Posted in Books & Reviews 📚

My reading so far…

And the TBR continues to go down, down, down! YAY! This calls for a confetti celebration!

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Expectation vs…

But there’s still so MANY books to go! 🙄

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…reality.

I’m currently on my 38th book of the year as I write this, and I’ve realized that books are becoming even more meaningless and distasteful, so much, that I’ve been lowering my expectations with every book I choose to read. In this way, I won’t be totally disappointed if the book turns out to be boring or just didn’t quite live up to its gloating standards.

As for the classic challenge that I’m currently doing, well, let’s just say that I haven’t read as many classics as I would’ve liked to (as yet), but I’ll devote a month or two for that sometime just to get them out of the way and out of my life.

So far…

Books I enjoyed:

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Books I didn’t enjoy:

Murder, Handcrafted (Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Book 5) by Isabella Alan

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Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock solves mysteries and whines a lot! She’s not Amish, but her best friend is, and almost every chapter, she reminds readers about this and seems to subtly poke fun at Amish clothes and culture. I’m glad to get rid of this cozy mystery from my TBR. 

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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Reviewers RAVED about the cleverness of this book, but it was all over-hyped, for there was nothing clever, new, or original about this story. I unraveled the so-call “you won’t see it coming twist” from the very first page and the other one as soon as Emma stepped into the picture, so I don’t understand the glowing and high-as-the-mountain reviews for this book. The entire book is a joke.

All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

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All of this is stupid, irrelevant, pretentious, poorly executed, bland, and downright boring. 

I CAN’T

Books I revisited:

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Books I DNF’ed:

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

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This so-call pretty boy CIA agent didn’t do it for me. He spends the majority of the story being sexist, and he’s a proper right arrogant jerk that looks down on everyone. He spends almost every chapter talking about his so-call good looks and whining. I have a strong dislike for whiny protagonists. I had to put this book down for many reasons that if I were to go into them, it’ll end up being a full review and I don’t want a reminder of why I STRONGLY disliked this drivel.

When it comes to saving the world, I’d rather leave my life in another pretty boy’s hands: Ethan Hunt’s. 

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Posted in #amwriting 💙

Cry 😢

Short Story #30

The twins were so identical that it was impossible to tell them apart, but that’s where their similarities end for if Ray was the sun, Marcus was certainly the dark stormy weather.

“You make me out to be a robot,” Marcus accuses his twin as they sat in Mille Fleurs with three of their closest friends. “A robot without feelings, too.”

Ray elegantly shrugs for it was the Gallic thing to do before responding, “You’re so emotionless that when you’re chopping onions, you don’t even weep, but the poor onions do!”

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Ramses found this highly amusing and the éclair that was about to be devoured was paused midway. Trishanti tried to hide her giggles behind a napkin as she stole a peek at her ex-boyfriend’s expression. Benny only shakes his head.

“I am not emotionally detached!” Marcus defends. “Just because I am not your typical stereotypical over sensitive Frenchman means that I am void of emotions. I just deal with it better than Mr. Sunshine In A Cup over there.”

“Marc, come on, we all know Ray’s the better twin.” Justin playfully inputs.

“And you call yourself a best friend.” Marcus rolls his eyes and looks at the healthy slice of tarte tatin that was placed in front of him by the waitress five minutes before the conversation took a weird turn. “I maintain that my brother is a saint, but it doesn’t make him flawless or perfect.”

Ray shrugs. “You’re right, but you’re only deflecting from the conversation. What a heartless thing to do!”

While the others laugh, Marcus scoffs, leans back and runs a hand through his auburn wavy hair. “All right, what’s the lowest you can hit me?”

Delighted, Ray stops eating for the moment and teasingly grins. “You never cried after reading Charlotte’s Web.”

Gasps simultaneously went around the table.

“I know you’re not a crier, but that’s a low blow even for you,” Trishanti accused.

“Says the ex,” Marcus sneers. “Look, the book sucked. I mean, all the other animals were going to get killed someday, so why do we care about the pig alone? Isn’t that selfish? He wasn’t even all that special. He stood under a stupid web and if a spider spun webs with words, then it makes the spider special, not the pig. THE SPIDER CAN SPELL!

“However, we all know that spiders don’t have a long lifespan so where did it get the time to be all philosophical and stuff? Wilbur is such a whiner that I couldn’t feel sorry for him. I don’t eat bacon, but if he whined one more time, I would’ve made him into bacon. He’s so dramatic, I guess he majored in theater.”

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“Wow, you’re going to make a great dad.” Ramses sarcastically remarked. “It’s just a children’s book. Lighten up.”

“Says you, but my children are not going to read a book with the main character running around sobbing and squealing that it doesn’t want to die. In real life, spiders die and leave their children behind. Do human children cry about that? No, they try to kill the spiders. Fight me all you like, but I rest my case.” 

Ray cracks a loving smile at his younger half. “And that’s why you’ll be a top lawyer. Don’t ever stop being you.” Two hours later, after the food was eaten and everyone caught up with one another’s life, Ray stood to help his twin with the crutches. As Ramses made a remark about forgetting Marc’s broken foot, Ray saw another opportunity to rib his brother, “I know, right, and it’s not like he cried when he was flung from the motorcycle either.”

Marcus sighed in exasperation. “Ray, you’re lucky I love you.”

“Otherwise you would’ve beaten me up with the crutches?”

“How do you…? Ray!” 

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Would Marcus ever cry? Who knows? I just wanted to write some banter.

All grammatical errors are mine.

I am currently reading my way through classics and wondering if my feelings have changed hence the existence of this story. Do I feel as Marcus does about Charlotte’s Web now? I guess you’ll have to wait for the review to find out. Coming soon!

I love Marcus. But I love Ray more. He was practically the very first character I developed when I took writing seriously back then, hence the reason he’ll biasedly always have first place in my fictional heart. 

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Posted in Français ... et autres langues., Origins

Languages: the origins

Have you ever wonder where so many languages originated from?

Let’s go back to Genesis 11. In verses 1-4, we see that everyone spoke one language. There was no need to learn French, Hindi or Korean for everyone understood one another even when they greeted each other with a simple hello. One day, the people came up with a bad idea: to build a city and a tall tower to reach up to heaven (skyscrapers are like modern towers of Babel). They wanted to make a name for themselves and to be famous. They wanted to be like God.

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In verses 5-9, we see that God isn’t pleased with the people’s behavior, and so, He puts a stop to their plans. They were trying to live without Him and their mindset was all wrong. God gave the people different languages, so they wouldn’t understand each other, causing work on the city to stop. This caused them to scatter all over the world.

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And this is how we ended up with so many languages! Evolution and cavemen had nothing to do with the origins. We need to stop discrediting God when it comes to history. All theories about how languages originated wouldn’t have to be in the first place if we’ll just look to the Bible for answers. When God created the first humans, they were given breath and speech in which they can communicate with Him. He never left them trying to learn how to speak for He values and loves communication. 

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Posted in Books & Reviews 📚

Reading Classics Challenge! 📚🔖🕮

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.

Italo Calvino

I don’t intend to read a lot of material this year, just what’s on my TBR… but wait, that’s quite a lot! While I do intend to read through my TBR, I also want to read a couple of classics.

A classic is supposed to withstand the test of time and have relevance to many generations. In short, a classic is something that never goes out of style… like kindness. Throughout the years, I’ve read some classics. Some I liked, some I couldn’t get past, some I simply wanted to throw into a fire and some, well, they were overrated.

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Oh, but you are… overrated, that is, just as many classics out there!

So here we are. It all boils down to this…

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It’s going to be torture trying to read some of these classics, but…

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These are already on my TBR:

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas (I read this book at a very young age too many times to count! This adventure made a Francophile out of me. Although I still like to think of this book as an utmost favorite of mine, I’m not the little girl who read for the sake of forgetting reality for a few pages anymore and my views may change.) 

Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne (Loved. Loved. LOVED! I wouldn’t watch movies or read re-tellings of this story ever, but now, I’m certain that my views wouldn’t be the same after all these years.)

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (This is going to be my second reread.)

Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson (Read a lot of RLS growing up & loved his work. I hope I still do after all these years.)

The Coral Island – R.M. Ballantyne

Mutiny of the Bounty – Sir John Barrow 

Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde (Read this book twice and loved it twice! Hopefully, I’ll love it a third time.)

Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Body in the Library – Agatha Christe (I honestly don’t think I’ll like Agatha’s work, but I’m willing to give her a chance.)

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The Old Man & the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

1984 – George Orwell

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (I honestly think I’m going to dislike this book, but it’s been suggested to me only so many times.)

Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare (This book has been on my TBR way too long!)

Art of War – Sun Tzu

I’ve seen bookworms ridicule for not liking or understanding a classic. If I don’t like a classic, I am going to state so and if I can’t finish one, then I’ll put it down. I ain’t got no time to waste on books that scholars or media tell us we should love and cherish.

Read the books you want to read; not the books you think you should read.

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Posted in Bloggy Stuff

🎉 Confetti! 🎊

Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring their second goal.

Joy blossomed inside me

And all I wanted to do was

throw confetti at the world!

Throw it up anywhere

Watch it fall everywhere

Confetti!

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I love confetti! While coming up for the new signature for the blog (which you’ll see shortly), I got led to use confetti, and I was very pleased with the outcome (although it may be subject to change in the future). I bless God for the new signature.

May God’s peace and grace be upon you in 2020. 💙

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Posted in Books & Reviews 📚

꧁ TBR Book Tag ꧂

Madame Writer always discovers the best book tags around and although I’m not as invested in books as I used to be, I couldn’t let the TBR Book Tag pass me by! Let’s do… wait, let me grab a coffee first… okay, let’s do this!

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How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I actually don’t. I used to keep a notebook, now, I read whenever the impulse to do so kicks in and when I do, I choose a book at random.

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Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

The printed format suits me better as I’ll devour it faster than an E-book!

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How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Refer to Q. 1.

A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest

This book:

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And this one:

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There are others that have been in my TBR even longer, but every time I look at the bookshelf, I keep wondering why I haven’t read those books as yet. The first one was a gift; the second one I bought when I was going through my lawyer phase.

Hopefully, I’ll get to them sooner rather than later.

A book recently added to your TBR

Alex is some kind of wonderful, intelligent mathematical sciencey genius who makes cooking look easy. I used to watch his YouTube channel (Alex French Guy Cooking), so when I saw his book, I had to get it.

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I love how he experiments with food and cooking methods. I love it when he goes in-depth into a technique as he demystifies (or complicate) cooking. He made me appreciate food chemistry. The best part of his cooking journey? He was self-taught. 😄

A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover

Beautiful? What even is that?

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Okay, you caught me. I bought like 4 books because of their pretty shiny covers, but to keep them strictly in my TBR? A no-no. I already read them and passed them on to new owners. 

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of books I don’t ever plan on reading recently, so I guess it’s safe to say that I plan to read what’s left of my TBR.

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An Unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for

I am not excited about books anymore for they end up being disappointments as authors are forgetting how to author and expectations end up shattering like a favorite tea or coffee cup.

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However, I’ll like to get my hands on a copy of Antoine Griezmann’s freshly printed manga Goal

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A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you

A few years ago, I got this really awesome book “The Greater Journey: Americans In Paris” on sale at my favorite bookstore. One year later after the purchase, it starts trending everywhere even on Twitter! And I was like, “I’ve got that book and I’ll read it soon!” It still sits on my bookshelf to this day sadly wasting away.

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A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you

I don’t recommend books anymore – unless it’s the Bible – so I don’t take recommendations from anyone for every time someone recommends a book to me, I end up disliking it greatly… I don’t know why. However, there is one book that people kept recommending to me because I used to read voraciously and that is “Evening Class” by Maeve Binchy. I have no idea what it’s about for I want it to be a surprise read.

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A book on your TBR you’re dying to read

Did Lestat ask this question? The brat!

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How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

I don’t do Goodreads. I live my TBR life through the bookshelf in my room and I refuse to count how many books left to read – over 300 I guess – but I’ll inform you when I get to 20.

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If you’re up to do this challenge, feel free to and don’t forget to check out Madame Writer’s entry here:

The TBR Book Tag

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Posted in Français ... et autres langues.

The most fun language I’ve ever come across and cat in 10 or fewer languages.

I am falling in love with languages all over again! I may have to rename this category to Languages or something of the sort.

Cats in 10 languages… or less

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One of the first/early words that we learn to say in French is chat which translates to, yes, you guessed it, cat.

So I decided to learn the word ‘cat’ in a few other languages besides English of course!

French: chat

Italian: gatto (In Polish, it’s also gatto or kot)

Romanian: pisica (so cute!!)

Hindi: billi (I learned this from watching Don)

Spanish: gato (In Greek, it’s gata)

Vietnamese: mèo (The word for cat in Egyptian hieroglyphic was miu or mii).

Japanese: neko

Hawaiian: popoki (💙)

German: Katze (In Dutch, it’s kat) 

Okay, so I went a little overboard. I blame les chats!

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Another fun language!

I haven’t updated this category in almost a year given that I started it in the first place to track my French language progress, but somewhere along the way, I stopped learning. Then a spark was relit last month while I was on vacation. A family friend called on me to help him with some holidaying French tourists for he thought I knew French as I should. Although in the end, the tourists didn’t end up going on the trip, it was an eye-opener for me. Long story short, I rediscovered my love for the language and I’m having lots of fun learning!

And only yesterday, I came across the most fun language in a long time! Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint…

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Yes, that’s right. The Hawaiian language! Although I read that the Hawaiian language is rarely spoken among the locals, I learned so much.

‘Ae e lei – yes, wear a lei (lei also mean garland because… duh!)

‘a’ole mahalo – no thanks

ʻŌlelo – language/speak

e’ai -eat

E ʻōlelo – speak

e hele -go

mahalo – thanks (it can also mean “to admire”)

Some of the words remind me a little of the Greek language but with fewer letters. If you look at some of the words above, you’ll notice the letter ‘e’ in front of a few. There are 2 types of E’s: the imperative (where the E is used to signify a suggestion/command) and the vocative (if the E is used before a noun which is a person most of the time, it indicates that you’re addressing him/her. Ex.:

E hele e Kiana – Go Kiana (this happens to be the Hawaiian form of Diana)

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian language) has been classified as an endangered language by UNESCO, but since more people, today are interested in the language once again, it’s taught in immersion schools and one can obtain a Master’s degree in the Hawaiian language from the University of Hawaii. Beautiful language!

RELATED: Ten Languages

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Posted in #amwriting 💙, Ray & Marcus da Díxon 💙

CRFT snippet #4: Copycat!

The following banter is unedited and all grammatical errors are mine:

Ray quickly rakes his hand through his curly reddish hair, give himself the once-over in the mirror, liked what he saw, spritzed on some cologne and head out of his room humming happily. His happiness was shortlived when he met his twin in the lobby. Marcus was wearing the same navy blue cashmere peacoat and his hair was a messy curly fringe like Ray’s. 

“Marc, we’re not going out like this.” Ray gestures at their coat and identical hairstyle. 

“Why not? We always match when we go out to dine at La Petite Fleur!”

“But you’re copying me!”

“Well, you’re copying my face, Ray!”

Ray rolls his eyes. 

“Stop doing that,” Marcus lightly scolds.

Ray was confused. “Doing what?”

“Rolling your eyes. It makes us both look unattractive.”

“Oh, so you could roll your eyes now, but I can’t? Go upstairs and change this instance otherwise I’m not stepping outside with you.”

“Stop acting as if you’re my dad.”

“I am the older twin so technically, I am your father.”

“I’ll hurt you!”

“Ha!” Ray taunts. “I’ll like to see you try without hurting yourself.”

“If this is about the girl, I know you want to impress her, but there is no need to.” Marcus reasons. “Tu lui plais, ça crève les yeux.”

“I know, but I won’t have her thinking that we dressed similarly on purpose to play the identical game. Now, go change and meet me by the fountain.” 

French term used:

*Tu lui plais, ça crève les yeux – She likes you, it’s obvious. 

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Related Posts > Money don’t matter tonight

Sonnets 

In my feelings

Who hurt you?

The dominant twin

I know what I said last week: that I won’t be sharing any more snippets at the moment, but I couldn’t resist sharing this banter! By the show of hands, who thought Marcus was the oldest (not you, Tammy for you already know)?

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As twins grow, their personalities also grow and change, and although they may look the same, the difference between them becomes more apparent. There are many examples of the first born twin being the bossy dominating leader while the second born is submissive and would follow the older (not so with Esau & Jacob, though!). However, because identical twins’ relationship can be so complex, I don’t think their birth orders matters when it comes to who the dominant twin is.

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Actual footage of Ray & Marcus when they were babies. See how submissive Marc is? 😁

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Posted in Trinidad & Tobago 💙

My first trip to Tobago 🇹🇹

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I’ve been behind in writing posts, scheduling, and reading blogs lately. I’ve had some posts backed up in drafts for months now that need editing or dumping, so I’ll try to get to that soon. 

Anyways, this post is about my trip to Tobago, so allow me to introduce the sister isle.

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Mabrika!!

(In the language of one of Tobago’s original Amerindian tribes, welcome)

Tobago is known as the twin island state of Trinidad. Yeah, we (Trinidad) have a twin. But we’re (Trinidad) still the better-looking twin! Okay, that was childish. Tobago is the smaller of the twin-island state and was once home to an Amerindian community before Christopher Columbus’s claims about “discovering” the island. I am certain that the Caribs did not report it missing! 

Daniel Defoe was inspired to write “Robinson Crusoe” after reading a sales pamphlet on Tobago and to this day, the island is known as Crusoe’s Isle. 

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The island is home to 123 varieties of butterflies and 200 species of birds. It has one of the most beautiful drives with some of the beach vantage points in the world. If you’re into marine activities, Tobago encourages you to indulge in diving, glass-bottom boat tours, snorkeling, wind-surfing, and even kite-boarding. 

Behind every landmark is rich in history, but if I start talking about the Dutch, the British, the Courlanders/Kerlanders (modern-day Latvia) and of course, the French, we’ll be here all day, so if you’re looking for a scenic adventure, visit Tobago today.

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I’ll try to be short. I’ll also try to post a lot of photos!

On the morning of departure (May 31st, 2018), I was up early for I was excited. However, what was supposed to be a midday departure by boat turned into after 1 PM. We were greeted by boring Elvis Presley music and after everyone was on board and the safety announcement was made, Mission: Impossible III came on and as Ethan Matthew Hunt graced the screen with his presence, I was like, “How did they know I was boarding the boat today?!”😁I did not watch the movie, though. I was more focus on the sights before me and silently communicating with God. 

When the boat docked in the port of Scarborough, I just wanted to sleep as it was nearing evening. However, when I got to Sandy Beach Point, I didn’t bother to settle in right away. I went for a walk with my sister, took a photo of the remnant of the sunset…

…and then relaxed in the pool. It’s a pity I can’t swim! 😔The next day, we went driving around for a little bit…

…and squeezed in a visit to Fort Milford:

And later that day, we visited Pigeon Point:

That night, we wanted to go out for ice cream and what do you know! At the very end of the street which we stayed on was a homemade ice cream shop and the lady made some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted especially the rice flavor! I could still taste the ice cream. Yum! So we made a mini nightly ritual of going for the tasty treat.

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On our last day, we explored the countryside. We couldn’t do Nylon Pool, but there’s always next time. But I was excited about Parlatuvier Bay for I’ve always wanted to see it up close in person and I was not disappointed at all.

Tobago is panoramic, scenic, and colorful. The locals are helpful and welcoming. You can walk the streets any hour of the night and no one would bat an eye. Tobago embraces you and gets you to live in the moment. She gives you a peace of mind. 

As I end here, I am already packing for the next trip (in my mind). I hope to explore Tobago next time with my bestie for I missed having her with me. Everywhere I went, I thought of her and I know she would’ve appreciated the beautiful scenery! 

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Posted in #amwriting 💙, Ray & Marcus da Díxon 💙

CRFT snippet #3: Money don’t matter tonight

The following is unedited and all grammatical errors are mine:

Rue St. Honoré. A street lined with opulent fashion boutiques that one may be forgiven if they thought they were at a fashion show. People who couldn’t afford to purchase ridiculously overpriced brands such as Hermès, Dior, Gucci, or Chloé, still stopped and stared in awe at the untouchable items showcased behind glinting glasses. Some were trying to get a glance at the da Díxon twins; they previously ducked into one of the stores and the public was trying to figure out which one. Ever since the twins were featured on the cover of Vogue Paris the French couldn’t get enough. 

“This… is very expensive,” Benny Lafayette was afraid to venture further into the store. He was overwhelmed by the pristine clothes, shiny shoes, and flashy accessories. “Why couldn’t we go somewhere else… less expensive?”

Marcus rolls his eyes. “This is my favorite store!” He was clutching a thick book on snakes in his right hand as he circled a few mannequins sporting leather clothing, impressed. “And I want you to enjoy it with me. I haven’t forgotten that I have money. Ne pars pas les mains vides.” 

“We could’ve gone to Bottega Veneta,” Ray said behind him. 

“As if I’ll ever wear something that isn’t French! It’s the reason why I chose not to walk the Paco Rabanne show with you this weekend.” 

“You’re ridiculous!”

“You’re not patriotic enough!”

Benny sighs. “Remind me again, which one of you is older?”

“Remind me, again, why you’re not shopping?” Marcus retorts at his best friend. He gained the attention of two salesmen and starts pointing. “I want every leather jacket on these mannequins, those folded shirts, these coats here, clear everything on this aisle, the jacket with the tribal embroidery, these polo shirts except the striped ones for they belong in a bonfire, all of those black jeans and the pair of black boots in the glass display.” 

Benny’s mouth would’ve hit the floor if Ray didn’t nudge him in the side with an elbow. “Relax, he goes shopping once a year and he tends to buy everything.”

“Easy for you to say, Ray. Why aren’t you buying anything?”

Grand-père made me come with Marc although I don’t need anything.” He tilts his head discreetly at a dinner jacket he saw Benny eyeing earlier, as Marcus allowed something else to sway his attention. “You, on the other hand, should get something otherwise Marc would be insulted.”

French terms used:

*Ne pars pas les mains vides – don’t go empty-handed

* grand-père – grandfather 

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Related Posts > Sonnets 

In my feelings

Different… styles?

Despite looking the same and dressing alike sometimes, some identical twins do have particular styles when it comes to fashion sense. Ray’s style is more sophisticated while his brother is a sucker for leather and black when he’s not in the school’s uniform. I would’ve liked to post the entire chapter, but then it wouldn’t be a snippet. I wanted to do something different with this shopping chapter hence the overboard shopping. 😁

On another note, NaNo would be over in 4 days and this is probably the last snippet I’ll be sharing… for now. At the beginning of the month, I discussed why I won’t be participating in NaNo, but I had an idea of what I wanted to write (CRFT) and I promised to share a few raw unedited snippets. This was completed. However, I do plan to share more snippets (I promised to share a snippet and my thoughts on ESP for a reader so there’s that), just not now. I’ve put this under the YA genre rather than Contemporary. I’m also extremely happy that people enjoyed reading about rich twins that have morals. 

Thank you for reading, leaving your comments, and even suggestions for the story. I appreciate it a lot… so do the twins. 😉

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