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. 

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

Happy end of January! This month gave me hope for a fantastic 2018 with a couple trips, some good books, and a plethora of memories to last a lifetime. I hope January was good for all of you, or at least included good things for the upcoming months. But without further ado, here are the books I read and the places I loved this January:

BOOKS I'VE READ

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

So, I've actually read this a few times before, but this was the first time I listened to it. I've loved this story for as long as I can remember, and I spent this month listening to it while cleaning, doing laundry, and walking around my neighborhood. If you don't want to read or listen to it, then I would recommend the BBC mini series version of the story, which definitely does it justice. Even so, I still think there's nothing better than reading the book itself. 

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

This book came out right before my birthday, and my brother, sweet person that he is, bought me one of the signed copies for my birthday. I started it in November, but put it down for a couple other things before picking it back up again this month. I forgot how much I love John Green's books. His writing isn't something that you underline, but rather something that you ingest. This story has many different levels- mental health, friendship, tuatara, and, of course, turtles (though not in the way you'd expect). It somehow explained my own mental health while talking about something completely different from what I actually experience. After Paper Towns (which will always have a special place in my heart), this may have become my favorite book by John Green. 

When talking about this book, John Green talked about how he put himself into this (fictional) character that deals with thought spirals and what goes along with them. If you want to hear him talk about this a little more, plus what living with OCD is like for him, you can click this link

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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Old Town Sacramento, CA

I know I mention this place a lot, but this month it was extra special because I got my senior pictures taken. My friend Natalie took them, and I've been using them all over this website over the course of January. I love Old Town Sacramento so much, and I'm very happy that it was the scenery behind many moments this year. 

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San Fransisco, CA

Because of MLK Day, I had a long weekend after going back to school after winter break. This was definitely appreciated since it gave me a chance to sleep in again, but it also gave me a chance to go on a mini road trip with my mom, which we haven't done since July. We went to Pier 39, where I took the picture of the seagull and we got to see sea lions, walked The Golden Gate Bridge, and went to the aquarium where we got to see river otters. It was a wonderful way to spend part of the long weekend. 

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This month was filled with so many good things, from the beginning of musical rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance, to a day to trip to San Francisco. This month certainly wasn't perfect, but all in all I thought it was okay. I'm hoping that February is better, but there were still many good things that occurred in this past month. 

 

Books I've Read & Places I've Loved: December 2017

Guys. This series is officially a year old, and that's the longest I've held on to a project. I remember dreaming this up and thinking how much fun I'd have making it, and that's still true. Even though sometimes I spend hours hurriedly taking pictures of the books I've read and remember all the places I visited in a month, I still love it and I still have fun making it. I see this as a summary of my month, and I look back over past editions often to remember the feeling that went along with a specific month. With all that said, here are the books I read and the places I loved in December of 2017.

BOOKS I'VE READ

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I have watched A Muppet's Christmas Carol every Christmas for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I spent much of this book thinking "that's not how it is in the original!" before realizing that, oh right, this is the original. I love this story because it's a mixture of my favorite things- Christmas, nostalgia, and, of course, redemption of the 'villian.' If you're a fan of any movie adaption of this story but haven't read the book, I recommend reading it next December (or anytime you could use a little Christmas spirit). 

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This was December's book club book, and I have to say it is definitely my favorite that I've read so far. I loved it so much that I've been recommending it to everyone who asks me for a book recommendation, and I've been singing it's praises to anyone who will listen (and some who probably couldn't care less). Even though I've been recommending it to everyone, I will say one thing- it certainly isn't lighthearted. It's heavy, deep, and at times difficult. The writing is beautiful and fairly easy to read, but the story itself is one of the hardest I've read to date. Still, it's beautiful and one of the best books I read all year. 

PLACES I'VE LOVED

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My School's Gym

Yeah, our Christmas banquet was in the gym. It was beautiful though, with colors and streamers and a Christmas tree on the stage. I already wrote about how the banquet went, so I won't go on for too long, but I wanted to say again that it was beautiful, nostalgic, and I loved it. This was by far my favorite banquet that I've gone to. Probably because it came with a lack of expectation, and I was with some of my favorite people the whole time. 

Starbucks

Like last month, breaks from school mean that I get to see my friends who now go to college (which, not gonna lie, makes me feel weirdly old). It was really nice to catch up with one my bestests of friends, and afterward we went to the Trader Joe's across the street where I bought flowers for me and my mom. This was easily one of my favorite days of the break, and there were many of those. 

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Happy end of December! I hope this year was good for all of you, and that it brought you lots of good things. Like last year, this is the last post that will go up this year. With that said, I'd like to leave you with a quote I found recently that I've come to love: "I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." ~ Neil Gaiman 

I hope you all have a wonderful last day of 2017, and that 2018 is your best year yet.