More Quarantine Books – June Wrap Up

More Quarantine Books – June Wrap Up

Well here we are…a delayed Month Wrap up. But I have to share my small little stack of reads from last month (as well as the honorable mentions) because they are just that good. This month’s reads seemed to come from the Universe at the most optimal timing. They gave me a new world to be enveloped in when honestly my world wasn’t where I wanted to be. They had extremely relatable themes/feelings/moments that, had I not been experiencing Month Four of a Pandemic and self-isolating, I never would have appreciated them. It was just a good month of little reading.


Also read: Thanks for the Bucketlist #2


Reads and resulting thoughts in Quarantine Month 4

THE BALLD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES (HUNGER GAMES #0) by Suzanne Collins

** possible spoiler alert/LONG review- ** Upon finishing all I could think is, “Woah.” I live for a prequel and especially from the POV of a character that is the undeniable villain. I did have mixed feelings after finishing but overall would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original trilogy. I see why people dislike it but I loved it overall despite it’s minor downfalls in comparison to the original books. 

It was different from the others in that it was much slower paced and it seems quite long. What drives the original books is Katniss’ (amongst other’s) urgency to survive. The protagonist, a young Snow, in Ballad… simply doesn’t have that in this prequel. The urge to succeed and live up to a old, family, destiny is what drives it and it is massive. 

Like I read in another review, the philosophy behind the games, society, war, etc is one of the biggest contributors. While there in the OG books, they are not as important. This is what I LOVED. I was highly intrigued by how the early Hunger Games evolved, the specific events that heavily altered Snow’s perspective of Panem, humanity, and the Games. As well as the overall evolution to the world that we know from the OGs.

Little details of Snow’s persona and character, that as a reader you speculate about in the OG trilogy, is what made this book so exciting. To see where his fascination with Roses came from, his consistent mocking of young love, his philosophy of the districts and the rebels, his involvement in the games, and ultimately where his drive for keeping power and control are all revealed in little moments. 

I would agree that the romance was eh, but I think that was Collin’s intention. It was another puzzle piece to Snow’s evolvement to the man who understands but has no empathy for human connections and emotions. A man who knows how to take advantage and hurt people. 

References to the OG trilogy, in my mind were used to connect the two times together and to enhance Snow’s general dislike towards Katniss, District 12, and the rebel movement. Why Katniss’ actions such as her subtle, and sometimes unknowing, defiance and her song were especially infuriating to Snow. It may have been a shoutout to fans but still effective. 

Character wise I adored Lucy, the entire Covey clan, and Tigris (of course). I was worried with becoming too understanding and forgiving of Snow, but if anything his character has become much more dynamic and evil in my opinion. 

All in all, this book was enjoyable. It had its moments and was difficult to read at some points, especially considering what is currently prevalent in our world. It is not for those fans simply wanting to relive the OGs with different characters. I still highly respect Collin’s as a writer and will be adding this book to my shelf permanently. 🙂

The last month had upended their lives and changed them irrevocably. Sad, really, as they were both rather exceptional people, for whom the world had reserved its harshest treatment. “Yes, it leaves quite an impression…”

-Suzanne Collins The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Also read: Quarantine Books (March in Books)


WHERE THE CRAWDADS SINGS by Delia Owens

Wow wow wow. What a glorious book full of poetical prose, beautiful metaphors, a thought provoking storyline with a mystery and twists, and characters you can’t help but feel like they are a part of you. Highly highly recommend. 

This book has been on my TBR for a long time, and honestly, I was losing interest in waiting. But I am so glad that I finally read this, especially now, as the reality of loneliness is so prevalent during the COVID lockdown. I found it comforting to relate to Kya. She is an extremely dynamic character and I loved her view and understanding of the world around her. I cannot express enough to everyone I gush about this book to, how well timed this book came into my life. I was reminded of the power of books again. I went from feeling completely isolated, sad, and feeling a lack of beauty around me but Kya and the marsh changed that.

Anways, the other characters. Tate is a gem, even when I was angry with him, and I just want to give Mabel and Jumpin’ the biggest hugs.  There are antagonists both seen and unseen that added so much dimension to the story. As well as a reality that hits home, especially during the current political climate.

The pure descriptions of the nature around Kya is phenomenal. And of course, I come to find out that Ms. Owens is a nature writer herself. Of course. While indulging in a storyline, which I love doing, I learned quite a bit as well, which I am grateful for. 

This book is full of themes of nature, preservation, family, abandonment, the true meaning of human connection, love, prejudice: both racial and societal, human drive, and all the in-between.  Anyways, it was beautiful. I can’t stop thinking and feeling gratitude for it. (Really my friends, the Universe knew I was going to need this.)

“You can read, Kya. There will never be a time again when you can’t read.” “It ain’t just that.” She spoke almost in a whisper. “I wadn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.” He smiled. “That’s a very good sentence. Not all words hold that much.”

-Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing

Also read: I am Completely Fine…


My Kindle has become my constant companion…

Honorable Mentions are….

THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL by Anne Brontë -this one I started months ago. It has been my filler read – as I jump from book to book, and just not in the mood for the one I’m currently focused on, I switch over to this one. Slowly hacking away at it but it’s SO GOOD.

and

ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow – this one is a BEAST. I started it months ago and unfortunately had to return it to the library before making a significant dent. During COVID I have discovered library ebooks and how wonder the Kindle is (especially with Biographies…I’ll share later…) Anyways, I’ve made a dent. It has taken up all of my reading time. I have LOVED it and can’t wait to finish and share my thoughts! (Hopefully next month’s wrap up…)

Anyways, please drop any thoughts you had on these books in the comments! I would love love to start up a discussion!

And as always… Thanks for the Adventure, Books. ❤


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Hello. Again.

Hello blog world. Hello corner of the internet. I am still here and you are still here. We have each other.

25 Adventures – A Birthday Bucket List

*written July 3, 2020* Welp. It is my 25th Birthday. Birthdays are either one of two things – an unforgettable day with an exorbitant amount of anticipation leading up to it or a day that’s just a day. It marks a new chapters but not a lot of hub bub happens. I hate planning a […]

Quarantine Books / Month 2

Quarantine Books / Month 2

I am honestly blown away with how quickly the time, days, weeks, and months are passing through this pandemic, and priorities seem to change on a daily basis. Hence, why posts haven’t necessarily been happening on this platform. But that is OKAY (at least that’s what I tell myself…)

My reading has slowed down quite a bit. I have found a new daily grind and sadly it includes way too much time on my social media apps on my phone instead of reading or creating music. I think it is that desire to connect that everyone is talking about?? That being said, posts are planned and will be posted. I hope someone will read them…

Speaking of reading? Here are the books that I delved into in the month of April 2020 AKA Month 2 of Quarantine Books.


Also read Quarantine Books (March in Books)


WE RIDE UPON STICKS by Quan Barry

Get ready for some literary gushing…This book was an absolute gem to read and I am oh-so-grateful for my bestie, Diana, and the Fantastic Stranglings Bookclub by the Jenny Lawson. I am so glad I read this when I did because I discovered that two of my Top Shelf Vocal gals were also reading it. We started our own little book club over email and it made my heart happy.

IMG_7063Overall, the vibe of the book is funny and realistic with some dark paranormal elements that may or may not be real… The reader spends an entire summer/school year with a high school field hockey team in the 80s. There is every 80s reference one could want as well as teen topics that we all have dealt with. There are hints of feminism, the importance of friendship, and what happens when teen girls grow up. Even though I suffered through high school in the 2010s, I felt that the issues and situations were still very relatable (even now in adulthood) and the jokes were genuinely funny. I was lol-ing in just about every chapter.

The writing was astounding. At first, I had a hard time following the flow. There always seemed to be a lot going on at once without much direction. It wasn’t until I had realized that the POV was not from any one character, or even as third-person, but from the team as a whole. Their entire psyche was connected and telling the story. It added to the vibe and created a seamless storyline.

The characters were the biggest gems (other than the writing). I highly related to Becca, because…the name 😉 and big boob probs. I had definitely worn more than one sports bra to PE and was a proud, secret, member of the BBC (Big-Boobs-Club.) I also loved and related to Julie, since I too grew up in a conservative household, and I thought her very funny. I LOVED that “The Claw” and “Splotch” were their own beings and characters and the “Philip” situation/resolution was to die for.

The setting of the Boston North Shore brought me joy since the previously mentioned bestie is from there. I fell in love with the area when I visited years ago and I miss said bestie. So it was like having her closer, especially since she gifted the book club subscription!

All this being said…I loved it and was genuinely surprised that I loved it so much. My favorite Quarantine Read so far. Boom. You go Quan Barry.

“Hit the Earth three times with your stick. Lift your eyes to the hole in the night. Remember that darkness simply requires another way of seeing. Be your own light. And just like that, you’ll find yourself everywhere and instantly.”       


Read I am Completely Fine…


MANSFIELD PARK by Jane Austen

An absolute classic that, surprisingly, I had never read before…

While not my most favorite Austen novel, it had all the qualities and characters that you can’t help but love in her works.

In my experience, every Austen novel is slow for the first hundred pages or so with long and expressive character development. Some necessary and some of it not. This book seemed to be extremely slow with it not capturing my excitement until the last hundred pages. The ending had the elements that I was hoping for but it seemed sudden and not satisfying. Not like P&P.

The characters were not my favorite and quite annoyed me really. The only redeeming one was Fanny Price, who may be my favorite heroine so far. I absolutely loved her and personally related to her. She had growth and thoughts that have been recorded in my little quote book.

I will say, the 1999 film rendition was absolute perfection, which I watched immediately after finishing the book. While straying from the book it still had that “Austen” essence. Fanny, in the film, was much more outgoing and outspoken. She had much more personality, which made me like her much more in general, but I was still in love with Austen’s original Fanny Price. Scenes were cut or reordered, but it allowed the flow and the themes to shine more. The humor was there and the men were oh-so-dreamy.

Overall, Mansfield Park‘s storyline was very similar to P&P, in my opinion, but still worth reading. There is nothing quite like Jane Austen on a rainy day.

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.”


Read To All the… (a book review and a love note)


WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

*DISCLAIMER* – My reasoning behind reading this novel was based on the fact that I adore the movie. So much so that I purchased the DVD in college, despite not owning a playing device at the time. Also, Robert Pattison is a dream and Reese Witherspoon is a queen.IMG_7133

This was a nice, blissful, read. I love romantic period/historical books and movies so I was already sold to begin with. The storyline feels complete with the characters, events, the climax, and the ending. I will say that I loved the book’s switching back and forth in time in Jacob’s POV.

Jacob, Rosie, and the minor circus characters were by far my favorites. August was an alluring but somewhat boring villain and Marlena was kinda “eh” for me. Jacob was a lovable protagonist who had growth, both in the storyline of his past and future. I especially loved his kooky, somewhat negative, but sweet older self. Rosie was just a joy and I wish she had more moments in the book.

The themes were subtle but very apparent. Animal abuse, human cruelty, human kindness, family – both by blood and chosen, sex, growing up, circus (or outsider) culture, were among the few. There wasn’t one stand-out theme overall but they did add to the story. Overall it was an enjoyable read, simple in some ways but still good. Admittedly, I still like the movie better…

“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”

“Life is the most spectacular show on Earth.”


Read Thanks for the Bucketlist #2


Although sometimes I have added a pressure to “read faster” and “read more,” because of my little Bucketlist goal – Books have still been a joyous thing to have. I love stories and different worlds. And sometimes delving into a different one is quite necessary.

Go enjoy the sun, Spring/Summer seems to be coming. Read more. Call more. Write more. Listen more.

Anyways, as always…

Thanks for the adventure, (Quarantine) Books.

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Thanks COVID-19 pt. 3 (And Easter)

Thanks COVID-19 pt. 3 (And Easter)

(4/12/20) Typically this entry should go at the end but… A quick word about Easter.

It was an absolutely lovely day, despite having no sun or family around like normal Easter Sunday’s have been. I did lots of baking and cooking, listened to Handel’s Messiah in its entirety,  and rewatched classics like The Notebook and Harry Potter. I was raised very religiously so this holiday has always been pretty significant. While I have not quite continued in that path I had a lovely, spiritual, day. It allowed me to think and be grateful for what I have as well as what I believe is at the core of the Easter and Passover Season:

This is a time of rebirth and change. It is a time where beauty, warmth, and new life arises after a dark period. Winter to Spring. I, and I’m sure many others, have been feeling this motivation to create a positive outcome out of the strange time of being forced to stay at home and away from others. It is a time where we have been given more time to think and do. I have heard many people exclaim (and have caught myself doing the same) that we will emerge from this quarantine with a new skill, more books read, goals accomplished, and fitter bodies. It just seemed a little ironic, and comforting that this holiday season happened amongst all this.

Anyways, it’s the little things. I may be pulling and stretching more and more to see the light in all this. But I’m glad I am.

Back to the normal, chronological, sequence of entries…


Read Thanks COVID-19


(4/1/20) The number of cases is growing. Parks are closing. More states are receiving orders to shelter in place. Politics are exploding. I’ve stopped checking the news as much. There is a new “normal.”

While there doesn’t seem to be a shift in the trajectory of this virus and how it’s spreading and how many are being affected, I have felt a shift in my own perspective today. I don’t know if it is because it is the start of a new month or even feeling the weather become warmer (which makes me happier in general.)

Today I suddenly felt like, “It’s going to be okay.” Time is still moving. The first couple of weeks of all of this it felt that time did stop. It felt as if all of a sudden the threat to my life and how I want to live it was bigger and more threatening. But the reality is, even before this pandemic and going forward after we start healing as a world from this, there was always a threat to life. and there will always be a chance of life suddenly changing, or even ending. You just don’t know.

It made me start thinking: when I wasn’t afraid of going to the grocery store or any sort of physical touch from anyone, how did I live? I just lived. Mind you, life was still hard and scary but for different reasons. This pandemic requires the same amount of strength that I have used against struggles against my mental health, the unknown and fears of my future, and even against other illnesses. Everyone has this strength in them, and I am starting to see it more and more. We all go through hard things and come out on top.

I anticipate that we will be in this strange state of a “paused life” for more time than was originally thought. But I also see a positive outcome. Don’t get me wrong, I am heartbroken for those who are sick, struggling financially, or have lost loved ones because of this. I don’t have much control over what I am capable of doing to aid some of that pain. I am staying home and use extreme precautions, and that is honestly one of the best things to do. I am trying to reach out more and more to friends and family. I am trying to create a positive and healthy place around me.

I am appalled when I see posts and pictures of my friends in other states and social distancing are not being done. I am terrified that my sister’s coworker claimed all of this is a hoax and is insisting on having parties and still coming to work. Meanwhile, she is sick and waiting to receive her test results back.

There is still fear. There will still be anger felt. But all we can do is do our best, stay at home, and live.


Read Thanks COVID-19 pt. 2 


(4/10/20)  Welp, it’s been a while…I haven’t felt super strong emotions, and fear, as I had been feeling at the beginning of the pandemic here in California, USA. There’s been a new normal that has been established, and a silver lining that I have found.

I am trying to become more in tune and in love with myself, my body, my dreams, and my reality. These things I have always tried to make a priority, but everything in life had seemed too busy. Kind of like a TV character standing in the middle of a busy intersection as cars, pedestrians, dogs, and bikers stream by. Moving so quickly that they are just streaks of colors, meanwhile the main subject is standing still.

But that silver lining that I mentioned before, is the time and the calmness at home to really enjoy those things. To really focus on me, but also really focus on those closest to me.

I mentioned it in the previous entry, but there is a new normal and even more so now. Because it is so, everything is not so scary. I know what I need to do to be safe and sane in all of this.

I wake up every day with the sun. No alarm. The earlier I fall asleep the night before the earlier I wake up, but it’s become later and later as I spend every late-night watching Netflix with my best friend over speakerphone, which I much prefer over early morning. Even Jasper is jiving with my new schedule and likes to cuddle and sleep in until 9 every morning.

I still make my bed, as it makes things feel put together and clean. I get into my workout clothes. Sometimes I eat breakfast first or I go out on a run, depending on the day. If it’s sunny, which it usually is except for this past week… I do some yoga in the backyard. The rest of my days are sprinkled with writing here, work, online window shopping, Instagram browsing, reading, practicing, Zoom calls, Snapchat, Podcasts, and lots of music. Some days I wear makeup. Sometimes I curl my hair. Every night I talk to someone on the phone, whether that be family or close friends. Not so much for them, but for my own selfish, lonely, feelings.

I like this slower pace but I am starting to miss the busy. But I truly think once all of this starts making a positive turn, life will not simply go back to the way it was. I think I will be less “busy,” but with more things that I enjoy. In this isolation period, I am missing things that I had previously felt “burnt out” of, such as serious music practice and classical music in general. I am feeling more motivated to “self-brand” myself and really do the things that I love, without shame. I feel an entrepreneur spirit. The little things are now bigger.

Overall, I feel more the effects of these “silver linings” and I am very much grateful for it. I am feeling guilt over my gratitude over this dire situation the entire world is in. So I am determined to keep being the best “me” I possibly can be to try and combat those feelings, as I feel very little control over the situation and my ability to add significant aid to others.

So I hope these little meager posts are helpful or simply a break to someone. I hope there is some beauty and silver linings in your life right now. We can do this, World. And what a beautiful place it’ll be.

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Read Thanks COVID-19 pt. 2


Please please please share a comment! Follow the blog! I would love to follow back! This sharing thing is scary at times, but so worthwhile when I connect with others through it. Especially now. Anyways, lots of love and hope for health and safety to all of you.

Stayed tuned for a travel blog/vlog next!


Can’t wait? Read Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)


Anyways…

Thanks for the Adventure, Corona (and Easter)

 

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Quarantine Books (March in Books)

Quarantine Books (March in Books)

Well…what a month. I, like many others, did not anticipate this new world and this new normal. At first, like everyone else, I thought I would have much more time to read and I reveled in it. Then about a week into self-isolation after watching the news and the global pandemic unfold, reading became harder.  My anxiety levels soared and my focus turned to other things.

All in all, such good reads this month! I have to give a huge shoutout to The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson), her Fantastic Stranglings Book Club, and my best friend, Diana, who gifted me the best Christmas gift ever. Without this Book Club, I would not have survived this past, pandemic, month, and I would not have read these gems.


Why am I reading so much? (Other than just for the love of stories, books, and attempting to better myself?) Read about my Bucketlist item HERE


AMERICAN SHERLOCK:MURDER, FORENSICS, AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson

First off, shout out to Jenny Lawson…the copies sent out for the club were SIGNED! For whatever reason, this made my day and made me feel exponentially more special. This book was different from my typical go-to reads, despite loving true crime and history in general. But…

If you are a true crime lover or fascinated with criminology or historical cases this is a fantastic book to read.

marchbook -4I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. As I started I thought it would be the typical, dry, biography of a guy I had never heard of. Albeit it took me a while to get through this, as I would read a chapter then jump back to one of my fiction reads. But each chapter (which was an individual case) read like a narrative with all the facts and emotions both from Heinrich but also the victims and suspects. (Comparable to individual episodes in a docuseries.) Each chapter built upon each other, revealing Heinrich’s failures and triumphs. Each case and trial was exciting to read about and I felt like I was learning and immersed,  instead of being preached to by the author, which happens in biographies at times. It was obviously well researched and it is well written. Overall, enjoyable to read. I loved how the pinnacle case bookended each end of the book and Dawson’s call to action in the epilogue. It is current and relevant.

Now I am waiting for the 1920s/30s period drama with Oscar Heinrich (played by Hugh Laurie possibly??) as the protagonist. Amazon? Hulu? Netflix? Who’s going to take it??

“Oscar never pursued the spotlight-it chased him. A shining light in the dark world of crime, his amazing feats in criminal investigations were unmatched during his time, and that is likely true today.” -Kate Winkler Dawson

“I am not positive that I am doing yet that for which I was created…life is a series of frustrations.” -Oscar Heinrich, quoted by Kate Winkler Dawson


A February themed post about books: To All the… (a book review and a love note) 


FOLLOW ME TO GROUND by Sue Rainsfordmarchbook -3

I will say, even a couple of weeks after finishing this I still can’t say whether or not I understand or loved this read. But I will say Sue Rainsford’s instagram page is one of beauty.

This was dark, haunting, provocative, confusing, but addicting to read. The mystery of who Ada is truly kept me tied in the entire time. It was quick to get through with unique and beautiful writing. The storyline was confusing, but mostly because Ada’s inner dialogue became confusing. The darkness surprised me and I was dissatisfied at the end. But sometimes amazing storytelling has to end that way. What a debut novel. I’m excited to see what else Rainsford writes in the future.


Bucketlist update: 31/52


Well there you go! Month 1 of self-isolation was also a month fueled by the Stranglings Book Club and I am incredibly grateful for it.

I am excited for what is to come, despite all the awfulness in the world right now. I am grateful for this little corner of the internet that is mine and I can share with old and new friends.

Currently reading : WE RIDE UPON STICKS by Quan Barry

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Keep up with my thoughts and feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am keeping a journal series: Thanks COVID-19 pt. 2


Please share a comment! I would love to find other bloggers to follow and befriend. I am also ALWAYS in need of book (and lets be real: Netflix) recommendations.

Here’s to April!

Thanks for the Adventure, Quarantine books…


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Thanks COVID-19 pt. 2

Thanks COVID-19 pt. 2

(3/19/20) Lots is happening and lots is changing very quickly. They have announced the order to stay at home in LA and California – only go out for necessities. There’s no end date which is a bit concerning.

I’ve been feeling better overall. Less anxious and scared and more accepting of the situation. My days are enjoyable. I go on a run and take jasper on walks. I read. I work a little and I eat. I do a lot of daydreaming and I avoid my phone as much as possible. I avoid reading the news.

I get sad at night. I feel the most lonely at night, but that’s no different than before this pandemic. I mostly miss my close friends in Utah as well as my family.

I feel very far away from everyone and everything and I do find it hard to see an “end”. But I think everyone is feeling that way.

I am also feeling grateful and I want to take advantage of this time of isolation for self-reflection and forcing myself to slow down. I want to continue these survival habits I’ve started this past week.

I have loved the overall positive vibes coming from Instagram and the blogs I follow. I want to keep pushing out the joy in the little things that we all are forced to see now.

It’ll get better. I’ll see my people again. I will give them hugs and kisses. I will go on adventures again.


Read part 1:  Thanks COVID-19


(3/28/20) It has been a hot minute, which is the most common opening line in my real journal LOL

But there is a new normal now, which makes me realize how quickly we adapt. I wake up, take the dog out, eat, exercise or play on my phone. I slowly work on my to-do list throughout the day while avoiding my anxiety. I eat more and read more. I usually finish off the day with a book and movie and goodnight wishes with my best friend.

I went to the store for the first time in over a week. It was refreshing and I felt incredibly proud of myself. I felt a bit back-to-normal after interacting with strangers.

I feel so privileged to not feel panicked about my financials right now. I know that if this quarantine period continues I will eventually become affected. But I am grateful to be living where I am, even though I have my moments where I feel absolutely trapped and not at home. I am grateful for my baby, Mister Jasper the dog. And thank goodness for a pandemic-stricken world that still has working technology.

I have my moments. I have had silent panic attacks and sometimes it seems like every night the weight of the world’s problems and my fears come crashing down. A “sorry” to my friend who has to hear it every night. But we have started saying one happy thing to each other as we say goodnight, and it’s usually that the sun came out or that we got our run/workout in. And I am oh-so grateful for those little moments before falling asleep.

I know that this entire situation will not be forever. Our society has gone through this time and time again, and we come together and become stronger because of it.  I still have my fears that it won’t or that someone who is dear to me will suffer because of it. I am afraid that my vision of what I would like my life to be will not happen, because of the virus. But I will see my dear friends and loves soon enough. I will be making music, going to the beach, and having a mindless conversation with a stranger at a coffee shop register again.

What a world.


I intend on writing more. This is so therapeutic. I have met a number of new friends through the internet blog/instagram world, which is so exciting and I am so excited about it!

I have plans in the works, and posts to catch up on. I can’t wait to start sharing things that aren’t pandemic related, but simply make me, Becca, happy.

Anyways, as always…

Thanks for the Adventure, Corona.


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