Introducing a New Blog Series

As I’ve mentioned before, things are changing here on anotherhartmanauthor. Blog series have finished, so it’s time to begin a few new ones and see how they go. Today’s short little ditty is all about the next idea: My Last Five Books.

I’m still figuring out how I’m going to do my book reviews, so I thought why not do dedicated-to-one-book posts, as well as highlight the last five books I read in a “speed review” type post? That way, yinz can see just how many books I’ve been reading, as well as all the genres I’m reading in one place, once a month.

My Last Five Books will, of course, be different from the On My Bookshelf pages. Those are just running lists of what I’ve read throughout the year. While it’s certainly been fun maintaining that section, I have to reevaluate that as well. Though it has helped me to not buy the same books over and over again…hm…

Moving on:

So I hope yinz like this new idea. Current problem: I started building the first post and I’ve read at least six more books since opening that draft. Heck, it’s only June and I’ve already read 90/100 books (and then some). Keep your eyes peeled for the first My Last Five Books coming within the next few weeks!


Five (but really six) Books I Bought Today.

Money is super tight these days, so nobody, not even you. Not myself. Should feel bad about where we buy our books. At one point in time, the only two places I could afford new reading materials was at Goodwill, and scrounging through the “used” book sellers on Amazon. I still check out the used books sections for much of my nonfiction (let’s face it – those biographies can get EXPENsive. Especially if you want a well written one).

For the past two weeks I’ve been working overnights. I can’t fully complain, though, because I signed up to help with inventory prep. Not only that, but I’ve been trying (keyword: trying) to save my money for my vacation that’s coming up in two weeks. But I needed an evening out on my day off, so I took a trip to that place we all love to hate (or hate to love), Half-Price Books.

Disclaimer: Not all prices listed may be the same for you, or even me. Some were taken from the back of the book and don’t match the prices listed via the Amazon link. Also a disclaimer: I’m just sharing the links in case you’d like to purchase them for yourselves. I do not make any money if you decide to do so.

So, all that aside, here are the five books I bought today (6.12.2021) from Half-Price Books.

Price: 9.99
I paid: 8.48

Why I Picked This Up

Not only have I recently gotten into Scottish history, but I’ve been rewatching a television show from The CW called Reign. Now I know many MANY writers dislike this particular series for a multitude of reasons, but I enjoyed it because it was different from other shows that were airing at the same time.

And, I mean, Reign had Megan Follows (um, the original and BEST Anne Shirley. Fight me) and many characters you loved to hate. It was all political intrigue, crazy situations and mysticism with Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth of England and those affected by them.

All the weirdness aside, I gotta commend The CW for at least trying to bring history to a younger audience. I’ll admit that I totally had a thing for Bash (aka Sebastian). Give me Francis as my brother, Bash as my lover. Erm…moving on! Because one of my historical interests now lies with Scotland, its past and current history (for a potential WIP), I knew I had to add this to my nonfiction collection.

Price: 6.31
I paid: 3.00

Why I Picked This Up

I went for this book like a moth goes to a flame. There was my company’s logo, front and center on the bottom shelf of the clearance section. There’s a story behind this particular purchase. Two of my managers were up near my register at work looking for these books. I hadn’t seen them since I was a child, nor in the three years I’ve worked for THD.

As soon as I saw this I knew right then I needed to purchase this. Not just for myself (as I’ve recently gotten into a little bit of gardening), but it was definitely a “this is so funny” moment for me right there in the bookstore. It’s already on his desk with a note; I hope he gets a kick out of it. I just hope he doesn’t decide to keep it for himself!

Price: 6.96 (via Amazon)
I paid: 3.00

Why I Picked This Up

Early on in my writing journey I handwrote all my historical research. People thought I was crazy. In my defense, I didn’t have a good working computer at my disposal back in 2016. Those particular notebooks are now living in my hope chest.

I really like the idea of having all my research close to my fingertips. I can still see what I’ve scratched out, written in the margins, and easily question my thought process for looking up particular pieces of information.

This book really was an impulse buy. I’m not certain if it’s written for the casual writer or someone more involved in academia. What better way to find out than to buy it and crack it open some night I cannot sleep? I’ll gladly digest any nonfiction book that’s touts itself as guide for research and resources.

Price: 16.99
I paid: 3.00

Why I Picked This Up

The only people who need not buy this cookbook are those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from lactose intolerance, and I truly feel bad for them. Because who doesn’t love a really good grilled cheese sandwich?

Price: 24.98
I paid: 3.00

Why I Picked This Up

In an effort to, well, eat better, the title of this cookbook drew me in right away. I didn’t even have to think twice about it. Quite honestly, that’s really all the explanation this particular entry needs. Healthy body, healthy life – or so they say!

Price: 19.99
I paid: 3.00

Why I Picked This Up

Who doesn’t have a weird obsession with cookbooks? They’re one of my fastest rotating nonfiction sections, as my, well, my taste in food changes quite frequently. Every few years I also fancy myself a baker.

Not much comes, successfully, from my baking efforts. I’m still drawn to cookbooks, and this one was no exception! In fact, I may not have a fondue pot, but I’ve got at least four fondue cookbooks. I may not cook a lot of meat (meat is expensive), but I’ve got at least three meat related cookbooks. Need I go on?

I also picked up this particular cookbook in preparation for some changes coming soon to this site!

Trust me. I get it. Many of us online are networking and writing and blogging and really want to support each other directly rather than through third party sellers. Honestly? I’d be tickled pink to find any book I may write sold, well, anywhere. Ending up in a bookstore is still a big deal. The savings today ended up being a big deal as well. My grand total: $25.12. If I’d purchased all these books at their full retail value, I would’ve spent that amount for just THE ULTIMATE HEALTHY EATING COOKBOOK by itself.


Change is Coming

There are many types of bloggers out here on the interwebs, and I’m still finding my footing. Even after all these years of blogging, writing, and blogging about writing. I used to think I wanted to, one day, become a published writer, but I’ve come to understand something about myself: I’m really not all that disciplined to do so.

As I’ve got multiple failed attempts under my belt – from Project Firedamp in 2016 to Project Star and Sea most recently in 2020 – publication is no longer a viable path for me. I’ve failed at so many short story attempts it’s not even funny. I’ve failed at consistently posting web story series. I’ve failed at completing any manuscript on my hard drive.

Because of this decision, my website will undergo a transformation. Let me go ahead and answer a few questions you may already have: yes, I’ll still be reading. Yes, I’ll still blog about life, books, history, and writing stuff. No, I’m not disappearing for good. Things are just…changing. And never before would I have personally accepted or attempted this change if I didn’t feel it was a good direction to go in.

Now, mind you, I’m no expert in reviewing books. I’ve tried doing them on my site in the past, but I realized, very quickly, that I was only reviewing books that disappointed me. How biased is that? So I’ll be taking another look at how I’ll do so moving forward. I’m also going to try expanding my reading habits, though I know I’ll always revert back to my favorite genres.

Look for changes in the coming days, weeks, months, years. Because change is coming to anotherhartmanauthor.com. Including this site’s link. Authorship may no longer be my goal in life, but if I can help others achieve their dreams, then why not use this visibility to do so?


Why I Don’t Write (All That Much) On Sundays

“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, source

“Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.”

Marilynne Robinson, source

“Happiness is a hot bath on a Sunday afternoon.”

A.D. Posey, source

“Sunday is a time when you sit back and reflect on all the blessings that you have received. Smile at all the good things that you are enjoying.”

Sera Train, source

An aesthetic I created for my WIP, Project Star and Sea

Sundays. Love ’em or hate ’em, we get them once a week. Like clockwork. Sundays have never been days off for me. Throughout childhood and into adulthood, my family and I have attended church and many a family event on Sundays. I tried having half day availability for work to include Sundays, but it became just too much to handle. So I know, for sure, that I’ll always always have Sundays off work.

Even though I mentioned family events and church, Sundays truly are the one day I have to myself for whatever I want to do. Yard work? Housework? Laundry? Yes, please, to all that and more! The one thing I’ve decided, however, is that I don’t really want to write on Sundays.

Does that sound weird to you? It kind of does to me. Let me explain my logic.

While I have been known to whip out a notebook or even my laptop in the sound booth at church (I run the sound board, and there’s not much to do while the minister’s speaking), I’ve found that I really can’t form a coherent thought when it comes to my manuscript. So Sundays are now reserved for everything BUT writing.

Honestly? I’m really happy with this decision. In many more ways than one, writing is work. Don’t deny it. You know that’s true. When I’m at work, I’m pulled in twenty different directions, and my brain is constantly thinking about my WIP. The mind itself needs a day of rest, not just one’s body. What do I do on Sundays, now that I don’t work on my WIPs?

1. Clean (trash day in my neighborhood is on Tuesday)
2. Laundry (I often wash my fabric masks this day)
3. Cook/Dishes (mass prep for meals for work)
4. Research (gotta continue learning stuffs for science fantasy)
5. Spend time with family
6. Organize (declutter declutter declutter!)

And so much more!

You know how there are all these popular blogs on how to schedule your writing time, or how to prioritize your work space to prevent procrastination, etc.? Well, this is one of my ways to keep my mind productive on a “writing day off.” If I can do it, so can you.

TL;DR – It’s perfectly okay to take a “writing day off.” Trust me – your brain will thank you for it!


Prioritizing My, Well, My Priorities

If you’ve read my blog for a long time, you’ll know this site has gone through several shifts in terms of content output, content type, and so on. It’s always, always had something to do with writing, and the lessons I’m continuously learning on my journey to publication.

Earlier this week I updated you all on Why I Will No Longer Blog About Star Trek, and my thoughts have, surprisingly, been very well received. I didn’t know there were others who felt the same way. I know – I can FEEL – that all these new changes are directly related to the post before that, Burnout // It’s Real, Y’all. All these thoughts on change began long before that with a post from a few months ago, The Social Media Conundrum.

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I’m slow to make decisions on anything in my life, and becoming a writer and doing writer things decisions did not escape that trend. I outlined my reasons for no longer blogging about Star Trek in Tuesday’s post, and that change dramatically freed my mind almost overnight. It’s strange – no longer having something constantly on my mind like that.

So I wondered – what other changes can I make to assist my writing habits? (or lack thereof) I took a moment this morning to browse old blog posts, and The Social Media Conundrum popped up. Huh – social media. That’s a whole other beast to deal with, if you even want to deal with it. Over a year ago I liberated myself from Facebook. I do, however, still have Twitter and Instagram. And, not ten minutes ago, I deleted my tiny Reddit and Pinterest accounts.

Can you imagine having an account for every social platform available? There are literally not enough hours in the day to browse/interact/post, then work your “real life” job. Then try to sit down and concentrate on your writing. It’s not gonna happen. Just thinking about having more than two social media accounts really stresses me out.

I’m a simple girl.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know social media’s dramatically changed the publishing world. Apparently publishers like seeing numbers on SM accounts. In my humble opinion, if that’s the end-all-be-all deciding factor for a publisher agreeing to sign on a new author, then that publisher isn’t worth it.

Don’t let your desire to be publish be clouded by what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing. You’re not signing your life over to them. It should be an equal partnership. Of course, this is me: not published. I hope, however, that I can always hold true to this statement. Someone please point me back to this post if I get a big ego, okay?

What was I talking about? Oh yes. Priorities.

This week alone I finally, FINALLY wrote over 6,000 words for Project Star and Sea. I haven’t seen that many words since my very first novella attempt and lost steam after that. Resetting my priorities with finally dismissing Star Trek and two forms of social media have helped immensely. Y’all – if I can do that, anyone absolutely can.

I’m looking forward to a summer of productivity and, who knows? Maybe I’ll actually complete a first draft for once!


Why I Will No Longer Blog About Star Trek

Longevity. This is what online content creators look for when they work to update their platform. Many bloggers, myself included, want to put out content that will hook you, the reader, and keep you coming back for more. Longevity is also one of the many legacies the Star Trek franchise has managed to maintain since the first episode ever aired in 1969. I mention longevity because my posts on Star Trek have been some of my most popular, statistically, ever.

Longevity. I’ve been a fan of Star Trek for a very long time. For as long as I can remember, Wednesday nights (and sometimes Friday nights) were always, always reserved for Star Trek until the early 2000s. Growing up, I’d geek out when I recognized actors, or their voice acting, in other shows. Several years ago I met Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton (I cried. It was embarrassing). And, even more recently, I used to religiously listen to The Delta Flyers’ podcast with Voyager actors Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeil.

When I was in college I wrote an entire speech about why Trek is still relevant in today’s world. To this day I wish I’d kept a copy of it but, alas, it is nowhere to be found. My family and I used to hurry home from Wednesday night events at church (band practice + youth group) just so we could have our Star Trek tradition. There was no such thing as a DVR when I was a kid.

Pair all of the above with a budding writer’s love for writing, and you’ve got a teenager who’d sit at her family’s computer writing Star Trek fan fiction before she even knew that was a thing (here’s my first ever, poorly written blog post on the matter). Fast forward to 2021. I am now 35 going on 36 and, I really hate saying this, but Star Trek has, within recent years, lost its magic with me. Not only that, but I can precisely pinpoint when it happened. Maybe not to the date, but definitely the reason to make me rethink my love for the franchise.

Reason One. When the first rumbles of Star Trek: Picard began, oh I was so excited to once again indulge in some Prime Time television! Yay! Perhaps it would be a little revival of my childhood. Having Trek back on the air, in a traditional sense, would’ve totally rekindled my interest in a network – any network, really – again. Sadly, that’s not the route CBS intended to go.

Star Trek: Picard premiered on what was once known as CBS All Access (now Paramount+), and you had to pay extra money just to watch it. To this day I am still salty its producers didn’t even give it a chance, initially, on the network itself. I think they finally showed the first episode “on air” after Picard’s original run. But at the time I didn’t have internet. And I know there are many older Trek fans who don’t have reliable access to the internet either.

Now before you judge me too harshly for that first reason, I do have a few more reasons for becoming disenchanted with said franchise. Reason Two: some controversial opinions from the actors themselves.

I get it – we’re all humans. We want to meet our favorite actors. We want to indulge an escape from the real world for a little bit. But sometimes “meeting” your, for lack of a better term, “idol” online in a way can really pull away that veil. Especially if they’re actually nothing like the character they portrayed in your favorite show.

Finally, it’s time for Reason Three: Star Trek was once akin to my own identity. It no longer defines who I am. How many hours of my teen years did I spend obsessing over characters or shows? How many times can one person watch every season before it becomes stale? How many times can one dream over the impossible “what if’s” of meeting an entire crew of actors at once? All those things combined made me rethink who I really was. Rather, who I really am.

Somewhere along the line, I lost interest in other things. I lost myself to fandom during the process of growing up. We humans have an innate tendency to latch onto whatever makes us happy. The thing is, Star Trek isn’t eternal. Kpop (another past interest) isn’t eternal. We are not eternal.

What are, what should be, my actual priorities? Faith. Family. Writing. Health. I found myself missing out on these aspects of life; I never taught myself how to properly balance many aspects of myself. Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, we all lost a little bit of ourselves last year. And I know I’m not the only one whose realized it’s time to grow up.

Is Star Trek a lifestyle? Perhaps it is for some. But who are you really if that’s what you live and breathe? How far can you become so wrapped up into a franchise that you no longer who you are? As I grow older, I’m finding that I really want more out of life. I need to do things in the here and now.

I’ve wasted so much time.
Not anymore.

What do I want? I still want to, someday, become a published author. I’m tired of being known for my procrastination. I’m tired of being disappointed in my own laziness when I’ve got only myself to take care of.

So while I feel I can no longer call myself a fan of Star Trek, I can still appreciate it for the joys and lessons it’s brought me over the years (heck I’m currently working on a science fantasy manuscript). Will I still throw on an episode or two in the future for background noise? Most likely. But I will no longer write on anything Trek.

TL;DR – It is perfectly normal and acceptable to be passionate about what you love. My own passions and loves have merely realigned.


Burnout // It’s Real, Y’all

Online content moves at a pace akin to Star Trek’s “warp speed,” and probably even faster than that. That’s what content posting was like on this website for several months. Until it stopped cold. Today’s post is all about why that happened.

Just as with any creative outlet, blogging is its own beast. Any content creator can experience burnout (or insert-here-whatever-adjective-you’d-like-to-use to describe such a thing here), and that’s precisely what hit me a few weeks ago.

I was utterly, completely, equivalently burnt out. I saw the return – you guys really liked my voice! – and that encouraged me to compose several posts a week. Not only that, but I could barely keep up with all the random topic ideas which would crop up in the middle of the night.

My heart, however, just wasn’t in it this month. Every time I sat down to write something, anything, for this site, I’d move it to the trash bin a day later. Was I done blogging for good? Don’t get me wrong – I still love creating content!

We humans love to see things happen in real time. And it’s super satisfying watching stats, seeing the clicks and knowing I’ve somehow contributed something of value to our writing and reading communities.

However, at what point does that become selfish motivation? That, my friends, is the biggest reason I took some time for reflection. There’s no way I’ll ever win accolades with the writing presented on this forum.

Sure, it would be exciting to be featured in a NYT post, or a magazine, or on someone else’s blog. Let’s face the facts: I’m not even published yet. And that’s the second reason I took time off. I’m never going to finish any novel if all I’m doing is pumping out three blog posts a week every week.

And finally, here’s the third reason I haven’t blogged this month: I’ve found myself changing on the inside. I’m not the same person I was six months ago. I no longer love Star Trek (so, while I’m proud of the ones I’ve written, I’ll not be adding any more to that topic), I’m no longer enamored with k-pop, and I’m exploring who I am as an adult.

What do I want? Is this really how I want to live the rest of my life? How do I live more like Jesus taught us? (and I’ve never, ever said something like that in a blog post before). How do I show that love to others? How can I live it both online and at my full time job?

I suppose it wasn’t exactly burn out with JUST the blog. I burned out with life. And how I’ve been living up to this point. What does this mean for the future of this site?

It means things will slow down.
It means things will be done in a (hopefully) more thoughtful manner.
It means I’m reassessing my own writing and what I want to accomplish.

As in actually accomplish.

Not just wishfully accomplishing in my mind.

YES – blogging will still happen! YES – writing will still happen! YES – author interviews will still happen! However different it may be, I hope you’ll stick around.

Have a fantastic upcoming weekend, everyone. Please don’t be afraid to leave a comment. I could really use the encouragement.


Four More YouTube Channels I Watch When I Should Be Writing

Tastes. Sometimes something we love sticks with us for our entire life, and sometimes it was a fleeting favorite for a month or two. That’s how I feel about whose content I choose to watch on YouTube.

YouTube is a beast of a platform, in case you didn’t already know that. I don’t even want to think of how many content creators use it, and how many of them consistently, constantly vie for our attentions.

In the last YouTube related blog post I put up on this site, I mentioned how proud I was for no longer watching television. Well…I recently “inherited” my parent’s old television. It’s now wall mounted over my bookshelves. I am, however, proudly keeping to the “tv is only for the weekends” rule I imposed on myself. I have yet to impose a “YouTube only on *insert day here*” limit. Maybe I should do that…

Let’s circle back to that changing tastes topic of discussion. I looked back on my previous two YouTube posts: What I Watch When I’m Not Writing from August 2020, and January 2021’s addition, Six YouTube Channels I Watch When I Should Be Writing. I’d like to amend here who I no longer watch from those posts: Jessica Braun, Binging with Babish, Time Team, and nyangsoop. That doesn’t mean at all you can’t still give them a try. Those channels have been replaced with the following:

The History Channel

LIFE AFTER PEOPLE and HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE. Let’s just say that these videos have given me WAY TOO MANY ideAS for my new work-in-progress! Seriously. If you’re ever stumped for something in your own WIP, try watching something from The History Channel.

What’s actually amazing about it is they’ve got full episodes up. Some shows they’ve only got clips, or something informational about them. But, with LIFE AFTER PEOPLE and HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE, they’re completely full. And, if you’ve got an ad-blocker installed on your device, viewing them is such a joy!


Tara Michelle

I found Tara’s videos last year through her “living in LA” vlogs (though she doesn’t actually call them that. Sometimes it’s hard to relate (me, a 35 yr old living in Pittsburgh. her, a 26 yr old who recently moved from LA back to Toronto), so I don’t always watch each and every blog. Especially since she doesn’t always disclose when a video’s been sponsored by a company.

However, it’s been quite interesting watching how she’s adjusted to life back in Canada, and now she’s working on remodeling her own place (jealous). She’s definitely much more adjusted and down to earth than many younger YouTubers, which I think is what keeps me watching. I appreciate how she appreciates those who are interested in her journey.


Imamu room

Imamu and her family are from Japan who now reside in Canada. (Yes, another Canadian content creator! Score Two for the Canadians). I really like watching her cooking videos. Her recipes swing between traditional Japanese cuisine and East meets West.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always taken a long time when it comes to preparing ingredients for my own meals. I really appreciate Imamu’s gusto when cooking. She’s not afraid to get “down and dirty” when it comes to preparation and multitasking in the kitchen. I hope to, one day, be as confident as she is!


Rachel & Jun’s Adventures

Honestly? I go back and forth with this channel (group of channels). I found them several years ago while I still loved learning about Japanese culture, j-pop, and traditions. I think my interest in such things died down around the same time I stopped investing so much time into Korean pop music. I know, I know. Two different countries. Two different peoples. But there is a direct correlation to my college days with both of them. Sometimes I still watch them. Sometimes I don’t.

Jun’s Kitchen is still an immensely popular channel, though he doesn’t post as frequently as, say, Binging with Babish. However, several videos of his have gone viral. Currently, Jun and his wife, Texan-born Rachel, are in the midst of building their own house. So I am thoroughly enjoying that content. If you like cats, learning about the intricacies of navigating a multi-cultural relationship, and traveling around Japan (during non-COVID times), then I definitely suggest giving Rachel & Jun’s Adventures a try!


To borrow some advice from my last post as well: I suppose another reason I wanted to share these channels is to remind you that you don’t always need to be writing. It’s perfectly okay, normal, and natural to take a break. In fact, breaks are necessary for your mental health.

Don’t be afraid to indulge in a favorite YouTube channel from time to time. They’re a great stress relievers and help free up those neurons so they can help you plan out your next great scene.

Also, it’s okay if you no longer are interested in content from certain channels. Especially if said individuals do or say something you don’t agree with. Chances are, they don’t even know who you are. But, as they say, old habits die hard.

Like procrastination.

Leigh = procrastinator for life (?)

So go. Watch something you love, but don’t forget your passion!


Six YouTube Channels I Watch When I Should Be Writing

April: 2020. I unplugged my television. Hopefully for the last time. I was tired of commercials, tired of the news, and tired of politics. Not only that, but I never had a smart tv, or good internet. So buying one just to watch YouTube or stream seemed pointless.

I’m four months shy of one year without television. Not only did I banish my television to the basement, but I cancelled Netflix and removed the app from my phone, and cancelled both CBS All Access and Disney+. Don’t ask me what that green guy’s oh-so-mysterious name’s supposed to be from that one Star Wars show. Don’t know, don’t care.

As a result, what began as a one month experiment to see if I could do it has resulted in a much happier existence. I really do suggest you give it a try.

However, every once in a while I crave some mindless entertainment. While I’ve read down my TBR book pile and bought even more than I can handle in a year, I needed to add back in a healthy mix of other kinds of media.

As such, ere’s what I watch when I’m not writing.

Or trying to write.

Or practicing deep procrastination from writing!

This post is an update to last August’s blog post, What I Watch When I’m Not Writing.

Aaron and Claire

Don’t worry if you don’t speak Korean! Aaron and Claire have you covered! Aaron’s mission: to make Korean cuisine easily accessible at home, even if you aren’t in Korea. Claire’s mission: to taste test everything Aaron makes.

I’d gladly swap places with Claire!

So if you’re looking for something different, and some different recipes to try, might I suggest these two? They’re refreshingly active on both YouTube and Instagram, so hop on over and have a watch!

emkfit

I mostly included this one to remind myself to actually follow one of her routines. And someday soon. I first heard of emkfit from the lifestyle channel, Jessica Braun.

I’ve been meaning to find something to do at home, and something that’s low impact for my knees. What I appreciate about this channel is she offers options to save your knees, which I really like. Maybe I’ll start on Monday? 🤔

Time Team

Feeling the need to learn something new? I always do! Last summer, right before my birthday, I became addicted to watching reruns (are they even considered “reruns” if you can find their videos on YouTube?) of the long-running, but long-since-ended BBC television show, Time Team.

If you’re into quirk, geology, archaeology, ancient and more recent history, then I suggest you watch a few episodes of Time Team. They’ve recently begun uploading past episodes to the new channel, Time Team Classics. Their digs also cover a whole lot of ground, searching for anything ranging from Neolithic to Roman to World War II Great Britain.

planD플랜디

I absolutely love how calming her videos are. She hails from South Korea, cooks mostly Korean recipes, sews, and loves cafes.

Have I mentioned I love how soothing her filming style is? When lockdown started last year, that’s when I found her. It’s a refreshing change from the fast-paced American style vlogs.

냥숲nyangsoop

This channel is similar to the above but with more earthy tones and an adorable cat named Taco. She gardens, cooks and tries to live off the land as naturally as she can. She cooks a few more Western style dishes, but she’s just as calming and posts only once a week.

Peter Monn

Need a little, or a lot, of whimsy? Personality? Look no further than Peter Monn. He’s got six channels, including ones about books, but I prefer his drama channel. Where else am I supposed to “get the tea” if I don’t watch the Kardashians or Real Housewives?

Now Peter’s had a lot of channel, as well as personal, growth over the past few years. We’re all learning, right? But I live his honesty and willingness to speak his mind. And the fact that he watches the language he uses as well. If you like knowing about drama that’s all about the YouTube community, then give Peter a watch.


I suppose another reason I wanted to share these channels is to remind you that you don’t always need to be writing. It’s perfectly okay, normal, and natural to take a break. In fact, breaks are necessary for your mental health.

Don’t be afraid to indulge in a favorite YouTube channel from time to time. They’re a great stress relievers and help free up those neurons so they can help you plan out your next great scene.


What I Bought From the Kawaii Pen Shop.

A couple of months ago I put up a post titled Seven Online Stationary Shops I Need to Buy From ASAP.

The lessons learned during this particular experience were many, though it should’ve been a simpler process.

Before we get into all that, let’s take a look at what I purchased. I had a difficult time sifting through the site’s offerings, so I made a mental note: only buy a little, at first. $46 + some change later, here’s what I chose.

Kawaii Pendant Gel Ink Pen. The charm’s what drew me to this piece. It reminded me of the Japanese manga Sailor Moon. A loose reminder, but a reminder nonetheless. After owning this pen for two weeks it stopped writing. Not only that, it stopped writing and leaked a big puddle onto my desk. Price: $2.59 + one desk.

Kawaii Pendant Gel Ink Pen
Gel Ink Stain on my desk…

Sweet Pocky Pens

Sweet Pocky Pens. If you’re unfamiliar with this sweet, Pocky is a stick shaped biscuit treat first developed in 1971 Japan. Since its inception many versions of the chocolate covered treat have hit the market and can now be found in many popular North American retailers. So I really liked the look of these pens, and have to remind myself to not take a bite out of them! While they’re aesthetically pleasing, I’ve yet to find a good way to hold them. However, I do appreciate the fact the pens’ manufacturer flattened one side of it so the design would always face up. Price for two: $4.98.

My Neighbor Totoro Gel Ink Pen. As much as I adore Studio Ghibli, I did not like this pen. The Totoro top is a thin, rubbery piece of felt, and it stopped writing just like the pendant pen. I’m just grateful it didn’t also leak all over my desk. Price: $2.39.

Japanese Pattern Washi Tapes

KOKUYO Dot Liner Applicator + Bear Hug Correction Tape. When I’ve the time for it, I love crafting. Making cards, stationary pages and more. I really like how the dot liner is re-loadable. Most American versions of double-sided tape dispensers are one time use tools. This brings me to the correction tape applicator. Its adorable design made me buy it. I didn’t need it, but I wanted it. Dot Liner: $3.99. Bear Hug: $2.99.

Macaron Galaxy, Japanese Patterns, and Slim Washi Tapes. So far, these items are the only things to perform as they should. The Japanese Patterns tapes were a bit tricky to use as the sticky side is adhered to paper rather than just the other side of the roll. The stars tapes, both the gold and aqua silver rolls, are gorgeous. Price for all washi tapes: $17.47

Totoro Plastic “Stickers” and Thin Washi Tapes

Kawaii Totoro Plastic Stickers and Kanahei Bunny Stickers. As a kid I was a sucker for stickers. Even now, if I see cute stickers, I have to at least drool over them before convincing myself I really don’t need a sticker collection. I’m glad I picked up the bunny stickers – my seven year old niece will love them. But the Totoros? They’re not stickers at all. Plastic, yes. But there’s nothing sticky about them. They’re merely plastic cut outs of the characters, and I can still use the Dot Liner to apply them to my next letter. Price of Totoro “stickers:” $3.99. Price of bunny stickers: $3.59.


I placed my order on July 31st, they acknowledged it June 1st, and shipped it June 2nd. When did the package actually arrive? August 4th. It took two months to receive it. I’m most mad at myself because I knew, before deciding to place an order, that they’re based out of Hong Kong. The day it appeared in my mailbox I was going to file a dispute for the transaction to get my money back. Moral of the story: Never shop online during a pandemic unless what you’re shopping for is absolutely necessary.

Was this purchase worth the money? I’m sorry to say, but no. Some of it wasn’t worth the money nor the time it took to arrive. Just because something’s labeled “kawaii,” that doesn’t mean it’s reliable or practical. The experience only confirmed what I needed it to: online shopping isn’t everything. Do I trust the Kawaii Pen Shop? Nothing’s happened to my bank account since then, so I trust them for that. What I do not trust the quality of their products. Still, if you’d like to check them out for yourself, here are their links: