5.13.2017

Relax and Unwind: Little Things I Do to De-stress

Hey, everyone! Stress is something that a lot of people deal with frequently, including me. In these situations, it's important to know that you don't have to continue feeling this way and that there are things you can do to feel better. So, I've compiled a list of little things that I do when I'm stressed out (and that you can do, too!)



1. Listen To Relaxing Music 
There are plenty of amazing instrumental music soundtracks on YouTube. They always seem to have such a calming affect on me. 

Some that I like in particular are:
a) 3 Hours of Relaxing Music- "Beautiful Piano". This is basically a really beautiful, bright, positive sounding song, that is played on loop by a piano for three hours.
b) 1 Hour Ultimate BTS Piano Music.  This is a compilation of piano covers of the songs of the k-pop  group, BTS. If you're an ARMY (the fandom name for BTS), this won't succeed in calming you down, and will instead result in lots of fangirling and screaming of lyrics in mangled Korean. If you're not a fan of the group, you'll be fine, and it will definitely prove to be relaxing. Although, you really should check them out. Listen through their albums, watch an interview, or take a look at a music video. I PROMISE THAT THEY'RE AMAZING. *not so subtly pushes BTS on to readers

2. Journaling
I've been journaling consistently every day for a little more than a month now. It just really helps to get my thoughts written down on paper. I know that it can be hard for some people to keep up with journaling, so I recommend that you find a specific time and place to write every day so that it becomes part of your daily routine. 

3. Take A Shower + Moisturize
Taking a hot, relaxing shower on a stressful day is just such a relaxing experience. Using bath salts can really help with the de-stressing, too. Afterwards, MOISTURIZING IS KEY. There is nothing better than the feeling of having soft, nice smelling skin, on a stressful day. 

4. Watch Something Relaxing
Sometimes, you just need to bundle up under some soft blankets, and binge-watch some TV. In times of stress, I like watching sitcoms or "comfort shows." Some examples of shows that could work for you are Modern Family (my personal favorite), Friends, Gilmore Girls, a show from your childhood/past, etc. 

5. Take A Walk
It can be really nice to just get away from what's stressing me out for a little while and just go outside and enjoy nature. The fresh air and sunlight can really help clear my mind and give me time to reflect on my day. 

6. Breathing
Breathing is an instant fix for stress. My favorite breathing technique is to inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and then exhale for a count of eight. Another one that might work for you is to inhale for a count of two, and then exhale for a count of two. Then inhale for a count of four, followed by an exhale for a count of four. You can continue to increase the time of your inhale and exhale until you begin to feel calm.

7. Read 
WHY IS THIS NOT HIGHER UP ON MY LIST? Anyway, reading is something that definitely helps me de-stress. It's just really nice to be able to escape into another world, where your problems don't even exist. Of course, even though reading can distract you from your own stress, it can introduce a whole new stress into your life about what will happen to the characters and the worlds in the books you're reading.

8. Spending Time With Loved Ones
When I'm stressed out or feeling down, spending time with my friends and family is one of the best things I can do. They give me a shoulder to lean on and someone to converse my problems to. They also never fail to brighten up my day, and distract me from whatever's bothering me. Sometimes, all you need to feel better is a hug from someone you care about. 

9. Take A Break
Lastly, I just want to say that if something is really stressing you out, it's okay to just take a break from it. There is nothing more important than your mental health and well-being. Know that it's okay to feel stressed out once in a while, but also make sure to always prioritize your mental health first. 

-Jolly 

5.06.2017

A Poem: We Heal


i think it's beautiful 
how it works

when we're broken
and can't find a way 
to put ourselves back together

when something shattered us beyond
our own capability of understanding
and we don't even know who we are anymore

when we don't know which road to take
to make everything okay again
or even if if we'll ever be okay at all

and somehow
we rise out of the depths
of our own grief

of our own poisoned minds
that whisper
deceptive words into our ears

the broken fragments of our souls
piece back together

our lips form smiles again
hope finds a place in our hearts

and it's a miracle in itself
how we're able to move past 
trauma and heartbreak

we'll never forget any of it
our pain will be cemented 
in a chapter of the story of our lives

but we'll move on from it
begin a new chapter

we're not completely okay yet
but we're getting there

we're healing 

-Jolly



4.08.2017

songs that you can't help but sing along to: a playlist



Mr. Brightside- The Killers
All Star- Smash Mouth 
Sweet Caroline- Neil Diamond 
Dog Days Are Over- Florence and the Machine
Hey There Delilah- Plain White T's
Sugar We're Goin' Down- Fall Out Boy
The Middle- Jimmy Eat World
Don't Stop Believing- Journey
Vegas Lights- Panic! At The Disco
Welcome to the Black Parade- My Chemical Romance 
Wonderwall- Oasis


-Jollygirl

4.01.2017

5 Books That You Should Read This Spring

I know that a lot of people go on vacations during spring and actually go outside and do things and meet people, but if you're like me then you probably end up staying home all break, cooped up in some corner of the house with a book in your hands. The fact that so many different books are released in spring doesn't really help the situation.

Of course, if you're like me, you also need to know what books to actually pick up, which is why I have a list of five books that are definitely worthwhile reads during spring. 


You might be unsure about what to read or maybe you're just not entirely convinced of the awesomeness of reading. Whatever it is, don't worry, these books are amazing! 



1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour


Synopsis (From Goodreads)
 Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

What I Liked
  • Diversity!
  • The characters and their relationships were just so real. They seemed like people that you might meet in your own life and their relationship was so realistic. 
  • This book was sometimes funny, sometime joyful, sometimes sad, and other times just heartbreaking
  • The chapters of this book switch from the past to the present. I love when books are written like that as it really makes you want to keep on reading to figure out everything that happened in the character's life!
  • We Are Okay is a pretty short book, at just 234 pages, meaning that it's a quick read. (It's nice to read a short book once in a while.)

2. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera


Synopsis (From Goodreads)
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

What I Liked
  • This book is emotional. Like, really emotional. I'm not really someone who cries a lot during books or movies but I still teared up several times while reading this. (And I full on cried for Adam Silvera's other novel, More Happy Than Not.
  •  Beautiful writing. Just beautiful. Also, this book alternated between the past and the present, too.
  • I really liked the portrayal of OCD in History Is All You Left Me. I don't know much about OCD, but I have read a lot of books that seem to misrepresent anxiety disorders, or have disorders "cured" by romance (bleh, I hate that trope), but this book didn't.
  •  ALL OF THE NERDY REFERENCES. 


 3. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson


Synopsis (From Goodreads)
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

What I Liked
  • IT'S MINDBLOWING. 
  • Unreliable Narrators
  • The writing is so addicting! Once you start reading this book you can't stop. It just immediately pulls you in!
  • It's a dark novel that's extremely thought provoking  
  • I don't know what else to say other than JUST READ IT



4. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly 


Synopsis (From Goodreads)
Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.


What I Liked


  • I love the main character, Jo! She starts out really naive, but her characters develops a lot throughout the book.
  • The murder mystery! It was really fun to try to pick out the clues and figure out what was happening while the characters were doing the same. 
  • THIEVES, JOURNALISTS, AND FORENSIC SCIENCE.
  • The secondary characters are great, too! Fay, Eddie, and Oscar are all really well developed and likable characters.
  • FEMALE FRIENDSHIP (we need more of this in YA)

5. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley


Synopsis (From Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.

What I Liked
  • It's really nerdy! Solomon and Clark spend a lot of the book fanboying over Star Trek.
  • I love the focus on friendship! 
  • The synopsis is actually a little misleading. Though Lisa is trying to "cure" Sol, it's made very clear that what she is doing is completely wrong. 
  • Sol's family was so enjoyable to read about! A lot of YA books kind of just ignore the family of the different characters, but this one didn't!
  • I thought that Sol's agoraphobia was really well written.
  • Highly Illogical Behavior is also one of the few books that have made me cry 


So, there you go! Five amazing books that everyone should read! I hope that you actually do pick one of these up this spring and really enjoy it. 

-Jollygirl

3.04.2017

A Poem: Clay



you're the gifted sculptor
and he is your prized masterpiece
and you mold him like
you would clay
into the shape of your choosing

you shape away his faults
those little nicks and dents and quirks
that you think mar his face
and you leave what you think is beauty
in their place

it's hard for him to even care to dream
when his desires
are picked away
left to fall to the ground
remnants of aspirations and hope

but you try not to mind how he feels
because you know it's for the better
and you know that one day
he will be your pride and joy
and he will be admired by everyone

you ignore that his smile
grows a little smaller
with each passing day
and how he seems to wilt into himself
like a dying flower

one day your masterpiece is completed
the clay has hardened
and it stands
golden and bright
under the sun

you admire him
and invite everyone
you know
to come and see
what you have created

but your smiling face
soon turns uneasy
when you notice the droplets
of salty water
in his eyes 

and soon you are wailing
because at the touch of your hand 
on the cold statue
it shatters in front of everyone
breaking into a thousand little pieces


-Jollygirl


2.19.2017

Guest Post By Jeani: The Mountain

Hey, everyone! Today I have Jeani doing a guest post. If you haven't already, I highly recommend that you check out her blog. She posts really beautiful, amazing poems, and really thought provoking discussions. Anyway, on to Jeani's post!

----------------------------
Hello! My name is Jeani and I’m from the blog Jeani Thoughts. I am very excited to be posting on “Reflections of a Jolly Girl” today! I hope you enjoy my poem! 

The Mountain
She stretched across the northern land
Water cascading from her mouth
Blue flowers sprung up from her roots
She was still as winter howled

Her strong arms sheltered rabbits
As they huddled to her breast
She cried for summer’s ending
For her friends would soon be dead

She shied away from cameras
As the bright lights hurt her eyes
They wore away her edges
They scraped their feet against her sides

If you lay still, you’ll hear her cry
Carried on the northern breeze
Then you’ll drink your cup of coffee
Carry on like you haven’t seen

Her cracked and crumbling body
Is hidden by the morning glow
And you only count the flowers
That she worked so hard to grow

She has supported your every move
But all you do is let her break
So, I’m saying on her behalf
Please don’t wait till morning wakes

// Jeani

2.11.2017

A Poem: My Name Is Courage


i remember one of the first times i came to you
when i whispered softly in your ear
urging you to face
the monsters under your bed
that you were so afraid of

we met again on your first day of school
when you faltered
at the school door
and i murmured encouraging words to you
and led you forward

i saw you on the day 
that you stood up to the boy
who had been tormenting you for months
as you vehemenlty told him off
while i cheered for you on your side

i was there when you left home
off to get a job,
start a family,
and you were so nervous and uncertain
and i held your hand as you walked out

when you had that big test, 
when you tried out for the school play even though you had immense stage fright,
when you had your first heartbreak,
when you lost someone that you loved,
i was there those times, too

when you accepted that you had messed up,
when you spoke up for your imaginative dreams,
when you apologized,
when you found the strength to completely be yourself,
i was there, right next to you

you see,
i've been here all these years,
standing right beside you when you needed me,
helping you get through all those things that seemed so impossible,
through all those times that you thought you couldn't make it one more day

and i've been right here all this time,
inside you,
a part of you,
and i have watched you grow,
grow and grow and grow into the person you are today

and it has been years since the first time we met,
your hair is gray,
your face lined with wrinkles,
but your smile is still the one of the boy
that i helped face the monsters under his bed

now i am here with you 
to help you through this last moment
before you pass on
sitting beside you
until the end

you couldn't see me before
but in this last moment
i suddenly become 
clear to you
and your last words are to me

your eyes widen 
as you take sight of me
standing above your bed,
ethereal hues of light
surrounding us

"it's you," you say, 
"who are you?"
i reply honestly, 
"i am you and you are me" i say
your eyes widen, "but what's your name?"

"my name is courage" i say
and you give me a weak smile
as the last signs of
life
flicker out of your eyes


-Jollygirl

1.21.2017

Pieces of Advice





1. 

know that you made mistakes in the past, and know that you'll make more in the future.
mistakes are inevitable, cringe worthy instances are un-avoidable.

so accept your mistakes and learn from them, but don't dwell on them.

2.

learn something new every day.
whether it be about the world, a friend, or yourself, learn something. 

3.

make time for yourself to just enjoy life.
do whatever you want to do whether that be reading a book, or dancing around crazily in your room.

4.

don't worry about what others think.

embrace your peculiarities.

and never let your fear of what others are thinking stifle your personality.

5.

spend time with the people you love. 



-Jollygirl


1.14.2017

The Disney Book Tag

Hey, everyone! I stumbled upon The Disney Book Tag on youtube, and I really liked it! I think it's such a fun tag, and I really wanted to do it! 

 1. The Little Mermaid - a character who is out of their element, a “fish out of water”


I think that Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices Series (by Cassandra Clare) was really out of her element, at least at first. In Clockwork Angel, she travels from New York to London in order to find her brother. Instead, she gets thrown into a crazy world, filled with demons, demon hunters, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc. The customs and traditions of all the people she meets are also very different from her own, and the ones accepted in New York. It was clear that she was confused and startled, obviously "out of her element."




2. Cinderella - a character who goes through a major transformation


Celaena Sardothien changes and grows so much over the course of the Throne of Glass series (by Sarah J. Maas.) In the first few books of the series, she's impulsive, somewhat immature, and  irresponsible.  However, she eventually grows and matures into an amazing leader. 


3. Snow White - a book with an eclectic cast of characters


Lady Midnight (by Cassandra Clare) has so many different characters and each one is unique in their own way. They all have their own quirks, and storylines. I just love the emphasis on family in Lady Midnight and how the personality of each member of the Blackthorns is really fleshed out. Another thing I love about Lady Midnight (and in other books by Cassandra Clare) is how the author includes diverse characters in all of her books. 


4. Sleeping Beauty - a book that put you to sleep


The Graceling by Kristin Cashore was just really boring. Towards the middle/end of the book, nothing seemed to be happening. The characters didn't save the boring plot for me either as I wasn't a huge fan of the main character. I ended up not finishing this book.


5. The Lion King - a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood


Something traumatic has happened to the main characters in almost every YA book! I'm choosing the obvious choice though, which would be Harry Potter. We can all agree that Harry Potter didn't have the best early childhood because his parents died and he was forced to live with his aunt and uncle in the closet under the stairs. Harry Potter probably isn't the most "original" answer for this question, but since the Harry Potter franchise means a lot to me, I'm choosing him. 


6. Beauty and the Beast - A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

I was really intimidated by all of Cassandra Clare's books. It just seemed like there were so many, and I had no idea where to start. When I eventually read them though, I completely loved them. I know that a lot of people are intimidated by the amount and size of her books, but I would really recommend reading them. They're completely worth it. If you're unsure about what order to read them in, I'd recommend reading them in publication order: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, Clockwork Angel, City of Fallen Angels, Clockwork Prince, City of Lost Souls, Clockwork Princess, City of Heavenly Fire, Tales From Shadowhunter Academy, Lady Midnight. 


7. Mulan - a character who pretends to be someone or something they are not


For this one, I choosing Alex, from Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. Alex doesn't exactly pretend to be someone she's not, but she does hide things about herself (like her schizophrenia  from other people. 



8. Toy Story - a book with characters you wish would come to life


I would love for the characters in The Lunar Chronicles (by Marissa Meyer) to come to life. I just love all the characters. Each of their personalities are so unique, and together, they form such a dynamic group! 


I hope that you enjoyed reading that post! Have a great week!

-Jollygirl

12.31.2016

2016 Recap

Wow, 2016 is over already. 

2016 is being viewed as a terrible year by so many people, and while I do agree that I wasn't a huge fan of some of the things that happened this year, I think 2016 was still a pretty good year. So many things have happened in 2016, and I think that we're focusing on the negatives things that happened instead of the positive ones. What I'm basically trying to say is that even though 2016 had its downs, it also had so many ups, and I personally had a good year. 


So, on to the recap:



Bookish Things

number of books read: I read 159 books this year. However, I'll probably finish off another book today, making the number of books I read 160. 

shortest book: The shortest book I read this year wasn't even a book, it was actually a short story called "The Crown and the Arrow" by Renne Ahdieh. It's 9 pages long.

longest book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (870 pages long)

number of pages read: 62,699 pages 

average page length of books: 394 pages

average rating for 2016: 4.1 stars out of five

Favorite Books of the Year

 
Wow, it was really hard to pick out my favorites of the year, but these books are what I came up with. There are other books that I read this year that I loved as much as I loved the books that I'm displaying here as my favorites, but since I didn't want this section to be too long, I'm only showing four of them. 

Under Appreciated Books

   

These are some books that not many people seem to know about. I read all three of these books this year and really liked all of them and I think that more people should read them. 
SO PLEASE READ THESE, EVERYONE!

Disappointments


These are some books that I went into with high expectations, but ended up disappointed. 


Overall this year, I read a lot of amazing books!

Blogging

Counting this one, I only published 19 posts this year, which is definitely not a lot. Next year I'll try to publish more posts. 

I love the blogging community, and I love writing posts. And though I wasn't very active on my blog this year, I still had a lot of fun reading other's blog posts, writing posts, interacting with bloggers, etc. 

Life

-As I think about what I've done this year, I'm realizing that I went on a lot of fun vacations this year! 
  •  I went to Orlando to visit "Diagon Alley" and "Hogsmeade" which was really fun, especially because my family loves Harry Potter!
  • I went to Hawaii and wrote a blog post about it
  • I went to Niagara falls (and it was beautiful)
  • I went to Montreal (which was really interesting and fun)
  • I went to Washington D.C (which is great because it's such a pretty area and there are so many interesting museums and monuments)
-We moved!
-I bought a lot of books
-I basically lazed around the house most of summer, reading books and watching TV
-New bookshelves!!
-Appreciating the genius that is Lin Manuel Miranda and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack over and over again (and also reading the book)            
-Attempting to watch Lost
-I listened to:
  • TWENTY ØNE PILØTS (Tyler and Josh have amazing personalities, and also write really amazing lyrics)
  • Panic! at the Disco (Brendon's vocal range is amazing and I love his album, "Death of a Bachelor." However, I do prefer the albums that were made when the entire band was still together. I just love the long song titles in their first album and their confusing but beautiful lyrics. And I feel like "Pretty. Odd." is such an under appreciated album and I think it deserves so much more recognition. Also, all of Ryan Ross's lyrics that he wrote in "Pretty. Odd" are amazing.)
  • My Chemical Romance (I only just started listening to MCR, but from what I've heard so far, I really like their music.)
  • And a bunch of other artists

Goals/Resolutions

  1. PUBLISH MORE POSTS ON THIS BLOG.
  2. Write more.
  3. Try not to stress out over things that don't need to be worried about. 

Anyway, I guess that's it! I hope that you've had a good year, and that 2017 is a great year for you!