five tips for finding inspiration

findinginspiration

recently i’ve been feeling extremely uninspired to do anything and everything: schoolwork, reading, blogging, photography, e v e r y t h i n g. all the things i normally love? nope, not working. usually i give myself a list of tasks to accomplish, but i can’t even bring myself to create that list, let alone accomplish it. (yep, it’s that bad.) so i suppose this blog post is an attempt to remind myself how to get inspired again.

*note: these methods aren’t guaranteed to work. i’m hoping to try them out myself. it’s more like inspiration for inspiration. inspiration-ception?

turn up the music, clean, and declutter

i’m currently reading a book about tidying things up and it’s convinced me that the space around you does affect your mindset. throw out anything you haven’t used in over a year or anything you don’t like; organize everything else. it’s spring, so i suppose it’s about time to do some spring cleaning! if you feel bad for throwing away nice clothes/books/etc, you can always donate it. put on your favorite song and dedicate your afternoon/day to tidying~!

unplug or open up

sometimes the world around me gets too noisy and i need to unplug from everything. being an introvert, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with people and situations. it’s completely understandable to take a break from the internet or people in general. meditating is a good way to calm your senses and reset your mind. taking a bath with some awesome smelling bath bombs or bubbles could also help cleanse your mind. lighting scented candles and drinking warm tea almost always relaxes my mind.

however for others, being alone makes them more lonely and stressed. if you’re like this, i suggest talking to a close friend or sibling. it doesn’t have to be anything special, maybe over coffee or brunch. it’s just nice to express yourself to someone you trust.

rebound and roam the internet

okay, so you’ve taken a moment and hopefully unplugged yourself from technology. now it’s time to do the complete opposite and search the internet for all things motivational. my favorite place for inspirational pictures and quotes is pinterest. tumblr is also a great place for motivational stuff, but it’s easier to get distracted by other stuff..

rookie magazine and ted talks

if you don’t know what rookie is, you’re really missing out. whenever i feel down, i almost always go on rookie. it’s an online magazine which has (basically) everything: finding yourself, diy, fashion, comics, music recs, and all the things. my favorite is definitely a category called, “live through this” and it’s good to browse through those posts. i could read rookie for hours.

ted talks are also a necessity. they have a ton of videos that range in topics from creativity to happiness to dreaming and so much more. these videos could be from five minutes to twenty. there also have books, events, as well as a blog!

find your purpose

this, in my opinion, is the most important tip. remind yourself why you want to do whatever it is you’re doing (or why you need to do it). remind yourself how you fell in love with it in the first place. examples: if you’re in a reading slump, reread one of your favorite books; if you’re in a blogging slump, brainstorm ideas and go through some of your favorite blogs. whatever it is you need to do, remind yourself why you started, and why you want to keep going.

the key to getting back on track is to take action. i may want to lay in bed all day doing absolutely nothing, but i know it won’t get me anywhere and i won’t feel satisfied even if i do nothing all day. it only works if you want to get motivated, if you want to get out of that reading slump or whatever it is. i think i’m getting better already! hopefully i’ll get back on track soon~

what are some methods you use to get inspired? let me know in the comments!

– alexandra

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what are critical reviews?

critical reviews

when i began this blog, i was afraid to write anything negative or controversial. if i didn’t really enjoy a book, i would ignore all the parts that annoyed me and try to focus on the good. sometimes, i wouldn’t even post it. it was unsettling for me to stop myself. after a while, i realized my mistake. this blog is my space to create anything. i shouldn’t hold anything back. so now, i’ve been trying to review critically.

what are critical reviews?

critical reviews are (what i consider to be) reviews that talk about the good and the bad. it’s easy to constantly gush about your favorite parts, and completely ignore the nagging feeling in your chest. it’s another to acknowledge there were parts you really enjoyed and there were parts you couldn’t stand.

so.. does this mean it’s okay to bash on a book?

no! critical reviews are just that – critical. you’re commenting and analyzing the work, which could be positive and/or negative. it’s different from bashing and slaughtering the novel. if you’re just saying, “i hate this book! the writing is awful! the author is stupid! blah blah BLAH!!!” then you’re ‘hating.’ the purpose of a good critical review is to comment on all aspects of the book – your likes and dislikes. buuuuut you need to state why your opinion is that way.

i’ve seen some reviews that are completely gushing and praising everything about it – which is totally fine! i try not to gush and fangirl too much in my reviews because i don’t believe there is any work that is 100% perfect. in fact, i actually enjoy disliking a book sometimes. it makes me feel like i’ve grown as reader. i remember a time when i would give most books 4 or 5 stars, but now i try to look for flaws. the most important thing is to state why you felt this way or that way. 

what are your thoughts on critical reviews? yay or nay? let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

alexandra

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GUILTY PLEASURE: prep school dramas

header - prepschool

i recently began watching gossip girl, and an old guilty pleasure of mine bloomed after abooout.. two minutes into the show. so, um, STORY TIME:

when i was in fourth grade, i became obsessed with the clique series by lisi harrison. i wanted to be massie block, the main character and cliché drama queen of the books. i fangirled before i even knew what fangirling was: i created a twitter role-play; i obsessively stalked lisi harrison’s blog; i forced all my friends to read and fangirl with me – for over four years (fourth through seventh grade.. oh the dark ages). after a while, i began feeling embarrassed of my minor obsession. it made me feel shallow and well, plastic (echm mean girls). the characters were superficial and the story wasn’t even specifically interesting; looking back, i don’t even know why i enjoyed it so much. buuuuut watching gossip girl has reminded me of my love for pointless prep school drama.

suspense is terrible

i have no idea why i enjoy these types of books/movies/tv shows so much. i’d like to say i watch/read these ironically, but i don’t. i watch/read them because they’re entertaining. i find rich teenagers squabbling about designer clothes and gossiping to be extremely humorous. and if i’m being honest with myself, i want my life to be so simplistic that my biggest problem is worrying about designer bags (aka i kinda want their life) (but if i actually had that life, i think it would be awful).

i think everyone secretly wants to live that lifestyle; but it’s nice to see that their lives aren’t as glamorous as we think. their problems may be somewhat shallow and different, but they’re problems nonetheless. also, gossip girl is a lot like the heirs, a korean drama i watched and loooove. conclusion: i’m really liking it so far and gonna fangirl for a bit. 

what are some of your guilty pleasures? let me know in the comments!

xoxo

alexandra gossip girl

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(header background photo source here; design by yours truly)

FAVORITE VERSES // celebrating easter!

to those who celebrate, happy easter! for those who don’t.. happy sunday! today, i wanted to share with you a few of my favorite bible verses. i can’t decide on one – i never could – so i why not share um.. more than one.

disclaimer: none of the photos on this post are mine! the sources are stated in the captions and links to the website/post can be found when clicked on the photo.

source: danielleburkleo

source: hecallsmelovely

source: homegrownhospitality

source: etsy

whether you’re a christian or not, these verses are inspirational and positive. the gorgeous designs are also a plus. i could stare at the typography all day. *heart eye emoji* reading and looking at these photos really brighten my day. i hope you have a marvelous day~~ celebrate however you like!

this post was basically a last minute thing due to a sudden urge to spread positivity. so if you’re reading this, try to do something kind for someone (yourself included!). it’s the small things that make up for the big things. 🙂

what’s a positive thing you did today? let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

alexandra

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an open letter to my ya self

an open letter to my ya self

a few days ago, there was a new feature floating around the book blogosphere: an open letter to my ya self. it was created by ginger of greads! you can view her original post here. since i’m still a young adult, sending an open letter to myself yesterday would be boring and pointless. instead, this’ll be an open letter to my pre-teen self, the eleven/twelve-year-old era.

dear fetus xandra (circa 2010),

this must be strange, reading a letter from me/you/us in the future. bear with me/yourself for a moment and just keep reading.

here’s a word of advice: stop trying to fit in. you’ll learn eventually but i just want to save you the trouble. you’re not going to live a “normal life,” so forcing yourself to be outgoing and influenced by others is a waste. learn to embrace your true self, not some illusion everyone has warped for you. if they don’t like it, that’s fine! not everyone will like you, but there will be those who do. when you enter high school, you’ll start studying from home and leave all your friends behind. you’ll be sad at first, but will learn to appreciate it. also, you’ll (truly) enter the internet realm and fall in love with reading again.

the internet is going to be your best friend. embrace it and don’t be afraid. you’ll meet many other people who are just like you, and some will even become your closest friends. don’t let the negative aspects bother you too much; there will be haters everywhere. social media will help you get interested in graphic design and open your eyes to the simplistic beauty of things. the lack of ‘actual’ social interaction will leave you confused and the phase of being in an existential crisis will last over a year. don’t worry; rookie mag, ted talks, ya novels, and social media will guide you to your path.

in terms of ballet, take a step back. you’ll want to attack everything head on, but there will be times it’s better to play it safe. as of right now, you haven’t begun going to dance competitions and you’re still lazy (even though you think you’re not). stop distracting yourself and start trying. NOW. you’ll be filled with so much regret once you flop that first competition. at first you’ll feel worthless compared to everyone else, but don’t be so hard on yourself! things will get better, and remember everything happens for a reason.

when you’re feeling extremely down, books will be there to lead you back. you’ll read about a girl who could control people’s minds; you’ll read about a boy who could slay demons; you’ll read about how one day could change everything; but most importantly, you’ll read many stories about someone who is just trying to figure themselves out – just like you! you’ll no longer feel alone, and realize you’re never truly alone. books will remind you that.

you think you know everything, but there’s still so much to learn. even now, five years later, there is so much to learn. even in twenty, fifty, a hundred years, there will be so much to learn. try to grow up, not grow old. keep your eyes and mind open to new ideas, new people, and new adventures. your journey is not nearly over; no, it’s just barely begun. 

xoxo,

your future self

AÇAI BOWLS

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açai bowls are my latest health obsession. i only discovered them recently, and didn’t know what the hype was all about. ooookay so there’s a bowl of fruit, açai, and other healthy stuff. is it considered a meal or a snack? how do you make it? i was very confused so i went on pinterest and found a bunch of recipes and did some ‘research.’ after making my first açai bowl, i understand. IT’S THE GREATEST THING.

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what is an açai bowl?

an açai bowl is basically a thick smoothie of açai, a super superfood from brazil, and other delicious fruits, topped with more fruit, oats, and whatever your heart desires. these bowls look like ice cream, and almost taste like ice cream. actually, i feel like they are ice cream – but not the kind we usually know of; i’m talking about banana ice cream, or nice cream.

why are you obsessed with this?

it’s delicious and nutritious. can you imagine a smoothie/ice cream, made entirely of fruit, and includes all your favorite things? this is basically that. because you’re making the smoothie yourself, you decide to include or exclude anything! it actually fills me up, and

how do you make it?

there are a bunch of ways to make the bowl. the main components are açai – usually as a powder, puree, juice, frozen, etc. – and frozen fruit, plus whatever you’d like to include. here is my recipe:

serves one large bowl

blend the following:

  • one frozen banana
  • approximately one to two tablespoons of açai (sambazon powder, purchased from amazon)
  • one scoop of protein powder
  • a bit of milk or water
  • some non-fat plain yogurt (optional)

i add the protein powder because i usually eat it after a workout, or as a breakfast. as for the toppings you can get creative! i usually include:

  • fresh berries (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc.)
  • chia seeds
  • dried goji berries
  • honey roasted almond slices

i have yet to try to including coconut flakes, granola, honey, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and other good stuff! many people also include peanut butter and oats, too. the key to a good açai book is the thickness. you don’t want it to be too watery that it’s basically fruit soup, and you don’t want it to be too dense that it’s a rock. once you’ve got your delicious açai and toppings in a bowl, take a giant spoon and devour the thing!

other sources you can check out:

have you tried this delicious bowl? let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

alexandra

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I’M DIVERGENT: personality traits for fictional characters and myself

one of the teenage rite-of-passages is to spend a load of time in an existential crisis and try to “find yourself.” i went through that phase years ago and frankly, i still don’t know who i am. conclusion: we, as people, continue to change and grow; trying to put a label on ourselves is tiring and nearly impossible. but i stumbled across the mbti personality test and was intrigued. is this the answer to all my questions? of course not, but it was close enough.

up until recently, i was in denial of being an introvert. it wasn’t until i had become homeschooled that i’d realized i actually enjoyed and preferred being alone. to many, the idea of being ‘cut off from society’ and studying at home was atrocious. i didn’t mind because i was doing it to pursue my dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. sacrifices had to be made. i’ve grown accustom to living in solitude and now, i don’t see it as a sacrifice but a privilege.

many people try to avoid being alone, simply because they’re frightened or because society favors extraversion (echm me and the reason why i was in denial). if you enjoy meeting new people, interacting, and socializing, then great! feel free to live your life the way it is, buuuut you should still try spending some ‘alone time.’ getting comfortable with yourself is a skill i believe everyone should learn. after a few experiences, you’ll feel better than ever! it’s just you, your thoughts, and a tub of ice cream (or fruit, or tea, or whatever floats your boat). no one to judge or disturb you! some ways to get you started: read a book (the easiest task!), watch a movie alone, take a bath, turn off your phone, meditate…

since i left public school, i feel like i’ve gotten better at interacting with people, contrary to the common belief. there are two answers for this: the internet and books. i haven’t really been living in solitude. i’ve interacted with people across the globe and feel more in sync with others than i have ever before. social media and blogging has allowed me to interact with people with the same interests as me, and express myself in more ways than just speaking. books, on the other hand… i can’t describe it. they allow me to live multiple lives and be in separate places, without ever needing to leave my room. i think i’ll dedicate a separate post on my love for books.

source: rookiemag.com

as readers and internet humans, it’s easy to relate to what i’m saying. you understand what i mean when i say, ‘i like being on social media, but i don’t necessarily enjoy socializing,’ or, ‘i like meeting new people, but i prefer meeting new books.’ it’s safe to say most people are a bit of both introvert and extravert, maybe 60% of one and 40% of the other.* it’s easy to forget fictional characters have personalities simply because they’re fictional, BUT they do!

here are my favorite introverts and extroverts from books:

of course, there’s more to a person’s personality than just being an introvert or extravert. there’s a wonderful blog that categorizes many fictional characters with the mbti test.

this post was inspired by: (x) and (x); some more thinking: (x)

*i don’t have actual statistics, but i’m just making guesses from my personal experiences. i could be way off.

have you taken the mbti test yet? (i’m an infp!) what’s your personality? let me know in the comments!

xox,

alexandra

LIEBSTER AWARD

feeling the love because i’ve been nominated by two people for the liebster award! (thanks guys! you’re the best and deserve hugs and cookies.) i was nominated by kath from the last reader (her post here) a loooonnnggg time ago and never got a chance to do it. but now it’s here. better late than never, i suppose. (which remind me, i’ve actually got a few more of tags/awards i need to do..) a few months later, i was nominated by nagina from ohbookish (her post here). i feel like i’ve rambled enough – onto the award!

rules:

  • link back and thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  • answer the eleven questions they give you
  • tag up to eleven blogger who have 200 or less followers
  • ask your nominees eleven questions and let them know you tagged them!

questions from kath:

1) is there a book you wish you never read? if yes, what book? there are some books that are so awful, that reading it was just a waste of time. i’m fairly picky about what i read – making sure there are good reviews, interesting summary, etc. – so i usually don’t have this problem. sadly, there is a book that was so overhyped and i sincerely regret reading: obsidian by jennifer armentrout. i honestly do not understand why people are so obsessed with this series.

2) do you highlight the words/paragraphs you love in a book or you put tabs (sticky notes) on it? tabs, all the way. highlighting makes me feel so uncomfortable. how can someone just.. highlight in their books?!

3) do you lend out books? it depends. if i trust and know the person well, then yes.

4) what is/are your favorite book to movie adaptation? by far, the great gatsby. it portrayed the book incredibly well and everything was just beautiful. i tear up thinking about it.

5) three fictional characters you love? what?! only three? you expect me to choose only three?? the list of characters i love is infinitely long. but i’ll be sending love to william herondale (from the infernal devices by cassie clare), june iparis (from legend by marie lu), and liam stewart (from the darkest minds by alexandra bracken). ♡

6) is there a stand-alone book that you want to have a sequel? if yes, what is that book? there probably is, but i can’t decide at the moment. if i had to choose, it would be a rainbow rowell book because i just want one more chapter please and thanks xoxo.

7) do you prefer to have a bookish boyfriend/partner or not?is this regarding a fictional bookish boyfriend? because that would be AWESOME. but in real life, of course! we could be nerdy together and it would be so great.

8) what book can best describe how you feel right now? well, i just had dinner, so i’m feeling full. how would a book describe that? maybe fangirl by rainbow rowell because i’m in the mood to blog for ages. i know cath write fan fiction, not blog post, but all my emotions (and life) is basically cath’s (except i don’t have a super cute and adorable boyfriend like *spoiler* levi).

9) do you judge a book by it’s cover? by it’s author? yes, shamelessly. i’m into graphic design so the cover of a book does matter to me. and if i love the author, i would probably love the book as well – even if it would’ve been just “okay” instead of “THIS IS AMAZING.”

10) how many physical books do you own? too many. (actually i have no idea, but a lot)

11) what are you reading right now? mistborn by brandon sanderson!

questions from nagina:

1) favorite book to movie adaptation? answered. see above.

2) what’s one book you think everyone should read? why? hands down, the darkest minds by alexandra bracken. it is my favorite book series of all-time and i need everyone in the world to know. i rave about it waaayy too much.

3) what/who got you into reading? my third grade teacher, mrs. womack. i read my first real chapter book in her class in fell in love with it. i was obsessed with charlotte’s web and basically fangirling as a third grader.

4) favorite tv show(s)? i actually don’t watch tv anymore since i’m always dancing. but do korean dramas count? because i recently finished pinnochio and it’s become my new favorite.

5) ebooks or physical books? um.. both? i like ebooks because it’s easier to review the book with directly adding notes and highlighting quotes (that rhymed!), but physical books are so much more satisfying. you get to see your progress through the book and feel the pages. *happy sigh* conclusion: both.

6) who is your favourite fictional villain? if you read my best of 2014 post, you would know i’m a sucker for villains. but if i had to choose only one person, i would go with warner from the shatter me trilogy by tahereh mafi because.. WARNER. *goat screams*

7) describe your perfect reading setting. on rainy or overcast day, i’d be safely at home on my bed, with fairy lights on, and a perfect view of the outside world from my window. there would be steaming tea on my table and heaps of blankets and pillows and of course, books.

8) have you ever been to a music concert? yes, but i haven’t in quite some time. the last time i was at one was.. 2010? i don’t even remember. all i know is that i was a baby (not actually a baby, but you know what i mean).

9) is there a book you hated that everyone else loved? if yes, which one? if no, is there a book you loved that everyone else hated? yesss, there is a book i hated that everyone else loved. see the answer to the first of kath’s questions. (i’m talking about obsidian.)

10) do you judge books by their covers? yes. for in depth answer, see above.

11) which book character would you like to be friends with? EVERYONE. if i had to choose, probably chubs from the darkest mind by alexandra bracken. jamie from the mara dyer trilogy would’ve been next.

i’ll be nominating..

my questions for those i’m nominating:

  1. what are you currently reading?
  2. what would you like to read next?
  3. a book that isn’t hyped, but really should be?
  4. favorite book cover?
  5. who/what inspired you to start blogging and why?
  6. top three book genres?
  7. do you have any other passions besides reading/writing?
  8. top three favorite blogs/bloggers?
  9. if you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
  10. hardcover or paperback?
  11. which fictional character could you relate to the most?

xox,

alexandra

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#TBTBSanta // pt. ii

i was having a fairly horrible day when i got a huge package at my doorstep. looking closer, i see it’s covered in little drawings – including “#TBTBSanta.” ohmygod. i bring it inside and rip it open. nicely wrapped presents everywhere. i can’t handle my excitement. ohmygod.

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the excitement is too real (so real that i keep using the word “excitement”). i should wait until christmas to open these, but i cave in and suddenly wrapping paper is in shreds around me. oops.

the reveal is here! my secret santa is jenna does books! she is the nicest person ever and thinking about her gifts make me want to cry happy tears. she definitely made my day (and the rest of this year). please go check out her blog because jenna is fabulous.

unwrapped in all it’s glory!

books included:

other things included:

  • a nutcracker! (super fitting)
  • mechanical pencils
  • chocolate ♥
  • a cute box with a cute quote (happy tears)
  • a pen shaped like a cat
  • skittles
  • a picture frame in a shape of an easel
  • bookish things (bookmarks, postcard, angelic rune tattoo..)

heart-eye emoji everywhere. i cannot wait to read all the books! (guilty: i already ate some of the chocolate.) now i want to pick out more gifts for the person i’m sending books to! i’ll make sure to take pictures and blog about my gifts to her. i might even reveal who she is! (but only after christmas). anyway, my thoughts on life right now:

happy squealing

xoxo,

alexandra

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#TBTBSanta

i’m so excited to say i’ll be participating in the broke and the bookish‘s secret santa this year! i’m new to the book blogging community, and thought this would be a super fun way to meet new people and give joy. i received my first gift already and it makes me super pumped for christmas.

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isn’t it the cutest?! i love it so so so much, and thank you to my secret santa! every time i look at this mug, i beam with joy. sadly, i won’t be able to personally wrap all the presents i’ll be sending since i’m ordering online (and it would be much more convenient to ship directly).

i’ll be updating about my secret santa adventures on twitter and instagram, using the hashtag #TBTBSanta!

what do you want to get for christmas this year?

xoxo,

alexandra

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