Thursday, May 26, 2016

Alexa's Top Ten Travel Tips

While I don't get to do it as often as I'd like to (translation: I'd go every month if I could), I love travel. It doesn't matter whether it's going to be a visit to someplace familiar or to a new locale; I just love the adventure, love being transported out of my daily grind and into an entirely different place. It's one of my personal passions in life, and there are so many places I would still love to visit (and chief among them is the UK, at least at this particular time). 

That being said, I've learned a lot in the years I've spent traveling, and I thought it'd be a fitting offshoot (after sharing about my Europe adventure yesterday) to share my top twelve travel tips today. I've divided the tips into three sections - before the trip, during the trip and after the trip - and I sincerely hope that you find them useful!

BEFORE THE TRIP

my check-in suitcase (and slippers)
1) Plan out your itinerary. I cannot stress enough how helpful it was for us to hammer out all the things we'd like to do and see, as well as booking tickets for certain sites and tours. It might have been a little crazy, considering how we all had different opinions when we were plotting. But having the entire schedule set out for us (with ample space for spontaneous decisions) really helped make sure we got to do majority of what we wanted and not have to wait too long in lines either. Plus, it guaranteed us spots for some of the tours and lines!

2) Pack smart. If there’s one thing I’m pretty proud of when it comes to traveling, it’s my packing skills. (Macky and Mel both like asking me to help them pack, because I’m really good at making sure their things fit into a limited amount of space.) I can’t take all the credit for that, because I got it from my mama. She taught me everything I know, including the use of packing cubes (or gigantic plastics) to separate your clothing, as well as making the best use of space. (Note: If you want more excellent packing tips, Kelly did a great post!)

Personally, here are a few things I always keep in mind when I pack, no matter how long or short a trip is:
  • Packing cubes: I’ve said it already in Kelly’s post, and in the paragraph before this one, but seriously, these are a lifesaver. They’re reusable cloth/nylon containers that I can use to separate my various clothing items, and even my electronics in my suitcase. They keep it neat and make it easy to find things.
  • Laundry bag: It seems logical to make sure that your dirty clothes stay separate from the clean ones. Not only will this make it easier for you to do laundry while you are on your trip (if you get the chance to and/or need to), it will also make it super easy to dump all your clothes into the laundry basket when you get home.
  • Ziplocs: You don’t actually need to use Ziploc brand plastics; you can use any! But they happen to be the brand I prefer. Even though you might not think you need them, trust me, it’s always smart to carry a couple with you in different sizes ranging from small to large. I usually just fold them in half and slip them in the front pocket of my suitcase! They make for a great way to separate smaller souvenirs you might pick up, and snacks that might remain unfinished, and so on and so forth.
  • Toiletries: Just a random golden rule I’d like to share, for the record. If you’re traveling with other people, make it so you guys just share the toiletries. It’ll be easier for everyone involved, and will make extra space in some people’s suitcases. (I should have done this for Europe, but alas, it did not occur to me.)
  • Photocopies of all documents: One of the best things we did for our Europe trip was to make sure there were at least three copies of all our stuff – tickets, itineraries, official documents, reservations, etc. My mom carried one, I had the other and Macky had the third when he joined us. It proved to be extremely useful!
copies on copies on copies
3) Put together your personal budget. Whenever you travel, apart from all the stuff you can (and should) book beforehand, you’ve got to plan on how much money (or how much credit) you want to bring. This will really depend on your itinerary, how much you’d like to spend on food and personal shopping (for souvenirs or otherwise). Not only should you prepare it, you should prepare to stick to it.

4) Prepare your personal affairs. Aside from readying all the stuff you’ll need for the trip, you should also make sure to take care of anything that will be left behind in your absence. Have a friend come and check in on your house, your pet, your plants. Make sure to set your out of office message. Let someone you trust know your itinerary and keep copies of your trip stuff just in case you need them faxed to you. These are really simple things to take care of, but nevertheless, they can sometimes get overlooked.



DURING THE TRIP

restaurant rec behind us! (so yummy!)
5) Do keep in mind the three P’s: patience, politeness and practicality. It’s always important to keep your temper and tongue in check, whether around the people you’re traveling with or the people you come into contact with during the trip. People are likelier to help you out (and maybe even offer you bonus tips and discounts) if you’re nice. It’s also important to be practical when making decisions, whether it’s choosing where to eat or whether to buy something. You don’t want your time or energy going to waste if you can help it! And, obviously, this will help a lot when things go wrong during your trip, whether it's illness, injury, robbery or getting lost (and all of these things happened to us.)

6) Do ask for local recommendations. If you do get the chance to chat with a local, and they seem willing to share tips, get their recommendations for places to eat or things to see. We were particularly blessed with very helpful ladies in Lucerne who recommended the best restaurants, and gave us ideas for things we could do! But in general, getting local recommendations means you get really good experiences and sometimes even get to go off the beaten path!

behind the scenes laughter
7) Do take photos (and videos). If you’re anything like me and my family, you love documenting the experiences you get to have. We made sure to have full coverage of our trip, with photos and videos and journal entries (my sister and I both had notebooks where we wrote about everything we did, saw, ate and went through). It’s just nice to have these things to look back on when you’re back from your trip, and it would be really cool to share it someday with the future generations of your family.

8) Don’t forget to disconnect. Don’t get me wrong – the internet is really great when you’re on trips, particularly when it comes to travel recommendations and finding places to eat. But the point of you being on a trip is to experience the place you’re in. And you can’t do that if you’re constantly on your phone! While I’m not saying you shouldn’t Snapchat cool things, or share fun photos on your Instagram, I’m saying that you have to also make a conscious decision to put the phone in your bag at some point and just really embrace your entire experience. It’s something that deserves all of your attention!


AFTER THE TRIP

9) Allow yourself time to recover. If it’s at all possible for you, I’d recommend taking an extra day between your trip and going back to work (or school). It will give you some time to readjust to your timezone (if that’s necessary), get some extra rest and take care of some post-trip chores. (Sadly, this was not a possibility for me after Europe. I actually went straight to work the day after we got back!)

10) Arrange your souvenirs. Whether it’s the bazillion photos you took during your trip or the little knickknacks you picked up or the postcards you sent to yourself, make sure to organize all of this stuff within a week of your trip. That way the memories are as fresh as your enthusiasm, and you don’t wind up just setting it all aside because you’re no longer in the mood to do this.

And there you have it, a few of my tried and tested travel tips! I hope you found them helpful. If you have any further questions for me, please feel free to leave a comment or to tweet me or to email me - I’d be more than happy to answer them. Now it’s your turn – what’s your favorite travel tip?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alexa's European Adventure: The Diary

You guys, I still can’t quite believe that I finally got the chance to go on a trip to a continent I’ve always wanted to visit last month. I’ve been dreaming of visiting various European locales for a long, long time, because I’ve always found European history and culture (specifically English, French, Greek and Roman) very interesting. After a whole lot of planning and saving, my family and I embarked on our first European adventure together!

We were away for two weeks (well, two for me, Macky and Mel; three for the others), and I honestly can’t believe just how much we managed to squeeze into those fourteen days. While we had the opportunity to relax, for the most part, this vacation was more of an adventure. We were constantly on the go, up early with the sun and in bed in the middle of the night, and we had tons of stuff to see and things to do, and somehow, we all survived the crazy itinerary we set for ourselves!

We took a bazillion photos (not surprising considering my sister had the family DSLR, I had my new camera, my other sister had a GoPro and we all had mobile phones), and while I would so love to share so many of them, I thought it best to just share some of my favorites. (I also shared photos on my Instagram, so you can check them out there too. And if you want to see everyone’s photos, we used the hashtag #YupangcosEurotrip.)

PARIS | Sacre Coeur / Arc de Triomphe / Disneyland Paris / the Louvre / Shakespeare & Co. / Notre Dame

PARIS | Mona Lisa / inside the Louvre / Versailles / Hall of Mirrors / the entrance to the maze / Eiffel Tower

LUCERNE | Chapel Bridge / the Alps / Lucerne / Mt. Titlis Cliff Walk / Mt. Titlis Ice Flyer / Mt. Titlis Ice Flyer

LUCERNE | snow / Glacier Walk / Lindt chocolate / Lucerne City / Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern / Lake Lucerne boat cruise

MILAN | The Last Supper / gelato / reunited in Milan / Duomo / a galleria / unfinished Pieta

VENICE | ferry view / side street view / gondola view / a secret side / St. Mark's Basilica / bridge view

I really have no words to describe how magical it was to see places I’ve only ever read or heard about, places I’d only dreamed of seeing prior to this trip. It was a trip filled to the brim with moments of quiet awe, incredible beauty, surprising new knowledge and delicious food, and I savored every single minute of it. While we really only dipped into and out of the cities we visited, I got such strong impressions of each and every one of them. Paris, opulent in culture and style. Lucerne, beautiful with an easygoing vibe. Milan, a fast-paced, buzzing metropolis. Venice, a mysterious, compelling result of its location and history. Rome, powerful, historical, structured. Sorrento, a tiny slice of paradise. Barcelona, bustling and artsy.

ROME | Colosseum / Trevi Fountain / under the Colosseum / That's Amore for dinner / wishing at the Trevi / night at the Colosseum

ROME | Colosseum / Vatican City / Trevi Fountain / Palatine Hill / St. Peter's Basilica / kicking butt

NAPLES & SORRENTO | the port / the ferry / port photo / cliff view / cliff view / Naples view

BARCELONA | Casa Batll√≥ / couple shot #1 / running in Parc Guell / chilling in Parc Guell / couple shot #2 / OOTD

BARCELONA | stained glass windows / Parc Guell chilling / Our Father / Sagrada Familia / the doors / the market

It was also such a dream come true to be able to travel with my family & Macky. I honestly couldn’t have asked for better people to go on this adventure with! I love these guys, and for all the craziness that ensued when we were together (good and bad), there is no one else’s company I would have wanted more for this particular trip. (And I still miss them all now.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

{Bookish} Style Files: Met Gala 2016 Edition

Since its inception in 2014, {Bookish} Style Files has been one of my favorite features! I'm always especially tickled pink when the Met Gala rolls around. It's one of my favorite fashionable events and I always adore seeing what attendees will be wearing! This year, the theme was Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. I was really curious to see what the outfits would look like, what materials would be used and design aesthetics embraced - and it was an interesting line-up. Looks ran the gamut from classic to modern, and I was suitably impressed. 

As I did in 2014 and in 2015, I'll be sharing my favorite looks paired with the book characters that I think would rock them at a formal affair. Hope you guys enjoy this year's Met Gala edition of {Bookish} Style Files! (Please note that all dress photos are from Harper's Bazaar, with the exception of Claire Danes, which was from Vanity Fair, and all book covers are from Goodreads.)

Allison Williams in Peter Pilotto | Wilamena in Summer of Supernovas
There are two reasons that I immediately thought of Mena when I saw this dress. First, Mena loves dresses, particularly those passed down to her from her mother that have pretty classic cuts. Second, Mena has a thing for astrology, and this dress design reminds me of the stars.

Anna Wintour in Chanel Haute Couture | Alina in Ruin and Rising
Alina finally comes to terms with her abilities, the sacrifices they entail and the power she holds in the final book of this series– and I feel like she would wear this dress so well. The color brings to mind the dawn of a new day; the neckpiece would be the perfect statement accessory.

Chloe Moretz in Coach | Maya in The Star-Touched Queen
Maya is a girl determined to grasp hold of her own destiny, in spite of the prophecy of death and destruction that hangs over her head. This seems like an outfit that she would don as the queen of her new kingdom Akaran, and I think a certain king might really appreciate it…

Claire Danes in Zac Posen | Feyre in A Court of Mist and Fury
I really feel like this may be quite self-explanatory, because the special thing about this dress is how it lights up in the dark. Feyre would definitely rock this dress at a certain special occasion mentioned in this novel, and I’m pretty sure a certain High Lord would find her breathtaking.

Emma Roberts in Tory Burch | Narrator in A Thousand Nights
I mostly chose this pairing because the dress actually reminded me of the book’s cover! But I also think that the narrator of that story would perhaps wear something similar to this, considering the role she plays in the story. It would definitely be worthy of a court!

Hailee Steinfeld in H&M | Isabel in A Fierce and Subtle Poison
Isabel is known for being unusual, with whispers going round that she has green skin and feeds on poisonous plants.; she lives in the house surrounded by lush gardens surrounded by a wall. I feel like this actual outfit would suit her, as the color would remind her of her normal surroundings, and would make her feel comfortable and confident.

Jared Leto and Florence Welch in Gucci | Nikolai and Vika in The Crown’s Game
These two look absolutely spell-binding! I could see Niko dressed in something so white and crisp, with something mechanical making his walking stick magical. And Vika would be resplendent in this gown, though it would probably be concocted of actual natural materials – real flowers & ice.

Jessica Hart in Azzedine Alaia | Amani in Rebel of the Sands
I feel like this entire outfit – color to style – would really be fitting for Amani. She’d definitely rock this, and find it easy to accomplish anything particularly physical as well. (Or at least easier than wearing a full on dress, I should say.) I love that this is both badass and feminine all at once!

Mia Wasikowska in Prada | Shahrzad in The Wrath and the Dawn
Can we please all agree that Shahrzad would rock this outfit? She’d definitely turn heads, and I’m fairly certain Khalid would not be able to resist her. I just feel like the color is so appropriate, because she really came into Khalid’s life and space and set it ablaze (figuratively, of course).

Nicole Kidman in Alexander McQueen | Mor in A Court of Mist and Fury
I fell in love with a whole host of secondary characters in this novel, but Mor is one of my favorites! I definitely feel like she would rock the hell out of this dress, and keep a certain gentlemen’s eyes on her. It would be such a beautiful representation of her home too!

Sofia Sanchez in Dolce and Gabbana | Minuette in The Boleyn Trilogy
Honestly, this one was an instinctive choice as this is an ensemble perfect for a queen. While Minuette doesn’t necessarily rise to such heights, I do feel like her position is of enough value to have her clothed in something so rich and ornate and lovely.

Taylor Swift in Louis Vuitton | Sofia in Their Fractured Light
Sofia may have a pretty face, but she’s also got a stellar brain and some kickass skills in her arsenal. I definitely feel like this outfit would showcase both sides of her personality, because she’d shine brightly in it but also give off the vibe that she can handle herself.

Zoe Saldana in Dolce and Gabbana | Cecile in The Malediction Trilogy
Cecile is a performer (and a princess), and it makes sense to me that she would wear something this elaborate for a stage performance or a special occasion. It seems like such a character piece, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Tristan would find her lovely in it too.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nerd Duel • The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You ( + Q&A)

I'm really happy to be a part of the blog tour for The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, the debut novel from Lily Anderson. The first time I heard of this novel was from a friend of mine at ALA Midwinter, where she mentioned Stephanie Perkins as a comp and Shakespeare as its inspiration - and I knew I had to get my hands on it. I'm so thrilled to be sharing my review with you, as well as a quick Q&A session with the author!



The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You book cover
Inspired by Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You is about Trixie Watson, a self-proclaimed nerd who loves Doctor Who and comics among many nerdy things. For her senior year, she's determined to best her long-time rival, Ben West, on their school's academic ranking list. But when her best friend gets together with Ben's best friend, the two find themselves thrown together time and again - and a tentative truce forms. As the year goes on and their friendship blossoms, they find themselves at a tipping point when Trixie's best friend is expelled from their school. Sides are taken, and the real question is - will Trixie and Ben be on the same one?

If you're getting the impression that this novel is filled with high school shenanigans, you wouldn't be wrong. The story moves at a steady pace, and there are plenty of things packed into it from start to finish. Anderson captures Trixie's high school experience extremely well. She not only does this by filling the days with academics, lunch breaks, after school outings, and school events; she also chronicles the emotional experience of being a teen in high school - the high intensity emotions of heartache and hope, of longing and stress, of happiness and sorrow. It was really quite engaging, and I was definitely invested in discovering the outcome of senior year for Trixie and her pals (who I truly adored, and thought were really fun characters to read about)!

Going into The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, I was certainly expecting it to be cute - and it delivered on that front. I was treated to an entertaining tale about a unique main character (I've honestly never read anyone quite like her in YA, or at least, no one that I remember) who is going through the ups and downs of high school, particularly when it comes to friendships and romance. If you're in the market for a fun, fast-paced, fluffy contemporary YA read, then you should definitely give this novel a shot. (Oh, if and you were curious, there are definitely Much Ado About Nothing-inspired elements in this story - and not just the names of the characters!)



Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin | Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from NetGalley (Thank you!)

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.



Alexa: I'm extremely excited to be welcoming Lily Anderson on the blog today to talk about The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You. Hi Lily! Congratulations on your debut novel! Can you tell us what to expect from your novel in one sentence?

Lily Anderson: Thank you so much for having me! The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is a YA retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set in a high school for the gifted, so it's pretty much nerds fighting for academic rank and falling in love.

Alexa: Where did you get the inspiration for The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You? Were there particular songs or photos or stories that inspired things in the book?

Lily Anderson: I’ve always loved a good retelling! Fairy tales, classic literature, plays—I love seeing how authors turn a story on its head. When I started TOTWTMIY, I was just looking for something fun to write for my own edification. It’d been a couple of years since I’d written YA and I wanted to give it another shot. Much Ado About Nothing is, without a doubt, my favorite play. I started wondering how the Beatrice and Benedick enemies-to-lovers relationship would look with teens. As far as musical inspiration, I made a super long TOTWTMIY writing playlist of songs that might not lyrically fit the book, but fit the overall tone of what I was going after. If you listen to Mumford and Sons, Garfunkel and Oats, and the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack back-to-back you’ll get the vibe I wanted for the book!

Lily Anderson author photo
photo credit: Sarah Lambert
Alexa: Another thing I find so fascinating about your novel is the title. Was this always the title for it? Or was it something you came up with later on?

Lily Anderson: Actually, the book was sold under its original title The Merry War, which was what I’d called the Word .doc is was written in. It’s a quote from Much Ado, “There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signor Benedick and her…” It wasn’t a catchy title, by any means, but it summarized what I thought the focus of the story was. The quote is now the epigraph of the book. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU was the last of a list of replacement titles I came up with at my editor’s request for something, um, just plain better than the original. I offered both THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU and THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN YOU IS ME, both kind of capturing the essence of how Trixie and Ben feel about each other at different points of the book.

Alexa: I love that you originally called it The Merry War! But this new title is pretty great too, though it is a mouthful. Okay, now let's talk about writing. How long have you been writing? Did you always know you wanted to write and publish a novel? Any writing quirks or advice to share?

Lily Anderson:  I won a county-wide poetry contest when I was in the first grade, so I’d say that I’ve been writing since I literally learned how to write sentences. But it was always something that I did to entertain myself or my friends. I wrote a lot of fan fiction and co-wrote original stories with people who were much stronger writers than me. I just liked building characters and creating their worlds. If you’ve read TOTWTMIY, you know that I’m a dialogue junkie. I love figuring out the little quirks of how people talk, their shared slang, their thought processes.

But I really didn’t think about trying to get published until college. I spent a couple of years working on the same YA novel and once I’d finished it and cleaned it up and shared it with people who all seemed to enjoy it, I thought, “You know, I could have more people read this.” So, I looked into getting a literary agent. And got rejected. Tons. So I wrote more and shared more with my friends and got feedback from people and thickened my skin and tried again and got rejected again. In fact, it was during the rejections for my second book that I started writing TOTWTMIY.

I say it a lot now, but it’s hard to see when you first start out what a business publishing is. You finish a book and you love it and you want to share it with the world, so you think, “I should publish this!” But it’s a career. Writing is so solitary—it’s you and the page. And then you go pro and you’re suddenly on a team. It’s you and your literary agent and then the two of you and your editor and your marketing team and the art department and sales and, and, and… You have to be able to adjust quickly. You have to take all of the notes from all of the people and be grateful rather than resentful. You have to trust that you’re in good hands. And that starts with giving yourself the best team.

Don’t submit to agents you don’t want to work with. Don’t take contracts from editors who don’t get your book. It’s okay to say no and hold out for what makes you happy and comfortable.

It’s okay to hold out for your best work, too. If I’d published my first novel, I would be mortified to be held accountable for the sloppy prose and the endless page length.

Alexa: This is such great advice, and I'm definitely taking it to heart! Okay, are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

Lily Anderson: I can’t say too, too much about what I’m working on now, but I can say that I have a YA mystery set in a small town and another book about nerdy geniuses.

Alexa: Ooh, I am very intrigued! Can't wait to learn more about it. Okay, here's one last question, because I couldn't resist asking a Doctor Who-related one. Who is your favorite Doctor and favorite companion from Doctor Who?

Lily Anderson: Oh, I'm the Doctor and Donna all the way. (Alexa's Note: LOVE!) But I'm already excited to see how Twelve and Bill fare in this new season! (Alexa's Note: I am too!)

Thank you so much Lily for being on the blog today! I loved hearing more about your creative process, and I definitely enjoyed your writing advice - and I'm sure my readers will too.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tracking Down Tunes: Songs for a Rainy Day

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We're back for Tracking Down Tunes! Lindsey of Bring My Books & I are teaming up on this collaboration, inspired by our mutual desire to broaden our musical horizons. Basically, we both listen to music the same way: we find a favorite artist or album or track and listen to it nonstop. In an effort to diversify the music we listen to, we decided it would be fun to go out of our way to listen to new songs - and that it would be even better if we could recommend stuff to each other. So, every month, we'll be sharing our monthly playlists (for the previous month) with all of you!

It seems real fitting to be sharing songs that I listen to on rainy days this month. Why? It rained a lot in April, both when I was in New York and when I was on vacation in Europe! I don't always dislike rain, but I much prefer it when I can be at home, curled up under a blanket with a hot drink nearby and a good book on hand. When it comes to the kind of music I listen to during this type of weather, I gravitate towards acoustic and soft melodies. as you're certainly going to notice below.


My Recommendations

Please Don't Say You Love Me / Gabrielle Aplin - There is something utterly soothing about her voice, even when she's singing about the complications of love and loss. I don't know how I never had this song on my radar until recently, but you can bet it is a part of my regular rotation now.

Hear Your Heart / James Bay - I obviously like voices that are easy on the ear and distinctive, and he is no exception to that. While I would definitely keep the entirety of his album on rotation during a rainy day, this song is probably the one I'd listen to over and over because it's just that appealing.

Tuesday Morning / Michelle Branch - While I was a huge fangirl for her first album, the second took a while to grow on me (apart from the singles). But this song. THIS SONG. I couldn't stop listening to it in the past few months, both because it's lovely and melancholy and so dang good.

Hear You Me / Jimmy Eat World - There's just something incredibly raw about this track. Each time I hear it, I have to close my eyes, just to let the words and the melody was over me in a way that I find incredible every. single. time. It's such a powerful tune, at least to me.

Banner (Acoustic) / Lights - Hannah is the one who introduced me to this song last year, and I adore it. It's got the perfect blend of hope and heart in its lyrics, supported fully by the acoustic melody that ties it together. I can't stop listening to it!

My Latest Discoveries

Like Real People Do / Hozier - I knew of Hozier before, but it's thanks to Rachel that I'm familiar with this particular song of his. It just evokes such a specific feeling/mood, and it happens to be one to suit my rainy day feels.

Bonfire Heart / James Blunt - While I do think that this song evokes a summery feel, I just like listening to it on rainy days. It's a nice reminder that there are so many exciting things just around the corner, and that this rainy day that keeps me indoors will eventually come to an end.

Speed Limit (Acoustic) / Boyce Avenue - Rainy days tend to be the days when I'm most creative, whether it's in terms of blogging or writing or something else. I had to pop this song on here because (a) Boyce Avenue, and (b) it immediately gave me a story idea. Definitely rainy day playlist material!

Drop Your Guard / Jasmine Thompson - I've admired this artist's voice since I first heard her cover of I See Fire. I didn't know she had this song on her album, but once I heard it, I just knew it had to be one on of my playlists. Considering her sound, she was perfect for this one!

Without You / for King and Country (feat. Courtney) - I've never listened to anything by this duo before, but after hearing this song, I'm definitely going to check out more of there stuff. There's something poignant and sweet about the lyrics, and melody is lovely too.

Do you like any of these songs? What are your favorite songs to listen to on a rainy day?

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