Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss and Redemption by Daniel Jones

I’m not sure I’ve ever really talked about this, but  I do the majority of my reading on a Kindle. I’m sure that’s pretty common now, so it’s not something that really needs to be talked about. I’ve always been a reader though, so I do kind of love the feeling of flipping through pages and having an actual book in your hands.

Every so often, I’ll take trips to the bookstore with my family members and search for something new to read. Right before we were issued stay-at-home orders, my mom and I went to Books A Million just on a whim one day. I actually have a really hard time finding books at bookstores because I want to walk through the entire store and check out everything before I make a decision. There was a section for books that have been made into tv shows and movies that I kept coming back to, so eventually I made two purchases there.

Modern Love stuck out to me. I feel like I’ve hinted at this a few times in past posts, but I’ve had this “thing” with a person for almost 3 years now that’s been very hot and cold. I think it’s safe to say it’s over for good now, but it was definitely a roller coaster of emotions for me the last few years.

I’m not going to share all the details here, but what stuck out to me the most about this book was that it was about unconventional love stories. My story with this person didn’t make sense to anyone else that knew the details and it doesn’t have a happy ending, but I felt like (at least on my part) it was real, pure love. Now, enough about me…

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that the stories about the relationships weren’t just couples. I loved how different they all were. The stories made me teary-eyed, they made me laugh, they made me smile. Above everything, I felt like each story touched me in a different way. I felt like each story was important to be reading, even if I couldn’t relate.

I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. I actually already passed it on to my mom (great thing about having an actual book, right?). Who knows if she’ll actually read it, but I hope she does.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

If anyone else has read the After series, they’ll completely understand why I chose to read Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice next. Kind of crazy how one author’s words can inspire you so much that you feel the need to read other works they mentioned just so that you can understand their characters better, isn’t it?

I’m not super familiar to Jane Austen’s work to be honest. I remember reading Emma in high school, but it was for an assignment and for some reason anytime I’ve been assigned to read it I just don’t do well with retaining any of it. Probably some psychology we could get into there, but this isn’t the place for that.

I also did read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I think that and the original novel really should be kept separate from each other. I don’t remember it that well, but as far as I’m concerned they tell very different stories.

When I started reading Pride and Prejudice, I have to say, I was really bored. The first half of the book was really uninteresting to me and honestly I was struggling to get through it without falling asleep. Darcy was a jerk, Elizabeth hated him.

When he confessed his feelings for her it felt really out of place. I understand that he had pride, so he felt that anyone would be honored to receive a proposal from him, but what really made him think she would accept? Maybe he thought she was mean to him because she liked him? It was just strange to me.

However, once she told him off and he wrote her the letter I did start to feel more connection to the story. They misunderstood each other and had to adjust their ways of thinking to come back together at the end. It was cool to see the ways that they both changed.

I did really enjoy the second half of the book. Seeing Darcy redeem himself with Elizabeth and the ways that he was willing to change the way he was and help her out behind the scenes because he loved her was actually kind of touching. Elizabeth ended up with Darcy because she respected him and because he respected her. I can definitely see why so many people love this story.

My grandmother apparently loved the adaptation with Colin Firth, so I may need to check that out eventually. In the meantime, I’m going to go watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because it’s free on Comcast right now.

Bullet Journal – April 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

Here we are again posting my cover page at the end of the month. Sorry guys! Things have been so strange with the pandemic and the state of the world right now.

To be completely honest, I’m finding it hard to find motivation to do anything. Working from home is definitely not something that I enjoy. Okay, so maybe it was fun for a week or two to not have to get dressed for work and to sit and drink tea all day long. Now it’s just sort of frustrating.

I used to be able to leave work at work. I would drive the 20 minutes it takes to get home and blast my music if I felt stressed about something, and then go home and enjoy my peaceful space.

Now it’s become a part of my space. I can’t really escape it. Even when I shut down for the day I’m still thinking about it. I’m thinking about if I put in enough work for the day. I’m thinking about what I can do tomorrow to be better. Even on the weekends I’m thinking about doing work just because I don’t have anything else to do and could really get a good start on some of the projects.

I’ve tried to do other things to keep myself busy during this time, but it’s really hard.

I tell myself I’m going to catch up on new Netflix series, read more, exercise more, eat healthier, improve my quality of life, etc. I will give myself some credit – I ordered a ton of painting supplies from Michael’s and have started getting back into making art. So far, that’s the one thing that’s helped me stay sane during this stay-at-home order.

I haven’t really done much else though. Plus my overthinking is getting the best of me and I’ve definitely pushed people away…not going to get into that today though.

So now that I’ve vented all my personal COVID-19 frustrations, lets get back to bullet journaling…

I decided to go with a Spring theme this month. I was inspired by the daffodils growing in my backyard. I guess the blooming of flowers after the cold winter is kind of a sign of hope for better, warmer days. I was obviously feeling a lot more positive at the beginning of the month.

I’ve really slacked on keeping up with my habits. I did get in some reading the last two days, so I’m happy that I’ll be able to fill in those little boxes. Really need to start making dinner more, but honestly it’s mostly that I have so many leftovers as a single person that I don’t really need to make more than 2 or 3 meals a week to keep myself fed.

Not really much else to share about this month. How’s everyone else coping?

Bullet Journal – March 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

You’d think with all the time I’ve had being home because of the coronavirus that I’d get this post done before now, but here we are!

I decided to make March’s “theme” the Salem Witch Trials. I’ve always been interesting in witchcraft, paganism, wiccans, etc. I wouldn’t say that I practice any of them, but I burn sage occasionally and put my crystals outside during full moons. I’m sure there are other things I do that would be considered “witchcraft” but they’re not coming to the top of my head right now.

This month has gone completely differently than I thought it would. I’ve been terrible with my trackers and it’s been 8 days since I left my house. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen, how secure my job is, or if I’ll be able to pay my bills in the coming months. I’m worried about people that I care about who still have to go into work and I’m scared that I’ll get sick.

I know pretty much everyone is in the same boat. It’s all just really scary and I feel like my anxiety is through the roof. Sorry for the kind of depressing post, but it’s a little hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel with everything going on.

I have had some time to organize my house a bit and I cleared all the weeds and dead plants out of my garden this past weekend, so I’m making an effort to be productive. I definitely need to do more though. I need to get exercise. I need to finally post more about my travels. I need to figure out what’s next once this is all over.

Really hoping things start to improve in April!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I’ll admit, I was only interested in reading Wuthering Heights again because of how often it was mentioned in the After series. Honestly, I think I’ve been assigned to read this book probably at least 3 times throughout high school and college, but I’m not sure I ever actually read it all the way through.

I feel like I could probably write a whole essay on how I feel about this book, but I’ll try to keep it short.

From the beginning I felt bad for Heathcliff. Cathy is kind of a spoiled brat and the way that she puts on a different face for everyone else is pretty annoying. She clearly loves Heathcliff and can really be herself with him, but seems to care more about money and that Edgar will be able to provide the nicer life.

She’s honestly a pretty terrible person and does/says things that she knows will hurt people. It’s interesting that she ended up this way and that Hindley was a terrible man, especially because their father was so nice and they had Nelly around their whole lives, and she should have been a good influence.

Cathy and Heathcliff are a good match because he is equally as terrible as her. It’s kind of her fault that he ended up this way, but he also only seems to do things that he knows will hurt people. It’s terrible what they do to Isabella and I’m glad that she runs away from him.

It’s pretty drastic that Heathcliff felt the need to destroy the entire Linton family just because Cathy decided to marry someone else. At the end it does seem like he starts to realize that it was all for nothing, so I guess that’s good.

This story is really just about people causing each other pain and suffering because they were more worried about their social status, which is pretty sad.

I was glad that Catherine (the daughter) ends up with Hareton at the end. Those the close family relation between everyone in the second generation of Earnshaws, Lintons, and Heathcliffs is super weird. The only character I really felt sorry for the whole time was Hareton. It made me really sad when Catherine made fun of him for trying to learn how to read to impress her. He was honestly the other character that tried to improve his situation instead of hurting other people.

The ghost element to the story was interesting, but I kind of felt like it wasn’t necessary. I think it would’ve been better if Cathy was just gone forever rather than Heathcliff searching for her ghost. I guess I just wish it would’ve been more important to the storyline, than just something that was at the beginning and the end.

It’s definitely a complicated story. I’m glad that I’ve finally actually read the whole thing. Probably won’t do it again though.

Bullet Journal – February 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

So I’m super late to this one…

At the beginning of this month I went on a two week business trip to Australia. I spent 5 days in Melbourne before flying to Sydney. I was with two colleagues and although we were working pretty non-stop most days, we did get to have a little bit of fun.

I really wanted to see koalas while I was in Australia, so that’s why I decided on the koala for my February cover page. We actually did get the chance to do this when we visited the Healesville Sanctuary. They were super cute, but very sleepy. Definitely can relate 😉

We also got to see kangaroos, so that was pretty exciting!

I’ll admit, I haven’t done a great job with my habit tracker this month. It’s so hard when traveling! I’ve definitely done better since I’ve been back, but I really need to get back on track next month.

Bullet Journal – Self Care Reminders

My goal for 2020 is to focus more on my overall health. The last few months of 2019 were pretty rough for me and I felt like I was at a really low point. I don’t really make specific New Year’s resolutions, but for 2020 I really wanted to take better care of myself – mind, body, and soul.

Self care has definitely become a trending topic recently and I think that’s a really good thing. It’s definitely important to make time for yourself, and to do things that you enjoy. It’s kind of amazing the peace of mind you can get from just spending a few minutes doing something that you really enjoy.

I’ve seen spreads like this one before, but wanted to make it my own. I made a list of things that I like to do to “refresh” and this is what I came up with.

Reflecting on it now, I like that there’s a mix of things that I do for my own personal self care. I like that I can do something productive like read a book or journal, but also that I’m happy with just spending time listening to music or setting aside some time to take a nap.

It kind of shows that there’s a wide range of things you can do to take better care of yourself and that you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it. Making myself a cup of tea literally takes less than 5 minutes, but it makes me so happy to hold that warm mug and sip something delicious.

Hopefully this spread helps remind me to do these things more often. 🙂

Before by Anna Todd

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading Before after reading the rest of the After series. I really didn’t want to read about the way Hardin was before Tessa, but I’m glad that I did read it.

At first I was a little put off by this book. When it started out with the back stories of Natalie, Molly, and Steph I definitely wasn’t sure I would finish it. I really didn’t want to hear the details of their hook-ups with Hardin, so I’m glad that it didn’t go any further, but then also it made the introductions to their point of view seem really pointless.

It was interesting to see the first book from Hardin’s point of view. It was kind of surprising how much Molly was actually being helpful and trying to protect Tessa. I thought there would be more from Molly’s perspective and Steph’s too, so it was disappointing that we didn’t get to see that during their relationship. Again, it made it really pointless to introduce their point of view in the beginning.

I really didn’t care about Christian’s part in this book. It didn’t add anything to the overall story. Seeing  what happened with Zed after everything was alright, but again not necessary. I did like the little glimpse into Smith’s world though.

I actually preferred the “Hessa” ending in this book to how it ended in After Ever Happy. The little glimpse into how they ended up was much better than all the time jumps. I don’t think I realized that they never got married until Hardin said it. I guess I just assumed that they had done it at some point.

I read some reviews for the Landon books and I’m not sure that I’m going to read them. Landon was an okay character, but I don’t really feel like he needed his own series. The reviews were basically what I expected and I think I’ve read enough of the universe. We already know that he becomes a teacher, gets married, and has a daughter. I think that’s enough really. I just feel like his story would be much more “vanilla” in comparison to Hardin and Tessa’s story.

After Ever Happy by Anna Todd

What a roller coaster this series has been. The fourth book in this series definitely had more ups and downs than any of the others. Major spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned.

So the story picks up with Hardin finding out that Vance is his father. He absolutely loses it and ends up on a bender and abandoning Tessa yet again. She’s fed up, ready to be done with Hardin and goes home only to find her father dead of a drug overdose in their apartment. WHAT? I swear my jaw dropped when I read this part.

Hardin comes back and is finally ready to change, but Tessa isn’t ready to take him back. Really who could blame her? It’s not like he has a great track record and he apologizes over and over for the same things. It does seem like he’s changing this time.

Tessa ends up moving to New York with Landon and Hardin comes for a visit. Everything seems good UNTIL she finds out that he’s written a book about their love story. She reads it and seems to love it, but then we time jump and find out that she didn’t take him back yet.

They still love each other and decide to get married, but then they don’t. The ending time jumps a few more times (not a fan, by the way) and eventually you find out that they did get married and they have two biological children even though the doctor told her she would struggle to get pregnant.

I’m happy with how the story ended. I wish they didn’t have so many time jumps at the end. It would’ve been fine I think to just have one time jump in the epilogue that showed Hardin with little Emery and Tessa pregnant with Auden. We didn’t need the rest of that really.

I’m going to read Before next just because I’m interested in what that could possibly be about and how it’ll make me feel about Hardin now that I love the new and improved version of him.

I may also read the Landon series. I haven’t completely decided yet, but I like how Anna Todd set it up and didn’t really tell us who he was married to. I’m guessing this was in anticipation of the spin-off series. Are Tessa and Hardin in it too? I’ll definitely read it if they’re in it too.

After We Fell by Anna Todd

Finished with book three! I can’t believe there’s only one left to the series (not counting the one that’s about Hardin’s life before Tessa). I purposely tried to drag this one out because I really don’t want these books to end.

These books really are like a soap opera, which I guess is why they’re so addictive. There are so many twists and turns, so many secrets, so much betrayal. It’s kind of crazy because I definitely felt like Tessa deserved better when I was reading the first book, but now I’m 100% in support of their relationship because I really don’t believe anyone could love Tessa more than Hardin, even if his love is kind of all consuming.

I’m about to get into spoilers so stop reading if you’re actually going to read these books.

The thing that happened with Steph at the beginning was crazy. I definitely was not expecting that and couldn’t believe that this whole time she had a thing for Hardin and was mad that he was with Tessa. I did question why she didn’t tell Tessa about the bet if she was truly her friend, but I didn’t really think that she would go this far. Anna Todd did set up everything with Dan though, he obviously would try to get revenge. I also owe Zed an apology for thinking he’d actually send texts from Hardin’s phone.

Everything at the end with Vance was pretty shocking too. It kept being hinted at that Vance had loved someone other than his first wife and Kimberly, but I’m not sure I would have guessed that it’d be Trish. Once Hardin caught them together I absolutely knew that this was where it was going. I also couldn’t imagine reading that and then having to wait for another book to be released. I need to keep reading to find out what happens.

I mentioned already that I fully support their relationship now, which is kind of funny because it’s definitely something I didn’t expect. I could understand the attraction to each other, but they seemed so toxic. I’m sure this was done on purpose, but with all the other people in their lives having toxic relationships as well it almost makes theirs not so bad. Yes they fight and Hardin is way too controlling of Tessa, but for the most part they don’t lie to each other and they don’t cheat.

I’m really rooting for them in the next book. I hope their relationship continues to get stronger and that Hardin comes around and finally agrees to marry Tessa. Also hope that they make this book into a movie as well. I need it to be a movie.

I found out that there’s a book series about Landon too. I’m kind of curious how that one is and whether or not it’s worth reading. I wonder if Hardin and Tessa make appearances in those books. I might actually read them if they do.