September Book of the Month Review: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

This month’s BOTM (Book of the Month) bought me a bit out of my comfort zone — to historical fiction. Typically, I tend to opt out of it due to the fact I often like to read contemporary works. However, when faced with the choices for this month’s Book of the Month, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar grabbed my attention.

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The book is set in London 1785. Widower Jonah Hancock is faced with a surprise when his captain sells his ship and brings home a mermaid instead. Jonah is faced with the problem of what to do with that mermaid.

Meanwhile, Angelica Neal is faced with problems of her own. She is a prostitute, and her most recent gentleman is no longer interested in her. As a result, she is trying to figure out what’s next.

Thanks to the mermaid, these two meet and collide and are set for a tale of ups and downs.

I have no idea what genre to classify this genre in. There are elements of fantasy, romance, and of course, historical.

With that being said, I still think that this is an awesome read, and it really kept me guessing. The author took me for a loop quite a few times while reading it — some of it not as realistic. However, that still made it an awesome read.

Furthermore, I thought the portrayal of the mermaid was really well done. I thought Gowar did a good job doing the point of view of the mermaid — someone who was held captive against her own will.

With that being said, I also thought the character Angelica Neal was very interesting. Angelica definitely changed the most from beginning to end. She was the most glamorous girl of her business at the beginning and only cared about trivial things. By the end, she transformed into a wife. That transformation was bought on by a marriage. However, it was amazing to see the moral turnaround of her.

Therefore, I really liked this novel and recommend it. While it is something I would have not picked up normally, I loved every minute of it. Therefore, don’t judge a book by its’ genre. . . right?

DIY Jewelry Tips For Beginners

Whether it’s because you saw an awesome craft idea or just want to have something fun to do, you’ve decided that you want to learn how to make your very own jewelry. However, you’re standing in the jewelry aisle at your craft store, and you’re puzzled. What is an eye pin? Do I really need to spend this amount of money on a pair of pliers – that I may or may not use? Which beads are the best ones for me?

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Have no fear. If you’re interested in DIY jewelry but have no idea where to start, here are some tips to get you started.

Online craft tutorials are your best friend.

The best thing about the Internet is that you can find pretty much anything. The same thing goes with tutorials. You have a ton of ideas at your fingertips, and the best part is, they are all free.

Hands down the first place to check out is Youtube. What I like about it is that you can type in whatever you want to make, and within seconds, you have a step-by-step guide of someone doing the craft with you. This is awesome because you get to see what someone is doing, not just read it.

Another awesome site to check out is the Michaels Project Page. They have so many ideas, and give you a run-down on what exactly you need. What is great about this site is that they separate them based on difficulty. That way, you can know your skill level – something that is very important. After all, you don’t want to start doing something that is extremely difficult, only to get frustrated.

And, the best part? They have an app with a ton of different projects.

Lastly, check out Pinterest. Pinterest is a great place not only to get tutorials, but ideas. I don’t know about you all, but I spend a ton of time just looking at things I want, whether it may be a bracelet or a necklace. Why don’t you turn these wishes into reality? Google for a tutorial, and the next thing you know, it’s materialized into an actual physical object.

Take a class.

In the summer between sixth and seventh grade, I decided to take a beading class at my local Michaels. That class taught me a ton about how to make jewelry that actually didn’t look like you made it. It definitely helped me get started in making things, and had a ton of different tips. One downfall of these classes though is that they can be pretty pricey, which can be tricky when you’re on a budget.

Get ready to clip those coupons. . .

Let’s be honest, beading supplies are expensive. Depending on what you’re making, you have to get tools, beads to make the actual project, and string. That can rack up a major bil.

However, craft stores often come out with a ton of coupons. And, if you play your cards right, you can get them at a fraction of the price. For example, many of them offer 50 percent off of one regular priced item. So, that set of tools that was once $20 is no $10.

Furthermore, beads are often on sale for usually half off of more. And, on top of that, many craft stores often have coupons where you can get an extra percentage off of your total purchase. And, yes that includes sale items.

Get kits.

One of the best ways to get started is also to get DIY kits that are out there. And, these are not the bead sets that you got as a kid. You can make DIY layered necklaces, wire bracelets and so much more. What’s great about these kits is that you can get everything you need, and the instructions. Both of which are crucial.

Always cut strings longer than you’ll need.

Let’s say you’re making a stretch bracelet that is supposed to be seven inches. Therefore, you should cut at least an extra inch. That way, you’ll have some breathing room, and of course, room to tie knots. One piece of advice from my grandmother is that you an always cut off stuff, but you can never put it back.

Furthermore, if you’re making a gift for someone and you’re not sure their size, always go bigger. It’s always better for them to have extra room then it is to be too tight for them to fit.

Check out Etsy.

Etsy has the best craft supplies ever. Many of these beads are decently priced, and you get a wider selection than you would at the craft store. So, if there’s something specific that you’re looking for, whether it may be a certain charm or a specific color of beads, check out Etsy if your local craft store doesn’t have it.

Self Care Tips for the Busiest Person

If you didn’t know this already, September is Self Care Awareness Month. And, I can not stress this enough. Self care is important. 

And, okay. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have time to self care. Some of you reading this are in college and are juggling classes and part time jobs. Others are balancing jobs, kids, and everything else. But, no matter what your situation is, you gotta take care of you. Otherwise, it will catch up to you. Trust me.

So, if you’re one of those people, here’s some tips to help take care of you. Trust me, they are easy.

  • Get a day planner

In college, a day planner was my saving grace. I wrote down everything from when I needed to be in work, deadlines, and classes. I also kept track of important dates, which helped me stay organized.

Nowadays, my planner serves a different purpose. I use it now to keep track of articles I need to or want to write, my work schedule for both jobs, events for the commission I serve, and social things. Having it all in front of me really keeps track of everything so I can accomplish it, and balance.

I highly recommend everyone with a busy schedule to get a planner and write everything in there. You don’t need to carry it around, but having a guide to help you through the week is surely helpful.

  • Take your lunch break.

So many people often work right through their lunch or cut it short in the efforts to get much more done. I mean I’ve done it too. However, my question is why? First of all, we need to eat. Second of all, we need a break. Even if it’s only a few minutes, it’s all we need to recharge our batteries and give us time just to relax. This helps us avoid burnout.

If you’re one of those people, try my trick to ensure that you do take your break. Either buy food, which prompts you to get out of the office, or do an errand or two while on lunch. That way, you’ll feel more accomplished, and get a minute away.

  • Block off a time of the week that is devoted to me time.

Since I still work part-time, I have a few days a week where I have an afternoon off. For instance, I am off every Monday. I used to schedule appointments or hang out with my boyfriend during that time. But, now I just use it as my chance to go home and watch TV (or do whatever). Having that time off is so important, because I am so relaxed afterwards.

At the end of the day, we all need that crucial ‘me’ time. For some, it’s a Saturday night reading. For me, it’s watching crappy reality. Whatever the case may be, be sure you do so. That way, you can truly recharge and just do you.

  • Make sure you take care of your health.

This one is pretty easy — go to your doctor’s, put sunscreen on before you go outside, eat veggies, and exercise. By putting your health first and living a healthy lifestyle, you are truly living your best life.

  • Be proactive. 

I recently decided to get a snack and drink drawer in my office. Additionally, I also put a few extra things that I sometimes forget to bring with me, such as tissues and feminine care products, in there as well.

By being proactive, I can help avoid stress (at least a little bit). Therefore, try to be proactive in any way you can. Trust me. You’ll thank yourself later.

  • Be easy on yourself. 

It’s hard to do this, but try to avoid being hard on yourself. And, as a perfectionist, I know that it can be challenging sometimes. However, I know that you can do it. I’m working on it too.

There are several ways we can do this. One way is to focus on all that you have done, not on the things that you have. I know we have mountains of to-do lists on our plates. But, it’s not worth kicking ourselves for the things that we didn’t do.

Furthermore, another way we can do this is try to be nice on ourselves when something goes wrong. For instance, if you didn’t do so great on an exam, instead of beating yourself up for it, just remind yourself that you did the best you can. Same goes when final grades come out.

The more that we remind ourselves that we are awesome, the less that we focus on the negative. Chances are, you’ll feel a whole lot better about whatever if you approach anything in life with that mindset.

Book vs. Movie: Crazy Rich Asians

I did something that’s a bit unusual for me — I saw the movie before I read the book. Usually, whenever I’m interested in a movie or TV show that was originally a book, I have to read the book first. That usually results in me usually never seeing the movie and reading the book about a month after the movie leaves theaters.

However, Crazy Rich Asians was a bit different. I saw the movie as I was reading the book.

But, let me say this — both were pretty amazing.

General Synapses:

Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu who is invited by her boyfriend, Nick Young, to go to his best friend’s wedding. Little does Rachel know that her boyfriend is hiding a very big secret — that his family is a millionaire. And, that family could be the very reason that could tear them apart.

Book vs. Movie:

I’m not going to lie — I absolutely loved them both. The movie was one of the best that I’ve seen in a very long time, and while the book was well over 500 pages, it was a damn good book. And, the movie and book were pretty similar.

But, there were a few differences. Most of them were minor details.

The first is that there is a ton more backstory in the book — which I get. When you take a 500 page novel and turn it into a movie, somethings do have to go. With that being said, some of the backstory was pretty interesting. For example, it was interesting to read about Eddie’s (one of Nick’s cousins) marriage. We see a bit of him in the movie, but it is a totally different game in the book. And, in the end, his wife ends up leaving him at the wedding — something that didn’t happen in the movie. And, another change is that Peik Lin got invited to go to the party at Nick’s grandmother’s house — something that didn’t happen in the book.

What was also different between the two is the Eleanor (Nick’s mother) and Rachel relationship. Eleanor hated Rachel because she didn’t think she was good enough for Nick. In the book, they didn’t meet until later on, and she was very stand offish until she revealed the truth about Rachel’s past. In the movie, they met at the party, where she was cold to her. Throughout the movie, she was trying to get to Rachel and said flat out mean things to her. This didn’t happen in the book.

But, the biggest difference is the end. And sorry to those who have yet to read the book or see the movie, I’m about to spoil it. So, if you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading. Now.

In the movie, Nick proposes to Rachel twice — once in the park where she refuses and on the plane ride home, where she accepts. In the second proposal, she gets Eleanor’s ring. The movie ends with them being treated to a luxurious engagement party. The book ends with no proposal, although Rachel and Nick are reunited. They end up going out to dinner with Rachel’s mom and Peik Lin.

Overall?

I highly recommend both the book and movie. They are different enough to see one without ruining the other. Therefore, if you haven’t, go see and read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. And if you choose the movie first, I guarantee that you will laugh out loud the entire time.