Books & Reviews 📚

20 Books I want to read in 2020! 📚

This should’ve been posted since last month, but today’s the 20th, so hey! In no particular order, these are the books I hope to read this year:

1. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

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For those of you that read this blog, no explanation is needed. This was my first literature book and the book that made a Francophile out of me. I’m not sure if I’ll get to this book before 2020, but the year’s still young and I’m curious to see if I still like the book… although I don’t think it’ll be a 5-star book anymore.

2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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This book was only recommended to me 1,000 times. I might’ve exaggerated, but many bookworms have recommended it, so I put it on the list. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from EH, so this short novel should be the first. 

3. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall

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1001? I’m certain that I haven’t read 90% of the books in there and if I did, I probably strongly disliked them. I love lists, but don’t tell me what to do before I die. However, I’m curious to see how bias this complied list is.

4. Paris Was Ours by Penelope Rowlands

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32 writers share their observations and revelations about the world’s most romantic city. I’m naturally intrigued by anything Paris, so this collection of memoirs should hit the spot.

5. Khu: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Jocelyn Murray

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I got this book for two things: the cover and the location. I honestly have no idea what the story is about so it’ll be a surprise read.

6. Napoleon by Andrew Roberts

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This man! In 1804, Napoleon declared himself emperor for life. He is one of history’s greatest military leaders and although he won many battles, the defeat at Waterloo probably haunted him to death. When simulations are run today, they show the French winning, so he had no right to lose. However, like Nebuchadnezzar and many other heads of state over the years, they needed to learn WHO really is in charge. 

7. Love and Louis XIV by Antonia Fraser

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This man! I’ve been trying to read this book for so many years now, but I keep putting it off. Louis XIV is fascinating, but I am more intrigued by the way he handled his crown and put France on the map. I’m actually looking forward to reading the detailed part of this Sun King’s reign.

8. Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

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I am only familiar with a few works from this man that is said to be a genius and one of the most influential writers in American literary history. I recall “The Tell-Tale Heart” because it was one of the first short stories I had to read for a writing class and also in Spanish. Then there is “Annabel Lee” because I listened to Matthew Gray Gubler read it with such emotion. EAP sounds like an acquired taste, so I’m quite curious to see if it’s a taste that I’ll enjoy.

9. The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

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I don’t normally chase after Christian Literature, but it’s A.W. Tozer. This book focuses on God’s character throughout and I can’t wait to get into it.

10. Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth by Naguib Mahfouz 

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I’ve had this book on my TBR for the longest while, and I am hoping that this is the year that I can finally get this Sun King off it. When I came across it, I had to remind myself that this is a novel and not a history book about the heretic King.

11. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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I have no idea as to how I’ve never read this book in my teenage years. Absolutely no idea! Inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, the protagonist Edmond Dantès appears to capture so many hearts, that I am hoping he can live up to the hype when I get into this book. 

12. How the French Invented Love by Marilyn Yalom

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When this book first came out – I think it was 2012 – I couldn’t wait to put my hands on it. Then I got it and I dumped it into the ever-growing pile of TBR and forgot all about it… until now. The French didn’t invent love, God did, but the French are so devoted to the pleasures of love, I can’t even stereotype it. Throughout centuries, the French have been exemplary when it comes to showing affection and it’s been recorded in their movies and printed in their literature, but the question is: are they truly the world’s greatest lovers? Eh, anybody can love. This book focuses on love through the eyes of French culture and literature.

13. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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Here’s the thing: I tried reading this book waaaayyy back and I just couldn’t get into it so when I came across it in my TBR, the first thought was to throw it out, but I relented because I believe in second chances. I also couldn’t get into the movie because Keira Knightley does nothing for me. Neither do Jude Law, or Matthew Macfadyen or any of the actors for that matter. The book was first published in 1878 and many writers consider it to the greatest work of literature ever. 

14. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

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I could never get into books from Caribbean authors for we tend not to see eye to eye. V.S. Naipaul fits perfectly into this category and that’s why I stayed away from reading any work of his for so long, but now, the time has come for that moment of truth, so I really hope to get around to this one before the year ends. 

15. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

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I have no idea what this book is about, I just want to read it, although I didn’t like the last book I read from this author. 

16. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

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This memoir describes Jean-Dominique Bauby’s life before and after suffering a massive stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome. The entire book was dictated, letter by letter, by the blinking of his left eye. He died two days later after the publication of his book. I look forward to actually reading this book.

17. The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

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Their story is a tragic one. This book is a look at the last royal family of Russia and I look forward to seeing how Rappaport painted these girls’ portraits.

18. Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman

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This warrior needs no introduction, but I’ve had this book on my TBR for too long and it’s time to finally get over it.

19. 1984 by George Orwell

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This book mirrors a lot of what’s happening in the world today. Written in 1949, this book is said to be a great masterpiece and reasonably “prophetic”. People are in awe of his psychic skills when in fact, God warned us about what was going to come to pass in these last days if we don’t repent in a book written way before 1984 called the Bible for it’s the living and standing Word.

20. The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia

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This epic mythological tale is regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature and the second oldest religious text after the Pyramid Texts. I think it’s a knockoff of the Bible as do all mythologies, but hey, I gotta read it before I knock it. It’s been on my TBR like forever, so I’ll try to get to this one before the year kisses us adieu. 

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To be honest, I am not sure if I’ll even get to read all the books that I mentioned here, but I am looking to expand my reading horizons a little. Lately, I’ve been engrossed in French Literature and I could’ve easily listed 20 French books I’ll love to read before the end of 2020.

What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source) 

Disclaimer

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #143-#146: The DNFs!

I don’t keep count of the books I read, but I’ve read quite a lot since the beginning of the year. I had to DNF some, though, for they were pretty boring, not my cup of tea, or expletives hit me harder than the harsh cold weather currently outside my window.

I mostly do these reviews for me dearest Margaret and my goal was to review 200 books (I think) so here we go with a few more.

Book #143: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 

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Boy, am I finally glad to get rid of this book from my TBR! It’s been there for a while now. David Sedaris is supposed to be, well, the critics said he was a humorist (as you can see on the cover), but I did not find anything humorous in his writing. I found the book inane. It was a boring disappointment!

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Reminds me of Kevin Hart. They’re reaching, but they’re not funny. Image result for thumbs down gif

Matthew Gray Gubler portraying the so-call author in the award-winning ‘The Learning Curve’ (a short 16-minute film based on a Sedaris’s essay) is funnier. What a shame! And MGG is poetic looking (whatever that is) so he pulled it off well. Wished he had written this book instead for he’s actually funnier than the real Mr. Sedaris.

Anyways, back to the book. Sedaris had a lisp when he was younger which made him the class ridicule (hence the title of the book), but I do not find speech impediment funny, and maybe that’s why this book wasn’t funny, to begin with. Some people shouldn’t write memoirs, but I guess this guy didn’t get the memo!

I had to abandon ship! DNF

Book #144: Jack Reacher’s Rules by Lee Child

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Jack Reacher is everyone’s favorite drifter! I tried getting into Mr. Reacher before Tom Cruise made him popular, but I couldn’t get past the first page. Then the movies came out and I found them acceptable and Tom was memorable as Jack, but I still couldn’t get into the books. So how did I end up with this in my TBR? 

Well, I have a friend who LOVES Jack Reacher and she wanted me to read from her collection, so I wanted to prepare myself as I was willing to give Reacher a third chance as I did Jane Austen, so I thought this book would’ve been a pretty good start in getting to know the character.

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I could be wrong, but this book read like a compilation of Reacher’s greatest hits. There are rules on being prepared (Go to bed fully clothed so you are always ready for action), fighting, food, first aid, and sleep among MANY others. Some of these rules don’t even make sense. Let’s look at some rules/quotes that I may have liked or not:

* Rules of coffee: Never say no to a cup of coffee. YASS, Jack! Never say no. Maybe your enemy would pour a wallop of poison into a nice big cup of black coffee and you’ll be dead in no time.

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* Conquering fear: “Sometimes if you want to know if the stove is hot the only way to find out is to touch it.” Sorry, Jack, but playing with fire is not my specialty.

* Dogs: Don’t run away from dogs, walk. Alright. I can understand if you’ll enjoy getting maul to death by a pack of angry dogs.

* On finding the Western Union in a city: Stand on a street corner and ask yourself, Is it more likely to be left or right now? Then turn left or right as appropriate, and pretty soon you are in the right neighborhood, and pretty soon you’ll find it. If in doubt, turn left. Jack gives direction like a five-year-old kid. Shows how out of touch he is with reality, too. 

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* Keeping on the move: Own nothing, carry nothing. Don’t do permanent, be a Reacher, not a Settler. As much as the drifter life sounds promising… 

This book kind of confirmed why I can’t be down with Reacher. It was worthless and I had to DNF it. How did Tom ever cruise through all of Reacher’s books still eludes me. And I like to think that Reacher was somewhat inspired by Michael Knight (Knight Rider). DNF

Book #145: I Haiku You by Betsy E. Snyder

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This book was written with children in mind celebrating love, family, fun, and friendship. The illustrations are cute, too. 

I love the title of the book, though, and I am thinking of borrowing it for a short story.

A quick and okay read. love coffeelove coffee

Book #146: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

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A mystery wrapped in Shakespearean theatre, this book was extremely dull and nothing special. All the characters did was quote Bard even while trying to have a regular conversation and it was annoying! I did not finish this book, but I’m thinking that Alexander was the one who died, James was the murderer, but Oliver took the fall because he was in love with James. It’s what I gathered from the first few pages so I figure that there was no need to finish this trash. 

Also, I don’t understand why people are OBSESSED with Shakespeare. They speak about him and his writing on a godlike level and while I understand that his plays were meant to be watched rather than to be read, he is not a genius and he is not original. I plan to read some of his works during my classic reading challenge and I’ll be tearing his work apart inside-out. As an avid reader, I’ve been encouraged to read his work because he’s “one of a kind”, but I’ve always found his books boring. Who knows? Maybe my mind would change now that I’m older. 

Didn’t get past the first act, but I was liking James somewhat. DNF

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And there’s a lot more of DNFs to come, unfortunately. Of this, I am certain.

***GIFs and images via Google Search

Books & Reviews 📚

Books I’m anticipating this year

Eh, more like book, for I’m still making my pitiful way through my TBR. Not only that, but I’m not feeling the garbage passing off as books lately. As far as anticipating books this year goes, I’ve been looking forward to Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña since April 2017. I dislike the cover, though, for Clark Kent be out here looking like a grown version of Harry Potter. Eww!

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Release Date: March 5th, 2019

Superman flies around saving people, his hair is sleek, he’s much too handsome, and his eyes too blue. In short, he’s perfect. I get it. I get why people dislike him because he’s so perfect that it’s unbelievably boring. But he’s not perfect otherwise he wouldn’t be humbled by kryptonite. And it’s the ONE THING I’ve always hated about Superman! Stupid kryptonite-inflicted injuries!

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But in this book, we go back to Clark Kent’s youthful days in Smallville where he grew up. I’m here for it, but looking back at the TV series Smallville, I had a love-hate relationship with that show. In season 1, Clark is OBSESSED with Lana Lane when Chole was right in front of him. What am I talking about? Everyone in Smallville was obsessed with Lana that at times, I forgot the show was about Clark. I eventually stopped watching before the 4th season or so, but Tom Welling made a fantastic Clark!

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Best looking Kent ever, hands down!

Lex, on the other hand, was a little too creepy for my liking and he looked at Clark as if he was a snack. If I recall correctly, whenever the wealthy bald headed eccentric stood a bit too close to the oblivious nerdy attractive hunk of a teenage Superman, Lex’s gaze tended to linger on Clark’s eyes or lips.

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Get you, someone, the way Lex looks at Clark.

So, yeah, this is the only book I’ll like to read for 2019. If other books happen to catch my interest, then I might be game.  

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Oh, wait, there’s one more:

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Release Date: April 02nd, 2019

Matthew Gray Gubler (ladies and nerds, you may know him as Dr. Spencer Reid so there’s no need to even mention the show he’s on) has finally released his labor of love. I recall MGG working on a book a few years ago and now that it’s finally here, I just have to get a copy. If I’m not mistaken, the book is painstakingly handwritten and the cover is also illustrated by him so kudos to the man.

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Yep, that’s MGG’s eligible handwriting and drawing. 

He also narrated it. 

He was involved in every single process from writing to publishing and I can’t wait to hold the end result in my hands… even if I end up not liking it. The book is also a #1 New York Times Best Seller.

He even wore a banana shirt to the narration! 

***GIFs and images via Google Search.

Entertainment

Criminal Minds S14 renewal!

Well, we were waiting for this. Sort of… kind of.

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When CBS announced that Criminal Minds was going to be back for the 13th season, I have to be honest: I was not pleased. I did not see how they could’ve come up with interesting concepts after capturing Mr. Scratch and I was right because I found the season boring despite Mattew Gray Gubler turning out to be its saving grace (when is he never?). I rated S13 a 3/5. Had it not been for Spencer, the entire season would’ve been a total disaster.

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After the last episode left us with a cliffhanger, CBS was in no hurry to renew the show. Had it ended on a different note, I would’ve agreed, but it was a cliffhanger with Spencer and Penelope’s lives hanging in the balance. How dare Erica Messer do this? How dare she force CBS into renewing the best show ever to grace TV? 

But CM did manage to clinch a last-minute S14 renewal over the weekend. However, the exact order size has not been determined and there is speculation that it’s going to be a 13-22 (or 18 for that matter) episode finale. The S14 premiere will mark the BAU’s 300th episode. And I’m still not fluent in another language. Et patati et patata!

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Anyways, for S14, I do not want to see the return of Hotch. I haven’t missed him since he left and I won’t miss him now. If he makes a cameo appearance, fine. Prentiss is doing a wonderful job as team leader. Sometimes change is for the better. The upcoming season needs to deal with Rossi aging (possible retirement?) and this:

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There is so much tension between Luke and Garcia and that needs to be resolved. I know it’s against the rules for agents to have a relationship, but if the show is coming to an end, why not? They can quit the BAU and get married. Any blind person can see that they like each other. 😆 Wishful thinking isn’t going to get me anywhere. 

And Reid needs a girlfriend. With all the teaching and sabbatical he did last season, there better be some sort of budding relationship in there for our resident genius. Over the years, we’ve seen him in an “almost” relationship with a celebrity (“Somebody’s Watching”), two ladies fought for his affection (“Zugzwang”), and one heart was broken, his. 

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FUNFACT: “Zugzwang” happens to be my all-time favorite episode of CM. It had everything although it was hard not to feel for Reid. MGG emotionally went in!

Can’t the man just have a normal relationship in which he doesn’t have to speak to his girlfriend by phone only for her to die when they finally meet because of another woman’s jealousy? Can’t the kid just be happy for once? 

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Just stop playing with his heart already! 

I’ve loved this show from the get-go and it’s the only show I watch on TV, but there comes a time when we have to say goodbye. One more GIF for the road:

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I’m good now. 🙂

Here’s to the 14th season… I guess?

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***Images & GIFs via Google Search

Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

Share your world for week of April 02nd

Back again to participate in the ever fun Cee’s Share Your World Challenge!

What was or is your favorite cartoon?

More like an anime: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters! I remember when the first episode came out (April 18, 2000) and I dumped every other cartoon for it because of the Ancient Egyptian background. This was also the anime that made me fall in love with the Japanese culture and I still don’t know if I liked Yugi or Yami better. 

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Ah, who am I kidding! I watched this mostly for Yami although Yugi was the cutest thing ever!

Which cooking utensil (other than the usual pots and pans etc) would you miss the most?

None. Although I cook now and then, I am not in love with cooking so the utensils don’t have a special place in my heart as my writing equipment. 

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Would you dare to sleep in a haunted house overnight?

Only if Matthew Gray Gubler is accompanying me for the boy loves haunted houses.

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On second thought, that might not be a good idea. 

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

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***GIFs and pictures via Google Search

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Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

Share your world for week of March 26th

It’s been a while since I’ve done Cee’s Share Your World ChallengeI miss participating so let’s do this!

What is your favorite color of hair? You can name your hair color or a color that you just like.

Well, my hair is black, but reddish at the back. I tend to love the natural hair color and on the topic of hair, I think MGG and Edinson Cavani has the best hair in the world.

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Their hair is top notch! 👍

List at least 5 things that you are good at.

1. Reading. I read all kinds of material for I like to keep the mind engaged.

2. Writing. I love creating stories, but lately, writing has taken a backseat.

3. Creating book covers, posters, flyers… I’ll share my latest designs sometime.

4. Listening. Sometimes all someone need is an ear and I like lending one. 

5. Adapting quickly no matter the environment.

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What is your favorite animal or type of animal? (pets, dolphins, stuffed, wild cats, etc)

My heart belongs to dogs, but I also like cats, dolphins, eagles, penguins, and zebras.

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What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

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***GIFs and pictures via Google Search

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Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

One Lovely Blog Award

Hello!

Luda of PlantsandBeyond has nominated me for this award a while back and I am super late in accepting it. *sighs* I’m always late to these things.

If you have not visited Luda’s blog today, I encourage you to. Each post is crafted with love and you’ll enjoy her travel adventures and gardening projects.

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The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

7 Things About Myself

Let me see what 7 random things I can dig up. They might be kind of boring, so don’t hold onto your seats!

1. I dislike matching outfits. 

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As in a whole suit, though, therefore, my office suits don’t match.

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2. I’m cold right now.

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3. I love the law and once wanted to be a lawyer.

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4. I’m a fan of Criminal Minds and I think MGG as Dr. Reid is da business.

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5. I used to write song lyrics.

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6. I’m awkward at accepting compliments.

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7. I am starting to enjoy cooking!

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I nominate…

My bestie Tammy and EVERYONE who reads this. Have fun. 🙂

***GIFs and pictures via Google Search

Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

31 days of lists challenge: days 16-21

Here I go again! 🙂

Day 16: Halloween costume ideas

I don’t celebrate this holiday at all.

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Day 17: Other lives I'd want to live if I had nine lives

Ooh, this is a good question, but I’m not a cat and I quite like this life.

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Day 18: Favorite scents

Vanilla and coconut. 

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Day 19: Favorite girls' names

Can I do favorite boys’ names instead? I love, love, LOVE the names Nicholas, Marcus, Ray, and Michael.

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Day 20: Guilty pleasures

“Don’t feel guilty if you like something.” No truer words have ever been spoken by Matthew Gray Gubler. 

Day 21: Favorite words

At the moment, it’s bonjour, salut, Dieu, and amour.

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Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

30 Day Writing Challenge: Days 14-18

Day 14: Relationship to food

“Don’t feel guilty if you like something.” Matthew Gray Gubler

Day 15: Something that excites you and fill you with joy

The Word of the Lord.

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Day 16: Something that you regret not doing in the last year

I regret nothing.

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Day 17: Someone who broke your heart

My heart is intact and still beating so I guess it was never broken in the first place. 

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Day 18: Someone you miss

This same question was asked on the 12th day and I said, my grandpa.

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*** GIFs/photos via Google Search

365 Days of Writing

September 21st: We can be taught!

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What makes a teacher great?

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* A great teacher maintains professionalism in all areas.

* A great teacher has clear, written-out objectives for his/her students.

* A great teacher is always organized and prepared.

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* A great teacher is a leader.

* A great teacher motivates the students.

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* A great teacher has a wonderful sense of humor.

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* A great teacher enjoy what they do because they’re passionate.

* A great teacher is creative.

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* A great teacher sets high expectations for their students.

* A great teacher has in-depth content knowledge of their subject/material.

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* A great teacher is always accessible whenever his/her students may need them.

Although I am grateful to all the teachers who have taught me during my school years, there is always that one teacher that has the most impact on me because he was everything that I listed above and more. He was always prepared, always on time, had a great sense of humor, and he was patient when it comes to explaining material that we sometimes didn’t understand the first time around. He’ll always be my all-time favorite teacher! 🙂

*** Photos and GIFs via Google Search from Matthew Gray Gubler’s movie The Learning Curve.