2020: New Year | New Goals

Every year for the last few years, I’ve written out a new set of goals for the year. I am not good at keeping up with them. I tend to not accomplish many of the goals. But that’s okay! I like striving to be better each year, and I make my goals loftier than needed. I’m also super optimistic at the beginning of the year. I don’t know why, especially since around that time I see how few goals I accomplished the year before. But I am optimistic. So, I continue to do this.

But this year, 2020, a new decade, the new roaring 20s, is going to be different. First, I’m planning on changing my life in a large way. And second, I plan on going forward with my goals differently. They’ll be broken up into different categories and I have a smaller list of total goals. Less lofty. More attainable. And these goals aren’t aimless goals I arbitrarily chose to feel as if I was going somewhere with them. They have a purpose. Many of them depend on each other, some are steps needing to be taken in order to accomplish the rest.

Here are my goals for 2020:

Personal

I have the same goals of reading more books, watching more films, and losing more weight. I’ve already been eating mostly plant-based and I’m almost 10 pounds down. In order for other goals (go back to school, etc.) I need to move out of my parents house and get my own apartment (which is, in turn, reliant on me finding some extra income which is another goal down on the list.)

  • read 30-35 books
  • watch 30-35 films
  • lose 50 pounds
    • walk ~every day
    • workout ~3 times a week
    • eat mostly plant-based
  • move into own apartment

Education

Here is where the biggest change in my goals and my life are. I plan on going back to school to study literature and linguistics, to finally get my bachelor’s degree, and hopefully begin a life transitioning from designer to novelist and linguist/historian. (My goal in life is to have a Wikipedia page with a long list of occupations after my name. I want filmmaker on that list, too. I don’t care. I’m that six year old who can’t decide between firefighter, astronaut, or doctor. And I don’t care. Fight me.) I’ve started to relearn all the high school French I’ve forgotten so that I feel confidant in at least one thing while studying linguistics.

  • go back to school for BA
    • apply to schools
    • begin studying literature & linguistics in the fall
  • restart learning French
  • continue self-learning linguistics and Greek mythology

Work

I’ve included writing into “work” because I’ve decided that writing is my job. It’s going to be. Even if I’m not making a single cent right now from it. I will. Anyway, I’m taking it seriously. I’m also going to have to get some sort of consistent income to move and live on my own. Freelancing ain’t it, folks. And anything extra is going to help, so I’ll still be doing some freelance (when it comes about) and finally working on launching a small store to sell some designs, just to have something for some extra cash. I’m looking at different hosting/product sites and hopefully can get that going soon.

  • writing
    • write another screenplay
    • write a short film
    • finish novel, “Calder + Tyne”
    • finish novel, “The Arduous Dance”
  • find flexible/remote/work-from-home design job
  • design and sell stationery/products online

And those are my goal for 2020. I’m excited. This is probably going to be the busiest year of my life. It’s a big year and I hope it all works out!!!

2019: Goals Wrap-Up + Autumn Favorites

I haven’t posted in a while! I never got around to posting my end of the year wrap-up in December or even my favorites post for Autumn (I’m just going to sneak them into this post.) I’ve been busy with a few changes happening in my life! It’s all good things, but definitely time consuming.

Let’s give a quick rundown of 2019. This past year has been what I like to call a transition year. At the end of 2018, the small family business I had started with my mother was tabled for the foreseeable future, as she wanted to get into real estate (which she has done now and is doing great!) but that left me with only doing freelance graphic design and little else. I had bills to pay and since I hadn’t been freelancing full time, I needed to take a job this past summer at my grandmother’s restaurant. One that I hadn’t worked at in years. It felt like a huge step backward in my life. I’ve had three major bouts of depression in my life and the months of February-April 2019 were one of them — though not nearly as severe as the other two. But there all the same.

But that spring, I’d started to realize that design was, though I do like it and I’m relatively good at it, it wasn’t my passion. Actually, this isn’t news. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist (among other things) but always, always a writer since I was twelve. That’s always come first. Design is more of a job I have for now. It’s always been my plan to go to school for design and then work on my novels and eventually transition once my books were published (if that were to ever happen.) And because I’d been learning about linguistics, it quickly became apparent that literature and language is what I’m passionate about. It always has been. Even when I didn’t know it.

So, as I said in a previous post, my plan is to go back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in literature and linguistics. I’m very specifically interested in translation and philology. (I’d always thought that someday I would go back to get a BA, in design or something else, I just didn’t know when and I had no real plans.) So after all of what had happened, I’ve set my sights on actually doing it. I’m applying as a transfer in the next few weeks to several schools that I’ve been looking at. I’m going to have to move fairly far (none of the colleges near me has linguistics programs) and find a remote job (in design, lol) that will be flexible enough for my schedule. It’s all very exciting and very nerve-wracking. But mostly exciting.

And because of all this, my goals that I’d decided earlier on no longer felt right. I still accomplished some! But for the most part, I was just going through the motions for most of this year.

Anyway, here’s how I did on my goals for the year of 2019:

Design

I’ve been doing some freelance work (though very little, and almost none in the last 6 months of 2019) but because my focus for the year shifted and I had to get a job in the summer, I really sort of just let that slide right by. I mean, I’m still available to do freelance work, I just haven’t been trying to get any new clients. My plan to open an online shop for stuff that I design, specifically stationery, has once again come and gone. I set this goal nearly every year, and though this part of design still appeals to me, I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to invest in it. It’s actually still something I’d like to do, just not now. Maybe in the future once things have settled down a bit (ha ha.) Doing a personal design project every week went really well for the first few months until I completely stopped. It was nice to add some things to my portfolio, but after a while, I was bored with it. And again, my mind-set shifted for the whole year after we shut down the business.

  • freelance work
  • plan to open online shop
  • 1 personal design project a week (52) – 20/52 completed. yikes lol

Reading

LOL this one is truly hilarious because I haven’t read this little since 2013! I only read 18 books. And a good portion of them were short and/or graphic novels. I just wasn’t in it this year. I didn’t even complete the Reading Rush and I only set out to read 5 instead of the usual 7. So I definitely didn’t read more often and I DEFINITELY didn’t complete any series/trilogies. Even MORE hilarious, is that I didn’t even finish ONE series or trilogy. I started a NEW trilogy and then DIDN’T start the last book and now it’s just floating out there, waiting for me to finish yet another series. That’s the OPPOSITE of why I’d set that goal!!!

  • read 52 books
  • complete trilogies/series
  • read more often
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) (I mean, I participated, so I’m giving myself this one. LOL)

Books Read in 2019:

  • Vengeful by VE Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – ★★★★★
  • The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – ★★★★★
  • The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • White Cat by Holly Black – ★★★☆☆
  • The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • Red Glove by Holly Black – ★★★☆☆
  • Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K Vaughan – ★★★★☆
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – ★★★★★
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers – ★★★★☆
  • Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince by VE Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • East of West, Vol. 4 by Jonathan Hickman – ★★★★☆
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 10 by Robert Kirkman – ★★★★☆
  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman – ★★★★☆
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★

Writing

I didn’t finish the draft from NaNoWriMo 2018 and I FAILED MISERABLY at NaNoWriMo 2019. I did outline the new fantasy series, for the most part. That’s it. Never even worked on any of the other projects either. I just….it was a ROUGH YEAR okay? hahahaha

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft
  • NaNoWriMo ’19 (giving myself this one, too, because I FAILED but I PARTICIPATED so I DID IT.)
  • outline fantasy series
  • Thoughtless draft 2

Film

I didn’t watch 30 films. BUT, I went to see FOUR new films in the theater!! (Booksmart, Midsommar, Frozen II, and Little Women). That’s HUGE for me. I’ve posted before that I hardly ever see any at the theater. One year, I didn’t even see a single one. But I did it four times! I love going to the movies! I need to do it more! I did NOT, however, write and shoot a short film. I sort of wrote some pages. I sort of shot some footage. But then it just never came together. And I didn’t even write anything else. Not even a PAGE of the screenplay I wanted to write. I planned it! Just never happened. My whole mind just shifted this year.

  • watch 30 films
  • write/shoot short film
  • write feature-length film

Illustration

I’m actually fairly proud of this one. I completed Inktober! I did 31 days of illustrations and I love how most of them came out. I didn’t do 2 days a month, though, but toward the end of this year I was asked to illustrate a local drug prevention book for 1st and 2nd graders, so that’s fun! I’ve been working on that, so by the end of the year I had been doing quite a lot of it so it probably equaled about as much as I would have done if I had done it a few times a month. So I’m giving it to myself. lol

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month
  • Inktober

Health & Fitness

I honestly think that I accomplished walking everyday. I mean, sometimes I couldn’t — raining, traveling, etc. — but for the most part, I walked every day. And I hit 10,000 steps for probably 75% of the days of 2019. That’s so good!!! I didn’t expect to do that well. I did NOT, however, workout three times a week. That died early on and I only got back to it in the later months of the year. I also still have not mastered the art of waking up early. I’m trying, though. Probably a struggle I’ll have forever. I’m just a night owl. It’s in my DNA. 23andMe told me so. I also didn’t drink only 2 sodas a week. I definitely drank more than that, but I didn’t drink any soda in April and I almost completely switched to Diet Coke for the rest of the year (and having only a few a week) and now I’ve completely switched to drinking either sparkling water or Zevia, which is delicious (well, the Ginger Root Beer, Ginger Ale, and Lemon Lime) and only drinking (diet) soda when I eat out (which is rare).

  • walk everyday
  • workout 3x a week
  • go to bed/wake up earlier
  • 2 sodas a week

Other

I didn’t technically accomplish any of these, but I tried. I was enjoying my “intake day” of art a week, but I soon fell into a spiral of depression that left me basically doing that EVERY day and then, again, my life kind of changed a bit so I stopped doing that. But it was helpful at the beginning of the year to go into consumption mode and fill up the creative well. It’s an important part of being a creative person and I still think it’s something I need to remember to do. I didn’t grow my social media following in any way which is completely fine with me. It was a goal in order to achieve other goals and, guess what, my life goals have kind of shifted to something that suits me better and something I want more. So that kind of didn’t work out how I wanted it anyway. All is good there. I was meant to post more regularly here on my blog but I just, quite simply, stopped having the time. It became an after thought. My “Further Learning” series took a backseat as well as I was figuring out what I wanted for my life. But it was a necessary time to figure out, so it was worth it.

  • 1 intake day a week
  • grow social media
  • post regularly on blog
  • further learning – 12 posts

All in all, I think I did all right considering the incredibly difficult life things that occurred!!!

Autumn Favorites

Books:

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo’s first adult novel is so good and so perfectly tailored just for me. A dark, academic, magic-filled, murder mystery set at Yale? Is Leigh Bardugo inside my brain? How does she know that this is specifically a perfect novel for me? She’s magic. Ninth House is too.

The Magician King – I read the second book in the Magician’s trilogy this fall and loved it just as much — okay, not quite as much — as the first. I don’t think any book will top ever top the first for me. And not because it’s particularly good — I mean, it is but. The first just resonated with me at a certain time of my life and I specifically relate very closely to Quentin Coldwater. So. I just really loved the first book a lot. But The Magician King is just as an incredible journey as the first, although I didn’t like the finale quite as much in this one. The way in which they just…find everything so easily and it just stumbles together didn’t quite work for me. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone if you haven’t read it. Anyway, I’m still in love with this trilogy and can’t wait to read the last book. There are few books or series that I am compelled to reread (in fact, I’ve never reread anything other than the first half of Eragon by Christopher Paolini when I was in the the eighth grade) but I definitely plan on rereading this trilogy by Lev Grossman. Again, just as it is with Ninth House, these books seem very specifically for me, and I love that.

Films:

Frozen II – I have very few things to say about Frozen II except for the fact that it’s incredible and far better than the first one and “Into the Unknown” is a million times better than “Let it Go” and I stand by that with my entire heart and soul. I’m an Elsa stan for life, okay?

Little Women – Hi! I’ve been excited for Little Women since I heard about Greta Gerwig (my favorite writer/director/actress of all time) making it. And the cast? Only Meryl Streep (the greatest actress of all time IN MY OPINION), Emma Watson (one of my favorites), Florence Pugh (literally the greatest actress of this new generation she’s so incredible I can’t breathe, her performances in Lady Macbeth and in Midsommar and in this were unfathomably good, I’ve literally been waiting for her to blow up since 2016), Saoirse Ronan (my favorite young actress since I saw her in one of my favorite films, Atonement), Timothee Chalamet (my current favorite actor), and Louis Garrel (my favorite French actor since I was thirteen). THAT’S ALL. I WASN’T EXCITED AT ALL. And to top it all off, this film was perfect. It was so beautiful and I cried so much and laughed and felt warm the entire time watching it. Greta killed it. She MURDERED IT. Saoirse is always so good but the real bright spot was Florence Pugh’s performance as Amy. Her range of playing both a 12 year old girl and a 20 year old woman is astounding, and she plays her with such humor that even when you hate Amy, you love her. This film was the perfect cherry on top of 2019.

Music:

“Northern Lights” by Death Cab for Cutie – Once in a while, I’ll hear a new(ish) song from a band that I previously listened to quite heavily but fell out of sync with — I don’t dislike their music now or anything, they just aren’t on my radar. But I heard Northern Lights and fell back in love with them.

dodie – Both her recent singles “Boys Like You” and “Guiltless” are such good songs. Her voice is so light and beautiful and every song I’ve listened to of hers, I’m just like, “Yes. Good. Another.” Love it.

“Freaking Out the Neighborhood” by Mac DeMarco – Thanks to Nicole Rafiee on YouTube, I’ve been listening to some Mac DeMarco and his song “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” became my favorite song of 2019. I couldn’t stop listening to it for the last five months of the year. I just couldn’t stop. It made it on to every weekly/monthly playlist. It’s so good.

Phoebe Bridgers – Phoebe’s album Stranger in the Alps is just one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. Favorites tracks on it are: “Funeral,” “Motion Sickness,” and “Smoke Signals.” Also am I the only one who mentally mixes up the names Phoebe Bridgers and Phoebe Waller Bridge? lol

Moonshine by Caravan Palace – This song is so fun and upbeat and I really like the sound of it. It’s one of my new favorite songs of all time. I typically listen to darker, depressing music but occasionally a bop will sneak its way into my favorites and this one did.

Television:

Stumptown – Full disclosure, I haven’t watched more than the first two episodes of this show. I’ve been recording the rest on my DVR because I just had Too! Many! Shows! last fall to keep track of. But of what I saw was really great! Cobie Smulders is great in it and I’m excited to continue to watch her carry such a fun, but dark drama like Stumptown.

And here, a general review of the year 2019/the past decade that I posted on Instagram stories:

All right! That’s it! A complete recap of my 2019 and the last post about my favorites of the year.

Inktober – 2019

I particpated in Inktober! And it was a disaster. Not really, but it was hard. I was a solid 5 days behind most of the time, and had to do almost a third of the challenge–10 whole pieces–in the last three days just to finish. It was so hard but ultimately really fun and great and I learned a lot about myself, my work, and I definitely improved several of my artistic skills overall. And I think you can see that through the journey from Day 1 to Day 31…even if the quality of these go up and down throughout, I think it has an upward trend. There were a lot late nights and hurried finishes. But for the most part, I really like the way most of them turned out.

Here was the list of prompts:

I cobbled together my own list from several others that I really liked – I couldn’t choose just one of them!

I won’t go through each and every one, but I definitely have my favorites that I think are better than the rest. And I think most of them turned out well, which is better than the other way around. Anyway, it was fun!

Summer Favorites: 2019

Hello!

I was going to make a Spring Favorites post before this one, but this past summer was just too busy for me to even think about it. So instead, I mashed up my spring and summer favorites into one post. Here’s all my favorite books, movies, shows, and more from the past few months!

Books:

  • The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab
    I’ve mentioned that Victoria V.E. Schwab is my favorite author. And her trilogy, Shades of Magic, is one of my favorite fantasy series. The Steel Prince is a comic book prequel to that trilogy. I read the first volume (six or so issues) and really enjoyed it. The world she’s built is incredible and I really loved seeing that world come to life visually.
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
    The Circle is a terrifying look into our immediate future, or even our present. It shows the worst part of social media and connectivity, an Orwellian glimpse of what companies like Facebook and Google could become — or are already. Although I raced through what is essentially a story about a young woman starting a new job as if it were a spy thriller, I was disappointed in the protagonist’s character arc — which, to me, wasn’t much of an arc at all. Regardless, I enjoyed the book. Even if it made me want to never log in to any social media account again.
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
    The book – or I should say, essay – A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf is one of the best things I’ve ever read. I loved what it says about women and writing: that if they just had a place of their own and the monetary support as men do, they too could reach the notoriety of the great writers of the past, like Shakespeare, for their talents in writing. She brilliantly illustrates this with her essay, imagining a world in which the Bard had an equally-talented sister. It’s a great, important read that I highly recommend to all, but especially those who write.

Film & Television:

  • Killing Eve, Season Two
    I’ve had Killing Eve on my favorites list before but I had to add season two specifically, because it was so good. I’m in awe of the acting ability of Jodie Comer and, as always, Sandra Oh. The writing of this show is fantastic, the dynamic between the two women is genuinely fascinating. And the music??? Ugh, the music is just incredible. I love this show so much.
  • Booksmart
    Y’alllllll this film was hilarious. The writing was smart and it felt real, as of not just this general decade, but of this year. It was one of the better depcitions of teens and coming-of-age stories that I’ve seen. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are truly two of the best actresses of this younger generation. And every side character’s acting (some of them weren’t even professional actors) was great. Billie Lourd’s Gigi is the best, I think about her at least six times a day. Also, I will be pronouncing Barcelona as Noah Galvin does for the rest of time, as it should be pronounced.
  • Midsommar
    This film was beautiful and disturbing and incredible and horrific. It’s such an experience to watch. A beautifully shot, incredibly designed, sometimes-gory experience. The most beautiful horror movie of all time? It’s a trip and a half. It’s intense. I loved it and never want to watch it again. I was completely alone in the theater which was weirdly great – I was able to sit comfortably while the most disturbing piece of art I’d ever seen played out before my eyes. I was glad to be alone. Other thoughts: Ari Aster is brilliant. Florence Pugh is so incredible in everything I’ve seen her in and she’s beyond in this. And, spoilers: Christian had it coming. I’m really sad about the bear.

Music:

  • Unloved
    Aaaaaand, speaking of Killing Eve, Unloved is a band and a lot of the music played on the show is their own. I love the music on that show and I’ve been enjoying their music a lot. I especially love When a Woman is Around and Crash Boom Bang. These songs were kind of the soundtrack to my entire June and July.
  • Billie Eilish
    My GOD, this girl is talented. Her music is so dark. It’s like depression with a beat. Her videos are real creepy too and I like it. I especially love her songs, When the Party’s Over, Bury a Friend, Ocean Eyes, and of course, the song of the summer, Bad Guy.
  • half.alive
    Yooo this new band is great. Their first single still feel. was my jam for a few months after it was released and now their whole album has come out and it’s so good. Here’s literally just a list of the songs that I’m loving: ok ok?, arrow, creature, RUNAWAY, and ice cold (feat. Kimbra). Soooo good.
  • CJ Bissett
    Ok. So. I know of CJ Bissett through his sister’s YouTube channel. He’s recently just released his very first gothic folk rock album, Arthur & Jane, and I looooove it. It’s an incredible album. Some favorite tracks: So He Waited, Arthur & Jane, Pink Flower, Gimme a Year, and Take it to the Ocean.
  • Foxwarren
    My current favorite song is Everything Apart by Foxwarren. I can’t describe why I love it so much, it just has that perfect tempo and sound that I’ve been looking for in a song. It’s my true match. A perfect song. I also really love their song Sunset Canyon.
  • Vampire Weekend
    And last but not least, Vampire Weekend’s new album (Father of the Bride) came out a real long ass time ago, but I didn’t do a Spring Favorites post so it’s coming up now. I listened to this album almost exclusively during all of May. There was some special moments back during that month and I immediately remember them when listening to any of the songs. My favorites are these: Harmony Hall, Bambina, This Life, and Sympathy.

Other:

  • StarKid
    So this past spring, I had a bit of a mental hiccup and quarter-life crisis. Again. No big deal, it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine. I basically did nothing during all of April. One thing I DID do, is become enraptured by the wonderful world of StarKid. I originally watched A Very Potter Musical when it came out while I was in high school but didn’t know until 2016 that they’d done other shows! It was the “I Don’t Want to do the Work Today” meme from their show Firebringer that allowed me to re-find them. But when I originally went to watch it, I saw that it was two hours long and I didn’t have time, so I saved it for later…then promptly forgot about it. Three years later, this year, I remembered it and decided to watch. It was hilarious. I loved it. I moved on to their other shows, The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals, Twisted, and my personal favorite, The Trail to Oregon! They’re all great. And that led me to find the group the Tin Can Bros, some of the guys from the StarKid crew who make their own stuff together. Their show, Spies are Forever, was so good and featured a familiar face to me, Mary Kate Wiles from my favorite web series, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. Which leads me too…
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party
    The team of Shipwrecked, Mary Kate included, often collaborates with some of the StarKid and Tin Can Bros crew. So from StarKid, it led me all the way to to find my current favorite web series/film: Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party. It’s a very funny story of Edgar Allan Poe inviting a group of literary guests (anachronistically ranging from Mary Shelley to Hemingway) for a murder mystery dinner party that becomes and ACTUAL murder mystery. It’s so good and funny. It’s the best. I plan on watching it again around Halloween.
  • Nathaniel Drew
    I recently stumbled upon Nathaniel Drew’s YouTube channel and I really dig his videos. He has such a great point of view, has incredibly well-shot and edited videos, and has really been changing the way I look at things. I really appreciate the time and effort he puts into his videos.
  • Nikki Nasty (Nicole Rafiee)
    My new favorite, hands down. She’s hilarious. Her videos are just about her life, being at college, being vegan, jokes about her dad who left her as a child, etc. just stuff like that. She’s so funny and her videos are edited so well. She makes a video about gluing rhinestones to her inhaler entertaining as hell. She’s great!

Okay that’s all my favorites from the last few months! I can’t believe it’s already fall. The leaves are starting to change! It’s getting cold! It’s insane. I’m exhausted already. Stay safe and brace yourself for the coming winter, folks. It’s coming up fast.

✌️

The Reading Rush – 2019

Hello!

Last week was the Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) and I participated again! It was fun! I read a lot! But still not enough!

This year was tough for some reason. They changed it up, so now there wasn’t the main challenge of reading seven books in the seven days. So it could be any number! I chose five! And it was still extremely difficult for me. I mean, I’ve reached 6.5 books. It shouldn’t have been THAT hard, yet here we are, the Monday after, and I’ve only read 3.5 books.

Here was my TBR and what I actually read:

Saga, Vol 9 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples (COMPLETE)
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (COMPLETE)
The Circle by Dave Eggers (COMPLETE)
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (HALF)
Black Heart by Holly Black (NEVER EVEN TOUCHED)

Here’s the breakdown of my days reading:

  1. Read a book with purple on the cover (The Near Witch)
  2. Read a book in the same spot the entire time (Saga, Vol 9)
  3. Read a book you meant to read last year (-)
  4. Read an author’s first book (The Near Witch)
  5. Read a book with a non-human main character (Saga, Vol 9)
  6. Pick a book that has five or more words in the title (A Room of One’s Own)
  7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation (The Circle)

I read 928 pages, which is a lot for me, sure. In a WEEK? That’s insane. Sometimes I don’t get that in a month. I’m just disappointed because I didn’t get to all of them. I thought, SURELY, this year, with no 7 books challenge, I could get to 5??? Nope. I was too tired and kept falling asleep while reading by day 4.

Oh well! I still read a lot, had fun, and can’t wait for next year!!!

I will say that the whole little team of two or three who run the Reading Rush do, and especially did this year, an incredible job! The new website is awesome and fun. The new name is great and easier for my family to understand what I’m doing for a week (lol). The whole experience was great. I just wish I’d had more time to read this year!

2019 Goals: Reevaluation and Changes

It’s that time of year again, where I reevaluate my entire life and decide to change my goals for the year. It’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

So let’s do a quick recap of the goals I’ve set at the beginning of 2019 and where I’m at.

Design

  • freelance work (I’m still chugging along, always in the need of more clients)
  • plan to open online shop (this is a slow process that I’ve been procrastinating on but I think I’m going to focus more on it soon)
  • 1 personal design project a week (52) (I’ve done about 20 so far, having a bit of a hectic June/July, but I think I’ll get back to it)

Writing

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft (good LORD, this book is long and I haven’t had many days to focus on writing it)
  • NaNoWriMo ’19 (coming in November!)
  • outline fantasy series (I have been doing this and it’s been swell! outline isn’t totally done but I have mostly outlined the big picture arc of the series and the first book’s full outline to write during this year’s NaNoWriMo!)
  • Thoughtless (a book I should be writing) (lololol)

Reading

  • read 52 books (lololol, I’ve honestly been trying to read more I swear – I’ve read 9 thus far, but Reading Rush is happening now and I always read more later in the year it’s fine it’s fine I’m fine everything’s fine)
  • complete trilogies/series (literally forgot this was a goal, but I haven’t really done this yet at all, but I have a few second and third books to read, so maybe?)
  • read more often (I’m trying, okay?)
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) (happening as I type this!!!)

Film

  • watch 30 films (I’m about halfway there, which is great! TWO already in theaters!)
  • write/shoot short film (in process of writing, will decide if I want to shoot it in August???)
  • write feature-length film (probably this fall)

Illustration

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month (nah, man I don’t have the capacity – I think my time with illustration has come to an end, I’ve reached my peak, I can’t get any better without more focus and time but it’s all good)
  • Inktober (still doing this because it’s fun!!!)

Health & Fitness

  • walk everyday (have been doing great!!!!)
  • workout 3x a week (lol was doing well but stopped for a few months but back on it!!!)
  • go to bed/wake up earlier (kind of? 7am average is early, right?)
  • 2 sodas a week (I gave this up looooong before April even began but I have to say, most of the sodas I drink now – which the number has gone down significantly, but nowhere near 2 a week – are diet, which ain’t great for me but I’m trying)

Other

  • 1 intake day a week (was doing this for a while and loved it but I think an hour a day would be better? it just didn’t fit within my schedule)
  • grow social media (I’m trying but no one likes me it’s not my fault lol)
  • post regularly on blog (I have been doing this! if you read these posts, you probably could tell. I doubt it though, I see the traffic on this blog and it’s looooow but still!)
  • further learning – 12 posts (killin’ this, I love it so much and this is a great segue….)

There’s been some changes happening in my life, over the last year or so. I’ve been thinking about it and thinking about it, and I have come to the decision that I want to go back to school.

That’s right! Back to college. Back to the book learning. Since doing “Further Learning” on this blog, I’ve realized how much I love learning and how much I love learning about language, specifically. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve been thinking about going back to school for Linguistics and/or English and creative writing. Maybe something else. I haven’t nailed anything down yet. (I’ve been looking at schools and doing some research about it, though. It’s weird being a “non-traditional student” going to school later in life at 26. There’s so many questions and it’s not easy to navigate.) But I miss school. I regret not going to college formally. I need a big, wonderful change in my life.

For a few years now, I’ve been feeling restless, feeling like my life has hit a weird stand-still. That stagnant, static life of mine burst to life briefly last summer when the opportunity to live in Spain for just under a year came about. It was exciting and terrifying and I felt like, Ah, yes, finally, my life is about to start. But when that fell through, and the small business I was co-running decided to (maybe temporarily) shut down, I felt that same static feeling wash over me again. I’m just here. Waiting and wanting and unhappy about it.

It took me a while to realize that I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to want. I can do, I can seize. All I have to do is pick myself up and do it. And I’m tired of feeling like I can’t do the things I want.

So I’m going to. It’s going to take some time. I don’t know when school would be happening. I need to figure out all of that and figure out my life as I work toward getting there, because I still need money and to work in the mean time.

That’s my new goal for this year. The main goal. And I’m excited and terrified and it feels great.

My Son, Draco

I’ve become a father. A #PlantDad to my son, Draco.

After many years of thinking about it, I finally decided to buy my first plant. I’ve wanted a house full of plants for a long time and, now, in the Year of Our Lord 2019, I have decided that I needed to begin my collection of plant children.

My first son is named Draco, short for his Latin name, Dracaena deremensis is also called a “Lemon Surprise” for reasons I am not yet sure of. What’s so lemony about the plant? Where’s the surprise??? I don’t know any of these answers. For now, he’s a good boy livening up my bedroom in a nice medium light where he’ll be happy.

I’ve named him Dracaena “Draco” Lemon Challancin. Because I’m extra af.

These are from my Instagram stories from the day I bought him:

I freaked out my cousins with the first story. I didn’t give any context.

Plants are basically easy pets. You just water them. There’s not much of a commitment after that. They brighten up the room. They make it more beautiful. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get a plant!

Anyway, I know a Hufflepuff naming a plant Draco is insanity, but it suits him and fits his scientific name. We went with it and now there’s no going back. He’s Draco. And he’s my son.

Winter Favorites: 2019

Spring is here! It’s still fairly cold and there’s still a lot of snow because I live in The North, but technically, it’s here!! I’ve been doing “favorites” posts on this blog for a few years now and usually struggle to remember things that, in the moment, I would mentally say to myself, “Oooh, this is a cool thing! I should share this in my next favorites post!” and then it would vanish from my brain. I’d sit to write the post and be like, “Um…did I read anything this month?” But not anymore! Now that I’m doing these favorites posts by season instead of monthly, I have a beautiful new spread for each quarter in my Bullet Journal and there’s a whole section to write down my favorites instead of trying to remember them. So I have them all! All in one spot!

Anyway, here are my very organized and all-remembered favorites from this past winter:

Books:

  • Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
    Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite writers. Everything that I’ve read of hers is smart and hilarious, and for real, she does murder mystery/boarding school stories so. well. I read her Shades of London series (still waiting for the last book; please, please, please) and just started her more recent series starting with Truly Devious and its sequel, The Vanishing Stair. Both are similar (murder with a connection to something historic, a boarding school, YA, female protag) accept Shades of London is set in England and has ghosts. To be honest, I think I loved Truly Devious even more than the first book in the Shades of London series, The Name of the Star—and I really loved that book. Truly Devious is so good that I literally couldn’t put it down (I read this book in two days, which is so rare for me) and I quickly read the second book, too. I’m dying to get to the third, but it doesn’t come out for a year!
  • Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
    Victoria (V.E.) Scwab is my favorite author of all time. Her books are beautifully crafted and inspire me to be a better writer every time I finish something of hers. They’re just so good. Vengeful is the sequel to her adult debut, Vicious, about two college friends who discover the secret to gaining superpowers and they both become villains…and heroes, in their own minds. It’s so good and was a perfect sequel to the first book.

Films:

  • The Royal Tenenbaums
    I know that I’m ridiculous late in modern classic films, I get it, but I haven’t seen much of any Wes Anderson films in my life. Which is crazy, because Wes Anderson films are, now that I’ve seen them, very much My Jam. I’d seen Rushmore many years ago when in high school and Moonrise Kingdom during that Academy Awards year (I used to watch all the nominees before/after the ceremony but haven’t been able to for a few years) and liked both. But I hadn’t taken the time to watch anything else by Anderson until this passed year. The Royal Tenenbaums is, um, one of my new favorite movies. I watched it six times in January. I get it now. I get it. I’ll watch more Wes Anderson, okay?
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    I watched this film at a great time for me to watch it: when I was very depressed about not being able to move to Spain for 8 months. Well, it made me more depressed because oh my god, I just want to be there. But also, it made me feel, almost like I’d gone? Not really. But it helped a bit. Anyway, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a great film but it’s made even better by the performance of Penelope Cruz. I mean, she obviously won an Oscar for it, but now I fully understand why.
  • Inside Out
    I was born in the early 90s, so I’m a Pixar kid through-and-through, but I neglected to see Inside Out until recently. It made me cry. A lot. Not as much as Up (like, just thinking about Up for more than ten seconds makes me sob) but still a lot. It’s a sweet, funny classic Pixar film but with probably my favorite concept of any of them. Emotions have emotions!? It’s so good!
  • Call Me By Your Name
    Listen, I read this book at the end of 2017 and loved it. It’s a beautiful story about two young men (one seventeen, the other twenty four) beginning a summer romance in Northern Italy. It’s a great story that explores the teenager’s sexuality—there’s an entire scene, the “peach scene” if you’ve heard of it, that works so well to describe his bisexual feelings for his girlfriend and the man he’s attracted to. Though this doesn’t translate perfectly on film, it’s important in the book. Most of all, I just love the film because of the scenery (and Timothee Chalamet’s incredible performance) because Northern Italy is so beautiful and it happens to be set near where my family is from, and I’m desperate to visit there live there.
  • Design for Living
    I’ve been working on watching more classic films, and just more films in general, but specifically from the 30s to the 60s at the moment. I’ve seen a few prior to starting this (some of my favorites are Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Charade, How to Steal A Million, and Singin’ in the Rain) but really want to see as many classics as possible. So, I started with Design for Living (I’ve been recording sooo many on my DVR that play on Turner Classic Movies channel) from 1933. It’s a pre-Code film (the Hays Code is what they came up with that enforced what was and wasn’t allowed in a film) so it is quite risque! It’s a comedy about…well, a throuple. They mention sex, directly calling it “sex” and the female lead angrily says “fucking” (not in a sexual context) which, to my knowledge, is the first time the f-word was ever in a film! It wasn’t on screen again until the late 60s/early 70s. But other than the SCANDAL of it all, it’s funny and the leads are great, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Also, A THROUPLE. IN 1933.

Music:

  • Aurora
    If Hozier and Florence Welch are King and Queen of opposing fae courts, Aurora is their teenage, runaway love child. Her voice is incredible, and I’ve talked about her before, but her new album Infections of a Different Kind (Step I) is so good. Especially the songs, Forgotten Love and Gentle Earthquakes, my current favorites.
  • “Lead, SD” – Manchester Orchestra
    I discovered Manchester Orchestra on iTunes while looking for new music and really dug their song Lead, SD. It’s a bit more of a thrasher than the other songs (like The Gold and The Maze) that I like from their album A Black Mile to the Surface, which is the only album I know of them. Anyway, the song is great.
  • “Monster” and “She” – dodie
    These two songs by dodie are SO GOOD. Her new EP just came out and I love it. She is a beautifully written song that I felt real hard and Monster is a bop. Both great. That’s some good shit right there.
  • Orla Gartland
    I heard of Orla Gartland because she plays guitar for dodie and boy oh boy, her music is top notch. I Go Crazy and Why Am I Like This? are so good. I’ve listened to them a lot and relate to Why Am I Like This? a whole lot. Like a lot a lot. Plus Orla is just so cool. she reminds me of a young Jodie Foster if young Jodie Foster had been in a band.
  • “The Joke” – Brandi Carlile
    This song made me cry the first time I heard it, which is always a good sign of a great song. It’s powerful. I’ve loved Brandi Carlile since The Story, way back in the mid-00s. But I hadn’t heard much of her music since then and kind of forgot about her. Well, she’s just been nominated for a million Grammy awards now, hasn’t she? I don’t think I’ll forget about her ever again.
  • “still feel.” – halfalive
    This song my jammmm. I don’t know where Half Alive came from but I’m glad their here now. The music video for this song is beyond good. The song is beyond good. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. I’ll be sad for the day that I’ll become sick of it from playing it too much.
  • “You’re Somebody Else” – Flora Cash
    I heard this duo sing this song live on a talk show and I loved it, then I heard the TWO different versions (acoustic and original), and I loved it even more. It’s a really nice, mellow and beautifully-sung song.
  • “Give A Little”- Maggie Rogers
    I saw this song and Maggie Rogers’ new album on so many people’s Instagram Stories that I eventually had to give in and listen. It’s a bop. I love it and can’t stop listening.
  • “Moderation” – Florence + the Machine
    Y’all should know I love Florence + the Machine and I was thrilled to see a new single come out. Moderation isn’t really my favorite Florence song but it’s still a great one and I’ll always appreciate new Florence songs to add to my collection like a dragon hoarding gold.

Television:

  • The Alienist
    To be COMPLETELY honest, I’ve only watched the first episode and just haven’t found the time to binge the rest. Also, this show came out in the winter of 2018, I think in January? Anyway, I’d recorded them all on my DVR and just recently decided to give it a watch. The first episode is real good, though it’s hella dark–I mean litereally, I watched it in the day and STRUGGLED to see what was happening. I had to close the curtains and squint. But it’s also dark, dark. But well-acted and intriguing, which I’m always here for.
  • Deadly Class
    Full disclosure, I’ve only watched the first few episodes of this show, too. But I think I like it! I think. I’m still not sure. I don’t know what this show wants to be but I like the premise of a school teaching teens to be assassins and so I’m hoping it will get better as time goes on. Should I really include it as a “favorite”? Not really. But it’s my blog and I can do what I want.
  • Miracle Workers
    I really like this show a lot. I can’t help but compare it to the similar, and so far still superior show, The Good Place, but Miracle Workers is funny, and stupid, and aesthetically cool–like, the wardrobe and set design is killin’ it on this show. It doesn’t have the smarts or heart (yet) of The Good Place, but I still really enjoy watching it because the premise of Miracle Workers is still unique enough, and funny enough, for me to continue to watch on a weekly basis (something I don’t know I would’ve done with The Good Place’s first season, as I binged it all in one go.)

Other:

  • Package Free Shop
    I’ve been following a more “zero waste” life style in the last year or two, trying to reduce my plastic use in as many aspects of my life as possible–like using reusable bags when shopping, using less plastic wrap, buying less products that come in non-recyclable or difficult to recycle (in my area) plastic, using reusable bamboo cutlery and stainless steel straws instead of one-use plastic, using a bamboo toothbrush, making my own deodorant (it’s very easy), and using shampoo bars and bar soap instead of shampoo and body wash in plastic bottles. Package Free Shop (co-started by one of the first people I discovered online that is “zero waste,” Lauren Singer) is an amazing shop (physically in NYC, globally online) that sells package free and plastic free goods like some of the things I listed above (I just recently purchased a shampoo bar, bamboo toothbrush, and stainless steel straws). It’s a great online shop for a lot of the items I wouldn’t be able to buy anywhere else because of where I live (the middle of nowhere.)
  • Mary Shelley Shirt
    So, this one is mostly telling you about the shirt I designed again. I wanted a shirt that said Mary Shelley is My Homegirl with an illustration of her, a parody of the Mary is My Homegirl with the Virgin Mary. I was upset it didn’t exist anywhere, because I thought it was hilarious, and then I remembered that I could literally just make one for myself. So I did! And I left it up on Redbubble, where I’ll be ordering one for myself, to see if anyone else liked it. (No one has bought it yet, lol). Anyway, I love the shirt and I can’t wait to wear it.

And those were winter favorites of 2019!

Illustration – Progress Update #4

So for the last few years, I’ve been working on my illustration skills. I’ve been slowly getting better with practice. The reason that I wanted to improve, was that I wanted to incorporate more illustration work and styles into my design work. Not only that, I just think illustration skills can make a more well-rounded designer.

Art is something that I’ve loved since I was young. But after high school, I just sort of stopped while in design school. And even before, I was never that good at drawing. I worked hard on it but always felt like my work wasn’t good enough. However, now, I’m thrilled with my progress. I’m nowhere near some illustrators I’ve seen, and may never get there, but I’m happy to keep working and learning and growing as a self-taught, hobby-illustrator.

The images below are some sketches (I mostly do faces; it’s my go-to) and some full-color illustrations I’ve done. The bird is unfinished – I’ll get it it some day – and I did Inktober, which are all the spooky little ones on a few pages.

Here are my favorite sketches and illustrations I did in 2018:

2019: New Year | New Goals

2019 is a brand new year! I’m a big believer in setting goals, not resolutions, and working toward accomplishing tasks rather than setting out to make “big changes” in my life. Last year was rough and, even though I don’t like resolutions, I do like the blank, clean slate a restarting of the calendar can give, even if it’s kind of arbitrary.

Last year, I tried to do too many categories with too many goals to keep up with. I tried splitting my time as evenly as possible between them and realized that some things aren’t as necessary for me to focus on. And I’ve been doing a “monthly focus” where I focus on one thing more than the other each month, but found myself not devoting enough time to each. So this year, I want to focus on three more than that others. My main focuses will be design, reading, and writing — three things that suffered last year, along with everything else, even though they’re more important. I’ll be doing less illustration practice and simplifying my health and fitness goals, but keeping film on the same level. I’ll break it all down below.

Here are the goals I’m setting for 2019:

Design

This year, I’m going to be continuing freelancing on the side — especially in the first few months, as I’m getting a large break from my main source of income with the small business I co-run until summer. So I’ll be focusing on doing more freelance design jobs this winter/spring. With that, I’m hoping to work more toward opening an online store of products (like cards, stationery, prints, etc.) with my designs. It was a goal last year, but I didn’t have the time, and now I have some so I would love to get it going — many steps before that happens, however. With that, I want to start doing some of these designs, and others, outside of work — like the book covers I did for practice/fun a few years ago. I want to do more, with a goal of one a week to keep my creativity going between freelance work.

  • freelance work
  • plan to open online shop
  • 1 personal design project a week (52)

Reading

I never read as much as a I want to. I want to change that. That’s why reading is one of the main goals I have this year. It’s so important for me, not just as a writer, but as a person, to read more. It’s something I love. I’m setting my Goodreads goal for 52 books. I know, I know — if you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve done this before and every year, I don’t get anywhere near 50. But I want to focus more on reading specifically. So I hope I can do it. If I just double my reading time this year, I’ll make it. I also want to return to some old reading lists — I have several series and trilogies that I’d just like to finish or continue.

  • read 52 books
  • complete trilogies/series
  • read more often
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon)

Writing

This year, my goals for writing are pretty much the same. With NaNoWriMo 2018, though I wrote 50,000 words and completed the challenge, the book itself is far from finished and I’d like to complete it. I’d also like to do NaNoWriMo again this year, outline a new fantasy series that I’ve been thinking a lot about, and continue to work on the book I’ve been working on — or supposed to be working on — Thoughtless.

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft
  • NaNoWriMo ’19
  • outline fantasy series
  • Thoughtless

Film

I’m more or less keeping my goals for film the same. Instead of wanting to see 25 new (to me) films, I’m going for 30, which shouldn’t be an issue at all because I was able to do 25 easily last year. I’d also still like to do a small, short film project — I wrote one two years ago that I love, but it’s not a feasible film to create on my own — and write another feature-length film, as I did last year.

  • watch 30 films
  • write/shoot short film
  • write feature-length film

Illustration

I’m doing a total change to my illustration practice. I’ve been steadily better in the last few years, which is great, but I’ve been taking too much time focusing on it. Last year, sketching a few times a week, everyday for two separate months, and doing several full-color illustrations a month was two much. This year, I’m going to just do two days a month where I sketch and illustrate for a few hours, and do Inktober with daily prompts. Much more doable with everything else and I think I’ll like it more, as I was getting frustrated that I had to do it every week instead of wanting to.

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month
  • Inktober

Health & Fitness

For health and fitness, I’m going to continue to walk everyday — though, the last two months of 2018 were spent doing nothing — and working out 3 times a week. I’d also still like to try to get up earlier and so far, I’ve been slowly going to be earlier to do so (skipping New Years Eve festivities and going to be early helped set that habit and realign my sleep schedule). I’m adding, however, a tracker in my bullet journal on how much soda I drink –both diet and the occasional regular — and would like to limit myself to about two a week instead of the one, sometimes two, a day. I already had three this week, so I’m not doing great, but if I could do without it for the Whole30 for a few weeks last January, I think I can do it.

  • walk everyday
  • workout 3x a week
  • go to bed/wake up earlier
  • 2 sodas a week

Other

I have a few stragglers for the year that I’m adding here. This year, I want to take one work day each week (I work six days, Mon-Sat) and devote it to solely intake, filling my creative well. Whether that’s watching a film, reading, going to a museum, going for a walk, etc. — just stepping back from outputting and creating, and making sure to absorb (this will obviously help with my reading and film watching goals). This is so important as a creative, and I think sometimes I forget — and wonder why I occasionally have a creative block when working. Another thing is, I’d like to grow my social media following more — I’d like connect more with people and grow my numbers before opening my online shop. I plan on posting the designs I’m doing more often and be more engaged than I have previously. Not only just on social media, but here on this blog. I want to post more and be more active here. Speaking of, another goal is to post about my further learning journey that I posted about a while ago. I’m learning a lot about language right now and want to move on to Greek mythology later this year. My goal is post once a month about things I’ve learned, things I’ve found interesting.

  • 1 intake day a week
  • grow social media
  • post regularly on blog
  • further learning – 12 posts

As I said, I also like to choose a specific month to focus on these goals more than the others. I find it helps, especially with something like NaNoWriMo and Inktober. It makes it easier to let a few things slide and focus on just one each month.

  • Jan: Design (plan + research for shop, freelance)
  • Feb: Writing (NaNoWriMo ’18 draft, outline fantasy series)
  • Mar: Reading (5-6 books)
  • Apr: Design (continue planning shop)
  • May: Film (write/shoot short film)
  • Jun: Writing (Thoughtless)
  • Jul: Reading (4-5 books + Reading Rush 7 books)
  • Aug: Film (write feature-length)
  • Sep: Design (open shop?)
  • Oct: Illustration (Inktober)
  • Nov: Writing (NaNoWriMo ’19)
  • Dec: Reading (5-6 books)

Looking at all these goals has me wondering if I should try to choose a few less hobbies. This is normal, right? It probably is. I’m just interested in a lot of stuff. Anyway, those are my goals for the year.