Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share all the fun media/entertainment stuffs that I’ve been consuming in January.
I have quite a bit to get through this month! Real quick though, I didn’t do a “Snapshots from Aquila” post, which was where I shared screenshots from my Animal Crossing: New Horizons game. I had too much to talk about that I thought fit my blog better! I think I’m officially retiring that post as a “monthly” post and instead just going to do an occasional update on my island if I feel like it.
So onto the lively!
I started my new bullet journal for 2021! I did my final bujo part 4 for the 2020 journal last month and posted an intro to my new 2021 bujo recently. Honestly, my bujo videos are the most popular on my YouTube channel, so I figured I should give the people over there what they want!
Oh, I recently posted my 2021 Bullet Journal Introduction too, so check that one out if you missed it! It basically shows off the first opening pages for my bujo and the sort of blank “templates” I create and use month to month.
I started writing a new book this month! So my original plan was to edit my NaNo book from last year this month. But when the month started I realized I didn’t have a clear idea in my head of how to effectively edit the novel! I know, it was total procrastination on my part. So, I went to Google and YouTube for help. Both gave me plenty of resources to put together a plan, but the very first piece of advice everyone gave was to wait months before editing, so that the story is fresh in your mind when you reread it. I thought about it and realized that I was still so closely invested in the story that I didn’t feel like I could read it with fresh eyes again. I felt so dejected at the thought of not doing it but I knew it wasn’t the right time to edit yet!
At the same time, I had such a rush of creativity coming out of Blogmas. I had a laundry list of ideas for new novels, poems, novellas, children’s or comics books, and even animated short films! I decided I was in the mood to tackle a new novel this month.
So I picked a story, one I mentioned awhile back on this blog, a dystopian based in Chicago! I changed a ton from my original idea, which just wasn’t working. One of the biggest ones, is making it a YA book. My plan had been to make my main character around 25 or 26, but I realized it’d make much more sense if she was 17 or 18. After that, it was smooth sailing! Mostly. I think the ending needed to be more planned out in general and since I kept changing the story whilst I was writing, well, the ending just is turning out a bit boring. I’m having a hard time finishing the rough draft but I hope to finish either by the end of January or the first couple days of February.
I think next month I’ll do a video for my YouTube channel about my writing process, so let me know if that does sound interesting or not.
As always, I’m listing all the books I’ve finished since the previous Lively post below with their star ratings. All thoughts on them are saved for future (or even past!) Mini Book Review posts but those will be linked below if so. I won’t include any books that I didn’t finish although I’ll be sure to add them into the review posts.
This month I read 16 books. (Not including the December books. Oh, and this is just January’s count so far. I’m sure I’ll finish more this month but they’ll be included in February’s count.)
- The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery* (This was technically a December 2020 read!)
- Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon* (Also a December 2020 read!)
- Legendary by Stephanie Garber*
- Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin*
- Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull*
- Finale by Stephanie Garber*
- Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch*
- Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
- Wintering by Katherine May
- House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
- Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez
- Layla by Colleen Hoover
- Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
- Native Writers: Voices of Power by Kim Sigafus and Lyle Ernst
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
- Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
- Majesty by Katharine McGee
* Indicates this book was reviewed in Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 7
First one is the live-action Mulan film on Disney+. I saw snippets of it in the Spanish dub because my dad was watching it with my mom and sister while I read a book on NYE. It looked interesting enough that I did end up re-watching it in English, paying attention this time. I did really enjoy it! I missed the songs, honestly, even though they were still there as background music from time to time. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition between Mulan and the “witch” character.
I finally watched the Ariana Grande documentary excuse me, i love you on Netflix. I went to her sweetener concert in the pre-pandemic times so it was wild to see the footage of the tour. Honestly, I might be too traumatized by the thought of deadly viruses to ever go to a concert again. (I kid, kinda.) Anyway, I wasn’t too blown away by it at the end. I hate to compare one amazing woman’s work to another amazing woman’s work but I think I expected it to be more like Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana documentary where we really got a deep insight to Taylor’s life and thoughts. Ari’s documentary was really more like Taylor’s Reputation Stadium Tour (both of those are on Netflix I believe) combined with Taylor’s folklore: pond studio sessions (on Disney+). I don’t think I really felt like I was any “closer” to Ari after the documentary so while it was cool and I loved seeing the show footage, it didn’t really feel like a true documentary to me.
I watched Hamilton: An American Musical on Disney+ again. I realized it’d been so long since I’d seen it, and I missed the music so I had it on while I was writing my aforementioned new novel. I think parts of it was more distracting than helpful but it was still a good time!
I finally watched the rest of The Greatest Showman on Disney+ that I started at the end of last month. I just kept forgetting to go back to it! I had left off right before P.T. started recruiting the talent for the live show last month so that’s where I started. In the second session of watching the film I left off right after the theatre burned down (spoilers?). And then finished it in a third session. I didn’t intend to watch it in three parts but I underestimated how much I had left in the second session and got way too tired to finish it in one sitting.
I watched the end of the Great British Baking Show Holidays in December. Well, not all of the Holidays, just the newest part that was put on Netflix last month. I was so confused why the Sandy was back as a judge but it’s because it’s apparently the Holidays that premiered in 2019, but it wasn’t put on Netflix until 2020. I’m not sure why as I didn’t look too deep into it, I just chose to sit and enjoy!
I finished The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. My sister, her roomie, and I were watching it somewhat weekly. We had a really good time! I ended up really liking the series and it was super thought provoking. I considered reading the book but it sounds like the original source material (from the ’50s!) is actually completely different from the series so I held off on that. But this series, was SO GOOD. I think we will try to watch Bly Manor soon but in the meantime, I might try to rewatch this one.
I started watching The Great British Baking Show from the “beginning”, so season 1 on Netflix but season 5 overall. I finally saw the infamous ice cream scandal, which I think ended up being much tamer than I originally thought. All the uproar I’d heard about it made it seem like it was going to be some big drama when it was really just a guy who threw a bit of a temper tantrum for like a minute, walked away to take a deep breath, and then was over it. But overall, still a very interesting season!
Like everyone else, I’ve watched Bridgerton! (Spoilers ahead in this paragraph.) This is a Netflix original and it’s super cool. I greatly enjoyed the show and am already looking forward to season 2. Personally I would have said eff love and gone off to be a Princess, but good for Daphne for getting her Duke (that was the spoiler). From what I’ve seen online the costumes, while pretty, are completely fake and even poorly made at times but I thought they were cute. I really enjoyed the show and I 100% plan to ask my puppy niece if she wants to “promenade” next time she comes instead of a walk. Well, in addition to asking if she wants to walk because otherwise I think she’ll be very confused.
I started watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix too. I knew it was about chess and that everyone was all obsessed with it at the start of the month so I watched a few episodes. It was actually pretty interesting and I did want to keep watching, which I was surprised by. It does focus a lot on chess, and I don’t play so I was confused if I was supposed to be more invested in the games they showed but I still enjoyed it even though I didn’t know what was going on when it came to the game board.
I watched a bit more of Gilmore Girls this month too. I love the character of Rory and how chill she is compared to Lorelei. The grandma is so annoying and the grandpa is pretty funny, as are the townspeople. I swear I have predicted since the first episode that Luke is the guy Lorelei is totally going to end up with and I’m even more convinced since watching Rory’s birthday episode. Please no spoilers but omg is this such a cute show!
Musicals & Concerts
Well I guess I already mentioned Hamilton but it could also go here! Again, I loved it.
I watched Don Quixote, a ballet, on the Royal Opera House’s YouTube channel. I adored it! I’ve never seen that ballet, online or in-person, but I would love to watch it in-person someday. I loved the character of Kitri! It’s such a beautiful piece of art.
I watched The Nutcracker from the Russian State Ballet and Opera House YouTube channel. Why did I watch it so late? I’m not sure. I’d meant to watch it last month before Christmas but I didn’t and instead put it on as background music while I was writing this month rather than deleting it off my “watch later” playlist on YouTube.
Oh! One more. I watched (most of) Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical! I missed it when it was on originally but then it was streaming on TikTok itself. I ended up catching most of it and it was so cute and so fun. I couldn’t believe that I was finally watching the product of the creative minds on TikTok. Was it the best musical I’d ever seen? No… but it was really good despite being created from so many different people around the platform!
I have two music favorites to mention this month. First up is the 2019 Grammys performance of “La Llorona” by Angela Aguilar, Aida Cuevas, and Natalia Lafourcade. These three women have such beautiful and unique voices and I’m obsessed with how they sound together.
I also loved Natalia Lafourcade’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. She has a very different sound than “La Llorona” from what her Tiny Desk Concert showed, and it’s so fun! I really enjoyed the whole concert and I really want to explore her work further.
I recently came across a channel called Isabel Paige, who vlogs about living in a tiny house she built for herself on the mountains. The vlogs are very beautifully filmed and edited. They give a huge sense of peace and calmness! You’d think with all the isolation of 2020 that I would be against the off the grid living thing but actually I find that the vlogs are just super cool. I’m really enjoying them!
Another YouTube favorite is the channel Booksplosion. This is the channel shared by Christine Riccio, Katytastic, and Jesse the Reader. I used to watch these a ton a few years ago when I actively kept up with new YA releases. I’m much more laid back in keeping up with it all, so I don’t often watch the books they’re talking about but they have reviewed books that I’ve read more recently which tend to be a little older.
I didn’t know where to put this next one but I watched it on YouTube so here it is. I adored the 2021 Presidential Inauguration. I was commenting to my sister recently that I’m pretty sure it’s the first one I actually sat down to watch. Four years ago I did NOT watch that orange idiot take office (although I did watch snippets through Twitter), four years prior to that I went to DC with my college for President Obama’s second Inauguration (but the group leaders were too disorganized and we didn’t get to watch hardly any of it), and before that I was in grade school so I wouldn’t have been able to watch it during class (this was before smartphones were super commonplace and I did not have one, nor were they allowed in school if anyone did). I really enjoyed watching the ceremony and finally getting to enjoy one.
I’ve kept up with Animal Crossing: New Horizons of course! I celebrated Toy Day and New Year’s last month and that was fun. Again, I didn’t do the Snapshots post this month, but if I had I think I would have shared the bar that I made for the island with the champagne flutes as well as the Toy Day photos.
I’ve also played a bit more of Zelda: Breath of the Wild but I’m not getting very far because I’m so bad at it LOL. I’m not used to those huge open world adventure games anymore! It’s still fun, even if I die constantly.
I finally got to play a video game that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I bought What Remains of Edith Finch on the Playstation store because they were having a sale, so I jumped on that! The game is not expensive at all but I’m unemployed so I have to save when I can. I remember watching tons of gamers playing it years ago, and loving the game. Not only is it beautiful to watch, but it’s such a sad, beautiful story as well. I think I’ll do a video game review for it since it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of those.
I’ve been doing the 30 Day Yoga Challenge by Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I did it last year but not 30 days consecutively and I’m really trying to actually do it in 30 days. So far I’ve kept up with it, and it’s been great! I don’t think this year’s challenge is as difficult as last year’s as I find that it seems much slower and more reflective than I remember, but I could be wrong. Plus, I think I just wish yoga was faster than it actually is. However, I do feel that even 15 days in, I was feeling results. Well, even before that I was sooooo sore but I feel like my little week arms are actually less weak!
Before the 30 Day Yoga Challenge I was trying to keep up with at home ballet practices. Ballet is starting up again at the end of this month though! And we’re going back to in-person! I kinda wish that we were virtual through the end of the winter because if it happens to snow on ballet days then I’m 100% going to skip it because I hate driving in snow with a passion. So that’s my plan on that! My classes start tomorrow though at the time that this is posted so I do not really have any updates on that right now. Oh except that it’s a minimum of 5 people that have to sign up for the class not to be cancelled and at the time when I signed up two days ago I was the 3rd. Fingers crossed two more join!
And those are my updates for January in terms of my hobbies and the entertainment I’ve consumed. I think this was a very successful month in terms of fun!
Thanks for reading!
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