Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails over the country club

Hi there! Today’s post is a bit different. I don’t talk much about music here, even though music plays an important part in my life. And one singer, in particular: Lana Del Rey.

I first heard of Lana Del Rey back in 2012, with her single Born To Die. Honestly, I didn’t really like her music back then. I found it utterly slow and dull. But something in me shifted a year later when I decided to listen to the entire Born To Die album. Only then did I took in the lyrics and found beauty in the slow rhythm that accompanied them. I became a fan ever since, eagerly waiting for the release of her following albums.

I was highly anticipating her latest album, Chemtrails Over The Country Club, which was released last week. Lana is known for her melancholic lyrics. And while the tunes in this album remain slow, I feel like we’re actually listening to Elizabeth Grant, not just Lana Del Rey. There’s a tinge of hopefulness and optimism that wasn’t present in her previous work.

I loved the literary references Lana did for some of her songs. The track Not All Who Wander Are Lost is titled after a verse from J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem from The Lord of The Ring. The song Chemtrails Over The Country Club starts with “I’m on the run with you, my sweetheart”, alluding to Clarissa Pinkola’s book Women Who Run With The Wolves. It becomes even more obvious in the music video where Lana appears with a wolf by her side. Not to mention, she also connects some songs with her previous album, like in the track Yosemite when she sings “No more candle in the wind” referencing to the song Mariner’s Apartment Complex. It felt like a continuation.

Lana Del Rey is one of the most underrated artists of this past decade. I have yet to read her poetry book titled ‘Violet Bent Backwards over the Grass’. But her lyrics by themselves already feel like poetry. And her latest album was no exception — velvet melodies, a work of art.

Bookstagram 101: How to become a Bookstagrammer

Hi there! Today’s post is a little different. I’ve been on bookstagram for a while now — almost 3 years already! What I love most about this community is the general kindness and easy connection. What a better conversation starter than book you share in common with someone else! I’m pretty sure if you start your bookstagram account, you’ll soon start making new friends.

Today I wanted to share some tips about the things I’ve learned these past few years. I gotta admit, the first year and a half I wasn’t as active, weeks could pass without me even logging in to my account. That changed on January 2020, when I decided I’d been on bookstagram long enough to start taking it more seriously, while still having fun.

Here are 5 tips to get started:

  1. Choose your handle: It doesn’t necessarily have to be book-related, but it helps if it does. You could include your name to help others identify you (e.g. Amy’s Bookshelf). But if you want to stay anonymous that’s completely fine too. I’d suggest going for a name that’s easy to pronounce/remember. While coming up with a name, keep in mind that are opportunities for becoming a book influencer or building a personal brand later on. So how would you want to be remembered?
  2. Select a profile picture: I’ve personally struggled with this one. Deciding between a logo or a photograph can be tough. I’d recommend going for a logo if your vision is more on brand-building, perhaps opening up a book-related business or bookclub — it’s also useful if you want to remain anonymous. A photograph of yourself can generate more connection with potential followers, people are curious and always want to see the person behind the account. However, if you’re a bit shy or simply don’t want to go through the process of creating a logo, a picture of books will work just fine! Or in my case, I have a picture of myself holding a book, but my face isn’t entirely visible — many bookstagrammers do this too.
  3. Pick a theme (or not!): You might be thinking “we’re in 2021, themes are so 2016“. Yes, and no. Keep in mind that bookstagram is a visual place, the accounts with the nicest aesthetics are the ones who generally have more followers. You can play around with different editing apps and use a theme to communicate your reading preferences (e.g. dark academia lovers tend to share somber pictures). But if you rather not do this, that is okay! Not everything is about the aesthetics.
  4. Find your niche: Which leads me to this point, it’s useful to determine the type of content you’ll be sharing. Some accounts focus more on photography and briefly discuss books. Other accounts focus more on sharing reviews. You can also concentrate on sharing certain genres of books only — such as YA novels or classic literature. It’s up to you to decide how narrow or wide you keep your content.
  5. Experiment: Nothing is written in stone. Trends shift over time and so does Instagram’s algorithm. Don’t be afraid to start. Share pictures, connect with other fellow readers and along the way you can determine if you’ll be sticking to a theme or switching it up later. Just be you.

Last but not least, a bonus tip: share often. If you want your bookstagram platform to grow, it’s important to be posting often (2 – 3 times per week), sharing stories and engaging with other accounts. And if you’re curious about statistics, switch up to a professional account. You’ll have access to data that can help you see what’s working and what’s not.

So are you ready to start your bookstagram adventure?

For any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via the Contact form or send me a DM on Instagram. ‘Til next time!

2020 Recap

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Hi there readers! I wanted to do a quick recap of the books I read this year. It was a total of 15 books, and while the majority of bookstagrammers read way more, I felt it was a good reading year for me.

Here are the books I read:

  1. Emma by Jane Austen
  2. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  4. The House Of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  5. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (reread)
  7. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  8. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (reread)
  11. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  12. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
  13. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (reread)
  14. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  15. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.

The book that took me by surprise was One Hundred Years Of Solitude. I’d read mixed reviews before and I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I’m so glad I decided to read it! Complicated yes, but the prose was remarkable. ⠀

The book that didn’t meet with my expectations was To The Lighthouse. I’m not denying that Virginia Woolf’s was an exceptional writer (I loved Mrs. Dalloway), but I felt it was too slow. The writing was captivating but I felt not much was happening.

And last but not least, the book that was a total page turner was Midnight Sun. Thanks to Stephenie Meyer I was able to relive my teenage years. I literally devoured that book.

As for this year, I do hope to read more in 2021. I’ve set myself the goal of reading 20 books. I’m pretty sure it’ll be possible. But once again, what matters is going at your own pace and most importantly, enjoy reading! Bookstagram shouldn’t be viewed as a competition.

2017 (Book) Recap

Hello earthlings! 2017 almost over. I feel as if this year passed in a blink of an eye. It has been a good year with ups and downs, since no year can be ever so perfect. Similarly to Kylie Jenner back in ’16, this year has been eye opening for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and others — or in Kylie’s words “I realized stuff”.

I am looking forward to the fresh new start that a new year always transmits, because sometimes you simply need a little push to get the motivation flowing.

Anyway, here is a summary of all the books I read this year:

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  2. The Lake House by Kate Morton
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  4. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (reread)
  5. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  10. Only Love is Real by Brian L. Weiss
  11. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (reread)
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  13. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (reread)

2017 has been the year I officially became a bookworm. Before I would always enjoy reading, but I’d lack consistency. As for 2018, I intend to finish the Harry Potter series and follow it with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. However, I haven’t made my mind as to the rest of the list. I’d love to hear recommendations from you guys in the comments below.

‘Til next time!

Favorites

The reason I don’t do monthly favorites is because some of these items can be my favorites for a longer period of time. My previous favorites post was in back in December –which I admit, it has been too long (how did five months pass so fast?). Perhaps I should start posting these every other month or so.

So here are the products that I’ve been loving lately:

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  • Tea Tree BB Cream by The Body Shop: I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this one before, specially since I’ve been using it for quite a while now. It’s the best BB Cream I’ve tried, it has plenty of coverage which makes it work just as well as any regular foundation. The downside is that it doesn’t have any FPS, so it’s important to apply facial sunscreen before hand.
  • Kerastase Masque Elixir Ultime: This smells amazing! I usually use it in the middle of the week in order to give my hair an extra hydrating boost. I’ve applied it after shampooing and allowed it to sink in for about 8 minutes. Although it doesn’t reduce volume, my hair turns out shiny and extremely soft. Worth the purchase.
  • Sleeping mask: It’s been years since I’ve used one of these. Last week while looking around Zara, I came across it and decided to buy it. It has helped me get a better night sleep, considering that the curtains I own are kinda sort of sheer which makes the streets light illuminate my room at night.
  • “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown: From time to time, I come across books for my course lessons that end up being helpful for personal aspects. Well, this is one of those books. It teaches how to identify and overcome vulnerability. It also opens your eyes to see things from a whole different perspectives –that it’s important to embrace your imperfections and accept things as they are.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” 

Favorites

I haven’t done a favorites posts in a while. Here are a couple of random things I’ve been loving lately:

NYX HD Studio Photogenetic Primer Base: Honestly, it’s the first time I use a primer. Before, I never had much interest in making my make-up process too long, so I’d just put on foundation and powder. However, I was struggling making my makeup last on my nose, that tends to get oily. So after doing some research and going to the store, the seller recommended this product. Thank goodness she did, because it’s amazing. My appearance of my pores diminish and my makeup lasts so much longer!

Organix Keratin Oil Conditioner: I’m the type of person that constantly looks for new hair products because I can’t seem to find the right one for my hair type (naturally curly, dyed and chemically treated). So I was running out of conditioner and I came across this product at the supermarket. I’ve used the Organix Argan Oil conditioner before, which worked out well. But this one here is by far better.


Organix Penetrating Macadamia Oil: It’s not too heavy, perfect for fly aways and to use on dry tips. I can’t live without these types of oils for hair, since my hair tends to get dried quickly if I’m not constantly using conditioning masks.

Book “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely: In my neuromarketing class, I was assigned to read this book. At first I thought it’d be tedious snf boring, but I was completely wrong. It was an easy and interesting read, and instead of being theoretical, the chapters were filled with amusing facts and daily life tips.

iPhone 6s: There’s not much describing to do, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Love my new phone.

Music by Halsey: I’ve been obsessing over the entire album “BADLANDS” for the past couple of weeks. Hopefully she won’t become too mainstream, her music is too good.