, Edda, Edie, Eliza, Eloise, Ethel, Eydis, Freyja, Gwyneth, Hervor, Ida, Imogen, Ingrid, Kassandra, Katya, Ksenia, Libby, Lilian, Lilias, Lille, Loralei, Lotte, Lydia, Madeleine, Maeve, Magdalene, Mailin, Matilda, Millicent, Mimi, Moira, Noelle, Odessa, Oona, Parisa, Philippa, Posie, Primrose, Savannah, Soleil, Sophia, Sybil, Sybilla, Thea, Violet, Wylla, Yrsa

Boys: Archibald, Aldrich, Alastair, Atlas, Bruno, Calder, Cord, Elias, Ewen, Ezra, Fox, Finn, Gilbert, Hudson, James Jameson, Jasper, Leif, Levi, Loki, Mikey, Nolan, Pluto, Reginald, Rhys, Ryker, Riley, Rory, Silas, Sullivan, Thaddeus, Tobias, Willoughby

Unisex: Daisuke, Namir, Raleigh, Ronan


As you might’ve noticed as you read each name, a lot were inspired by my recent reads. I’ve always loved the various styles authors will name their own characters. A lot are inspired the different eras in history, such as Vikings and their Norse mythology. I’ve finished two books that discuss many parts of their religion, so you have popular names like Odin, Freya/Freyja, Loki but then you have the main characters and even though you are writing about a fictional person, you still want them to have a name that readers can recognize as part of that group, and you get a mismatch of names you might know about and the rest are basically made up, like Halla, Taurein, Rollo, Revna, Runa, Hervor, Eydis, Asta, Calder, and Leif.

There is another group you should have noticed, and they are my Irish/Gaelic/Scottish style of names. I usually keep a nice array of names in the back of my mind of these types, but since March is about spring and of course, St. Patrick’s Day, my usual bag is suddenly larger as we continue on to the next month.

I love the traditional Gaelic names that can be difficult to pronounce for most people. I’ve been interested in everything Irish since 2014, so I’m happy to say I can say several names with ease now. I do have some trouble with others, but it is a slow process and I work on it every day Some of my favorite names of that language are Aoife, (Eva) Ewen, Imogen, Maeve, (Mae-vv) Moira, Oona, (On-na) Ronan, Willoughby (Will-o-be).

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I would like to do this again, keeping with the three months, so you can see how everything changes with the others. I also keep record of all of the name combinations I make from various name games on social media, so if you would like to see what I create with each month, let me know and I can update this post with the names of January through March.

Are you obsessed with names too? If you are, what styles are you most drawn to on a daily basis? Do you keep a list of favorites in a notebook or in your phone throughout the year(s)?

snowflake

January Playlist

Hello there.

It has definitely been a while since I’ve been on here. Since Blogmas ended, I’ve only thought my blog twice and that is not like me, and honestly it has me scared as to what this change could mean in the long run. However, I will discuss this in detail in my next post, but I don’t know when it will go out, so I hope you are okay with me finding my way back again in a later time.

As for today though, we are going to talk about the music I listened to and loved in January.

In the past four or five years, I’ve talked about how I tend to have a difficult time getting into the new music, and relish in nostalgic tunes until the end of February or beginning of March. It’s always been a so-so experience because they can open old wounds and everything but this year, I haven’t really done that at all. I’ve only went back to what I was listening in 2020 and been pretty content with it. I want to point out that despite my first paragraph, I’m not depressed at all–basically my physical aches and pains, I have felt pretty good otherwise!

I’ve been listening to my “Best Songs of 2021” playlist on Spotify a lot lately. I found a bunch of great rock and metal songs last year and I just can’t seem to let go of them yet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same effect on me as the ’19 playlist and I even created one for ’20 but it doesn’t get as much love either. They are all different versions of me I guess and I’m just now realizing it apparently! Whenever I go to make those types of lists, they can be a hassle to arrange perfectly and sometimes my patience waivers and that might be my actual reason for why I’ve never felt complete with the newer ones. Has anyone else felt like this before? I do remember having favorite mix CDs when I was younger, and I NEVER wrote out a list of songs on them back in the day and I still managed to remember which ones were my best work!

If you are curious as to what songs I’ve been obsessed with for this month, here is my top 15 and of course, you can check out the full playlist here.

Lord It’s a Feeling (Orchestral Version) by London Grammar
Prima Donna by Christina Aguilera
Something I Need by Ben Haenow
Shake The Glass by Elegant Slim
Grotti by SKALD
Run It by DJ Snake featuring Rick Ross and Rich Brian
Not A Love Song by Bulow
Stranger by SVEA
Stone Cold Killer by Kat Leon
Daggers by We Came As Romans
Buried Alive by Our Last Night
Conscious by BROODS
Dead Man Walking by Jelly Roll
So Called Life by Three Days Grace
Wild Blood by Sam Tinnesz featuring Pep Squad

What were you listening during our first month of a new year? Name your top 3 favorites below.
snowflake

Top 5 Favorite Reads On My Bookshelf

Hello!

We have a single, skinny bookshelf in my nephew’s playroom. I’ve always wanted to do a tour of it but I haven’t found a way to do it as a blog post and make it so that it’s fun and unique. The majority of the books are mine, while my poor nephew has like three! It’s a little sad but I don’t have any more room in my own bedroom to have proper shelves for them. I have a smaller one next to my bed but I don’t have any more room for anything really. Anyways, for today, I wanted to talk about my favorite books featured on the shelf and at first, as I was coming up with this post, it seemed like an easy conquest, when in reality it was the opposite but still I got it all done for you!

I’ve added a link to the reviews I’ve done in the past on the pictures listed below, so, if you want to check them out, all you have to do is click the photo. Be aware though, they could contain spoilers so please keep that in mind beforehand! It was extremely hard to list all of these books because I really love them all the same, or so I thought…I still hope you enjoy all of the books and maybe you will find your next favorite too..


5. “Origins” Stefan’s Diaries Vol. 1 by L.J. Smith, Julie Plec & Kevin Williamson

I do remember buying this book because from the moment I saw Julie promoting it on Twitter, and I was curious to see a written form of Stefan Salvatore’s origins, If you want a more detail look into the life of both Stefan and Damon on the day Katherine arrives to their home in Mystic Falls, VA, and turn them into murderous vampires, this was make you smile in a very odd way!

If you are like me and desperately miss the entire show (and The Originals too!) then reading the entire collection could be something you should consider someday. I have only read to the second book, but there are five more books afterwards “Bloodlust” and I think Julie wrote a series about Klaus too, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments, but they all seem great stories for the fall?

4. Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I did buy it mainly on how it looked without a dusk jacket. I saw it on all of my favorite BookTube channels, There are not very many books that can match or even look close enough to their majestic jackets, but when I started reading it, and I was thoroughly into the story of these characters. I saw everything as I was reading and I still have Zélie’s dark skin and white hair in my brain. The most interesting part is, I cannot tell you how much this book pops into my head nowadays! This entire summer had me thinking about Zélie and Princess Amari, and what could happen for everybody involved in the next phase, so that means I should make a point to get the second book in the series soon or else it’ll just keep coming up to me at all hours..

3. The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

This is still one of my favorite reads after nine years of reading it.

This book tells you of a story of a young woman who can do anything she wants in the world but she doesn’t see her natural beauty. She has anorexia and is bulimic, and it is a very sad story underneath this interesting person. I’m still kind of bothered on why I wanted to read it in the first place, but I think it is purely to remind me that not everybody is happy with their bodies, and everyone has different struggles with seeing beauty within themselves.

2. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I know this one still freaks a lot of people out, but it actually started out innocently enough as I wanted to know what all the fuss was about with the film. I knew there was an able-bodied actor for the role of Will Traynor and thankfully a year or two before, I made a vow to read the book first and if at one time the main character was “normal” and became disabled after having cancer or was involved in an accident, it was easier to tell myself, this can happen (and I know a lot of people who have experienced it firsthand!) and once I finished I could find the right words to tell everyone in both the book and disabled communities my views on it.

What I didn’t expect was being absolutely taken by the story of Louisa or Lou as she likes to be called instead. How she was in this book was so amazing and very educational too. For someone who had no experience taking care of a person with a very serve physical disability, she had a lot of spunk in her. This was one of my favorite qualities in her, she could hit back on Will’s depressing wit. Despite the fact that she wanted to help his family change his mind about committing medical suicide, and you realize that Will holds all of the cards for her. The story isn’t necessarily about him, it is on her, at least that was the way I saw it at the end.

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

All of the books listed in this post are truly amazing, but nothing compares to Victoria Aveyard’s “Red Queen” for me. I absolutely adore the story of Mare Barrow, the poor red who had the same abilities as the elite silvers.

It’s interesting, I remember before picking this up at Walmart back in 2016, and thinking it was about a vampire queen. It wasn’t until I read the blurb on the back that I realized I was a bit wrong there and I think I almost put it back on the ledge but something about it intrigued me and I finished with it a week after I bought it! I was thoroughly impressed and a bit surprised by everything mentioned in the book. One of my favorite scenes was when Mare tries to escape out of the castle and as she heads for the window, she has guards coming at her and she makes a run for it and manages to lean back and skid underneath the men and for some odd reason this scene is so vivid in my mind and pretty much sealed the deal on my doubts and expectations.

After five years, I can officially say I am almost done (depending on when this post goes live) with the second book in the series, Glass Sword and the review will publish Friday morning, and I am hoping to start on the third book by the end of the month if everything works out the way I am hoping it would. I would love to complete this series before the end of the year as well, but I’ll be proud of myself on that accomplishment whether that part happens or not though.


Now I have one more thing to say before I let you go!

I do love the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” series by Jenny Han, but I do not keep those books on this shelf. They are located in my bedroom; I am hoping to store all of my beloved books, whether they are part of a series or standalones it doesn’t matter, so I can be reminded everyday of my accomplishments. Of course, this also means my dad will have to build me actual shelves on my wall someday because I have quite a few that I’m done with and want store them all together and I’m really running out of space on the floor so we need to go up for this project.. Also, do you have any advice on how I can get rid of the price stickers? They are seriously annoying and would love to have them removed from the beautiful covers. I am open to hear everyone’s suggestions at this point!

What are your top five or ten favorite books on your shelves? What makes them different than the others?