7 Types of Cake You Can’t Say No To – #CakeFlavoredBooks Tag

I love cake. And, I love books. So I was super excited when Jessica from Sea Reads (@sea.reads) tagged me on Instagram for the #cakeflavoredbooks challenge. Here are the guidelines for this tag:

  • There are 7 flavors of cake (listed below).
  • Each cake flavor represents a mood.
  • Choose a book that you associate with that cake.

Here goes!!

🍰 Chocolate Cake: A dark book that you loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I couldn’t choose one, so I threw in two slices of chocolate cake here :). There’s no specific order to the two. I love both novels all the same.

Synopsis of The King: The highest stakes…

My father gambles every night, falling deeper and deeper into debt. When he hits the bottom, he places a new bet: his daughter. I’m his entry bet to the biggest underground poker game.

Every kind of danger circles the velvet-covered table, but only one man makes me tremble.

A trailer park princess.

The son of a criminal king.

We don’t belong together, but I’m caught in a twisted game.

His eyes meet mine with dark promise. And when he puts down his cards, I know I’m going to lose more than my body. I’m going to lose everything.

The King is the first book in Skye Warren’s Masterpiece duet. I read both The King and The Queen back to back, and, yes, it was intense. But, that’s what I like about a Skye Warren read. This author doesn’t throw anything light to the reader. It’s dark, it’s gritty, but it also makes you swoon in so many places. I love that as a reader, I get to experience Penny’s and Damon’s growth and see first hand, the struggles in their relationship. These two were really meant to be.

Synopsis of Nero: Nero is the king of Legacy Prep, living a life of power.
Elle is the school’s punching bag, living a life of fear.
The only good girls Nero knows jump in his bed when he tells them to.
The closest Elle has come to a bad boy like him is in the cafeteria line.
The mob boss gave him orders to find out what she knows.
Her mouth is sealed.

I just want to be a fu**ing made man.
I’m just a fu**ing waitress.

When I first read Nero, the intro reminded me very much of another YA book, but the story takes a drastic turn fairly fast. We’re swipe into a world where violence, sex, and drugs are part of the every day language. Elle and Nero work well in this one. They’re so different; yet, they’re thrown together because of something Elle witnessed. Now, the search hunt is out for Elle, and Nero is supposed to bring her in, and if necessary, put her down. How could he have possibly known that he would fall for her. And, how was Elle, the good girl who keeps to herself, could have possibly guessed that a guy like Nero would put his life down for her. For those of us who are into k-dramas, I think the saying goes something like, “I ‘ship’ these two!”

🍰 Vanilla Cake: A light book.

Synopsis: Darcy Rhone has always been able to rely on a few things: Her beauty and charm.  Her fiance, Dex. Her lifelong best friend, Rachel.  She never needed anything else. Or so she thinks until Dex calls off their dream wedding and she uncovers the ultimate betrayal. Blaming everyone but herself, Darcy flees to London and attempts to re-create her glamorous life on a new continent. But to her dismay, she discovers that her tried-and-true tricks no longer apply–and that her luck has finally expired. It is only then that she can begin her journey toward redemption, forgiveness, and true love.

I actually picked up Something Blue after watching the movie, Something Borrowed. There are times when you want something light, yet meaningful. I did not like Darcy, and I don’t think I’ve completely switched over to her side either. Lets face it, Darcy is shallow and conceited. What redeems her, however, is that she does realize she what a horrible person she was to Rachel and Ethan. We all have our flaws. Darcy just has more flaws than others. That doesn’t mean she’s all bad. Through experience, and Ethan, Darcy learns the true meaning of friendship and love.

🍰 Red Velvet: A book you have mixed feelings about.

Synopsis: Dear Everly,

We promised each other forever, and now that’s gone. My memory of you is our daughter. I said I would never move on, but something happened. Someone moved into the house next door. She works at our daughter’s preschool. Everywhere I go, she’s there. My forever is changing now… I’m falling in love with her. Loving her means forgetting you. Loving her means letting you go. Loving her… means everything to me.

I love you endlessly,

Jake

Dear Everyly is one of my most recent reads. Full review of the book is founded here. On the one hand, I love the concept and pace of this story. I love that Jake is the ever affectionate father. I love that Emily accepts Jake for who he is. On the other, I think the characters and language could have been developed more.

🍰 Strawberry Shortcake: A sweet book.

Synopsis: When Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, she doesn’t know what to do.

The notes tell her that she must write a letter, a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone—not even her best friend, Sal.

It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that’s the case, then Miranda has an even bigger problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.

I know, a middle grade book?! I read this back in my Children’s Literature course in university. This is actually one of my favorite books of all time. I’m not sure what it is. It could have been the time period — the ’90s. It could have been Sal, the average kid. It could have been the mystery and Einstein’s theory about time. Or, maybe it is all of these elements combined. I just fell in love with the cover and everyone in the book. There sure is a surprise at the end too, which makes everything so much better.

🍰 Cheesecake: A book you recommend.

Synopsis: Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Why I would recommend this book? This book is a combination of sweetness and great writing combined. Two young boys, both loners in their own ways, come together. Ari always thought Dante has everything, but is that really true? How does an angry kid end up being the-boy-next-door’s friend and later, confidant? Through friendship, Ari and Dante learn from each other and, in turn, discover themselves. If I remember correctly, each (or most) chapter can be read as a standalone. There are times when I did question the purpose behind this writing technique. But, now that I think about it, true friendship doesn’t happen overnight. There are days when we get super excited with our friends. Then there are days when we’re so bored that we make something out of nothingness. I think that’s kind of the beauty of this book. Friendship, just as our universe, is filled with secrets, and it is wonderous.

🍰 Coffee Cake: A book that kept you up past bedtime.

Synopsis: When I was six months old, I dropped from the sky — the lone survivor of a deadly Japanese plane crash. The newspapers called me Heaven. I was adopted by a wealthy family in Tokyo, pampered, and protected. For nineteen years, I thought I was lucky.

I’m learning how wrong I was.

They say your life begins on your wedding day.

Here’s what happened on mine:
I lost the person I love most.
I learned that everything I knew about my family was a lie.
Now I’m being hunted. I must fight back, or die.

My life ended that day.
The old Heaven is gone.

I AM SAMURAI GIRL.

I read the Samurai Girl Series wayyy back. I really don’t know how I did it back then, but I stayed up reading this series, book after book. I used to pretend that I was doing my homework, just so I could find out what happens to Hiro and Heaven. I was, still am, disappointed by the ending. I mean, come on. I think this is the one time I preferred the t.v. adaptation over the book. Not that the ending from ABC Family was all that great, but compared to the ending in the book? . . . . Nonetheless, this series is action packed, the characters are on point, Heaven definitely knows how to stand her own, and, I binge read these books.

🍰 Carrot Cake: A book with great writing.  

Synopsis: If she tries, Gabriela can almost remember when her father went off to work . . . when her mother wasn’t struggling to undo the damage he caused . . . when a short temper didn’t lead to physical violence. But Gabi cannot live in the past, not when one more outburst could jeopardize her family’s future. So she trades the life of a normal Miami teenager for a career of carefully managing her father’s delusions and guarding her mother’s secrets. As Gabi navigates her family’s twisting path of lies and revelations, relationships and loss, she finds moments of happiness in unexpected places. Ultimately Gabi must discover the strength she needs to choose what’s right for her: serving her parents or a future of her own.

Try to Remember has made me think about an author’s form in fiction writing. The language is not complex by any means. Yet, there is something about the free flowing language and linear time line in plot that brings the reader back to question the setting as well as the characters’ relationship to time. I’m sure that, in one way or another, Gabi is a character many of us can relate. She’s quiet, smart, and someone whom I’d describe as an old soul. Growing up in a chaotic household, to say the least, Gabi tries to make sense of her family and friends. Through books, Gabi finds her sanctuary. Eventually, Gabi needs to make a decision about some things in life. There are so many bittersweet moments in this read that I can’t even remember them all. But I do remember one of my friends caught me in the middle of reading once and said, “Your smiling so happily. That must be a good book.” As a coming of age novel, Try to Remember teaches us how to hold on and how to let go.

So, that’s it for this one. I had so much fun doing this tag because it really made me think about the variety of books I love and why I love them. Someone once said to me, life is lived like flavors in food. Our taste buds can pick up at least six different food flavors. Why shouldn’t we pick up a different “flavored” book every time we dive in for a read.

So, are you on your dessert course yet? What flavored cake is your favorite? I also do the occasional hazelnut cake, as you can see here. 🙂 If you would like to do this tag, please join in. Happy cake eating!

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Book Review: London Casey and Jaxson Kidman, Dearly Everly

“And it all started with a container of blue paint.”
Yep, sometimes life can change simply because of a container of blue paint.
Dear Everly was one of those reads I couldn’t quite place a rating on. I cried, I laughed, I even wanted to punch Jake in the face. The story was heart-felt, but it was also one of those stories where somehow, something felt missing.
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Format: E-book
Synopsis: Dear Everly,
We promised each other forever, and now that’s gone. My memory of you is our daughter. I said I would never move on, but something happened. Someone moved into the house next door. She works at our daughter’s preschool. Everywhere I go, she’s there. My forever is changing now… I’m falling in love with her. Loving her means forgetting you. Loving her means letting you go. Loving her… means everything to me.
I love you endlessly,
Jake (Goodreads).
My Review: The idea of a single dad, getting his second chance at love warmed my heart from the start.
I felt for Jake, for his loneliness and frustration. Being a single parent is hard. Not being able to open up to people is hard. Jake mourns for his wife, Everly, and he doesn’t know if he would ever stop mourning; he doesn’t want to stop. Emily’s entrance into the scene changes everything. She’s sweet, warm, and has a way with Jake’s daughter, Sadie. Jake doesn’t understand why or how Emily has roved her way into their life, but she has. She’s the new neighbor and pre-k teacher, but she has also offered help. Help that, for the longest time, Jake has refused to accept. With Emily, he wants to open up. More important, he begins to care for her. And that scares him.
“I think I found something worse than being alone and heartbroken.
Finding someone to care about and not knowing how to share your broken heart with them.” — Jake.
Emily has her history too. For years, she took care of her grandmother until one day, she’s alone again. Then she sees Jake, this gruff, gorgeous man, a loner, and she sees right pass him.
“And there he stood.
Head down.
I was just there, crouched down, watching him.” — Emily.
While the characters are a definite win, I was annoyed with both of them for their own reasons. First off, Jake, I understand he has his past, but that doesn’t mean he has the right to treat Emily the way he did. One second he warms up to her, and the next, he pushes her away, claiming they can’t do this. And Emily . . . . She’s use to taking care of others. But, when a guy is flakey about his feelings, you don’t say you can be a “whoever” to him. No, you knock some sense into him and say this is where you stand.
The champion of this entire book is Sadie. She’s so cute! A little four year old, still traumatized by the lost of her mother, Sadie knows exactly how to get what she wants. She’s the replicate of Everly, the rock that grounds Jake sane. She has her tantrums too; she is a kid, after all. Those are the moments that remind Jake of his purpose. He remembers that someone in this world, his daughter, still needs him. Similarly, Sadie knows exactly what his dad needs.
“Just when I thought the day was finally over, Sadie hugged me, gave me an extra kiss on the cheek, and she whispered, ‘You should invite Emily, Daddy. She’s alone, like you are. You two should be together.'”
In terms of the book’s form/style, it was hard for me to get into the book at first. My main critique is the use of the word “I” — it was overused. There were sections throughout in which every sentence began with “I”. Personally, I think that made the language terse and choppy. Every time that happened, I had to tell myself to get past those sections and continue reading.
As a side note, I also thought the insta-attraction between our leads did not quite work. I mean, I’m down for Jake and his tattoos any day, but what else? Where’s the angst? The flirtiness? The “I hate you” chemistry? I do see some of those aspects in small and slow cerements, but the chemistry could’ve been more.
All in all, I really enjoyed this one.
MY RATING: 3.5 STARS 
Publication Details: Amazon Digital Services LLC, October 31, 2017.

Book Review: Ilona Andrews, White Hot

“His big muscular body caged me in. He focused on me as if the rest of the world didn’t even exist. When he looked at you like that, he made you feel like you were oat important person in the universe. Every word you said mattered to him. Every gesture you made was vital. It was devastating. I wanted to keep talking and doing things to keep him focused on me just like that”
Ilona Andrews is one of those authors who has always been on the top of my list. This time, however, White Hot didn’t quite work out for me.
Genre: Paranormal
Synopsis: Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.
Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice … (Goodreads)
My Review: Maybe it’s because it has been a while since I read book one in the Hidden Legacy series, or maybe I had a lot to shuffle with when I read book two, but I definitely struggled concentrating on this one. I get that there’s an attraction between Nevada and Rogan. I get that Nevada desperately wants to deny her feelings. I get that Rogan practically functions like a machine. But, in all their messiness, I still wasn’t able to “feel” the tension or complexity of the characters’ feelings.
One of the things that did not work for me and, I believe, has contributed to my difficulty in concentrating on the story are transitions. There were moments and places that felt loose. Some of the scenes jumped around fairly fast. One second, Nevada and Rogan were there, in conversation, and the next scene, someone turns up dead. Nevada is freaked out, just as any human/civilian may react, but — that’s the thing. As a reader, I wasn’t able to sense the severity of the situation. Rather, the whole time I think the lens has turned inward, to Nevada’s and Rogan’s bickering.
On that note, there were moments that really captured me. One of the main traits this book emphasized is Rogan’s humanity. I mean, it’s there all along, but Rogan was and is a soldier all in all. He’s strategic when it comes to combat, but he’s pretty much a ‘Everything’s Black or White’ kind of guy. Through Nevada, we get to see more of Conner, the person underneath Mad Rogan.
It was such an odd thing. Rogan — big, frightening, all coiled violence and icy logic — gently holding a fluffy cat for a tiny child a fraction of his size.
To conclude, I have conflicted thoughts about this one.
MY RATING: 3 Stars
Publication Details: Avon Books, May 30, 2017.

The Autumn Book Tag

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Dani @ Perspective of a Writer for the Autumn Book Tag. Please hop onto her blog if you haven’t already because I sure get a lot of inspirations from her. I can’t believe this is my first tag. Here goes!

Rules should you choose to accept this tag:

  1. Thank the lovely person who tagged you (Me: Average Gal @ When I Reach You
  2. Answer the 9 questions below
  3. Tag some people to do it! Spread the love!

–> Best autumnal themed book cover?

Don’t you just love these covers! When I ran across Kate Daniel’s Fallen, my first impression was, “This is epic.” As for Larissa Ione, she’s actually another of my favorite authors in the paranormal genre. Bound by Night is by far one of my faves from her. I just hope she has a book 3 for this series.

–> Which fictional friend group would you trust with an Ouija board?

What better way to face a Ouija board than to have a witch on your side. Still remember this gal here y’all? I remember watching this show and fell right in love with Salem. I would pick him over Harvey any other day. And yes, I watched the t.v. show and the cartoon.

–> Which book setting would you love to be celebrating in during Halloween night?

Vlad from Jeaniene Frost’s The Night Prince Series just checks off so many of my bullet points. I would love to ask him everything — from his life history to his vampirism. Of course, I’d have to make sure Leila is right next to me when that does take place. I do want to live through the night.

–> Best autumnal food description inside of a story?

I don’t remember if Kate Daniels actually has any “autumnal food,” but I always just associate pie with autumn. We have apple pie, pumpkin pie, lemon pie, cherry pie. So many pies. I’m sure Kate and Curren will share many, many pies together, given the symbolism behind it.

–> Which fictional character would you dress as?

When Cassie Palmer from Karen Chance’s The Cassandra Palmer Series got her coronation, Augustine designed this transparent light blue dress that made our Cassie looked like an actual fairy. Not very Cassie style, I would comment. But I absolutely fell in love with the way the design was described. Ms. Chance actually posted a picture on her Facebook page on one of the dresses she came across that closely resembles Cassie’s dress. I just found my versions here. Yes, they are both fiber optic dresses.

–> An antagonist you would pledge your allegiance to?

Not sure I have an answer to that….

–> The creepiest book you’ve ever read?

Again, don’t really have a creepy book in mind. If I do have to pick one though, it would be a book from my childhood . . .
Please don’t judge. I don’t know what it was about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but the first time I read this book, it was nerve-racking. I’m not sure if it was the language or the visuals I had in mind, but it was a little too much. The same goes for many of the Dr. Seuss books. The drawings often made my little mind spiraled, and I had to put the books down for a while.

–> A book you’ve yet to read but will read this October?

Red Winter. After seeing the cover from Dani @ Perspective of a Writer’s Fall Book Tag, I knew I had to give this series a go. At this point, I’m not sure if I would be able to slip the book into my October reads, but it sure is on the top of my list. I mean, it has Japanese characters, gods/goddesses, romance. Do I need to say more.

–> Which fictional character would you put in charge of the decorations for a Halloween party?

Growing up, I always thought Amelia (Mia) Thermopolis was the sweetest princess. She’s awkward, kind, insecure, has her Laugh Out Loud moments, and two true friends (Michael and Lilly), and later on even Lana. If Mia could give Lana a chance, I think so can I. For those of us who stuck with the series ’till the end, we know that the girl has gone through a lot. I can at the very least understand why she has been so mean to everyone, especially Mia all this time. I also know that she can throw a party. Who knows, maybe she’ll even work with Lilly on this one.

This was a lot of fun, and I can’t help but think of my autumnal foods as I wrote this post. And so . . . I tag all of you! Have fun, and I hope you’re drinking a pumpkin spice or chestnut latte as you do this!

Liebster Award

I would like to give a huge thank you (!) to Melissa from The Bookish Wanderer for nominating me for the Liebster Award. If you haven’t already, do check out Melissa’s blog because the content is just gorgeous.

As some of you may know, I’m pretty new to the (book) blogging community, so to have someone reach out to me really means a lot. I actually had to do a quick Google about the Liebster Award, ha! Okay, so without further to do, let’s get started.

RULES — 

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions they gave you
  3. Nominate 11 blogs
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer

Melissa’s Questions:

What is your favorite blog post that you’ve wrote so far?

I would have to say, “5 Ways to Giving Back, This Holiday Season.” I think that’s the first post I’ve put out into the world where I actually wrote more about my personal feelings and try to raise awareness about specific subject matters.

What/who got you into reading?

It’s as they say, grandma knows best! As a kid, my grandmother would bring us to the library every weekend. In part, I think it was because she didn’t know what to do with us; but, anyhow. I would walk through the rows and rows of bookshelves and realized how small I was. I thought, “If only one day, I could read all the books in the world…”

How do you get through a reading slump?

I would put down whatever was my last read, get my errands done, and browse through Goodreads, and now the blogging community, to get myself motivated again.

What is your OTP!?

Cassie and Mircea from The Cassandra Palmer Series. Sorry, Pritkin fans! On the other hand, I haven’t read the latest book yet, so I could very well change my mind down the road.

Who is your ultimate favorite book character?

Kate Daniels. She’s so badass, someone who can stand on her own, but so loving when it comes to family. She’s a true partner, a perfect mate for Curren.

If you had to choose a book universe to move to forever, where would you go?

Can I say Hogwarts? Or, Buffy the vampire? I would want to have supernatural powers in either universe.

Do you want to be an author? If so, what are you working on currently!

Yes and no. I want to write to have a voice and convey messages, but I don’t necessarily want to commercialize my writing. Plus, I don’t know what I think about the tight deadlines writers experience.

What is your ultimate dream job?

Good question. I’m still not sure at the moment, but I would want to help others discover their talent/issues and work through their dreams, or play a behind the scene role to make sure everyone is fine and projects are implemented.

What book do you wish would be turned into a movie?

Carrie Asai’s Samurai Girl. They already made an ABC mini-series with Jamie Chung, but it’d be nice to see how everything looks when condensed into a 90min movie

What’s the last book that made you cry?

Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns.

What are your top 3 favorite things to do?

Watching Asian drama, listening to podcasts (on self improvement), drinking coffee and tea with friends.

I TAG:

Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner

Steph @ Lost: Purple Quill

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

Jina S. Bazzar @ authorsinspirations

Priyahsa @ Books and Co

Shana @ Bionic Bookworm

Library Mind @ Inside My Library Mind

Reads & Reels @ Reeds & Reels

Chaz @ Life of Chaz

Birdie @ Birdie Bookworm

Hanna @ Hanna’s Book Obession

 

MY QUESTIONS:

  1. What were your thoughts right before you published your first post for your blog?
  2. What is your favorite book from childhood?
  3. Which book genre did you use to not read, but is now reading or might consider exploring?
  4. Which is your least favorite book character? Why?
  5. Which book character do you have a love/hate relationship?
  6. Was there a time when you hated reading?
  7. Are you a writer? What do you write about?
  8. If you could place a book character and a tv/movie character into one room, which two would you pick?
  9. What supernatural power would you not like to have?
  10. Vampires or werewolves?
  11. What is your favorite past time, other than reading?

Alright, that’s all for now. Thanks again to Melissa and everyone who has stopped by 🙂

Lets Talk Confidence

Confidence is hard. I’m not just talking about being confident with our bodies and the self. I’m talking about being confident in the day-to-day activities and even long-term goals of our life.

For the better half of my life, I’ve struggled with confidence. I was lucky enough that things such as peer pressure did not play a huge part in my adolescence. Sure, I’ve been insecure. There were days when I’ve wished I had more prominent eyebrows, or I had thought, “If only I had those blue eyes with double eyelids.” But these were just feelings I had in passing. As a kid, I didn’t necessarily care about what others did that was considered “cool” because I knew what I wanted for myself. If a person didn’t want to be my friend because I didn’t participate in certain activities or looked/dressed a certain way, then I wouldn’t consider that person my friend. I wanted to befriend someone because I genuinely liked that person. With that said, it was pretty clear that my childhood was not surrounded by many “friends.” Which was fine because I could say that every (ok, most) person(s) I’ve built a friendship with are those whom I really care about, and they would forever have a special place in my heart.

So then, what exactly do I mean when I say I’ve struggled (am struggling) with confidence?

Well, right now I’m experiencing a transitional phase. Some may call this my quarter-life crisis. I would like to think I’m over that though, thank goodness. I know what I want, and I know what I need to do. The problem is how do I keep doing what I do in order to get there. They always say, if life throws you lemons, you go make lemonade. But, there’s only so many lemonade one can make and drink in a session. And, no, please don’t tell me to make lemon pies with them. After a while, it really does feel as if you’re left with buckets of lemon, with nowhere to go, and no one to share them. I think that is when I start to question myself, and my confidence goes downhill. You start to ask: Am I good enough? Am I not doing enough? Am I doing this wrong? Should I have done ‘this’ instead of ‘this’ last year, two years ago??

These are questions I’ve been circling around for the past months. Eventually, I’ve realized that I can’t let my negativity get in the way of my future. This does not mean these feelings are not still there. Sometimes I still think about them. Many times I still experience self-doubt. But, I just have to keep moving. I think of myself as a confident person because I know who I am and where I stand; that, in itself, should speak for the things I do.

Here are a few things I’ve been doing to keep myself going, and I thought I’d share with everyone:

  1. Think positive: Positivity is a trait I’ve been working on. And yes, when you start your day by being positive, no matter how wrong that day goes, you’ll still manage to look forward to the next hour of that same day.
  2. Keep doing: It’s easy for us to fall back on what we do. We tell ourselves: There’s no point; I’m tired; I’ve lost motivation. This is just us falling back on old habits. Don’t let our better halves be consumed by abstract thoughts. Especially when they’re thoughts that put us down. A very good friend of mine once said, If you keep doing things, good things will come. Every time I feel let down, I just remember her famous line.
  3. Reflect: Sometimes, we get so caught up in the things we do that we never even bother with, “Hey, hold up!” It’s important that we take a step back and think about our initial goals. That way we can assess what we’ve done and come up with a plan to better implement our projects.
  4. Sleep: Sleep is so important. Sleep gives our body (and mind) a chance to rest up and be prepared for tomorrow. I know that when my body is well rested, I have a completely different outlook on the day. It’s also important to not be bombarded with thoughts right before bedtime. Just because our body is at rest during sleep doesn’t mean that our mind is on hiatus. Can you imagine bringing a laundry list of chores into your mind when it’s trying to put out happy, serene thoughts? No, you’re basically asking for war there.

These are just things I’ve been doing to tell myself I shouldn’t hesitate. It’s even okay to say to yourself, I got this s@*t! Or, just get a cup of coffee/tea, like I do.

Are you struggling with confidence right now? How do you tell yourself to be a more confident person? Do let us know!

5 Ways to Giving Back, This Holiday Season

Today, I want to write about giving back. Over the years, I have found myself loving autumn more and more. It is a transitional season where one foresees the holidays and end of the year wrap ups, a time for friends, cozy blankets, hot chocolates, and of course, books. But, not all of us are so fortunate. The hurricanes these past couple of months said it all, pretty much. Everyone that I know has mentioned about it in one form or another. People across the country are barely surviving, homes are destroyed. The amount of news and media coverage is heartbreaking. I don’t think I’ve yet to come across one person who didn’t mention about this.

But, it’s not just about those who are affected by the hurricane. Just think about the person you saw sleeping on the street while you were on your way to work, or the elderly woman who sat by herself outside a nursing home, or even just your neighbor who is a single parent with two kids and three jobs. Every day, we’re all struggling, some of us with more baggage than others, but we’re all the same. We’re all trying to get by. We’re all trying to hold on. We all want to hold on — to our ambition, to hope.

I try not to get into sensitive subjects on my social media platforms. But don’t you at least, even a little bit, think about what you can do to create change, even for a little while. I’m by far someone with a lot of wealth. I’m also caught up with my personal responsibilities and things to figure out. I know this isn’t fair either. I shouldn’t just be thinking about giving back when the holidays are around the corner. Each of us should give back, in our own ways, every day that we’re given the opportunity. I used to volunteer a lot, but then life happened. Of course, this is no excuse for me. Still, every year around this time, I ask myself, what is it that I can do — we can do – to bring joy to those who are less fortunate. I think that this year, with my coming back to the blogging community, it is the perfect time to put some of these thoughts into action. Here’s a list of things I’ve been thinking we can participate to contribute back to the planet we call home:

  1. Hurricane (Harvey/Irma/Maria) Relief: As superficial as this looks, money helps. I would do research. Look into the organization/charity/foundation. Where do they spend their money? How do they spend their money? Do they take a portion of the money, collect fees? What is their mission? Is their mission carried out through action?
  2. Donate clothes and BOOKS: Don’t just throw out that pair of jeans because they’ve worn out. Donate to the library. Public libraries are so underfunded these days. There are also a lot of charities for children that accept donated books.
  3. Write holiday cards: Many organizations are looking for people right now to write holiday messages for those who are serving overseas (in the military, as teachers and doctors).
  4. Charity Secret Santa: How much more heartwarming is it to read someone else’s holiday wish and help make their wish come true?
  5. Do a Secret Santa of your own with friends: In previous years, my friends and I have done Secret Santas, and I’ve incorporated a few things that has a “community” focus. This way you get to share the joy with your friends and those who are in need.

It is not necessarily about doing or making something big. And there is no reason to do something good Only as the year ends. If I’m going to donate my books, I’m going to donate books, holiday or not.

A few years ago, I read Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places. The book really touched me. It was a book about friendship and loss and (mental) health. It has taught me that even in darkness we may find our light. I think that for many of us, we like read and write not just because we crave to create, but we crave to create so that we can imagine a brighter place, a subaltern that speaks back. So, in the name of chocolates, hot coffee, and books, let us create.Lets put our thinking caps together and use our blogging platforms these couple of months and get the *feels* going this holiday season. What are some ways you give back? Are you already involved with your community? If this is the year you want to lend a helping hand for those in need, how do you plan to do it?