June Favorite Songs

Before I share my list, just thought I’d mention that I’m doing Camp Nano this month. Goal is 30K words for a romance novella. It’s something different from the sci-fi and fantasy stuff.

As you know, I love music. I track monthly favorites in my bujo. I do it pretty sloppily but it’s nice being able to flip back and see what I’ve been listening to. I used to track it on this blog but stopped and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed doing that so I’ll continue it.

Here’s my top favorites/most listened to songs from June:

“Aeternum” by John Lunn for The Last Kingdom series on Netflix. The soundtrack for the series is simply amazing. It’s one of the best out there. I’d say it’s just as good as The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. “Aeternum” is so haunting. The drums and bass from 3:10 on is one of my favorites. In the show, they play that beat without the singing and it gives me goosebumps.

“Enso” by The Alliance. This is a trance song and has a pretty fast beat but at 2:00, it slows down to nothing and then picks up with an epic tune from 2:23 to 2:50.

“Last Hope” by Antoine Heid. I’ve shared this song before but I’ve started listening to it again. Mainly because I’m editing my sci-fi novella, but also because there’s a part of the song that has this really good drum piece that I missed before. It’s from 1:45 to 2:45. It’s sort of like a rolling drum but I’m not sure. It’s just fabulous!

“Zocalo” by Armin van Buuren. This is an old tune but I could never get enough of it. The breakdown from 3:35 to 5:15 kind of takes all my worries away.

“I Should Have Known” by Jovani feat. Jazzu. Love Jazzu’s voice, but also love the rolling drums. I’m a sucker for rolling drums.

Father’s Day, Mandalorian Style

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!

Here’s my favorite Mandalorian clip from YouTube that really depicts the “father” in Mando. It always has me in tears. You have to watch it to the end to really feel it.

Netflix: The Last Kingdom

I started watching The Last Kingdom earlier this month with husband. A friend recommended it a couple weeks earlier but I had forgotten and then husband pulled it up on Netflix and we got into it. I’m so glad. This is one great series.

I didn’t know this until I started doing some research after watching a few episodes, but The Last Kingdom is a novel series called the Saxon Series/Saxon Chronicles written by Bernard Cornwell. It’s about the history of England during King Alfred’s rule during the 9th/10th century. The story follows a Saxon man named Uhtred Bebbanburg as he helps Alfred through many of the wars over Wessex. Uhtred was raised (adopted) by Danes so he follows the Danes’ way of life. However, he also has Christian people he respects and helps. It makes for an interesting story. I enjoy learning this part of British history and love the “fiction” stuff within it. I may read the series one day (my tbr list is way too long) but for now, the tv series will do. It’s extremely well produced.

One cool thing about this series is, every time they show a scene of a town, they include the old spelling and then warp the words into the current spelling. For instance, “Wintenceaster” becomes “Winchester.” I don’t know why, but I love that!

I had also been in a funk with editing the sci-fi novella and this show helped me get back on track. Actually, it helped me write scenes in the trilogy (I had debated as to whether I should do a trilogy or not), and thus, got me excited on finishing the editing of the novella.

Chic Sparrow Austen Leather in Lady Catherine

I purchased this narrow traveler’s notebook from Chic Sparrow and have fallen madly in love. It’s gorgeous.

I currently have a similar leather, a Mr. Darcy Lemon Drop, purchased three years ago, which has patinated to a nice darkish yellow (photos of it further down). The leather of the Dr. Darcy and Austen are exactly the same. The name was just changed (and I can’t remember why). It’s a super sturdy, non-floppy full-grain leather. It’s also flexible and smooth. I can’t resist touching it.

The color is salmon but at times it can look darker or lighter. Love the striations and the sunburst on the front. This is a one-of-a-kind and it makes me feel a little special.

Here it is next to the Outlander Fraser B6 for color comparison.

Next to the Mr. Darcy Lemon Drop B6.

7″ Kindle Fire in between.

The plan is to use it for taking notes for my fiction stories.

Mr. Sunshine

I’ve been watching Mr. Sunshine with husband for almost a month now. There are 24 episodes and we’re at episode 13. I learned about this show through a Youtuber and have since fallen in love with it. When I first told husband that there was this Korean Drama that someone said was worth watching, he was hesitant, but gave it a chance, and ended up loving it too.

Kim Tae-ri as Go Ae-sin in Mr. Sunshine (Photo Courtesy of Hwa&Dam/Netflix)

Mr. Sunshine is a Netflix Korean drama about an American Marine Corps officer who returns to his childhood home, Joseon, and while on duty, falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter. The story is complex with many layers and many characters. This show is done so well that it made me laugh and cry.

The aristocrat’s daughter is no simple princess. I asked husband, of the three main girls, which one did he like most, and he said the princess because she remained true to her conviction. I totally agree. However, I also really like the other two girls: a hotel owner and a tarot reader. The hotel owner is played so well that you want to like her but you don’t know if you should. The tarot reader doesn’t have a big role but she’s so pretty and adds character development to the leader of the Black Dragon Society.

This cast is one of the very best. They speak in Korean and sometimes Japanese with English subtitles. The cinematography is beautiful as well.

Tidying Up

I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo in 2015 and attempted her tidying method for awhile. It worked for a little bit. I was able to clear out all the makeup I’ve collected throughout the years and I’ve been able to keep my makeup stash to a minimum to this day. I also tried to clean out my drawers and fold my clothes using her method but that didn’t last very long. I’m not sure why but I’m going to give it another try. I want to clear out clutter. I want to only keep the things I use often, and I want to keep my spending on materialistic things low.

Marie recommends starting with clothes but I’ve decided to start with the study where all crafting stuff are. Every time I walk into the study I get so overwhelmed that my mind can’t focus. I’ve tried cleaning sections of the room but all I’ve done is move one mess into another space creating another mess. I know that in order to really clear out a room, I have to remove everything (almost everything) and then put back only the things I use often or on a daily basis. I never did it because I didn’t know where to put everything I took out. This week, I decided that I’d put everything in the living room and then from there, go through all the “junk” and decide what brings me joy and what doesn’t.

This is the study before:

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This is after:

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My desk before:

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My desk after:

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This is where all the stuff was put (in the living room). My goal is to get rid of at least 80% of this stuff.

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Graduation

Over the weekend I graduated with my Master’s degree. I never thought I’d ever get here so I’m pretty thrilled. I started my program in the fall of 2009 and then took a hiatus in the summer of 2010. I had wanted to return but family life was more of a priority at the time. Last summer, the university called me to tell me that if I wasn’t planning on continuing my degree, they would purge my file and I would have to reapply if I wanted to continue later. This would mean I would need to retake some classes. I had put so much time and effort into getting into the university that I didn’t know if I could do that again so I told them I’d continue now. The other thing was that I had wanted to continue a few years back but when I had looked at my program, I thought it had been discontinued. I told them my concern and they said it wasn’t discontinued. It was just under a different name.

At graduation, I learned that I was graduating with honors. I was surprised. I thought I had a B in one of my earlier classes in 2009, but it turns out, I didn’t. I had one A- but the rest were A’s. I know, this is such a small thing but it feels great for me because it was my goal to ace all my classes. In my undergraduate degree, I had so much going on that as hard as I tried to bring my grades up, it just wasn’t possible. So, I am very proud of myself that given the time and opportunity, I’m able to do exactly what I set out to accomplish.

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Below, I tried to mimic a photo taken in May 2009 when my husband graduated with his Doctorate. The little girl (who’s not so little anymore, but still is) is my youngest.

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Blossoms of Light

The family went to the Botanic Garden over the weekend to see the Blossoms of Light for the first time.  I believe the display has been around for awhile.  It was beautiful but there were so many people.  We bought tickets in advance to be on the safe side and I’m glad we did because it was sold out.

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Goals Completed in 2016

Twenty-sixteen went by fast.  I now have a feeling technology makes life move faster.  Not literally, of course, but just the time spent on the Internet on social media, blogs, and smartphones takes up almost every minute of our lives.  I’m happy to say that I was still able to accomplish 2 of my 5 goals set earlier in the year.  The ones I accomplished were:

1. Read 40 books.  Favorite out of the 40 was The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  To see all 40 books I read, click here.

2. Wrote 50K words toward my novel.  I actually put down ‘finish my novel’ but I felt that 50K words was a lot so I’m going with that. 🙂

The other 3 were: organize the study (which I tried but didn’t finish), eat a lot less junk food/carbs and more fruits/veggies (I tired too but those carbs are hard to get rid of), and draw a lot.  I think I painted more than drew/sketch but I really wanted to just draw with a pencil/pen and maybe color pencils.  I was only able to turn out about 6 and they were just sketches while I was doing other things on the computer, except the bottom right, which was drawn in my Midori.

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There was one thing I did accomplish that wasn’t included on my goals list and that was to knit.  Out of nowhere, I had this urge to learn to knit so I went for it.  I was afraid I wouldn’t finish because it was really boring once I got the knitting started but I’m glad I kept with it because it’s a great feeling seeing this knitted scarf and knowing I made it.  You can see the beginning of it here.

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Tonight and tomorrow and maybe all week next week, I’ll be honing down the goals I want to accomplish for 2017.  I have a very general idea what I’d like to accomplish, but I’d like to be more specific and so I think that’s what I’ll spend some time doing.

Happy New Year!