what blogging means to me

this is the first time drafting a REAL blog post in a REALLY long time. i mean, sure, i shared my monthly recaps but those posts don’t require too much brainwork and i don’t count that as reaaaaaaaally blogging(?). but anyway, I’M BAAAAAACK from my summer hiatus. whether you started reading my blog today or two years ago, thank you thank you thank you for magically appearing on this site and taking the time to hear my thoughts and rambles. (has it really been two years already?!)

in all honesty, my blog actually didn’t start on this date – my bookstagram did! but i still consider today as my blogiversary because 1) i started my blog shortly after aka within the next few weeks and, 2) it’s percy jackson‘s birthday and PERCY JACKSON IS MY FAVORITE. *eats blue cake to celebrate* i thought it’d be nice to get a little sentimental and sappy since i’m not usually (as) sentimental or sappy during the other days of the year. so….

what does blogging mean to me?

…having a voice

before blogging, there were only a handful of people i could talk to. the people around me either didn’t care about the things i cared about, couldn’t understand my opinions, or just didn’t get it. but i realize now that there were many times that i simply didn’t feel brave enough to speak my mind. blogging gave me the opportunity to speak up.

…embracing yourself and growing up

i feel like the caterpillar in ALICE IN WONDERLAND when i ask, “whooooo areee youuuu?” a big thing i learned from blogging is to just ~be yourself~. i know i said that’s the WORST advice you could give, but it’s true. i remember when i first started, i’d try to “fit in” in the blogging world but here’s the thing: there are no rules in blogging. you can write whatever you want, or how ever you want. you can write nothing in your posts, or everything in your brain. do what you want and do it for yourself. blogging has allowed me to be more comfortable being ME in both real life and internet realms.

…learning to put yourself out there

as relieving it is to finally share your thoughts to people who care, it’s also scary. people can disagree; people can be irrationally mean; people can be secretly trolls and not actually people at all. or people won’t even know or acknowledge your internet existence – even though you’ve overcome the fears of negativity. which is to say, blogging has taught me to really put yourself out there. comment on other people’s posts, share things you love and promote your own work as well. most of the time, people aren’t intentionally ignoring you; they just didn’t see your post.

…knowing you belong

there is nothing more grateful i am for than the community. i can go on twitter and talk about my day and people won’t judge. people will actually RESPOND and talk about THEIR day as well! isn’t that amazing? knowing that, even as you change and grow, there will always be people there wanting to hear what you have to say. i wouldn’t trade anything for this caring community i’ve found. (and yes, that means you! the person reading this post! did anyone tell you you’re a fantastic person today? because you are and someone out there – echm me – is happy you exist.)

…feeling your hard work has paid off

there is nothing more satisfying than working on a really long post, and clicking publish (or schedule). even if nobody reads it, it is so satisfying to just finish it and put it out onto the world. there is nothing more satisfying than drafting and designing your website, and finally putting it out for everyone to see. (this must be what publishing a book feels like and IT’S GREAT) it’s that magical feeling of putting time, effort, and passion into this… THING and the endgame of something amazing.

i am so grateful for the day i stumbled upon a bookstagram picture on my explore page (before bookstagram was even a thing!); i am so grateful for finding these things called “book blogs”; i’m so grateful for all the friends i’ve made and people met; i’m so grateful for just, everything. THANK YOU. (okay i think that’s enough sappiness for today)

some of my favorite posts i’ve created thus far:

giveaway!!!!!

i’ll be hosting TWOOOOO giveaways in celebration for my blogiversary – one on this post andone on my youtube channel! they contain different prizes but end on the same date: august 31, 2016 at 11:59pm PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

terms and conditions:

  • this giveaway is US only BUT the giveaway i’m hosting on youtube is open internationally!!
  • you must be 18 or older OR have your parent’s consent to release a mailing address.
  • you will be disqualified for picking up entires you didn’t do.
  • you may only use one account to enter.
  • if the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, i will choose another winner.
  • i am not responsible for anything lost in the mail.

good luck in the giveaway(s) and thank you for sticking around so far!! *hugs*

farewell, foresight, favorites

favorites

farewell, july!

this past month was fun, exhausting, and eventful. the first two weeks were spent cramming up in rehearsals and classes in preparation for my ballet competition, and the last two were experiencing the competition itself. varna international ballet competition was a whirlwind. i’m still debating whether or not i should blog/edit the vlog about it, so you miiiiiight get some more details soon. (the question is on if my laziness wins.) in the meantime, you can watch my performance here:

read this month:

  • MY LADY JANE, by cynthia hand, brodi ashton, jodi meadows – ★★★½
  • THIS SAVAGE SONG, by v.e. schwab – ★★★½
  • IT ENDS WITH US, by colleen hoover – ★★½
  • A WEEK OF MONDAYS, by jessica brody – ★★★
  • THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, by marie kondo – ★★★★★

i read more than usual since i had a lot of free time on airplanes/airports, but all the books were ooookay. if i’m being honest, every single book disappointed me in some way – except THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP. i think my expectations were too high, or i’m growing tired of YA, or i’m just in a reading slump. either way, i was expecting myself to like these books more (but that’s not to say i didn’t like them! just that i thought i’d like them mooooore.)

on the blog

  • haul hail the spring stack (50+ books!)
  • six ways to make today your best day

wow, last month was embarassing in terms of blog posts. for the first time in foreverrrrr (okay not forever, more like a year), i didn’t pressure myself to squeeze out a bajillion posts. and it felt really… relaxing. although i still love blogging, i’ve been feeling unmotivated to create good content. SIGH. i sincerely hope this is a phase and this phase ends soon.

foresights of august

now that my vacation is over, i’m slowly trying to get back on track with things. i haven’t danced (or moved, really) in over a week and feel the soreness of next month coming. since i’m finished with school (at least for now *throws confetti*), i’m going to try to focus as much on ballet as possible. hopefully, by the end of this month, i’ll have a daily schedule and know what i’m doing with my life.

goals for the coming weeks:

  • begin exercising again
  • try to find inspiration

how was your july? do you have any plans for august?

six ways to make today your best day

we all have good and bad days, but what exactly makes a day the best or worst in your life? one’s “best” and “worst” days can often change based on perspective and experiences. it also changes from person to person; my best day probably won’t be your best day and vice versa. although these tips won’t guarantee it’ll be the best day ever, there are a lot of ways it could make your days better.

AWOM_blogtour

expect less

one of the key elements to ruining your day is disappointment. if you expect the day to be perfect, you’ll be disappointed in every aspect it isn’t. small things that previously wouldn’t have bothered you that much are now dampening your mood and suddenly you can’t wait for the day to be over. don’t expect too much.

… but be hopeful

being hopeful and being expectant are two very different things that may be easily confused. hopefulness stresses the possibility of good things while expectations demand good/certain things. keep a positive outlook on the day and hope for something good – even if it’s something small or it’s already the end of a long day. you never know what could occur!

small surprises

small surprises are one of the easiest ways to improve my mood, but they’re also not in my control. when i get an unexpected package or letter, my outlook on the day is usually 100x better. the same can be said if the weather is (surprisingly) wonderful, or if i take a (surprisingly) good ballet class, or if i (surprisingly) have some extra time to read. although surprises aren’t something you can predict, you will probably have a more positive view if you weren’t expecting anything and/or were hopeful.

be aware of possibilities – good and bad

although it’s good to be positive, know that not every day will be the best day. you could get that dream job you were striving for… but you could also lose that dream job. it’s okay and completely normal to have some days worse than others, but as sarah j. maas beautifully said in A COURT OF MIST AND FURY: “There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”

don’t strive for perfection

this is probably the most important tip of all because there is no way your day is perfect. of course, there are many many ways to contribute in your so-called perfect day but i doubt it’d be a perfect day if you knew it was going to be “perfect;” i doubt everything went according to your plan, and even if it did, i think it’d be a little boring. all of my better days are ones i didn’t plan to be perfect or good. expect the unexpected and go with the flow.

acknowledge the little things

there was a time when i’d make a list of five things that made me smile that day. the list would be something like:

  1. a stranger opened the door for me.
  2. i had a delicious breakfast.
  3. i completed most of my daily goals.
  4. i saw an old friend i haven’t seen in a while.
  5. someone gave me a compliment.

none of these are really extravagant things, but simply taking the time to acknowledge the little details can change your definition on a “good” or “bad” day.

read more >>

haul hail the spring stack

i know it’s already like mid-summer and this is a SPRING haul but HUSH. i keep procrastinating this post but oh well, better late than never. after my last haul, i decided to keep note of every book acquired since then (which was mid-april) and the list is kinda really overwhelming. so these are (almost) all the books i got in the spring.

books purchased or traded

i tried not to buy toooooo many books because i know 1) there is literally NO SPACE and 2) there are way too many books i own but have not read. that being said, most of these were personal favorites i already read and have been meaning to buy OR really anticipated new releases i pre-ordered. and even so, i got over ten books SIGH.

gallagher girls tenth anniversary edition book haul summer days and summer nights

  • SECOND CHANCE SUMMER, by morgan matson // my MM collection is finally complete! also this was the only MM book i hadn’t read at the time; i finished it a few weeks ago
  • THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, by renee ahdieh // i originally had a copy, gifted it for christmas, and got another one because TR&TD was releasing (and also because i love TW&TD)
  • THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER, by renee ahdieh // book two of TW&TD + one of my most anticipated releases of 2016
  • THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING, by morgan matson // one of my FAVES EVER. i dug up my target gift cards from christmas when i found out about the ~special target edition~
  • A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, by sarah j maas // also bought because of the ~special target edition~ and because ACOMAF
  • SHUFFLE, REPEAT, by jen klein // i read the synopsis a few months back and was like neeeeeed
  • TRIALS OF APOLLO, by rick riordan // i saw the costco edition while shopping with my mom and was like, “omg special poster omg cheaper than amazon YES PLEASE”
  • HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION, by lin-manuel miranda and jeremy mccarter // i actually didn’t pre-order this and instead bought it on amazon on the release date and had to wait and extra three weeks because it was out of stock. the regrets were real.
  • SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS, by stephanie perkins // i’m reading this with bibliophile academy & this UK edition will match my copy of the other stephanie perkins anthology. whoooo!
  • THE MANIFESTO OF HOW TO BE INTERESTING, by holly bourne // this has been on my wish list since i read hazel’s review a year ago and when i saw it was on sale on TBD i couldn’t pass up
  • THE GALLAGHER GIRLS SERIES (10th anniversary editions), by ally carter // when i saw the covers and found out about the *BONUS CONTENT*, i knew this was the excuse i’ve been waiting three years for. i finally have a matching set of one of my favorite series ever. :’-))

i also traded for a copy of WOLF BY WOLF, by ryan graudin. i’ve heard great things about this one and it sounds so interesting (world war two AU? YASS.) i was going to read it immediately, but i think i’ll wait until the second book comes out.

books from publishers & other companies

i got a lot of unexpected packages from publishers these past few months. there was this one week in which i got a package almost every single day which is CRAZY. thank you thank you thank you to everyone who sent me something!

harper collins

epic reads

haul the epic titles from this epic company! there are SO many books on this list i’m excited to read (especially THIS SAVAGE SONG, MY LADY JANE, TRUE LETTERS FROM A FICTIONAL LIFE….. and it continues endlessly). thank you, harper!

simon and schuster

simon and schuster atria books

simon and schuster (including simon teen, atria books, and simon pulse) is one of my favorite publishing companies because they’ve release a lot of books i love. thank you for these!!

macmillan

macmillan book mail

macmillan (including fierce reads, st. martin’s press, and flatiron books) sent me a few very (very very) exciting books, so THANK YOUUU.

bloomsbury

bloomsbury

bloomsbury sent me books from a lot of different genres with a lot of beautiful covers. *heart eyes* thank you, bloomsbury!

penguin, scholastic, disney hyperion, quirk books and litjoy crate

p.s. i like you lit joy crate

thanks to bibliophile academy, penguin sent me a copy of FURTHERMORE, by tahereh mafi! *squeals* i love tahereh’s other books so i’m looking forward to reading this one. penguin also sent me EVERY FRENCHMAN HAS ONE, by olivia de havilland, in honor of her birthday. it’s a super cute and small book so hopefully i’ll get a chance to finish it before the summer ends.

i was so surprised (and ECSTATIC) when scholastic sent me P.S. I LIKE YOU, by kasie west because it was one of my ~most anticipated releases of 2016~. a cute pen-pal-ish romance by kasie west? SOLDDDDDD.

i also received CRESSWELL PLOT, by eliza wass from disney-hyperion and LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, by paul krueger from quirk books. litjoy crate also sent me their monthly box which included REBEL OF THE SAND, by alwyn hamilton as well as a bunch of other goods. i really liked their selection of items so if you’re interested in getting a bookish subscription box, i’d definitely recommend this one. thank you to all the companies who sent me stuff!

have you read any of the books i hauled last season? let me know in the comments!

farewell, foresight, favorites

favorites

my obsessions didn’t become relevant until the second half of june, but that’s alright because i’m currently still obsessed with them. i was also kinda obsessed with donuts for about a week but now… not so much.

youtube

if you follow me on twitter, you’d know i was thinking about youtube-ing throughout the month. aaaaaaand i finally did it! i filmed a video, did some editing (which took FOREVER since i didn’t know what i was doing), and published it on the interwebs. before i began bookstagram or blogging (aka like over two years ago?), i wanted to start a youtube channel. but the act of talking to a camera and VIDEOing just felt so uncomfortable. but now that i often put myself in front of the camera for bookstagram (hah), it doesn’t feel as weird. (the talking part is still weird) i like the challenge, but let’s see how long this lasts…

veganism (again!)

my obsession with youtube started because of veganism. (i didn’t really go on YT thaaaaat much prior) i originally followed some vegan youtubers on instagram and finally decided to check out their channels. when i saw the “what i eat in a day” videos, i quickly became obsessed because FOOD OH MY GOSH THE FOOD. thanks to bonnyrebecca, i saw this TED talk and it completely changed my perspective on veganism; it had a particularly graphic section on animals in slaughterhouses and it made me feel really horrified. i’m scarred for life and i don’t think i’ll ever look at meat the same. (and that section of the video was like five minutes) although it was really uncomfortable to watch, i’m glad it changed my perspective on things.

farewell, june

june is the turning point of the year. we’re officially halfway through 2016, the weather is now hahhhhhhht, and I’M OLD(er) because it’s also my birthday month! the majority of my summer days are spent dancing and sleeping. i hardly have time to read or blog, but i don’t mind because i feel too tired to read or blog if i were to have the time.

tesla california donuts birthday xan

my ballet studio’s summer program started in early june and i’ve been dancing from five to nine hours every day. it’s overwhelming but also satisfying. my sister visited for a week and got me custom donuts for my birthday, which was super exciting. (they didn’t taste as good as expected, but oh well) i also finished up the last of my exams which means i don’t need to worry about school for the time being. (YAS.) my family’s tesla also arrived and it’s actually SO GREAT. 10/10 would recommend. saving the enviro, one electric drive at a time~

read this month

the books i read this month were all good, but they weren’t super engaging. then again, i didn’t have that much time to read anyway so….. *shrug* i also reread/skimmed the first two gallagher girls books along with the third as i just got the new editions and the feelings of ~NOSTALGIA~ are so real. i can’t believe i forgot how great these are!

on the blog

lifestyle

bookish

foresights of july

so this is the part when i tell you I’M GOING ON A HIATUS. ish. i’ll try my best to blog but the chances are so slim, you shouldn’t even consider the possibility. the first two weeks of july will be filled with last-minute rehearsals and moments of stress, while the remaining two weeks will be in bulgaria dancing my legs off. wish me luck! you’ll probably still find me on ~social media~ and i miiiiight vlog.

what did you do in the month of june? do you have any plans for july? let me know in the comments!