Brain Drain: 2.8.2017 1:38

Finding time to write has been difficult lately, but, since I have some time now, I’ll do something simple – just to keep the creative juices up and active. So, if you wanted to read something artsy and invested, this is not that. This is just a life update: me rambling about nothingness. If you are interested in hearing my nothings, feel free to stay a little.

~

The spaces between when I write are growing larger but I’m trying not to let it bother me. There are moments when I’m up late at night, wondering when the last time I sat down and typed until my fingers cramped, but I also try to make it habit to remind myself not to force my content. When I do that, the product is less invested in the craft itself, and more so “I just wanted a finished product”. So, I let time tick by as bitter as it can be to bare through it, but it’s worth it – at least, that’s what I try to convince myself. Maybe I should start doing writing prompts and things, so I can keep my creative mind on its toes… Outside of me griping about my negligence, though, let’s talk about things I’ve been liking lately.

Firstly, we have this frequent hiking my family has been doing. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably seen a few pictures, but lately we’ve been hiking just about every weekend. If not, we’re out on a mountain somewhere: capturing the sun as it sets, screaming just to hear our voices echo off the cliffs, and taunting my scaredy-cat mom when we change elevation. I’ve always been the outdoors type, so doing this is refreshing. The only problem I tend to have is with my small, unaccommodating wardrobe. Hiking in pants that are either too tight or too loose is not very comfortable. Additionally, my one pair of sneakers are a little too worn for some of the terrain we traverse. Nonetheless, I manage to power through.

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Caption: this may be a little fuzzy but I like the way the city lights look

On the topic of discomfort, I’ll also mention how much I’ve been loving carpets, cushioned shoes, and fuzzy socks. My job requires me to be on my feet a lot so any time I come home, I get almost excited to step onto the carpet or put my fuzzy socks on after I shower and lotion my feet. Forgive me if this sounds weird to you, but just sympathize with me for a moment: it’s the same as finally coming home to bed after being tired all day. The amount of relief is just amazing. As I write this, I mean it when I say, “I am at peace with the world to be sitting down with fuzzy socks on”.

Oh, and speaking of work, allow me to mention my go-to breakfast-at-2pm (because-I’ve-been-asleep-so-I-don’t-doze-at-work) meal that I’ve been eating. It’s just a simple egg sandwich with cheese but I’ve been using feta and muenster cheese. The first time I made this, it was just out of curiosity. But from the way the cheese stringed when I broke the sandwich to the yummy taste, the cheese fanatic in me was screaming for seconds. Now, if I’m short on time but need to eat something, I just cook up some eggs, folding the feta cheese in, and put some muenster cheese on top.

It feels unfitting to write content with this kind of voice; I’m used to creating and investing a lot of energy into content so as to avoid sounding small, juvenile, or anything similar. But right now, at 1:38am, I wanted to write to clear my mind. And, of course, it isn’t 100% clear but it’s significantly less frantic than it was beforehand. Writing is peaceful, especially when you let it flow, like so. I think I’ve said all I wanted to mention for now, though. Hopefully, I’ll sleep well (once I do sleep). Does anyone else almost exclusively write late at night and/or early in the morning?…

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Half Glass of Lemonade

A little more than a year ago, I wrote a post titled Growing My Own Lemons. I’m not sure what state of mind I was in when I wrote it, but a part of me feels it wasn’t a very clear one. Reading back over it, though, I want to revisit it. So, on a whim, I am writing this.

Props to Myself

I had three major goals as listed in the original post: to mature economically, to get back into my hobbies, and to build on my career path. At least, that’s the short of it. To start, I’m pretty sure I’m currently not exactly where I wanted to be back then, but I’ll give myself credit for advancing in any degree. Over the year, I’ve acquired my license and currently share a car with my dad. Although it isn’t ideal, it’s a start nonetheless. I’m used to the traffic I had on the east coast; the drivers here are… they’re somethin’. Outside of the crazy drivers, though, I did find my way back into my hobbies. As I’m sure shows through my content, I’ve been really invested in photography lately. Before now, all my picturesque attempts were done with my phone (and to me, they were amazing). But there’s a strange, “official” feeling when you do it with a camera. I do have many other hobbies that I’m trying to find my way back to, but this baby step is still progress. As for the last point, I will admit, this is an area I’m still struggling to fulfill. But I suppose that provides a nice segway into the next portion of this post.

Proposal #1

As previously stated, I’m not one for new year’s resolutions. But this year, I did make one. Thus far, I’ve been holding to it pretty well, but the goal is to hold through to its completion. My singular new year’s resolution was (and is) to learn at least one new language. I have a plethora of languages I want to learn and an extensive list of reasons why to learn each – I can’t help it, I just love linguistics (I’m exposing my nerd, I know). So, while it’d be nice to be fluent in multiple languages by the end of the year, I decided one is a good minimum. I’ve intermingled my study plan between two different languages, but my main focus of study is on Korean. I have used a couple different sources in the past, but currently I’m using the book Elementary Korean from Tuttle in conjunction with other dictionary-like sources. All my books are borrowed from the library until I can purchase them on my own. In my free time, I try to either complete a full lesson or complete a couple exercises. Currently, I have my study plan set for studying Korean as much as possible throughout the week, with Friday being either my rest day, or my “study another language” day. So, every so often (when I remember to), I pull out Duolingo and study some Italian. I will admit, there have been days I skipped out on studying because either I was tired, distracted, or slept in, but I do make sure to make up for lost time.

Proposal #2

If you follow any of my socials, you’ve probably seen me talking about printing my photography a lot. And, well, it’s because I want to do that. When I go out on a photography spree – either by myself or while with others – I sometimes skim through the photo set and pick the ones that I feel are good enough to share. When I find some that are, I take my small photo printer out at home, and do a sort of test print. Currently, I have a triad of photos that I would love to share and I have already thought of a name for this photo series. Having said all of that, I guess this goal is to get my Etsy back up and, this time, make it functional. I’m still working out a few kinks and knots , but I think this is something I really want to work towards. When I do finalize things, I’ll make a post here as well, of course. I would love to sell my photography in small and large prints, and even as canvas prints as well. Alongside what I intend to post and sell directly on Etsy, I may open the opportunity for customers to put in special orders for pictures found on my blog that may not appear on Etsy. For this proposal, I’d greatly appreciate feedback.

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Caption: the first set I intend to sell, called “Palms” (guess why)

Proposal #3

Read and write more content. I miss reading. I miss writing. I miss literature as a whole, and I want to get back into it. Yes, I write content for my blog, but there are other projects – unfinished writing projects – that I have and want to finally return to and complete. I miss delving into the worlds other authors create, conjuring up ideas, and implementing them into the worlds I create for my characters. I miss the thrill of writing fiction, I miss realizing how much I must hate my audience to put such a sad scene into a piece – I miss it all. So, note to self: pick up more books. Go to the library and rent more novels. Open up your templates and world-build like crazy. Talk to your friends and roleplay to your heart’s content. Do it for your love of creation.

I want 2018 to be my year, finally. I want to own it and make it mine. The ultimate goal is to milk as much productivity out of it as possible, and when I thought I’ve juiced it all, ring it some more. I have to. For me.

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Photo Collage: A Warm Christmas

1.6.2018

Christmas 2017 was extremely different than any other Christmas my family has had. I’m used to being indoors, surrounded by my extensively huge (and loud) family, since it was too cold to go out anywhere. The only other time this was different was that one time we took the trip down to my grandparents’ house in Florida. But since we don’t live on the upper east coast anymore and instead live in the very opposite southwest, we don’t worry about cold. And as vastly different as that is, it leaves many opportunities for us to actually leave the house. And so we did.

flicks and fish

This Christmas, my grandparents, cousin, and second older brother came down to visit. And over the course of the holiday where my grandparents were here, we did a lot of fishing. I’ll save my griping for a Facebook post or something, though, and instead share some cool things. Like wild donkeys.

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The first place we went was Lake Pleasant, a regional park about two hours away from us (I think). Now for someone with as small an attention span as me, it did get a little boring. But I tried to make the most of it and just allow myself to absorb the beautiful landscape.

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Outside of me being artsy as per usual, my grandparents did their fishing, though, it seemed my granddad was the most engrossed in doing so. My grandmom couldn’t have been more fed up, from the hook getting stuck between rocks at the sea floor, to the occasional fish stealing the bait and leaving, to the ducks also trying to eat the bait.

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two generations

It was nice to get out of the house at least, despite returning with empty buckets and cold noses from the sea breeze and night chill. I took a lot of pictures, threw a lot of rocks, and spent time outside of my room, which anyone who knows me knows I need here and there.

feisty fish

Monday, Christmas Day, we did more fishing. By now, everyone was kind of in full gripe mode for a few reasons, but we had to swallow it and go anyway. We went back to Lake Pleasant and fished different coves.

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These spots had more walking space, which meant more of the cove could be fished at a time, which my father made use of. But the more I looked out on the water, I couldn’t help but wish I owned a kayak. It was one of those scenes where you envision something specific, and that image is so vivid it almost hurts that it’s not real.

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When we relocated to the second spot, we finally came to a conclusion about this park and fishing: we need a boat. I remember, before we moved, I was walking past my younger brother who was trying to fish using my dad’s fishing rod when the water started to ripple. He said he hadn’t thrown anything; the water just… started rippling. This happen at least three times before we assumed it was just some feisty fish, messing with our emotions.

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pink clouds

The speculation was later confirmed when we moved. My mom (who always makes friends with strangers somehow) was talking to this other guy who had been camping at that spot and trying to catch fish for more than a week. He had one singular fish which he was using to try and bait other fish closer but thus far had no luck. That was the only part of the conversation that I truly tuned in for; after hearing that, I was ready to go home.

ghosts n’ gold

The last time my family did anything on the 26th, we were in Canada, taking advantage of some amazing Boxing Day sales. This year, we went to a ghost town.DSCN1558I’m not exactly sure how my mom found this place, but she did. It’s called Goldfield Ghost Town and I believe it used to be a gold mine as well. Now, it’s this little hub of shops that sell cool nick-knacks and souvenirs. I was tempted to make a purchase a few times, but I was saving my money for clothes shopping later that day.

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mammoth saloon

DSCN1565As would suit, the area is full of western themed buildings inclusive of a little train. I’m not sure where it goes, but I assume it’s like a mini-tour, where the guide talks about the history of the mine and how this area came to become a ghost town. There was also a reptile house that I wanted to go through but we weren’t prepared to spend. However, I know what to prepare for future visits.

a grand finale

No visit to Arizona is truly complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon of course. At least, according to my mother.DSCN1599The last time we came to the Grand Canyon, my mom was persistent in taking us to this one part called “Hermit’s Rest”, which was closed at the time. Luckily, this time it was open. A fair portion of the time, my mother was nervously criticizing us (my father included) for taking pictures from arguably daring places. The fact is, any time we come here, mom, I’m gonna want the best pictures I can get.

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cactus willie’s
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upward gaze

After a while, it started to get a little chilly so no one else wanted to get out of the car anymore. But before giving up, I had to get a picture of the water in the canyon I had seen. I knew water was down there, but I never managed to get a good picture until then. They’re a little low quality but I captured it anyway.

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pool
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sunset

My cousin left before we visited the canyon and my grandparents had caught the flu, which began its rounds around the house. But everyone had some downtime and slowly got better, so I think that’s good. There’s a few speculations as to where it came from: either improper sanitation after so much fishing or just their bodies acclimating to new elevations. Regardless, everyone’s slowly recovering to good health. It’s sort of weird to think about this Christmas in comparison to Christmases in the past. But for me, personally, it was more livable, if that makes sense. A little bit of family, a little fresh air, and just a hint of chaos — not too much.

Let’s see what the new year brings.

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Us Humans: Yeka Original Series

If there’s one thing that I’m known for saying amongst my circle of friend, it’d have to be the way I felt before I graduated high school. I went to a college prep school that offered AP and IB. We all know what AP is, advanced placement. But imagine “advanced placement” competitive tests, the kind where you’re competing for the top score with your classmates, but instead your competing with the top schools of the planet. That’s my description of international baccalaureate, IB. It annoyed me so much that students walked around as zombies because they pulled all-nighters regularly to maintain their grades. Whenever I was asked if someone should sleep of do work, my response was always something akin to “health is more important that a good grade” and I stand by it through every walk of life. And someone might read this thinking, “well of course” and yes, thank you for agreeing but I don’t just mean the physical.

If I had just a quarter for every time I came across someone who alluded to the concept that work ruined their mental health, I could probably monopolize both of the Americas. This, among other things, is why I hold mental health so dear and important to me: because we don’t talk about it enough. And anytime it’s mentioned, it’s always the isolated cousin. It’s past time to start the conversation properly because the more it goes silent, the worse it gets.

Us Humans

Us Humans Graphic

Us Humans is a blog series, hosted by the Yeka Blogsite, in which I aim to give insights into the reality of various mental health related issues. This goes from talking about various stigmas and myths to describing what it really is like to live with a mental illness. There are currently three available installments, which can be accessed from any of the links below:

To Whom It May Concern

Covert Madness

I’m Not “Antisocial”

Some of these and future posts may be connected to “Exclusives” content which will be available from this site. These may be continuations or further expansions on a given topic if I feel lead to discuss it. This can also be secondary work inspired by a given piece such as poetry or spoken word, a splurge I may have came up with, or even something I drew. All of this will be available under a new tab, “Us Humans Exclusives” and will also include corresponding links to the related installment.

The Story Behind

Perhaps this idea was born on a whim, or a product of a passing thought while doing homework, or any other reason. I really couldn’t tell you where the idea spawned from, I only know what I want to make of it now that it’s manifested. It should be an agreeable opinion that the public seems to value physical health more than mental health, unfortunately. And, maybe, it’s because such issues are covert and invisible at times, but just because they’re unseen does not make them unreal. So I want to make these things real to readers. I want to give insight to those who may know little to nothing about how things like anxiety, and dysphoria, and attention deficits may affect someone in any given way.

Many of the topics I’ll cover are personal to me in some way. I may mention something like depression that I or my friends battle with and I want to be open about that. Not because I want to vent but because I want to make it known that I am not alone – that others are not alone. I want to make it known that things like depression are way more commonplace than it seems. I want to make it known that mental illnesses cannot be as easily dismissed as the flu. I want to make it known that mental illness is very common, and very real.

I hope that with my words I shed a little more light on the topic and ease others to be more comfortable to start the conversation as well. I intend to expose the complexity that often goes unseen to those who may not struggle with mental health as others. I hope to show that people don’t have to be shaking, trembling, unresponsive, or physically inept  for you to know that they are mentally ill. Because it shouldn’t take contagion to know that someone is sick; listen and you will know, but you have to actually listen.

~

If this interests you, be sure to follow the Yeka site at myyeka.wordpress.com to have access to the series installments as they’re published. For Exclusives content, be sure to follow this site to access that as well, either directly or via email using the form along the side panel.

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Photo Collage: Sedona Lights

12.09.2017

This past weekend, my family and I took a late trip to Sedona, about two hours from where we live. I figured it may be a picturesque experience, so I pocketed my (dad’s) camera, and snapped as I went along. The event was a walk-through of a bunch of Christmas lights and similarly themed showings that surrounded various shops and boutiques. So, since it was late at night, there may be some glare. But I wanted to share either way.

the trees are alive

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Almost all the trees were wrapped in lights. So much so, the street lights were drowned out. It made the area look even better and a little more alive, in my opinion.

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If you can see those little orange lights on the grounds, they were actually candles in paper bags. I wanted to believe they were fake candles, but I looked into a bag and saw a real flame. Is that safe?

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Just off to the left (of the previous picture) is this little nook, which I think was everyone’s favorite. Did I mention how cold it was that night?

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I’m not sure where you’d find these things, but I need several. This little flame-tower-cage-a-majjigy was where me and my brothers huddled around for at least a cumulative 30mins. It was so warm…

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There were stairs a little ways down that path that led to more stores on the upper level. Granted, they were all closed, but curiosity got the best of me and I went up there anyway…

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…besides, the great view from above was perfect for a (half decent) picture.

the art of energy

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There was this big cage thing that looked interesting. I’m not sure what it is but, like me, it’s bright and very extra. So I gave it some attention.

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(the inside view looking out)

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Of all the boutiques there, this was one of the few that were open. And also the place we lingered in the most, because my entire family is nothing but a bunch of nerds (link to the artist).

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Of all the pieces in the shop, there were mainly two that I found myself drawn to the most.

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This was one of the two (the matching piece for the previous picture’s content)…

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…and these paper cranes were the second of the two. I’m not sure why, but I really liked this one.

the whats and nows

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Oh! I can’t forget to show this giant Christmas tree. Hopefully, my short dad and brothers offer some perspective.

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There were a lot of cool things that mostly piqued my artsy, nerdy side. For example, the surplus of kinetic art that was on display. Of all the art forms I remember studying, kinetic art is hands down a favorite.

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Though it was really cold and really late, I can’t help it that I just like to see things. And it was a nice (sporadic) trip.

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(I saw an arch and thought “that would make a nice photo”, and here we are)

The only thing about this night is that I wish I could have taken a good picture of the sky. There was zero light pollution and the stars came out to play for once…

I even saw my first shooting star.

Inspiration Has Consequences

It seems that now that my inspiration has come back from its vacation, I feel like I’ve been doing something worthwhile with my time. It came back like a flood, really. If you’re curious (or just looking for a filler read), feel free to hear me babble about life and things.

P.S: semi-important notice included

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Caption: a sad attempt as filter edits

Peeling Back Bed-Sheets

Maybe it’s my current circumstances but I’ve been spending more time outside of my room than I’m known to. Everyone who lives with me may not agree, but I know me and my habits. For a moment, it felt icky to be around more than my own person. But after a while, I could feel the difference. So on those days when I’m home alone, there are certain things I try to do just to provoke myself to unplug from my bed: eat breakfast or drink tea, and look out of a window. That second bit sounds weird but it satisfies the “get up and move” need. I compare myself to a cat a lot, even down to sitting in direct sunlight just to be warm. But the natural light also kind of wakes me up and opens my mind. I’m a nature lover, so I guess it makes sense to someone in the universe…

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Caption: this is my favorite of all the flicks I took today

Arts & Crafts

Alongside this newfound energy to move more, there has been this rush of inspiration lately with me. It seems like everyday I’m making something or working on something, to the point where projects are overlapping and I’m becoming weary that none of it will ever be finished. But there’s so much good content that I want to put my best effort into them so they’ll come out really nice. Maybe it’s because ever since I put up my whiteboard (another mini-project I did a while ago), I’ve been able to visualize my ideas. Everything isn’t crammed into once space that empties out every hour or less. Instead, it’s all written down and in my face so that not only is it captured in its rawest form, but the idea can be revisited.

The original concept for my whiteboard was actually to be a dreamboard. It was going to be a chalkboard and I would just write inspiring quotes and post clippings and pictures of things I wanted to do. That’s not to say that I can’t still do that; this just seemed a little more… realistic to me. You see, I have a tendency to think of the future in a very fantastical way sometimes. Usually, I fully understand that some of it just isn’t real life, but of course that doesn’t stop me from thinking. But for someone like me, a dreamboard would have been a setup up for a mental breakdown. As time passes and I see something on the board, still unaccomplished, it’ll start to eat at me. So I went for something that’s more sensitive to me and a lot more… possible (and less messy).

My whiteboard isn’t much more than a giant sticker, by the way: adhesive whiteboard paper from the store around the corner and some dry-erase markers. I pasted it to my closet doors, one side I use for my calendar and agenda, the other side I use for whatever else. Currently, the second side is my planner board; it has a lengthy bullet list of content to work on, where I left off with which and what I need to do next. That takes me to this next bit…

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Caption: I really like the perspective in this picture…

Inspired Hiatus

I think it would be best to take a short break. Nothing major, probably not even a full month, but I won’t dismiss the idea either. There are mainly two things that played into this decision:

  • Of course, I mentioned I have a ton of content I’m working on. Some of it will probably take only a couple hours, but some of it involves more effort over longer periods of times. I was thinking, “why not just publish as you go?” And in case you were thinking the same, I’m sure that wouldn’t be best. I want to start to develop more of a schedule or time frame with my content. Whatever scheduling I choose may not take immediate affect, but this will give me time to feel out what is best for the future.
  • Arguably, the biggest factor would be that I am still in school. The semester ends in the second week of December and I want to make sure to finish out with the same good momentum I’ve been having up to now. Anyone who’s close to me knows I was never the greatest, most scholarly student but my grades this semester do not support that notion at all. And I want to try and keep it that way. I want be able to turn in homework earlier than the day it’s due and still have stress-free downtime. Of course, that’s not to say I substitute study time with working on content; but I want to give myself fewer obligations so I have little excuses.

In my head, I’ll probably be back to posting around the beginning of December, it depends on how much I have ready and available. It honestly feels weird saying that I’ll be on hiatus for a little. The last time I was, it wasn’t a decision I voluntarily made. Maybe this is something like a stepping stone or whatever cliche metaphor for “growing up”.

I think I hit all of the main points I wanted to mention… oh! All of the pictures in this post were taken Tuesday. My dad and I went for a little drive and we saw this one scene that we had to stop and take pictures. I have a strange obsession with taking pictures of flora, perhaps because they cooperate better than people as models. Other than my photography shenanigans, I think that’s all to talk about. If I do post amid the hiatus, it’ll probably just be pictures and quotes, nothing too lengthy. Until then, I hope you look forward to my work.

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What kind of content would you like to see from me?

An Award Nomination???

Here I am, relaxing in the calm of my room, searching for new music to download. I click over to check my emails and see that “I need to moderate a comment”. So I click over to check my blog, thinking it was something normal like a “great post” or some type of spam.

But instead, it was this:

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I am more than flattered to be nominated for this award; the honest truth is that I didn’t know I was deserving of any kind of award. Nonetheless, I am thankful to receive and accept it. I was nominated by the wonderful mind that runs Pursuit of Natural. While this blog has posts that mostly discuss various topics about natural hair and anything related, she has more talent than just writing. Many of the graphics included in her post are designs of her own, another talent that I think everyone should know of. Her Instagram features more of her work as well: PoN’s Instagram.

PoN’s Questions:

How long have you been blogging?

This blog site in particular is a little more than a year old. I had an older site before this one which was eventually deleted because I believed I wouldn’t use it. However, I found myself resorting to another blog forum, Tumblr, where I created different pages for different things. One I usually posted more inspirational or poetic material, another was related specifically to writing, and, more recently, I created a page where I would document my hair journey. However, the one post that truly kicked off this blog was a response to a friend’s Facebook Live video (read that post here). The empowering feeling of being able to present my ideas unlimited and in my own way pushed me to make blogging a habit. Now, I use blogging as another means of practicing my writing while also networking with the world and putting my voice into the universe.

How much of your offline life is reflected on your blog?

I’d say a good 50% – 75%. A part of the reason I post to this blog is to share a part of me that I may not have the perfect venue to do so, but in a more appealing way. While some may prefer to talk only about things like clothing hauls or beauty, I prefer to be a little more realistic and allow my audience to see me in a more personable light. While I do share cool things I may do, I also want people to know where my head is at sometimes because, though I may be entertaining, I am in fact human.

What often keeps you from hitting publish on a blog post?

Nothing keeps me from hitting publish on a blog post, but judgment can sometimes lead me to delete a post before I can even save the draft. I can remember posts that I thought would make great content that I had second thoughts on and instead kept to myself. I can also remember old posts I did publish but later deleted. I have this fear that sometimes I may publish something that may be slightly less neutral than I prefer and may cause controversy. Luckily, I am slowly overcoming that fear.

Do you have any pets?

Currently, I do not. But I did have a cat before my family and I moved. His name was Guernsey, like that cow, because of the large coat of black with spots of white his fur coat had. He was a stubborn, independent thing that was only nice to you when he was hungry, but I loved him regardless.

Name something or someone that is good at making you laugh.

This is the question that sort exposes another side of me. In reality, I am a rather… wacky person. I am silly, goofy, excitable, and I love fun and thrill. I am simple-minded and will laugh at the way a pen hitting the floor sounds. So it’s truly difficult to pinpoint one person or thing that humors me, but in so many words: friends and memes.

My Nominee:

While I may not check in on my blog and others as often as some, I definitely am always happy to find a new post by Melissa over at Meleey XO. I’m not even sure how I first came across this blog but I am glad I did. Melissa typically posts about music related things like concert experiences and album reviews, while also keeping the realism and discussing more personal topics when needed.

So, here are some questions for you:

  1. What made you decide to start blogging?
  2. What is your favorite thing about concerts and music?
  3. What is your favorite genre of music and why?
  4. Is there any genre of music you want to start listening to?

Be sure to check out both of the blogs I mentioned and stay tuned for more content from me as well. I typically share blog updates to my Twitter, which linked at the top of the page with the rest of my social links.