Review// Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life & Love From Dear Sugar

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Author: Cheryl Strayed
Series: Standalone
Genre: Non-fiction
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Book Length:  304 pages 
Publisher: Vintage
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond.  Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

My Review:

It’s hard to think of the perfect thing to say that would accurately convey what this book has done to me but the one thing that I know for certain is that it was life-altering. I’m better for having read this, and that, to me, is what all the best books do—they make you feel changed for the better.

This book is a compilation of advice columns answered by a woman who goes by the name, ‘Sugar’. It is what the title says it is—advice on life and love—but for almost the whole book, I wondered why it was called Tiny Beautiful Things. It’s not until I finished that I understood that it is sometimes the tiny, beautiful, seemingly-meaningless things about life that you don’t think matter that much in the moment which are the things you look back on as some of the most profound of your life.

The letters written to Sugar over the course of this book come from people of all ages, backgrounds, religious beliefs, and the like—people who are lost, confused, lonely, desperate, and scared, looking for someone to give them answers. Sugar isn’t some all-knowing fortune teller with a crystal ball who can see into your future, and she doesn’t claim to be; she is a real human being like you or I who has also been lost, confused, lonely, desperate, and scared. That is what makes her advice so good.  That is why thousands of people write to her—because even if she hasn’t been in their particular situation, she makes them feel understood by bringing up her own experiences and never saying that they are wrong for feeling what they do. And feeling understood feels really, really good, especially when you are going through tough situations that make you feel alone, as many of these people were. Even though I can’t say I have experienced half of the exact things that the people who wrote to her were going through, I can say that I have experienced the same emotions, which made the stories feel relatable regardless.

This was eye-opening and, at times, a heavy and emotional read. I really cannot recommend it enough, and I will be giving it a reread in the future for sure.


What would you tell your twentysomething self if you could talk to her now?

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.


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Review// The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #1
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Book Length:  369 pages 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy

My Review:

The Rules of Magic: do as you will, but harm no one; what you give will be returned to you threefold; and fall in love whenever you can.

I was hooked on the idea of this story the second I found out it was about witches; I could really use some more books about witches in my life. I think one of the best parts about this was the characters. Franny, Jet, and Vincent all had very different and distinct personalities but they worked so well as a team. Although they had their disagreements, as all siblings do, they always watched out for one another and had the others’ best interests at heart. Something I adored was getting to watch them grow old as the story progressed; usually a story will only show you a snapshot in time of characters’ lives, but this took you through practically their whole lifespans. This was made even better by real historic events being woven through the story as the decades went on to make it very believable.

Yes, one of the major themes in this book is love, but more than that, it is about family, growing up, loss, and choosing courage over caution to face it all. Most of the time, you don’t get to choose the cards you are dealt in life, but none of the siblings ever let the looming curse stop them from choosing courage to make it through, even though caution was always more convenient.

This was such a great book and one I would recommend to anybody looking for a feel-good, magical story.

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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Tag: Three Day Lyrical Challenge | Day 3

Thank you Sara for the tag! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, please do 🙂 I’m kind of sad that this is the last day of the challenge, I had a lot of fun writing for this one.


The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  3. Nominate three other bloggers each day.

The Best Day
Taylor Swift

I really enjoy Taylor Swift in general, but her older music is where it’s at for me. This song makes me really emotional every single time I listen to it. It’s told in a narrative of her growing up and having the best days with her mom. My mom and I have always been very close, so listening to it makes me think about my own experiences with her. I had actually never watched the music video before writing this post, and let me tell you it’s a good thing this is the last day of this challenge because I think I did some major water damage to my computer. Totally worth it though, because this song is beautiful.

I’m five years old
It’s getting cold
I’ve got my big coat on
I hear your laugh
And look up smiling at you
I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch
And the tractor rides
Look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs
And fall asleep on the way home
I don’t know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you’re not scared of anything at all
Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today
I’m thirteen now
And don’t know how
My friends could be so mean
I come home crying
And you hold me tight
And grab the keys
And we drive and drive
Until we find a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop
‘Till I forgotten all their names
I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to now at school
But I know I’m laughing
On the car ride home with you
Don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today
I have an excellent father
His strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house
And I’ve got space to run and hide
And I had the best days with you
There is a video I found
From back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen
And you’re talking to me
It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships
And the seven dwarfs
And Daddy’s smart
And you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world
And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side
Even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
Staying back and watching me shine
And, I didn’t know if you knew
So I’m taking this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today.

Tagging: Bibi | Lily | Celine

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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Tag: Three Day Lyrical Challenge | Day 2

Before I get into Day 2, I just want to say a huge thank you to Sara for tagging me in this challenge. It’s really nice to talk about something other than books on my blog and hopefully connect with other people on some other hobbies of mine.


The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  3. Nominate three other bloggers each day.

Drops of Jupiter
Train

You know what the most special thing about this song is to me? It never gets old. I could listen to it on repeat for 24 hours and still come out loving it. When I first heard it, I never really thought much about the meaning behind the lyrics – they kind of don’t make sense if you are trying to conjure up on your own what the narrative was meant to be. However, I had heard many years ago that the lead singer, Pat Monahan, wrote this in memory of his late mother who died from cancer. In an interview, he said, “Loss of the most important person in my life was heavy on my mind, and the thought of ‘what if no one ever really leaves? What if she’s here but different. The idea was, she’s back here in the atmosphere.”

It is sometimes through loss that we find the strength to discover ourselves, and I think that is the message he was trying to convey with this song. To believe that those you love never really leave, but that they are back here in the atmosphere is such a beautiful mentality to have when trying to cope with a significant loss, and it makes me appreciate the song even more.

Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s a-time to change, hey, hey
Since the return of her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey
Hey, hey
But tell me
did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way
to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
Tell me
did you fall from a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were
looking for yourself out there?
Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey
She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo
Reminds me that there’s a-room to grow, hey, hey, yeah
Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
I’m afraid that she might think of me as
Plain ol’ Jane, told a story about a man
who is too afraid to fly so he never did land
But tell me
did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find
And did you miss me while you were
looking for yourself out there
Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance
Five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had, and me
But tell me
did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back toward the Milky Way?
And tell me
did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
And tell me
did you fall from a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were
looking for yourself
Na-na, na-na, na-na
Na-na, na-na, na-na
And did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day?
Na-na, na-na, na-na
Na-na, na-na, na-na
And did you fall from a shooting star?
fall from a shooting star?
Na-na, na-na, na-na
Na-na, na-na, na-na
And are you lonely looking for yourself out there?

Tagging: Dezzy | Eli | Lori

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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Tag: Three Day Lyrical Challenge | Day 1

Thank you so much to Sara for tagging me to participate; I love writing posts like this! Sara is one of the kindest, most dedicated bloggers and she is such an inspiration to me so please check out her posts and consider giving her a follow ❤️


The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  3. Nominate three other bloggers each day.

Why Georgia
John Mayer

This song gives me way too many feelings. Not gonna lie, I think I have even cried to it before. Generally, I am a very happy and upbeat person – one of my friends even nicknamed me ‘Sunshine’ because I’m always so positive. But to be honest, a lot of the time I literally have no clue what I’m doing and am very nervous about my future and whether or not I have made the right choices thus far.

When I was younger, I thought I would have a lot more figured out by now than I do, and I think the biggest shock of growing up is coming to terms with the fact that you will never have it all together. My favourite line in the whole song – and quite possibly any song, ever – is, “Still “everything happens for a reason” is no reason not to ask myself if I am living it right.” I always tell myself that everything happens for a reason; it’s my go-to justification for anything bad that happens to me. However, that line of thinking can sometimes be dangerous because it creates excuses for your actions or the actions of others. I will probably always believe that everything happens for a reason, but I never want to be too comfortable in justifying why they do; I always want to keep asking myself if I am living it right.

I am driving up 85 in the
Kind of morning that lasts all afternoon
I’m just stuck inside the gloom
4 more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
And leave it all behind
‘Cause I wonder sometimes
About the outcome 
Of a still verdictless life
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why Georgia, why?
I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
Wood in places to make it feel like home
But all I feel’s alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
Or just the stirring in my soul
Either way I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why Georgia, why?
So what, so I’ve got a smile on
But it’s hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don’t believe me
Don’t believe me
When I say I’ve got it down
Everybody is just a stranger but
That’s the danger in going my own way
I guess it’s the price I have to pay
Still “everything happens for a reason”
Is no reason not to ask myself if I
Am living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, tell me why,
Why, why Georgia, why?

Tagging: Kiara | Palina | Jade

Let’s connect! Goodreads | Twitter


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