22.

Here we are for the third year in a row! At the beginning of the month I found myself anticipating this day, Oct. 23rd, mostly because I have made it a point to post every single year on my birthday. Today I turned 22, as you can tell from the title. This was the first time in the past three years that I didn’t spend my birthday alone, and I finally got to be with my family. Now I may be exaggerating just a little, I wasn’t completely alone. It just felt like it because I was in an unfamiliar place, full of people that I didn’t really know. It felt nice to finally be around people that do know and love me, just for being me.

From the beginning to the end of the day, I just felt excited. Excited to be home, excited to see another year…you get it. I got to hear from my best friend from high school, my best friend from college, and my older sister who I haven’t seen since August. I am just so thankful for everything that happened today, no matter how small, and I can’t wait to see how this next year plays out. Before you know it, I will be back here, writing out my 23rd birthday blog post. (Seeing as how that is the only thing that I have managed to keep consistent here)

I just noticed that while writing this out, the clock says that is is 12:01 AM on Oct. 24th, so I will just stop here. If you have been here since my 20th birthday blog post, thank you so much for sticking around, even though my posting schedule has been nonexistent. And if you are new here, hello 🙂 I’m going to try to stick to my blogging schedule that I originally planned out at the beginning of this year because why wait ’til next year? I’m sorry that I couldn’t think of anything profound or metaphorical to say about my birthday like I have in the past. It was just normal, but in the best possible way. Anyways, here’s to 22! I hope it’s a good one.

J’Anne

Fall Doodles + October Reading List

October is finally here, and I couldn’t be any more excited! Sadly, because of the pandemic I won’t be able to do the things that I had originally planned for this month, but it’s fine. I’ve been coming up with different ways to spend my time getting into the fall/Halloween spirit that don’t involve me going out. Many of these activities involve binge watching horror movies/ tv shows, trying different kinds of tea, telling ghost stories with my family, and reading of course! Here are a few quick sketches from my commonplace book that will help set the mood right for this season.

Let me know if you recognize the little house at the top 🙂

I’ve also compiled a list of books that I plan on reading this month:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

I’m currently reading Mexican Gothic and let me just say the writing is amazing! I am always amazed by the talent of this author, and I can’t wait to finish this book. I want to write more in depth reviews of each one of these books at the end of the month so hopefully I can get to them all. I know The Year of the Witching is in very high demand at the library so I may end up having to buy it, but we’ll see! Thank you for taking the time to read this random little post, and I will be back next Tuesday.

What I’ve Read So Far

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At the beginning of the year, I had every intention to read a book a week which would equal 52 books by the end of the year. Let’s just say, I have absolutely not stuck to this plan, and am only 9mbooks into my goal, when I should have already been at 38. Oops. Not that it matters. I think we can all agree that with everything that has happened this year, we should cut ourselves some slack. Rather than focusing on meeting a goal, I have just been taking my time with reading and enjoying the process. Some books I read faster than others and some books I limit myself to one chapter a day because I don’t want the story to be over. And that’s completely okay! Go at your own pace and  try not to put yourself on a timeline because it will only cause unnecessary stress.

Anyway, let’s get into the books!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by  Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

 I have seen many mixed reviews on this book, but I personally loved it!  From the characters, to the world building, this book had me hooked from the very first page and I always recommend it to everyone I know. I am not saying much here because I plan on making a dedicated post later this month because the book is just that good.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Now this book is one that I had been waiting to read for a really long time, but  could never read because it was always checked out at my school’s library. So, I just forgot about it. However, earlier this year when I saw that this book was being made into a movie, I felt compelled to pick up a copy from the library and finally see why it was so popular. While I could not relate  to the characters much due to the age difference, it was still a beautiful read and I know younger me would have loved it. 

Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill

There is just something so powerful and uplifting about Nikita’s writing that makes it difficult for me to put any of her books down. I’m not really big on poetry, but I enjoy the things that she writes about. This one in particular was amazing, and if you’re not a poetry fanatic but crave something magical to read, Nikita Gill’s work is a great place to start.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Again, I am not a fan of poetry, but I became curious after this book was constantly on hold at the library. In between shifts, I managed to finish this in less than three hours and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for a quick, but powerful read you should definitely check it out.

1984 by George Orwell

This book…. If you haven’t read it yet, just do it. I didn’t necessarily like the book but I think it’s important for everyone to read at least once in their life. This is one that I want to revisit in the future because there are so many layers and underlying themes that I want to try harder to understand. 

Leaving Wishville by Mel Torrefranca

I decided to give this book a chance after seeing so many great things about it. There were some problems that I wish would have been resolved and I would have really liked to have seen some character development, but other than that it was an interesting find and I can’t wait to see what the sequel (if there is one in the works of course) has in store for the characters!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

This one will always have a special place in my heart. I purchased this book back in 2017, got halfway through and never finished. I can’t remember why but I’m sure it had everything to do with me moving into my dorm freshman year of college and forgetting  all about it. I remember sitting at my parents house and noticing it on the living room bookshelf so I picked it back up and I stayed up until I finished. I love cats and I was sold from the concept of how one man was able to turn his entire life around just by a small orange tabby walking into his life. However, there are brief mentions of drug abuse and addiction to do keep that in mind. 

Woven in Moonlight  by Isabel Ibanez

As soon as I saw this book sitting in the catalog room, I immediately put myself on the hold list. Anything that has to do with magic, rain, or the moon, I am sold! This is also another one that I will be writing in a separate post so be on the lookout. 

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

I have read and loved  Rainbow Rowell’s work in the past and I was really excited about finally starting this one. The story begins with Deja and Josie about to work their last ever shifts at the pumpkin patch. Knowing that they may never come back, and the fact that Josie never mustered up the courage to talk to his crush, Deja sets off on a mission to help Josie get the girl of his dreams and to try every snack at the pumpkin patch before saying goodbye. Their night is filled with countless redirections, hilarious encounters, and realizations that will leave you desperate for more. I loved this graphic novel and I will more than likely read it again this coming fall.

There you have it! These are all of the books I have read so far, and I can’t wait to share the books that I plan on reading this month. Please forgive me for the lack of detailed explanations for each book. I am very new to this and I am still trying to test out ways to review my favorite books without giving too much away. (Because apparently I tend to do just that). Thank you so much for reading, and feel free to leave any suggestions down below or through email because I am always looking to add more books to my reading list.

Also…..HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL! I am so excited for this season and I cannot wait to share what I have planned. 

How to Read More

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In case you didn’t already know, I love reading, especially anything with Fantasy written all over. However, I also really love a good tv show. Sometimes I find myself going a few days without reading because I am neck-deep in a new tv series and I put my reading list on the back burner. Reading wasn’t always my favorite past time, especially during my freshman year of college. I figured that since I had just graduated high school and that I was no longer being forced to read books I didn’t like for the sake of meeting my AR goal, I would never have to pick up another book.  It wasn’t until I applied for a summer job at the library that I discovered my love for reading again. When you are surrounded by books for four hours out of the day, every day for five days straight and have nothing to do, you kind of have no choice but to pick something up. I couldn’t remember the last time a book had made me laugh, cry, and feel so happy afterward. Ever since then I am always looking for new book recommendations to add to my TBR list.  If you are looking for a new hobby and struggle to read here are a few tips that could help.

Set aside time to read

In college, I would use the excuse of not having enough time to read because I had too much work to do. Well, all of those hours spent watching netflix and mindlessly scrolling through social media proved otherwise, so I slowly started working reading back into my schedule. Start off small. You can set your timer for 30, 20 or even 10 minutes and read until the timer goes off. This is a great way to incorporate reading into your daily routine, and I promise you that it won’t take away too much time from Gossip Girl.

Take advantage of your local library and the services they provide

Wherever it is that you live, check to see if you have a library in your area. More than likely as long as you live within the same zip code as the library, they will issue you a card for free. Also make sure to check to see if they offer online library card applications considering that we are in the middle of a pandemic. From here, check to see if your library uses libby. Libby is a great resource that you can download on any mobile device, laptop, desktop, etc, and gives you access to thousands of titles that the library offers in digital form.

Try Audiobooks

I understand more than anyone that books are expensive, so again, after you have gotten your library card check to see what audiobooks are available. Personally, I only listen to audiobooks whenever the physical copy of the book I want to read isn’t available, but I can see how they are helpful to people that are always on the go.

Research to see if your favorite movies or shows are based off of books

You would be surprised at how many of your favorite shows were books before they hit the big screen. Take The Handmaids Tale on hulu, for example. Not only does the show have you on the edge of your seat, but the book is even more exciting. It’s interesting to see the differences between books and their television adaptations and in most cases, the books can add more depth and understanding as to what is going on.

Take part in reading challenges

If you don’t already have a goodreads account, get one because its free. Goodreads gives you the option to set up a reading goal at the beginning of each year and you can update your reading as you go. Goodreads even has a catalogue of the best books from previous years, so if you are struggling to find your next read just refer to these lists!  (No, this is NOT a sponsored post, I just really enjoy using their services and highly recommend them for book lovers.)

Always keep a book with you

Now this one is a lot easier said than done. You don’t want to lug around a 900 page book everywhere, so just keep something small in your bag. If you know that you are going to be out for a while during the day and you think that you can squeeze in some reading time, take a small book that you can finish in under 2 hours. For example, any type of poetry book is great. I was able to read all of Nikita Gill’s Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters in between shifts at work so there’s an option for you. 

Do not continue reading a book that doesn’t interest you

I have struggled with this for the longest time! I don’t know why, but part of me always felt obligated to finish a book because maybe it would get better toward the end or I just need to give this book a chance. I can’t tell you how many times I have done this and then felt so unfulfilled afterwards that I would experience burnout and not pick up another book for months at a time. Bottom line, if you don’t resonate with a book don’t be afraid to put it down. In the end you will thank yourself. (Small Disclaimer: This is not to discredit any authors out there. Hence, why I didn’t include any examples. It’s just that sometimes certain styles of writing doesn’t interest me, and that’s okay.)

If you got this far firstly, thank you, and secondly I hope this helped! If you have any book recommendations, be sure to leave them in the comments or feel free to email me!

You Should Start a Commonplace Book

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If you are anything like me and have too many notebooks lying around your room, you should start a commonplace book.

So what exactly is a commonplace book?

A commonplace book is a book used to compile knowledge “usually by writing information into books” (Wikipedia). It isn’t like a journal or a diary, where you keep a recording of your daily life, but rather a place to write down those random ideas that you want to come back across in the future.

The pages of my commonplace book are filled mostly with quotes, life lessons, book ideas, quick sketches and for some odd reason a complete list of all of the presidents’ names. Yes, I know that technically most commonplace books do not have drawings in them, but I do it because I don’t have a sketchbook and I sometimes feel compelled to draw. It is a perfect way for me to keep everything that I find interesting in one place rather than having random scraps of paper and notes everywhere.

I even have one page dedicated to interesting words and their definitions that I may want use in one of my stories in the future. It’s perfect for me as a writer because I constantly have ideas and see things that inspire me so having my commonplace book on hand is really helpful.

Start yours today. Look around your room, on your desk, or in your office and find a blank notebook. It can be any kind of notebook, composition book or even a notepad. As you see in the picture, I just used one of my old moleskine journals that I bought years ago on a whim and never used. Do you use a commonplace book or something similar?

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A Mid-Year Update

I have to admit, I am not the best at keeping up with this blog. For a minute, I forgot that this space even existed. I meant to start updating this blog at the beginning of the year but with everything that has happened since then, I never knew when it would be the right time to come back.

So where is this blog headed?

For starters, this blog will soon have a different design. This layout has served its purpose these past two years, but its time for bigger and better things.

I have also been reading  lately, ALOT. Since we have all been confined to our homes, I decided to finish the books that I started but never finished. Reading has always been a comfort of mine, and I am thankful that I now have extra time to discover more titles. I have read so many interesting books, and I will more than likely share my take on them here.

As far as short stories, I will still post those but not as often as I did before. Especially if it is an idea that I plan on expanding. I will be posting one that I have been working on at the beginning of fall, so be on the lookout!

Also, I have been really adamant about self care these past few months. It is super hard and I have a long way to go but totally worth the time and effort.  There are a few products in particular that I have been loving as of lately, and I really do believe that they are worth checking out.

I could ramble on and on about the ideas that I have for this blog moving forward, but I think I will just keep it short and sweet.  Stay tuned :).

-J’Anne

 

 

Here’s to 21.

Hi there. 🙂 So in case it wasn’t obvious from the title, today is my 21st birthday. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure how my day was going to turn out. The original plan was to just stay at home, eat lots of snacks and re-watch Grey’s Anatomy. [I know what you’re probably thinking; you just turned 21, why didn’t you go out? Well I’ll tell you why! It’s because I’m a student who has to be up at 6:00 the next morning so having a hangover really isn’t an option. ] Anyway, for the most part my day was just like any other day until a few hours ago. Out of the blue, one of my closest friends Raven Nicole { who by the way also has a blog where she shares poetry} called me to wish me a happy birthday. What meant to be a short and sweet message quickly turned into a 2 1/2 hour long phone call. Honestly, that conversation is exactly what I needed. We talked about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. It was so healing to talk to someone and for the first time in a while I was actually able to sit back and breathe. I explained to her how for the past couple of weeks, I have been caught in a hard place and I really hadn’t talked to anyone about what I was going through. Getting to the root of what was actually going on reminded me that there is so much power in being vulnerable. I know vulnerability is daunting, trust me I struggle with this more than anyone, but if you set aside your pride for just a few minutes and talk to someone, everything becomes so much easier. Suddenly, you are able to laugh about the things that just the week before, brought you to your knees crying. You realize that nothing is as bad as it seems and you become grateful that you had the strength to make it through each day.

If you are currently going through hard times, I want to challenge you this week to reach out to a friend and talk things through. It doesn’t matter if you two haven’t seen or talked to each other in a while, I promise you that won’t matter. The people that continue to show up love you so much and only want the best for you so I think it’s about time for everyone, as well as myself, to start realizing that. As I get older, I realize that life is so short and time is relentless so there’s really no time to waste trying to do life alone. Please take care of yourselves, talk to someone, and try to be more mindful. If you have gotten to this point, thank you so much for your time, I will be back soon, and here’s to turning 21! 😀

-J’Anne ❤

Fall Inspiration

Hi there!

I just wanted to pop in and share a few of my favorite quotes out of the many that I am hoarding on a seasonal Pinterest board. Fall is easily my favorite time of year, and I am looking forward to wearing sweaters in 90 degree weather. (It tends to not get cold where I live so I like to pretend.) Anyway, here they are:

“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go– Unknown

This quote is honestly so beautiful. I know so many people see spring as the season of new beginnings, but I also feel this way about fall. If you know the owner and/or author of this quote, please let me know!

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” – J.K. Rowling

This beautiful quote was written by the one and only J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not only is she one of my greatest inspirations, but I am also a dedicated potter head. I have read the entire Harry Potter series twice and I plan to read it again this fall if I have time. (Btw I am a proud member of the Hufflepuff community.)

“I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers” -L.M. Montgomery

I particularly love this quote considering; Halloween! My sister’s and I are planning to host our 2nd annual Halloween party and I am beyond excited. Also, my birthday falls on Oct. 23rd, so of course October would be my favorite month. 🙂

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” -Shira Tamir

While most people view leaves as an eyesore, I think they are beautiful. Especially watching them flow down a vacant street on a cool fall day.

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and autumn was awakened.” – Raquel Franco

I apologize for the excessive use of the word leaves in this post, but this is my top favorite. Raquel Franco has so many beautiful writings, I highly recommend that you check out her work.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Q: What are some of your favorite quotes for fall? Feel free to share!

Feeling Uninspired? Me too

Hi there, it’s me again. If you have forgotten about me or this space by now, I understand. It’s been a little under six months since the last time I posted. I’ve been pondering on what I would say once I came back, or if I would even come back at all. I wish I had some exciting new pictures to share or stories from different places that I’ve been but that is so unrealistic.

Just as the title of this article states, I have been experiencing a serious writing/creative block these past couple of months. I guess that’s on me; I haven’t really done much other than work and prepare for this upcoming year. I’m already a junior, how did that happen? When I first started this blog, I was only a freshman in college, trying to make sense of everything around me as well as myself. While I am still figuring these things out day by day, a part of me wishes that I could go back to that small space in the corner of my dorm freshman year and start all over again.

I have since deleted almost all of my posts. Why is that? Honestly I’m not even so sure myself. I feel like a lot of it had to do with insecurity and fear that someone was going to not like my writing. If I’m being honest, none of that really matters to me now. It took me a while to realize that no matter what I do or say, I can’t control anyone’s attitude toward me. There are some posts that are so special to me, I wish I would have never gotten rid of them. Maybe I will bring some of these posts back to life from the archives, or maybe I won’t. Only time will tell.

On another note, I really want to get serious about posting monthly, if not weekly. I have a few ideas for the direction that I want to take this blog, and I am hoping that this season will allow more of my creative process to flow. Anyway, if you have read this far and you don’t mind me asking:

Q: What are some things that you do to find inspiration? ( Anything helps.)

p.s. It feels so good to be back 🙂

-J’Anne