Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Garden Adventure | New Plant and Repotting

Garden Adventure

Hello and welcome to a bit of a different type of post. Spring is the time of year where my plants need the most care between increase in watering, fertilizing, and repotting. I wanted to take this time and share some of my newest plants and share some of the things I have been doing to care for them. I also recently built a plant stand which I will be sharing in a different post.


Updated Plant List

Since I now have about 10 plants, I didn’t realize this, I needed something to help guide my care of them. I ended up coming across an app called Vera. You can set reminders for each individual plant when to water or check plant to water as well as fertilize. It has been a huge help in keeping track of everything since the care is quite different for all of these beautiful plants.


Todays Project

Today my main goal is to pot repot my snake plant and my new pilea.  As picturers you can see I am using cactus potting soil and river rocks for my snake plant since this pot does not have drainage, I have no idea why they make pots without drainage. For my pilea I planned on mixing general potting soil and perlite. Well I opened the potting soil and there were a ton of tiny bugs flying out so I ended up keeping the soil it was in and mixing it with a bit of cactus soil. I will see how the plant does and it I need to repot I will.

Here is a little close up of my new plant baby! This has been one of my top wish list plants for some time and I was so please to have come across it by chance while picking up supplies for my plant stand I built. I just love the look of the round leaves.

Lastly, here are my repotted plants in their new homes. I really love the texture of these pots, one looks almost like a hive of some sort and the other is a cross hatch pattern. I feel like it gives them a lot of character without using bright colors. I have found I do not really enjoy bright pots because I feel like it distracts the eye from the beautiful green color of the leaves.

Anyway, that was my recent garden adventure. I hope you enjoy the little update on my plants and such. I am thinking about doing a full on, “plant tour” post. If you are interested let me know!


Do you have house plants?

What is your favorite plant? Do you have a plant on your wishlist?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | June 2020

Read 5, Buy 1

Hello and welcome to my Read 5, Buy 1 post, If I am being honest with myself I should be calling this a book haul because wow, did I totally ignore this in June. I am not sure why, but I really had the buying itch in June. I figured since I have done so well and my TBR was under 20 at the time, why not have some fun. So, here is my break down of the books I read since the last check in, but also the books I bought this past month.


The Breakdown

  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi
  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
    • Bought Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
    • Bought Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz
  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Books Added To My TBR

I added, Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, The Incarnations by Susan Barker, Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz, The Changeling by Victor LaValle, Before the Coffee Gets Coldby Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, The Hungerby Alma Katsu, Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri, and LGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People by the Numbers by Bennett Singer and David Deschamps to my TBR.


As you can see, I bought quite a few extra books this month. I am thinking it might have to do with that fact that I was not really in the reading mood in May and maybe it was because I didn’t really want to read any of the books I owned. I am a total mood reader. Regardless of the reason, I added an extra 7 books. Oops! Good thing I have been in a reading mood!
Over all, my TBR is now sitting at a total of 26 books, so my owned TBRhe  stayed about the same, but thankfully it decided to not go up with all the buying I did.

What does your TBR look like?

What books did you recently haul from the library or bookstore?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | July 2020

Bullet Journal

Hello and welcome to my July bullet journal post. This month I changed a few things, but mainly kept things the same. But, I really enjoy the vibe I created for the month by adding a few pictures from a stock photo site and marker colors. I have really started to enjoy photographs in my spreads to set a mood as of late instead of doodles. Anyway, here is what I put together for July!


Items Used

Archer & Olive A5 Garden Sliter Dot Grid notebook

Tombow Dual Brush Pens 312

Tombow Dual Brush Pens 946

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens 01 and 05


On the left I placed my monthly calendar, I really loved highlighting the color green and orange in the picture of the cafe on the right hand page. I feel like it really pulled these two pages together. I picked the cafe because it looked so calming and relaxing with the color scheme of the various shades of green and pop of orange and tan. I also added The Reading Rush to my bujo because I am planning on taking part this year. I am so excited about the challenges this year, they are so fun in my opinion.

The next two pages house four different things. On the left I have my TBR for the month of July listed and a space to write my monthly goals. I also added a mini calendar for reference for the page on the right. On the right I have a vertical calendar were I will mark the days I read and on the right I am going to be adding my blog posts. I carried over the orange and green color by highlighting the titles and lines on the page.

These next two pages are a bit more plain. On the left I picked my oracle card for the month and I left the area around it blank so I have room to reelect upon it. This months card says “I Line in Truth”. On the accompanying page I added a picture of a brown doorway with a ton of plants because it goes well with the oracle card and the cafe picture I previously mentioned. Due to the fact that orange and brown are used a lot I decided to just add highlights with the green marker.

Now, this page on the left is my Books Read that I started using last month. In this spread I doodled a few bookshelves where I will then glue in the covers of the books I finish reading. I will share a picture of it competed below. On the right I added a picture of a window in a greenhouse while it is raining. It matches the green and orange theme perfectly and it is relaxing and a place I would love to read. I love plants and I would love to have a green house at some times in the future and I would love to sit inside during a rain storm and read.

Here is a picture from my bullet journal from last month (June 2020). On the left is a completed Books Read spread where I pasted pictures of the book covers. I really loved this so much more than the lists I was doing in the future. I ended up reading I’m Judging You, The Glass Hotel, Quichotte, Untamed, Prodigal Son, Full Dark No Stars, Twelfth Night, Anansi Boys, and A Darker Shade of Magic at the time of taking this picture.

Here is a picture f my weekly spread I started using last month and it worked so well. On the left I kept is mostly blank so I can add all the good things that happened that week, the only thing I added was a mini calendar and I highlighted the current week the spread is for. On the right I have six boxes each week day has its own and the weekend shares one. I decided to highlight the day of the week and date with the green I have used throughout this month.


What theme are you using this month?

What do you have planned for June?

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TBR

To Be Read | July 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to my monthly TBR, where I name some books and chances are I wiill end up reading others ones because I am a total mood reader. Anyway, there are two that I must read for a few challenges, but the other three that are listed here I really want to read. But, as I said I am a mood reader, so let’s see what happens. Here are the books I plan on reading!


The Books

The Tempest by William Shakespeare, this play is my July pick for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I really have no idea what it is about, so I don’t have an opinion on how I am going to feel or a prediction.

March by Geraldine Brooks, I picked this up on vacation in December and lately I have really wanted to read it. I have high hopes because it is Little Women inspired, it is meant to be following the father of that story during the Civil War. Plus, I feel like it will remind me of my vacation and I really miss traveling at this point, even day trips.

The Five by Halle Rubenhold, this was a gift from Reg for my birthday and I am really excited to learn about Jack the Rippers victims because I honestly have no idea who they were, but I know a lot about the crime.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, this was picked for me to read for my Someone Picks My Books series on my blog. I have read books by this author in the past, but I have not read her last one or two. So, we shall see how this one fairs!


What are you planning to reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | June 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my June wrap up, wow it feels so weird typing that. Already halfway through 2020. This month was quite an improvement reading wise for me, I actually did some reading. I am not quite sure what happened in May and what put me out of the mood to read, but thankfully it has passed and I ended up reading quite a bit. Here are the books I read, my backlist checkin and my monthly stats!


Read 2

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I felt that this book was average for me. Not amazing and not bad at all, it was just in the middle. I enjoyed the world, but I was not invested in the plot or the characters. I was just someone following along. Now, this could be because as I stated earlier I don’t read a lot of YA anymore and I am annoying specific when it comes to fantasy. I really did enjoy the world building in this novel and I feel like Schwab has a lot of talent when it comes to this. I will say I am happy that I gave it a try and finally read it. I always had the feeling of “Fear of Missing Out” when it came to this series, now that question has been answered. Thank you for picking my book Melinda!

View all my reviews


UntamedUntamed by Glennon Doyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very interesting collection of stories to make up the author’s memoir. I found the stories shared to be heart warming and raw. The author really sharers herself with her readers, but also gives them something to reflect on.

View all my reviews


Twelfth NightTwelfth Night by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come!

View all my reviews


Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1)Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I felt that this novel has a lot of potential, it was dark, twisted and let’s face it inspired by one of the most popular horror novels of all time. I really enjoyed a lot about this book, but what lost me was the characters actions. Sometimes I just felt like, wow, they are meant to be detectives? Their actions just were not believable. That aside, I did enjoy parts of it and I am curious enough to be thinking about continuing this series. That is a big deal for me, because I tend to hate series.

View all my reviews


Full Dark, No StarsFull Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1922-5/5 psychological and dark real world horror

Big Driver-2/5 the assault is r*ape.

Fair Extension-3/5 – interesting, but I wasn’t really feeling it.

A Good Marriage-5/5 Just when you thought you knew someone completely, another story were man is the true monster.

View all my reviews


Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a really interesting story sett in the same world as American Gods. It was a twisting tale and as always Gaiman has a way with words. As always the writing was done very well and the story was imaginative to say the least. The reason I took a few stars off it because there were a few parts I became bored with, but over all I really did enjoy it. If you liked American Gods, I think you will like this as well.

View all my reviews


Before the Coffee Gets ColdBefore the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this and I really want to read more from this author. I really liked how the author mixed the magical with the mundane to create such a heart warming story.

View all my reviews


Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 6


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Someone Picks My Books | Basement Bookcase | A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another one of my Someone Picks my Books post! This month Melinda over at Basement Bookcase has picked my read. This month I was given the task of reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which you most likely got from the title of this post. Now, this is very far from what I normally read. It is the start of  series, it’s young adult, and it is fantasy. Now, I do enjoy high fantasy, but I am very finicky when it comes to this genre. Going into this book I was both excited, but worried to say the least.


Book Description

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

First off I would like to say, I am surprised it has taken my this long to give this book a go. I have been blogging for years and this is well loved by many. I have thought that this book is based on a very interesting idea of there being multiple versions of the world, specifically London where some are filled with magic. That is one thing I will give V.E. Schwab a lot of credit for, this idea was thought up by someone with a very entertaining imagination.

The world building on this book was spot on and I felt like it really set the scene for the rest of the series. Not only did Schwab create various versions of London, they came up with a system for traveling between them. Everything they created was unique and intriguing. I kind of wish that there was even more of this because I enjoyed it so much.

Also, I will openly admit I am a sucker for magic being present in a book. If it is even hinted at in a blurb or description I am most likely going to pick it up. As with the world building, the magic is very unique and I loved the way it was used in this book.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing that stood out to me was I did not care about the characters in the slightest. While reading I was just indifferent and along for the ride. I was more invested in the world created by Schwab than the various people. For me, this is a bit of a bummer because I read more so for the people than anything else. But, if you read for the world building, you will not be disappointed.

Overall

Overall, I felt that this book was average for me. Not amazing and not bad at all, it was just in the middle. I enjoyed the world, but I was not invested in the plot or the characters. I was just someone following along. Now, this could be because as I stated earlier I don’t read a lot of YA anymore and I am annoying specific when it comes to fantasy. I really did enjoy the world building in this novel and I feel like Schwab has a lot of talent when it comes to this. I will say I am happy that I gave it a try and finally read it. I always had the feeling of “Fear of Missing Out” when it came to this series, now that question has been answered. Thank you for picking my book Melinda!

3stars


Next month I am reading a book that is picked by Tay one of the duo running Frayed Books! I am really looking forward to her pick and to find out if I will like it or not.

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk | BuzzFeed Picks My Jane Austen Novel

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to a hybrid of a post where I test BuzzFeeds ability to recommend a book and a mini book review. In May I was really in the mood for a classic and I had no idea what I wanted to read. I narrowed it down to Jane Austen and then had no idea what other book of hers to read, so I did what many of us do, I went to the internet for help. Here we go!


Like I said, I decided to go to the internet to see if I could be recommended a book to read of Jane Austen’s, because if I am being honest I didn’t really know about the plot of any of her novels outside of Pride and Prejudice. I ended up coming across this BuzzFeed Quiz called, “Which Jane Austen Book Do You Belong In?” So, I figured, why not give it a go? Here are my results.

As you can see, based upon my answers I belong in the novel Northanger Abbey. So, I ordered it from book depository and waited for it to arrive and then devoured it. Also, a bit of a side note, a lot of her novels are free from amazon as ebooks, as are a lot of classics. If you want a link to this book, you can find that here: Northanger Abbey (AmazonClassics Edition) , p.s. it’s not an affiliate link.


Description

“Catherine Morland is a young girl with a very active imagination. Her entry into the fashionable scene in Bath results in an invitation to stay with new friends at Northanger Abbey, but Catherine’s naivety and love of sensational novels lead to embarrassing and entertaining consequences”. –goodreads.com


My Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. One thing that really stood out to me was the use of novels and story telling throughout this novel and how it impacted the main characters imagination.  I also liked the narrators/authors funny comments about novels as well and how people hide what they are reading if they are embarrassed.

I really liked when our main character Catherine was adventuring through Bath, I felt the character interactions were wonderful and it really set the stage for her actions. Catherine is such a kind person and I really loved her taste in books myself. The second half has a totally different feel to it, which I enjoyed, but was a bit jolting at first because it went from a light and airy bath to a gothic abbey, which I think was the entire point because this novel really just likes to poke fun and exaggerate what the imagination can do to someone.

This was a very good novel and I enjoyed reading it immensely. I decided to keep this novel in my collection so I can reread it again and annotate it. To be honest, I might even like this more than Pride and Prejudice.


What is your favorite novel by Jane Austen?

Did you read Northanger Abbey, what did you think about it?

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Goals

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 6 Month Checkin

Reflection

Hello everyone and welcome to my 6 month 2020 goals check in. I cannot believe that wee are halfway through 2020 already. Anyway, I am going to keep this short and sweet and just get into the goal. The thing is I wanted to give you a bit of a heads up. I am writing this blog post in advance so my numbers might be a tad bit higher in real time.


The List

  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Not really excited about this one…
    • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • ✔️Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie Owned
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak Owned
  2. Read 50 books, 55 books read. 
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all. Down to 10.
  4. Read 30,000 pages. Read 20,068 pages so far. 
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books. Read 8 so far. 
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 7 so far. 
  7. Read a book from each continent
    • ✔️North America: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
    • South America
    • ✔️ Europe: Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • ✔️Antarctica: The Magicians by Lev Grossman 
    • Africa
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Purchased 
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.
    • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • February: Othello
    • March: Hamlet
    • April: Macbeth
    • May: The Taming of the Shrew
    • June: Twelfth Night
    • July:
    • August:
    • September:
    • October:
    • November:
    • December:

Reflection

  1.  I read two of these books and did a review here:Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1. I picked up two more I am veery excited to get to. Two I still need to buy or get from the library. One I am really not looking forward to it The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I read the first book and I did not like it at all. I am technically a little behind on this one, but I am not too far behind.
  2. Did it!!
  3. I only have 10 more books to go, so I am very excited about that, I thought I was going to have a lot more left on my TBR.
  4. I am more than halfway to my page goal, yay! This is always the goal I am more worried about since I can’t just read short books, manga, or graphic novels to just pump up my numbers. I need to put in the reading work for this one.
  5. I am exactly at the halfway mark for reading 16 non-fictions books. I am really happy to be on track for this one. I have been really in the mood to learn lately and I feel like I will have this goal done very soon.
  6. With everything going on with a pandemic, my library was closed for a very long time so I was not able to borrow from them too much. I could request ebooks, but the ebook waits have sky rocketed since that is the only option for many people. I am not too worried about this goal though since I am not too far off.
  7. I am halfway through this one so I am very much on track. I also have the 3 books in mind I am going to be reading. So, I think this is another “win”.
  8. I picked the book I am going to read and purchased it, I just need to get my butt in gear and actually read it.
  9. As for this year long challenge I am very much on track. I was kinda worried I would have given it up at this point.

How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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TBR

My Owned TBR | June 2020

Owned TBRHello and welcome to my little post about my owned TBR. Last June I shared a post called My Owned TBR | June 2019, I figured it would be fun to look back and see how my list has changed over the last year. I am also going to be doing something a little new, so please let me know if you like it!


2019 Owned TBR

Here is my Owned TBR from last year. At this point in time I only had 44 books on my my shelf that needed to be read. Looking back at this list I can see that I read or unhauled every single one of these books and that kind of blows my mind.


My Current Owned TBR

  • Celtic Mythology by Philip Freeman – A wonderful gift from Ariel!
  • The Night Country by Melissa Albert – Wow, I have quite a few series I want to finish for someone who doesn’t favor series anymore
  • The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black – Wow, I have quite a few series I want to finish for someone who doesn’t favor series anymore
  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas – suggested reading
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – Wow, I have quite a few series I want to finish for someone who doesn’t favor series anymore

I hope you liked this type of writing and comment on my book stacks. I figured I have Procreate, I might as well use it now and again for my blog. Anyway, that is my owned TBR list. I have a total of 33 books, less than I had this time last year I feel like that is a win for two reasons. The first being my TBR is going down and second I want to get my TBR to around 5 by the end of the year. I decided to give To Be Read Time by Read it Forward to see how long it would actually take me to get my TBR to 0. According to this and if I keep up my reading pace of finishing a book every 3-4 days I will finish my TBR by October of this year. I am tempted to give this a shot so I might be posting more about owned TBR list.

What books are on your TBR?

Are any of these books on your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | June 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reading check in! This month is already off to a wonderful reading start. Last month I read so little I didn’t even post a Middle Mark post, but today I can happily say I read enough to warrant a post. At this point my reading has spanned both non-fiction and fiction as I make efforts to better educate myself and continue to grow. Now, on to the books!


Read 2

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better ManualI’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As the descriptions says this book talks about “all of the topics your mama told you never to bring up at polite dinner parties.” There were a wide range of topics in this book from social media sharing to race. But, they were all important ones that needed to be addressed. The author does a really great job of writing no-nonsense and felt like a friend was talking to you. I realized a lot while reading this book and I highlighted so much that I want to go back on and reflect some more.

View all my reviews


 

The Glass HotelThe Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The major theme of this book is moral and moral compromise. Throughout this story many characters are faced with making a decision and coming to terms with their own morality or lack there of. This could be getting into a relationship with a wealthily man not for love, overlooking how greedy they really are. This was an interesting read for sure, but I thought it would not be so focused on the 2008 economic disaster. I thought it would have been more balanced between the three settings put forth in the description. Regardless of this, as I said, this was an interesting read and I did not regret it at all.

View all my reviews


 

QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres.

View all my reviews


Currently Reading 2

I am currently reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I am enjoying it a ton and I should be finishing it today at some point.  I am sitting at around 60% and that chunk I read in one sitting, soo you can see why I am so confident it is going to be finished today. After I finish this I am going to be jumping into my buddy read with Jenna and Reg, we are reading Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz, I have never read a book by this author so I am really intrigued.


What was the last book you read, did you like it?

How are your reading month coming along? 

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