Hello everyone! Here’s what I’ve been up to this month (and a bit of January too)!
Since I was in Mexico for the last week of January in addition to the first week of February, I knew I’d need to add stuff I’d done that final week too. So here is what I was up to!
This section is all about my hobbies! Further down is my favorites for the month, and then at the end about my life.
So last month I was already out of the country when the second DIY night of January occurred so I missed that one. Bummer because I heard it was really fun! But this month I was back in time for the first one of February and we did a yarn and floral wall art. I took some creative liberties with it as I flipped some of the colors (so I could have more of that pink/burgundy color instead of more white) and then how I put it together, and I quite like it! I didn’t unravel the top white row though even though it does look cool unravelled but I worried it’d look messy. I also didn’t trim the bottom like I was supposed to so I might go back and do that eventually.
The second DIY night for this month was French paper stars. It brought back the awful memories of origami night where everyone just rage quit towards the end of the night but this time it worked out much better! It took awhile to understand the instructions but eventually we got it and with a bit of practice the stars actually came out nice instead of just vaguely resembling a star. Still, I will definitely not be making any more of those…
I finally finished a book I started years ago! I read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Why did it take me so long? Well I was a big fan of the film version of Hidden Figures (back in 2017 when I first saw it) so I bought the book to get more background info on it. Well the film and book are about the same people but very different. Understandably so as the movie is meant to be more attention grabbing while the book is more research based, but I was so surprised at how different they were. The movie focused on three women navigating NASA during the space race and set when NASA was sending astronauts up for the first time into orbit. So I thought the book would mostly focus on that since that was all the film was about. However, the book covered these three women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, throughout their extraordinary lives and careers, and the orbit mission was only a small part of the book. Since it was so different I kind of got confused initially and put it down for a long time but when I was looking for a small, but somewhat lengthy book to take with me to Mexico, this was the perfect size. I finished the book, completely enthralled by the stories of Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson, as well as many other amazing women they worked with. I really enjoyed the book but I have to admit that the vast difference from the material I expected really threw me off. I did rate it four out of five stars on my Goodreads (linked in my signature – friend me!) as it was a wonderful store and well worth learning about. Also, I found it very interesting that just as I finished the book, the actual Katherine Johnson did sadly pass away at the age of 101. Johnson was an absolutely remarkable woman and I’m eternally grateful for all her contributions to humankind.
The second book I read was Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Now, you guys have seen me talk about how my friend Erin got me into The Morning Toast on YouTube, and one of the hosts, Jackie, started a bookclub called “The Readheads”. (Also a podcast!) Every month, Jackie picks out a book and this was the February novel! The story follows a young man, Alex, who is the First Son of the United States (his mom is president!) who starts an unlikely romance with Henry, the Prince of Wales. I likely wouldn’t have picked this one up on my own, but since it was the book club book I quickly ordered it from the library and got it pretty quickly! For me, the book was a really fast read. I read about a third of it one night after work and then the rest split between the next two nights as well. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down! It was a really funny book and I really enjoyed the author’s writing. There were a lot of little things I really appreciated too, such as the fact that the author made Alex Mexican-American (like me!) and there were small references to that culture woven into the story. And since the story takes place over an election year, with the focus on his mom’s reelection campaign, there’s plenty of excitement in the story. I really enjoyed this book and I gave it a four out of five stars on Goodreads (would have been 4.5 if half stars were allowed though!).
I did watch two movies at the end of last month! So on the plane to Mexico I watched Yesterday, which I had actually checked out from the library previously but didn’t get a chance to watch it before it was due so I was glad I finally had a chance to do so. The summary is that a man who is struggling to make it as a musician and ends up in a pretty bad accident. When he wakes up he realizes that no one else remembers the Beatles. Then off he goes, trying to remember every song and lyric as his career starts taking off due to the music he can remember. I was surprised as the ending, while still good, I didn’t think was really “complete” but it was still a fun film and I enjoyed it.
I also watched Rocketman on the plane too. This film is like a musical film based on Elton John’s life, which I really enjoyed too! I wasn’t convinced at first, not going to lie, mostly because I don’t actually know a ton about Elton John. However, it was a really well done film and I really learned a lot about Elton John through it. I actually am not too familiar with his music so I might try listening to some of the better known songs as an introduction I think.
When I got back home I watched the new Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana. I really loved the documentary and loved getting a glimpse into Taylor’s life and thoughts over her career. I thought it was really short for all the topics that were covered, but it did cover probably the most important highlights of each so we still got the full picture, just a very abbreviated version of it. Of course, a lot of it was super personal such as Taylor’s eating disorder. I thought her political portion of the documentary was probably the most powerful, especially in the scene where she’s trying to explain her position to all the men on her team and struggling to get herself heard. I really enjoyed it a ton and as a Swiftie I’m glad she’s doing better and feeling empowered to stand for herself and what she believes in.
Also upon my return home from vacation, I watched Cheer on Netflix. It’s a six episode show that follows the Navarro College cheerleading team and it was so interesting to watch! I found the stories of the cheerleaders really interesting and although I only planned to watch one or two episodes (thanks to Chrissy Teigan for tweeting about it LOL) I was hooked immediately. There were a lot of parts where I was questioning their choices, such as when one of them kept cheering even though the ER doctors told her to not to or when they said they call encouraging each other as “mat talk” when it was literally just… cheering? So weird but it was lots of fun and I totally want to do all those fancy flips and get a sparkly giant bow for my hair!
I also started watching The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia. The story follows Ashley, who was the youngest person ever to get a PhD, as she moves in with her LA based uncle to work on Mars Rovers for NASA. Since she spent her entire childhood studying (she went to college at age 9), she is also trying to incorporate some typical teenage experiences into her life. While I wish there was more of a balance between Ashley’s work-life on screen (I wanna see some robots! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK???) the story is still really fun and cringey – everything a teenager’s life should be! Ashley is also hispanic (I’m having all the luck with those stories lately!) so that is really nice to see incorporated into the story too, along with the overprotective mom. Plus, even though I’m not a genius like Ashley, I also skipped out on a lot of the teenage experiences that Ashley did so seeing her get to have fun and take part is quite nice to see. I’m absolutely going to keep watching!
I’ve been obsessing over musical music again! I’ve really been into the albums for Be More Chill, Six, and a few other songs from other musicals. I actually checked out Six from the library so it’s in my car and accompanies me on my commute lately. I love Anne Boyeln’s song of “Don’t Lose Ur Head” and Catherine Parr’s “I Don’t Need Your Love”, on top of the Queen’s all in “Ex-Wives” and “Six” of course!
I don’t think I have too many YouTube favorites this past month actually! I’ve been watching a good amount of videos, but there’s not really a video or channel that I recall that stood out to me this time around. I would say that I have noticed a few themes of my favorites though, such as watching 9-5 vlogs, bullet journal plan with me videos, and travel vlogs (especially semester at sea ones). I’m also getting mentally ready for all the “unclutter with me” videos that have already started to pop up due to spring cleaning though!
I’ve really enjoyed the video version of Philip DeFranco’s A Conversation With podcast. This month I’ve watched the Michelle Khare and James Charles videos, both of which were really interesting, entertaining, and revealing! I feel like the podcast is pretty open about many topics that the guests/YouTubers wouldn’t normally talk about on their channels, such as business decisions or more personal topics even.
So I took a bit of a break from Hogwarts Mystery when I was on vacation but I picked it up again when I started playing. I was lowkey annoyed because I thought I’d get the “welcome back” energy boost but nope. I’ve heard of people getting it when they’ve been off the app for a week before so since I was off for two I thought for sure I’d get it. Oh well! I did a chapter’s worth of classes before the timed Valentine’s Day quest appeared, so I just started to do the quest instead. Gilderoy Lockhart made an appearance, and Ava Samwise Quagmire was asked out by pretty much everyone in her year regardless of gender it felt like. She stayed loyal to Barnaby though, before going back to focusing on her classes and the main story (we’re still a little behind due to not playing for two weeks).
Also on Hogwarts Mystery. Since I wasn’t playing for a bit, when I came back I was struggling to catch up with the main story and finish the Qudditch event (we already won the final match but I just hadn’t finished the activities fully) while also working on all the timed events. Eventually, I gave up on one for the other events and caught up on the story. Woah, that was so unexpected! One of Ava Samwise’s friends died protecting another friend and even though we’d been warned it was still surprising and so now poor Ava Samwise is trying to deal with that and I feel bad because I’ve been mixing in the Qudditch celebrations along with the story where they’re gathering to remember their friend and I feel like those two stories shouldn’t happen simultaneously but it’s too late to really do anything about it now. Sorry Ava Samwise Quagmire… Hopefully she’s okay moving forward as the next Qudditch chapter involves her learning to be a beater instead of a chaser.
I also recently got the game Detroit: Become Human. This game has been on my list of games to play for a long time! I was so excited and managed to finish it within a weekend. Now, I do have to admit that because I’ve watched so many play through videos on YouTube on this game that I did make decisions based on what outcomes I wanted but it was still stressful because it is easy to mess it and the game saves as you go, so you can’t really undo it. I plan to do a full review of this game once I try out the ability to go back and explore other options after finishing the game, but I know I won’t get 100% on this one because there’s just soooo many decisions and outcomes!
I mentioned in my Mexico post but I helped cook while I was on vacay! All I really did was prep the breaded chicken so it was super easy (chicken + dip it in eggs + put bread crumbs on it) but it was still fun to try out and help make.
This month I was off to a lazy start! Well, not entirely, but since I was on vacation I didn’t really keep up with it. When I got back I also didn’t fully get back into the swing of things right away so I’ve only done yoga a few times. However, I’m getting back into it and still greatly enjoying it! I find that no matter how distracted I am at the start, yoga can quickly put me into a more relaxed and focused on myself mindset. I’m convinced it’s partly magic honestly.
I really don’t have too many favorites this month, so here’s a couple little things.
Beauty – Make Up & Skin Care
I’m going to include a lotion in my favorites this month! During my Mexico trip we spent a day at a water park, and I ended up with a slight sunburn on my shoulders. My mom let me borrow her Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Cream with Aloe. It helped relive the slight ache I had and was pretty long lasting too!
I have to say, my Starbucks cup with a straw is absolutely one of my favorites too. I’ve had it for forever, so you wouldn’t expect it as a favorite but after my vacation I forgot it at home on my first day back in the office! I quickly realized just how great it is for water because it holds so much and the straw makes drinking so much faster than a typical water bottle with difficult tops or that are smaller and such.
Of course the biggest event of the last month was my Mexico trip! I spent two weeks in the amazing country of Mexico to spend time with family and get in a vacation before the end of the fiscal year at work when we lose vacation days. It was really nice to be able to escape the winter for a bit too! Highlights included spending tons of time with my grandfather, seeing my many aunts/uncles/cousins that I see maybe once a year or less, and exploring new places such as visiting the state of Morelos and exploring a water park there!
It was a really restful and fun trip for sure. I described it as “it felt longer than it was, and in a GOOD way”. I felt like for every day of vacation I was just rejuvenated by two if that makes sense at all. Overall, I really needed this vacation to just rest and my mindset is so much more energized and positive than ever!
So that’s what I’ve been up to this month! I hope everyone had a good February and is looking forward to March as much as I am!
Thanks for reading!
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