olympics

The 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang & Why You Should Care (Part 1)

(This is really just turning out to be a stream of consciousness style blog, so be warned in advance)

If anyone really knows me and my sisters, you probably also know how crazy obsessed we are with the olympics. And this year was no exception.

I actually intended to go to the 2018 Winter Olympics, I kept telling myself that I had to go to the Olympics after I turned 21, making this my year. I even signed up to get the ticket alerts and everything. But my plans fell apart when no one actually wanted to go with me. So it is officially on my bucket list, for someday.

*Please let me know if you want to come with me to the next Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing, because I would love a traveling partner!*

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So, I began writing this while I was watching the Olympic Closing Ceremony, and now I am trying to keep up with the Paralympics. Slowly, in my free time, I will try and continue watching the rest of our Olympics recordings on the DVR. Update: I think I was so burnt out from trying to keep up with the Olympics, that I only got to follow the paralympics through their updates.

My sister and I are so dedicated to the Olympics, especially the winter olympics, and we start off watching every single sport. We become so invested and proud of every single athlete in the Olympics and live for their stories. Seriously, Tara and I are getting so good at memorizing all of the details and athlete stories and we want more. And luckily for us, we were alerted to the existence of the Olympics Channel, so now it can be Olympics all year round!

These Olympics are extra exciting because, though I did not get to actually attend in person, I have been using my VR goggles to watch some of the events. My new goal is to make it to the next winter Olympics in Beijing, 2022. So shout-out to all of my old flatmates––I will see you again soon!

Somewhat related to the Olympics and books too, Bradie Tennell just did her free skate as Cinderella and it was incredible. Maybe even inspired by Throne of Glass’s Celaena as she is a huge Throne of Glass fan apparently. That puts her at the top of me and my sister’s list of favorite olympians. The more interviews I read about her, the more relatable she actually is. I love all of the Olympians, but I really want to be Tennell’s friend.

I mean look at this interviewShe is a huge Supernatural fan, Captain America: Civil War is her favorite movie, and she is waiting for the release of TOG 7. So Bradie, if you happen to read this, can we please be friends and fangirl over this book release together?

More Olympics thoughts (not in any particular order):

Thomas Bach: Actually my hero. Seriously I want to be him.

He is the current IOC (International Olympic Committee) president, and a former Olympic fencer from Germany. Watching him speak with so much passion for the Olympics and the unity that it brings to all the different countries in the world, makes me so incredibly happy and inspired. I am so impressed with his ability to speak so many different languages as well (in my eyes, bilingualism is extraordinary) because at every each and every Olympics, he gives a small speech or a welcoming message in the language of that country, which I am sure takes a lot of effort and practice, but it is such a welcoming gesture for those watching, and I can imagine it means just as much to the people in that country as it does to me. Or maybe I am just incredibly emotional about the Olympics and, therefore, I am the only one incredibly moved by this.

So Thomas Bach, you are my hero. And how do I get your job, because it is officially my dream job. Seriously, just look at him, he is adorable too!

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“The Javi charm” might just be an inside joke between my sister and I, and probably to those who follow the figure skating closely. Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir would always freak out whenever Javier Fernández walked onto the ice, and now I am at the point where I do the same. His outfits are always amazing––totally pirate style with the puffy sleeves and all, and he is such a great entertainer too! During his exhibition, he was doing push-ups! And congrats to Javi, winning Spain its first Olympic figure skating medal–ever! You can even watch his Bronze medal-winning skate at NBC!

One of my favorites, even though it is just an inside joke between me and Tara, is “But his friends call him Max.” We don’t even remember who exactly this comment was in reference to, but the commentators introduced one of the slopestyle athletes in, by telling us his name is Max, “but his friends call him Max,” just like that, so every time any athlete is named Max (or even anything close), we can’t stop laughing for like 5 minutes and shout at the TV “but his friends call him Max!” Guess you had to be there, to laugh as hard as we do, though…

If I gather the rest of my thoughts, I could definitely keep going with this for a long time. Maybe with athlete profiles, and stuff like that. Obviously, I have plenty to say on the subject. And if you want to keep up on your own, make sure you check out that NBC Olympics channel to stay up-to-date all year round! I sure will be!

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book review

1st Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn

So originally my plan was to post my Olympics and Paralympics geared blog post, but I just finished my book today and have many thoughts on it, so plans have changed. Plus, now I have more time to try and catch up on my Olympics DVRed episodes.

What I am Reading:

img_4346-2_editedI am currently reading The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh, which is a YA fantasy/ romance (very similar to Throne of Glass AKA why I picked this book up––the heroine has to deal with an “evil” king to essentially save the world). This book is based in Persia, which I love, because it is exposing me to another culture and words in a different language, too.

Side note: I learned the hard way that there is a glossary in the back of the book. You do not have to spend the same amount of hours I did trying to look up arabic words on google.

[So my favorite reviewers usually break up their reviews into different parts, and I am going to try and mimic them. Bear with me while I figure out my own style]

General Thoughts:

So I sort of have mixed feelings on The Wrath & The Dawn. I like the book, but I don’t love it.

If you know me, you will understand the massive book hangover that I am still trying to recover from after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses (which was exactly 1 year ago in March), so anything that I read will need to be that much more impressive. There is sort of a love triangle going on in The Wrath & the Dawn and Shahrzad is leaning towards the wrong guy, which is making me dread the ending. Update: Now that I have read the ending, now that I have read the ending, and have seen that the love triangle will continue into the second book, I am even more frustrated about the whole thing. I think the writing is amazing, but I still find myself yelling at the characters for making stupid decisions, which was making me dread actually getting into and finishing the book.

So the story is about this evil “boy-king” who kills his new wives at every dawn. And Shahrzad volunteers to be his next wife after her best friend was the next to get the silk cord around her neck.

Honestly was iffy about the book until the end. Now I NEED TO READ THE NEXT BOOK. If for nothing else then I can live in agony. Again. Special shout out to the girl who saw me carrying this book when we were in an elevator together and told me it was your favorite. I only finished this book because of you!

For those considering reading this book, here is what you need to know:

  1. There is a love triangle
  2. I like the wrong guy (as per usual)
  3. There are lovable side characters on all sides of this impending war
  4. Those same side characters are very easily forgotten by the main characters, even though I am yelling things at them like “FIND DESPINA!”
  5. Plot twists that I did not see coming
  6. Some things happen/comments are made that make me feel like I missed a chapter or even just a paragraph in the book. No joke––I went back to check the page numbers to make sure nothing was ripped out.

Hopefully, you will kind of see from my very general list, how mixed my feelings are. I think that Renée Ahdieh is such a great writer and I want to continue reading her stories. There was a few things with her writing though, that there was like gaps in the story. I know it is one way to build suspense, but I think is room for improvement. For example, there were elements of magic in the story, that were way to subtle, and only really brought up in the second half of the book. And then there is an explanation that the things that happened in the beginning were magic, and not normal at all.  So it is confusing that there is already a suspension of belief, because it is based on 1001 Nights but this almost takes place in a realistic world. I am wondering if I will feel differently after actually reading 1001 Nights, and maybe my thoughts will change.

There is this moment when Shahrzad is saying goodbye to her father and he shows her a rose before they part:

“Jahandar nodded, his misery nowhere close to mollified. He held out the rose in his hand. ‘The last from my garden; it has not yet bloomed fully, but I wanted to give you one remembrance of home.’

She smiled as she reached for it, the love between them far past mere gratitude, but he stopped her. When she realized the reason, she began to protest.

‘No. At least in this, I might do something for you,’

The rose started to unfurl. Its petals twisted open, prodded to life by an invisible hand. As it expanded, a delicious perfume filled the space between them, sweet and perfect for an instant…but soon, it became overpowering. Cloying. The edges of the flower changed from a brilliant, deep pink to a shadowy rust in the blink of an eye.

And then the flower began to wither and die.

Dismayed, Jahandar watched its dried petals wilt to the white marble at their feet.

‘I––I’m sorry, Shahrzad,” he cried.

‘It doesn’t matter. I will never forget how beautiful it was for that moment, Baba’”  (Ahdieh 8).

As you can see, it is incredibly dramatic and romantic and descriptive, however, it isn’t until much later that you realize these descriptions have a purpose, because it shows how the father used magic to make the flower bloom and how exactly the magic affects the flower.

If you hate spoilers, you should probably stop reading here. That is, if you actually plan on reading it.

[Also be warned, it is unedited from here down. I thought it was better to stick to a schedule instead of procrastinate…but don’t judge for bad grammar & content.]

My Character Analysis:

Tariq:

Looking back at my Goodreads comments, though, I still have mixed feelings for the character that I love. He says something so wonderful, like, “I love you Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. There is nothing I would not do for you. Nothing I would not consider if it meant keeping you safe. The world itself should fear me if it stands between us,” and he just reminds me so much of Rhysand from ACOTAR that I swoon. But then he says something so dumb, “All of my most cherished memories are of her. I’ve suffered alongside her. And…we’ve laughed at nothing together,” as the explanation as to why he loves her that I feel like just isn’t true to his character.

I am pretty sure that he is going to ruin my opinion of him very soon, but for now he is my hero. Literally willing to go to war for the woman he loves. Not a practical political move, probably, but what a grand romantic gesture anyway. And he sneaks into her bedroom in the palace just to see her and support her in her plan instead of dictating one to her. And apparently Shahrzad isn’t into the whole sneaking around thing, but I think it is great. He professes his love for her in stolen moments and stolen kisses.

Shahrzad:

And the same with Shahrzad. She is supposed to be such a headstrong character, and yet her feelings are getting in the way of her plan. So suddenly too. And she is catching feelings for her best friends murderer, before she even knows what is going on. And I can’t exactly put into words why it bothers me so much because the whole “enemies to lovers” trope is usually my favorite and I am all for leading with your emotions, but maybe it is just the fact that she is so fickle about these things? I’m not sure yet. All I know is that is has taken me months to get through this book. And characters I want to yell at. Shazi- I am looking at you especially!!!

There are a lot of amazing parts of the book though. First, Shahrzad is such a badass headstrong female character who isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands, even when she knows there is a very good chance that she will be killed next. She is (mostly) loyal, reckless, and can do anything she sets her mind to. I love that she isn’t exactly following the court protocol and sneaks over to see the training. And I was thrilled when she was showing off her mad archer skills to Jalal and the rest of the men, making sure they knew she wasn’t someone to mess with.

Despina:

Then her handmaiden Despina, is an amazing character. I am still a little hesitant to trust her completely, but she still might be my favorite character. She reminds me so much of Lysandra (in TOG) who is gorgeous, knows the game, and still has a few tricks up her sleeve. I feel like she is going to play a bigger role, but she is very mousey at the moment. And I am still suspicious as to her behavior when Shazi was poisoned that one day. Shahrzad doesn’t have a problem with this thing but I do. Also. Pregnancy. To. Her. Star. Crossed. Lover. Yay!

⭐⭐⭐☆☆

So overall, I am still not 100% a fan of this book, but actually writing my review has helped me remember the good parts too. That means I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars! Yay. It takes a lot to live up to my favorite shelf, so I am looking forward to finding books that make the cut. Unfortunately The Wrath & The Dawn didn’t make it. Maybe the sequel will be better?

 

If you guys have any questions for me

or want to actually discuss the book

leave a comment below

Also, hit me up with book recs

I am always looking for something new to read!!!

Uncategorized

✓ First Blog Post

So twenty eighteen is turning out to be a big year for me.

It started with me working my way out of my post-graduate funk, and now I have a job, travel plans, a social life, and am finally inspired to start my blog. Yay!!!

Wow my first blog post. Finally.

What a process it has been to actually begin this. Not that anyone was even wondering why––I think I may just need to explain for myself, so feel free to skip over this section if you don’t want my entire inner-monologue. First, I had to gather all of my bunches of ideas for all of the things I want to write about, so I kept making more and more google docs to collect and “organize” everything I think about. And as you can imagine, my thoughts cover a lot of topics. So this is an ongoing project.

But my biggest problem came while I was trying to come up with the absolutely perfect blog name and title––it had to be good enough to embody any possible blog post idea that I may come up with. This probably makes a lot of sense to anyone familiar with the writing (or any type of creative) process. It is so stressful to try and find the perfect title or the perfect word to use. Because, its like, once you put any type of pressure on yourself to do anything perfect, you just can’t. So I avoided it. For months. Hoping the perfect word would just come to me. Then finally, the other day, I was working on my latest list of name brainstorms and things just clicked. It may not be the perfect title yet, but it covers most of my current topics. So I like it.

It was my New Year’s resolution to begin my blog, but even though it took a long time, it still counts. So ✓ that off my list. But that means that some of my post ideas are a little outdated. I guess I will have to recycle those for next year. (Stay tuned for some really good ones about wrapping christmas presents and being sustainable around the holidays)

I want to be able to explain exactly what my blog is going to be about, and all of the tips for starting your own blog say that you should definitely have a specific topic, but I don’t have an exact answer yet. My plan, as of right now, is to cover the general topics of travel, reading/ books, and environmental issues/ living sustainably. I don’t know if having 3 different topics actually qualifies me as being a lifestyle blog, but I am sure I can cover even more as it goes on. I guess we will just have to see where the blog takes us.

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Let me know what you think! This is a work in progress so I would love some feedback. If you like it, check back next Friday for my next post. And if you really liked it, you can subscribe that way you can be notified when my next post goes up. I think.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!