Book Reviews | Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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Being the true to form introvert that I am, books have always been something I’ve taken solace in when times were tough. They’ve made me laugh harder than you’d ever expect, they’ve made me sob uncontrollably, they’ve made me rethink my entire world view, and everything in-between. There’s something really special about the fact that some words on a page can evoke such an intense response from a reader, on so many different levels. I read more than most of the people I know, but I don’t feel like you need to read a lot in order to enjoy books and be absorbed in the stories that are waiting to be read. And because of that, I always recommend that my friends read book reviews before picking a book up, to get a feel for what they are reading. I am always quick to offer my thoughts on a book when anyone asks. Its so discouraging for people to pick up a book, only to find that it doesn’t suit them or isn’t an enjoyable experience, particularly for people that may not read often. That is why I’ve decided to share my thoughts on some of the books I read on this blog. I’ve never properly reviewed a book before, at least not through the written word, but I can assure you that all of the thoughts and feelings expressed in these reviews will be my own, and that they will ALWAYS be spoiler free, unless otherwise noted in the title of the post. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

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“In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
A tribute to the people of Lithuania, Poland, and East Prussia, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.” – Ruta Sepetys

Long story short, I loved this book. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I rated it 4.5/5 stars. This book was thrilling, beautiful, gripping, and perfectly told. This was one of those books that stuck with me. I kept thinking about the story and the characters, well after the last page was finished. Ruta Sepetys has this way of embedding her words into your mind and almost compelling you to think about them, and that’s something I really appreciate in an author. Even more so in a historical fiction author. It’s quite easy for writers to get wrapped up in the research side of historical fiction, and some novels can start to get a bit fuzzy, bending itself into feeling more like a textbook than an enjoyable read, and I was thankful that this did not happen with Salt to the Sea. This book pulled you in, it told you the facts of the situation but it also made you feel them. I hadn’t learned much about the voyage of the Wilhelm Gustloff in school or otherwise, so this was something new for me. The real life events surrounding the Wilhelm Gustloff are incredibly tragic, and this book details them tastefully and beautifully, but it is not a depressing story. It doesn’t leave you feeling worn out and upset, even though the events are quite sad. Instead you feel a sense of love and are able to connect with the characters that Ruta has provided. The characters are incredible as well, not just on the character development side, which is fantastic, but just the range of characters is really special. There are a variety of characters of different ages and backgrounds, and you’re able to connect to all four of our main characters effortlessly, and view the story from so many different angles.

World War II is a topic that is discussed a lot in historical fiction novels, but this book sets itself apart. It touches on events that are less prominent in the genre, and it pulls you in deep, into the inner workings of the characters within the story, in a way that most other novels of its kind simply haven’t succeeded in. Once you’ve closed this book, you will cry. You will smile. You will feel like you’ve learned something. This book will impact you in a way you may not expect it to, and you will be eagerly awaiting Ruta Sepetys’ next book just as much as the rest of us are.

I Fell in Love with Austin, Texas on the Fourth of July

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Sometimes you visit a city, and you just know. You get that little voice in the back of your mind telling you “this is a place I could stay”, or “this is somewhere I belong”. Austin gave me those thoughts, and I just knew. But let me start from the beginning…

One day, in the middle of April, I was sitting at my desk trudging on through the work day, wishing I was somewhere else, when I had an epiphany; I should take a mini vacation. Then it came down to deciding where to go, simple enough, right? Wrong. Being in the center of the country means that my options are incredibly limited, and unlimited, all at the same time. I can take a plane heading anywhere in the country in a relatively small amount of time, and I can take plenty of road trips, but most of the “desirable” places to go in the scorching heat of the summer (i.e., the beach, for obvious reasons) are quite far away. Now I’m the queen of road trips, so per usual, I opted for that, then looked at the map and just chose. Just like that. Austin, Texas is it was. My family vacationed in Texas often when I was young, so the idea of venturing there on my own this year felt comfortable and inviting. So, I grabbed a friend, and off we went!

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Driving from Kansas City to Austin wasn’t the MOST pleasant of things, but I think making that whole drive down, through the construction, traffic, and holiday travelers made driving into the city that much sweeter. I was more excited than I ever would have expected to be when I realized we were about to *finally* make our way into town. I even pulled off the road, just to capture the moment for myself, and you as well, I suppose. For anyone familiar with the city, we stayed just off East Cesar Chavez, and it was a hipster’s paradise, let me tell you. I loved it.

We were only there for the weekend, so I didn’t get the chance to do many of the things I had hoped, but I still had an amazing time. Our first stop was visiting the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and explored for quite a while. I genuinely enjoyed learning so much about his presidency, the good and not so good parts alike. I’m someone that loves learning as much as possible about history, and this was something new for me to dig into. The library itself was quite astounding, walking up the steps towards it was a special experience all on its own, without factoring in the beautifully put together LBJ Museum that accompanied it.

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After we were satisfied with our exploration there, we decided to visit the capitol building. For any of you that may not know, or may be from a different country, in the US, we have our Nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C., but each individual state has it’s own Capitol as well. Austin happens to be the state Capitol of Texas, so the (absolutely beautiful) Texas State Capitol Building is here as well. We took quite a long walk around the grounds, and had a bit of a wander through the interior of the building as well. My favorite part, however, was simply sitting on a bench, near the front of the building, all by my lonesome. Having a tea and taking it all in, that’s what I do best.

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From there, we simply explored. For the next two days, I ate more Tex-Mex than anyone should ever eat, I grew to feel like I was a part of a new place and a new city. I went grocery shopping, I laid by the river and read a book, I chatted with strangers in a bar; I completely immersed myself if the daily life of this city, and I think thats’s what made this trip so special for me. It felt like I was visiting a home away from home, and I was genuinely sad when it came to an end.

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I may have single handedly eaten all of the avocados in Austin, and I’m not even sure I’m exaggerating.

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One of my favorite moments was sitting by the river watching the sun go down around the city. I think this will be a memory I keep close for a long time.

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One of the things I admired most about Austin was the graffiti, which might sound strange to some people. But Austin is filled with beautiful, inspiring, and interesting graffiti. The city just seems like an even more special place after seeing how many people have made their mark here in such a positive way.

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I spent a surprising amount of time in this backyard whilst I was there. The house I rented had a beautiful backyard with a comfy seating area to relax in. I definitely made use of it, particularly the incredibly comfy lounge chairs, they were perfect for reading and relaxing. These popsicles were absolutely scrumptious by the way, check out GoodPop if you’re able to get your hands on them. They’re all natural, and are honestly the most delicious frozen fruit pops I’ve ever had. I’m feeling serious withdrawal symptoms at the moment.

The final day, before we had to wake up and make our way home, was the Fourth of July. Celebrating Independence Day in Texas is not something new for me, I’ve done it a few times in my life with my family, but this was a whole new experience for me. We went fairly early in the afternoon to secure a seat near the water to watch the fireworks over the city. I expected that there would be a lot of people, and Austin didn’t disappoint me there, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would love getting to know all the people that happened to be sitting around me. I arrived with one friend, and left with dozens, and it made me so much more in love with the city, and so much more pleased with the trip itself.

I had a few drinks, set off a few sparklers, and chatted with more people than I have in the past month, all in one night. The fireworks were stunning, the atmosphere was incredible, and it was the perfect ending to a much needed get away.

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I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Sleepy Sundays | Don’t call it a comeback

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So, we meet again, you cute little blog you. I’ve missed this, I really have. Sometimes you forget how good something simple like this can feel, just releasing all your thoughts onto a screen, letting anyone that’s willing read everything you’ve decided to share. Life gets in the way, I’m sure you know how it goes. But today, after so much time away, I’m back. Will I stick with it? Make time for something I enjoy in life for once? Who knows, but I appreciate each and every one of you that kept following me, even as I was away for months on end. You’re beautiful and I love you.

Now, with all of that out of the way, let’s chat. After all, that’s what I always wanted to do with this blog. I wanted to get my thoughts out of my head, and written down on paper, even if that was through a keyboard on a public forum. I wanted to talk to people, interact with them, learn from them, get to know them, and become friends with them. So let me just ask, how are you? How are things going? I’m doing well. Things are going okay I suppose, all things considered. Nothing too exciting has happened in my life since we last talked. It may have even grown just a little more monotonous since then, if that’s possible. I’ve fallen into a routine; get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, and repeat. Monday through Friday, this is my life. I wish I were able to switch it up, to add a little spice to my life. How do you do it? How do you keep your life exciting? Please, share your secrets with me Senpai.

The most exciting thing that happened to me this weekend was when my Amazon order arrived yesterday, containing a new Electric Kettle and some cupboard organizers for all of my tea; who knew life could be filled with so much excitement?! I know I didn’t! All joking aside, I was sincerely thrilled to open up my new kettle, but I digress. Maybe I’m just in a rut? That’s possible I suppose. Or maybe it’s because my birthday is just a few short weeks away, and I’m beginning to feel the pressure that comes along with it. I’ll be 23, which may not sound old or important, but there is a lot of pressure coming along with this birthday. My parent’s think I should be settled down with that “perfect someone”, thinking about getting married and starting a family, my friends think I should already be finished with college and moved into my own place, partying it up. When in reality, I’m 22, living at home, single, fighting to finish this bachelors degree, and working a full-time job that brings no joy or excitement to my life, and chasing Pokemon in my spare time. Oh goodness, this is turning into a very “woe is me” sort of post. I need to change things up, turn it around.

Maybe I should share some things that make me happy, who knows, maybe that will pull me out of this little funk I seem to be in at the moment.

One seemingly unusual thing that always makes me happy is a strange one to describe. I suppose its essentially just the wind, but it’s much more than that to me. I love that feeling, when you’re sitting outside on a slightly cooler night, in-between the summer heat and the autumn chill, reading or just watching the world go by, when the wind sweeps across your face and you feel completely calm and safe, even if just for a moment. It makes me so happy to know that moments like that exist.

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My cat is also another point of sheer happiness for me. I mean, just look at her! Look at that face! She has this way of knowing when I need her. She’s always so quick to come and snuggle with me when I’m feeling down, or ill, or upset. Even when she’s being obnoxious, or irritating, she still has a way of making me feel so genuinely happy, all the way to my core, no matter what. For instance, she is currently laying on my chest, partially blocking my access to the keyboard on my laptop, and just being a general pain, and I still smile like a fool each time I look down at her sweet little face snuggled up against my arm.

As much as my family has a tendency to be a bit overbearing and hard to handle, I’m still filled with happiness each time I remember how lucky I am to have them. After the horrible events in France, TexasMinnesota, Louisiana, Turkey, and so many more these past few weeks, I’m feeling even luckier than usual to have my family, and to know that I have people out there to fall back on and lean on when things get tough. They are all absolutely insane, pushy, and ridiculous, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

Lastly, one of the things that makes me happiest; daydreaming. I’ve always loved the fact that we’ve all got this ability, this superpower, to transport ourselves to another time or place in our own minds. We’re all equipped with our own mental T.A.R.D.I.S, if you will. If I’m unhappy, or feeling stuck, or sad, or anything in between, I can simply imagine that my life will take a different turn in the future, or imagine that I’ve stumbled into a new place, or just lay back, and let my daydreams guide me. There’s no limit to the amount of things I can accomplish in a daydream. No one cares how I look in a daydream. There’s no body shaming, there’s no cruelty, and there’s no fear. It’s a completely pure space, untainted by the outside world, and it is one of my biggest sources of happiness.

And with that my friends, this Sleepy Sunday post has come to a close, and I’ll have to drag myself out of bed to start my day. My tea is gone and my cup is dry. I hope you enjoyed reading this ramble that I’ve decided to put out onto the internet, and that you found something to take with you from it. Whether that be something life changing, like learning your daydreams are a T.A.R.D.I.S, or simply just the memory of how adorable my cat is, I hope you’ve had a lovely few moments here with me.

Please feel free to leave me a comment and chat with me, or check out the “Contact Me” page to send me an email. I would love to hear from you and get to know you.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

 

 

 

20 Summer Goals | Watercolor Wonders

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Okay, yes, summer has come and gone, and while I did fulfill many of those goals that I shared with all of you in my earlier post, I just didn’t seem to capture them all and share them with you. So for one last time this year, I wanted to share one more of my Summer Goals with you.

This one may have been my favorite. I’ve always loved art. Growing up all I wanted to do was color, paint, and create. Maybe that’s why I’ve fallen so in love with writing. It’s my way of creating something and sharing it with people. But I fell into that trap of thinking that “I’m just not good at art doing art”. I think a lot of people think of creating things or being artistic as some sort of competition. Like you have to be amazing at it to do it, and if you aren’t, then you shouldn’t even try to create things. Or thinking that because someone else is better than you are, that you shouldn’t even try to create things. But through this little water color journey of mine, I’ve realized (although, this is something I’ve understood for a while) that it doesn’t take skill or a special talent to create. All it takes is you. And your imagination. Being creative is a part of life that everyone should partake in. Its not a competition, its not just for the wildly talented. Creativity is a right that no one can take away. Creativity is about passion, and happiness. Creativity is about letting your mind and your thoughts do what they want to do, rather than always thinking it through to every last little detail. Creativity is an essential part of life.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.Albert Einstein 

When I first started in with watercolor painting, I tried to really learn it. Learn the techniques, the skills, the whole process. But I quickly learned that I didn’t fully enjoy it that way. I created many beautiful paintings, from lighthouses, to beaches, to flower arrangements, but through out those projects, it all felt like work. I had to pay attention to what I was doing, I had to focus, and I had to try incredibly hard. It was easy to see that it wasn’t my thing.

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Eventually, I put away the YouTube tutorials, sat down outside in my backyard, and just painted. I didn’t realize how much I could love just sitting down with my paint brushes just splattering paint around on paper. No thoughts about what I would be painting, or what techniques needed to be used to achieve it. I don’t enjoy making those things, as much as I enjoy these little pages full of messy patches of color.

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Now, after making dozens of these colorful, blob filled creations, I had to figure out if anything could be done with them. As much as I enjoy them, and enjoy the process of making them, they aren’t exactly “frame worthy”. But as I was walking through the card aisle of Target, I realized that I had a use for all of them, one that would add an extra personal touch to everything that I do. If this were a cartoon, the little light bulb would have lit up on top of my head. Cards. I could make cards out of these silly little paintings and add an extra personal touch to all the little things that I like to do.

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I love to give cards for all sorts of occasions. When someone is sick, when someone’s birthday rolls around, etc,. But one thing I always do, is send Thank You cards. So that’s what I made for this post. This little thank you card is for all of you reading this, and for all my internet friends that follow this blog and send me emails checking on how I’m doing and just generally chatting with me. It has been so fun starting this blog, just the enjoyment that I’ve gotten out of writing alone would have made it the best thing I’ve done all year, but the friendships I’ve made, and the support I’ve gotten, have all made this into something that I don’t want to give up. So thank you, you lovely people you.

I hope all of you can find some way to be creative, even if you’re not great at it, as long as you’re doing it, that’s all that matters. There is no wrong way to be creative.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Somehow I fell off the blogging bandwagon. I have many things to blame for my lapse in posts; full-time course load, full-time work load, quarter-life crisis, etc,. The list could go on and on, as it could for everyone I suppose. But I wanted to get back into things. This is almost therapeutic for me. Writing down my thoughts, sharing them with all of you. Its nice. So I’m going to do my best to regain that spark, if you don’t mind of course, and what better to start with than another Summer Goals post? Although this is the final Summer Goals post of the year, I can assure you, that I have some things in-store for this blog that I am truly excited about, so I hope you come along with me on the continuation of my little blogging journey. ❤

Sleepy Sundays | I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22

My brother and I, at my first birthday, August 7th, 1994.  Yes, I still eat cake that way.
My brother and I, at my first birthday, August 7th, 1994.
Yes, I still eat cake that way.

Birthdays. What can you say about them really? Some people love them and some people hate them, but I for one, fall into the “love” group wholeheartedly (for the most part). I am not someone that dreads getting older or has an existential crisis every time their birthday rolls around, but I am someone that does a lot of contemplating and thinking when this day comes back around each year.

I'm pretty sure I saw a girl leaving Starbucks wearing this exact sunflower dress yesterday. The baby version of me was such a trendsetter.
I’m pretty sure I saw a girl leaving Starbucks wearing this exact sunflower dress yesterday.
The baby version of me was such a trendsetter.

Friday, August 7th, was my birthday. I spent it with friends and family having one of my favorite meals, eating yummy cupcakes, enjoying more than a few cocktails, and reminiscing about life and all the birthdays I’ve celebrated before this one. Every year for at least the last 5 years or so, I sit down, and just think. I think about all the things I have or haven’t done this past year, I think about the chances I took and the ones I let slip by, I think of all the happy and sad times, and I think of what I expected life to be at this moment. I always have a clear picture of what I want my life to be and where I want to end up, and coming to terms with the fact that I have no control over those things is a tough one for me. Well, I wouldn’t say that I have absolutely no control, but there are many things that just happen how they are mean’t to in life, and there’s not much you can do about it.

This is still the face I make when someone asks me to "smile for the camera!"
This is still the face I make when someone asks me to “smile for the camera!”

In a perfect world* (from the point of view of a daydreaming, introverted, bookworm that has an intense love for adventure and smiles), I would be travelling right now. Making the most of my youth, exploring all the places I’ve written about on this blog and many, many more. I would be standing on top of a mountain in Greece, staring off into the ocean contently thinking about where I’ll go next and what places I want to see. I’d be writing every day, and putting it all out there for the world to see. I’d never worry about money or material things, because who needs that when you have so much to see and do in life? Books would never be far from my hands and a smile would never be far from my face. I’d be happy, in the purest sense of the word.

But it isn’t my perfect world. Instead, I’m a struggling student, working a full-time, at a supremely boring and mundane office job, while tackling a full-time course load. I’m stuck in midwestern Missouri in the middle of America, with no funds to get out. I’m drowning myself in student loan debt in hopes of giving myself a better future. I’m boyfriendless and single in a place where that is a rarity. I’m not fit and healthy, as I would so love to be. I’m not writing everyday or living out my passions and dreams. But one thing that I realized on my birthday this year, is that I am happy. In the purest sense of the word. And that is all that matters to me right now. I may not be where I’ve dreamt of being in life, but I’m happy. I’m meeting new people and making new friends all the time. I’m exploring my own city and creating my own adventures. I’m writing a lot more than I used to, even if all of that writing is still sitting in my drafts folder and hasn’t been posted here.

This is one of many football team related photoshoots that my parents forced upon me as a child. American parents and their sports, you can't get away from it.
This is one of many football team related photoshoots that my parents forced upon me as a child. American parents and their sports, you can’t get away from it.

This birthday has shown me that I don’t always need to be in control. I can still lead a happy life, even if it isn’t what I expected it to be. Even when I have hard days, and bad days, and even on those days where I just want to sit on the floor and cry from all the stress, it will all be worth it in the end, and it is all worth it right this moment, just for those days where I am filled with pure happiness.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little glimpses into my life and child hood throughout this post with the random photographs I’ve decided to throw in. What’s a good birthday post without a little bit of a throw back.

I will leave you now, as I always should, with a quote from Harry Potter.

What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does. -Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 719

And now, at the very end, you get me, in my current state. Hair that somehow always manages to be untidy at all times, Superhero t-shirts, and a cat in the background.
And now, at the very end, you get me, in my current state. Hair that somehow always manages to be untidy at all times, Superhero t-shirts, and a cat in the background.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 23

Day 23: Write a letter to someone, anyone.

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Dear Future Husband,

How are you? Wonderful I hope. I haven’t met you yet, but I hope I do someday soon. Are you the prince charming I dreamt of as a child? Are you Matthew Gray Gubler? Probably not. That’s okay. I obviously love you anyway. Even though I don’t know you yet, I think of you often. I think of how my life could be. Will I still live here in Missouri? Is that where you are from? I don’t know anything about you yet. I don’t know what your sibling’s names are, or if you even have any. I don’t know what your favorite color is, or if you love chocolate as much as me. I don’t know how tall you are, but I do hope I managed to find someone taller than me, that would be lovely, but if you aren’t, that’s fine too. I obviously love you anyway. Do you like to read as much as I do? Do you love your family? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Did you let me have the nerdy wedding of my dreams? Was it the wedding of your dreams as well? I have so many questions for you, ones that I’m sure you have for me as well.

You know that Meghan Trainor song, “Dear Future Husband”? I hate that song. This letter will be nothing like that. I don’t have all these requirements for you or expectations of those sorts for you, but there are some things I hope you are able to do for me. I hope you’re faithful. I’ve seen what cheating can do to a family, and I don’t want to go through it. Please be a good man, though I’m sure you are, I mean, I married you, you must be good. I hope you’re understanding. You must be if you decided to settle down with me. There’s no way you could survive a relationship with me without being understanding. I hope you will treat me the way I should be treated, with kindness and respect, just as I will always do the same for you. I hope you’re a good father. I don’t know if we’ll have our own kids, or if we’ll adopt, but I hope you teach our children all the right things in life. I hope you’ll teach our sons to be good men, giving them the best example to follow. And I hope you’ll show our daughters just how they should be treated. And I hope together, we can instill the best values in our children, and show them all the love and kindness, and sometimes firmness, that we have to offer them. I hope we can teach them to live their lives without hate, and teach them that everyone deserves their best chance in life to be happy, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality; I hope we teach them that people are people, and love is love. I don’t expect you to treat me like a princess everyday of our lives, though that would be nice once in a while, everyone wants to feel special, but I do hope you always treat me like a human being. I hope you value the things I do in life, and I hope you love every part of me, the good and the bad, just as I will of you.

I hope you’re the kind of man that doesn’t base his love on my appearance. I hope you’ll love me no matter how big or small I am, and will support me through any changes that happen in my life, just as I will for you. I hope you’ll be there for me if I get sick, and will hold my hand through any hard times, just as I will for you.

There’s so much I want to say to you, to a man I’ve never met. But I suppose it all can be summed up in three words; I love you. I must do, if I’m marrying you. Do you love me too? Let’s hope so, because you’re stuck with me. I don’t want to be in the percentage of marriages that fail. I want mine to last. So any fights, any bumps in the road, any hardships, I hope we can always remember our love for one another, and that we can work through anything and everything. Love is hard work, but it’s worth it. I hope you let me name our children the names I’ve always wanted, I hope you let me pick the music in the car, I hope you give me foot rubs when I’m feeling upset because that always makes me feel better, I hope you hug me when I’m angry to calm me down, I hope you tell me when I’m acting crazy to help me see straight again, I hope we love each other unconditionally because that’s how it’s supposed to be.

When we’re old and gray, and our kids have moved on, I hope we still feel the same love for each other that we felt on our wedding day, more love if possible. I hope we grow old together. I hope I can make you happy.

I can’t wait to meet you someday, hopefully soon, I’m sure you will be everything I never knew I wanted in a man.

Love,

Your Future Wife

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 20

Day 20: Talk about some celebrity crushes.

This one is a bit iffy for me. I’m not really one to have too many real celebrity crushes, or crushes in general really. And I’m not sure what there is to say about them, as I don’t know any of these people personally, and these crushes are all fairly physical. But here we go! Rather than talking about why I have crushes on these people, I’m just going to leave photos of them here and let you figure out on your own why I like them. Some are because of the characters they play, some are because of the charity and humanitarian work they do, some are because of their talent, some because of their perceived personalities, and some are purely because I find them physically attractive. You’ll just have to figure out which ones are which on your own! 🙂

Benedict Cumberbatch-

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Hozier-

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Matthew Gray Gubler-

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James Corden-

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Bill Skarsgard-

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Eddie Redmayne-

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Lastly, David Tennant-

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I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 19

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Day 19: Discuss your first love.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I don’t feel like I’ve ever been in love with another person romantically, and I think that’s what this prompt is referring to. So I can’t really blog about that for you. I wish I could say that there was a high school sweetheart or a college love, but I’ve not had that. I’ve had plenty of boyfriends, but none that amounted to real love. Instead of writing about that, I’m going to write about a few other “first love” situations.

When I was really young, as young as 3 and 4, I loved maps and puzzles. I would put together map puzzles of the world and of various countries, and would tell everyone about all the different places I could see. This was the point that my United Kingdom love affair began. I did my UK puzzle over and over and over again until it basically fell apart. Apparently I loved the shapes and colors of it and didn’t want to do any others. Once that was destroyed, I was given little books and things by family about the UK and all things British; they all found it so funny that I had this little obsession as a toddler. Eventually, as I grew older, I began learning about the history, the monarchy, and the geography of the countries and fell even more in love. Aside from that, I gained a real love for geography from my map and puzzle obsession. I don’t know that there is a subject (aside from writing and literature) that I excelled in more.

Reading. I can’t think of a time in my life that didn’t revolve around books and reading. I can remember vividly being read to as a child, all the time. I was lucky enough to have been taught to read at an early age, before entering school, so I was reading at a higher level than most of my peers as I grew. I may be absolutely crap at math, but reading is something I can most assuredly say I am spectacular at. The first “real” book I ever read on my own was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I was hooked. I have read all the books in the series cover to cover more times than I can count. It was an outlet for me, to be able to jump into a magical world so vastly different from my own when things got particularly hard at home or when I wasn’t having the best time socially at school. I didn’t have the simplest childhood or teen years, but books and my imagination helped me through it. Reading will always be a part of my life, from my “first love” book of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, to every book I’ve read since then, they have all inspired me in their own ways.

Lastly, my niece and nephew. I didn’t have the best family life growing up. Nothing was very stable, there were a lot of fights, and things just weren’t very pleasant at times. I wasn’t really sure what love was when I was young. I was never sure whether or not my family loved me, or if I loved them even. It was all really complicated. But the day my niece was born, and I was able to hold her and experience her very first day in the world with her, I knew what love was. I was only ten, but I knew that she was going to be someone very special in my life. I didn’t think it was possible to ever love anyone as much as I loved that chunky little monkey, but then her brother was born, and I fell just as in love with his sweet little face the moment I saw him as I did with my niece. Those two absolutely mad children are my whole world, and I couldn’t be happier that they are the people that helped me realize what love really is.

How about you, have you ever been in love? I’d love to hear about it.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 8

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Day 8: Share something you struggle with.

As any other human, there is an abundance of things that I struggle with. As you’re reading this, I am either about to go to, currently at,or have gotten home from a job interview. A huge job interview. One of those interviews that could make your life 1000 times different if you succeed, or knock you back 1000 feet if you fail. This brings me right to something that I struggle with; Fear. I’m absolutely terrified of this interview, and I don’t really know how to make this fear go away. I’ve tried to take the pressure off, telling myself that it’s really not that big of a deal, and that I’ll be just fine if it doesn’t work out, but I don’t know if I truly believe that. If I land this job, it means I’ll be making a significant amount of money compared to what I’m making currently, and that would push me really far in the right direction. If I were able to make more money, I’d be able to save so much more, and that’s something I really need to do if I want to travel or move to another country someday. I know that money isn’t what’s important in life, but it really does make following the dreams I have a whole lot easier.

I’ve spent the past week studying up on the company, searching the internet for interview tips, hunting down the right “interview appropriate” outfit, everything, all in hopes to land this job and move a step closer to  following my dreams. This job isn’t just about the money for me, its also about my career, or lack thereof. I know that a lot of 21 year old’s aren’t worried about a career or gaining experience in their field of work, but I really am. I have an end goal, and that end goal is to be happy. One of the things that I think will make me happy is to move to a new place, one that I love, one that feels more like home than my current “home” ever has, and in order to do that, I’m going to need a job there, and in order to get a job there I’m going to need a lot of experience and as many connections as I can possibly get. And for that, I’m willing to work hard. But fear seems to always creep it’s way into my mind.

I mentioned this subject to a friend the other day, about how fear is one of the big things stopping me from following my dreams and goals. Fear of doing things alone, fear of not having a safety net. I have no idea how to get over fear, and fear is what causes my anxiety. It is a horrible cycle. And it is something that I struggle with constantly.

Do any of you struggle with similar things? Do you think fear or anxiety hold you back? How do you cope with it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Along with any motivation or positive vibes you can give me about this job interview, chances are that I am sitting at home, internally freaking out about whether or not they will call me and tell me I got the job. Fingers crossed I don’t bomb the whole interview!

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 7

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Day 7: List 10 songs that you’re loving right now.

I’m not going to go in-depth as to why I like these songs or these artists, because I feel like music is such a personal thing. Some of these songs I just love because of how they sound and some of them are ones that I connect to on a super personal level. I don’t think that any two people can listen to a song and have the same thoughts and feelings about it. One person may hear a song about a relationship and only hear a song about a relationship, when the person sitting next to them hears the same song but connects to it in a different way and hears a song about the meaning of life. You never know if you’ll like something until you give it a try. My music taste changes constantly. Some days I’ll only want to listen to bubble gum pop music, other days I want nothing more than to drive down the street listening to hard rock. Currently, my music taste is all over the place. Its a little bit folksy, a little bit pop, and a little bit random, and I’m really happy with it. I hope that you are able to enjoy some of the stuff here, and if it’s just not what you’re into, I hope you can at least enjoy seeing and hearing some of the things that someone else likes!

1. Let It Go by James Bay
2. Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson
3. Photograph by Ed Sheeran
4. Work Song by Hozier
5. City Of Angels by 30 Seconds To Mars
6. House Of Gold by Twenty One Pilots
7. Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford & Sons
8. Shut Up And Dance by Walk The Moon
9. Mess Is Mine by Vance Joy
10. Budapest by George Ezra (but also an extra one; Listen To The Man by George Ezra, because I love the video and I don’t play by the rules.)

Let It Go by James Bay

Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson

Photograph by Ed Sheeran

Work Song by Hozier
(I have a huge musical crush on Hozier at the moment.)

House Of Gold by Twenty One Pilots
(This video is a bit odd, lets just make that clear before you watch it, but I do love the song.)

Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford & Sons

Shut Up And Dance by Walk The Moon

Mess Is Mine by Vance Joy

Budapest by George Ezra
(His voice gets me every time. I’ve been listening to his stuff for around two years now, and I still never expect that voice to come out of him. Incredible.)

Listen To The Man by George Ezra

I hope you enjoyed seeing into my mind a bit, and hearing some of the things that I’ve been listening to lately! If you’d like, let me know some songs you’re into at the moment in the comments below! I love getting introduced to new stuff, and as I said before, my taste in music is constantly changing, so I’m always looking for different sounds and styles of music; whatever makes me happy to listen to at that particular moment is what I’m into.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx