Wednesday With Words: Boots for Birds

I am still gradually working my way through a massive brick-like book containing all of Emily Dickinson’s 1,700+ poems, and while they are all beautiful and very expressive, every once in a while I’ll come across one that really catches my eye. This particular selection has been languishing in my commonplace book for a while now, and I thought I’d finally get around to posting it today. It’s not super profound or thought provoking; it’s just an interesting little word picture that made me smile.

Boots for Birds


On my reading list this week:


Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday with Words! Are you reading anything interesting this week? Have any book recommendations? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you again soon.

🙂

Wednesday With Words: Innovation

I’m not exactly sure where I first heard of the book, but Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins has been on my ‘to read’ list on Goodreads for over a year now. It’s only recently that I actually got a copy from the library and started reading it, but that seems like perfect timing, considering that I’ve been questioning whether or not I can actually look at my creative work as a viable option for making money someday, or if I need to scrap that and look for a different career. So far, the book is mostly about cultivating the creative mindset of a Thriving Artist, instead of wallowing in the self pity of a starving one. One of the things the Starving Artist worries about is being ‘original’, and Goins has devoted an entire chapter of the book to talking about how we as creators must learn to borrow from other creators and rearrange all the creative works that have come before us into something ‘new’. After all, there’s nothing really new under the sun, is there? (Apparently not, because a quote from Mary Shelley I shared earlier this year talked about this idea as well!)

Innovation


On my reading list this week:

  •  Pat of Silver Bush by L. M. Montgomery: This was on my Grandma’s bookshelf when I visited her recently, and she said I could borrow it! I love many of L. M. Montgomery’s books, so I’m always excited to find a new one I haven’t yet read.
  • Christy by Catherine Marshall: I’m supposed to be reading this for the Back to the Classics Challenge. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen a bit behind, and it’s quite a large book! Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it up before the end of the year.

Thanks so much for reading this week’s Wednesday with Words post! I know it’s been approximately 5,000 years since I’ve done one of these, but I’d love to get back in the habit. No promises, though! 😛

See you again soon!

🙂

Vicious Cycles: A Short Essay on Willful Self-Sabotage

Maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Maybe you don’t actually care. Either way, I made a goal at the start of the year to write at least one blog post every week, to finally get back into the swing of things and start creating consistently again. Obviously, that didn’t happen. And it’s completely my fault.

This year started off well enough. I was blogging pretty consistently. I was doing pretty well mentally. I thought maybe I’d begun to shake some stuff and get back into the creative lane I’d been riding in 2017. I was exercising every day. I had the will power and the energy to tell myself what I needed to do and get it done. But that didn’t last. It started with staying up a little later to finish a post or get a few more words down. It ended with a garbage fire.

Somewhere along the way, I got tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally. It became easier and easier to watch YouTube instead of pounding out another blog post, easier to scroll through Instagram instead of working on a new book. As my energy levels flagged, I began to take the path of least resistance, the path that didn’t require thought or careful word choice or energy besides the minuscule amount required to thumb through my Twitter feed. It became easier to keep the lights on late rather than lie in bed and wrestle with insomnia. It became easier to say that I’d do it tomorrow, when I was less tired, and easier to wake up even tireder than I’d been the day before. It was easier to not try to fix it or do anything about it. It was easier to promise big things later, and sabotage myself now.

I came to with a shovel in my hands and dirt piled high behind me. I was digging myself into a rut, further and further in, further and further down. Consciously. Knowingly. Willfully. I knew (and I know) exactly how to dig myself out of that hole, but by this point it had become a vicious cycle, and it was easier to keep on digging myself deeper into that rut than to try and clamber out. I had already dug a grave for my creativity. It was easier to bury it than to try for resurrection.

But I know what I need to do, and I think maybe I can do it. It sounds easy; just put the phone down and turn off the lights and rest, but somehow it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to make things. Its hard to want to make things when you’re so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open. It’s hard to want to go to bed when it’s become so much easier to just not. But I think maybe it’s better to struggle against the cycle than to live your life with a need to make things and no ability to do so.


Vicious Cycles

One Week in London: Part 4 (The Finale)

One Week in London Part 4


Day 6: Wednesday (Castles and Cathedrals)

No trip to England would be complete without a tour of an ancient castle. On Wednesday morning we made our way to Victoria Station to catch a morning train to Arundel, a beautiful little town in the south of England boasting a medieval castle. When we got off the train, it was pouring rain. Umbrellas up, we made our way down town towards the castle, which was on a little rise above the town. By now, the wind was blowing so hard that it kept flipping up the top of the umbrellas, rendering them mostly useless. I managed to angle mine like a shield against the wind, which helped a little, but we were both nearly blown off the stone bridge that ran over the river Arun. Wet and hungry, we piled into a little restaurant, where we were able to get some delicious traditional English breakfast items… for lunch.

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I would normally turn up my nose at runny eggs, as I tend to have issues with certain textures in food, but I was trying to be a more adventurous eater on this trip, and found to my surprise that the eggs were actually really good! The bacon, while it looked nothing like what we Americans would call bacon, was also delicious.

After finishing our lunches, we made our way all the way up the main street of the town, only to discover that we’d missed the entrance to the castle, and had to back track a bit. Our train trip and trudge through the rain turned out to be well worth it, however, because the castle was absolutely stunning. It has two parts: the medieval keep and a more modern part inhabited (for part of the year) by the family of the Duke of Norfolk. We were able to visit both parts of the castle, including some areas used by the family when they stay there.

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Approaching the castle (in the rain)

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Part of the view from the medieval keep

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A real lion skin in the more ‘modern’ (still very old) part of the castle

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When we emerged from the depths of the castle, the gloomy clouds had rolled away, leaving a beautiful sunny day behind. We took a little walk around the castle’s extensive grounds, before hurrying back to catch our train home.

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Arundel Castle in the sun


We’d put off our visit to Westminster Abbey on Tuesday, so today was our last chance to explore it. The line to get in wasn’t too long, and the visiting hours were extended on Wednesday, so we got inside in plenty of time and had a nice stroll around the Abbey. There were plenty of monuments and mementos to famous people, and plenty of memorials to those who had actually been buried there. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but I did get a few shots of the outside of the beautiful building before we headed home for the day.

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Day 7: Thursday (Museums, the Magna Charta, and Camden Market)

Thursday was our final day in London, and we were planning to pack in a lot. As with our entire trip thus far, things didn’t turn out exactly as planned…

We started our morning by visiting some Egyptian statues and mummies in the British Museum, and getting a glimpse of the famous Rosetta Stone. Surprisingly enough, the Museum allows photography, but there was a large group of excited tourists gathered around the stone’s big glass case, and we couldn’t even get close enough to really see it, much less snap a photo.

We took a leisurely stroll through the museum, stopping to examine various Grecian urns and artifacts, including a massive pot that had, apparently, once been used for burying people in. We also paid a quick visit to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking exhibit, where there were plenty of shields and helmets and ancient weapons to look at.

Our next museum was a bit smaller, but just as interesting. We took a short bus ride and walked a little ways up a street until we reached the Dickens Museum, which was inside a house where Charles Dickens had lived for three years. It was surreal to see the table at which Dickens had dined, the steep staircases he’d climbed and descended everyday, the desk where he’d sat.

After exploring every floor of that tall, narrow house, we hurried over to the British Library to peruse its collection of ancient illuminated manuscripts, massive old Bibles, letters from the likes of Queen Elizabeth I, and… handwritten Beatles lyrics. Yes, there was an entire section of the displays dedicated to the Beatles. I haven’t listened to a lot of the Beatles songs —I promise I mean to; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet— but it was actually really cool to see the original, handwritten lyrics by some of the most famous musicians on earth.

One of the big draws of the British Library was that it had an original copy of the Magna Carta. While most of the other exhibits were in a big open room, the Magna Charta had its own little chamber off to one side, making it seem extremely impressive and important (as it certainly is), but it was really a little bit of an anti-climax to go inside and see only a single piece of old parchment on display in its own room; just one of many copies sent out to noblemen across England. But, then again, maybe it isn’t always the showy things that make the biggest impact on history.

And maybe I’m just being a picky tourist.

It just so happened that we were in London on the same weekend everyone’s favorite British comedy YouTubers, Dan and Phil, had set up a pop-up shop in Camden Market. My lovely blogger friend Hannah introduced me to these YouTubers back in late 2017, and I thought it would be nice to pop down to Camden Town and pick up a little surprise for her from the shop. My mom also wanted to pay a visit to a market, so it was decided that we should finish off the day with a trip to Camden.

In order to even reach Camden Town, we had to take the dreadful Northern Line. The Northern Line is a Tube line deep, deep underground, traveling a narrow tunnel that snakes beneath London’s streets. Unlike with most lines, where there are two trains in one tunnel, here there was one tunnel for south-bound trains, and one tunnel for north-bound trains. We were very far underground, which added to the sense of claustrophobia, and the trains were extremely loud, being enclosed in such a small space with nowhere else for the noise to go. Every time a train arrived at a station, it sent a massive gust of air through the tunnels, creating huge underground winds.

We emerged from Camden Town station, and immediately ran into trouble. We weren’t exactly sure where Camden Market was actually held. I was pretty sure that the address has been ‘the Old Art Gallery’, but without internet there was no way we could check and make sure, or even find out where the Old Art Gallery was located. So, we just started walking.

When we finally found the marketplace, we weren’t even sure if we were in the right location. We spent nearly 45 minutes wandering around Camden Market, in and out of endless tiny shops, searching for the one pop-up we’d come to find. Finally, when we’d just about given up, I spotted red neon lights across a courtyard. I’d been on the look out for red and white lights, as somewhere it had been stated that they would be part of the decor of the pop-up shop, and I was absolutely thrilled to find that we’d reached it at last. It was less thrilling to realize that if we’d just gone in the opposite direction when we’d first entered the market, we would have reached the shop in about sixty seconds.

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The neon lights lead me here.

After snooping around in the shop for a bit and purchasing some possibly overpriced merchandise, we stopped to have some delicious English fish-and-chips from a friendly food vendor in the market.

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It was getting late now; too late for a boat ride in Little Venice, which we’d planned on doing, but not too late to get tickets for Thames river cruise to close out our trip. After heading back to central London on the dreaded Northern Line, we grabbed our tickets, which were included with our London Passes, and got in line for the boat. It took a pretty long time for the boat to actually show up, but the cruise was definitely worth it, and the perfect way to finish a wonderful week in London.

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Thanks for sticking with me to the end of my adventures in London! It’s been almost two months since I actually went on the trip, but I’ve finally finished writing it all up, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experiences. I know I haven’t been blogging regularly at all for the past two months, but now that this big project is over with I’m hoping I can get back in the groove again. Don’t hold your breath, though. 😛

See you again soon!

🙂

One Week in London: Part 3

England Part Three


Day 4: Monday (The Secret Cottage Tour)

Of all the excursions we had planned for our trip, I was most nervous about Monday’s journey to the Cotswolds. It probably had something to do with the fact that I’ve never been on a tour in a foreign country, and I was totally unsure of what exactly was going to happen during our six hour exploration of the Cotswolds area.

We’d booked spots in a small, family owned tour called the Secret Cottage tour, which promised to take tourists to lots of lovely little villages that big tours don’t ever visit, and also provide them with plenty of food and tea and coffee during the day. Although I was nervous, I was very glad that at least we weren’t going to be on one of those big, crowded tour buses.

The first of our misfortunes occurred outside Paddington Station. The taxi dropped us off on the curb next to a plain white wall, too high to see over, and left us to find the entrance ourselves. It was windy, cold, and rainy, and we had no map, so we headed in a promising direction, only to find ourselves in the middle of some kind of construction area, near a large window overlooking the station floor below. Apparently, the entrance was in the totally opposite direction, on the other side of the white wall we’d been dropped off beside, so we bowed our heads against the wind and shuffled hurriedly round to the proper entrance.

We managed (somehow) to get the ticket machine to actually give us our tickets, and then we had quite the problem sorting through them. The machine had printed out five separate cards: two for a journey from Paddington to Morton-in-Marsh, the village where we would be meeting up with the tour, and two for the return journey, as well as a receipt. The ‘child’ (apparently they have a different definition of child in England than we do?) and adult tickets were extremely difficult to tell apart, as were the departure and return tickets, but we somehow managed to sort them out.

Now it was time to find our train, except none of the tickets seemed to indicate which platform it was on. We ended up asking one of the workers, who pointed us up towards Platform 1.

I’ve only ever ridden on a real train twice: once in West Virginia, where we took a couple-hour trip on an old-fashioned steam train in the middle of nowhere, and once in Canada, when we took the Go Train into Toronto to go see the CN Tower. I’ve certainly never been in a big, bustling train station before, and it was totally overwhelming. There were people everywhere; people in suits, people dragging suitcases, people flooding to board the trains and people flooding off trains that had just arrived.

We were able to catch our train in good time, and were seated in the designated ‘quiet car’, right at the front of the train. We took the one-and-a-half-hour ride in almost complete silence, which was perfectly fine with me. I was probably going to have my fill of people and conversation by the end of the day.

We arrived at Morton-In-Marsh to find most of the tour waiting for us. There were about twelve people in total, or six of us to each minibus, and everyone there (besides, the tour guides, of course) was American. It was quite jolting to hear strong American accents again after several days of British, French, and Italian accents and the storm of different languages we heard in the airport and on the street. Everyone was super kind and friendly, and chatted with us and each other while we waited for our tour guides to bring the minibuses around to pick us up.

That tour of the Cotswolds was probably the best part of the entire trip. Our guides were very smart and knowledgeable about the area and its history, and took us to see ancient churches and manor houses and villages hundreds of years old. The country roads were quite narrow, often so close that only one vehicle could get through at a time, and there was always a danger of finding somebody coming the other way, or of clipping somebody’s hedge or stone wall or mailbox, but our guides were experts at driving in the area, and we managed to come out the other side unscathed.

The entirety of England has just about been done to death with filming, and the Cotswolds was no exception. We saw a church where the first episode of the Father Brown series was filmed, as well as several other locations where notable TV series’ and films (most of which I’d never even heard of) had been set. We also saw a house where Jane Austen had lived with her uncle, which was kind of a big fangirl moment for me and my mom, as we both really love her books.

I could try to describe all the sweet, picture-perfect villages we saw, and the gorgeous British countryside, but I don’t think I could really do it justice, so here are some photos from the trip:

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A random pheasant we found sitting beside the footpath.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a ‘Secret Cottage’ tour without a secret cottage! One of the special perks of this tour was that we got to go into the tour owners’ beautiful little cottage, where we had a buffet lunch featuring delicious British food like meat pasties and Scotch eggs. Later on we returned for a Scottish cream tea, where I first discovered my love of clotted cream, and my mom discovered her love of elderflower cordial.

The tour was over far too soon, and suddenly we found ourselves bidding farewell to our tour guides and fellow tourists as we boarded the train and sped away back to London.


Day 5: Tuesday (Palaces, Paintings, and Secret Bunkers)

Tuesday was going to be absolutely packed. We had plans to get up early and make our way to the Churchill War Rooms just as they opened, catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, take a tour of Westminster Abbey, visit Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery, and pop in at Foyle’s Bookshop for a look around. As you can expect, just about everything went wrong.

By the time we got to the War Rooms, there was already a massive line, perhaps an hour long. If we stayed, it meant missing our only chance to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. On our way, we had also noticed an enormous line outside of Westminster Abbey, and as the abbey closed for tours at 3:30 PM. We didn’t really feel like standing in line later that day, only to be cut off before we could get into the Abbey, we decided to postpone our visit until Wednesday evening, when it would be open later. Instead, we would come back to the War Rooms that afternoon, when hopefully the line would have dissipated a little.

So, although we were frightfully early, we made our way through beautiful St. James’ Park to Buckingham Palace.

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Buckingham Palace from a distance.

Even though it was a beautiful day, the crowd outside of Buckingham Palace wasn’t quite as bad as you might think. If we’d wanted, we might have made our way quite close to the front, but instead we opted to wait along the pavement beside the Mall, the long street that runs down to the palace. The soldiers were supposed to ride along it, and we would get a fantastic view. Unfortunately, we were early, and the soldiers were late. We waited and waited, walking up and down the relatively empty pavement, checking and rechecking our maps, just in case we were in the wrong place somehow. We could hear bright brass band music playing somewhere behind us, but we could see neither band nor soldiers.

Just as we were about to give up that endeavor, a column of horse guards paraded down the street towards the palace. It was a bit underwhelming, considering the amount of time we’d been waiting, but we did have a fantastic view, and I was able to get a couple of good photos.

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As you can see, these are the Horse Guards, not the guards with the big fluffy helmets. It was still pretty neat to see them, though!


Now, it was time to head down to Trafalgar Square and pay a little visit to the National Gallery. The Square was packed with people, but I still managed to get a photo with the giant lion statue. I’m not exactly sure if you’re technically allowed to sit on it, but loads of other people were, so…

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One awesome thing about London is that a lot of the big museums are free and open to the public. After a quick security check through our purses, we were inside the massive building, sharing space with some of the greatest artwork in the world. Before we explored, we grabbed a quick buffet lunch at one of the little cafes in the museum, and then spent a good hour or so browsing the artwork. There were plenty of landscapes, portraits, paintings of the Virgin Mary, and artistic naked angel children (of course), and we got to see my mom’s favorite painting: The Hay Wain by John Constable. I think the Impressionist art was my favorite. I was just really excited by the fact that I could actually recognize some different styles of painting! I guess some of that art study in school really paid off… 😛

After our visit to the National Gallery, it was time to head back to the Churchill War Rooms and hope that the line wasn’t too long. It wasn’t, as it turned out, and it only took us about twenty minutes to get in. The War Rooms are the actual underground bunkers where Churchill and his staff worked during the Blitz, and it was absolutely amazing to see the places where these brave men and women had worked around the clock to decode secret enemy messages and figure out how to defeat the Nazis. There was also a space dedicated to a museum of Winston Churchill’s life, complete with all kinds of artifacts, including suits he wore and even a cigar he smoked!

When we finally emerged from the bunker, tired and more than a little footsore, but glad we’d been, it was time for the final itinerary of the day; a visit to Foyles’ Bookshop.

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Imagine six levels of literary bliss; a bookworm’s paradise. The end of an evening was far too short a time to spend in this fabulous place, but we made the best of it, and left with a few more books to add to our ever expanding collections. It was hard to believe that we only had two days left to spend in this amazing city.


I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 3 of my adventures in London! Just one more part to go, and this write up of the trip will, sadly, be over. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete Part 4 in a slightly more timely manner… If you’re interested in reading that, make sure you subscribe to my blog! Thank you so much for reading.

See you again soon.

🙂

May Wrap Up Post (2018)

So April may have happened somewhere between this wrap up post and the last one, but I was really busy and kind of missed it, so… yeah. It’s time for my May/April wrap up post! Things this past month/last month have been kind of crazy, so here’s the rundown.


May Wrap Up


Highlights:

  • I traveled to England with my mom! As a super special birthday treat (and because my mom has wanted to go there for years and wanted someone to come with her) I got to go to England for a week! It was absolutely amazing, and if you haven’t had the chance to check out Part 1 or Part 2 of my write up of our adventures, make sure you do! My Instagram page is also chock full of photos from the trip, if you’re interested.
  • I accidentally started working on another secret project… Apparently I cannot stick to any of the projects I’m actually supposed to be working on, and I started developing ideas for another project I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while. It’s still in very early stages of development, and I’m going to try to work more on other, more pressing projects instead of following this thing off on a tangent, but… you know. We’ll see what happens.

Posts from April/May 2018:


Looking Forward:

I’m going to try and wrap up the One Week in London series during June/July, and get back to more regular blogging and writing habits. I’ve been kind of ignoring my WIPs and creative work in favor of… procrastinating, so I really need to work on that. It’s just a little frustrating, because with basically all my projects I’m right in the middle, which is where the self-doubt and boredom start to kick in. I know if I just keep working on it, doing a bit each day, I’ll get through. But the motivation is kind of lacking, so it may take a lot of willpower to actually get some work done.


Thanks for reading my May/April wrap up post! Can you believe it’s summer already? Cause I can’t… The year is almost half over, but it kind of feels like it’s just started. Have you done anything exciting during the past two months? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you again soon.

🙂

One Week In London: Part 2

London 2


Day 2: Saturday (Towers, Crypts, and Daleks)

My mom had to awaken me on Saturday morning so that we could get up, get dressed, and get out of the flat in time to fit in all of our itinerary, which included going over to Upton Park to visit the Who Shop. But more on that later. First, we had a lovely breakfast at a little cafe in Battersea called Caffettino’s.

Normally, I’m a little iffy about breakfast. I have to eat something, but unfortunately I often feel sick in the mornings, so it’s all I can do to get down a bit of toast or some yogurt. I was still feeling a little sick from the jet lag, but fortunately I was able to eat a croissant and drink a lovely cup of hot chocolate. For some reason, the hot chocolate in England is about ten times better than the stuff you find in America. It’s much less sweet, for one thing, so you can actually taste the chocolate part, and not just a lot of sugar. I had a lot of good hot chocolate while I was in England, but the best by far was the stuff at Caffettino’s. If you’re ever in the area, make sure you stop in there and try it!

After our light breakfast, we were off to visit the Tower of London.

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Unfortunately, part of the tower was covered in scaffolding, as were many landmarks we saw later —including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament— so that restoration could be done. But we were still able to wander around the Tower and its grounds, and hear the history of the tower from a knowledgeable Beefeater (one of the ceremonial Yeomen Warders of the Tower), who took us and some other tourists on a little trip through the grounds of the Tower. By the time the tour was over, the line to see the Crown Jewels had stretched across the grounds and out through one of the gates in the inner wall, so we opted to skip what would have probably been an hour-or-more wait, and grab some lunch before heading to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

We picked up sandwiches at a small shop next to the river, and sat down under the canopy to eat, where were were promptly canvassed for crumbs by a variety of birds. The birds of London have a habit of turning up in extremely odd places —inside of Paddington Station, for example. They are also fairly friendly, probably because they are around people all the time, and one tiny fellow actually leapt into the air in order to grab a piece of bread out of my hand.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was even bigger and more beautiful than I had imagined. On one side, there was a beautiful garden with fountains and statues, and we wandered around in there a bit before we were able to find the entrance, which was on the other side of the Cathedral entirely. There was a massive queue, and we had just resigned ourselves to another long wait when a woman came around, asking if anyone had the London Pass. We had each gotten a London Pass for our trip, as it provided prepaid and Fast Track access to a lot of the sights in London, for a lot less money than you would spend on individual tickets. It basically saved us that afternoon; if we’d had to wait in line, we wouldn’t have been able to get to the rest of our itinerary on time.

The inside of the Cathedral was absolutely stunning. There was the sort of deep hush you only get inside a church, and many people sat quietly in pews, contemplating the vaulted ceilings and many sculptures and statues that lined the walls. We saw one sculpture of Samuel Johnson, dressed in a Roman toga, with an indescribably hilarious, self-assured sort of expression on his face. I wish I could have gotten a photo, but there was a very strict ‘no photography’ policy in place at the Cathedral, so you will have to use your imagination. We went down into the crypt, which was full of many more ancient sculptures and statues, including some that had survived the Fire of London in 1666, and we also went up a little way to the second level, inside the dome. I would have liked to go all the way up, but it was such a long climb and there were no elevators, so we decided not to.

As we were at last looking for the exit, an invisible organ began to play somewhere in the Cathedral. The acoustics were magnificent; we could hear the piece beautifully from anywhere in the church, but we could not find the mysterious organ anywhere. At last, we emerged, slightly dazzled and very footsore, ready to take the tube to our final destination of the day.

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One of the statues in the garden outside St. Paul’s

We took a half-hour Tube ride out to Upton Park Station, quite a bit further from Central London than we’d been yet. We were looking for the Who Shop, a one-of-a-kind store for all things Doctor Who, with a special museum in the back containing original props and costumes from Doctor Who and other sci-fi shows. What with our lack of GPS (and my continual propensity to totally bungle maps and street names), we arrived five minutes after the museum part of the shop closed for the day. It was a little disappointing, but I was able to browse the plethora of nerdy items and books, and took home a sonic screwdriver and an awesome poster, as well as a photo with this lovely Dalek dressed up in the Fourth Doctor’s signature hat and crazy-colored scarf:

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Day 3: Sunday (Church, the Shard, and Battersea Park)

Mom had been able to find a Presbyterian Church, quite close to St. Paul’s, that seemed pretty doctrinaly sound, so we put on our Sunday clothes and took the Tube to Mansion House Station. It wasn’t too difficult to find the church. It was housed in a beautiful old Anglican building, complete with stained glass windows and a little gilded dome. The pastor was away that Sunday, so one of the elders preached a sermon about the ‘sin of silence’; how if Christians stay silent or help cover up the evil deeds of others, they are participating in those evil deeds. It was a spectacular sermon, and I’m very glad we were able to visit that lovely little church while we were there.

During some of our previous walks through this area of London, I’d noticed a sort of restaurant chain called Prét A Mangér, which seemed to have a shop on almost every corner. We were planning to try and find a pub that served traditional Sunday roast, but for the moment we decided to stop in and see what kind of food they had at Prét, instead of wandering around trying to find a pub.. Prét turned out to be a lovely little shop filled with delicious ready-to-eat food, and we had a light lunch there, deciding to get Sunday roast for dinner instead. If you’re ever in London, make sure you stop in at a Prét. Their food is really good, and, honestly, it’s one of the things I miss the most now that I’m back in the US.

After lunch, it was time for another walking expedition to find a strangely shaped glass building; we were going up the Shard, the tallest building in the UK, to take in the view of London.

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This glass building was a tad easier to find than the Walkie-Talkie, as it was a fairly straight route from where we were, and we could usually see it peaking up above even the tallest buildings. Mom had also saved several of the day’s routes to her phone, so we weren’t entirely without help.

Although absolutely dizzying, the view from the Shard was certainly spectacular. We took an elevator straight up, over 60 floors into the sky, and looked out through a couple inches of glass at the city spread out below. I mustered up the courage to take the extra flight of stairs up to the open air viewing deck on Floor 72. It wasn’t totally open —the glass walls went high enough that it wasn’t like you were going to fall off the building by accident— but it was definitely windy and definitely cold, and I didn’t spend too much longer in that precarious position.

After we descended from the skies, we got a little lost on our way to our bus stop. Mom had the route saved to her phone, but we couldn’t seem to find the right street anywhere. After wandering around for a while on tired feet and achy legs in the vicinity of London Bridge, we finally found our way to the bus stop and took a long ride back to our flat. We still didn’t know what to do about the Sunday roast, but before we tackled that problem, we were at least going to rest for a while.

We were able to put our sore feet up for a while, and the landlady was able to recommend a good pub at which to get Sunday roast, so it wasn’t long before we headed out once again for a hearty dinner of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and an enormous Yorkshire pudding.

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Before turning in, we went for a little stroll in Battersea Park, just as night was falling. Tired and footsore as we were, it was very enjoyable to walk under the enormous swaying trees and through the beautiful sub tropical garden. I had felt quite homesick the day before —almost wishing that the trip could be over— but now I felt totally at home.


I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of my adventures in London! Sorry this one’s a bit late. I had some evaluation tests this week, and it was also my birthday on the 24th, so I’ve been a bit busy, but I’ll try to get Part 3 done very soon. Thank you for your patience!

See you again soon.

🙂

March Wrap Up Post (2018)

Wow this post is late…

Hello, everyone! Sorry I haven’t been able to get last month’s wrap up post out until now. March just sort of bled right into April and I didn’t even realize it! But here’s a quick rundown on what I’ve been up to in the last month, and what’s coming up.


March Wrap Up


Highlights:

  • My next writing project is moving forward. It’s very tempting for me to say that I got nothing done in March, but now that I really think about it, I have done some work on what will hopefully be my next book. I’m really trying to get back into the habit of writing something everyday, even if I don’t feel like it (which it seems like I never do). I’ve been really out of the loop recently, which may be why this post is so late, and I’m still struggling with motivation and finding the will power to just sit down and write something. But I’ve made some progress, which is fantastic, so there was at least one thing I accomplished this March.
  • I watched The Greatest ShowmanAll of Twitter has been raving about this musical for the past few months, and I finally got around to watching it. The soundtrack is amazing, and I wrote a review of the film, which you can find in the ‘Posts from February’ section below.
  • I’m getting more comfortable behind the wheel. While I may never be entirely comfortable with piloting a large, heavy object through narrow streets and around sharp corners, I am definitely improving. I was actually able to drive all the way home from the parking lot where we practice a few days ago, and I didn’t almost drive into a ditch like I did the first time, so I’ll take that as a good sign…

Posts from March 2018:


Looking Forward:

There are a lot of things happening this month. First of all, you should be seeing my review of the new season of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Friday. It technically should have been posted last Friday, but procrastination and health problems happened, so… yeah. There’s my excuse.

I’m going to be away for the rest of this week, starting tomorrow, because I’m going to the Great Homeschool Convention with some friends. I may be posting some photos/updates to my Twitter and Instagram, so if you’re interested, please go check those out.

I’m helping my lovely friend Daley Downing with the bookiversary of her debut novel! I’m going to be hosting a super special giveaway, starting on the 16th, so make sure you subscribe to my blog if you want to hear about that and get a chance to win some cool stuff.

There’s also one other exciting thing happening this April/May, but unfortunately I’m going to have to keep that a secret for now… 😉


Thanks for reading my March wrap up post! How was your March? Did you get to see any cool movies or shows? Is there anything exciting coming up in April for you? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you again soon.

🙂

February Wrap Up Post (2018)

Heyo, friends! Wow. I can hardly believe February is already over! January felt at least a year long, but February 2018 went by in seconds, and suddenly we’re five days into March and I hadn’t yet posted my monthly wrap up post because I didn’t even realize the month had ended. Well, no more waiting! Let’s jump right in to what’s been happening this month…


February Monthly Wrap Up


Highlights:

  • I published a new story! It’s set in the same world as Behind Her Mask was Death, and takes place about ten years prior. The story is a novelette called Empty Little Heart: Esmeralda’s Story and has some backstory on everyone’s favorite Princess Esmeralda. You can pick up an ebook copy over on Amazon (it’s currently available exclusively on Kindle), and take a glance at the gorgeous cover art created by Jenna Paddey:

Empty Little Heart (Cover)

  • I became the co-creator of the dankest meme on the internet. Well, maybe not really, but it is a pretty great meme! The meme is called “John Green Red” and was created in honor of my YouTuber/author/awesome-creative-person friend Hannah Marie. I’ve mentioned Hannah a few times here on the blog, and if you’re interested in learning more about her, make sure to check out her Twitter, her YouTube channel, and visit her Fandom Wiki page! To learn more about the meme I helped create, and what it means, you can visit this page.
jOHN GREEN RED MEME

The original “John Green Red” meme created by yours truly. *dabs unironically*

  • I completely quit YouTube and have decided to focus more on blogging and writing. In the January Wrap Up Post, I said that I was going to try and make some more YouTube videos for my channel. But I realized, after several fruitless attempts at filming, that this was just a total drain on my mental health and creativity, and I’ve decided to drop that idea and focus on doing what I really enjoy. I’m going to try to do a lot more original, interesting blog posts on here, including recommendations, essay-type-things, more poetry (maybe?), and more reviews.
  • I’ve started learning to drive! I actually got my permit back in January I believe, but what with sickness and crazy schedules and work and what not, I wasn’t actually able to start learning to drive until Saturday of last week. Let’s just say that I still need a lot of practice before I’ll be driving anywhere except empty parking lots…

Posts from February 2018:


Looking Forward:

I have a couple of fun posts planned for March, and I’m going to try to finally finish up Season 1 of Marvel’s The Gifted and write a review of that as well. I’m playing through the 2017 rage game Getting Over It, and if I ever do, in fact, get over it, I’ll be reviewing the game on here. I’m making some progress on a couple of writing projects, which is good, as I haven’t written anything at all in the past few weeks (Yes, I know, I’m the worst…) and I’ll be sure to keep you updated if I have any breakthroughs with that.

I’m toying with the idea of doing some Instagram livestreams sometime in the future, just super casual, chat-about-your-day kind of stuff. If anyone would be interested, please let me know! (You can follow me on Instagram here, if you like.)


Thanks for reading my February wrap up post! How was your February? Are you as baffled as I am at how short it seemed??? Did any cool things happen to you this month? Let’s chat in the comments!

See you again soon.

🙂

Esmeralda’s Story is Out Today! (Plus Hiatus Announcement)

Finally, after months of teasing and promising this release, it’s finally here! Empty Little Heart: Esmeralda’s Story is live on Amazon right now! You can buy it here, or add it to your shelf on Goodreads. I’ve been working super hard on this story, and I’m so glad that you can finally get to read it! If you do give it a read, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon, wherever you review your books. I would be very grateful! 🙂

 

Esmeralda

Empty Little Heart is available only as an ebook, but if you don’t have an e-reader like me, you can read it on your phone or computer with the Kindle app! ^_^


Hiatus Announcement

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, I’m going to be on a short social media and blogging hiatus over the next week, starting Sunday. There’s been a lot going on lately, and I haven’t been getting nearly as much work done as I’d like to, and next week I have to finish up a bunch of school before our break, so I think stepping back from social media and letting go of the pressure to blog for a week will be a good change. But don’t you worry! I’ll be back starting the 25th, and hopefully have a lot more awesome stuff for you guys. If you do need to contact me for anything, please feel free to send me an email through my Contact page.

Well, that about wraps it up for this post! I hope you have an amazing day.

Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll see you again soon.

🙂