Goin’ To The Chapel

8 weeks from today, Jon and I will say our I do’s in Las Vegas! It feels so far away, yet too close to finish things on time. This is why we went through a hotel for a package. We don’t have to do a whole heck of a lot other than show up, dress, tux, and wedding party in tow. But this post isn’t about my wedding. That will come later! After all, this blog was created for writing and travel.

Today I want to talk about delegating. I’ll be honest. When I’m at home, I delegate almost everything to my fiancé. He’s my future house husband and an artist. Between working my full time day job & going to school all while trying to break into freelance writing, I really don’t have a lot of time. I don’t like housework to begin with and I am extremely fortunate to have it done for me.

It’s when I’m at work that delegating is an issue. I never realized this was a problem until  I took personal development classes to be a manager, which turned out to be “not my thing.” When it comes to my work, I’ve always been a “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” type of person. I took on project after project after project. I had no way of keeping up with my regular work and extra tasks. Looking back now, this is one of the reasons I kept my position and didn’t move into management. I much prefer these days to go into work, do my job, and leave.

Delegating is important. We all have to do it in some area of our lives. Just make sure you delegate to people you trust, or you’ll end up even more stressed than if you had just done the job yourself.

This week, try delegating a task just to see how it goes. Do you feel relieved? Stressed? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

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The Hobbit: Book Review (kinda of spoilery if you live under a rock)

 

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Let me start this review by saying I tend to lean towards cheesy YA romance novels. I gravitate towards books out of my comfort zone from time to time. My Mom and Bonus-Dad started reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when the Hobbit movies came out. He is a super fan. I wanted to read them then. I may have even tried. But truth be told, I was overcoming a toxic part of my life. I was defeating my inner Smaug if you will. 

So, what prompted me to pick up The Hobbit again? Well, I’m so glad you asked. I am going back to school at age 31 and taking a Tolkien/Lewis class & want to familiarize myself with the content before we start. Just call me Hermione Granger.

Now, I was in a strange position where I’d seen all three Hobbit movies multiple times, so I had a pretty clear idea of what to expect. But boy oh boy was there enough differences to keep me guessing.

Most know the story of The Hobbit: half extrovert and half introvert goes on a year long trip with some dwarves to take back their home years after it’s overtaken by the dragon Smaug. As far as adventure books go, I absolutely recommend. 

There are so many positives to this book. It’s a great example of comradery as well as overcoming adversity when you don’t quite fit in. It exemplifies working as a team to overcome hardships and fight together to the very end.

I believe it also teaches a money lesson, but if you haven’t read the book, you’ll have to do so to find out. 

It did take me longer to get through than I thought it would. Tolkien has a unique writing style that is both simple and complex. Sentence structure has changed since The Hobbit was published in 1937. It’s easy enough. It just take a bit longer to comprehend. But, what’s the best way to get used to a reading style? Why, read more of it of course! Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is next. 

Additionally, be prepared to pay attention. Tolkien seems to change directions without transition pretty often. I definitely had to backtrack a few times. 

As I end this review, I will say I completely adored the relationship between Bilbo and Thorin. These are two characters from two very different walks of life and while they may not necessarily like one another at the start, seeing that change back and forth was a treat and teaches it’s readers about life. The same old lesson, never judge a book by it’s cover. 

I’d recommend this to anyone over a 5th grade reading levee that loves adventure books or liked the movies. They are very similar in so many ways, while so different in others. 

I give The Hobbit 4 stars. Tolkien is an excellent story teller, and as long as you have half an attention span, you’ll find joy in the story. 

Plus, who doesn’t need an excuse for a Hobbit marathon?

Happy Reading!

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Election Day.

Tomorrow, November 6th (maybe that’t now today, depending on where you’re at in the world) is Midterm Election Day here in the United States. While Midterm and Presidential elections are both important, this is quite possibly the most important Midterm election in the history of the country. Voting is your right, and at this point, it is your obligation. There are probably thousands of political arguments from every side of the octagon on any issue we face.

 “If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” Anthony J. D’Angelo

It’s time for as all to unite as a country. It’s time to come out together as one to make tough decisions that make big differences to peoples lives.

Get out there tomorrow and vote.

Remember we’re all people, and that’s what matters.

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Photo Credit: MyPostcard.com

Remember no one is better than anyone else.

Your opinion should not take away the right of others – the same rights you take for granted.

Remember that children should not be separated from their parents except for cases of child endangerment.

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Photo Credit: Google.com

Research shows More people vote in Presidential Elections than Midterms. Research also shows the 60+ crowd as having the highest voter turnout, and the 18-30 crows having the lowest. Less than 20% showed up for the PRESIDENTIAL election. So please. Tomorrow, get out there & vote. Then register to have early ballots sent to you so you can vote ahead of time & avoid the crowds.

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Photo Credit: Fairvote.org

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College.

Honestly, unless it involves graduation, this is a blog post subject reserved for youngsters – the 25 & under crowd if you will.

A few months back I made the decision to return to school. My employer went beyond tuition reimbursement and began offering business degrees at no cost through select universities. I was over the moon with excitement. Dropping out of college is one of my biggest regrets, and after losing my Dad earlier this year, I promised myself I’d find a way to become a college graduate. If not for me, for him.

I went through the headaches everyone endures when returning to college. Applications. Transcripts. You name it. But I dealt with it because I was excited to once again be a college student. 30 of my community college credits transferred and I was left with a course list including math, chemistry, economics, statistics, and many other classes that meant nothing to me.

That’s when I realized I wasn’t at all excited to simply go back to school. I was excited for essays, short stories, and reading literature. I was excited for writing, and I wasn’t going to get that with my free degree. I would get an education that almost guaranteed a fat sum in my bank account when it was all said and done. As nice as that would be, the thought of large amounts of money don’t stimulate me the way they used to. I mean sure, who doesn’t want six figures in their bank account?

Me. If it means I have to wake up everyday and go to a job that doesn’t bring me joy, I don’t want it.

Meanwhile, in the midst of these realizations, it dawned on me that I know exactly what I want to major in. I’ve known since I was 16. English with emphasis on creative writing. There’s a reason I attempt Nanowrimo every year. There’s a reason I own no less than 5 writing prompt books and follow who knows how many writing blogs between WordPress and Tumblr.

I’m going on 31 years old & I’m starting over. This next week I’ll be in the admissions office declaring my major, just like I did at 21. Only this time, I’m being true to myself.

I’ll be 31 by the time classes start, and I refuse to let that scare me. You know what’s scarier than returning to college in your 30’s? Waking up in your 60’s and realizing you sold yourself short.

I suppose I should really start putting effort into these Bujo spreads. They’ll be my saving grace when January rolls around.

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Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Let me start this review by stating John Greens latest novel Turtles All The Way Down is the best book I’ve read in years. The last time a book demanded my undivided attention is all but a distant memory. It was probably Harry Potter or Twilight. Yes, I am that person.

All of Johns novels have the power to pull me out of a reading slump, but this is by far my favorite of his works. The story follows OCD ridden AZA & her fan fiction writing best friend Daisy and their journey to find missing billionaire Russell Pickett, all in exchange for a hefty $100,000 reward. Along her journey, Aza is reunited with childhood acquaintance Davis Pickett, son of the missing billionaire she seeks. If you’ve read any of Johns precious books, you know he writes in a way that is very clear and easy to follow. While Turtles All The Way Down focuses on mental illness and other serious issues that plague the human race every day, clarity is not sacrificed. Like most of his works, I blew through this book in under two days.

One of the things I love so much about Turtles All The Way Down is how relatable it is. The story includes coping mechanisms for death and grief, poverty & social class, mental health, specifically Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety, absentee parents, poetry and literature, and even a tuatara. John writes of these in a way that seems relatable. Even the rich kids are relatable to someone who has never been gifted financially, all because there is not a single character in this book who has a perfect cookie cutter life. Everyone has something, but no one has it all. And that’s real life, for the most part.

The synopsis will tell you, just as I have in this review that this story is about two best friends on a journey to find a missing rich man, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, that is a piece of the story, but it’s such a small piece. This is a book about a girl and her struggle to cope with everyday life while struggling with OCD. It’s about the struggle of a girl with damn near perfect mental health who comes from a poor family and watches other people, who claim to be poor, drive up in their cars and google things on laptops instead of smart phones. It’s about a boy who does his best to be there for his brother and his abandonment issues when their father goes missing, all the while feeling incompetent and dealing with the same issues himself. It’s a story about a widow who walks through life terrified she will lose the only person she has left in the world.

This is a story about real life and real problems, and I recommend it to everyone.

Book Review: Slaughterhouse Five

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Having read a few spoiler free reviews of Slaughterhouse-Five prior to reading the book itself, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. A story of war, death, capture, PTSD, and…alien invasion? I hold myself to a goal this year: read 12 classics. This is the first, and I can honestly say I’m at a loss as to how I should review this. Slaughterhouse-Five is the first I’ve read of Vonnegut, though certainly not the last. Vonnegut writes with such raw emotion, it’s not something I’ve experienced in this capacity. This isn’t to say my favorite authors such as JK Rowling, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell do not write in the same fashion. But, something about writing in such a way about war and death for events Vonnegut was individually present for leaves a different taste in my mouth. Slaughterhouse-Five has it all. It is a story that takes its reader as high as outer space, inside a flying saucer, and as low as corpse mines in the aftermath of the desolation of Dresden. It illustrates perfectly what happens when we as humans make mistakes and screw up, both on small and large scales. Many of the situations we find ourselves in are due to ignorance, stupidity, and shameless pride. The same can be said of the causes of war. Labeled as anti-war, this is a touchy subject when it comes to this book in particular. There are hundreds of reviews about this topic. Some say the book is pro war, and others defend the book, claiming it is in fact anti war. My opinion on this is simple. It’s neither pro war nor anti war. This book tells the truth about the ugly side of war: running around with people who despise you, having your shoes stolen, being forced to sleep standing up, torture, starvation, sleep deprivation. The possibilities are endless and not something any living being should endure. Yet sadly this is the reality we face as long as we as humans turn to violence instead of communication. What I liked most about this book was that it made me question everything. What was reality, and what was fantasy? I still don’t know. Obviously the story spoke to me. It took me places I’d never been. So why the 3 Star review? I found some mild annoyances in the story. So it goes. I understand the point of placing this phrase after every death (which was a lot), but that didn’t make it any less irritating. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, except maybe Derby, and even that was only a few times. However, in a book about death and war, I’m glad I can’t relate. This review is all over the place, but compared to Slaughterhouse-Five, it’s as organized as a Masters program thesis.

Book Review: Paper Towns

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 Paper Towns is John Green’s third novel. Published in 2008, it followed Looking For Alaska and An Abundance of Katherine’s. Having read a couple of John’s works in the past, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into: great stories and characters I’d fall in love with. In that sense, PaperTowns didn’t disappoint. Nor did it disappoint in any other way.
The story follows Quentin who works tirelessly to find Margo, the girl next door he’s known since he was a child. Already infamous for running away from home, Margo always leaves subtle clues behind, eluding to her whereabouts. Quentin can’t seem to keep Margo off his mind after she insists he join her in an 11 phase excursion. When she disappears, he follows clues and his thoughts. He soon questions if she has disappeared for the sake of running away, or something more permenant.
Some would argue this book was predictable, or seemed eerily similar to Looking For Alaska, and maybe that’s true. But I chose to read this book specifically because I wanted something with the same feel as that particular novel. I absolutely adore this book. It’s a short read at just 305 pages. It is also a page turner. I read the book, from start to finish in under two days. There’s something about books being broken into parts that makes them seem shorter.
I recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for an unconventional love story with real feelings and emotion.
I’ve rated Paper Towns 4 stars. The ending did not invoke a strong emotional response. This is not to say the ending wasn’t fitting for the story. It may invoke a response in other readers which it did not invoke in me, and that is the beauty of books.