May 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: Darling Girl

Author: Liz Michalski

Rating: 4/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, I have had book of the month for almost a year now which is super cool because I had read a lot of really amazing books. This was for sure one of them, it was a lot. I am going to start out by saying that.

            There are going to be spoilers so if you want to read the book, stop reading this, I will see you in the next post. 

            A Darling, Wendy’s granddaughter, has secrets and they are starting to pile up and spill out. This book had a really slow start and then it really kicked off, you have to get through like the first 30 or so percent of the novel but after that it moves fast. 

            Holly is trying her best, she lost her husband and one of her twin sons and her daughter is in a coma, she’s trying to keep a company together while also trying to grow it and raise a teenage boy who is brooding and she’s trying to protect him. Her daughter’s blood has some sort of healing protein, which, cool. 

            Her daughter goes missing and that’s a lot because she’s been in a coma for ten years. So she goes to London, she suspects that Peter Pan, yes that Peter Pan has her because Peter is the girl’s father. There is mention of sexual assault so that is for sure a trigger warning for those of you who don’t like that. Peter is unhinged, like super unhinged. This is why heroes are overrated, well, what we know of them. 

            There is a lot of mentions of the original book, which I read last year and of course we have all seen the Disney film. 

            The twists and turns of trying to find her daughter take her to a hook handed man, and of course thanks to Once Upon a Time all I could picture was Hook from that show and well, here we are. Private detective with a motorcycle who’s a combat vet, he’s brooding and so much cooler than Peter.

            It’s a lot of deception and lies, there are for sure a lot of those throughout the story, I liked Holly as a character, when you are given two impossible choices you have to pick the lesser of two evils and that’s about what it is for her. 

            Peter Pan has had a lot of retellings over the years, I have a few of them in my collection from the original to The Child Thief by Brom, which needs to be on my list to actually read because that book is beautiful. I started it my senior year of high school (so 2010) and it’s been on shelf ever since, but I wanted that book for such a long time and it was worth the price.

            This book was great, I actually really enjoyed it once I got into it. The ending comes up quick and it leaves it open, I don’t mind the openness of it. I wish that they would have wrapped up what happened with Elliot though because I feel like that could come back and bite someone in the butt later on. 

            Her company was kind of secondary to the rest of the story which I was totally okay with. 

            There is a lot of family expectations in this novel and that’s totally cool as well, that dynamic really did spur the story forward throughout because while Holly is the main character seeing Jane, who is Wendy’s daughter and a typical London socialite grow and change throughout the story was really nice. I love a good dynamic character, but who doesn’t.

            Peter in this one is kind of terrifying, like I wouldn’t want to be young forever and there is a lot of loss of innocence moments throughout, innocence in different ways mind you. 

            Seriously though if you are trigger by drug use or sexual assault, I would tread carefully, it’s not a big theme but they are both still there in the story. 

            Alright if you want to see what else I have read this year, you totally can, January, February, March, and April.

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy week.

            -MJ 

Books I Read in May 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, in May, how? How is it already May? Aldo how am I currently (at the time of writing this part of my post on May 3rd) at 44 books read. How? Last year I didn’t hit the 40’s until August, it’s May. 

            I blame BookTok and my need to read like 100 pages a night. I would probably be at 45 or 46 if I hadn’t taken some nights off…oops. 

            I am hoping to be done with my TBR pile by the end of the summer and then just read what I want the rest of the year, which will be super dangerous because when I get sad, I buy books. Seriously though, my love language is books, I have determined that. Just books, buying them, reading them, talking about them, writing them; that’s it, that’s me.

            Well, I have my first book though and I want to talk about it!

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby #4) (4/5)

            I love this series, I picked this series up because I was in a bookstore in like 2015 this was the book on the shelf and wanted it, but this was the fourth one in the series so I had to order the first one and then I read it in like 2016, I read the second one in 2020, and the third one last year. I love the series because Kiera is amazing, but I love a strong Victorian woman in a time that women were meant to be seen not heard. This one had me guessing throughout, I didn’t guess until it was pretty much revealed and I love a mystery that keeps me completely guessing until the end. I cannot wait to read the next one, it’s on my TBR for next year already because I have very little self-control when it comes to mysteries. (All books, I’m lying, it’s all books.) If you like a strong heroine and Scotland, I would suggest this one to you. 

A Not so Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn (4.8/5)

            I read it in one day, this book had me in a choke hold from about chapter two. It took me a second to get into it and then, man, did it hook me. Fake dating and all of that is a trope that would not work for me in real life, but in books it always turns into real dating. Huxley. I mean…that’s it, that’s the sentence. I loved the whole book, it was so good, the ending was a little abrupt but I am totally for it. It was spicy, not as spicy as I figured it would be, this was a ‘I saw three sentences on TikTok and bought it.’ This was for sure a BookTok made me buy it book, and it was so good. He flies her to Portland for a concert! Where are these guys in real life? I mean, they exist, I hope? It was really good and the scene in the dining room, wow. 

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (2/5)

            This one had such potential. I didn’t like it, I thought the premise was super interesting when I picked it up, time travel in Victorian London, sign me up. It was three stories and I was confused, the prose was great but so dense that I skimmed parts because I was getting bogged down in it. Lots of lies and deceit, I just didn’t like it. I have the second one, I will be unhauling without reading because I cannot suffer through another 600-page novel that I am not enjoying. That’s right, I read the whole thing because I cannot DNF. Like there were like 30 interesting pages in the mid-500’s and that was it. It starts out literally with a guy picking a gun to kill himself. That was trigger for page one and it didn’t get any better than that. 

Darling Girl by Liz Michalski (4/5)

            I wrote a whole post on it, literally a whole post because this was my May Book of the Month, so that will be out soon. I really enjoyed it, there are a few trigger warnings (drug use and mentions and depictions of SA) so go into that mindful to that if you want to read it. It’s fast paced and very twisty, sometimes we don’t like the hero anymore, though all villains are just heroes in their own minds. 

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz (3.6/5)

            I read the first one in the series last fall and I ordered the third as I was finishing this one. It’s good, I liked the story, it was for sure a slow start and this one hurts. Like you want people to have a happy ending and I know there will be bumps in the road to a happy ending, but if this one doesn’t end happy you bet your sweet bippy that they will be unhauled. I will unhaul them if I am left feeling unfulfilled because the Goodreads reviews say that there was supposed to be a fourth one, well the third one was published in 2014 and nothing since then. Right, it picks up with Elle and Marsh, who I love together, then he gets taken made into a zombie and she’s trying to free him. The ending hurt! It hurt so much! 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (2.5/5)

            I wanted to like it, I really did, like I bought this and I was so excited because who doesn’t love a royal love story (this was seriously a pretty carbon copy to a certain royal love story we saw in the early 2010’s). It was so long! It had some really funny parts but the rest of it I slogged through, there was just so much needless and senseless drama involved. Like this book was just not for me I guess and that’s fine. Like they didn’t need to have his brother in love with her too, that was so unnecessary. I will not be reading the second one because I don’t care, I honestly and truly do not care about the resolution of Bex and Nick’s story, this will be unhauled. I almost DNFed this book a half dozen times but I would have stressed about not finishing it. It had so much potential and I found myself just trying to get through it, I don’t read ahead, I read ahead because I really did want to see if it was worth finishing. It had a happy ending? I have no idea because I gave up my interest in it. Seriously, so much potential and it just didn’t do it for me. Not every book is for everybody and this one was clearly not for me. (This was book fifty of the year though.)  

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (4/5)

            I liked it, it took a while for me to get into it and I really left the door open (pun accidental but intended) for a sequel because there are a lot of threads left unbound. The splicing in of the Ten Thousand Doors really detracted from the story for me. I understand having to put context on things but they were so long and wordy, like those are what took me the longest and after they ended it was so much better and a much more fun story to read. I loved the characters and all that and do I hope that there is a second one of January going through all of these worlds and opening the doors back up, yes, I really do because I would read that. I would read that hardcore. I know that it’s a story within a story within a book and I understand that, but I need to have a more resolved ending than how this epilogue ended. 

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl (2.5/5)

            I didn’t really enjoy it. There were too many randoms shifts in the timeline, if it would have all been WW1, I think it would have been better. There was too much drama and a lot of stuff that just felt unnecessary to the plot of the story. It left me feeling unfulfilled and that’s okay. The World War One stuff was compelling, the present? 80’s? I am not really sure when it took place in the “present”, but I was confused and it was just odd. I wasn’t even sure if it was taking place in Australia in the present or not, I think it was? I really don’t know, I think so. The chapters were either like three pages or 60 pages and that’s too much. Too much! I was just confused for 450 pages, it had potential, it didn’t deliver. 

            So that’s it for May, I had a really unfulfilling reading month and that is disappointing. Like I read nine books, I will be unhauling three and I wasn’t super wowed! by any of them. That’s so hard, why was A Not So Meet Cute the most exciting book I read this month. I liked most of them, I did, but some just left me feeling like I could easily stop reading all together, and I know that I am on book 54 of the year and we aren’t even halfway through the year. I know that some of them will not be winners, I am completely aware of that because when I bought a lot of them, I was a different reader. 

            I have some books that I will be reading in June that I am super excited about and I am so looking forward too, I want to get through the TBR so I can read whatever I want. I changed my Goodreads goal from 75 books to 100 books and I cannot believe that I did that. (I also didn’t think that I would have already finished writing three entire books this year already, but here we are.) 

            If you want to see what else I have read this year, you completely and totally can, some months are better than this one, I promise: January, February, March, and April

            Well, I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 5/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 7/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 8/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 5/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, )

Extras: 12/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, )

MJ’s 2022 Bullet Journal Update #1

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I am prewriting a bunch of posts because we are having AMI days at school and I have the time while working online with my kiddos. While we are getting a thunderstorm with freezing rain, it is unpleasant. 

            My Bullet Journal this year is Marvel themed, I like the theming every year, it’s kind of fun. I already have next year’s themes picked out and I won’t be revealing that until the end of the year. 

            So, we are just going to get right into it and go over January through March. I could do every two months but I think that’s a bit excessive. I am a lot as a human and even I think that’s excessive. 

            Let’s roll right into it because I am running on two cups of coffee and spite, that’s just my baseline, but here we are. 

January: Avengers

Cover: They are supposed to be stickers, I somehow ended up on sticker small business TikTok late last year and I loved the idea of stickers, I tried. If I would ever actually make stickers, this would probably be the content. Each sticker has a quote on it and yes, I did pick a lot of Avengers, all of the movies were fair game because it’s more MCU than the comics.

Mood Tracker: It’s the A, a very iconic symbol of the Avengers and I mean it was fun. I did it more like a piece of stained glass with the original six Avengers colors because I have a problem. I mean, I have lots of problems and wanting fun and cute things in my Bullet Journal’s is one of them. 

Last Page: It’s villain quotes, I took the major villains from all three of the Avengers movies. (I am lumping Infinity War and Endgame together because Thanos.) I picked their symbols or something to represent each of them and then found a quote that made sense for that character. I am not the best artist, we all know this, it has never been a secret that I really like art I am just not that great at it. I did mess up on the stone order on the Infinity Gauntlet, but it’s fine. It’s artistic representation, I don’t know, I made a mistake, it happens. 

February: Guardians of the Galaxy

Cover: The music in the movie is such a large part of the theming and the radio on the ship is iconic, I grew up with cassette tapes, well the end of them before we got CD’s (I am a child of the 90’s, it happens) and so I remember cassettes. This was fun to draw with all of the very regimented lines and details. I did simplify it slightly because otherwise it never would have gotten done. 

Mood tracker: Well, about that. It was fun and a little gross because it was inspired by one line from the movie and if you know it, you know it. I wanted something simple and this was fun to do. I like organic shapes, after doing such a regimented lined piece for the cover this one was the opposite of that. I picked fun colors and that is all I plan on saying about it. 

Last Page: Again, the music in these movies is so important to the storyline in so many ways. I chose to recreate the soundtrack from the first movie specifically on the tape as if it got unwound, if you were not alive during the cassette era you do not know how annoying it was to have the tape unspool and you would have to fix it. It was very annoying and happened more frequently than anyone liked to admit and I was a little kid during those days, I almost ruined like all of my tapes. 

March: WandaVision

Cover: I had a number of ideas for this page, seriously like four or five and then I went with something a little simpler. The town sign was fun to do especially with the bars around it like you were going through the shimmer or whatever it was that Wanda put up to keep the town how she wanted it. The other page is a spoiler and sorry if you haven’t watched it yet. It got spoiled for me too. 

Mood Tracker: I went with a TV show theme for this one because that’s kind of the theme of the show, shows through the eras of television. I went with an old school set and the color bars. I had to improvise on it a little bit because there are so many days in March and I didn’t plan it as well as I should have and could have. Again, we are going for fun not 100% accuracy.

Last Page: Seeing this in the last episode or whenever it was broke me a little bit. It was just so sad and the reason that Wanda did what she did. She lost literally like everything and this hurt. I went with basically just a line drawing in black and white and then put in the heart because I wanted it simple, it didn’t need to be fancy and complicated, it just needed to be. 

            This year is a little simpler than last year and there is no shame in that, I don’t have the same amount of time to work on it that I did last year and that means that while I really like the ideas, I am having I don’t have hours and hours to spend on it like I did last year. Times have changed. 

            I have a lot planned for this bullet journal throughout the rest of the year so I cannot wait to show everyone that stuff. 

            I will see everyone sooner rather than later with another post and until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

An Accidental Hiatus

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

So here’s the deal, this little break was not on purpose. I just have been dealing with work and not been in a creative space blog post wise. I will hopefully post something this weekend, but my Spring Break starts on Friday and I am going out of town while a few of my packages (IPSY) are supposed to show up. So those will happen later in the month, I don’t know why but there is usually a month when I accidentally take a hiatus and I used to get so worried about it. I write here for fun, I have always done it for fun and while I should be posting on my regular schedule, I just can’t this month.

I will post when I can this month because that’s just what my life is right now. I had grades due today and that meant that my last several days have been full of trying to get grades in and prep for parent/teacher conferences which are right after we get back from break.

I have well over 100 posts on this place so if you want to read any of them just scroll down the feed and enjoy my ramblings.

I am hoping to post Sunday, I haven’t written the post yet, so if I don’t it’s because I didn’t get a chance and I will be traveling, by car, to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana to visit family and friends so I will be exhausted. I will be back to posting regularly after my Spring Break.

So until then, I hope that everyone has a great St. Patrick’s Day, a great beginning to spring and stay safe, happy, and healthy!

-MJ

Books I Read in February 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are again with another month and another set of books that I have read, again, I am doing this monthly so there will be less books on these than my posts of last year. There were so many in some of them last year and it was too much. If you want to read about the 9 books I read in January, you totally can. 

            I am hoping to shrink my TBR pile even more this month and read a few more books that BookTok made me order. I mean I am easily swayed when it comes to reading, so I bought six books in January because of BookTok…It’s a lot. 

A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A. Tucker (5/5)

            The second one comes out in July and I will be preordering it soon, like really soon. This was the first book that BookTok made me buy and it was because of one exchange. I bought the book for like four lines of dialogue. It was so good; I loved the spinning of the worlds and it was such a fun read. I laughed, I questioned my very existence, and I read 300 pages in one day. One day! I loved the story and the characters and it was just a touch spicy and it is for sure enemies to lovers and who doesn’t love that trope? I mean I really do and here we are. It was totally worth the 492 pages; it was so good I could not put it down. I cannot wait to read the next one because this one left off at a cliffhanger and I want a happy ending because I like books with happy endings and this was for sure only my second five-star book of the year. I saw people reviewing it that they didn’t like the politics in it, I didn’t really think that I thought that it added a layer of realism and intrigue to it, and the twist was something I kind of figured but it’s fine. I cannot wait to read the next one and see how this story concludes, or keeps going I am not sure if it’s a duology or a series, we’ll find out I guess. 

Hot Vampire Next Door (Season 1) by Nikki St. Crowe (4.3/5)

            It is rare for me to buy a book and read it in the same week, this was a novella and it is a serial on Kindle. I saw it on TikTok and it is spicy, a lot spicier than I usually read. It was really funny though and I didn’t really mean to read it but it was only 132 pages and I did, while finishing the book that is right above this one. I laughed a lot, I cannot wait to see where it goes in Season 2, which I will buy when it comes out in paperback because I don’t read e-books. I really should have a “TikTok made me buy it/or at least add it to my Amazon cart” post. Maybe down the road I will. It was a really fun little paranormal romance with so much going on. It was fun, it was sexy, and overall amazing.  

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (3.8/5)

            Three out of the last five books I have read have been historical mysteries and this is was my favorite of the three. I have had this book in my collection for probably nearly a decade, maybe not that long but who knows. I bought the 8thbook on clearance and bought this one after. I have not read any of them until this one, the second is on my TBR for next year and I might read it sooner than that but who knows. I loved the intrigue of this one, I hated Emily’s mother but that is modern sensibility as opposed to the Victorian morals. The story had me guessing until we actually find out who is guilty. It’s not a murder mystery! Which is super cool because I loved the fact that it was about stolen antiquities and I hated the person who was actually behind all of it from the beginning. I wrote in my book bullet journal in my thoughts section that I wanted to punch him. I am really excited to read the series. (Even though there are 15 published and the 16th comes out later this year.) I cannot wait to see what happens next in Emily’s life. 

Twisted Love by Ana Huang (4.3/5)

            Well, this is another book that BookTok made me want and I read it in one day and I read 100 pages in another book. It was really good and I could not put it down. I mean my reading tastes have for sure changed since last summer. I am going to be honest about that one, I don’t know why. It was hilarious at parts and absolutely broke me at others. It was so much, like so much and I could not put it down. Mind you it is currently February 5th and I already have four books on this post! That’s so many! I cannot wait to read the rest in this series since they are intertwined standalones. So excited for them, I cannot order any of them at the moment though (spoiler alert, I did order them…oops) because I promised myself that I would whittle down my physical TBR before I bought anymore and I bought 6 books because of BookTok in January and that is so many. Y’all, BookTok is a wild place, a really wild place and I have never had more fun reading. 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Anouska Knight (3.8/5)

            I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one. I really enjoyed it, I saw some mixed reviews and I need to stop looking at reviews. It was really cute and I have had it in my collection for a long time. This is one for sure that I don’t think I would have liked when I bought it but I read it in two days. This was the book that I read 100 pages in when I was reading Twisted Love, I read two books this weekend. It’s the 6th… I mean really. I need to stop devouring books this fast. It was a really cute story and so much. There were parts where I had to put the book down and laugh because I love a good rom-com. I was a teenager and into college at the height of the rom-com movie phase. There is a lot of talk about death in this one but it was good and showed that dealing with grief is not a linear and straightforward thing, it can take a long time to get over. It was a powerful story and it was fun, super fun. 

City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte (4/5)

            City of Dark Magic is one of my all-time favorite books and I should have read this in like 2016 when I read the first one but I didn’t want to finish the series and here we are six years later and it didn’t have the same magic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the book. I called the plot twist early on though, and for me that’s odd. The ending left me a little underwhelmed because it just felt too sudden and almost too peaceful for the rest of the book and even the one before it. I loved the time travel mechanic and who doesn’t love a sarcastic immortal dwarf. It’s a good book and I need to go back and reread the first one. I loved it so much when I read it and it was a good duology. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (3.5/5)

            Well, this book got so hyped last year and it was a lot. I enjoyed it to an extent but it is not my favorite. The fact that it was told through the eyes of what felt like 30 people was a little much for me and the ending was lacking. It just kind of ended and it was very odd. It was a fine book but it was not my favorite. It was an interesting story and it only took me three days to read and that’s pretty normal for me. I read it, I liked it enough, but it not going to be a top ten read this year. It was just a lot and all of the family drama was interesting but a little much for me as a reader. 

A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova (4/5)

            I read it in two sittings because I couldn’t put it down, the blurb on Malibu Rising I wrote yesterday to give you some context. This was another book that TikTok made me buy, I don’t even remember what enticed me to it. It was real cute, like real cute. It had very strong Beauty and the Beast vibes which I was totally there for. It was predictable in the best ways and there was a moment there were I was thinking that it wouldn’t end happily and y’all know your girl almost threw it across her office. It was such a fun read about learning and being in a new place and how sometimes you find what you are looking for when you aren’t even looking. It was a touch spicy, just a little and that’s fine. I really enjoyed the magic in this story and I will be reading the other books in this series when I get a chance to order them but I am putting myself on a self-imposed book buying ban until at least my birthday (except my BoTM) because I really need to stop buying books and then neglecting the books that I own and need to read. 

Hot Vampire Next Door (Season 2) by Nikki St. Crowe (4/5)

            It was really good, I read it in about an hour literally the day it showed up at my apartment. There were for sure some parts where I would urge you to read the content warnings. I had to stop reading for a minute an collect myself because I was in shock, let’s just say if you are averse to blood… I wouldn’t recommend it. I cannot wait for Season 3 and I could read it on the Kindle but I don’t like eBooks, I never have. This book left off on a soft cliffhanger, I don’t want to call it a hard cliffhanger but it’s still a cliffhanger. I want to read the rest of it. I love the characters and the story is absolutely bonkers. I mean it’s really bonkers but I am really enjoying it. It’s spicy and I mean it, well, it’s spicy for me. I know people who can blow through a lot spicier content than me with a straight face, I will sit and blush like an idiot. That’s just who I am as a person. Seriously, TikTok made me buy it and that’s just apparently who I am at the moment. 

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross (4/5)

            I was not planning on opening this document again tonight, I did though and here we are. I have been reading this through the last two books so here we are. I really enjoyed this one and I wrote a whole post on it because it was my February Book of the Month. So that will be out next week at some point so I am not going to go into heavy detail here. I enjoyed it and the next one doesn’t come out until December so that’s a bummer. 

The Fine Print by Lauren Asher (4.4/5)

            I even liked the epilogue in this one and everyone should know by now how much a detest epilogues. I could not put this book down and I am reading a non-fiction at the moment as well so I needed a break from that. I loved this book; the concept is amazing and well I mean it’s a theme park that feels very much like a certain mouse themed park and that was a fun thing. Rowan is so grumpy; I love the grumpy/sunshine trope though so that was fun. I really liked how there were some tough topics discussed and that was so important to see in a book like this. It’s spicy, it’s real spicy. I cannot wait to read the second one though and that comes out somewhere near the end of the month, which is next week and I am really excited for it because let’s be real; I love series like this that focus on one group or family apparently. 

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (4/5)

            This was a gift from my step-grandmother when I graduated from high school in 2010. At the time I thought it was an odd gift to give someone at 18. Now at 29, I see the value. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and reading this book made me remember and realize how much of my time as an undergrad was spent trying to chase the high of positive psychology. This book was great, it’s non-fiction which for me takes a lot longer to read but the contents of it were fascinating and I am going to try and implement them in my real life. It’s a lot, it’s so much trying to be happy at work somedays but we all try and we all want to do better (at least I hope that’s the case). It was eye opening to read this book that was published in 2010 that it still holds true because we went through another crisis and I feel like most of us throughout the pandemic have been living in a constant mode of crisis and uncertainty. It’s a good read if you are interested in psychology and I know that Growth Mindset is on my list of books to buy and has been for years. We are allowed to be happy in all aspects of our lives, it just takes time. 

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire (3/5)

            I didn’t really enjoy it and that is okay. I have had this in my collection for years and I was hoping it would be much more fantasy and much more about the nutcracker than it actually felt like it was. I didn’t really like the pacing; it was just a little weird for me and it wasn’t a book that is for me. That’s totally cool because it is for someone else. I just didn’t jive with the story and the style of it. I thought it was interesting but it was just odd in many aspects and jarring in others. It was just weird. I don’t really have anything else to say about it, it just wasn’t my favorite. 

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford (3/5)

            This book has been in my collection for a long time. I liked the idea of the BBC in its infancy, there is a lot of espionage and I didn’t know that one of the characters was a real person. Not until the end. I expected very different things from this novel. I liked the character of Maisie, but there were a lot of things that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I know men treated women like this back in the day, but man, I wanted to punch things reading parts of this book. I expected more radio, less fascism. It was a lot and it just wasn’t for me and that is totally okay. I have read 14 books this month, and I have read almost 25 this year, we are bound to find a few that aren’t for me.  

            I didn’t expect to read this many books this month, I read 14 in December and this post is just as long or longer which is insane. I have trained myself to read like 100 pages a night and some nights that goes by super-fast, sometimes it takes me a long time. I had some highs and lows this month in my reading because some of my TBR books are just things that I am forcing myself to get through. I don’t DNF, I just don’t because what if it gets good ten pages before the end and that makes it all worth it? Will that actually happen? No, but do I think maybe someday it might? Maybe. 

            I have no idea how I read so much this month besides a few AMI days and books that I just couldn’t put down. I think on average it took me something like two days to finish each book which is insane and a breakneck pace that I cannot sustain. I need to not condition myself to do this because I will be finished with my TBR by the summer and I don’t need to be. 

            I cannot wait to read some of the books that I have planned for March and I am going on a book buying ban until my birthday so I cannot buy the four or five books that I have sitting in my Amazon cart, I need to get off BookTok because it’s one sentence and I am buying a book, which honestly seems a little insane; but here we are. 

            Well with all of that I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 2/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 1/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, )

Historical: 4/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, )

Thriller: 1/2 (The Alienist)

Free Choice: 3/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1/2 (Buffering, )

General Non-Fiction: 1/2 (The Happiness Advantage, )

Book of The Month: 2/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, )

Extras: 7/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, )

2021 Unhauled Books

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I wasn’t sure if I was going to reveal what books I unhauled in 2021, I usually don’t unhaul books. It’s just not who I am. I usually keep every book I buy, well since I moved from Indiana. I got rid of a lot of books when I left Indiana because books are heavy. 

            I changed my mind on revealing which books I am saying goodbye to and will be donating as soon as the opportunity presents itself for me to get to the used bookstore. It’s been a busy beginning to 2022. I have gone and pulled other books from my collect for people I no longer support or books that no longer serve and I don’t want to have in my personal collection. I am trying to build a collection, not a library. Though I would love a library, that’s the dream but I digress. 

            I unhauled ten books that I read last year. I probably could have unhauled more but I didn’t want to get rid of any of the Book of the Month books that I got, I have about three that I could unhaul and not feel bad. One day, I will. 

            This is just going to be in brief. They are not in order because there isn’t really an order besides the order that I read them in. These books just aren’t for me and that it totally fine, they will find their way to someone who will love them when I couldn’t. If you liked these books, cool, I love that for you; they just weren’t for me. Not every book is for everybody and that’s fine, that’s what makes us people, we are allowed to disagree. 

            I think I unhauled most if not all of the historical fictions I read off my TBR last year, that’s a little strange, but here we are. 

            There is nothing against any of the authors on this list, I have written 17 books, (Published none of them because I am terrified of what I am doing at the moment, someone not liking it and telling the world.) so I know how hard it is to bare your soul on paper and have someone not like it. Art is subjective, it’s not for everyone and these just weren’t for me. 

            There are so many books that I love, it might just be these books, I might love other books written by these authors because a few of them have repeats in my collection that I am still trying to get through. Not every book is for everybody, I want to scream that from the rooftops and I felt it needed repeating before we get into the meat of this post. 

            So, which of the 77 books I read last year am I unhauling? 

West of Sunset by Stuart O’nan

            It was a good one time read. I enjoyed reading a fictionalized version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s later years. It was interesting but not something that I want in my forever collection. I have read plenty of historical biographical fiction and while I liked it, it wasn’t my favorite so I am unhauling it so someone else can enjoy it. 

Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

            Again, I enjoyed it as a one-time read. It was really interesting to learn about Westinghouse, Edison, and Tesla during the race to light the world with the electric light and bring power to homes with electricity. It’s fascinating, but not for my forever collection. I bought this book probably in 2014 or so and that is the case for a lot of my books, I buy them and then don’t read them because I am a mood reader. 

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

            So good, so powerful, and so poignant. World War 2 fiction is fascinating to me. I love that this is semi biographical but not at the same time. It was such a good read and I could not put it down. This again though, is a good one-time read and not one that I want to keep forever. It will be so good in someone else’s collection.

The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber

            I liked the subject matter I just hated how it was written, I don’t like reading a whole book in verse unless it is a play and those are meant to be performed. I skimmed this one, there is no shame in that and I just needed to let everyone know that. I didn’t enjoy this one, that’s my own fault because it says ‘in verse’ on the back of the book, I just missed that sentence. 

All is Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

            Very Hallmark, that’s about all I remember about it. A baking competition and a love story, every predictable. I read it in January or February of last year so I don’t really remember much of the plot and that tells me that it didn’t leave an impact on me and it will bring someone else a lot more joy than it brought me. 

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

            I thought it was going to be more about Degas, if we are being honest. A lot of the books that I am unhauling are historical fiction. This one was just a lot for me and I enjoyed most of it, but not all of it and that’s totally okay. 

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

            There were no quotation marks and that took so much away from this book for me because it was hard to follow. It was also just weird, like super weird, I think that her brother turned into furniture because he was sad? I had no idea because I was so lost while I read this book, or struggled to read this book. 

Soulless by Gail Carriger

            If I would have read it when I bought it, I would have probably read the whole series, I enjoyed it as a one-time read and it would have been fine as a standalone but I didn’t like it enough to keep it or continue the series. It was an interesting concept, I enjoyed the read, but it was not for me in my current reading habits. 

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

            I might have read this whole book in a day; it was that or two days. It was a fine read, it was basically a rom-com, it was predictable. Which is totally fine, I love predictable sometimes but nothing in this book really stood out to me. I don’t actually remember much of it, which is not great. I have a pretty good memory for most things but if I don’t really like a book or it’s fine, I don’t remember a lot of the plot…oops. 

Dream London by Tony Ballentine

            Another one that I probably would have loved the series, it’s sci-fi, which I usually like. It was just weird and that’s okay. I liked it when I read it, I truly did but it is not something I want in my permanent collection. I got concerned at the ending and that was what threw me into unhauling it. I know there are more in the series but I have no interest in reading them.

            Well, there it is, ten books that I got rid of from my collection. I gave my top ten might as well give my bottom ten as well. I already have a list of books that I am unhauling so far this year because when you read over 5 books in a month that you have owned for several years you are bound to find some that just aren’t your scene anymore. 

            That’s the thing about being a mood reader and buying books when you are in the mood for them and not reading them because your TBR is so long, they get lost in the cracks and then you pull them out 5 years later and you don’t like them anymore. That’s alright, I love to read and I love to read a variety of books because they amuse me. I will pretty much read anything, or at least try and I am so much of a completionist (yes, I am aware that is not a word, but that’s who I am) that I do not ‘do not finish’ books, I haven’t not finished a book since like 2016 so I get through them, because maybe the last ten pages will make the other 300 worth the read. I don’t know.

            This post was hard to write, it’s repetitive and I will link the original blurbs to all of them when this is posted so you can see in the moment what I thought about them, not several months removed. I read something like 20 books in November and December and all of them except a few were mood, so all the books that I unhauled were from my TBR. I need that to be clear. All ten books came from my original 45 book physical TBR, these are books I am going through to make sure I want them in my personal permanent collection. 

            This post was a long one, sorry. I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and I will be back later in the week with another post. Until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ

January 2022 IPSY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            Here we are with my first GB+ of the year. I know that my last post was my Glam Bag for the month and I don’t like doing a back-to-back like this but I am still trying to figure out what is going to go in my Best in Beauty for 2021, I really don’t have many things that were amazing to me in 2021 but we will find some things. Spoiler, this is going out a lot later than I planned because I was sick so I kind of missed some posts, whoops. 

            So with my first bag of the year, I am going to just say, again, this ultra-personalization does not feel real personal, I don’t want to switch to a different beauty subscription but I feel like I am not getting a variety any more. I could redo the beauty quiz but I feel like nothing is going to change. Again, if you as a brand and company want to know how people feel beyond your social media comments send out a survey to everyone because we are paying to be a part of the community and we would like a voice beyond the standard form letter in social media comments. 

            I know that the pandemic has messed so much up and we are still dealing with it, that I get and I understand, it’s just getting to a point where I don’t feel like as a member I am appreciated. 

The Bag:

            I love the bag, I love the smiley face theme this month and the pastel watercolor pattern on this and the Glam Bag this month, it’s super fun and I am loving the drawstring bags that come with the GB+ now. I don’t feel like I have much to say about it though, I really like the bag this month.

The Products: 

111Skin Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster: 

            111Skin is amazing, I love their products and I love a good hyaluronic acid treatment and I need to use my serums more again while trying to find one that I have that I can give to my mom because she wants to see what the hype is with serum. I need a good hydrating serum this time of year because my skin is dry. I need to buy a tiny humidifier because my apartment is super dry and I need more hydration. Seriously, the winter takes everything out of my skin and now that I am back to wearing a mask full time it makes it a little bit more complicated. 

Róen Beauty Cake Mascara in Black:

            The applicator on this is HUGE! I mean it’s so big and I love the sleek look of the packaging. I just opened a mascara so this one will go into the collection until I get a chance to give it a try. It says it doesn’t flake, I always put that to the test because when it says that usually by the end of my school day I am getting mascara in my eyes. So I’ll be putting that to the test soon enough. 

Realher Power Wear Ombre Bronzer in You Are Golden:

            I love this shade! Normally when I get bronzers, they are too dark for me and this one is a perfect shade for me and my skin tone. I am so excited to give this one a try, not right now because it’s the middle of winter. It’s also clean beauty which I am a huge fan of and I am glad that we are getting more clean beauty brands making it to the main stream. I love the packaging and I cannot wait to give this one a try and hopefully absolutely love it. 

Context Skin Tinted Lip Balm Duo in All or Nothing and Hard Time:

            The shades are beautiful and I cannot wait to give these a try, I like tinted lip balm all the benefits of lip balm and the color and fun of a lipstick. All of the packaging in this bag is super simple and I love all of it. I tend to go for either the ones that are completely out there or the ones that are nice and simple and these are beautiful shades, a little more fall toned but I will give them a try here soon enough. 

Hipdot All in One 4-piece brush set:

            Who doesn’t need another set of eye brushes? I love a good eye look and this was the only option for this selection that I even thought about wanting or needing. I like the fact that I can just take a few brushes and finish an eye look. A good multipurpose eye brush. They are brushes, I like the handles because they are super cool, but they are brushes and most of the time most brushes are pretty similar for me. 

            Well there you have it, my GB+ for January 2022, I cannot believe we are already writing another year’s worth of these. There are no other ones to check out at the moment, you can read my regular Glam Bag post for January if you are interested in it. 

            I will be back with another post later in the week, hopefully I will have figured out what my top in beauty for 2021 is and I will be posting that, spoilers, I didn’t. So until then I hope that everyone has a good rest of the week and stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ

Winter 2021 fabfitfun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Normally my fff box doesn’t show up this early, but I ordered an add on and an extra so it showed up super early. This post doesn’t even come out for a few weeks after I am actually physically writing it, I am getting it done though because I need to. I am going to preface this entire post with: most of it was good, some of it was not so good. I feel like the boxes have been such a mixed bag and this one was for sure better than a few I have gotten this year, but one thing was a repeat from my summer box and that’s disappointing. 

            Like I said I bought an add-on this time and that was a new Makeup Eraser in Chill Blue because I love my Makeup Eraser so I figured having a backup that wasn’t the normal $20 was a good thing. I also had a $15 credit on this box so I didn’t feel too bad buying something or rather two somethings extra.

            The other thing that I got as an extra was another Unhide Marshmallow Blanket in Rose, I live underneath my one from last year when I am reading and it is so soft and I love it. I wanted one for my classroom so I could be warm while I’m hanging out at my desk and that was 95% the reason that I purchased another one. Like eventually I want to get one the big blankets but they are on the expensive side so I am just going to have to wait. 

            So, moving right along I am going to talk about what I got in my box but take a brief pause here to say one thing, I don’t really like that they don’t have all the options in the magazine anymore. I liked being able to check off the things that I got; I can see it in the app but that’s just not the same. I know that companies are always trying to change and innovate, I just personally miss seeing all the products that maybe I might want to look into in case I didn’t choose them or didn’t have the choice. I will have another thing at the end to say that I’m not the biggest fan of, but I feel like a lot of my fff posts this year have been very Debby Downer and I don’t like that, but I am violently myself so my opinion is my own and that’s okay. We can all feel different about things and still get along. 

            What did I get though? 

Herschel Supply Co. Mica Tote:

            I love this, I saw this in the spoilers and I had to have it. It’s so much bigger than I thought it would be. Like I will be able to carry so much in this! Like it fits my laptop with no problem and I could probably put a protector over my laptop and still have room from side to side. I love the color and this for sure was my top choice in this category. (This was also the category that the Unhide blanket was in, so I got two in this one.) It has a zipper which is really great was a tote because that means that it’s not as accessible to anyone that isn’t you. I don’t remember the other customization options, that is for sure a huge reason I miss it in the magazine, I used to be able to list what I chose over what I missed. 

Sur La Table 4 Piece Silicone Utensil Set in Grey:

            I have been in a Sur La Table store once; it was in Illinois and that store was overwhelming. All of my kitchen utensils are all hand-me-downs from my mom and grandma so now I have my own set and I really like them. They seem really well made; the only problem is because they have a wooden handle that means that I have to hand wash them. I am going to leave them in the box because eventually when I move into a house, they will make their debut there. It’s a spatula, a turner (which I also call a spatula), and two spoons one slotted and one solid. I am super happy with this choice as well because this was another customization option that I got to choose. 

Michael Kors Beanie with Pom: 

            I love Michael Kors, it’s all so classic and just really refined. I love a good hat and this one fit so I’m good. Sometimes beanies don’t fit me, it’s super weird. I love the color and the pom is a lot of fun, it got a little squished in the bag so I will have to fluff it up later. It’s also a nice neutral color which means that it will go with everything and that makes me so happy. Michael Kors is one of those designers where if I am given the option that is usually what I pick. The only real pair of wedges I own are Michael Kors and they are, for heels, super comfortable. 

Briogeo Curl Charism leave in defining cream: 

            I am one of those people who has wavy hair and would like nothing more than to have curly hair. I curl my hair and it falls out in literal minutes. I have heard about this product line for years though and I am excited to actually give it a try. Maybe keep the waves in my hair a little longer without a lot of product because I am not a huge hair product person. This was my last category to have a choice in and this was the only one that I really wanted. 

Vahdam Teas Recovery Sampler:

            I love tea, that is not a secret. I like the idea of a tea sampler and I had to make sure that there were some ingredients that aren’t in it because I cannot have them. I get a little sick from some of the ingredients in tea so I have to be super careful. Licorice Root upsets my tummy, so I avoid it. I love a good chai tea, most of these have black pepper in them and I don’t know how many times in my life I have had black pepper in tea so this is going to be interesting. 

            The next three were the bundle. I mentioned last time that I didn’t like the bundle, I still don’t and there was a straight up repeat in this that I got in my last box so that I am not too happy about. 

Barefoot Scientist Pedicure File: 

            I got this in my summer box, I have used it once and I’m not a huge fane so now I have to figure out what to do with a second one. If you want to know my first impressions of this product, check out my summer 2021 Unboxing. It’s fine, it’s just getting a second one is annoying.

Bennkai Chocolate Bomb Maker:

            If they were bigger, it would be fun to make tiny chocolate covered cakes, they are small though and I know they are for hot chocolate bombs which are super trendy right now. I have never wanted to make one, I’ll find a use for them I guess but I feel like these uber trendy products don’t have much lasting power and that’s just my opinion, maybe hot chocolate bombs will be here to stay. 

Aesthetica Liquid Eyeliner: 

            I don’t use liquid eyeliner. I don’t use much eyeliner at all. I was part of that emo scene when I was in middle and high school so I wore a lot of eyeliner, I have grown out of that phase of my life and because I wear glasses doing a wing is pretty pointless for me.  

            Here’s the other thing that I am going to say, the bundle, it’s not good. I feel like it’s just a bunch of random products that they cobble together and none of them have overwhelmed me. That’s a personal opinion and again, that’s fine if you disagree with me, that is totally cool. I just don’t think that the bundle is a great option. 

            This box was probably the best one that I have gotten this year and I feel like that is saying a lot because I have done a lot of complaining about them throughout the year. I am hoping that this box is the upward trend where the boxes go back to being super cool and fun. 

            I feel like I need to stop because I loved most of my box, there was some misses in this one. (The bundle is going to be the surge of my existence, isn’t it?) Overall though, this box was amazing and all of the rest of the things that I got in my box fit into the Herschel tote so that’s fun! 

            If you want to see what else I’ve gotten this year, you can brave those posts if you want to, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

            I will be back on the day after Christmas with another post, (that’s also already written because I have a problem and try to front load writing a lot of my posts when I can.) so until then I hope that everyone has a great holiday if you celebrate and stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ 

MJ’s 2021 Bullet Journal Update #3

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            I am prepping posts because we are back to school and that means that I come home and just want to hang out so I am trying to get posts written on the weekend. I am sitting right now on the 22nd of August and this post doesn’t come out until the end of September so roll with me (roll even further with me because it’s the second week of October…oops). The more I can get done now means that I will have posts even when I don’t have the physical or creative energy to write a blog post. I am trying to force 1,000 words out a day and most days that works, but some days there is just a whistling or the dial up noise in my brain and nothing comes out. 

            On to what this post is actually about though! My 2021 Bullet Journal, if you want to read Part 1 or Part 2 to see what else I have done this year, you totally can. I already have my layout pages for 2022 done and that’s so exciting. I also know all of my themes and pages for my 2023 bullet journal which is crazy because usually I don’t even start thinking about the next year’s journal until about July. Well now I am two years ahead. I know my themes for next year I just have to figure out how to implement them on the pages. That’s going to be fun…hint hint: next year’s theme is Marvel. 

            Alright, I think that’s enough exposition and we are just going to move straight into the post. We are here covering the months July, August, and September. I cannot believe I am on the third post of four in this series for the year, it’s insane.

July: The Great Mouse Detective

Cover: This cover took me hours to finish, it was a lot of lines and drawing Big Ben was complicated. This for sure is one of my favorite covers of the year though. TGMD is so underrated and trying to get inspiration pictures for this was hard. I just watched it on Disney Plus because I needed to see certain scenes and I was unable to find the pictures online. I love this movie, it was one of my favorites as a kid and I still love it, the opening scene with Fidget still freaks me out and I am almost 30. I was going to draw the mice riding on Toby but I cannot draw that much small detail so I stuck with Toby. Who doesn’t love an animal retelling of a classic? Disney did a few of them and I love all of them. (The Great Mouse Detective and Robin Hood come to mind right away.)

Mood Tracker: Of course, it is lab equipment, I thought about doing something with Ratigan but I decided against it because there is a scene as the beginning where they are testing ink and I thought of all the chemistry equipment and ran with it. I like having fun with something I have to fill out every day and the mood tracker is one of those things and that means that I have like what I am coloring in on the daily.

Last Page: I love the invention of the flower to ballerina toy from the very beginning of the film so I drew it as best I could. I have wanted that toy since I was between four and six and saw the movie for the first time. It’s so graceful and beautiful so I had to put it in my Bullet Journal.

August: Winnie the Pooh

Cover: I think that most of us grew up on these characters, I had to watch a few of the movies on Disney Plus to make sure that I was getting things right, the one from the 70’s and the one from like 2011. I wanted the whole gang in the picture and some of the characters turned out better than others, that’s for sure. Eeyore has always been my favorite and I think that explains a lot about my personality. 

Mood Tracker: Of course, it’s honey comb, I love the Hunny pot at the bottom and I wanted something nice and simple yet effective for the mood tracker this month because I have been doing a lot with this journal. It’s fun, I love fun and the bee is dumb looking, but I love that too. 

Last Page: This is the one scene from the 1977 cartoon The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I grew up on that one and I watched it while I was working on this page. I think doing my BuJo this year Disney themed was just an excuse to get Disney Plus and rewatch all of my favorites. The scene in the movie Pooh eats too much honey at Rabbit’s house and gets stuck in the entrance. I could have drawn the view from inside Rabbit’s house where Rabbit draws on Pooh and uses him like a trophy mount and a shelf but this one was cuter. 

September: Big Hero Six

Cover: I love this movie, it was also kind of underrated, but it’s so good and so inclusive. I love Baymax so of course he had to be half of the cover. The quote is a little hard to read but it’s lines across because I love that quote. The other side is all of the character’s “battle suits” in minimalist, I guess. When I started working on this month, I actually wasn’t sure what I was going to put on this page and then this idea came to me because of a poster I saw. The movie is visually stunning and has a great story, if you have not seen it, go see it. 

Mood Tracker: Honey Lemon’s character is a bad ass (excuse the swearing, but she is) like she makes the chemical compounds without looking at the bag. It’s so cool! I ran with this one because I had no other idea, this was the idea that came to my brain and it was what I wanted to do, so I did it.

Last Page: I love “drunk” Baymax in the movie, when he starts to deflate and it’s so funny. I have a tank top that says “We jumped out a window!” and it is one of my favorites. The character of Baymax is so fun, all of the characters are so unique and it’s just one of those movies that sits with you. 

            So, there you have it, another three months in my Bullet Journal. One more of these posts and we will be heading toward my 2022 Bullet Journal. That’s still really crazy because 2021 has been a roller coaster. 

            In my last BuJo update post I talked about starting my comparison series, I did that you can check out the Yearly Covers post and my Book Case post because they are both out!

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post and I hope that everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy rest of the week!

            -MJ

Halloween DIY #1: A Graveyard Scene

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So it’s October, I have had this terrarium done since August because I waited too long last year to get miniatures and that was a huge mistake, so I went early. I made two, I made this one and a second one that will come out next week. 

            Here is the issue with this one, I forgot to take pictures of it while I was working on putting it together; like an idiot. I feel real dumb that I didn’t actually take any of the process photos. I will explain as best I can and then you are just going to have to live with only seeing the finished product. Which I love so much. 

            This was my original idea last year when I made the skeleton forest lantern. I made it this year! 

Materials:

1.  Miniatures

            -I got mine at Michaels and it is an hour drive there, I had to go twice. You can order them online but I like seeing them in person before actually committing to spending actual real people money on them.

2. Moss

            -I had to buy more moss, no matter how much of a mess that it makes because I used the last of my other moss on my succulent terrarium that I made in June. 

3. A Terrarium

            -I got this one at Hobby Lobby half off because I liked the greenhouse vibe that this one gave me. I also love that it has a handle on it. It looks like a Victorian style greenhouse and that sold me on the graveyard look that I was going for. 

4. Hot glue

            -Like a lot of hot glue, it will be your best friend. 

5. Cardboard

            -For the bottom, I regret not covering it with something, but you live and you learn, right?

Steps: 

1.  Unpackage all of your miniatures, I had a pile of plastic and cardboard on the floor next to my desk because I did two in one afternoon, this was the second one I did, but it’s the first post y’all are getting. Also, while you are unpackaging get your hot glue gun on, it will usually take a little while to heat up so getting it turned on now really helps in the long run. 

2. Cut your cardboard to the size of the bottom of your display case, I had to cute it like four times because I am a mess when it comes to cutting paper and the like to size. I used the cardboard from my Book of the Month box, it was what I had so don’t come for me. 

3. Start to figure out where you want everything, I did a drawing of what I thought I wanted it to look like and I pretty much stuck to that. I worked from the back to the front where the door is because I didn’t want to knock anything over in the process when I was putting it in.

4. Get your ground cover in, it doesn’t have to be moss, you could use turf or something like that, I like the moss because it makes it look like the graveyard is old and not as well taken care of. 

5. Start placing your miniatures, I hot glued the bottoms of every piece I put in, the moss holds the glue pretty well but I would not suggest knocking it around a lot, it’s not meant for vigorous activity, it’s a decoration. 

6. Keep placing things until you are happy. I had some of the pumpkins from last year left over so I put them in as well because I just really like pumpkins and Halloween requires pumpkins. 

7. When you are happy with it, close the door, and find a place to put it. I like using a terrarium or container that has an opening because then if something happens I can go in and fix it without much hassle because I have some snow globes that I have to fix like every year and it’s a pain to try and get them apart every time I have to reglue or fix something inside of it. 

            Like I said this is post one of two with terrariums, dioramas, whatever you want to call them. I enjoy crafting and I like the ability that crafting gives me to dream something up, or see something I like and recreate it for a lot less money. 

            The other diorama, at the time of writing this post at the beginning of September, isn’t actually finished yet. It’s like 85% done, but it needs something more, I might actually change it a little bit because I am not sure if it’s exactly what I want from that terrarium right now. I have some ideas on what to do with it but I need to find my spiderweb stuff and I am not actually sure where I put that. By the time this post goes up though, they will both be finished and out already for the season. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post and I hope until then everyone has a great few days. I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ