2020 RECAP | Trial & Error

Hello!

2020 has been a very complexed year. For a lot of people, it’s been one of the worst ones whereas I think it’s been a very successful year. I have had bad days and unsavory moments happen within the year but overall it’s been pretty good. It isn’t what anyone expected but I think how you look at it as a whole can make or break your perspective. I will say it wasn’t perfect all throughout these 12 months, something has happened to possibly crush everything you love and worked on, but you’re still here, so that should count for something, right?

In this post, I will be discussing three different sections that I thought were important to highlight that defined 2020 for me and this blog as a whole.

Three Good Things

At the start of the year, I decided I needed to share a ritual I have been doing off and on since 2014 and that is choosing three things (or more if you had a great day!) and talking about them to my followers on my social medias. Unfortunately, it never took off on Twitter but I’m hoping I can do better in 2021 so more people who want to look past any unsettling mishaps and focus all of their attention on the good instead. I feel this was the reason why I think back on the year with a smile on my face.

I just want to point out that despite the fact I want to spread positivity to everyone, I need to say you will have bad days here and there. You’re never going to have perfect days or moments endlessly, but that’s not being realistic. I wish I had said something about this in the beginning because I think it would have helped me get over the really bad days after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I tried to keep a brave face but honestly I wasn’t feeling as confident as I usually am, so that’s why I took that long break over the summer to think about things that were going on around me. After some time I came back, although I wasn’t 100%, I still thought I needed to do something so I asked my followers to share their good things and reading their responses did give me a boost to join them again the next evening.

Once 2021 begins, I will be posting them every other day, because it was just easier to get things done because I found out through posting them every single day, that I am vert much a perfectionist! I was wondering when it was going to rear its ugly head back to me. I’m just thankful it didn’t stay around when I was working on my Christmas Tree projects like I thought. Anyways, I am already doing this schedule and have been for a while now, but I really enjoy it again so I think I will keep it going for as long as I want to, until I feel ready to switch back to the regular format.

I wrote this post three days before it was scheduled published and I knew the background I used for the first day was yellow, but I guess it didn’t register well enough when I made last night’s list. I was only going base off of what I used the day before–which was black, because I wanted a little black and gold theme for the final few days but again, I just forgot all about this until I went to update it (and man, wasn’t that an adventure!) anyways, do you remember what your first top three good things for 2020 was? What did you list for the last day of the year too?

Trial and Error

The reason why I am calling this post “Trial & Error” is because of what I put on my “Three Good Things” on the first of January 2020. The first one says “I chopped and peeled a potato without hurting myself.” Although I wish I could forget the events before this happened, I remember saying to my mom afterwards, “oh, it’s okay. Trial and error I guess.” And yes, I can recall what I said word-for-word because this would become the year’s motto. It was also a stab at my perfectionist side always attempting to break through on a daily basis! At the time, I didn’t think it would mean much but then I would catch myself saying it to anything that I did on my own that I normally wouldn’t do, so over time it started to mean something important to me.

I did a lot of things that I figured would never happen again, like completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year and bring back painting pumpkins. Everything that happened that I haven’t done for a long time kind of scared me at first because I didn’t know if I should enjoy it and fear it would disappear for an even longer time, so I had to battle it out my emotions a bit, but now that I’ve done them, I fee like I can do them again and be better at them the second time around and I am overjoyed at it in the future!

Two Week Blogging Schedule

After 11 years of trying to work out a schedule that would not only work as far as publishing new content during the week, but inspiring myself to keep writing during a full month was really my biggest issue. I could work great for three months and lose all my love for blogging for like four months at a time and I would just feel absolutely defeated, so I knew I had to do something big or else I would have to stop blogging altogether and I don’t have any other backups or outlets that can compete to blogging so I was very determined to fix this problem once and for all.

When I decided that I was going to attempt reading ’20 books for 2020′ I knew I was going to make room to read, but what I didn’t exact was how comfortable I would be taking two weeks off a new month to devote myself to reading and then if I had time during my monthly vacation to do some work for the first full week back that was awesome too!

I really didn’t think I could last no more than a month using this new method but I did it for the entire year without feeling like I was going to experience a burnout like I would normally feel after a couple months so I knew I was doing something right here! There were times I would need an extra week because I was asked to review an artist’s music and I had established that Monday were the days I would talk about music, Wednesday would be about books; especially the reviews of the newly finished novels I was able to read in the weeks before, and Friday would be for anything else I wanted to talk about, but if I didn’t have anything special going on, I would post another review on that day. Everything seemed to work out perfectly and even this week, I kept the same layout I adapted towards the beginning of 2020 and was still exercising that format to the final week and was still enjoying it, seems incredible to me.

Well, I think I have officially run out of what I wanted to say in this post. I hope you have enjoyed all three posts in their rightful days. As of now, I should be back on the 18th of January, with all new content for you to consume and if you’re lucky, you might even get a book review on the 20th too, since I am right in the middle of A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair. I am whizzing on through it as we speak so I hope you had a lovely and better 2021.

Bye.

snowflake

November Playlist

Hello!

I bet you didn’t expect me to be back so soon.

Today is the last day of November, for anyone participating in both NaNoWriMo and Nonfiction November, you should be proud of what you were able to accomplish in the last 30 days! I didn’t join NaNo this year because I’m not in that headspace to write anything for that long, and I doubt I have made any changes in reading the two books I got for this month. It happens… and I’m okay with it!

We are itching closer to Christmas and finally, to the new year: 2021. It seems so crazy how fast this year has went, despite the COVID mess that has taken over 2020! I bring this up because I have always felt November is a weird time for music. We are obsessed with Halloween-y songs and then we are quick to switch to Christmas carols at midnight.

I have to say, I have been doing very well at ignoring the festive commercials on TV and online, and I will be very happy when I can finally watch Christmas movies without being judged by my parents! I have a total of eight films in our DVR at the moment, so I can get my fill and enjoy everything that comes with this time of the year! As far as music goes though, I allow myself to listen to my favorite Christmas songs early, mainly because they tend to remind me of my papaw and so, it is just better for me to cave in now instead of feeling bad about it later.

This year, I am working on my “Ultimate Christmas” playlist on Spotify and will hopefully be speaking about it soon. I will hold off on that for a week or two, until I feel it is ready.

For my November playlist though, I have collected a lot of music that is selected in my “Discover Weekly” every Monday. I am always excited to see what type of music will be unleashed from the moment I hit play, and sometimes they create their own aesthetic but sometimes they reflect whatever genre I’ve focused on that past week and it is always a fun surprise at the start of another week.

Here are my Top 25 for the month!

Talk To Me by Apocalyptica featuring Lzzy Hale
Gravity by Sara Bareilles
Share That Love by Lukas Graham featuring G-Eazy
My Spring Your Fall by Falconsheild
Scars To Your Beautiful by Oceans featuring Anna Murphy
Goddess by Xana
Royals by Lorde
Remember by Leah

You’re Not From Here by Lara Fabian
Eugene by Arlo Parks
Cielo a un Diablo by Maluma
Teeth by Dirty D’Shire
Drew Barrymore by
Bryce Vine
Que Color by Major Lazer featuring J Balvin & El Alfa
Ordinary Day by The Animal In Me
The Purge by Within Temptation
Dream On Me (Stripped) by Ella Henderson

Peer Pressure by James Bay
Lullabies by Yuna
Grip by Seeb
If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher
Betty by Chase Holfelder
Numb by Carlie Hanson
Cold by Crossfade

What I truly love about this list, is its diversity! You have hard rock, pop, and reggaetĂłn like it is supposed to fit together. I continue to surprise myself on the amount of music I am willing to listen to everyday. The sad part about it is, there’s sadly not a lot of people like me, who are brave enough to be interested in shuffling their music out in the open and enjoy sharing in hopes we create even more fans for these artists and bands, new and old, and honestly the longer I go about this, I tend to enjoy it even more and I think that’s why I still want to do these playlists too.

Before I go, I wanted to let you know that I was able to post a new album review this month. Well, technically, it was an update to an older post I did in 2018, and I was recently told by the artist, that she really loved it, so that makes me really happy! Anyways, here it is, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Oh, and speaking of links, here is the Spotify playlist for November too! 🙂

SIGN from Above by RAIGN

What were you listening to this month? Name one track that you think I should check out below!

snowflake

Book Review: “Children Of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi

Hello!

Back in 2018, I finally got my feet on Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. As much as I would have rather have the paperback version, I’m very happy I grabbed the hardback instead. This book is massive! It has over 500 pages of fantasy written inside of it.

Truth be told, this was actually an impluse purchase, and when it comes to books, this rarely happens with books, especially when they’re this big! Before getting it, I had been seeing it pop up BookTube and everybody was talking about how good this was, so the first chance I saw it I knew I had to have it.

I do remember reading the first couple of chapters after I got home that day, but I didn’t even make a dent into it until this summer. It isn’t a part of my ’20 Books for 2020′ reading challenge but I have that a blessing in disguise. I literally thought I’d take a longer break (I didn’t read for two weeks straight!) but I didn’t. Anytime I went outside to sit out on the porch with the cats, I wanted something to read, so this was the next one in line.


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They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving ZĂ©lie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now ZĂ©lie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, ZĂ©lie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in OrĂŻsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be ZĂ©lie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

taken from Goodreads.


I think the first thing I loved about it was how it started; it began with humble beginnings with ZĂ©lie’s sassy self. The reader is invited to watch her attempt to win a fighting match against a local girl in their home Ilorin. You are able to see how driven she is. She’s not exactly cocky but strives to be better than her opponent. You get a little taste of what’s to come later in the story.

Her world is circled around one event and that makes the plot interesting for the readers, because even though Zelie thinks it was only the diviners who were affected, you start to understand that isn’t right. There are two other characters who end up being as part of it too. This realization will change everything for everyone.

The objective is to find three ancient artifacts and do a ritual. This may seem easy enough to say, but thanks to the map that is tucked inside of the hardback, the journey from one place to another is really far, and I became really worried that the story itself would become boring in between point A to point B, but thankfully I was wrong! The middle was my favorite sections, because everything was written in great detail! I was able to see everything going on, what everyone was wearing, what kind of magic they can do, etc. This was what I enjoyed so much in The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare as well!

I finally understood why all of my teachers in school would fail me for not going deeper into a situation, and I hope it sticks within me for the future.

Unfortunately, I don’t read a whole lot of books that are written by a black author nor with characters of color. This year has been a changing time to support black creators in every career and situation. However, I didn’t want to be forced into reading it because of that reason. I wanted to view it as any other book on my bookshelf and that’s why I was more intimidated about its sheer size than focus my whole attention on this element.

I am super excited to maybe add the next book: Children of Vengeance and Virtue sometime later this year or early 2021. I have a large list of books that continues to get larger and larger in every series!

Have you read this book yet? If you have, what were your favorite things about it?

snowflake

Book Review: “The Broken Circle” by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller

Hello!

I am known to scroll through Amazon’s Prime Reading catalog for a good hour and a half, just seeing what’s available and basically take inventory of what I could be interested in after I finish my current book. Everytime I do this, I would always see this book listed in the memoirs section, but I would talk myself out of it because I knew it would pull at my heart strings but one day I told myself to get it because I wasn’t doing very well with the other book.

For some biographies and memoirs, I don’t like to read the synopsis given to you beforehand. I think the description can play with your mind and although I just skimmed at what the book was about, the title alone told me what to expect and you can’t blame me especially when the tagline says “a memoir of escaping Afghanistan”. I didn’t have to know anything too critical to understand that this would be a rough one but I got it anyways!


42945699._SY475_An emotional and sweeping memoir of love and survival—and of a committed and desperate family uprooted and divided by the violent, changing landscape of Afghanistan in the early 1980s.

Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home—Kabul, Afghanistan—as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettled by growing political unrest, leaves for medical treatment in India, the civil war intensifies, changing young Enjeela’s life forever. Amid the rumble of invading Soviet tanks, Enjeela and her family are thrust into chaos and fear when it becomes clear that her mother will not be coming home.

Thus begins an epic, reckless, and terrifying five-year journey of escape for Enjeela, her siblings, and their father to reconnect with her mother. In navigating the dangers ahead of them, and in looking back at the wilderness of her homeland, Enjeela discovers the spiritual and physical strength to find hope in the most desperate of circumstances.

A heart-stopping memoir of a girl shaken by the brutalities of war and empowered by the will to survive, The Broken Circle brilliantly illustrates that family is not defined by the borders of a country but by the bonds of the heart.

taken from Goodreads.

I want to point out that, Enjeela’s story starts in the late 1970’s and into the early 80’s, so I wasn’t alive during this time. I kind of remember watching various documentaries that were filmed at this time so I remember hearing things about the war going on in Afghanistan but I didn’t know who it was with until everything was mentioned in this story; I thought it was an interesting way to understand the early conflicts there.

At the beginning of the book, it was nice to learn about the beauty of Enjeela’s home in Kabul. The lush earth and ways of modernizes going on in the community. This was another part of history I did know about too. I saw on Twitter years ago of two women in Pakistan wearing skirts and they had their hair down and it was flowing in the wind. They looked happy to have their pictures taken, but the next photograph was of a group of women covered in head to toe with black burkas. I thought it was very sad to see how big of a shift had happened throughout recent history.

As much as I enjoyed learning about her early memories of her elder sister getting married and how their house was furnished in both American and Italian styles of the day. We quickly make our way to some of the new changes of her beloved country. It was somewhat slow of a build up, but once her mother and sisters left, everything really takes things into another tempo. One moment we are told how Enjeela and crumbling family have moved into a smaller house to meeting Masood and officially making their way out of her beloved, but war-torn country.

I thought of a documentary I watched on PBS last year called “For Sama” and it was a documented account of a Syrian journalist living with her husband who was running an open hospital while they were getting bombed from every angle and their baby girl Sama was born in the mix. I saw the humanity side of this war going on, and although it was small it was as frightening to watch, but I knew it was 10x worse for those who lived in it every day and night for a long period of time. To read about a six year old having to walk with her siblings without their parents and on top of that, with a strange man who you would automatically think of the worst possible outcome for all of them. In a span of six months they lived in little villages and were treated like a loved one with everyone they came across, but on the other side of that, those same people were burying their loved ones because they were being killed fighting for their right to live there in their homes.

Everything about it was heartbreaking but they never seem to give up on not just themselves, but the promise her whole family being together again soon. It was a beautiful story, I just wish we were given more information about what happened to the rest of her family at the end. It is my only bad note about the story itself, yes, she told us about what happened to her later on in life but we weren’t given anything about her siblings. They were as present in the book as she was, but we never get told anything more about them.

Have you read this book yet? Are you a fan of memoirs? Do you, by any chance, have a favorite one you’ve read either this year or in the past? Let me know below!

snowflake

REVIEW | Five Feet Apart

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I’m back!

On the day I finished this post, I’d been sick for at least a week and a half. It has been so frustrating to say the least, because at first we thought it was allergies and then three days later, I developed this awful cough and my mom had to get some medicine tablets because I refuse to drink the liquid stuff. Hopefully, this isn’t your only post of the week but let’s not push our luck!

I am very excited to finally chat with you about the film adaption of Rachael Lippincott’s novel Five Feet Apart. I mean, this was the main reason why I wanted to read the book in the first place. Before we continue, I have to say this post will probably have spoilers included, so if you haven’t read the book and want to, I highly suggest you skip this blog post for now.

The first thing–well, there were two actually–I had to tell myself. I literally had to give myself a little talk because I had read the book and I was still reeling from the fact that I cried many times and enjoyed certain scenes within the story. I knew it is going to be very sad and when I finally I made a deal to watch the whole thing before I judged everything that was presented on my TV screen.

What I Really Thought 

So, I absolutely loved the film! I was surprised by my reaction after I finished it because I didn’t think I would love it that much, but yes, I thought it was absolutely beautiful! It didn’t have every single thing, but it had enough that it followed the same timeline from the book, and that was it for me.

One thing that I totally forgot to put into my head while I was reading the book was that hospitals are busy places, as you see on film. However, while I was reading the book, the only professionals that turned up in my head were Barb, Julie and Dr. Hamid. That’s it. I don’t know why I just kept other nurses or random people from entering various scenes. I mentioned in my book review that I used the hospital I went to back in 2002, to draw some inspiration on how to map out this massive space, and the section I stayed had probably three or four nurses at their station. So, we were never without someone there besides our parents of course, so I don’t know how I managed to create a space with only three medical professionals!

Have you watched the film adaption “Five Feet Apart” yet? If you read the book beforehand, did you have any issues with it? Did you like it just the same? Tell me your thoughts about it below!

snowflake