The State of Simone: Where I’ve Been and My March 2020 Wrap Up

The State of Simone: Where I’ve Been and My March 2020 Wrap Up

2020 has been busy.

I moved to another city, but that wasn’t easy. We had to scout the city first and then find a place to live and then plan the rest of the move.

And then the Corona virus hit.

We moved a week before we were told to start practicing social distancing. I can’t believe I bought my toilet paper and paper towels for our new house right before it started selling out in stores. My husband and I’ve been staying home, staying safe. He’s been working, but since the virus broke out there’s been a slight hiring freeze. All the applications I’ve sent to places are now languishing in some HR limbo waiting for release. I mean, I think we’re all waiting for release.

So I’ve been keeping busy. We’ve been working on some projects at home and also keeping each other entertained while in quarantine. Hubby built a squat rack and platform (which is something we’ve been wanting and started working on before quarantine) and we were right at the start of working on our garden before everything shut down. I’ve set up a little reading nook in our third-level loft. It’s now the comfiest place to read, meditate, and just get away from the rest of what’s happening on ground level. I even bought Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch to play.

As for reading, not so much. Since March was when they announced California would start “shelter in place,” I’ve been feeling a little lethargic. Like everyone else, the feeling of wanting to be at home vs. forced to be at home are quite different. As you know, I’m an avid homebody and love being home and doing things at home, but being told you can’t go anywhere really changes things. Normal walks require me to walk across the street whenever someone comes in the opposite direction. Keeping socially distant to avoid catching the virus. Constantly washing your hands or waiting in line for groceries because pandemic has made other folks hoard supplies. It’s been exhausting.

However, I also know that our lives are pretty privileged. We don’t have any kids so we don’t have to worry about school. We aren’t over the age of 65. We don’t have any respiratory issues or pre-existing conditions that would make us more susceptible to the disease. All we can do as able-bodied citizens is stay home, stay safe, and avoid contact with others. As the able-bodied, we are the ones that have to be more careful because our privilege lets us leave the house whenever we want. Our privilege lets us do jumping jacks without being out of breath. Our privilege needs to be under check through this time because those without the privilege won’t survive if we don’t.

So lethargy, I can get over. What I’m doing is protecting my mother who is over 65 and my father who has asthma. We’re protecting the huge senior citizen community that live here. We’re keeping our healthcare workers and essential employees safe from the virus. We’re putting those who are disadvantaged first because there’s no room to be selfish when there’s a virus going around that will literally strangle people of their breath.

But despite the pandemic and having an anxiety attack every time I go to the grocery store now (grocery stores were so soothing and now they’re panic inducing), I read seven books. I read my monthly average, which I’m very surprised and grateful about. There were so many accounts I’ve read from friends who can’t focus on their reading. So many people who are struggling with their mental health to sit down and enjoy a book. So many parents who need to focus their free time on taking care of their kids. So many folks who are working from home and trying to maintain a good work/life balance despite it all happening in the same place. The world is a little chaotic right now, so I’m grateful I read one book let alone seven.

Out of the seven, there were really only three that I wanted to highlight. You can find all my reviews on Goodreads, but a quick list of recommendations from me include:

For April, I plan on spending more time reading at home, working on my mocktails (a new hobby of mine), and baking to pass the time. What have you been doing to pass the time?

 

My Reading Life for the Next Few Weeks

My Reading Life for the Next Few Weeks

Hey everyone!

I wanted to pop on here and give you an update on my reading life for the next few weeks. Of course I’ll be doing my mid-month checkins, but I’m reading as much as I can for my first Summer Reading List.

Yes, it’ll be my first time creating a summer reading list for my blog and I’m excited and nervous. It was almost last minute and it actually stems from a bigger project I’ve been working on with my TBR. Here’s how this all came about:

I was looking at my April TBR and just wanting to finally catch up with my growing TBR. Every month, I feel like I receive so many books and as much as I want to read all of them, I can’t. I’m always playing catch up and I always seem to leave a few books behind. I want to fix this problem and really only read new books as they come out (and a few older books mixed in each month).

My first challenge is reading all the new books currently releasing. In order to catch up, I need to ignore my backlist and only focus on the new releases. I figured since I’m reading all these new books then I’m going to put together the summer reading list. So what I decided to do was work on putting this list together and spending my summer reading only backlisted books.

My second challenge is then dedicating my summer to solely reading backlisted novels. This means only the books I’ve accumulated on my bookshelves over the years. No new reads. No library holds. I’ll read a new release every once in a while (especially since my review job is reading ONLY new releases), but I want to finally catch up on my fantasy series, start some new fantasy, and read older books written by some of my new favorite authors.

I always feel like I don’t have enough time to read my backlist while new reads continue to publish every single week. While there’s no stopping the train over the summer, I want to read pretty much only new books for now. When June/July starts, then I’ll be switching over to an 80/20 split; eight backlisted novels and two new reads or something like that. I would love to read at that ratio until the end of September where I’ll switch back to only reading new books until the winter.

I’m not sure if this method will work, but my biggest issue is the backlisted TBR. I want to dedicate an entire season to reading them and catching up with my TBR. Even if I make a small dent, I’ll feel proud that I dedicated time to reading these books and finally feeling the accomplishment of reading them.

I apologize to everyone who don’t want me to read only new releases, but it’ll be for a little while. My review numbers will be going up as well, but I’ve decided I like having reviews on here. It’s a part of my reading life and something I don’t want to ignore anymore.

Writer’s Block – February 20, 2019

Writer’s Block – February 20, 2019

I’m a tad bit blocked recently and in more ways than one. Not only am I stuck with what to read next or enjoying my reads, but I’m also stuck creatively with my writing. So, I’ve decided to write about it. There’s nothing better than writing about your issues than thinking about them.

Perhaps these writer’s block moments will be a nice life update instead. It might be a little bit boring, or it might be fun. I don’t know, but hopefully it’ll help break this writing spell I’m under. Let’s see what’s been happening with my life.


It’s been pretty cold in LA

I moved to LA because I wanted to get away from the cold and desolation of New York. I’m not an entertainer or someone who wants to get famous, so my life in this city is a little less stressful than those who are trying to make it. The last time I visited here during the winter it was 90 degrees and super sunny. I was expecting this when moving here, but the weather has been…different. In fact, it’s been more rainy than it has been in New York. While the temperature isn’t as frigid, it feels that way when you’re not prepared for winter. We still have our puffy coats, gloves, hats, and mittens, but I’ve refused to take them out. This is not the city of puffy coats, but it doesn’t feel like the city I was expecting. I can’t wait until the Spring when hopefully it’ll be warmer.

I’m going to San Diego next month

I’m really excite about this. Bucky and I were discussing how we’ve been getting the travel itch lately. We went out with some friends to a local Irish pub to listen to music and while we were there, we talked about traveling. I know I never look excited about traveling, but I am. I just don’t chirp for joy and only think about logistics; hotel, airplanes, car rental, what to do, what to eat, what to see, etc. Having plans to visit San Diego really help with the travel itch. It’s only three hours away from us, plus we have friends out there. Bucky’s best friends will be coming out to SD too, so it’ll be a big fun affair. Have you ever gone traveling with another group of people? I’ve never done it. I usually travel alone or with one other person. It’ll be fun to see all the same faces, but in a different city.

I’ve rearranged my desk to include my TBR

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Recently I moved all the plants off my desk to a brighter spot in the house. They weren’t looking so great and I just love having books from my TBR sitting on my desk. It gives it a sense of dimension; if the dimension was some universe where books rule my life. Oh wait.

But now that I have books on my desk, it feels fuller. I would love to get a little shelf right above the books on the right. It’ll have more books on it, but maybe even some trinkets that didn’t make the desk. That’s right, having this many books on your desk means less cute stuff.

I’m starting a new workout regime tomorrow

I’m a little nervous today because I’m going to the gym tomorrow for the first time in over nine months. When I first made working out a priority, I felt super great. But with the move and finding a gym, it’s been tough. Tomorrow I’m starting weight training, which isn’t easy but it’s also easier than many other workout regimes. Bucky thinks it’ll be good because I’m a lazy person who wants to eat anything I want and believes this will be the best workout for me. It’s an hour in the gym lifting weights and then back home to sit down and let the soreness subside. And somehow it lets you stay fit for the rest of your life. Who knew!

I randomly want February to end

I think I’ve been a bit beat up this month. Reading was a bust. Writing was terrible, so I’m ready for February to end and for March to begin. Only 28 more days.

How’s your February going?

 

#TamingTheTBR – My road to reading freedom

#TamingTheTBR – My road to reading freedom

I love blogging about books. The other day I was talking with some friends about work and the differences between working for yourself and working for a big company. If you work for a big company, you’ve got your steady income and your health insurance. Your job may be a pain in the ass every once in a while, but it works out because you’re living comfortably. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you work for yourself (specifically in blogging), you’re making little-to-no money. You might have to hustle 200x harder than you were at that company job and you don’t have normal hours like a company person may have.

Continue reading “#TamingTheTBR – My road to reading freedom”

Simone and Her Books Travel to Hawaii

Simone and Her Books Travel to Hawaii

Hey everyone!

Now I know this isn’t a book review, but I just got back from two weeks of Hawaiian bliss with my husband and I wanted to share some of the fun things I saw with you. I hope that’s alright! Sadly, after I wrote this post the volcano we visited in Hawaii erupted causing fissures and threatening the lives of people in Hawaii. It’s a devastating event and I can’t believe we were just there and everything was fine.

Of course I did travel with some books, but that will probably get its own post since I have a lot of thoughts on travel reading.

Continue reading “Simone and Her Books Travel to Hawaii”

Traveling to South Korea – Life Update

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I’m really loving my life updates, so I hope you’ve been loving them too. As you may know, I recently returned from my first trip to Seoul, South Korea. I’m Korean American and I’ve always wanted to travel to Korea to see where my family originally came from. It’s kind of funny that this was my first trip there and that I was there for a wedding for my sister’s friends.

So I went to the land of Psy and “Gangnam Style,” ate authentic Korean BBQ, visited some beautiful temples and palaces, and really felt a sense of belonging. However, I don’t think I would want to live here. It’s a modern city with a lot of technology, but it’s still a little backwards when it comes to things like women’s right to choose and the pollution is awful. But I can see myself visiting a few times in the future.

Maybe it’s because I’m Korean and living in America, but I’ve always struggled with who I am and metaphorically asking myself where my “loyalties lie.” Am I Korean? Am I American? I’ve been so homogenized by American culture and growing up here that I see myself more as American than as Korean. However, I don’t look it. I don’t look like those Baywatch babes with blonde hair, slender body, and classically beautiful features. But I’m American and in this country it’s ok if you don’t. You’re you, but at the same time I’m not me? I wonder if any other race within this diverse nation feels the same way.

This is getting quite philosophical, so I want to clearly say that while I’m an American and love being a citizen of this country, I still wonder what my heritage is and what I stand for and who were these people that I call “my people.” Being second generation born in America, I find myself asking that all the time. How do I maintain being the American I am while keeping true to the people I come from?

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So the opportunity for me to go to Korea came up and I couldn’t turn it down. It wasn’t the best timing to go with me losing my job and moving and getting married and all that, but I couldn’t say no. And you know what I found there?

I found myself detaching. I found myself as an American traveling to another country. I was being scolded for not being Korean enough. People were expecting me to speak fluently even though I came from a country where the dominant language is English. I found myself awkwardly bowing to everyone just to be polite when all was needed was a quick handshake. And even the opposite where I offered my hand only to be greeted with a bow.

I found myself feeling like a person touring the country of her origin, but not feeling original. I felt it when I saw my friend, an expat, speaking better Korean than me. “I’m still working on the dialect and emotion in my voice,” she said to me. But it wasn’t necessary to understand inflection when you can order coffees for everyone without having to switch to English.

And in its own small way, it was disheartening. I found myself wanting to go home and be in the comfort of a language and a people that I was used to. Korea is beautiful and a place where everyone should visit once, but I don’t identify with it as my country. My country is America and I’m proud of that. My country is also Korea and I’m proud of that too. However, Korea is not my home. It is the place that gave me my identity and I will always cherish that. I will always try to return, but as a tourist.

Identity is tough, folks. I don’t think anyone will ever get a good grasp of it. If you’re struggling through identity, not only ethnic identity but also gender identity and religious identity and all the other parts of you that make up who you are, then I can confidently say that you’re not alone. No one ever is. Everyday is a mad grab at finding who you are and doing what needs to be done in order to preserve that journey. It’s hard and it’s easy. But when you explore it and answer some of those questions you have about yourself, I think the one thing you get out of the whole ordeal is comfort.

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Life Update: I’m going to Korea!

Hey folks!

So in the next few weeks, you might not see a lot of updating here re: books. If anything, you’ll see me wandering the streets of Seoul as I head to Korea for two weeks. A friend of my sister’s is getting married and I got to join them on the trip. I’m so excited! I’ve never been to Korea and it’s finally time for this Korean girl to get back to her roots.

I’ll try to post on my regularly scheduled times (Mon, Wed, Fri, if you weren’t aware) and of course I’ll be reading, so I’ll be updating with book thoughts throughout.

If you’re really interested in seeing what I’m up to while I’m in Korea, follow me on Instagram and Twitter! I’m sure I’ll be writing so much more about my trip there. I hope you don’t mind a few blog posts about what I see and do.

Take care!

Simone

Worst Blogger Ever: Life Updates

I know what you’re thinking, “what happened to Simone? I thought she was writing about books or whatever.”

Well, the past month (if not the year so far) has been pretty crazy. Instead of trying to explain everything, I thought I could just give you the highlights reel.

I got married

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Yeah, this one was a doozy and for the most part of 2017, I’ve been spending it getting ready to get married. But now I am and things seem to be on the up and up.

As you can see, no books at the wedding because that’d be weird for me to be reading while I’m pacing around waiting for our turn to get married. It wasn’t the most extravagant wedding in the world, but it made me happy to share my life with my new hubby. 🙂 ❤

I’m going to Seoul

While there isn’t much to prepare (and honestly, I feel like I’m throwing this one in here to make the list longer), I’m super excited and nervous about going to Seoul. I’ll keep you all informed on what happens here, but to give you an idea of my anxiety I’m going to the Motherland and I barely speak the language and there’s this veiled threat of a war with North Korea and I don’t want to end up a refugee yelling “I’M AN AMERICAN CITIZEN” as I run to the American Embassy a la the classic 1997 film “The Saint.”

Obviously I’m being melodramatic right now. I’m really excited about visiting the land of my people. I can’t wait!

I’m moving

My new husband and I are planning to move to New Jersey in a couple of weeks and I’ve just been preparing myself for that. But because my husband is in Florida right now and I’m planning on going to Korea in a couple of weeks, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to review properties and decide what part of New Jersey we want to live. So I’ve just been looking at places, asking a lot of questions, and packing everything up because I think my husband is gonna need to move us without me there :/

I am in the worst reading slump of my life

This is probably the top #1 reason why I’ve been a sucky blogger lately– I am in the worst book slump of my life. There was a time when I was not reading books and that was back in college and the reason why I wasn’t reading books because the books I was reading books required for my classes but didn’t really interest me outside of that.

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Now I’m in a slump again and I’m trying to defunk-ify myself. To give you an idea of how bad it is, I’ve been reading the same YA novel for the past month. The book is amazing and I have a lot I want to talk about it. However, it doesn’t take me a month to read YA! Usually, they take me a couple of days and it’s mostly because how captivated I am by the story. Here, I’m captivated by the story, but for some reason my brain wants to think about other stuff like marriage and moving and career changes (yes, that’s another one to add to the list of stuff happening to me). Also, I’m on a deadline because the library needs my book back by tomorrow and I don’t want to have to pay fees for borrowing books!

So there you have it. A list of excuses on why I can’t blog on a normal schedule. But today is May 1st and that means a new month for me to try and be better about everything I do. Better dieting. Better exercise. Better adulting. I guess I’ll just add better reading on that as well.

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