March Goals 

It’s officially the best month of the year, and not just because it’s my birthday month. In March, we get the birth of Spring which is the best of all seasons and the birth of all flowers. It’s also the month of celebrating women, which I’m about. My birthday, of course. Mostly, I’m in it for the allegories about new beginnings and fresh air and new flowers, even if I’m not super into being outside because of allergies and bugs and the overly warm sun. 

This month I want to focus on less vague goals, stuff that’s concrete. Either I do it or I don’t. I understand that sometimes some goals have to be vague like, “be more patient with yourself” but I want to be more action oriented in March. It’s action month, and I’m ready to act. Let’s jump in. This month I want to: 

  • Lose 10lbs 
  • Read 10 books 
  • Save at least $800  
  • Drink 90oz of water a day 
  • Yoga at least once a week 

That’s all I have for now. I feel like these are all action goals, which hopefully is enough to kick me out of this head space that I seem to be in. Mental health is exhausting, void. Nevertheless, let’s give March our best shot. What are your March goals? 

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February Wrap Up 

Every year, February feels like a dream. Nothing significant ever happens to me in February. I can’t tell if it’s because of the short month, the weird weather, or if Feb is really just doomed to be forever a placeholder month. This month has been pretty boring but kind of productive. I did read a lot of good books, though. In this post, I’m going to: quickly wrap up the books that I didn’t post a review for, touch on how I did with my goals, and reflect on this month as a whole. Let’s jump in. 

Book Wrap Up 

There are a couple of books I read that I didn’t write full reviews for, for whatever reason, or I wrote reviews for but didn’t post them, for whatever. First up is, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan follows the life of Lily and her friend Snow Flower. They are a pair of laotongs, an emotional match that last through their lifetime. The book follows the pair through childhood, arranged marriages, pregnancies, and other major life events. It’s told from the perspective of Lily. 

I really enjoyed this book. This was my first contact with the footbinding so I learned a lot about that. This book it mostly about the importance of communication and how platonic love is just as important as romantic love, which are both concepts I support and can get behind 100%. I give this book 3/5 stars. 

Next up is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. 

 Homegoing is able to expertly define characters in short periods of time. We get such a rich view of a vast family history. There’s never a point of confusion. There’s even a family tree included before the first chapter even begins. Even though each character only gets one chapter, the author still managers to fully introduce and really flush these characters out and it’s amazing to experience. 

This book was an amazing experience and an amazing story. It makes you wonder about your own family and wonder where you come from, what intricacies have been lost down generations, and what things have stood the test of time. I loved the concept and I thought it was expertly executed. There were times where I wanted more time with certain characters, where my heart broke for certain circumstances. Overall, 5/5 stars. Read this book. 

Favorite books this month 

  • What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera 
  • Missing You, Metropolis by Gary Jackson 
  • How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis 
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward 

Goal Wrap Up 

  • 2/4 5ks ran, I lost steam and energy halfway through, honestly. It’s been weird. 
  • 5/10lbs lost 
  • More fruits and veggies ate! 
  • Book reviews for all the books I finished posted 
  • More water drank 
  • Daily writing in gratitude journal 
  • Exciting exciting exciting 

That’s all I have for you, February. It’s been weird. In a few moments, I’ll begin working on my March goals post. I wanted to make them seperate posts this month because I wanted March to stand on its own. Partly because it’s my favorite month and I have high hopes for it every year. How did you do for your February goals? 

The Rose That Grew From Concrete, Review 

“U say that u’ll love me forever but what about todayAs the dusks becomes dawns and the years pass on will u love me the same way” is an excerpt from “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac Amaru Shakur, the collection of poetry I’m reviewing this post. 

This is a relatively short collection. I love the way it is put together, with the handwritten poems on the left hand side and the typed copy on the right side. The handwritten poems often feature cool drawings and illustrations. It’s also just neat to read poetry in the original way that it is written. 

This collection has several themes, the largest of them love. Love of self, platonic love, romantic love, familial love, love of country, etc. It deals with the idea of having more than one great love of your life. It deals with struggling with fame. It deals with struggling with infidelity. Towards the end, it does get political which I love because I feel like we’re getting an honest look at all the different parts that made Tupac up. 

My favorite of the political poems is “The Unanswerable?” 

“QUESTION: 

WHEN WILL THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH? 

ANSWER: WHEN THE EARTH FALLS TO PIECES!!” 

4/5 stars for me. If you’re looking for something raw and vibrant, this is the book for you. 

Joint Book Review: Graphic Novels 

Currently watching Penn State play Michigan State, while cooking dinner. Happy Friday, void. It’s been a rough week but I’ve read some really great books. Circle of life, right? The ones in this post are graphic novels! I’ve been reading a lot of them lately since I read Giant Days. The four in this post are: 

  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash 
  • How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis 
  • Exits by Daryl Seitchik 
  • Lucille by Ludociv Debeurme 

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash 

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash is a graphic memoir, which off the bat is the coolest concept ever. It follows the story of Maggie at an extremely Christian all-girls camp, her first love, who was another camper, and her first heartbreak. 

I loved this book. It’s very honest. There are times where I laughed out loud and there are times where I found my heart clenching. I found it very relatable. Overall, I really really enjoyed it. 4/5 stars. 

How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis 

How to be Happy was weird. It’s a collection of comics centered around the theme ‘how to be happy’. I found some really deep and interesting. I found other head tilting-ly weird. All of them were beautiful. Overall, completely moving. 

The first comic, Adam and Eve, is probably one of my favorite throughout the whole book. There are a few that I wished were longer, even by just a few panels. This book gets a 4/5 stars from me. What a pleasant 45 minutes to be honest. 

Exits by Daryl Seitchik 

Exits is like that fever dream you have that you can’t wake you from or make sense of but isn’t quite as terrifying as a nightmare. In fact, you might even venture to call it pleasant. In that sense, I found it to be a very interesting and refreshing story. Kinda weird, though. That might be the theme of the post at this point. 3/5 stars! 

Lucille by Ludociv Debeurme 

Lucille was a story that I didn’t know anything about before going in, so everything about its plot and characters were new to be me. I found this book to be odd but charming in being so. Vlad was my favorite character, I was really pulling for him at all points of the narrative. I could really relate to Lucille, even at her most frustrating. I wonder what’s next for them. I know there’s a part two, but there’s not yet an English version. 3/5 stars for me. 

And just like that, there’s another four reviews I can add to the mental tally I am totally not keeping. I am currently reading… nothing, wow, I know, but I have some pretty cool books lined up! What’s your favorite read of the week? 

Things I can control 

Today’s post falls under the personal side of things but bear with me. “Things I can control” is a personal mantra, especially on really tough days. Sometimes it feels like everything is spiraling out of my control and so it’s really important for me to focus on things that I CAN control. Today is one of those days. I can’t tell you what I’m particular is off other than my general brain chemistry, just that I’m upset and spiraling. 

My biggest self care tool is reading. There is only one thing in the world that I love almost as much as reading and that is sleeping. If you were around much this weekend, you know that I read 9 books and posted 6 reviews, so it’s been pretty busy on that front. Unfortunately, it’s not worked. I have still felt my self slipping. 

I’ve stuck to my routine, which is important. I’ve been getting eight hours of sleep. I exercise. I eat well. I socialize with friends. I’ve been taking my meds, eating three square meals a day (I have no idea why they’re square) and still, I am at work, seconds from tears at all points of my day so far. It’s frustrating when you’re doing all the right things and taking care of yourself and your brain still gets to decide if your effort is worth anything. 

So, I’m taking this lunch break and physically inviting (reminding (berating)) myself to remember things that I CAN control. If I’m hungry, I can grab a snack. If I’m thirsty, I can always refill my water bottle. I can always be patient and kind to my students. I can always be organized and orderly with my things. I can always be patient and encouraging in my teaching. I can practice being patient with myself. I can take a break and get more rest tonight. Things I can control. 

What do you do on bad brain days? 

Book Review: Weight by Jeanette Winterson

This is the sixth and final review from the Weekend Bulk Reviews. If you have made it through all six, I am eternally grateful and want to be your friend. If this is your first or you’ve only read a few, I still am eternally grateful and want to be your friend.

Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson is about the myth of Atlas and Heracles. Atlas for reasons is charged with holding the weight of the world, Heracles for reasons needs Atlas to grab some apples for him so he takes the weight of the world for a while. I’ve said before mythology is one of my favorite subjects to read about so I was readily drawn into this book based solely on the subject.

I found Winterson’s Heracles to be one that I’ve not really encountered before. I found him immensely self interested and absorbed and I could see how it made up his intentions and decisions. She also painted Atlas in a way that I had never thought of. He was very caring and careful with the world and his punishment, and it was not just something that was thrown upon him. Overall, I thought it was a refreshing look at this story. I had never heard it told this way and I liked it a lot. The beginning and end had some vague narrative plots that were confusing and I’m unsure what purpose they served, but overall the story was very enjoyable. 3/5 stars for me.

Mid-Feb Goal Check

Why is it so hard to find something to put on in the background why I do this? Blah. This post is a Mid-month goal check where I review the goals I set at the beginning of the month and see where I am with them. Join me in ignoring the fact that it’s more like 3/4s into the month and let’s see what I have done so far! I set four goals in January for this month and they were:

  • Lose 10lbs
  • Write book reviews for all the books I read
  • Run 4 more 5ks
  • Eat more veggies

Lose 10lbs

Not to immediately begin making excuses, but this has been a crazy month! Facts first: as of this morning I have lost 4 of those 10lbs. Not bad. For the first two weeks this month, I was sick. The first week with the stomach flu. The second week with a cold/flu. I felt pretty terrible but!!! Despite that, I ate well, I just did not exercise. At all. In addition, I also started a new anti-psychotic and a new anti-depressant for my bi-polar depression. So, my appetite has been all over the place. The fact that I have lost any weight is spectacular, in my opinion. It was mostly diet, so big ups there. I’m going to keep on my steady course and try to squeeze another three pounds out of this month. Thank you, February.

Write book reviews for all the books I read

This goal seems pretty simple. When you account for my tendency to go straight from book to book though, you can see where it would get tricky. I have however written reviews for all the books I’ve finished! That’s pretty exciting. After all, I can’t exactly run a book blog without writing any reviews.

Run 4 more 5ks 

I don’t know why, but in my head 5ks are like the pinnacle of fitness. If you can do a 5k, you can do anything. That’s part of the reason why I enjoy doing them so much. As we are a little more than halfway through the month, I am exactly halfway through my goal. I ran 2 5ks last week, which was exciting mostly because it was the first week that I felt well enough to go to the gym in a while. With a week and a half left, I will hit the gym and get my last two 5ks done!

Eat More Veggies

This was such a vague goal and because of that, I can say, yes, I certainly am eating more veggies than I was before. I am accidentally eating less fruit. So, I need to fix this sliding scale somehow. A serving of each a day, at the very least.

Last minute goals 

  • Two glasses of water with lunch and dinner. With breakfast I have coffee, so I’m fine with one but generally, I need to drink more water.
  • Write in my gratitude journal everyday. Be grateful in all things.

Alright, that’s a wrap for this one! As always, thanks for hanging out. Comment below and tell me how you are doing on your goals for the month. There’s one more book review left from the weekend bulk reviews, so be looking out for that!