Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: July 2018

Well, July is over and my oh my what a month it was. This month felt a lot like June at the beginning, with the theatre internship most evenings and mornings spent watching The West Wing and struggling to write in my journal. Once tech week for the theatre hit, however, everything picked up. I saw opening night of The Music Man, and felt an overwhelming pride for how far I've seen the actors come. I went to France and Luxembourg, and that was really good for so many reasons. As you'll see, I didn't read anything, but I did a lot of other good things. 

BOOKS I'VE READ

This month, like June of 2017, I didn't read anything. The first part of July was intense, and I felt bogged down by a lot of things, including reading and writing. I didn't post anything to this website the last couple of weeks, and fill that extra time with reading. So what did I do instead? I made myself live. I finished my internship with a theatre, and I went to France and Luxembourg. I got out of my own head. I forced myself to sit and not think about anything except for what was right in front of me. I have books ready to be read in August, but honestly I'm very happy that I didn't read anything in July. 

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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Paris, France
I had been wanting to go to France (and Paris in particular) since I was twelve. I'm so excited to write about my experiences in the three cities I went to, but for now I'll just say that Paris is beautiful, but it's beautiful in different ways than what I was expecting. Cobblestone streets aren't as common as I'd thought, but pigeons that follow you everywhere certainly are. The city doesn't smell like cherry blossoms or daisies or roses, it smells like a city. 

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Marseille, France
Marseille was probably my favorite part of the trip. A city in the south of France, Marseille is known for it's soap, which I found random yet delightful. While there, my mom and I went to a market place that had been set up right across from our hotel, where we bought souvenirs for everyone back home (and for ourselves, too). Speaking of hotels, our room had a terrace, and we spent part of both our nights there sitting outside and observing the goings on from above. It was truly a beautiful place, and I would go back in a heartbeat. 

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Dommeldange, Luxembourg
When thinking of things we could do while in France, I kept wondering if there was any way we could leave and go to a surrounding country for a little bit. I remembered learning about Luxembourg in Sophomore year World History (it's capital is Luxembourg City, which is very helpful when you need to learn all the countries and capitals), and figured that since it's such a small country, it wouldn't be hard to pop over for 24 hours. So my mom and I took a train, and spent one night in a Double Tree hotel while we watched TV in English for the first time in a few days and ate pizza. It was an odd way to spent our time in a new city, but it was fun nonetheless. In the morning we went for a walk in the nearby neighborhood, and it was quite beautiful. The walls were colorful and there were lots of flowers. To me, it actually felt a little bit like England, except almost everyone spoke German. 


I came into July feeling very unmotivated with this blog. I've had it for over a year and a half now, and somewhere in June I lost my love for it a little bit. So I took a two week break and focused on two other things that I love- theatre and traveling. I needed to get out of my own head so that I could step back, see this blog for what it is, and come back feeling like I actually had things to write about. August is going to be good. I have posts read to go up that I am very proud of (some of which I have been working on since March). My motivation for this blog that I love so much is back, and I'm excited to see what the rest of this year has in store. 

Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: June 2018

Remember last June when I didn't read any books and basically hid from the world all month? I'm very happy to say that this wasn't the case this year. Sure, June had it's ups and downs like every month does, but overall it was still a better month than June of 2017. This month I started an internship and got to spend lots of time with theatre oriented people who love many of the same things I do. I also read a book that gained a permanent place on my bookshelf. 

BOOKS I'VE READ

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Bossypants by Tina Fey
I've mentioned this a couple of times since October, but this year I really wanted to read more memoirs. I definitely haven't read enough of them yet, but this summer I wanted to change that. Last time I was at Barnes & Noble, I picked this one up. Bossypants was released in 2011, and I've been hearing about it almost ever since. I love Tina Fey, and after watching all of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I decided to give her book a try. I finished it in only a few days, and I loved it. It made me laugh, and gave me much of the same information from Jenna Fischer in The Actor's Life, only with a more humorous take. 

I recommend this book for: Fans of Tina Fey, memoirs written by comedians, or both. 
I don't recommend this book for: Anyone who doesn't like any of the above, and anyone who doesn't like Saturday Night Live

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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Stage Right Productions
This month, I've been working as an intern for a nearby community theatre. I'm the intern for their production of The Music Man, and so far it's been a really good experience. There's still a few weeks to go, and they're going to be busy weeks, but I'm excited for them. I'm going to miss this internship when it's over, and I'll always be thankful that I had it. So far I've learned a lot that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, and it's all information I needed to know in order to grow and progress. 


This has been a month of adjustment to a simpler life style and a slower life pace. I've spent a lot of time watching movies that have been in my Netflix List for forever (should I rename this Books I've Read, Things I've Watched, and Places I've Loved? Haha, nah...) and journaling. June has been a very reflective month, and I think we all need one of those every once in a while. Here's to July, I hope it's a good one for all of you. 

Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: May 2018

Before we begin, I think it should be noted that yesterday was my last day of high school. Tomorrow begins my graduation weekend, and wow did I start to think this day would never come. This month was insane. Parts of it dragged by while others flew by faster than I could blink. I'm glad this month is over, and I'm glad that this school year is over, even if I am getting more nostalgic by the minute. With all of this in mind, here is the book I read and the places I've loved from this month. 

BOOKS I'VE READ

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Helium by Rudy Francisco
Rudy Francisco has been one of my favorite poets ever since I saw him recite his poem entitled Scars/To the New Boyfriend. He has a way with words and metaphors that is just so beautiful, and his book was incredible. Some of my favorite poems that were included are To the Man Standing on the Corner...SisterStrength, and Museums

I recommend this book for: Those of you who like poetry, especially poetry that talks about mental health and race, as well as poetry written for poets. 
I don't recommend this book for: Anyone who doesn't really like poetry, or who wants poetry that's a little more on the tradition side in terms of form. 
 

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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Campbell Heritage Theater
I ended up not going on my class trip, so over Memorial Day weekend I didn't have anything to do. This was really great, because I finally got the break I so needed, but I also got to go to my first high school's graduation. I told a couple of my friends and surprised a couple others, and got to sit and watch my first group of real best friends graduate high school. It was really cool to see three of my best friends walk across a stage to get their dimplomas when I'd known them Freshman and Sophomore years. They all worked so hard, and I'm very proud of them. 

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The Gazebo
When I first started this website, I told myself that even though I have loved this gazebo since starting at this school, I wouldn't include it in these things until I was about to graduate. And here we are. This gazebo has been there for everything in the last two years, and I actually have a poem going up soon (Ode to My Gazebo), because I'm just kind of cheesy like that. This gazebo will have a special place in my heart forever, and I will miss it very much. 


Mentally, this month wasn't the best. My emotions were numb 90% of the time, and that isn't a feeling I'm used to. I was really stressed and my anxiety crept up on me a couple of times. Still, I'm glad that this month was what it was, because having gone through the last 31 days graduation seems even sweeter. My emotions have definitely returned, and the feelings of nostalgia are back as well. I'm ready for next month, even though I'm not really sure what to expect. 

Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: April 2018

Oh my, April, you brought so much good with you. From the musical performances, to a spring banquet and music tour, I'm so thankful this month was what it was. I read many amazing books (some poetry- finally!), did some awesome things, and went to some really cool places. Here are the books I read and the places I loved this month! 

BOOKS I'VE READ

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Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
I've mentioned Gilmore Girls a few times, but I don't think I've ever fully expressed just how much I love it. Her book goes through her journey to where she is now, and also chronicles her experience on Gilmore Girls, as well as Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Reading this book felt like I was talking to her directly, like were just sitting on a couch and she was telling some of her favorite stories. 

I recommend this book for: Anyone who is a fan of Gilmore GirlsParenthood, or Lauren Graham. 
I don't recommend this book if: You don't like any of the above or if you aren't a fan of memoirs. 

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
After four months of being in a musical preparation class, I made my way back to book club. This is the first book I've read since being back, and I finished it in two days. The writing is easy to read, but the story is incredibly deep. It's easy to get lost in, and that's one of my favorite feelings. 

I recommend this book if: You like poetic writing, internal monologue, and a hint of mystery that unfolds throughout. 
I don't recommend this book if: Rape is a trigger for you. 

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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My school's gym (again)
April brought the end of Pirates of Penzance, and while there were moments when I couldn't wait for April 8th, once it actually came around I realized how much I was going to miss this musical and all the people who helped make it what is became. Everyone pictured in the photo above affected my school year in a positive way, and I couldn't possibly be more thankful for them. 

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The Carmichael Public Library
On the Tuesday after all the musical performances ended, I found myself reading one of my poems to a group of people at a nearby library. Since I'd be preoccupied with the musical in the days leading up to this, I didn't really have time to be nervous. But around 5:00 on that Tuesday, the nerves set in. I was really, really worried about how it would go, but luckily I wasn't the only one who had never done an open mic before, and that definitely helped. The open mic went really well, and I'm glad I can check this off my bucket list before going back to do it again. 

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John's Incredible Pizza
This picture was taken in a photo booth at this year's SA spring banquet. If I'm being honest, this night wasn't my favorite considering it was from 11:00 pm - 1:00 am, but there were still some moments that I loved. Taking pictures in the photo booth with Annaliese was one of them, as was walking around in a long, green dress so I could look like Morgan la Fay (the theme was to come dressed as something that begins with the letter M). 

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Monterey Bay Kayaks
Over my final music tour, I seemed to do less singing and more unrelated activities, one of which was kayaking in Monterey Bay. I have a fear of water, and that fear is even bigger when it comes to the ocean. But I still went kayaking, and I'm very happy that I did. Annaliese was my boat buddy, which made things feel a lot safer for me. I wouldn't be surprised if I wound up kayaking again in the near future. 

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The Bay Area
Just in general, being the Bay Area for five days (ish) was really nice. Getting to walk down Pier 29 and eat strawberries, seeing the San Francisco symphony, and singing at Grace Cathedral were all incredible moments from this month. I love the Bay Area, and I've found that I seem to love if even more now that I've moved away. Returning to a place you lived (or lived near) makes you appreciate the ordinary beauty in it, and ordinary beauty is something I strive to see everyday. 

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Santa Cruz
I've said before that I grew up near the beach, but for some reason I always forget how much I miss it until I'm back with the sand and the waves. On the last full day of our music tour, we went to two beaches. The picture above was taken at the first beach, and I spent most of my time running through the waves and taking pictures with some of my favorite people. Being on the beach again after being away for so long was definitely one of my favorite things from this month. 


April was a really good month. Towards the end I started feeling more stress than necessary, and I was fairly anxious all month, but overall it was still good. I went to a lot of good places and met some really cool people. The books I read were easy to get myself lost in, and that allowed me the chance to escape from my daily stresses and anxiety. May is looking like it'll be really hectic, but part of me is still looking forward to it. I hope you all had a good month of April, and hopefully May will be wonderful as well. 

Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: March 2018

Happy end of March! Even though I'm sad that this month has come to a close, I'm very excited to see what April has in store. This month was very full. Trips to England and Los Angeles, dress rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance (our first performance is on Saturday!), and a couple good books as well. With all that said, here are the books I read and places I loved in March of 2018. 

BOOKS I'VE READ

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Secrets for the Mad by dodie
dodie (lack of capitalization is intentional) is one of my favorite musicians. When I learned last year that she had written a book, I bought it as soon as it was available. I did not, however, read it as soon as I had it. I received the copy in November (?) of last year and only started to read it at the end of February. I can't believe I didn't start it as soon as possible, though, because this book is absolutely beautiful. It's part memoir, part advice, part song lyrics and poem stanzas. 

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin
I may have read this for an AP Literature book report, but I loved it so much that I counted it towards my 18 books while being 18. There are characters I see myself in, characters I see other people that are around me in, and characters I hope I never meet in real life. I also loved it because even though it was written in the 19th century and has the language to go along with it, it was still easy to read and easy to get lost in. I definitely would recommend it. 

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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Bracknell, England
I love England, and Bracknell in particular is one of my favorite places on earth. I'm so excited to go to school here in a few years, and I'm hoping to return to visit within the next year. I had such a wonderful time here, and I'm really glad I went back, even if it was for only four full days. 

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London, England
I feel that the best way to start this is by saying that I saw the Queen of England. She was driving out with her entourage and we saw her. My little 36.2% British heart was extremely happy to part of something like that. While in London I also climbed the stairs of St. Paul's Cathedral (all 528 steps. But I'm not totally convinced it isn't more), ate vegetarian fish and chips (the "fish" was really just breaded cheese, but it was delicious), and because I wore the same shoes that caused the Great Seattle Blisters of 2017, my feet hurt very badly by the time we got on the train to head back home. It was still a wonderful day, and I'm really glad we did everything that we did. 

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Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
This is my favorite place in the entire world. This may seem strange, but it's true. I love that you can see the Hollywood sign and I love the lower level of the Observatory where you can sit before a wall of stars. My mom and I always walk up from the parking lot, so while there we walked 2 miles (1 up and 1 down), not including all we walked while inside the observatory itself. This was the last place we went while in Los Angeles, and to me it was the perfect way to end my Spring break. 

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Downtown Disney, Los Angeles
My "needs to be gluten-free and really shouldn't have that much dairy" stomach was not pleased with my trip here. I had a pizza, fully gluten and everything, and a chocolate ice-cream milkshake thing and I didn't feel great on the walk back to the hotel. But all that considered, I'm so glad I went to Downtown Disney. Disneyland itself isn't the happiest place on earth for me, and it really never has. But I've always loved Downtown Disney. Being  there at night is especially lovely because of all the lights, but during the day it's wonderful, too. Like I said, I had pizza and the milkshake, which my tastebuds adored. And then the next day we went to Starbucks and the Disney store where I left with a Dumbo mug, which I may have used three times since returning home. 


This has been a really good month, and there's still more to go. In my detox tea talk for the month, I mentioned that the two predominant emotions for the last few weeks have been happiness and contentment. I've had a wonderful month. Memories were made, good books were read, and I felt myself living for the first time in a while. I hope you all had a good March as well, and here's to an even better April! 

Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: February 2018

Well, we've officially reached the end of the second month of 2018, and wow does that feel good. February has always been a filler of sorts for me, as I wrote about last week. It was good this year, though, as I did some cool things and read a really good book. In case you're wondering, yes I did go through the feeling of wanting to cut my hair again, but no, it's still all there.  

BOOKS I'VE READ

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The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer

I saw this book on Amazon back in December, and instantly added it to a wish list. It's one of those books where I knew I'd need to read it eventually, and also knew that it would be helpful in the long run. When I started reading it this month, I realized that every page was going to have at least one sentence underlined. It's filled to the brim with information, anecdotes from her first few years in the industry, and reminders of why I want to be an actress. This isn't a book I'd recommend to everyone, because if you want to be a nurse you'll get nothing from it. But it was certainly a good book for me, and I have  a feeling I'll be going back to it again and again as the years go by. 

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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Starbucks and Trader Joe's

Even though I see her almost everyday, Annaliese and I realized that we hadn't talked in a while. So we met up on a normal Sunday at a Starbucks and caught up over coffee. We sat in big, brown chairs in the corner and basically just poured out our life updates, and it was wonderful. I wanted new flowers for my room since the daffodils died, so she walked with me to the Trader Joe's close by and we both picked out a bouquet. Of course we had to take pictures with the flowers next to the wall outside the Trader Joe's, and that is how the above picture came to be. 


I've said this a few times already this month, but February is often a sort of filler for the rest of the year. This month has been good, though, with laughter, lots of writing, and birthdays. But I am still very excited for March, because it's looking to be one of my favorite months of the entire year.