Birthday Update: 29 on the 29th

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I turned 29 last Saturday! A week ago, I realized that I was turning 29 on the 29th and I thought it would be fun to make a hashtag out of that and share some pictures on Instagram. For those who don’t have Instagram, I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick update here on the blog. Also to let you all know why I haven’t had a chance to post lately. I had a pretty quiet Saturday, I was trying to finish reading Divergent by Veronica Roth because my friend and I had tickets for the movie. I did drop by the bookstore in the afternoon:

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But I didn’t buy anything since the books that I wanted were out of stock. This isn’t such a bad thing because I’ve been reading more ebooks lately – I haven’t even picked up the paperbacks and hardcovers in my TBR pile. After the bookstore visit, my friend and I had a nice dinner at this cozy French restaurant called Bistro du Vin:

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We ordered Escargot, Coq au Vin, Jarret d’Agneau braisΓ© and some wine:

29onthe29th french food

And of course, had some chocolate cake:

29onthe29th chocolate cake

Then we went off to the cinema. We almost weren’t able to watch the movie because I booked tickets for the wrong date! Good thing the ticket lady felt bad for us and still gave us seats, after checking with her manager. I told her it was my birthday. πŸ™‚ In the coming days, I’ll try to come up with a review (maybe just short ones) for both the Divergent novel and movie.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! How was the rest of March for you?

Yosemite National Park a.k.a. My First Encounter With Snow

I’ve mentioned several times on previous reviews that I’ve never seen snow in person. Well, that changed when I went to Yosemite National Park this weekend. I got to see snow for the first time!

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Yosemite National Park is a beautiful place, reminds me of the setting of quest-type fantasy novel. Makes me wish that I brought my lomo cameras with me so I could have taken nicer pictures. All of the pictures I posted were taken using my phone camera. I wouldn’t mind going back there but most definitely not during winter. I found it too cold, which isn’t surprising since I’ve always lived in a tropical country.

I got these Chiura Obata woodblock postcards as souvenirs:

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I’m back in Singapore after a looong day of traveling yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to reply to comments on previous posts but I’ll try to do that as soon as I can. I’m also planning to put up a post about the books that I got while on vacation. Hope you’re all having a good week!

TV Show to Love: Downton Abbey

I wanted to talk about what has been keeping me busy the past couple of days. I wasn’t able to read much this weekend because I started watching the first season of Downton Abbey. Yes, I know everyone and their lola (grandmother) has been raving about this series. I finally gave in when even my real life friends encouraged me to watch the show. One of them told me, “You’re going to love it.” And I did. I like so many things about it – how it focuses not just on the upper-class family members but on the servants as well, how distinct the personalities of all the characters are, the clothes, the way they talk, the setting. Some of my favorite characters are the Earl and the Countess of Grantham, Lady Sybil, Anna and Mr. Bates.

The series reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books – A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – because of the complex hierarchy of English servants and how they relate to the family they serve. Oh and look at this article, discussing how publishers are riding the Downton Abbey wave. Looks like fans of the show are bookish types? πŸ˜› Have you watched the show? What do you think of it and who are some of your favorite characters?

Postcard Love

I posted about book boxes from Regalong Pambahay the other day. They also sell pretty vintage boxes in the same store and I’ve always wanted one but they’re a bit pricey. When I passed by Regalong Pambahay on Friday, I saw that they were having a sale so clearly, the universe wanted me to buy one. This is what I got:

I think it’s modeled after a lunch box. Here’s another view of it:

I thought the box would be perfect for my postcards, it even has some postcards in its design. I think I started collecting postcards back in high school. I remember being jealous of my friends who got to travel out of the country so I’d ask them to please send postcards if they could. Since I love getting stuff in the mail (except for bills), I was thrilled when I started getting postcards from book blogger friends. Some of them are on the top of this pile:

A postcard from Harry Potter World from Capillya (That Cover Girl), one from China from Steph (Steph Su Reads), a card from another Steph (My Girl Friday) from Australia, and one from Madrid from Tina (One More Page). Thanks girls! I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this hilarious card that a friend sent back in 2008:

And some of the stamps that I love:

Anyway, I bought a bunch of postcards last week so I’m planning to send another batch to book blogger friends soon. If you’re interested in getting one, please leave a comment and let me know. First five to comment will receive a postcard all the way from the Philippines! πŸ˜› Also, is anyone from the UK willing to send me a postcard using these adorable Roald Dahl stamps? Sigh, I really want those stamps.

2012 Plans and Anticipated Reads

Hello 2012! πŸ™‚ I feel like 2011 wasn’t such a great year for me, in terms of blogging. 2010 was my first year as a blogger and I was all “YAY, I HAZ BLOG! Look at me interact with all these wonderful bookish people.” While 2011 was the year of slumps, both reading and blogging. It’s funny because my most commented on post in 2011 was “Do you ever get tired of blogging?” But I believe I’ve found a pace that I’m comfortable with and I’m determined not to get pressured by blogging. So in 2012, I want to have fun again. Here are some of my plans:

  • more read-alongs because they’re fun. I’m going to read Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart with Holly this week
  • a week-long blogging event/feature scheduled for the week of January 22 (I’ll talk more about it once I’ve finalized the details)
  • reduce my “books I own but have not read shelf” in Goodreads to less than 100 by reading more books from my TBR pile or giving away some of the books that I’m not planning to read. This shelf has 167 books right now
  • more Retro Friday posts, which is a meme for older titles hosted by Angie
  • keep putting up Shoot That Book and Want Books posts
  • more discussion posts
  • more guest posts – Feel free to invite me to do a guest post on your blog if you feel like I can contribute something! I also want to have bloggers do guest posts on my own blog but I have to come up with specific topics first
  • read and review more books by Filipino authors

*keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to accomplish all of these* I haven’t decided if I’ll join any challenges in 2012 but if I do, I’ll probably only sign up for one or two. Moving on to some of the titles that I’m really looking forward to reading this year:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – January 10
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale – January 31
Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning – February 2
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – February 6
About That Night by Julie James – April 3
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – May 1
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – June 19
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan – September 5
Sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – September
Speechless by Hannah Harrington – September

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this list within the year. What about the rest of you, what are some of your plans for your blogs in 2012? What are the titles that you’re excited about?

Maligayang Pasko! Merry Christmas!


Image from Tumblr

Just a quick post to wish you all a Happy Christmas! Hope you’re all enjoying the holidays with your loved ones and you have some good books to keep you company. πŸ™‚ This is my Christmasy read for tonight:

Sorry for the blurry picture, wanted to show you guys the shiny green cover. Some Christmas treats: If Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is on your wishlist then you can check out her blog for a kissing scene snippet. This book is one my list of most anticipated 2012 titles. And have you seen this gift from Ilona and Gordon? We have a free Kate and Curran novella YAY! Hurry and download it because it will only be available for a limited time.

Christmas Reads

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re well into December, folks. Do you know that here in the Philippines, people start counting down to Christmas the moment September rolls around? πŸ˜› So of course, we’re excited that December is finally here. And if you drop by my blog, you’ll see that I activated WordPress’ snow feature. My blog has snow even though I’ve never seen it in real life and we’ve never had it in the Philippines.

I’ve been thinking about books that are perfect reads for the holidays. I only have a couple of them that I’ve featured on the blog (click on the images to check out my reviews):

These books are set during winter or the holidays so they’re perfect for the season. Anna and the French Kiss only has a couple of Christmas scenes but I decided to include it since it’s such a fun read. I’m planning to reread At First Sight because it’s an easy read and I think I’ve already memorized some sections of it because of multiple rereads. This year, I only have this one on my pile:

I got Ex-Mas from My Girl Friday’s giveaway last year and I still haven’t read it. I want more Christmas goodness so please recommend a book that you think would be a great read for the holidays. Maybe it would be a good idea to squeeze in some cozy mysteries like Strong Poison or Silent in the Grave? I don’t usually read mysteries but these two come highly recommended. Let me know what you guys think.

Maagang Maligayang Pasko! Advanced Merry Christmas! πŸ™‚

Where has the enthusiasm gone?

2010 was my first year in the book blogosphere and everything was New and Exciting back then. I was enthusiastic about meeting readers who like the same kinds of books that I do, discovering new-to-me books and authors based on recommendations and participating in book blogging activities. Looking back, I have no idea where I got all that energy. I feel like such an old lady nowadays because I feel like I couldn’t keep up with my younger blogging self. I used to put up a post every single day and now I’d be happy with two or three per week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning to stop blogging or anything drastic like that, it’s just that I want to get back all that enthusiasm that I had when I first started. It feels like it’s getting harder and harder for me to write reviews lately. I never used to have a backlog – I’d read a book, let it stew for a bit and then write a review before I dive into another world. It took me a month to put up my latest review. But on the other hand, I feel like my reviewing has gotten better and I put more effort (and time) into them than I used to. I also used to review ALL of the books that I read. Now, I don’t bother if I can’t find the words, I just give it a star rating in Goodreads and leave it at that. Another thing that I want to mention is that I haven’t been that excited to buy books lately but this is probably a good thing because I WANT to read the books in my TBR pile, I feel like they’ve been neglected far too long. I only bought one book in October and two in November.

Sorry to be so negative but I just wanted to get this out there. I still love chatting to fellow readers, bloggers and of course, get excited whenever an author replies to comments or tweets. I still leave comments in a lot of the posts that come up in my Google Reader and I still reply to all the comments in my blog because I like discussions. It’s just that I’m not as ecstatic about everything like before. But maybe that’s part of growing older as a book blogger? I guess it’s normal to feel like this, we’ve all experienced reading slumps so it’s only natural to have blogging slumps as well. It’s just that I’ve been doing my best to keep the slump away but I don’t want to pressure myself and I don’t want to feel like blogging is too much work. I wonder if the rest of you have noticed these changes around the blog? And I’d also like to hear what the rest of you do when you feel like a blogging slump is about to happen? What makes you look forward to blogging again? Oh and if you come across my enthusiasm, please tell it to go back to me, I need it ASAP.

Bookish Shirts

I posted about bookish necklaces before and if you’re a Tumblr (or Twitter) follower, you’ve probably seen this picture:

Then, I realized that I have a couple of other bookish shirts that I should take pictures of. Here’s one that I got from my high school kabarkada last Christmas:

And here’s a shirt that I got in Bangkok last March:

Last but certainly not the least, my new favorite shirt:

It sums up my favorite hobbies quite nicely.

A Little Bit of Nonsense

I haven’t been able to get a lot of reading done the past couple of days because I haven’t been feeling well. But I’m still behind on my reviews so I hope I can work on those and come up with posts within the week. Anyway, I was catching up on some episodes of The Big Bang Theory and look what turned up in their show:

Photo from Valyrian Steel. They’re geeking out over a model of Jon Snow’s sword from the Game of Thrones. I think it’s awesome when there’s an overlap, even a minor one, between two of the shows that I watch. I love The Big Bang Theory, it’s such a geeky and nerdy show and I think it’s hilarious. Another show that makes me laugh is The Modern Family, and here’s Alex with a little bit of something that I know we can all relate to:

Photo from Tumblr, click on the image to see the GIF properly. Just wanted to talk about these shows briefly and ask if you guys watch them too? If not, what are the TV shows that you think are great? Maybe I’ll have time to check them out when the TBR pile lets me.