Unboxing: Blessed is She 2019-2020 Academic Planner

Every year I tend to buy at least two planners: my Erin Condren for the year, and I’ll experiment with a new brand that I haven’t tried out yet, just to see if the grass might be greener elsewhere. This year, it was a close call between the Cultivate What Matters planner (bright, fun, playful, inspired) and the Blessed Is She (BIS) planner (modern, functional, Catholic-focused). You can see from my post title which one I decided upon.

And then this week, a lovely gold box with Scripture showed up on my porch.Continue reading “Unboxing: Blessed is She 2019-2020 Academic Planner”

My Rule of Life, 2019-2020 Edition

In April 2018, I wrote about how to go about establishing a rule of life, and since this has been a subject coming up recently, I thought it was time for an annual revisit. I’ve broken my guidelines into Morning – Day/Afternoon – Evening – and General/Year-Round.Continue reading “My Rule of Life, 2019-2020 Edition”

What’s Playing: Love 020

Viewed: 2019. 03/13-03/21

Netflix episode list and trailer available here.

This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Netflix.

I was bound to stumble upon this 2016 drama series sooner or later. Xiao Nai (Yang Yang) is a young entrepreneur designing his first game with his college-age friends when he stumbles upon Bei Weiwei (Schuang Zheng), a remarkable female gamer, skilled at combat in a RPG that is a national hit.

When Weiwei gets dumped inside of the game by her in-game husband, she receives a proposal from the server’s top player, Yixiao Naihe, who, unbeknownst to her, is the school’s most popular guy, Xiao Nai. They’re a formidable pair on the servers, but would they have any chemistry if they met, in real life? Love 020 explores the dangers of anonymous romances online, and the unspoken attractions of those around us, and quite naturally, the misadventures of unrequited love in a dramedy worth your time, if you’re a fan of online RPGs or of Chinese romances.

The romance is sweet and pure, and the conflict makes sense — it’s not all misunderstandings and love at first hate. As a former gamer myself, I was tickled by the scenes included in the series where we get to see their avatars interacting within the game, and that imagination come to life, from dealing with guild politics to fighting a mob boss. It was so much fun!

If you’re not sure about the investment of watching the full series (it’s looooong), there was a 103 minute film version released the same year (different actors) that consolidates the plot. Both were available on Netflix the last time I checked.

Over the past six weeks, I’ve been sharing some of my recent Netflix favorites with you and now, we’re all caught up. I’m currently working my way through another Chinese romance TV series right now, so there’s definitely a possibility that I’ll share my thoughts on that, if and when I ever finish it. Hint: it’s got, like, eighty episodes or something, it’s a long-term investment of my time, which has been limited of late.

Meantime, if you’ve got a great series in this genre that you highly recommend, please leave me a comment with your suggestions. If it’s on Netflix, I can add it to my watch later list, sooner or later. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed these brief looks at some fun drama/romance/comedies.

Edited (06/19/2020): Since this series did not continue beyond this point, for the sake of looking back, I’d like to briefly add some honorable mentions I also enjoyed during that period:

  • Inborn Pair
  • Love Alarm
  • Love, Now!
  • Rookie Historian, Goo Hae-ryung
  • Well-Intended Love

Lavender’s Blue

This year’s birthday marked a quiet celebration of lavender, lovingly woven into the decorations and gifts from loved ones (see below) and culminating into a long-wished-for dream, visiting a real-life lavender farm.

As it turned out, we didn’t have to fly to Provence, just to find lavender fields. In a small town in the Midwest, tucked between fields and a copse of trees, is the small farm of Long Row.

The barn is the showstopper in terms of architecture at Long Row, boasting a timeless design, and classic charm like a tin roof and timber-frame construction. Chip and Joanna Gaines would be proud. The interior is part cafe, part gift shop, and includes a space for rentals.

At the time of our visit, the lavender had been harvested, save for a few late-blooming plants, a favorite attraction to eager bees.

We were however given permission to see the recently harvested lavender drying in the barn loft, and the lavender ropes were turning blue-purple as they aged.

You can imagine the fresh lavender scents and the sensation of blue buds crushed underfoot as we walked. The scent of tea wafting from kettles in the cafe. The allure of lavender-filled treats awaiting consumption.

So yes, the farm is quite charming overall and while I regret missing the peak bloom season, I’d love to come visit again next year and see the fields abloom and restock on some loverly lavender products. Learn more about Long Row Lavender here.

Back From Another Conference

Another weekend come and gone and with it, Gateway Con 2019, the third-annual conference for writers held at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis, MO. If you missed it, you missed more than the great speakers, readers and workshops, you also missed out on the loud and occasionally raucous after party. If you haven’t noticed, writers like to decompress after the stresses of speaking, pitching, and sometimes, hand-to-hand combat, and there’s nothing quite like a party for networking.

Before it sounds like all fun and games, I wore a few different hats this year, running the registration table for a couple of hours, attempting to keep people pitching on track (it’s harder than it sounds), networking and even sitting in on an “Ask the Agent” session and both learning a lot about the trade and offering some feedback from my own experiences.

As one eager writer expressed it, “Literary agents are the rock stars of a writing conference”. I don’t know that that’s true, but getting to know other agents and hearing some of their experiences and gleaning what wisdom I could was a heck of a lot of fun, and I’ve made some new friends, I think. When you get a certain age where you no longer exchange crayons and friendship bracelets, it can be hard to tell sometimes…

So, what’s next? Penned Con is coming up in September and that’ll probably be my last conference to attend in 2019, more as a spectator and reader than as an agent. Although if you’re attending, I certainly hope to bump into you there and get to know you more.

Meantime, I am working on being more vocal on Twitter and I launched a Facebook page over the weekend so if you favor either of those sites, please pop over and say hello, give a like or a follow and let’s talk.

Have a blessed day and keep reaching higher!