Laguna Tattoo & A Day Out with the Sister

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When I was younger, I always loved the idea of having a tattoo, but in some ways I never thought I’d get one. I eventually did – pretty much the second I finished college and could afford one. That was around two years ago (yes, I’m an old geezer compared to many of you ha!). I just recently got my second one a couple of months ago. The commitment seemed intimidating, but honestly, once you’ve got one, it doesn’t really matter anymore. You get addicted to the process and end up wanting more and more.

My sister went with me to get my first one two years ago, so it only seemed fitting we go together for her first. So a couple of weeks ago, that’s what we did. She visited my new apartment on a Friday and stayed the night so we could load up on brunch the next morning. Nothing like pancakes to hold you through the pain. Then, we made the trip south to Laguna Tattoo.

I’d never been to Laguna. It’s an interesting city, not too different from Venice or Long Beach or any other beach city really. We spent most of the time in the shop, so we didn’t get to spend too much time exploring.

It was a good day though. It was exciting to be a part of the process with her. I would show you the finished ink, but it was a floral piece that curved along her hip. In other words, none of the pictures I took were really safe for work.

Now I’m itching to get my second one finished. Hopefully soon.

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Apartment Inspo

HI FRIENDS.

So this is entirely un-bookish, but this blog hasn’t always been a purely book blog and it’ll probably continue on that way. I hope you don’t mind the occasional life and other things post. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of book posts in the pipeline. Anyways, I’ve always wanted my own place to have a clear sense of style and design. That’s really hard to do when you’re always sharing your space with other people, whether that’s family or roommates or whoever.

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So now that I’ve officially got a place just for me and the bae (and soon, a kitty or two), I’ve been slowly accumulating furniture and decorations for our little home. I think my original ideas were slightly different, but taking all of my boyfriend’s tastes and things into account, I ended up deciding on more of an industrial style with lots of blues, oranges, and metal tones laid over a white, black and grey foundation. Everything is still very much so in progress, so no pics of the space yet!¬†But here are some of my picks from my Pinterest board, so you can get a sense of what I have in mind for my new place. I’ll be posting updates of my various rooms as we furnish them!

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I loved the idea of black mismatched chairs and a wooden table, but ultimately, getting a complete dining set was a lot more budget friendly for us. So we picked one that fit as closely as possible, but it was definitely a compromise on something that I had previously been pretty decided on.

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This is a pretty wide range of colors, but I think it’s a strong guide for what we’re aiming for throughout the whole apartment. The kitchen is a little bit more ash-wood heavy with golds and greens. The living room is a lot of black, deep blues with more orange and gold highlights. The bedroom as it stands is very white and gray with hints of a deep brown and some rich blues.

We’ve made a lot of slow progress so far! Our main furniture pieces came in recently and I finally got around to assembling them while I was home sick over the weekend. Can’t wait to share more pics in a few weeks!

Also, there’s just a couple more weeks left for my A Darker Shade of Magic Giveaway! Don’t forget to sign up! ūüôā

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A Darker Shade of Magic | GIVEAWAY

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Image Source : Folded Pages Distillery

Hi friends!

Guess who’s doing another GIVEAWAY! ūüôā This girl. Anywho. You all know I love this series and all of you, so I am gifting a paperback copy of¬†A Darker Shade of Magic¬†to one lucky winner. This little giveaway box will include the book as well as a few other reading time goodies, which I will keep as a surprise for the winner!

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I’m running this giveaway through rafflecopter! So just enter here or click the big old “click here to enter” banner below. Make sure the email you enter with is a valid one so I can contact you if you win!

The giveaway ends on¬†June 30th. I’ll declare a winner and ship out your box that weekend! Hopefully you’ll get it in a week or so depending where you are. International entries are totally A-OK! Aaaaaand….that’s it! Hope you guys enjoy! If this goes well, I’m open to doing a lot more giveaways in the future. Anything to help spread the book love!

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As always, Happy Reading!

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The Happiness Tag

Thank you to both Nadwa @ Painfully Fictional and Holly @ Nut Free Nerd for tagging me in the Happiness Tag! Both wonderful girls with wonderful blogs. So check them out if you don’t already have them on your follow list!

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1.Good Food

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I could eat forever and ever and ever and ever. Street food, 5 star restaurants, Mama’s homemade recipes…food makes me happier than anything.

2. Books

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This obviously gif is much too aggressive, but I love me a good john krasinski gif. Couldn’t help it. Sorry guys.

3. Muay Thai

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If I’m not working, eating or reading, guaranteed the gym is where I’ll be. That’s me kicking it up there with one of my favorite training partners and closest friends. *le kick*

4. Doggos and Kitties

I am one of those people that see a dog or cat and instantly squeals. I can’t help it. They have my heart.

5. Tea, Rain and Happy Plants

I’m like a little old lady. I just like to garden and read and sip tea on rainy days.

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This is super hard for me because my music tastes changes drastically depending on my mood or what I’m feeling like at the moment…but here are songs that bring me back to specific moments in my life that make me smile.

Dancin’ by Aaron Smith ( Kronos Remix)

Intro by The XX

Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Someone Out of Town by Yuna

Love For That by Mura Masa

 

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In celebration of the fact that I just broke a hundred followers, I’m tagging some of my most recent ones! 100’s probably not a lot to some of you, but for an inconsistent hobby blogger that honestly doesn’t try too hard and doesn’t write too well, I’m pretty honored to have you all here. Much love to all the wonderful book friends I have here. ‚̧

Rendz @ Reading with Rendz

Heather @ Heather Lauren Reads

Lyndsey @ Lyndsey’s Book Blog

Hannah and Lindsay @ Untamed Shrews

Bits n’ Pieces | June 2017

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Holy Moly friends. It’s been ages. If you noticed I didn’t get around to posting a May Book Reviews post, it’s because….drumroll please…I¬†didn’t finish any.¬†

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I know, book blogger blasphemy. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, life’s just been really really nutso over here lately so didn’t quite knock one out last month. In the past couple of months…

  • I got promoted! Woo! But work’s also been banana pancakes.
  • My go-to muay thai gym caught on fire D: We’ve since rebuilt in a new location, but stuff was madness while I was helping out my coach for a little while there.
  • I moved! Finally out in my own apartment with no roommates. Feeling like a real pretend grown-up, but man, there is¬†sooo much to do when you move. (I may or may not still be surrounded by boxes).
  • I sprained my knee. It’s all better now, but April through May was just weeks of slow healing. Patience? Not my forte.

I think that’s the jist of it. Needless to say, I just haven’t had too much downtime as of late. Things are starting to settle though and I’m really looking forward to catching up on my TBRs and all of your lovely posts, comments and tags. More coming soon friends!

Happy Reading!

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The Liebster Award

Say whaaaaaaaaaaat. So excited to have been nominated for the Liebster Award! So thank you Bella @ Bella Blogs Because Books for thinking of me. She’s got an awesome blog going. So everyone go visit her and give her some love.

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What is the Liebster award?

The Liebster Award is all about building out the book blogging community. Specifically, it’s a way to highlight newer blogs that don’t necessarily have a large following yet (less than 200). You get to discover hidden gems of blogs, make new book blog friends and learn more about the bloggers you already follow!

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their site on your blog
  2. Display the award on your blog
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you
  4. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers for the award
  5. Create a new list of questions for your nominees to answer
  6. List these rules in your post
  7. Inform the people/blogs that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so they can learn about it

Questions

  1. What is your advice to people who want to start a book blog?

    Don’t stress yourself out. It’s a blog, not a job. So read when you want to, write when you want to and don’t get too caught up in the stats. I find that trying to set a schedule for posting makes things more difficult for me. So some weeks I’m posting multiple times a day, some weeks there’s nothing at all ¬†and that’s okay. I would also suggest following a ton of other book blogs and being active about interacting with them. Part of the fun is geeking out on books together.

  2. What is your most read genre?

    I bounce back and forth between fantasy and contemporary novels lately. Especially since there are so many common themes within the genre, I feel like I need to alternate or else it can feel like I’m reading the same book again.

  3. What has been the most rewarding part about having a book blog?

    I’m reading¬†so much more now. Not just to write about, but for my own enjoyment. I grew up reading every day and it was really hard to keep that up with college. It’s really nice to have that back in my life again.

  4. What would you like your readers to know about you that you haven’t mentioned before?

    Not necessarily something you guys need to know, but it is an interesting fact! When I’m not reading or eating or blogging, I basically live in the gym. I’m actually an amateur muay thai fighter.¬†Reading is my go-to downtime activity when I don’t have to be training. I’m usually curled up with a book while I lay in bed icing my whole body and nursing various injuries hahaha.

  5. What is one book that really changed the way you look at things?

    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. A lot of the books I read in high school made me think, but as a second generation asian american girl, this one hit home. It made me take a second look at my relationship with my own mother and re-evaluate my identity as a part of a larger family story.

  6. What is one book that you think is really important for everyone to read?

    I know they’re often dense or dull or hard to get through, but I do think classics are classics for a reason. Most of them, while I may not re-read them any time soon, are well worth the time.¬†Lord of the Flies, Death of a Salesman¬†and¬†Fahrenheit 451 in particular were fantastic in my opinion.

  7. Is there any one specific book character that you really connected to?

    Aside from my dad, my family is all girls. It’s my mom, my two sisters and me. We had an old beat-up version of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott¬†growing up. Over time, we all read it and ended up connecting to different characters. My oldest sister is Meg and my little one a mix of both Amy and Beth. For me, it has always been Jo. She was the first character I saw myself in and wanted to be like. Such an important book to me growing up. It showed all the different kinds of woman you could be – all of them strong and beautiful in their own right.

  1. What is your favorite quote from a book?

    I should start writing down quotes that I like…because I usually just stop, pause and think to myself, “Man, that’s a good line”. Then I move on and forget about it entirely hahahah.

  2. What is one book that made you laugh out loud?

    This is kind of a hard one for me. I don’t usually laugh out loud when I read…I cry though. I cry a lot. Laughing not so much. Not sure why.

  3. What is the book/series that got you into reading?

    I don’t think there was any one specific book. My parents read to me everyday from the moment I was born. Then when I started learning how to read, we would go to the library every weekend and I would pick out books I could read to me dad. As we go older, my sisters and I would have our own book clubs and talk for hours about what we had read that week. My mom also made me write book reports over summer vacations…which I hated at the time, but I guess wasn’t terrible. So I’ve really always been reading.

Nominations

Here are some of the blogs I follow that have less than 200 followers. They’re all fabulous folks with great posts about books and book related things.

Melanie @ Books are My Children

Wing Yee @ Bibliophilic Med Student

Swetlana and Sandra @ Reading Through The Nights

Nadwa @ Painfully Fictional

Savannah @ The Book Prophet

New Questions for Nominees:

  1. If you could live in any book universe, which would you pick?
  2. Assemble a team of literary badasses to help you fight off the zombie apocalypse. Who would you choose?
  3. Pick a book or character that most closely resembles you or your life.
  4. What is your favorite movie or TV show adaptation of a book?
  5. If you were to write a book about your life, which author would you want to write it?
  6. What is your favorite time and place to read?
  7. What is your favorite reading time snack?
  8. List 3 facts about yourself that are totally unrelated to books and blogging.
  9. What is your current and/or dream job?
  10. What is the best book you’ve read this year?

Feel free to answer these questions and link your post below even if I haven’t tagged you. I’m currently at work (shh!) so I can’t go through my follows and tag everyone.¬†I’m really looking forward to reading all your responses!

As always, Happy Reading!

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ARC Review | The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

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To give a proper review, I think it’s important to put it out there that I am a second-generation Vietnamese-American. My parents were boat people – immigrants who escaped the Vietnam war on small fishing boats and came to America as refugees. I’ve grown up trying to bridge the gap between the amazingly privileged life I live and the sacrifices of my parents that made it possible. It may have been easier for me to connect and find meaning with this memoir of a similar Vietnamese immigrant family.

Growing up, whenever I had to choose a topic of research in school, I always chose something to do with the Vietnam War. The same with my sisters, or my older one at least. When we had to map out our family trees, our family history seemed darker, more traumatic than a lot of our classmates. In college, I took on a role in a cultural play centered around¬†that same boat voyage to America. In a way, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of my parents. Because despite the closeness of many Vietnamese families, there also exists a disconnect. A constant misunderstanding that’s caused by generational and cultural differences, but also something much more profound. The darkness of war and struggle of survival forever change your dreams, ambitions and expectations of the world.

Thi’s memoir searches for the¬†cause of that disconnect. It’s an exploration of her family history in an attempt to understand the two people that made her possible and what that means for who she is. Her stories were reminiscent of the ones I grew up hearing from my parents, haunting but also full of bravery and strength.

At times the writing read like a history book, the stories explanatory and sequential. Those were parts that I found difficult to get through. But there were also poetic moments that I felt perfectly explained an experience I shared. I wish there had been less straight-forward narration and more storytelling with dialogue or more of those poetic moments.

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I loved the art-style though. That monochromatic orange tone throughout the whole book reminded me of the purple in This One Summer.The inky brushstroke style was a fitting blend of American graphic novel and Vietnamese calligraphy. The imagery was fantastic.

I’m not sure how this would read to someone from a different background, but for me it was nostalgic and poignant. For children of immigrants, this gorgeous graphic novel is an all too familiar journey to understand your¬†history, ¬†your family and your identity.

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The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui will be available March 7th, 2017.

I received this ARC free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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