Saturday Spotlight: Destination Truth & Expedition Unknown

So, as I tend to not put up posts on the weekends very much anymore I decided to try to dedicate some Saturdays to “Spotlight” posts. These posts are going to be about things (not books) that I love and want to showcase. For my first post, I’m going to be talking about my absolute favorite TV shows, hosted by the one and only Josh Gates.

For a very long time growing up, I was terrified of scary stuff. Like I couldn’t even listen to the show Ghost Hunters when it was on in the same room as me because I knew that I would have nightmares otherwise. Bad run ins with movies like Jurassic Park and Arachnaphobia turned me into a wimp when it came to scary things and it took me quite a long time to get over that.

I don’t even remember what changed it, honestly probably when I decided to watch Paranormal Activity and was absolutely scarred by how terrified I was… And yet I was hooked. I started watching Ghost Hunters, Lost Tapes, all that weird cryptid crap (not actually crap, I just felt like using alliteration there) and never looked back. So when I was watching the SyFy channel and an advertisement kept popping up about a haunted island of dolls, I decided that I needed to watch whatever show this was.

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The Island of the Dolls was the first episode of Destination Truth that I ever saw, sitting huddled on a bed in my mom’s room with my little sister when I was 13. It changed everything.

Does that sound dramatic? Probably, but honestly it’s true. That was one of the first shows that I ever watched on a weekly basis, always setting aside the time to watch it. Yelling (albeit silently) every time they changed the air time or the air day. I. Was. Hooked.

If you have never heard of Destination Truth, it was a show that aired on the Syfy Channel from 2007 until 2012 where Josh Gates and a crew would travel the world and investigate supernatural or mysterious creatures. They looked for things like the Loch Ness monster, yetis, aliens, the Jersey Devil, and ghosts at a number of places. One episode included an entire paranormal investigation underwater and another had us following the crew to Antarctica. Even right now, when I rewatch episodes I can quote the intro word for word.

I’ve seen every episode multiple times and trust me when I say that I fully blame Josh Gates for getting me to believe in the yeti… And if I can manage to find it I’ll even insert a picture here that I took at the Expedition Everest ride in Disneyworld’s Animal Kingdom when I saw that they had a little blurb about Josh and crew finding that giant footprint from one of their episodes. I was probably a bit overexcited about seeing that there.

In 2015, the Travel Channel began airing a new show hosted by Josh called Expedition Unknown where Josh investigates various iconic mysteries throughout the world. The first ever episode was all about Amelia Earhart and since then they’ve gone on to showcase all kinds of things.

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These shows were a huge jumpstart to my love of history and exploration. It even has sort of steered me towards the idea of wanting to get a degree in archeology someday too. I just think it’s crazy how much there is to discover about this world still. I could honestly probably talk about this stuff for days. Now I think I’m going to go rewatch some classic Destination Truth episodes because now I’m nostalgic.

BTW, thank you, Josh, for being such a huge inspiration to me. I’ve been a fan for ten years now (holy shit how) and I genuinely think my life would have been shaped very differently without these two shows.

I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life learning and adventuring. And if any of you reading this want to check out either of these shows I highly recommend watching either the Island of the Dolls episode or the Ghosts of Antarctica episode from Destination Truth (personally my favorites). And I really enjoyed the Amelia Earhart episode and the Hunting Vampires episode from Expedition Unknown.

 

 

 

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FOMO In The Book Community

So unrelated but also sort of related… I finally took the Enneagram test the other day and it was revealed unto me that I am a Type 6 and ooooohhhh boy did I feel SEEN when I read the description for the type.

Now the biggest thing with being a Type 6 is that I’m scared. Of everything. Like wow, this has never made more sense to me in my entire life! And right now, one of the things that I’m really struggling with is FOMO. And this post will specifically talk about FOMO in the book community that has been created online.

I would absolutely love to start a BookTube channel but I feel as if I could never gain momentum in such a vast community. I also feel like this blog will never gain momentum, nor will my Twitter or Goodreads. I just feel like I’ll be stuck within this tiny little bubble writing for the two people who seem to read all of my posts.

And yes, I’m well aware that I don’t need a vast amount of followers or anything like that but I have a lot of opinions that I want to share and I want them to be seen widely! So right now I’m struggling with a lot of FOMO regarding the online book community. I think part of this is having seen so many posts about this most recent BEA and Book Con but also just because I’ve been following an increasing number of bookish people on Twitter and I always want to participate in conversations but I almost feel like I don’t have the right to just reply to these public tweets.

I started filming clips to try and make a reading vlog a few weeks back and I keep trying to tell myself to film because I know that I’ll have fun editing the footage once I actually film stuff. I took a film production class back when I was still in school and I had so much fun creating videos and I miss that aspect of being creative. Digital art is how I started off feeling like I was good at being creative and I want to start that up again. At this point I don’t think that I’ll ever feel confident enough to post anything to YouTube and that makes me sad.

For once I just want to feel like I’m part of a community instead of only sitting on the sidelines. My whole life I’ve been on the sidelines. Every friend I’ve had has always had someone that they’re closer to, every group I’ve been in I feel uncomfortable for one reason or another. I constantly feel like the odd one out and it sucks.

But despite all of this, I’m going to continue to persevere and maybe someday I’ll find a bit of a community for myself. That’s all I can hope for.

Also, on a side note, I hit 100 followers on here and I just wanted to say that I am so very thankful for everyone that has chosen to follow me since I began this blog back in 2015. It’s been quite the journey since then and I wanted to genuinely thank you for sticking with me no matter how long you’ve been a follower. Thank you!!

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Annotating Books

I have seen numerous videos of people talking about how they annotate books and I thought that this would be a really great post for my blog! I just really wanted to start a discussion about annotating books and why (or why not) you do!For a very long time I thought that annotating books was sacrilegious. I hated even dog earring pages and it physically pained me when my books got damaged!! I still cry a bit inside when my books get damaged and I still never dog ear pages but I’ve come very far with my ability to write in my books. Paper Towns by John Green was the first book I ever wrote in for fun and I’ve written in countless school books to use for papers and projects.The books that I’ve annotated most recently have been nonfiction books. I find it really helpful for keeping track of stuff in my self-help books when I highlight and take notes within the book. I used to try and journal outside of the book along with what was in the book but unless it’s a library book I’ve stopped doing that because I never reread my journals.Recently I decided to annotate my Throne of Glass series as I reread it because I want to do a review of the series at the end of it… I was going to do a post comparing that series to my all time favorite book Graceling by Kristin Cashore but have since decided that Graceling will get it’s own post because I have much to say about it! The reason I decided to go in big on annotating Throne of Glass is because I know that they’re books that I will never loan to anyone.The not loaning books out to people anymore is actually a big reason why I’ve decided that I’m going to start annotating books. I always feel anxious about writing in books because “what are other people going to think when they see this?” and honestly? Now I really don’t care. I’m going to annotate books that I know I’ll keep, or books that I really want to analyze and when/if I get rid of them then someone else gets to see what I thought was important in that book.I think that I put too much pressure on myself about keeping books in pristine condition. Books are not meant to just sit on a shelf and look pretty (though they do look really nice and pretty on shelves) in fact, my favorite books are the ones that are completely beat up and barely holding themselves together.Now that I’ve decided that it’s okay to annotate I also feel this pressure about annotating every book I read. So now I have to tell myself that it’s okay to not annotate a book if I don’t want to! I think a lot of my annotating is going to occur with books that I’ve already read. Once I have an entire set of hardcover Harry Potter books I want to annotate that entire series (going to save the paperback ones just as keepsakes).With a number of the videos that people have published talking about annotating books I find it interesting what they use as a system. I’ll include links to some of the videos that I’ve watched at the end of this post! From what I’ve seen, most people have pretty similar systems for what they decide to tab and I kind of liked that.This is the system that I’m using for the Throne of Glass series:For nonfiction books I really just highlight and write in the margins and then put a sticky tab in there. No differences in colors for those unless I run out of the tab that I used at the beginning of the book.I think I’ll use around the same type of system as with Throne of Glass for other books but I think I’ll change certain categories around depending on the book.Now I’d like to open it up to everyone reading this. What’s your opinion on annotating books? When you get rid of annotated books do you get anxious or laugh at the idea of someone reading your notes and trying to decipher what you saw in that book?If you take notes when you read, do you take notes in the book or out of it? Do you annotate your e-books? I never annotate e-books!! I used to highlight quotes but I almost never reread e-books and have just stopped annotating them at all.Here are the videos that I watched before deciding to make this post:

How I Annotate My Books by XCatherineReads:

How I Annotate My Books by BooksWithChloe:

How I Annotate Books by Little Book Owl:

I really like how she has multiple systems! Also props to her for being able to keep so many colors straight… I could never!! Which is why I have so few colors when I actually use the color system.

Annotating for a Lazy Reader by Paperbackdreams:

Honestly I appreciate the honesty in this one, I also watched her original video and it was quite similar to a lot of the other “each color represents a different thing” system but I also like her new “lazy” approach!There were also a few videos where people talked about annotating within vlogs they posted but I honestly can’t remember which ones those were.

Audiobooks: An Internal Struggle

People love audiobooks. And for years now I’ve wished that I could be one of those people. I really and truly want to try and love audiobooks but no matter what I do they just don’t seem to mesh well with my brain and reading style.

It’s funny because I’ve had this struggle for my entire life. I remember trying to listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks when I was a kid and giving up on them before I made it to the second CD. They just read so slowly! (Maybe this plays into why I hated the Order of the Phoenix for so long!!) And then I couldn’t control the speed of their talking so I just had to read at a snail’s pace along with the narrator.

I want to say that I tried audiobooks for the second time sometime during the end of high school once I had my own car. I’m a little foggy on if this was actually during high school or if this was during my first summer after college but I want to say it was during high school. I figured I might as well try to listen to books while I drove to and from work (like my 15 minute “commute” across town was enough time to get in some good listening lol). But again, it was just never enough time and on most trips, if I wasn’t going to work I had someone else in the car; usually my sister because I was always her go-to chauffeur after I got my license and car.

In college I learned about Scribd and Audible thanks to BookTube, Whitney from WhittyNovels in particular always influenced me to try audiobooks again because I always saw her getting so much reading done with Scribd! I used many, many free trials and never finished a single book. I always thought, “Oh! I can totally use this while I’m cleaning or doing something that requires my eyes but not necessarily my whole brain power.” And then I’d be 20 minutes into the section I was listening to and could not understand any of the story because I’d zoned out from concentrating too hard on cleaning or whatever.

This year I again tried audiobooks after a few years of giving up on them and wow, they yet again sat in my car completely untouched (I checked some out from the library) because I always turned on music when I was driving instead.

Now when I watch reading vlogs where audiobooks are used, or hear about how many audiobooks people listen to I feel oddly jealous. I wish that audiobooks worked for me but they just don’t.

When I’m doing idle work, I like listening to Youtube videos, music, or podcasts. Those never seem to cause me any problems, even when it’s a pretty information heavy educational podcast. So that constantly makes me question why I can’t also pay enough attention to audiobooks to know what happened by the end of it! I can even pay enough attention to Youtube videos to understand what is going on in them while I’m also reading a book but for whatever reason I don’t mesh with audiobooks at all!

I also have a slight aversion to e-books so maybe it’s just some deep seated prejudice towards electronic “reading” that keeps me from utilizing audiobooks. I would love to try a Kindle again but I haven’t decided if I want to go for it or not. I’d love the ease of traveling with a small e-reader and have seen that one of the newer Kindles is waterproof which I think would be an awesome feature.

Audiobooks are amazing and I think that it’s really cool that they’re becoming so innovative with them; like when they have a full cast of people for the characters or just the fact that they’ve become so easily accessible with apps and subscriptions. And while they might not be my cup of tea I do like seeing them become more and more popular as the years go on. I think they’re a great way to encourage reading for those that don’t actually enjoy reading, or even for those who can’t use a physical book.

For now, I think it’s time to set aside my need for wanting to find a way to love audiobooks and just move on and keep trucking with physical books. I’m sure someday I’ll attempt to use audiobooks again but for now, I’ll just take the time to sit down and read even if it does mean I can’t multitask as well!

Do you “read” audiobooks? If so, what’s your favorite part about them? What’s your least favorite part? What is your overall preferred way of reading?

Stop Telling Me That I’m Young

Let me have my existential crisis in peace!! I’m serious though, please for the love of all that is holy stop telling me that, at 22, I am young and have so much life left to figure out that I can’t possibly be feeling the way that I’m feeling.

Do you not think that I understand that? I am fully aware that I’m supposed to have many years ahead of me but we’re not promised those years. And with the state of the world the way it is, how can we guarantee that the world will even survive long enough for me to see old age?

I’m aware that I can’t have it all right now, but it makes it hurt when people constantly tell me that I shouldn’t feel the way that I do because I’m only 22. It hurts even more when it comes from people only a few years older than I. No, I did not graduate and yes it’s okay to have not done that but at this point I’m unsure if I will ever be able to go back to school and that really hurts because I have such a strong desire to finally go back to school.

There are young people out there changing the world, working dream jobs, living fulfilling lives. I’m sitting here at 22 feeling like I have wasted every second of my life up until this point. And it exhausts me to be told otherwise!

Sometimes I just really want to be pessimistic and negative. There’s no reason to pretend to be positive and wonderful and loving life all the time, it paints a false sense of perfection in life and I find that really unfair. If you’re always painting yourself as positive then you start to find yourself never being able to share how you really feel and the thoughts that you actually have.

I also find it really unfair to have my experiences belittled and brushed aside by both people older than me and my peers. Not one person has the same experience as another. Like I was talking to someone the other day and while trying to be motivating about the fact that he was feeling trapped in his position I also empathized. I was brutally honest and I didn’t bullshit him. It’s not fair to try and convince someone that everything will be okay all the time someday because there will always be bad days. But I also do understand that sometimes you have to force positivity when you really don’t want to. So I commiserated but I also motivated, I was very analytical with it and honestly sometimes that’s all I can do. Emotions are stupid, so look at it analytically and then you can find some good in it.

I would just really appreciate it if people replaced the “someday’s” with truth and realism. Because life sucks right now and there’s no proof that there’s going to be a magical “someday” and it’s beyond frustrating to keep having that idea fed to me (not like I’ve ever believe it or anything).

But all in all, I understand that I am young. I understand that I have a lot of stuff left to experience. However, I also feel like in my 22 years that I have lived 10 lifetimes already and I’m just tired of people telling me that I’m living my life incorrectly by being negative about my timeline of living. There are always different paths to take, I get that, but dang!! Let me be frustrated that I’m not on the path that I want to be!! Let me have emotions!! I don’t want to be on the path 30 years down the road, I want to be on that path now and I’m allowed to be frustrated that life isn’t different right now because I fully acknowledge that I am the one that put myself onto this path. I’m allowed to be frustrated that I made stupid mistakes and I threw away many possibilities of different presents and futures. And I own up to that and no I don’t live in that negativity but if I can’t speak candidly about things without being told I’m incorrect or that I shouldn’t think like that then what’s the point?

This post kind of just turned into a massive rant but I think I got the point across. Basically everyone is at different points in life but that doesn’t give one person the right to tell another person that they should think differently about their life. If you are not personally living that life then you have no say in how someone else lives or thinks about their own life.

Anyways, rant over. Have a nice weekend everyone! (Sorry that I may have started off your weekend on an angry note with this post but I just needed to post it now!)

Mid-Year Blog Goals

Adventures With a Side of Espresso

This post is definitely more for me than for all of you reading but maybe you’ll get a little bit of enjoyment out of it. Now that it’s June (ugh I hate that it’s already June) I feel like I need to try and come up with some goals for myself for this blog for the rest of the year. I’m hoping I can come up with five but I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to see what I come up with.

1 Get 100 followers by December 31!

I would really just like to keep growing traffic and followers and though my blog has slowly grown over the years I would really like to have at least 100 followers by the end of the year. I feel like if I really took the time to focus on blogging and marketing my blog then I could definitely get a lot more traffic than I am right now but that means actually putting in the effort to market my blog and I can’t help but get cold feet about whether it’s even worth it.

2 Finish my Harry Potter quote series

I realized that I started this series in 2015… And obviously now it is 2019 and I have only made the first two posts in the series. I AM A FAILURE (not really but holy cow these posts are sooooo easy to make I can’t believe I haven’t finished it yet). Stay tuned!

3 Post weekend posts at least once a month

I would really like to increase my post volume at least once a month. I’m going to keep myself on my schedule of posting MWF but I want to try and make posts on Saturday or Sunday at least once a month if not more. I just need to get a day where I can sit down and block out many hours to just focus on the blog and get a bunch of stuff written ahead of time. Sometimes I just find this hard to do because a lot of my posts right now center around reading and I can only read so many books so fast! And hopefully this weekend was a post filled one because I wanted to get all my end of May posts up at the very beginning of June and I really don’t want to waste whole weeks each month to posts that simply wrap up the previous month.

4 Make my first affiliate sale

So far I’m only a part of the Amazon affiliate program and I’ve gotten exactly one click as of the time of me writing this post. I would really like to branch out into other affiliate programs and hopefully if I can increase traffic to my blog I can also start getting some affiliate purchases. I’m still really looking into how all of this works but it would be cool to have this work out!

5 Create one creative post a month

Whether this post is sharing pictures that I’ve taken and edited or something that I’ve painted or even just pages I’ve done in a coloring book I really want to start bringing art back into my life and I’d like to share my progress. I feel like this one is going to be really difficult for me considering how uncreative I’ve been feeling but we’ll see! I will also rope into this writing. So if I happen to write a poem or short story that I feel is good enough to share then that will count as a creative post as well.

Bonus goal:

Monetize my blog. Honestly if anyone out there has any advice on this topic I would love to hear some! I’m incredibly technologically challenged so I really can’t do much in terms of websites and whatnot but I would love to turn this into a bit of a more profitable venture. The reasoning behind that is just because I have a really bad habit of feeling like I need to monetize my hobbies but I also have been putting in a significant amount of hours writing posts recently that I’d really like to actually have something to show for my time.

Rereading this post, I think a lot of these goals are just me wanting to focus more on blogging as a job and working to create good and enjoyable content (even if it’s only that to myself). I really do love writing and blogging and it would be awesome if I can take it above and beyond just doing it for fun. Here’s to hoping everything goes to plan! Have a great week everyone!

A Trope That Never Bothered Me Before

So I finally sat down to read Save the Date by Morgan Matson. I’m going to preface this post by saying that Morgan Matson is one of my all time favorite authors and I will read absolutely anything that she comes out with. I also used to be quite obsessed with her Top 8 series the she wrote under the alias Katie Finn.

Warning you now that this post will contain minor spoilers for Morgan Matson’s books.

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I got this picture off of Morgan Matson’s website in case any of you were wondering 🙂

I’ve read every single one of her books multiple times (except Second Chance Summer, because 1. It makes me sob and 2. I don’t have a physical copy of it) and until reading Save the Date I never realized that there was a common theme in her books that now really bugs me.

In almost every single one of these books, the main character is a high school student (I think every single one is said to be 17) and the love interest is in college. As I was reading STD (yes, I am going to refer to it as that for the rest of this post, sorry!!) I kind of figured that Jesse was going to be a scumbag, it just made sense that Charlie had to have her little crush shattered by the person she thought was her “dream guy”. It made me so uncomfortable that Jesse is a sophomore in college and he’s trying to have a casual hook-up relationship not only with his best friend’s sister but also a high schooler.

Matson’s main characters are all romanced and a few are even implied to have lost their virginities to these college boys. To me this just screams inappropriate. I get that a lot of these are very innocent, I mean apart from scumbag Jesse, the farthest Charlie goes with a guy is a kiss on the cheek from Bill at the end of STD. There’s also a whole lot of underage drinking and other shenanigans… Like in The Unexpected Everything Andie was almost caught drinking at the age of 14, yep FOURTEEN! And okay, maybe I did spend my entire high school career reading books and staying up too late scrolling through Tumblr and taking too many AP classes but I still feel like 14 is really young to be out partying.

When I first read Matson’s books I was in high school and I never thought anything of an age difference or even a lifestyle difference but now that I’m older and have gone off to college and just been in the “real world” for a while I can’t even begin to imagine wanting to date a high schooler. Now I do think it’s different when someone continues to date a younger boyfriend/girlfriend when they leave for college but I also don’t feel comfortable with people who do things like date a freshman when they’re a senior. And yes, most of the characters are just finishing up their first years of school (or in Clark’s case, not in school at all) but that’s a whole year of being an adult and they’re deciding to be with high schoolers.

And you know what, maybe I’m crazy in developing this dislike for the pairings that are developed in these books but I just feel like no one who has moved past high school should be dating someone who is still 17. I’m in no way condemning Matson’s books, but I also don’t want impressionable young girls to read these books and fall for the Jesse’s because it’s “cool” or “exciting” to be in love with a college guy. Trust me, young girls reading this, college guys aren’t that great… Honestly, most guys aren’t that great. Read your books and wait to find someone who actually cares about you!

On a similar note, I also have never found myself interested in books where college students fall for their professors. I just think it’s a storyline that doesn’t make sense. There’s a power difference there that makes me uncomfortable and I don’t really think that there needs to be as many stories involving this storyline as there are.

As I’m working through Morgan Matson’s books again this spring, as I tend to do, I have to wonder how many other odd tropes I’ve just looked over in books before. Like I mentioned in my Rereading Old Favorites post I have to take a step back from a good chunk of my old favorites just because there are so many issues in them now that I completely brushed over in the past.

I really do like Matson’s books but I do hope that girls don’t romanticize dating an older boy because of the couples that she creates. When I was first reading her books it never occurred to me that this could even be an issue, I didn’t know any older boys and honestly I know that not a single one would’ve looked my way anyways. But I know that there are other girls out there that would and still will catch the attention of older men and I genuinely worry. I know that high school relationships can be awkward but that doesn’t mean that we have to glorify dating older people because they’re “mature” and “experienced”.

All in all, I don’t want to just brush this off but at the same time I have to wonder just how influential these relationships might be… I mean, maybe I’m reading too much into things and it means nothing. But I just got that nagging thought after reading STD and had to sit down to write about it.

Do any of you have thoughts on this? Or know of other YA books that have this trope? I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head but I’m sure there are others out there.

 

How Art Classes Ruined My Creativity

For a really long time in high school I thought that someday  I might like to be a photographer or graphic designer or possibly both. I took hundreds of pictures to get the best shot of whatever I was photographing and on numerous occasions my digital art teacher had to make me turn in projects before I thought they were done because I couldn’t stop critiquing myself.

Photography meant the world to me and one of my high school art teachers pushed me and built me up and because of her I grew fond of the art that I could create, excited about the opportunities I had ahead of me because of my creativity. She helped me to hone my skills, step out of my comfort zone, let myself know when I needed to be done with a project, and was always cheering me on when I entered contests.

I’ll be honest, I never really thought of myself as creative and to this day I still don’t. People tell me all the time that I’m creative and I just nod along and pretend to agree, but I truly think that my artistic ability comes down to sheer dumb luck (catch that Harry Potter reference anyone?).

Then, my senior year, I decided to take AP Studio Art… I was absolutely insane my senior year and took five (5) AP classes (I was not one to participate in the good old “senior slide”). This art class was the downfall to my positivity about my art.

For an entire year I took hundreds of pictures, wrote out hundreds of critiques, created and recreated portfolio after portfolio until I cultivated something that I was so incredibly proud of. My breadth had a wide range of photos showing off some of my absolute best work and my concentration showcased people in various stages of being “masked”. The idea was to display portraits where the face, the normal focal point of a portrait, was not the focal point. And then came the time to turn it all in to be graded by the official examiners…

I remember sitting there and showing my teacher the portfolio that I was about to turn in. She shook her head as she scrolled through everything and sighed before turning to me and saying, “You’ll be lucky if you even get a 2 on this.” My heart just shattered. I had spent a whole year working on this portfolio, taking pictures every week, editing almost every single day. I was also furious because not once this entire year had my teacher had anything good to say about any work I’d done. No matter what, there was always something wrong. She couldn’t even be constructive with her criticism… I took it all to heart when I know I shouldn’t have and I’m still dealing with the consequences of that one art class.

Then in college I took a photography class, it was an easy course but in taking this I realized just how burnt out I was on trying to be “artistic”. Pictures no longer come easy to me, I haven’t even touched my camera in over a year. I rarely even take pictures with my phone anymore. I lost my edge. I hate almost every picture I take and I can’t imagine ever loving art as much as I once did.

The last time I loved a project I did was when I had this batshit idea to put paint all over my face and take pictures of it:

But the structure and rules that art classes laid out for me killed my creativity. The constant unconstructive criticism made me feel like nothing I created would ever be good enough for the world to see. I think that art classes can teach you so much but if you have the wrong teacher then these classes will fail you. And I think that’s what happened to me. Someday I’d like to relearn creativity, I’d like to be able to create without fear of criticism. I’d like to throw caution to the wind and paint my face and take creepy portraits. I like doing my own thing and being forced into boxes destroyed my creativity.

And if any of you reading this have ever been in a similar situation, or are in a similar situation now, I’d love to chat. Especially if you’re a high schooler or college student who’s in the midst of art classes now. Share your work with me! I’d love to see it.

Oh… And by the way, I got a 5 on my portfolio which is the highest score you can be given on an AP exam. So suck it high school AP art teacher.

 

Trying To Be Niche

I have a lot of interests. I have a lot of hobbies. I like a LOT of stuff. My problem is that I don’t always like these things all the time, I don’t always do these things exclusively, and I am so far from consistent it’s not even funny.

Right now, I really want to read, and I want to write, and I want to go back to school. I can finally listen to music again and I’m getting excited about wearing makeup again too. I don’t have a car to take on hiking trips and I honestly don’t know where my motivation to take pictures went but for some reason I have no interest in saving memories anymore. I can sew and crochet and take a decent picture now and again… Oh and sometimes I like to binge bake things and watercolor painting is one of my favorite things to do (even though I haven’t done it in months now).

I’ve read three books in the last week and every blog post idea I’ve had has been about books. I’m excited about what I’m doing when I don’t think about it, but then when I do pause to think about it I wonder why I even want to. Would people even be interested in the posts I want to make? I want to talk about books, both old and new, how many people will even be interested in old book reviews?

And what about posts that aren’t about books? No matter what I do I will never be able to force myself to stay in a box of one type of post. And sometimes I wonder if that hurts me in the long run when I’m making posts. How many people come to my post to see adventures and end up disappointed about books? Or come to see books and then turn away when I make a post about makeup? I want to be a diverse blog but I feel like I should be niche… But that’s not me.

In the long run, I think I will be forever self conscious about what I write. Every post I can’t help but think that I was too rambly or I wasn’t informative enough. I feel like no one will read my stuff, yet I write like everyone could read this at any moment. I know that I’ll post whatever I feel like posting, because in the end, I like to post things I’m excited about. I just hope that I’ll be able to find people that want to read along with me no matter what I post about.

So I guess what I have to say to conclude is if you found me for book related posts, enjoy! I have plenty more of those to come… And I hope you like all the random posts I have interspersed. And for in the future if I get burnt out on book related posts or if I just stop reading for a while again (which I know will happen, especially if I end up being able to go back to school) I really hope that everyone can find something they enjoy in what I write then too!

Anyways, happy Monday everyone! I’ll talk to you all on Wednesday.

Toxic Relationships in YA

This topic goes deeper than the idea that a guy can fix all of a girl’s problems (although this is a topic that I could chat about on a different day). It is about the fact that there are multiple books out there that now illustrate controlling, toxic relationships as healthy and good.

When I was younger, I would idolize these types of relationships. I thought they were what everyone should want. But then I grew up and I learned about abuse and feminism and how what I idolized was destroying people on a daily basis.

Here’s a really poignant video from Whitney (aka whittynovels) about the topic. I highly recommend that you watch it before continuing on reading my post.

I’m not going to go in depth with what I think about the examples that she discussed because I really hope that you all watched the video because I feel like she did a really good job at expressing this topic.
I know someone who was in a severely toxic relationship and they didn’t even know that they were in a relationship that was abusive because it reflected so many other relationships they had seen and read about. It is not okay or romantic to be abused. Angst is not romance. Threats of nonconsensual behavior is not okay. The creepy sleep watching scene from Twilight? You guessed it: NOT OKAY.
The media normalizes what we see. It desensitizes us from violence and misbehavior because of how much we see certain things. We are sold problematic media until we think that this is normal.
Instead, we need to normalize healthy relationships and independence. We need to protect young men and women and illustrate behavior that is not controlling, not abusive. We need to discuss problems in these “romantic” books and support authors that write stories that are healthy. We need to stand up for feminist works and highlight healthy behaviors or highlight negative behaviors in a negative way. We need to stop highlighting negative behaviors as positive.
I am done idealizing relationships that are unhealthy. I want to idealize equality in relationships and I hope that y’all are with me. Have a great weekend everyone.