8 Mistakes I Made in My 20’s

Your twenties are a crazy time. So much happens to you and you learn quite a lot in that span of your life. The list of mistakes I’ve made in my twenties is way too long for a blog post so I thought I’d narrow it down to a reasonable number. I write this post for those of you in your twenties who feel like they’re failing. I write this for those of you who feel like you didn’t accomplish a lot in your twenties. Sometimes the only way to learn is by failing, so here’s what I learned the hard way.

1. Get your career figured out BEFORE you have children.

I know sometimes things happen and you have children before you plan to but then there are people like me who plan to have a baby but don’t have anything else figured out first. I can’t tell you why I wanted a baby so badly at 24, I could have easily waited until I was 28 or 29 to have one. Now that I have two children and am just now getting a career in order it’s a lot harder and more stressful. If I had just gotten my education in my early twenties and had babies in my late twenties, life might be bit easier for me. Hindsight is 20-20, as they say and it holds up. I can just see my Aunt Brenda now nodding her head and saying, “I told you so.”

2. Take a homeowner’s class and financial planning class.

My husband and I had no idea what we were doing when we first started out, like most young couples. We both always talk about the things we would do differently if we could start over. Taking a homeowner’s and financial planning course is one thing we wish we had done. There’s a lot that goes into buying and selling a home. There’s also a lot of money that goes into it. We have managed to buy two homes and sell one. (The other we lost due to poor financial management.) Our parents didn’t really teach us what we should do but I don’t think it was for lack of trying. I’m sure there were one or two things that were said but we didn’t listen, or just didn’t understand. If we had taken a class and gotten the knowledge we needed to succeed we would be in a much better place, physically and financially.

3.  Don’t join a multi-level marketing company.

A multi-level marketing company, or MLM, is a company that recruits people to sell something but also has those people recruit other people. When you join an MLM you usually have to pay a fee to join. That’s how they make money. Off of all the fees paid by people who join their company, and they make a share of your sales of whatever product they sell. I joined Mary Kay and the way it worked was you paid a start up fee, then you buy all the equipment you’ll need to host a “party’ as well as the products you will be selling to your customers. You have a “party” where your friends and family come and test the products for themselves and hopefully buy some from you. Then you get a few of them to host a “party” to have their friends and family come and test the products and you sell some to them and the cycle repeats. The only thing is, you have no idea if you are going to make a sale and you don’t know if anyone will be willing to host a party. It’s stressful and I totally lost money on the deal so that was short lived. Bottom line, don’t believe them when they say you can make a lot of money selling their product. You could but you most likely won’t.

4. Don’t move in with your best friend.

You might think it will be so fun to move in with your best friend but it’s not. You see a whole other side of them and they see a whole other side of you and it could potentially destroy your friendship. I moved in with my best friend when I was 21 and it did not end well. It took us 8 years to get back together.

5. Don’t buy a brand new vehicle.

In your twenties it probably seems like a good idea to purchase a brand new vehicle but that is a very deceiving notion. You think, oh I could have this care for a really long time since I’m young and it’s new and I’ll have it paid off in no time. If you’re a responsible human being and take care of your car, then yes I guess that could be true. But the fact of the matter is not every person in their twenties is that responsible, especially if they know nothing about how to take care of a car. Also, the value of a brand new car depreciates by about 20% after the first year and continues to depreciate by about 10% every year after that. Which means after just five years of ownership your car will have only be worth about 40% of what you paid for it.

6. Don’t put up with piss-poor friendships/relationships.

I was very lucky to have met my husband when I was 21. We got married when I was 22 and it’s been s great ride ever since. My friendships on the other hand have not been as sturdy. I do have a couple of longtime friends who have been really great and they will certainly last a lifetime. Some friends start off strong but then something gets in the way. I don’t have time to deal with people who don’t have time for me. I’m not saying that it was always them. I know I did and said some things that would make me unlikable. I don’t blame them for cutting me off too. You have to do what feels right in your gut. If a person isn’t easy to be around or if they don’t make you feel good about yourself when you’re around them, you don’t need them in your life.

7.  Don’t use credit cards.

Having one credit card is not so bad. You could have one that you keep up somewhere for emergencies, like if you need gas or groceries and you don’t get paid for a whole week. Or you could use one to build your credit by only using about 20% of it and paying it off every month, on time. What you shouldn’t do is have 3 or 4 and rack up $35,000 in debt that you can’t run away from because you don’t make enough money to pay your bills AND all that debt. It’s a stupid mistake and it has since been resolved but it was a scary thing for a while. We have definitely learned our lesson.

8. Make as many memories as you can.

Don’t waste your youth. Use the time in your twenties to go on adventures. See the world, try new things, have fun. Once you’re in your thirties and you’re settled down with kids and a job you’ll wish you had done more in your twenties. I look back at all the wasted time where I had no responsibilities but myself and I just shake my head at myself. There’s so much I want to do now but I have obligations now and a family to provide for. I’ll get to do those things one day but it will be a while and I won’t be so youthful then. I’m not complaining, I’m venting.

These are just some of the things I would have done differently. Take my advice and make life easier for yourself. Trust me, those of us who are through our twenties just want to see the next group succeed.

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5 Habits That Lower Stress

Who isn’t having a stressful time right now? If you aren’t well then I am very happy for you.

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Well my anxiety has had a few moments lately, let me tell you, and I have had to start some new habits to keep it at bay. I thought I’d share them with you and maybe they’ll help you.

1. YOGA

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Photo by theformfitness from Pexels

This will always be number one in my book. Yoga is THE best way to de-stress. Pinterest has a lot of great suggestions on poses. You can look up exact poses for the parts of your body that are bothering you particularly. YouTube also has some videos to follow along. Just clear a space in your house/room, turn on a YouTube yoga video and streeeeeeetch. It feels great, you’re focusing on what your doing, and after it all you feel totally zen and ready for a nap. Remember to drink lots of water after!

2. WRITE

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Photo by Negative Space from Pexels

That’s write! (See what I did there?) Writing can help clear your mind of everything that’s been bugging you. Sometimes just getting written out on paper can get it our of your head. Also seeing what’s on your mind in print might help you understand your thoughts better or to see a solution. Writing has always been a way for me to not only sort things out but also gives me something to look back on. I can look back and see just how far I’ve come from when I was feeling down and that means progress!

3. Meditation

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Photo by Oluremi Adebayo from Pexels

I know, it’s a cliche, right? But I’m telling you it really does work! Get on YouTube, search soothing music, play a song, get on the floor and just close your eyes. You don’t have to sit a certain way or do a special pose. Just close your eyes, clear your mind and breathe. If you’re having a hard time clearing your mind just focus on the music, that’s what it’s there for. Focus on the music, let it take your mind where it wanders and just breathe deeply in and out. The oxygen you pull in will go to your brain which will power those calming thoughts run by the music. Do this for at least 15 minutes before or after yoga and I’m telling you, you’ll be relaxed.

4. Get some house plants.

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Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels

I recently started collecting house plants and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. They’re green leaves give you that piece of nature your soul has been searching for. They just brighten up the room. Getting your hands dirty is half the fun. They’re quiet, low maintenance, and help purify the air in your house! Cleaner air is very conducive to less stress. I really like the ZZ plant, it’s the one in the photo.

5. Go for a walk.

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Photo by Noelle Otto from Pexels

Walking isn’t always for everyone but I have found just getting outdoors is what it’s mostly about. Walking gets your heart rate up and gets the blood flowing. You get some vitamin D while out in then sun. You get fresh air in your lungs. You wave at the people who are also out walking but keeping a safe distance from you because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, don’t ya know? It’s a great way to clear your mind and get a change of scenery in front of you. It makes you feel part of a bigger space than the one that is your house.

I hope you all are staying safe out there. It’s a crazy time right now and we’re all relying on each other to stay home and stay healthy so we can see the other side of this thing. I hope those who are affected by this virus are keeping their heads up and giving it a good fight. We all want to see you get well so you can be with the ones you love again. Please take care of yourselves.

What do you do to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for ways to improve my mental health.

Life in an Apartment and the Woman Upstairs

We have been living in an apartment for about six months now and let me tell you, it’s not for everyone.

When I was 15 we lived in an apartment for just seven months when we first moved to Oklahoma from Texas. It was a temporary situation while my parent searched for a house to rent. We lived on the third floor and I thought it was cool at the time. That was my first apartment life experience. I was a pretty social kid and so were my siblings so we loved having a community of kids to play with. Our parents were always getting on to us though about running in the apartment. They were always reminding us about the people who lived below us and to not disturb them with our stomping.

When my husband and I first moved in together we got an apartment. My second experience. I think we only lived in those less than a year as well because we decided to buy a house right before our lease was up. We never had any issues in those apartment either, even though we were hiding the fact that we had three cats and didn’t pay the deposit for them.

This experience is very different though. Mostly because this is the first time I’ve lived on the ground floor with neighbors above us. We got the worse kind.

The woman who lives above us is so loud, I can’t imagine how her upbringing was. She’s talks loudly, she walks loudly, she fights with her boyfriend loudly. It’s awful. Our other neighbors, who are both elderly women, can’t stand it. The woman upstairs is constantly moving stuff around in her apartment, she’s constantly yelling at her four year who runs off all the time, she stomps around her apartment like she’s mad. Her four year old runs up and down the stairs causing a ruckus. She doesn’t ever seem to get on to him for being loud. There are teenage boys from around the complex who come to visit her. I’m not sure why but they hang around on the staircase and I don’t like it.

The most annoying thing though is the way she and her boyfriend behave. One second we can hear them going at it like bunnies, then the next minute they’re yelling at each other out on the balcony for the whole complex to hear. He’s yelling at her calling her, calling her names  and she’s telling him to leave. Then a week will go by and he’s back. Then the whole cycle starts again. I could never.

This living arrangement has scarred both me and my husband. I know my kids get loud sometimes, I mean they’re 4 and 2, but I always try to get them to stop as quickly as I can. We try to keep our noise level down because we don’t want to disturb our neighbors. We have been looking at land. We want to stretch out and get away from everyone. We want some privacy and a patch of land to grow things on. We want chickens and dogs and a garden. We want a greenhouse. I want a shed that I can convert to a yoga studio. We also want to find some land with a home on it already if possible. We’re excited of the possibility of a fixer upper that we can work on together. We have lots of plans for the future and I can’t wait to write about those adventures for you all in the future! Hopefully we can start making them happen next year. I need to finish school first.

Anyway! I just wanted to share a little bit about what’s going on in my life right now. I hope you at least got a laugh at my predicament. It is kind of funny, but mostly annoying. On the bright side I’ve started growing a few things. I have a few house plants that are feeding my need to grow things for the moment. I even paint the clay pots they’re in to add a little color and to give myself an artistic outlet. I hope you all have a great day!

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My ivy, Hawaiian Sunshine, and lavender. All in book themed pots. 

Answers to Some Funny Questions

I think it’s safe to say that we all could use a little distraction right now. I thought I would look up some questions on Pinterest and answer them. I also thought I would tag a few friends and see if they would be willing to answer them as well! The Pinterest tag is here if you want to look at it. Without further ado, here are my answers!

1. What’s your biggest kitchen fail?

So I have a chocolate pie recipe from my nana and I thought I’d try my hand at it for Thanksgivings at my in laws. I had made the pie once before and it turned out great, this time it did not. I talked these pies up so much and was so ready to eat them and have everyone else them and be all like, “these are so good, Cadie!” I took the first slice and took a bite. Immediately I knew it was awful. I had burnt the filling but it didn’t look burnt. It tasted so burnt though and before anyone else could get any I said, “don’t eat the pie.” To this day they don’t let me hear the end of it.

2. Have you ever sent a text message to the wrong person?

I’m usually very careful about sending text messages. I try to make sure that I send it to the right person because I am so afraid of a person getting a text that is not any of their business. I will share a story where I sent a message to the right person but they thought it was wrong. So when I was dating my ex-husband he and I were pretty awkward in the beginning. For so long we had been friends so learning how to go from a friendship to a relationship was not easy. One day I decided I would try calling him babe to see how it felt. I sent it to him saying I could wait to see him. He thought I meant to send it to a girl friend of mine. I was so embarrassed that he didn’t realize it was for him I lied and said I sent it to him by accident.

3. What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in school?

Where do I even start? I was a pretty awkward kid in school. I only spent the first five years of my school age years in a public school, I was home schooled from fifth grade to graduation. I remember being called Dookie because my maiden name was Duke. I remember I got left on the playground because I didn’t hear my teacher calling us back to the classroom. I looked around and couldn’t recognize any of the kids on the playground when I realized. I cried when I got back to the classroom and I was made fun of for it.

4. What is your signature dance move?

I am a horrible dancer, the epitome of white girl dancing. I will dance just for fun, it’s not pretty but that doesn’t count when it’s for fun. I don’t have a signature move I just go with the beat and whatever feels possible at the time.

5. What is one thing you refuse to share?

My pillows. Those are MY pillows, and MY head lays on them. I don’t want anyone else’s dirty, nasty head laying on them. Not even my family.

6. If you could kill off any character from a current television show, who would it be?

I don’t watch what’s current. I have Netflix so pretty much all the stuff on there is either an original or already past. I recently watched Tiger King and I know that’s a documentary with real life people but it’s the closest thing I have. Carole Baskin had her husband killed and she’s the biggest hypocrite ever and I highly dislike her. If she were a character in a show she would be the one I would want killed off. She is a real person though so I do not want her to die but she is an awful person.

7. If you had the power to shrink anything and take it with you, what would you do with it?

I’m not quite sure what is being asked here. Am I being asked what would I do with the shrinking power or what I would do with something I’ve shrunk? If I had the shrinking power I would use it to shrink my upstairs neighbor. Maybe then her big, horse like steps wouldn’t be so loud.

8. If you could make a rule for a day and everyone had to follow it, what would it be?

Right now my mind is saying everyone would have to be quiet for a whole day, but I know that’s the mom in me wanting some silence. But still.

9. What’s a holiday that doesn’t exist that you’d like to create?

There’s a fictional unofficial holiday on the show Parks and Recreation called Treat Yo Self day and I wish that could be a real holiday. Everyone gets the day off and they get to treat themselves to whatever luxury they don’t normally get to.

10. Have you ever noticed that easy open packages never seem to open that easy?

It is frustrating when there is an easy pull tab on a package and it just rips in your hand and doesn’t help at all. Then you have to go hunt for scissors that are hidden away so your kids can’t find them but then you can’t find them either because you forgot where you hid them then you get even more frustrated because the kids are hungry and bouncing off the walls and you just want a moment of peace and quiet that can’t come soon enough.

11. If I were a pair of shoes what kind would I be?

Sandals. Because I feel the most comfortable in the least amount of constriction deemed appropriate.

12. Would you rather be an elf or hobbit for 24 hours?

Definitely and elf. Then I’d go find Legolas.

13. What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?

I honestly can’t think of a creature that would improve the world. Maybe gnomes?

14. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Had two human beings cut out of my body two different times.

15. If you could have an unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be?

Books. And I’ve already started.

16. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably pizza. There’s so many variations of it.

17. Do you like “people watching” and can you come up with a story about them?

I do like to people watch. Sometimes I come up with stories with my husband if we notice someone especially interesting.

18.What is the most hilarious childhood memory you can think of?

I just remember this one time my siblings and I were playing Mario Party on my brother’s Nintendo GameCube and my mom came into the room and said, “you guys need to go play outside.” So we loaded up the TV, GameCube and controllers and went out to the garage and hooked it all up. We had the garage door open so the fresh air could circulate. When my mom stuck her head out to check on us she noticed we were playing the game outside and she laughed. “That’s not what I meant by play outside.” She couldn’t even be mad at us, we did what she asked. My sisters and I also used to gather up all our Bratz dolls and take them outside and played Survivor with them. We would build them little shelters with sticks and leaves and they had to do challenges and vote each other off.

19. After you survive the apocalypse, what will your job be?

Well hopefully after the current apocalypse/pandemic we’re in I can get a job at a law office in an entry level position.

20. If you had to become an inanimate object for a year, what object would you choose to be?

I would want to be my son’s Curious George plush so I could cuddle with him every night.

21. If you were about to get into a fight, what song comes on as your soundtrack?

Move Bitch by Disturbing Tha Peace and Ludacris

22. What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable?

Rope, knife, rubber gloves, bleach and paper towels.

23. I’ve been thinking of starting a cult. What kind of cult should we start together?

That Valerie Solanas had some good ideas…I’m kidding. Or am I?

24. What movie completely changes its plot when you change one letter in its title?

Instead of The Shining it’s The Whining. Welcome to my life.

25. Would you rather shoot spaghetti out of your fingers or sneeze meatballs?

I think the obvious choice here would be shooting spaghetti out of my fingers. I would never be hungry, also sneezing meatballs sounds painful.

Well there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading these. How would you answer any of these? Let me know in the comments! I would like to see if some of my friends will do it!

Mackenzie

Caramel

Slumdog Soldier

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Hey! It’s Been a While!

Hello all!

I know, it’s been a while and so much has changed in the world since my last post back in August. Please forgive my absence, I had a lot going on at the time. I just started a new job and classes had just started as well. I was feeling very anxious about both and couldn’t focus on anything outside of my responsibilities so writing just took a backseat for a while.

I’m happy to be back though! Things have been strange lately and I feel like I just need to talk about it. I’ll start where I left off.

At the beginning of August I got a job and as some of you may know I had been a stay at home mom for a while before that. While I was ready to go back to normal socialization I also found myself feeling super anxious about it. It wasn’t too bad but I have finally figured out that jobs in retail are exactly why I am such an anxious person and since I have been home during this quarantine I am finding I do not miss going to work.

School started back up for me at the same time I started the job. I didn’t feel anxious about school but it did add a lot to my plate, which overwhelmed me. Which in turn makes me anxious. I was feeling the pressure. The pressure to do well and to actually finish it this time. It had been four years since I had attended college and I was mostly worried about being so much older than my classmates. I had put college off for so long since becoming a mom, but I quickly learned that was a silly fear. There were people of all ages in my classes and I felt super relieved by this. Last semester went by so fast and I was glad for it. Now in my second semester I can say that law classes are crazy challenging. It’s a good challenge though. I’m learning a lot.

When all this was starting, and my anxiety was going crazy, I decided to deactivate my Facebook. Every time I would log on to it I would just get more anxious and negative. It didn’t seem like there was anything intelligent or inspiring on there anymore. I also felt the need to disconnect from people for a while. Having recently been in a fight with family at the time wasn’t helping either. I just needed to take a step back from everyone and everything to focus on more important things.

I will say that I have not logged back on to Facebook. I never looked back and it’s been awesome. I did have to give up my jewelry business because a lot of my marketing was done on Facebook. It was worth my sanity though so I wasn’t too sad about it.

So what have I been up to lately? Well mostly studying. I’ve picked reading back up and am currently reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving, it might just become my new favorite. My two year old’s speech has taken off so we’re working on his words and sentence building. We moved into a new apartment complex and our upstairs neighbor is the absolute worse. (More on her in another post). My four year old started preschool but of course hasn’t been attending as of late.

I can’t believe the state of the world right now. It’s all just so scary. Staying home for me hasn’t been bad, I try to look at it as a good thing. I get to spend time with my babies a little longer. One day they’ll be grown men and won’t be around as much, they’ll have lives of their own. It’s nice to have this time with them. I feel good about doing my part and distancing myself from society and not spreading the virus further. Hopefully this will end soon and things can get back to normal.

Right now I want to take advantage of this time to write more. It has been hard to get motivated but I’m putting this out there to hold myself more accountable. Please send encouraging words! More content to come!

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A Sneak Peek

I’ve been taking the time I haven’t been writing for my blog to focus on writing a novel I’ve been working on for a bit. I finally got my outline for it written so now all there is to do is write the damn thing. It’s been going slowly but I thought I would show you all a scene I’ve written and see what you all think. Next week I’ll introduce you to the characters and setting of the book and see if any of you have any suggestions on that. I don’t have a name for it yet so any suggestions on that would be appreciated as well.

So without further ado here’s a snippet:

“We gotta get out of here.” Cat grabbed her things and threw them into her suitcase, Audrey did the same. They gathered everything up as quickly as they could and headed out the door. The night was balmy with a slight mist in the air, the sky was as black as pitch. Before they could make it to the stairs Mr. Davies stopped them.

“Are you not enjoying your stay?” he asked, concerned.

“We just have something very important to attend to back home. I’m sorry to leave so early.” Cat tried to push past him.

“Surely it can wait until after the wedding? Your cousin would be devastated if you missed it.” He blocked the way, moving in front of Cat with every attempt.

“Please move, I don’t want to have to push you down the stairs.” Cat glared at him.

“Well if it’s that urgent,” he stood aside to let them pass. As they did he grabbed Audrey by the wrist, “I would warn you that trying to leave would be a mistake.” His eyes had no emotion in them at all. He held her wrist for a second longer then let her go. The girls ran for their car.

“What was that about?” Audrey asked as they sped out of the parking lot.

“I don’t know but it was so creepy. We should never have come back here.” She went well over the speed limit as she headed towards the highway. The winding roads seemed to stretch on forever. It was so dark. As they came around a bend Cat had to slam on her brakes. In front of them was a line of people blocking the road. They wore white cloaks with hoods pulled over their heads.

“What the fuck?” Audrey whispered.

“What are they doing?” Cat asked.

“Just turn around, find another way.” Audrey tapped on Cat to get her to go. Cat backed up at full speed and turned around at the first chance. They took a turn that would loop them around to the main road. When they had gotten about a mile down the road Cat was stopped again by another line of people in white cloaks. 

“What is going on?” Audrey half screamed.

“They don’t want us to leave…” Cat answered, finally understanding what Mr. Davies had said.

“Well fuck them! Run them over!” Audrey was becoming hysterical. Cat looked at her incedulously. Then came the sound. 

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Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi from Pexels

Book Challenge of the Month! (August 2019)

This is a busy month for me and mine. 3 out of the 4 of us are all attending school this semester! Little Felix is the only one free of the obligation but his time will come.

This month’s challenge is:

A book that is over 10 years old.

My challenge book is The Firm by John Grisham. This book has been on my to read list for a while so it’s nice to be able to pull it out and read it. Apparently there’s been a movie adaptation to it so I might have to watch it once I’ve read it.

My sequel book for the month is Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. I didn’t care much for the second book so hopefully the third and final book in this series brings it all together. We’ll see.

My classic book of the month is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. My friend, Erica, says his writing style is beautiful and that I will love it so I’m so ready to delve into it.

And last, but not least, is my for fun read: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth WareGoodreads blurb:

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room…. 

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

I mean, doesn’t that just sound right up my alley?

What is your challenge book for the month?

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July Book Reviews

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

I had mixed feelings about this book. It was definitely interesting but so hateful too. The women in this book were all brought up in ways I can’t really identify with so it was all really strange to me. The mothers in the book talk about their childhoods growing up in China and all the things they went through. It was all terrible, none of it good. It seemed as if they were already angry with their daughters for having an easier life. It was a cycle of bad treatment. There was light and understanding at the end of the book but they were all terrible to each other. It was still a good read so I give it 4/5.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was expecting it to be boring and lackluster, since I’m a millennial and we’re so desensitized by all the flashy mediums we have today. But I really liked it. The first half wasn’t so entertaining but the second half really took off. I can see why it’s a required reading for high schoolers, it’s a perfect representation of society and the moment we all have to grow up and do the things we know we should and not just what we want to do to survive. I give it a 4/5.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I wasn’t impressed with this one. I”m hoping it’s just a bridge between the first and the third, meaning I hope that it was just a way to build up the third book and that t will be really good. I give it 3/5.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I enjoyed this book, however, the end did drag a bit. I felt like I was never going to finish it! The story is cute and I could relate to each of the Little Women in turn, although I feel like I identified with Meg and Jo the most. There were moments when I felt like the author had picked moments out of my own life, even now in 2019. It was crazy how much I identified with their issues. I will say that it was a bit too prim and cutesy at times. I give it 4/5.

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Why I Haven’t Been Writing

It has been a tough time the past couple months. I have been so uninspired, so unmotivated in my writing and I just had to take some time away. I want to explain what has caused this feeling of not wanting to write.

First off, I have a lot going on in my personal life. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s just been harder to deal with recently. I don’t want to burden anyone with my issues because we all have them and mine are nothing special. I also don’t want to complain because there are lots of other people who have it worse than I do.

However, I’m just going to touch on a few things that I have been struggling with just so you all get an understanding of how I’m going to try to fix it all. Make sense? I hope so.

The biggest thing I’m most stressed about is money. Of course. As I’ve said before in a previous post I lost my job at the end of the year last year and I haven’t had one since. We were doing well on just my husband’s income for a while but now things are getting tight and I’m having to look for a job, which is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be. It stresses me out. We are lucky to have family that helps us but there’s only so much they can do for us and I hate that they have to do that for us.

Aside from our financial troubles I have a small business that I am trying to grow and it is not growing quickly. That’s also frustrating because it could help so much if it would just take off but I understand these things take time. I’m just impatient.

The stress of these things of course are enough but I also think I have fallen into a rut with my blog. I think I figured out that there are a couple things I’m doing wrong.

1. I have a posting schedule. After reading my friend Tom’s post Why I Blog Once A Week I realized I needed to post less. I felt like I was constantly having to come up with post ideas and it was draining my creativity. I think I need to let go of the schedule. I think with the set days I feel like I have pressure to post something on those days and I find myself scrambling to get a post up sometimes and it’s not even a good one because I don’t put much effort into it, I just wanted to get something up. I think if I just started posting once a week I could put out more quality content.

2. I have a list of topics. I think topic ideas are great because sometimes you don’t know what to write about. But the list I have has dates attached to them, meaning that is what I have planned to write for that day. I think I was setting myself up for failure that way. By seeing that list I started to feel my creative juices drying up. I started this blog to talk about my writing progress and to share stories I’ve written or my opinion on a certain topic or book reviews. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve written lately that just hasn’t been about that and I’m bored. I think if I just keep that list for when I run out of things to write about and not make it what I will write about I’ll feel more inspired and spontaneous with my writing and it will be better and I’ll be happier with it.

I got so much good advice on my post about taking a break and I appreciate it so much. I think with the decision to post just once a week I’ll feel happier with my blog and it will mean more to me. (I still might throw a bonus post in there every now and then, if I feel compelled to do so.) Thank you all for the kind words, encouragement and understanding.

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Photo credits: Pixabay from Pexels.

Bonus Books I’ve read So Far This Year

So I’ve been a little sneaky, I’ve been reading more than what I talk about on my book challenge of the month posts.

I know, whatever. I like to read. As we all know. Since we’re at the halfway point for the year I thought I’d talk about all the ones I’ve read so far.

1. Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

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This is the final installment in the Dark Artifices trilogy. This is the third Shadowhunter series by Cassandra Clare. I love these books. I own all of them, they have a special spot on my book shelf. The art on the covers are just so pretty they make my bookshelf look wonderful. So I can’t talk a whole lot about this one since it’s the last in a trilogy but I will kind of give a little back story. In these books there is a world of people and creatures that live along side us. Fairies, vampires, warlocks and demons all exists and live together on earth with mundanes, the word used for regular people. Shadowhunters are an elite people who are half human, half angel, and they protect the world from demons. The stories follow different shadowhunters and their quest to save the world. It’s a lot and it’s complicated so just read it. If you like fantasy, if you like teen romance you’ll like these books. I will say thought that this third series was not as good the first two. She focused way too hard on the relationships between the characters for my liking. I’m more story oriented than character oriented.

2. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

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This. Book. Is. Hilarious. I love Tiffany Haddish. My friend, Marissa got this book for me for Christmas and it’s the best. In this book Tiffany talks about her life and how she started as a comedian. She tells some pretty heartbreaking stories of things that happened in her life and how she managed to turn it all around with comedy. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

3. The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

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Did you know his name is pronounced like Steve Lar-soo-sun? I didn’t til I Googled it. This series is great. I did a review on the first book back in January. I just had to keep going. Lisbeth Salander is the girl that all the books refer to. She’s a very strange woman with some pretty impressive skills. This series is sexy too. It’s a crime series that I devoured so fast. It’s just so good.

4. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

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So after finishing Queen of Air and Darkness I had to go back and reread the original series. I am so glad I did. They’re so good! This series has to be in my top five of favorite series.

5. Frozen Grave by Lee Weeks

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Another third installment, this series follows DC Ebony Willis and her solving crimes in London. I’d say this one wasn’t as good as the first two but it was still good. I plan to read the rest of the books in this series. If you like murder mystery I recommend.

6. Some Kind of Peace by Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff

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If you like Swedish crime novels than this is the book for you. I thought it was okay. It wasn’t my favorite. Psychologist Siri Bergman is being stalked. Someone is leaving her messages, there are footprints found in her cottage where she lives alone and one of her patients has been murdered. Who could want to cause her harm? She needs to find that out if she ever wants to live in peace again. This was just another book my mother gave me. Now I will pass it on to someone else.

7. The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

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“I’m Aaron Mahnke and this is Lore.” So this author has a podcast called Lore. I discovered his podcast and instantly fell in love with it. He tells weird, frightening true stories that have happened throughout history. Some stories are so crazy that you can’t even begin to explain how it could have happened. In his books, there are three, he discusses stories he does in his podcast. This book is, of course, about strange creatures that have been sighted or believed in. I absolutely love his writing style. It’s very easy to get drawn into his stories and I wanted to read it again immediately after finishing. I can’t wait to get the other two book which cover Dreadful Places and Wicked Mortals.

8. Fighting Malevolent Spirits: A Demonologist’s Darkest Encounters by Samantha E. Harris

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I read this book mostly for research purposes. I’m writing a fiction book about an undercover exorcist and I need to learn as much about these kinds of things as I can for authenticity purposes. It was an interesting read. I did get some interesting pointers and I will be keeping this one on my book shelf for future reference.

9. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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I had to keep going. It was so good. I’m going to keep reading the rest. That is all.

These are the bonus books of the year so far. There will be more because I have a lot of unread books on my bookshelf and I just can’t stop myself. So I’ll check back at the end of the year with the rest of my bonus reads. What books have you read this year?

Book Challenge of the Month (July 2019)

Hello all! Another month, another reading challenge!

This month’s challenge brings with it a bit of nostalgia:

A book you were supposed to read in high school but didn’t.

My challenge book this month will be Lord of the Flies by William Golding. When I was in high school this book was on the assigned reading list but I never read it because I didn’t go to public school. I was homeschooled and my mom didn’t have the slightest clue what books were required for high schoolers at the time. She ended up getting a bunch of books from our neighbor who had just graduated high school and had me read those. I’ve always been curious about Lord of the Flies so now I’m going to tackle it.

My classic read for the month is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. They talk about this book on the show Friends and I’m hoping to love it as much as Joey and Rachel.

My sequel book of the month is Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. This book series is kind of a prequel/companion series to her duo Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. The characters in this story are different but it’s the same universe. I enjoyed the duo and the first book in this series so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one as well.

My for fun read is The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Originally published in 1989, and made into a movie in 1993, this book is about four mothers and their daughters who come together to talk about the things they encountered in their lives and how it connects them all. I’m excited to give this one a go.

Well there you have it! What will your challenge book be?

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June Book Reviews

The Witches of New York By Amy McKay

I wanted to love this book, I really did. But it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be. It’s full of all kinds of nice, witchy aesthetics but it wasn’t enough to save the story. The story was so basic, it’s definitely been done before, by many. I love witches, so I’ve read many stories about them. This one just doesn’t stand out. The first half of the book is so all over the place with so many different characters that I was so confused. It was just too overly complicated, especially when the ending was just not exciting. I give it 4/5 only for the aesthetic.

Paradise Lost by John Milton

I gave up after the first few pages. It was beautifully written but I just didn’t want to push my brain to see the hidden meanings and what not. I’ve been in a funk the past few days and I just want a book that will distract and not make me fall asleep. I think in the future I’m just going to avoid these kinds of classics, and avoid setting myself up for failure.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Wow-ee! This was such a great sequel! It expanded on the story beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story follows Celaena Sardothien who is the king of Adarlan’s assassin.  It’s political, it’s intriguing, it’s romantic, it’s bloody. Best of all it left me wanting to read what happens next. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. 5/5!

The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo

I don’t know why this book got such great reviews on Goodreads because I gotta say, it’s not great. First of all, the author used way too many words. She had the main character over explain everything. I almost felt I was taking a class on wilderness and wildlife. It didn’t feel like I was being told a story. The parts where she actually was telling a snippet of story were good but then she would lose it and my interest. I wasn’t expecting the killer to be who it was but it was just like, “this is who did it” after pages and pages of nothing important. The execution could have been a lot better. I give it 2/5.

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