November Readathon Announcement! | Friendsathon ✨🚪🥳

Hi! I’m so excited to announce that this November, I will be hosting my first ever readathon with two of my friends, Kelly and Valerie – and what better readathon to host with your friends than the Friendsathon!

If you are interested in joining, please feel free to follow our Twitter page @Friendsathon where we will be sharing more information and prompt details in the coming weeks.

Looking forward to reading with you and hope see you there! 🥰📚

– Catherine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


My Experience at the Harry Potter-Themed Bar in Toronto!⚡️

Hi random burst of creative energy to write a blog post that’s not a book review for the first time in almost a year – how are ya? 💁🏻‍♀️

So it’s been a while since I’ve written something like this but I’ve been feeling very inspired to take my blogging back by the reins this year, so here goes!

In a previous post back in 2018, I wrote about 5 Literary Themed Restaurants Around the World – in that post, one of the places I wrote about was The Lockhart in Toronto, Canada which is a Harry Potter-themed bar. In it, I vowed, and I quote: “You better believe I am going here after I finish the series and I will have a blog post up about it when I do.” I did finish the series, but I didn’t go to the bar immediately after (I should have). However, I’ve done it now (twice!) and I am very excited to share my experience.

The Lockhart is a quaint little cocktail bar a little bit outside of the downtown core. They have mostly regularly-named food and drink, but some themed names as well, like the Better Beer – a play on Butter Beer which I still want to try in Harry Potter World – or Dementor’s Kiss which are two drink names that caught my eye. I opted for the Better Beer, which is tequila-based and it was delicious! They do a very good job of masking the taste of alcohol in this drink, but it’s definitely strong enough to feel the effect of. Below is a photo of what it looks like – I seem to have misplaced the photo I took at the time, but this is one from their website:

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Pitcher of Better Beer

Along with drink options, they also of course have food. I got chicken and waffles – the portion was huge and the chicken was very flavourful and crispy, which I liked:

Although I went there to eat and drink, I especially appreciated how they decorated the place. They have a neon sign by the bar that says ‘all was well’ which are the last words in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; and also a wall of framed photos of Dobby (my favourite 🥰).

I love that I got to experience this place after reading all of the books; I adore it and am already eager to go back again. The staff is very friendly, the food and drink are great, and I love the aesthetic.

Now, I’m on the hunt for more literary-themed places to visit and I can’t wait for what will be next… ✨

-Catherine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


 

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The Television Tag!

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Hello! Okay so I don’t normally talk about this on my blog, but I thought it would be fun to do something different. This tag was adapted to blogs by Sam @ Fictionally Sam and I was tagged by one of my favourite people, Kelly, over @ Struggling Bookaholic to participate in it! So thank you to both of them, you should definitely check out the content over on their blogs as well 🙂

1. Favorite shows?

Alright, I’m going to be super basic with this right off the bat and say that Friends is definitely up there. Watching it just feels like being rolled up in a blanket burrito in bed – comforting, warm, and really stupidly funny. Some other shows I love are How I Met Your Mother, Queer Eye, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Black Mirror, Nailed It, This is Us, and How to Get Away with Murder.

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2. Favorite genre?

I like sitcoms a lot! I really enjoy following a story-line and becoming attached to characters and how they develop as the seasons progress. I also really like drama – especially if it has a criminal or sci-fi theme to it.

3. Least favorite show?

I can’t even think of what my least favourite show is. If I’m not feeling something, I usually stop watching it before it has a chance to develop into something I hate. I kind of just allow myself to become indifferent to it, which is probably why I can’t think of any examples right now.

4. Most re-watched show/favorite show to binge watch?

Although I haven’t re-watched it the whole way through chronologically more than once, I like watching random episodes of Friends. My favourite shows to binge watch though are usually reality shows like Are You the One? or RuPaul’s Drag Race something where each season is its own separate thing that’s super light and entertaining where I don’t have to focus too much.

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5. Do you prefer watching things week-by-week or binge-watching?

Binge watching for sure because watching an episode week-by-week sometimes starts to feel like a chore and I stress myself out thinking about having to watch it in time for the following week. I would rather watch TV at my leisure

6. Favorite television characters?

Monica and Chandler from Friends; Barney from How I Met Your Mother; Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder; Will from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

7. Favorite television ships?

Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother; Jesse and Becky from Full House; Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World and others that I can’t say because I think they would be spoilers for people if they are currently/decided to watch those shows.

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8. Show you could never get into?

There was a lot of hype around this show at the time that I tried getting into it, but I could never get into Suits. I don’t even remember there being anything wrong with it, I just remember having very little interest in continuing after a few episodes so I never watched again.

9. Show you fell out of love with?

I wouldn’t say I fell out of love with it because if I picked it back up again, I know I would enjoy it, but my answer for this one is Nashville. At the time, I knew that some very serious plot moves were on the horizon that I didn’t want to see happen, so I stalled for as long as I could until I eventually stopped watching altogether (oops), but I would still recommend it as an awesome drama.

10. Cancelled too soon?

Thankfully I’ve never really had a problem with this because most of the shows I get into have been around for a while prior and have a foreseeable closure.

11. Guilty pleasure show?

Nailed It has been a guilty pleasure show for a while. It’s about amateur bakers trying to replicate really intricate desserts and it is hilarious!

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12. What are you currently watching?

Right now I am watching Queer Eye, slowly making my way through Season 3 through a film of tears.

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I’m not going to tag anyone because I just wanted to do it for fun, but if you do want to participate feel free to ping back my post so I can check your answers out!

– Catherine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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An Open Letter to Myself on my One Year Blogging Anniversary

Dear me,

You did it – you’ve been blogging for a whole year. I know that when you started this, it was because you love to read, and you wanted an outlet to share all of your thoughts about one of your favourite hobbies, but I also know that you probably didn’t anticipate lasting this long so I’m really proud of you. Although ‘this is one for the books’, it’s also become one for the life lessons, new friendships, and everything in between. This is a space where you can talk about whatever you want, and I like that you never shied away from that, even when it made you vulnerable and nervous to be so open.

In the past year especially, you have been growing into such a strong and beautiful person even though you don’t see that a lot of the time. Between you and me, I think the one year ago you who started this blog would be really proud of the person you are now, and if you could see yourself through her eyes, I bet your perception of yourself would be a lot different. Reading has helped you through so much, and I’m glad you could find a community of people like you to share that passion with. When you first started one year ago, I don’t think you understood how impactful your blog would be on your personal life. You have made some amazing friends, both online and off, and read some of the most eye-opening and life changing books this past year which have enriched your life in ways you may not even be fully aware of yet.

If your experiences last year are any indication of what’s to come, I’m excited to look back this time next year at all of the new adventures you went on because of all the great books waiting to be discovered by you right now in this very moment. I know that these days it’s become difficult to finish books as fast as you used to, and sometimes even to pick one up at all, but my wish for you is that in the next year, as you get to know yourself more deeply, that you get to read even more books that change your life for the better. Happy one year of blogging; I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things and books in store for you next.

Always & Forever,
Catherine

“One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”


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3 Favourite Quotes from 3 Favourite Books

There is something about revisiting an old favourite that feels like coming home – whether that be a memory, a food, a hobby, or book. Something I haven’t done in a while is revisit a favourite book, so in this post I thought I would take a trip down memory lane and dig up three of my favourite quotes (in no particular order) from a few books that are very close to my heart.

“…I can be myself around you, even if I don’t know who I am yet.”

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Ever since I read this a few months ago, I have not been able to stop thinking about that quote. It’s such a simple, innocent statement, yet it holds so much power. As a teenager, I really did think that I would have it all figured out by now – that I would be so sure and confident in my life, choices, and path that I was taking to accomplish all I set my mind to. The harsh reality check is that I could not be farther from that place, and the even harder pill to swallow is that that’s okay, because newsflash: you are always kind of going to be a work in progress. But the sliver lining is that through all the chaotic mess of question marks that is your life, there is a good chance that the stars will align just right in order to bring you people with which you feel you can be your true self around – regardless of if you even know who that is yet. And maybe you will never really know who you are just yet, because once you think you know, life throws another curve ball, but sometimes finding someone you can be the work-in-progress ‘you’ around while you try to make sense of it all is one of the luckiest, most magical things one could ever ask for.

“The world, my friend Govinda, is not imperfect, or on a slow path towards perfection: no, it is perfect in every moment, all sin already carries the divine forgiveness in itself, all small children already have the old person in themselves, all infants already have death, all dying people the eternal life. It is not possible for any person to see how far another one has already progressed on his path; in the robber and dice-gambler, the Buddha is waiting; in the Brahman, the robber is waiting. In deep meditation, there is the possibility to put time out of existence, to see all life which was, is, and will be as if it was simultaneous, and there everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, I see whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness, wisdom like foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only requires my consent, only my willingness, my loving agreement, to be good for me, to do nothing but work for my benefit, to be unable to ever harm me. I have experienced on my body and on my soul that I needed sin very much, I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and needed the most shameful despair, in order to learn how to give up all resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to stop comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection I had made up, but to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy being a part of it.”

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Okay that probably isn’t even considered a quote, it’s more like a passage, and if you read it all, I’m impressed. Hopefully you came away from it thinking really hard about what it means, because I know I did. I feel like I say this a lot, but this book changed my life and searching through my copy for quotes made me want to read it again, ASAP. I will never forget New Years Eve in 2014 going into 2015, there was this wall that everyone was writing their wishes for the new year on, and all I wrote on the wall was, “to be happy.” “To be happy” – what a general, vague statement, that of course means different things to different people, but at the time (and even now), is really all I wanted out of life. When I think about it now, it’s silly that I wished for something I had in me all along, and that I knew that no matter what happened, I would always have somewhere. I didn’t need a new years wish to hope that my year or life would be happy, because it was and is, just as it’s miserable and seemingly unbearable too. What Siddartha is saying is that you need both – you need to experience both extremes in order to appreciate the full picture. As difficult as it is to see sometimes, Siddartha is right when he says that everything that exists is good, because everything that exists makes up the full picture that is your life, and as far as I know we only get one of those, so I hope the picture you make of it is one that’s beautiful.

“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.
“Oh, sure you know,” the photographer said.
“She wants,” said Jay Cee wittily, “to be everything.” 

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This book. Not even going to lie, reading this book was like inviting a dark fog to form around my perspective of the world to the point where it suffocated me. Why, then, is it one of my favourite books of all time? Because Sylvia Plath puts into words thoughts and feelings I have never known how to express myself. I have never connected so much to the words of an author, which, when you read about her personal life, is really sad, but there is just something about her writing that gets to me and this quote is no exception. The main character in this book, Esther, is extremely overwhelmed by life and by the finality of making choices that affect it. Like Esther, I have always felt that way too. Sometimes I wish that I could experience everything – that I could be and do and live out every path to see which one suits me best, to see which one brings me the “best” life. I don’t think Esther meant it when she said she didn’t know who she wanted to be, I think she just wanted to be so many things and didn’t know which to choose, because choosing one path means missing out on all the others. But the thing is, the choosing and risking having regrets about it isn’t the scary part. The scary part is actually the not choosing of anything because you’re too afraid and having every option rot at your feet because you took too long to decide. Being everything like I wish I could be doesn’t have to come from living all versions of my choices out side by side to see which one is best; contrary to my belief, being everything can actually come from making tough choices that lead me to better than I could have ever dreamed on my own.

To anyone who made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you find a book whose words impact you as much as these ones did for me.

❤ Cat


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