A week ago today my beautiful and wonderful Fluffy passed away after a few weeks’ sickness. This guinea pig was not just a silly old guinea pig; she was my first true pet, and she was a good one. Over the years I watched as people screamed at her (thinking she was a rat), held her like a baby (thinking she was the cutest thing alive), and overall saying, time and time again: “How fat is this thing?” The answer to that question… Huge!
We got this sweet pig in the summer of 2014 before my junior year of high school. During my last two years of high school, Fluff was an incredible therapeutic almost-stuffed animal who would squeak as I held her and did my homework. She was incredibly docile in those years, even when my sister and I fought over who would hold her and “exercise” her.
When I went off to college, I missed Fluff a lot (though never as much as friends and family. I’m a proud pet owner, but not a ridiculous pet owner hehe). But she was always there when I came home, squeaking when I entered the room to ask for a veggie snack. While some things feel like they will never change, they do, because now whenever I walk into the house, I’m greeted with silence, although sometimes I swear I can still hear her squeaking for food.
Fluff was a great pet. She taught me responsibility (cleaning a pet’s cage every week is not the best part of being a pig owner) and care. There’s something about holding a pig to your heart every day that turns you into mush, even if you think: “Who would ever have a guinea pig?” Trust me. I was one of those people. (Fluff was supposed to be my sister’s pet. Plot twist…)
But she also taught me a lesson. That just because you think someone will be there forever… Doesn’t mean it will work out that way. Yes, Fluff was only a guinea pig. But after her death, my sister broke by heart when she said: “Katie, if this is what’s it like when we lose Fluff, what’s it going to be like when we lose Mom and Dad?”
We don’t have to worry about that for a long time. But I do want to make it clear that we don’t have forever on this planet. So make sure you hold your loved ones a little longer tonight. If you have a pet, hold him or her a little tighter. ❤
Rest in peace, my little piggy, mi cariña, the pig who was the size of a mountain, my dear Fluffy. You will be missed. ❤
Welcome to a surprise Tuesday post. Much love and gratitude to Tamara Yoncosky, a fantastic blogger and writer, who nominated me for this award. It is moments like these when I remember and cherish each and every one of you who reads this blog. ❤ And in the meantime, please go check out Tamara’s lovely posts at her website here.
It doesn’t seem like this blog started three years ago. I feel like I just started writing, but that’s not exactly true. In 2017 I was a young student on a plane that jetted me from the United States to Argentina. An aunt suggested I write a travel blog to commemorate my time abroad, and so I began this blog as a testament to her good idea. Not only did I fail miserably at keeping up Katie Kay! during this time, but I barely wrote anything at all.
It wasn’t until 2018 when I began to write this blog in earnest, and from there it took off. Since 2018 I have found myself indebted to you all, all over this globe, and that is why I am humbled to receive an award like this. In Tamara’s post recognizing outstanding bloggers, she wrote that my blog is “du coeur,” which translates to of the heart. This instantly uplifted my soul, and I hope and pray that my blog will uplift you as well, even if for a second.
For those of you just started your blog or are in this for the long haul, I want to give you two pieces of advice. Firstly, invest in others’ blogs. Yes, you have a quality voice, one that needs to be heard. But you’re also asking your audience to read your material. So why not return the same favor to others? Please read, comment, and listen to those who also want to share their stories. Secondly, understand that you must invest in your audience. Remember that you are writing to those all around the world, and they want your material to be quality material. They want to read your true opinions, or they wouldn’t take the time to actually read your blog. So write from the heart, but keep in mind that you want to write things that are valuable.
Now, for my my favorite part: Recommending other bloggers for this award!
Dear writer who promotes a positive outlook on life!
To those nominated… Please write a response to each listed below. If you’d like, of course. 🙂
Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their bio.
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
Comment on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created.
Thank you all for reading this. Even if I did not “recommend” you in this post, please know I enjoy reading every single one of your blogs, and I think each and every one of you is a fantastic writer with incredible potential and opportunity. Your voice will be heard by many. Just keep writing!
It’s that time of the week again… Another post from yours truly! Since we’re headed into the magnificent year 2020 in just two days, I thought it would be amazing to follow up 2019’s resolutions post, which you can check out here.
While we go through some of my dreams for 2020, I want you to consider your own. Maybe jot down a few, say them out loud, or commit them to memory. Do whatever you have to do, but I want you to think of some as well, okay? Thank you!
1. Learn to play the guitar
Well, this is actually very similar to one of my 2019 goals of learning to play the ukulele! While I have learned to play my trusty uke, I’m ready to upgrade to a guitar. For those of you who play this instrument, what are some recommendations do you have for a beginner guitar? 🙂
2. Step out of my comfort zone
While I feel as if I have been slowly inching out of my comfort zone since adolescence, I have taken to doing things a little more adventurously than what I would normally do. Therefore, I want 2020 to be a year in which I’m confidently unafraid to do some new things (while still remaining safe and smart LOL). Maybe you guys can relate to this!
3. Listen to music more
Yes, this relates to #1, but I love music so much and I want 2020 to emphasize my love for it a little more. Music gives me a rush, and some of my happiest moments are when I’m alone, windows down, breeze in my face, jamming to songs on the radio. More music in 2020, please!
4. Read more books
This was a resolution in 2019, but I think it’s a good one to continue for 2020. Reading is kind of like #3 in the fact that it gives me a rush, takes me to a new world, and provides a world of possibility unlike anything I will experience in my own waking life. I challenge you to read more as well! Let’s see what journeys we’ll go on through the books we read.
5. Fear less
I’m not fearless. In fact, as a Type A person (and wow, I still wonder if I’m really Type A or not), I’m very structured. I fear things I do not expect, and therefore I stress out about the what-ifs. So in 2020 I want to stay safe and healthy, but I also want to remember to fear less, to stay brave and strong instead of wallowing in the unknown.
6. Early bird habits
Now that I’m back from college I am excited to regain my early bird ways. In 2020 I want to keep this up, which means early bed times and early risings. But this is how I am most effective in my day-to-day existence, so I’m excited to develop my reliance on daylight instead of the dark.
7. Stay off phone
Another repeat from 2019, but this is just as valid. There are moments where I’m pretty good about this resolution, but then I lose it and do terrible once more. 2020 will hopefully bring a less technology reliant Katie Kay. But we’ll see…
8. Eat healthier
Ugh. I am gonna have to go there. This may be the most common resolution of all time, but there is truth in this one. I need to eat healthier. I’m a sucker for fast food, and I am not the biggest fan of fruits by any means (just ask Miss Givenchy. In 2020 I hope to cut back on the ease of greasy foods for some healthier alternatives. Hopefully this is not just wishful thinking.
9. Keep up with my Spanish (y voy a escribir en el idioma también)
Okay, okay. I know I never write in Spanish on this blog, but it turns out I am actually (somewhat) fluent in this language. There was once a time when I lived in South America and was forced to speak Spanish more than here in the English-dominated United States, and I’m a little afraid I’m going to lose my skills now that I am done with college and pursuing a career that really has nothing to do with my degree. Therefore, I’ve gotta do something to retain this language and not lose it completely. Part of me will always speak Spanish, but I want to keep up my proficiency as best I can!
(Side note: I always say I am going to write a post in Spanish, but I always forget, so maybe that should be another resolution: Spanish posts in 2020!)
10. Stay up-to-date on politics
Without going on a rant (which I could very easily do), I want to say that politics is important. To my fellow Generation Zers, please get out there and do your due diligence by studying our government and voting. And I’m guilty in the sense that while I love nothing more than hopping on YouTube and listening to political pundits for hours at a time, I should do a better job on keeping a firm and open-minded approach to what’s going on both in my country and the world. It’s so easy to stay one-sided in today’s society, but I think the best way to solidify one’s opinions is to gain as much info as possible (even if opposing viewpoints make you want to tear your hair out).
11. Eliminate negative thoughts
This is an impossible resolution.
See what I did there? I immediately began with a negative thought. What about this one:
This is probably an impossible resolution.
Okay, slightly better, but still negative with a slight scent of optimism. Let’s try one more.
This is a possible resolution.
Is there a difference between this one and what I wrote above? Probably not.
This is my resolution.
There we go. It’s my resolution, and I’m sticking with it.
12. Catch more sunsets and sunrises
Oh, here my writer side takes over. Sunsets and sunrises, oh my! There’s something so dreamy about these two points in the day, especially when the sky churns into peachy cream and it’s spring and life seems ready to pop. So judge me if you will, but I do want to catch more sunsets and sunrises, especially since we don’t know how many of those we’ll get in our lives.
Another basic resolution, but important too. This past year I really slacked off on not exercising, so I’m ready to start jogging at least once a month (LOL) instead of once a literal blue moon.
14. Clean more
While I love cleanliness, I’m also very prone to dropping things around my room. This year I plan on doing less of this and more of putting things where they’re supposed to be.
15. Listen to dreams
I promise this is not mumbo jumbo. Specifically, I’m talking about listening to bedtime dreams so that I can analyze them (LOL). Do some of you guys find yourself loving dream analysis? Because I do too! Dream analysis is a great way to dig into your psyche, and for writers it’s a pretty neat time to get some inspiration for future material. In 2020 let’s dream–and analyze!
16. Get lost in a forest
Okay, yes, we’re getting into some weird territory on this resolutions post, but I’m serious: I want to get lost in a forest. Maybe not really lost, but there’s something freeing about going into nature and disappearing from the busyness of life for a little while. In 2020 I want to be able to go into some beautiful natural landscapes and let my mind relax.
17. Stop worrying so much
While I wouldn’t normally consider myself a worrier, I do find myself fretting over certain things. For example, I’ll consider something I’ve said and think, “Did that offend the person I was talking to?” Or if I send a text and don’t receive a response, I think: “Did I say something wrong?” This is just a minute example, but I really want to worry less in 2020 over both the little and big things. Chau!
18. Skate better
This is probably the most ridiculous resolution, but here we are. I’m one of the worst skaters in history (both on roller-skates and ice-skates). It is to the point of utter ridiculousness that I lean on my thirteen-year-old sister to support my endeavors in the rink. While I’ve definitely gotten better over the years (to the point where I can manage without falling), you can still find me hugging a wall and getting passed by toddlers. It’s time to skate better.
19. Less time on YouTube
I’ll admit it: I’m on YouTube way too much. (Miss Givenchy would definitely agree.) Something happens, and I’ll traverse topics from politics to bullfrogs to space-time continuums to opinion pieces on pop music. While I appreciate the availability of information on this video sharing site, I want more time devoted to the real world outside of the tech world. (Of course I write this as I type away on a computer.)
20. Write blog posts that matter
This last one is straight from my heart! You guys mean the world to me, and I want to write things that matter to you. I’ve seen over the years that you guys are the best audience and you support so many different writers and bloggers all over the world, and so I want to produce content that you enjoy and gain meaning from. I mean, why else write? 🙂 Here’s to a fantastic 2020 on this blog–and yours!
Thank you guys so much for reading this post and for joining me in another year on this planet. 2020 is upon us, and I wish nothing but the best for all of you, wherever you may be. Remember to spread positivity and kindness in this new season of our lives. ❤
Now that I’ve written this post, it’s time to put the resolutions to action, so I’m going to start right now, even though we’ve got a little bit of 2019 left.
Let me apologize again for going MIA once more. While producing quality content for you guys is one of my greatest joys, these past few weeks have been intense. I cannot wait for the days when I will be able to write more, and those days are coming soon (I promise!).
Since I’ve been gone for a few weeks now, I thought it would be fun to give a little update post as to what’s been going on. Before I do that, though, I want to say that I miss reading your posts and getting to know you guys better. Here in a few weeks I will be reading all that you guys have for me, just so keep that in mind. 🙂
So… Without further ado. Here we go!
1. BATTLING QUITE THE COUGH
A few years ago I made the interesting choice to study abroad in Argentina, and one of the lasting effects of that decision is the fact that I have a violent cough that comes back twice a year. I’m pretty sure it is chronic bronchitis, but my university’s doctors do not believe that (of course not, right?). So in a few weeks I’ll be making the trip over to a lung specialist to see how damaged my lungs are.
2. FLYING BEYOND BELIEF
In the past few months I’ve accrued about 100 hours of flight time. The reason I’m writing this on the blog is that I want you guys to know that I haven’t been intentionally ignoring you; I’ve been swamped with other things. (Although I hardly count flying as forcing me anywhere but into the clouds, and I like being in the clouds LOL).
3. HOMEWORK, HOMEWORK, HOMEWORK
As a college kid there is a lot of work to do. Factor in five classes, even if the degree is only in Spanish, and there’s much to do. Most of my free time is eaten up this way, but I want to alert you guys to the fun news that I’ll be done with this in three short weeks. That’s right, I’m graduating college. Chau, California! (And I say this happily.)
4. THE SHORT STORY SURPRISE IS COMING SOON
Here in a few weeks I will release a short story I wrote for creative writing class called “Shadow.” It’s pretty dramatic, and I was hoping to release it back in October in time for Halloween. However, I forgot that I can’t release it until I’m done with class, so I will be posting it here shortly. 🙂
As always, thank you guys for being part of this journey. All your support has meant so much to me, even when I’m not as active on the blog. Don’t worry, that will change soon!
Now… How are you guys doing? Keep me updated, and I promise I will be following all you’re producing so, so soon!
Thank you guys once more for joining me on this September Poetry Series! We are already over a week into this project of mine, and I’m enjoying this outlet immensely, so thank you for your support over these next few weeks.
Today let’s talk about a word that has very different meanings to all of us: Home. Take a moment to yourself, breathe in deeply, and close your eyes. Consider what home means to you, because I guarantee it has a wildly different image to you than it does to me.
Is it the people who make your home so special? Is it the place, or the food, or the pup barking at you for a snack? Whatever it is, there’s a place that is home to you. For some, it may have more negative imagery, and for others it is more positive.
For me, it’s (mostly lol) positive. As I finish out this last semester of college in California, my heart still aches for my true home that is two thousand miles away in Tennessee. So this poem is a little reminder that home really is where the heart is, whether that be with a romantic interest, your fat cat, or your amazing family who wishes you’d never gone in the first place.
Appreciate your home. ❤
Thank you, my dear readers, for supporting me! You guys mean the world to me, and I mean that. I was just talking to a friend about how you guys are such strong supporters, and you are the ones who make this blog worth it to me!
Here is an unexpected post from me in the midst of my September Poetry Series… We’re going to take a break for a moment and twist over to this nomination I received from the lovely Priya Singh (you can check her blog out here.)
While I have participated in the award process before, I thought it would be fun to give you guys some more content apart from the poetry series, so that you don’t think I’m just sitting around my room writing poetry all day long… (I promise, I’m not sitting there all day.) 🙂
So, without further ado, let’s look at the questions Priya asked and learn some answers.
1. In the world what is luckiest thing you have?
Well, this is an interesting question indeed! I am not sure if I have a luckiest thing… Sometimes I believe in luck, and other times I think that the world operates on our own actions. But if I had to pick something to answer the question, I would answer… When I’m feeling like I need some luck, I twist my earring a lot. Stupid, I know, but I think it’s more of a nervous tic rather than a lucky object.
2. Which subject are you most likely to study in everyday life?
I’m a Spanish major in college, but it’s definitely not my passion. I like learning a new language like Spanish, but I’m more drawn to writing. That being said, I am not a fan of studying creative writing (more on that to come), and I’m currently training to be a pilot, so I’d probably pick something related to aviation at this point in my life. If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have said either history or English, but interests change!
3. Do you believe in luck?
I’m not sure! I definitely believe we have free will and our choices affect the consequences of our lives.
4. Your favorite author?
I have a post on this, which you can check out here! This question is hard for me, because I’ve read so many authors, and I really don’t have a favorite favorite. But if we look at this list, I’d consider William Faulkner, John Grisham, Liane Moriarty, Khaled Hosseini, and Gabriel García Márquez to be favorites. ❤
5. Do you like adventures?
Yes! I’m definitely an adventurous person, though in spurts. Also it depends on who I’m with (that was some grammatically incorrect English right there LOL). For example, when I’m with friends I’m more apt to do things that are “wild,” while with family I’ll tame it down. This probably makes me sound like a wild child, and I definitely am not that. Trust me, if I could, I’d live in a cabin in the middle of the mountains (near people, of course), but I do live off adventurous activities.
6. Your favorite food item
My favorite food item would probably be… Hmm. I really enjoy country fried steak, a staple of a good old fashioned Southern meal. Maybe it’s because I have spent so much time away from the South now, but this dish always makes me happier after I’ve eaten it.
Again thank you to Priya Singh for the nomination! It is such an honor to be recognized by a fellow blogger. ❤
As for my nominees, I have some questions for you:
What makes you happiest?
What is your favorite book?
If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be and why?
when life feels like an hourglass,
i seek solace in what i love most:
fingers strewn over the keys
of a dirty MacBook Air,
eyes strained from the creamy glow
of a blank Word document,
my mind finally relaxed,
a digital massage.
what can i craft, like an architect
and blueprints and concrete magic?
where can i go, like a world traveler
and tennis shoes and a weathered map?
who will i meet, like a writer
and a pen and a sheet of paper?
the possibilities are endless,
and they are mine.
when the stress is overwhelming, and the real world clamps down tight, i remember my sweet escape, the riskiness of a writer and her invented world. my blood boils as i pan for gold, waiting on the cusp of my world to unleash itself upon my very fingertips.
Hello, my beautiful and wonderful readers!
I hope you all are doing great as we begin this new week in August 2019. For today’s post, I wanted to share with you all this poem I wrote in autumn 2018, and I think it will relate to a lot of you who are writers and wish to showcase your emotions to the world.
For writers there is almost no greater passion than chugging out our thoughts on paper (or in my case, a Word doc hehe). We have thoughts and emotions bubbling to the surface of our blood, and there is no escape greater than releasing what we need to express. As a writer, I have found that this process is almost like taking a crucial test: There is buildup and anxiety that is followed by relieved elation at finishing the test. (Of course, the grader is one’s audience, but that is another story altogether.)
“on the cusp” can relate to more than just writing. Some of you have other passions that you must share with the world. I’m serious. You may think I’m lying, but I truly believe each and every one of you have an amazing purpose that has put you on Earth at this particular moment in time. So, if you’re not exactly sure what your “sweet escape is,” take a moment and reflect today.
What relieves your stress? What frees you from the pressures of this world? What gives you the greatest joy?
Consider, and make an effort to implement more of your time into your joy.
Now that we are done with the two-week poetry series, I am excited to share some other content with you guys. As you know, this blog is devoted to various topics, including writing, philosophy, and travel. Since it has been a while since we’ve done a travel post, I thought it would be perfect timing to share with you guys a recent trip of mine… To the Big Island of Hawai’i!
This was my first time to Hawai’i, and I have to say it was one for the books. I encourage you all to check out Hawai’i at some point, because it is a nature lover’s dream. (Really it is anyone’s dream. There is so much to do!)
Therefore I’d like to share some things I got the chance to do, and maybe this will sell you on your next vacation. 🙂
Stops: North Kohala Coast, Waimea
Activities: Intro to local area, shops, etc.
After arriving in the small town of Kona on the Big Island, my family quickly hopped in our rental Jeep and headed north to the Kohala Coast. We stayed at a quaint cabin called the Kohala Lodge. Gorgeous view, idyllic, pastoral scene–it was a perfect way to start out a vacation (and throw in goats and ponies down the hill!).
After check in, we took a trek to Waimea, a small town nestled between green mountains and a Nevada-looking desert scene. I wish I had a good picture of the drive between Hāwī and Waimea, but unfortunately I do not. Just trust me, and imagine rolling hills with mountain and ocean backdrops!
Stops: Mauna Loa, Hilo
Activities: Encounter Mauna Kea protestors; travel Mauna Loa to its tip; visit Hilo, largest “city” on island
Day 2 was an opportunity to explore more of the island! We got up early, headed to the center of the island, and wondered if we were going to drive straight through an environmental protest… And we did.
Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain (taller than even Mt. Everest, when you look at its oceanic base), is a sacred mountaintop to many Hawaiians. In the meantime, the company TMT wishes to replace a collection of telescopes on the tip top of Mauna Kea with a new, state-of-the-art telescope that could potentially pollute natural waters for the residents.
Hawaiians are very divided on this issue. On one hand, environmentalists wish to preserve the beauty and integrity of Mauna Kea; on the other, the telescope would bring endless opportunity for astronomers. The telescope’s construction would also provide economic opportunity for the island.
Whatever your position on this issue may be, my family and I just wanted to avoid a roadblock in the middle of this desert landscape. And we ended up driving straight through the protest, passing hundreds of people on a mission to block the telescope’s construction.
Instead we decided to traverse Mauna Loa, the world’s biggest mountain (not tallest!). After going up 11,000 feet we were tired, hungry for oxygen, and descended into the lusher area of Hilo, about an hour to the east.
We did not stay in Hilo very long, though the weather was pretty nice, despite Hilo’s status as the fourth-rainiest American town. We visited Rainbow Falls and headed north after lunch at none other than Taco Bell (blech!) to see Akaka Falls (pictured below).
After a quick stop at Akaka Falls, I found an abandoned airstrip on Google Maps. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a baby pilot who loves aviation quite a bit, and I made us head up an old road once used for the production of sugar cane.
We were probably pretty dumb doing this, but it was a lot of fun, especially when we got to the end of the road and realized we were already driving on the overgrown runway. Who knows the history of Waipunalei Airstrip, because I couldn’t find anything online, and I highly doubt many people today know of its existence. That’s why it was shocking to find it on Google Maps.
Whatever the case, it was a highlight of my trip: An abandoned airstrip with a lot of buried history.
Stops: Kona, Captain Cook
Activities: Snorkeling Adventure, Captain Cook Monument, The Painted Church
Kona is located on the leeward side of the island, and it’s a town of about 12,000 people. Though we did not spend much time in Kona itself (a quick lunch at Denny’s and a stop at Walmart for supplies), we were much more invested in a snorkeling excursion in a little town to the south called Captain Cook.
Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this activity, despite it being my favorite part of the entire trip, due to the fact that I didn’t want to lose my phone in the kayaking portion of the journey. However, you’ll just have to imagine brilliant blue water and a whole lot of tourists swimming about as kayakers push against the shore to see the Captain Cook monument. (Captain James Cook was a famous explorer who was killed by Hawaiians in this namesake town.)
This experience was made even better by our friendly tour guide, Lalu, a local who showed us the best places to snorkel while giving us a little history of the area and its ties to Captain Cook’s ultimate demise.
After the three mile roundtrip kayak experience, we headed back to our car, changed clothes, and stopped at The Painted Church, a Catholic church about ten minutes from our kayak point. The Painted Church is well-known due to its painted interior, as the first priests who journeyed to Hawai’i explained biblical stories to locals through paintings on the church’s walls.
Stops: North Kohala Coast, Waikoloa Village
Activities: Sunrise Hike, Zipline Adventures, Luau at Marriott
My dad and I are fans of hiking, while my mom and sister are not. So when we suggested getting up at five to catch this ideal spot, my mom and sister laughed at us, and we went anyway.
The forty-five minute roundtrip hike spans incredible views of the Polulu Valley and coastline. Polulu is located at the very end of a main road on the Kohala Coast, so not many people were around–especially at the ungodly hour of sunrise. (Although we did run into a weird woman who was possibly worshipping a plant.)
The hike was stunningly beautiful, and a perfect reminder that sometimes you’ve just gotta bite the bullet, set your alarm, and run down a mountain in the darkness to wait for the perfect sunrise.
After our hike, we headed home, showered, and got prepped for a zipline activity in the nearby town of Kapaau. It was an incredible experience to zip through hundred-foot trees, but after so many activities I was quite ready for a nap by the end of our adventures (see the image below).
Post zipline, we showered once more and then headed to the resort town of Waikoloa Village in order to catch a sunset luau. This was my mom’s favorite experience of the entire trip, as it was a chance to listen to traditional Hawaiian music and see the hula and other Polynesian dances.
Stops: Volcanoes National Park, Black Sands, South Kona
Activities: Quick hikes, Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park
Our last day on the island was a packed one. While we were staying on the Big Island’s North Coast, Volcanoes National Park is located on the opposite side of the island, roughly a two-hour drive away. Plus it was a foggy and rainy morning, which you can see in the pictures below.
That didn’t stop us from making the journey down to Volcanoes. There are no current lava flows (thank goodness, and hopefully everyone has recovered from the volcano issues from a few years ago), but there are various pockets of steam located throughout the park. We also journeyed to the crater of a volcano (although we stayed at the rim). If you look close enough at the picture below, you can see that there are trails in the middle of this crater, and people are walking in it! I was not that brave, to say the least.
After an hour at the park, which is not enough time, we had to hurry down to Black Sands, about a twenty minute drive away. This is a black sand beach that is pretty peaceful. Since we were in a time crunch, we could not stay long, but I’m thankful for the time I got there.
After Black Sands, we headed to Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park in order to learn more about Hawaiian culture. Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau is located on sacred grounds, and it was very important to take a few moments to educate ourselves on traditions of the area.
While the other parts of the island were quite chilly in the fog and rain, Pu’uhonua O Hõnaunau National Park was humid and hot–too much like home for my liking.
After our stop there, we hurried back to the north, grabbed some dinner, and started packing for our ten-hour return trip, which was a beast of its own, as you can imagine. 🙂
PLEASE GO SEE THE ISLAND YOURSELF.
Hawai’i is an incredible place. It’s laid-back island living, and it would be so easy to get lost there for ages. That being said, I’m a pretty fast-paced person, and I found myself wanting to hop on a plane and go see the other islands that comprise this great state.
While the aforementioned stops were what my family did on our trip, I’m sure there are countless more places we missed. The island is an island, but its diversity is incredible. Where else can one drive through a desert to a tropical rainforest in an hour or less?
Go check out Hawai’i. Maybe I’ll see you there someday. 🙂
As for now, I’m back at home in the throes of studies. But do you want my honest opinion? Really there is no place like home, especially after a long vacation away.
You are probably so sick of me at this point, but I hope you are enjoying these frequent posts. As you guys know, I typically post twice a week, but this past week has been my favorite week of blogging ever. And that’s because of you all! I am constantly astounded by your sweet comments and support of my poetry. Wow!
As for this sweet but short post, I want to thank Sarika of Sarika, Pure Reflections for nominating me for this award. Please go support and check out her blog, and you definitely will not regret it. What a sweet soul Sarika is!
MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD
What is the Mystery Blogger Award? “The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma
The Rules: 1. Put the award logo on your blog. 2. List the rules. 3. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog. 4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. 5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. 6. Nominate 10-20 people. 7. Notify your nominees. 8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question. 9. Share a link to your best post(s).
Three Things About Me (you guys are probably sick of my answers, and I’m honestly running out of ideas for these little factoids lol)
I do not like tomatoes. I know, I know… What kind of a person am I? Well, I do really enjoy salsa at Mexican restaurants, but tomatoes by themselves are not my favorite.
I volunteered at the local library for four years straight and accumulated over a hundred hours there (probably more, but my memory fails me). To this day I am a neat freak when it comes to keeping my books in order, though I am messier about other things.
I have an irrational fear of closets. My sister still makes fun of me for it.
Who or what inspires you to write and in life in general?
There is a hunger in me that is only fed when I’m writing. My inspiration comes from the most random places and people. Sometimes ideas strike in dreams, but mostly my ideas come to me when I am daydreaming or falling asleep. From there it takes off.
When did you start blogging?
Two years ago. My aunt challenged me to make a travel blog, and I laughed at her. “A blog?” I asked. Of course now, my tune has changed. ❤
What do you like and dislike about yourself?
Hmm… I do think I have a gentle spirit that attracts people of all backgrounds, and I appreciate deep conversation with anyone and everyone. However, this can sometimes be a detrimental issue, as I tend to get railroaded and trampled on due to my conflict-averse personality.
What is the most memorable moment in your life?
The most memorable moment so far: Finding out my mom was pregnant with my sister. I was seven-years-old, and I will never forget jumping up and down when we found out Mom was pregnant with Gen. I actually found out before my dad, since he was coming back from a trip. When he walked into the room and saw us jumping, he was like, “What the…” 🙂
Who is your favorite person?
Oh, this question KILLS! Sarika, what a tough one. While I hate the idea of choosing a “favorite” person, because I believe there are so many people out there who will help you in all aspects of your life. But if I had to choose, I’d pick my redonk sister, Gen, who keeps me on my toes every single day.
My Best Blog Post
Oh, geez. I have no idea. My favorite poem so far has been “a dream killed me,” which you can check out here.
Do you prefer blogging or writing on your own time (poetry, novels, etc.)?
What made you start blogging in the first place?
Do you feel that blogging has improved your writing?
If you could go to space or the bottom of the ocean, which would you choose and why?
THANK YOU, GUYS!
All right, hopefully I did this correctly. Thank you again for reading this post, and I hope you guys are enjoying your afternoon. I am still waiting out a hurricane (it has been downgraded to a tropical depression, FYI), which is giving me time to work more on this blog.
Do not forget tomorrow will be Day 2 of the Seven Heavenly Virtues series!
As promised, today’s post is going to revolve around our favorite topic… WRITING!!!
The past few months have been heavily devoted to life updates, poems, and musings, so it is about time for some source material on this blog, and that is the art of writing!
The truth is that we as writers should always strive to build our craft. While some people have a natural knack for words, there is still so much behind this skill that must be carefully maintained in order to persuade and inspire an audience. Therefore, we must remember to be patient and implement these upcoming five tips in our art.
Without further ado, let’s hit the list!
1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
No literary great became great overnight.
This is inevitably one of the most important tips on this list, because you must practice your writing in order to improve. As a student pilot, I couldn’t just hop in an airplane and expect to know how to get off the ground… And even if I did get off the ground, what about the landing? Maybe this isn’t the best example, but I hope it hits you a little bit in the heart. We must recognize that we are students of words.
Here is something I want you to think on: What was your first story? What was your first poem? Your first journal entry? What about song? Or whatever your method of writing is? Now think about why you wrote that. How did you write it? What were you trying to say? What insights did you want to give to the world?
You’re also probably thinking: What the heck was that trash? And that’s okay! You can be proud of your first work, but the truth is that there’s probably a lot you would change if you could. And that means you’re doing what you should be doing: Practicing.
So, what exactly does practicing entail? Well, you’ve gotta sit down, ignore the world around you, and get to work. You have to be willing to commit to your art, and stick to it. If something isn’t working, figure it out. As you write more and more, you will develop your own methodical approach of writing and editing (which should arguably take longer than the actual writing process, if we’re being honest). And there is a great feeling when you’ve got your ritual of writing down.
What’s even greater than that?
Seeing how far you’ve grown.
2. FOCUS ON GRAMMAR
Some of us are grammar nerds, and others aren’t. I fall into the first category. One of the first things I notice about anything is how grammatically strong it is. If there are countless errors, I’m probably going to grow a little agitated. Why is that?
Well, when I pay for a book, I expect it to be the perfect copy of what was once the writer’s surreal conception. If I’m going to toss fifteen bucks to the industry, I want to know that I’ve paid for something borne from hard work and creative beauty.
Maybe you’re not the same, but I’m going to ask you to consider this point carefully then. Your audience will know whether you put the time and effort into your manuscript, and one of the tell-tale signs is through grammar. For example, my mom is a grammar fiend who will pick apart any of my works. While this can be frustrating, I know that she is coming at my work with an analytical mind, and that’s a good thing. When we write for an audience, we’re writing for people who don’t necessarily think like us. And if you want to impress your writers, you need to know how to write effectively.
So, how do you know if your grammar is satisfactory? Some websites I have used in the past include these:
We live in the technological age. Do not be afraid to use online programs, spellcheckers, and your friends to help you with grammar. Nobody’s perfect, but we must humble ourselves and seek advice when it comes to our writing. How else will we improve?
3. USE YOUR AUDIENCE
All right. How could we talk about improving our writing without a shoutout to the people for whom we’re writing?
We writers are selfish (or maybe it’s just me). I’ll admit it: I write as if I’m the main character. Some of my characters are actually based on people I know. Some plot points are borrowed from real life.
But guess what? Your stories aren’t going to sell if you don’t have a mind for your audience.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who is just writing for yourself. Maybe you will never publish anything. However, a lot of you guys are bloggers, and that means you are publishing things. The truth is that you must have a knowledge and appreciation of your fanbase, because there are people who will be reading and analyzing your materials. And if you want your audience to like you, you must be willing to write for them.
What I mean is that if you want to write beauty advice posts, then your target audience has to be the people who are interested in your topic. So leave Easter Eggs for them! Write posts and see how they respond. If they’re not super interested in certain aspects of what you’re producing, check in and see what else they’d like to see from you. Your audience knows when you’re invested in what you write, and they’ll be more likely to invest in you as a result.
4. READ UNTIL YOU CAN READ NO MORE
When I was in elementary school, I remember telling my teacher, “Yeah, I love writing so much, but I hate reading.” While that was most definitely a lie, and who knows why I said that, it is simply a law of the universe that a writer must read in order to improve his or her craft.
Although I do believe a writer’s style has unique elements, I also know that we develop our styles through the writers we read. We borrow aspects we enjoy and toss what we hate into our mental trash cans. When we read thousands of works in various genres, we learn what works for the audience and what doesn’t.
If you want to write commercial fiction, study the masters like King, Grisham, and Steel. You may not like their writing techniques (I certainly do not like Danielle Steel), but they’ve become super successful for a reason. If you’re invested in poetry, study the different forms and practice your own. If you want to write songs, you have to study what goes into songwriting, and study through those who have done it in the past.
Plus, if you want to make it big, you have to know the environment. You get a better picture of the environment when you know what’s selling best right now. If you don’t care about making it big, you should still aim to improve your writing. So don’t make excuses; start reading.
5. WRITE FROM THE HEART
Others will argue with me on this one, and that’s okay. While this list is in no particular order, I believe that the biggest tip to improve your writing is to write from your own heart.
You have your voice–and no one else’s. That is why people will be drawn to what you produce. And, as I’ve stated previously, your audience will recognize when you are writing from your heart (or not).
What does this even mean then?
Think of the most beautiful song you’ve ever heard in your life. What makes it beautiful? The notes, certainly, but it’s also the build-up of emotionality behind it. I will never forget hours and hours of dissecting piano music and learning the hardest songs I’ve ever played. While I would hit every note with precision from all the practice, my one-of-a-kind teacher, Mrs. Xu-Peppers, would shake her head and say, “But you aren’t playing with your heart.”
What? I was sixteen, my fingers flying across those keys, and my teacher was still disappointed? But then I got it: There is more to music than the notes. Like she wisely said, I had to learn to play with my heart, because only then would I understand what the music was saying to me and to my audience.
Writing is the same exact thing. You can write like a pro, but if you’re not writing from your heart, then you’re going to fall flat. You have to write things that matter to you. You have to write with honesty and convey your unique perspective of the world. You must be willing to share the raw side of you, so that we can gain understanding from the emotions that flow through your blood.
How do you do this?
Write as if you’ve only got one day left on Earth to live. Write as if your life depends on it. Write as if you’ll never get the chance again.
GET TO WRITING, GUYS!
My hope is that you guys have taken some of these tips to heart. While I’m blabbing away on this topic, I definitely feel convicted by some of the tips listed above, and I will try to implement them more in my own writing life. Never forget that none of us is perfect, and that’s probably why we’re all on these blogs, so that we can share our experiences and learn from others. 🙂
The point of this post is to encourage you. You have so many opportunities, so use them! Forget the insecurities in your head, and get to work. You’ve got an audience waiting to hear from you. ❤
Keep me updated on your goals and writing life. I am super excited to hear from you.