What I'm Reading: January 2017 #2

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This is my  bi-weekly series to share with you whatever I’m reading that has either interested, entertained, or angered me.  I’ll talk about the book I’m reading, articles I’ve read, blog posts I’ve liked, interesting videos, ect.  This is one of my favorite type of posts to read on other people’s blog, so I hope you will find some links you enjoy!
Want to know what else I’m reading? Be my friend on Medium and Bloglovin’ and Goodreads for more!


All Over the Place: by Geraldine DeRuiter.  I finished this the day after I published my last What I'm Reading post.  God, this book is so good.  I know DeRuiter is good in general since I love her blog, but book writing is different from blogging so I wasn't sure what to expect.  As always, she didn't disappoint.  I've never re-read a memoir before, but I'm definitely going to buy a physical copy when it comes out and go through it again.

The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Incredibly creepy and an incredibly quick read.  Not sure if I should include this as a part of my 50 books of the year, since it's a short story, but Goodreads has it as a stand alone option.  I'm currently reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith and that's a long one, so that will balance out my conscience.

In these past two weeks I also started and finished How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell, which is out in America today.  It's an addiction memoir and it's easy to read, but it was very tedious.  She seemed to be praising her addicted lifestyle with minimal self-reflection.  Her book really shows you how much you can get away with when you're rich.

2017 Reading Challenge: 5 out of 50


Caroline Calloway did an interview with Girls at Library and it filled me with so much hope for the future of publishing and my own future.

Cheryl Strayed was $85,000 in debt when Wild was published.  An interesting look into the finances of a writer.

Obama on his love and importance of books.  Similarly, 79 books Obama recommended while in office.

Ayahuasca and sexual assault in the Amazon.  I first heard about ayahuasca in an episode of Chelsea Does.  She makes it look interesting, but for the love of god (and your own safety) please do not do drugs while travelling.

Women making art in response to Trump is my favorite thing.

In response to Nocturnal Animals: "If you make everything stylish, don’t make a film about rape and murder".  Adding this movie to my list of "if a man tells you this is his favorite movie/book/tv series, get the fuck outta there". (Maybe I'll make a post about that list someday; Fight Club and Game of Thrones are on it.)

Roxane Gay: By the Book.  I just really love it when authors talk about their love of books.

I think about time and aging a lot.  I feel like life is rushing by me at 21.  I don't have enough time in my life to do all that I want to do.  So I'm trying to listen to advice from a 30 year old: The Most Important Thing About Your 20's

If you need to laugh at a frustrating phenomenom: if women wrote men the way men write women


The Only Blogging Tip You Need to Know: "I was actively trying to create content that I thought people would like. I honestly believe this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You shouldn’t be creating content for other people, you should be creating content for you. You should be creating content that you find interesting, content that you’re proud of, content that if you saw it on somebody else’s feed, you’d stop and want to engage."

This Battered Suitcase's last installment in her "My Month Without Alcohol...and Men" was brilliant.  I've been a longtime fan of Brenna and posts like this remind me of why.  She opens up about her past relationships and how even though she is an independent women, men have still treated her like shit in the past.


I'm going to add a "Life" section on What I'm Reading posts from here on out.  Just to give you a little insight into the things I'm thinking about that don't require full blog posts of their own!

I'm thinking about seeing a chiropractor once I get home.  My shoulders hurt so bad on the daily.  It's probably because of poor posture but something still feels off.  Can I go see a GP here in Scotland just to talk about it?  We have a doctor on campus that does drop-ins.  That would be free, right?  I'm not sure how socialized medicine works, guys.


I'm also going to leave you with a quote, because I think that'll be cute.  Look at me making changes and finding my groove! 

"I'm still asking you to believe - not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. I believe in change because I believe in you." -Barack Obama
Thanks, Obama.

What were your favorite things in January?

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
Glasgow Week 3: St. Andrews and the Women's March

Glasgow Week 3: St. Andrews and the Women's March

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Three weeks already!  It feels like my time here is flying by and there is still so much left to do!

Gallery of Modern Art

On Wednesday I went to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and was mildly disappointed, since only three exhibits were open.  I'll definitely need to go back once the fourth exhibit is finished.

Kelvingrove Museum

Thursday I went to the Kelvingrove again and walked around the ground floor.  I accidentally snuck into the only exhibit that you're supposed to pay for.  I just walked into this gift shop and started walking around but the gift shop just kept on going and suddenly I'm walking through the entire exhibit for free.  Oops.  Sometimes it pays to be a clueless American.

a bird got in my coastline shot

On Friday I woke up way too early to take a bus ride to St. Andrews with some friends.  It's a cute town but I don't think it has enough to do to there to warrant an overnight trip.  One day is enough (unless you're into golfing).  I'll try to go back when the weather is warmer and the sun sets later.  I ignored the fact that the inauguration was happening while I tried to track down all the Prince William and Kate Middleton hotspots (no shame).  I don't feel bad about not watching the inauguration.  It's going to be a long 3 years and 11 months and 3 weeks until Trump is out of office, I'll have plenty of time to consume media then.

sadly I don't have a picture of the haggis

Saturday was spent sleeping and chilling and getting ready for a Burn's night party.  My entire group was way too under-dressed but there was free wine and haggis and I danced with cute Scottish guys and ended the night at McDonald's.  As you do.

Sunday is all about homework (and procrastinating by writing blog posts).  My most reading-intense class is on Monday, so instead of gradually doing work throughout the week I think I'm going to cram everything in on Sunday.  At least I get to try out a new coffee shop each week!

you KNOW Carrie would've been there

do feel bad about missing the Women's March, though.  If I wasn't studying abroad then I would 100% have been at the march in D.C., since it's not too far from where I live.  I know living in Glasgow for five months is a once in a lifetime chance and I shouldn't take it for granted, but I have this nagging feeling that I'm missing out on history.  I won't be able to tell my (adopted) kids that their mother was a part of the biggest presidential protest in history.  

I'm sure there will be plenty of protests to take part in when I get home.  You bet your ass I'll be at those.

I am so, so proud of my country and all the other countries that support our resistance.  Trump lost by almost 3 million votes, not even counting the votes that went to third parties.  He and his supporters are in the minority.  We have to remember that.
Glasgow's free museums are the best

Glasgow's free museums are the best

Thursday, January 19, 2017

windows in the Gallery of Modern Art

I've spent a lot of time these past two weeks either a) at museums, b) walking to and from museums, and c) trying to find WiFi because "I swear there's a museum around here somewhere I just can't find it".

Glasgow has such a great free museum system and they're all incredibly walk-able.
The past two days I've been to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

the GoMA at night is the most beautiful
a beautiful way of looking at photographs. you're capturing the universe with each picture.
hands down (or should I say...hands titty) the best sculpture I'm ever going to see

I definitely prefer the Kelvingrove over the GoMA.  Partially because it's A LOT closer to where I live and also because I'm more into landscape portraits and history than I am modern art.  One of the GoMA's exhibitions is currently under maintenance and two of the three opened exhibitions were video focused.  I'm more of a sculpture and oil-on-canvas type of gal.

I've also been to the Riverside Museum and the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.  Next on my list is The Hunterian, which should be easy to get to since it's literally inside my university.

What are your favorite museums?  Which ones do you want to visit?

Glasgow Week 2: I love graveyards

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Photo bMichael D Beckwith on Unsplash

Voltaire & Rousseau
On Wednesday, the day after my overly emotional post, I went in search of the infamous bookstore seen above and ended up finding two bookstores on the same street!

the sun is prettier in Scotland
The next day I walked to city center by myself and bought a better pair of walking shoes.

Eve's buttcrack in the Botanic Gardens
The day after that I went to Waterstones to buy a guidebook to help me make the most of my days here.  After a lot of page comparisons, I decided that Rough Guides has a lot more relevant information than Lonely Planet guidebooks (at least for Scotland).  I've been using washi tape to mark the pages of places I want to go and highlighting the entries of places I've already been.  Hopefully all the white pages will be covered in highlighter by the time I get home!

On Saturday I watched the sunset from the top of the Necropolis and honestly it changed me as a person.

I saw a man on the Necropolis with his luggage so he either came there straight from the airport or wanted it to be the last thing he saw.  Either way, he had the right idea.  I'm going to make it my goal to see as many sunsets from this viewpoint as possible.

What I'm Reading: January 2017 #1

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This is my  bi-weekly series to share with you whatever I’m reading that has either interested, entertained, or angered me.  I’ll talk about the book I’m reading, articles I’ve read, blog posts I’ve liked, interesting videos, ect.  This is one of my favorite type of posts to read on other people’s blog, so I hope you will find some links you enjoy!
Want to know what else I’m reading? Be my friend on Medium and Bloglovin’ and Goodreads for more!


The plane ride from D.C. to Glasgow was pretty rough, reading-wise.  I started reading two books I received from NetGalley, but they were so horrible that I couldn't get past a few chapters.  Then I started reading This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was better than I expected but still not interesting enough to hold my attention.

I had Verisimo on my Kindle because it was was a part of a free book deal and the description sounded interesting. It was absolutely horrible.  I'm now scared of ever reading free Kindle books again.
I also started reading All Over the Place by Geraldine DeRuiter of Everywhereist fame.  I'm a little more than halfway through and I've already cried three times.  Not because it's particularly sad (you will also laugh a lot), I'm just an easy crier and love makes me cry.  Geraldine and her husband are in a lot of love.  Full review will be posted when I'm done/closer to the release date.  (I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

2017 reading challenge: 2 down, 48 more to go. 


There's rumor that Hillary Clinton might run for NYC's mayor.

Lindy West leaves twitter, for good reasons.  I probably would too if it wasn't the only place I consistently promote my blog and interact with other bloggers!

Victoria Beckham wrote a letter to her younger self in Vogue and of course I cried at that, too.
 Probably because the letter was addressed "Dear Victoria" so it felt like she was talking to me.


Get Some 'Yes' in Your Life

We all have our dark periods, but in good news Emily is getting her life back on track (!!!!)

Jaime from Angloyankophile blogged about budgeting and how to quit spending all your money on pointless stuff.  I consider myself pretty frugal but I still don't keep a strict budget.  I'll need to fix this within the next few months because next year I'm graduating and will need to act like a real adult.

I'm off to do some reading for class and hopefully finish All Over the Place, happy Sunday everyone!

Glasgow Week 1: the roller coaster dip

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Photo bMinjoo Son on Unsplash

Since I do everything in the most extreme and dramatic manner, I immediately skipped the honeymoon, culture shock, and the comeback phases and went straight into unresolved issues.

Plot twist: your personality doesn't completely change just because you're in a new country.

For some reason I expected to be a lot cooler and more self-assured.  That obviously didn't happen just because the timezone changed.

It's going to take time for me to adjust.  I don't like doing things alone; partially because I'm an extrovert, partially because doing new things is actually terrifying.  Which means everything is difficult since EVERYTHING is new.

You'd think I would have seen that coming, but naw.

I'll get better, though.  Eventually.  I'll be forced to become confident because I have to or I'm going to miss out.

I know my class schedule now, so hopefully I'll feel less anxious.  I was added late to one of my classes to I missed the first session, but I'm meeting with the professor tomorrow to talk things over.  It's a 30 unit class here, which means it transfers over as 7 USA credits.  Which means I HAVE to pass or I'll be wasting 7 credits that I'll have to make up my senior year.  Which is possible, but I don't want that to happen.

Goal for tomorrow: after professor meetings, walk to city center by myself to do some shopping, catch up on some podcasts while I'm walking.

As you can tell from the photo above, Glasgow is a beautiful city.  I just need to make myself get out and see it.

Arrival in Glasgow

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I've been awake for a total of 31 hours and counting, and that's not even counting the time change.  That 31 hours has included two flights, walking through Glasgow trying to find a place that sells sheets, and socializing with a lot of people that I barely know or just met today.

I've gotten to the point of exhaustion to where my face feels like a live wire.

I have unpacked but have not actually put anything away, which means the floor of my tiny room is covered with things.

In order to keep myself from falling asleep at 4pm, a friend and I walked through Kelvingrove Park and up to the university to try and start getting our bearings.  The gate off of University Ave was open so we just walked in.

the Cloisters are still in the holiday spirit
Glasgow is so eerie at night, but in the best way
I can't wait to see this view in the daytime
I still can't believe that I'm here.  I've been thinking about studying in Glasgow for almost exactly two years and I am finally here.  I know I'll have not-so-good days in the future, but I'll just have to remind myself how lucky I am to be here.

Header Photo by Ivan Dimitroff on Unsplash

My 2017 Reading Goals

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 looks like a fake number.  That can't be a real year.  It doesn't exist.  I was born in the 1900's for crying out loud, what kind of futuristic crap is "2017"?

Existential crisis aside, I have big plans for this fake year of 2017.  Big, fat, reading plans.

It is difficult for me to imagine what my reading life will be like next year since I'll be in Scotland for five months and then various countries in eastern Europe for 2-ish months after that.  I imagine I will have time to read on buses and trains and planes, but I will be on those more in eastern Europe than I will be in Scotland.  While in Glasgow, I definitely don't want to have my nose stuck in a book when I can be out in the city making memories and gaining experiences.  The book will always be there when I get back, but I will not always be in Glasgow.

It's going to be interesting how I manage my time as a student, blogger, and a reader.

I'm going to read 50 books this year.

Whoa!  Starting this post off with high expectations!  Go hard or go home, man.

I managed to read 38 books in 2016.  I read 37 of those books after May, which means I only read one book during my spring semester from January to May.  If I could read 37 books from June to December, a span of only seven months, imagine how much more I could've read if I fully utilized the preceding five months.  If I don't hit this goal, I won't beat myself up too bad over it.  As I said above, I have no idea what life will be like in Glasgow, so that might affect the time I dedicate to reading

Read more diverse books and authors.

I made this a goal last year by reading books with LGBT characters/themes and books by black authors.

It hit me in the summer of last year that I have never really read books from either of those demographics.  I tried to think of a book I read with a prominent LGBT character and came up blank. 
(No, Dumbledore does not count.)  I tried to think of books I've read by black authors.  I searched my Goodreads list, and in the recent years I have not read one book by a black author.

Of course, in the grand scheme of life I am fairly young and have read what is given to me by teachers, friends, and social media.  White is still the default in America, so I read white.  But, since I do pride myself on being a reader and want to be as well-read as possible, I realize how that is such a passive way of reading.  If diverse books are not being presented to me in the mainstream media, I need to actively seek out diverse books.

So I read The Color Purple and The Rubyfruit Jungle and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I am better for it.  But of course, I can't stop there.

I found a site called The Literary Cannon that focuses on racial diversity.

I haven't found a site like that for LGBT books, but there are a lot of youtube videos with suggestions.

Other goals that don't require introspection:

  • 1 graphic novel
  • 2 books of poetry
  • Wild - Cheryl Strayed
  • Where Am I Now - Mara Wilson
  • 1 audiobook (I usually have a problem connecting with the narrator, but I'm sure there's some audiobook out there that I'll like)
  • all of Carrie Fisher's books. because I love her.

What are your reading goals for 2017?

*Remember, you don't need to have big goals to be a reader! Reading just one book a year is better than none!*
Photo by Manolo Chrétien on Unsplash

I love New Year's resolutions. alternatively titled: we all need to be a little more positive

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It's that time of year again.  The time of year when people say:

"The New Year isn't a fresh start, it's just another day."

"Time is an allusion."

"New Year resolutions are bound to fail."

"Only 8% of people achieve their resolutions." (Which I'm not sure how they measure; I saw another source citing that 39% of people succeed.)

"Your personality won't change just because the date did."

When did we all become so jaded?

What's so wrong with wanting a better life?  To improve yourself?  Why is self-improvement accepted any other day of the year, but is suddenly uncool on January 1st?

I'm in love with New Year resolutions.  I love the hope it gives people.  Next year really can be different!  It might not be, but it could be!  That's beautiful, isn't it?  After a year that feels so dark, it's nice to have something to look forward.

I quit doing the typical New Year resolutions when I turned 18.  I would lose the list, or never write it down, or turn the page in my journal and never look back. They were usually resolutions I had no intention of keeping.

For those types of goals, the quantifiable ones, I put on my "20 Under 20" list (which I mostly completed), and my currently on-going "25 Under 25" list.  Now my resolutions are more like a big to-do list that I have five years to complete AND I can alter it if some of the goals just aren't applicable or realistic to my life.  This is a good system for me.

But back to New Year's resolutions.

For resolutions, I do what all the experts on the internet tell you not to do.

I make big, lofty, unquantifiable goals. 

I pick some big, touchy-feely goal and write it in the beginning of my journal, and in the front of my agenda, and everywhere else.

For 2016, my goal was "to be more honest".  I didn't define what that meant in January 2016, but left it up for future-me to decide how to live my most honest life in any given moment.

In 2016, being honest meant:
  • Not holding back in my journal.  I needed to be honest with myself and write down those hard words.
  • Telling friends that they weren't treating me well, that they took advantage of my loyalty, and losing them in the process.
  • Telling my dad that I don't want to be a doctor and haven't wanted to be one for awhile.
  • Becoming an English major, in addition to my Neuroscience.
  • Dramatically admitting a secret to 100 of my closest friends, my sorority sisters.
  • Unapologetically letting my ultra-conservative family know that #ImWithHer.
  • Making sure everyone knows that #ImStillWithHer.
  • I started this blog.  Every single word you read on here is therapeutic for me, an exercise in honesty.
  • These are big steps for me.  And even though many of them were scary, I feel better.  I feel closer to myself.

My grandiose goal for 2017 is to say 'yes'. 

In the fashion of Shonda Rhimes of course, with her famous Year of Yes book.  I'm going abroad long-term for the first time.  If I'm not careful, I will let the anxiety get the best of me.  I'll miss out on opportunities, because I tend to shut down in new situations.  Newsflash to myself: everything will be new.  I'll be living in a city for the first time ever.  Being in a city long-term will probably be a bigger culture shock than being in a new country.

I can't afford to say no.  I can't shutdown.  If I say no, (we're excluding the dangerous, creepy men situations here. Those no's are a given), then I'll miss out on experiences.

So here's to resolutions.  Here's to not letting people on the internet make you feel bad about making resolutions.  Here's to positivity and being honest and saying yes. 

Happy New Year, everyone.  Let's make it a good one.

Are you making resolutions? Care to share?

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