If we were having tea… // 21st June 2020

It’s been a while since we last caught up over a hot drink!

In fact, it’s been over a month. I’m pretty sure I wanted to post a life update somewhere in the middle but was swamped with work. These posts actually take some time to write, even though they’re easy to.

Anyway, grab your choice of drink and let’s catch up.

a pair of hands cradling hot tea

If we were having tea… the first thing I’d update you on is my college. I’m officially done with all assignments and quizzes!!! They were my last ever ones for COLLEGE. Oh my gosh.

I think I’m actually realizing that fact only now. When the assignments were going on, my only focus was getting them done in time while managing my internship and other things. But now that I say it.. I want to cry. In relief, of course.

There will be no more assignments or quizzes. I’m even done with one of my subjects for which I had to present online. I do have three theory subjects this semester for which we’d generally have written finals. But I’m unsure whether that will happen this time. If it does, who knows when.

Going by the timeline decided before COVID-19 changed everything, I would have been DONE with my finals and graduation ceremony and farewell and… oh wow.

I remember, back in February when I learnt about the expected dates for finals, my only concern was having finals right before/after the Lauv concert which I booked tickets for with my friends. The concert was supposed to be on June 15th and it would have been my first ever concert.

animated cat sighing gif.

If we were having tea… you would witness me go off on an intense nostalgic monologue for the first time ever. I am not a nostalgic person. I might become sad but I move on quickly.

But in the past few months, I’ve just been pushing through with the internship and college work. Now that I’m done, and I think about all the missed opportunities for making memories.. I actually want to cry.

Oof. New topic.

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that my friends and I started watching another show together! It’s actually been a while since I watched anything with friends over stream or Netflix Party.

A bunch of us are now watching Modern Family together, which I’ve actually seen before. I watched almost all the seasons. A friend and I have been hyping it up to our friends who always rewatch Friends and How I Met Your Mother like broken records, and we have finally convinced a couple of them to try Modern Family.

We only started about three days back so it’s still new. But I’m really enjoying it, especially since I had watched season 1 a LONG time back. Looking at these (young!) characters is familiar but still new because I don’t remember everything.

If we were having tea… I’d talk about how I finally broke and ordered books yesterday. It was something I’d been contemplating for a while because I was worried if it would be safe. Yeah we get groceries ordered but we wash them thoroughly, we can’t do that with books.

Yes I know that I still have a few (or more) unread paperbacks on my shelves. But there are a couple books that I really want to read soon. One of them I’ll actually be buddy reading with a friend next month. So I finally made the call and got them delivered from my regular bookstore (I’m not giving any more money to Amazon unless I can’t help it. Support local bookstores & businesses during this time!)

bookworm tangled gif

If we were having tea… it would be a very welcome change. My days are quite boring now. Almost everything is in my control. My interest and motivation to blog is also slightly waning, even though I have a ton to share and talk about. I’m hardly in the mood to open my laptop and write a blog post.

My days consist of internship work, read, eat, sleep, repeat. Blog sometimes. There will be a few video calls here and there but not many. And that’s it. How boring. I want to start a new activity but I’m not sure what.

The conversations I have with my friends almost solely revolve around news because there is nothing else that changes. All of us are bored, none of us have new things to say or talk about other than news.

Did you know a meteorite-like object fell from the sky in Rajasthan? Did you know about the incident where a COVID patient died because the family unplugged the ventilator to plug in the air cooler, and the doctor got attacked? Let’s not even talk about Sushanth Singh Rajput and nepotism in Bollywood. And this is not considering all the international news.

I may not know about the exact number of COVID-19 cases, but I do know random bits of information. Mostly because my friends and I just share screenshots and news articles in our Whatsapp group. That’s all we talk about.

"we're doing what we can" gif

If we were having tea… on a slightly unrelated note, I’m currently having a conversation with a friend and we’re talking about alcohol and drinking. I mentioned that he’s 21. Which triggered me to think about whether I can legally drink and for FIVE WHOLE SECONDS I had a crisis trying to remember my age. I forgot whether I’m 20 or 21.

What is happening to me. (I’m 21. I’m legally allowed to drink. But I haven’t yet for some reason. Need to rectify that.) This staying at home always thing has officially fried my brain. What a dumb moment to have.

If we were having tea… I WISH IT WERE IN A CAFE. OUTSIDE. WITH THE CAFE HUM AROUND. I miss seeing something that is not these same walls.

But you know what, knowing me, I’d probably get tired of the outside world in two days. And would want to go back to staying at home.

No actually I just miss my tribe. If they could at least visit me at home, I’d be fine. That’s all I want. To be in the same room as my friends. We don’t even have to talk.

Simpsons "and now my only friend is the bottle" gif

People who are staying with friends or significant others really won.


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Who are you staying with? Have you started going out and about? If we were having tea, what would you tell me?

The King: The Eternal Monarch // Kdrama review

This was the MOST anticipated drama of 2020.

The King: The Eternal Monarch was in to-wait and watch lists of many viewers right from the beginning of this year. Not only is the story intriguing—following treachery and love across parallel universes, it also stars two of the most popular actors: Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun.

I watched this drama as the episodes were released, with two new episodes every weekend. As each episode is ~72 minutes, a ton happened story-wise and I have proper notes for this review. Let’s get to it.

What’s the drama about?

The drama mainly follows two parallel worlds—one has the Republic of Korea like how it is currently in real life, and the other has Kingdom of Corea which is very different from current day Korea.

Lee Gon is the King of Corea. When he was a kid, his father was murdered by his (born out of wedlock) uncle out of jealousy. Lee Gon was almost killed as well but was saved by a masked person who left behind just an ID card of “Jung Tae-eul”.

The uncle’s main goal was to obtain the manpasikjeok (henceforth referred to as “the flute” in this review), which is a famed object that allows it’s owner to travel between worlds and time.

Due to some skirmish, the flute gets divided in half with the uncle escapes with one half and Lee Gon has the other. Decades later, Lee Gon travels to the parallel world searching for his saviour. He meets Jung Tae-eul and hence begins their love story.

Lee Gon also finds out that his traitor uncle is still alive and hiding in this parallel world. In order to get vengeance, the King begins hunting for him.

This series has fantasy, thriller, and also romance.

the king: the eternal monarch poster

My opinions on the drama

As I said earlier, I watched this Kdrama as the episodes released. So I had ample time between episodes to properly think about them and analyze them. Which is probably a reason why I’m being so critical.

A friend of mine also watched it as episodes released and we discussed about every episode immediately after both of us were done. This is another reason why I thought so much about the story and nitpicked all of it.

  • The concept was really good.

It’s the reason why this drama was on my list. Especially because parallel worlds means that every character has their counterpart in the other world, living a completely different life.

I was super excited to see how they’d handle the intricacies of this concept, especially with a mystery/thriller story.

And I have to say, the basic plot and storyline was quite good. They did explore the vastly different lives of people and their counterparts. There were many switcheroo cases which were especially fun to watch.

the king: the eternal monarch lee min go as lee gon, king of Corea
  • The execution was not good.

It was fine in the beginning when things were relatively easy to keep track of. As a viewer, I was not confused very much and could not see any mistakes.

But as the drama went on, things got convoluted. Considering that this concept is quite tricky, especially when time travelling is involved, there should have been more thought put into the story.

My friend and I started getting confused with the intention of certain scenes as well as how they play into the bigger picture quite early. By the time we got to episode 10 (out of 16), I was clearly seeing plot holes. There were some facts and scenes that were logically questionable.

frustration gif

Episode 10, 11 and 12 were simply bad and I hated all of it. Everything was jumbled, nothing made sense, and there was no point to those episodes. There were also random romance scenes in the middle which completely shifted the ongoing vibes.

  • The direction was not good.

Direction and editing is super important for any TV show or movie. When dealing with confusing topics and timelines, it is important that the viewer is not confused. How shows usually handle this is by changing the colour tones just a little bit or by adding a border.

But there was no distinction between the worlds in this drama. Especially in the first couple episodes when distinction is needed in order to get used to it, there was none which confused me. Not even a mention saying which world we’re in.

I got used to it later but it still threw me off in the beginning.

confused gif saying "who what how when"
  • The drama becomes worse as it goes on.

I really liked this drama in the beginning. The concept was cool, the characters were interesting, the editing was proper and all my attention was engaged.

But as the episodes went on… I started losing interest and became increasingly annoyed.

  • The romance sucked.

I HATED IT.

It was fine in the beginning before Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul started to like each other. They had a spark. Their conversations were actually funny and entertaining. They bantered.

the king: the eternal monarch Lee Min-ho as Lee Gon and Kim Go-eun as Jung Tae-eul

All that personality vanished when they caught feelings. They became two extra sappy characters who only made sad faces every time they met again. And they pine whenever they’re apart. All the actual banter and personality which I liked was removed.

And that’s why I hate the romance.

Plus, I didn’t actually like the two actors together. I couldn’t ship them. In my opinion, they were cast only because they’re both popular actors. I don’t think their chemistry was seriously considered.

It is clear through multiple romantic scenes that the goal was to show Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun together for some time instead of actually having a point to those scenes.

the king: the eternal monarch Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul staring at each other while it's snowing

There would be times where the characters simply stared at each other with sad faces and longing. And these scenes actually were shown in the most random times.

For example, there would be something intense going on and that scene would get cut abruptly to show these two with a pointless supposed-to-be romantic segment.

Even when there were genuine scenes between the couple, the dialogues were SO BAD. I cringed at most of them. Where do they come up with this stuff? Some of the lines that were supposed to be critical made no sense. Maybe it makes sense in Korean but not English? I don’t know.

Some of the scenes honestly gave me secondhand embarrassment. I had to look away from the screen and wipe my face to deal with my frustration.

the king: the eternal monarch, Lee Gon puts his head on Jung Tae-eul's shoulder while she is awkward and nervous

So yeah, the romance was a no-go for me.

  • Lee Gon’s character was made only to show Lee Min-ho off.

This is Lee Min-ho’s first drama since coming back from mandatory military service. Hence, this drama got a lot of attention.

But the character… oof. Lee Gon, or the King of Corea, is portrayed as a perfect person. Let me explain.

The King is:

  • a GENIUS because he is super into math and can solve equations really quick in his head. He can also draw conclusions for fantasy concepts like travelling between worlds through math and physics equations.
  • ALL-KNOWING. He is well-read, knows about every topic under the sun, draws conclusions quickly and before any other person, comes up with the best plans because he is the smartest ever, and is almost like God.
the king: the eternal monarch, King Lee Gon on a horse, Lee Min ho playing Lee Gon, King of Corea
  • the MOST HANDSOME man to ever exist. Throughout the show, his good looks are given extra attention and brought to the forefront with and without subtlety. Multiple times, strangers will double-take and comment about his looks, even in the world where he is not the king. There were several scenes where he is lit with a glow behind him to emphasize his beautiful smile.
  • great in tense situations. He is at ease in control and NOTHING FAZES HIM. People around him cannot keep up with the speed of his brain.
  • VERY ROMANTIC. When he likes Jung Tae-eul, he goes all out to spend time with her and protect her. She comes first to him and that is hella romantic.
  • CHARMING. He can charm anyone with his smiles and words.
  • A TRUE HERO.
the king: the eternal monarch, Lee Gog the King of Corea is Navy uniform

The King’s only flaw is perhaps his inherent pride since he is King. He is used to ordering people and getting his way. But that is also portrayed as something to admire, so it is not really a flaw.

Lee Gon was like every woman’s dream guy.

I mean.. who can resist such a charming, smart, and capable leader? There has never been a King like Lee Gon and there will probably never be again. Just by looking at him, you can see that he is from an entirely different league.

Every time he does something, another character will react like “he’s so charming/smart/great/handsome/cool.” Ugh.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Gon presses his forehead against Jung Tae-eul's forehead

The King is simply unreal and that is why I could not stand him. Every time I saw his smug face and every scene where he is shown as a holier-than-thou person, I wanted to print out a photo of him and tear it up.

I won’t lie, I definitely appreciated Lee Min-ho’s good looks. He looked hot. But after a certain point, I need more of the personality than just looks.

Lee Min-ho is a good actor. My problem is the character itself. The character has zero flaws. The only thing that gives this character some depth is his tragic past. That is all. There is nothing beyond that.

It’s almost as if everything about this character was polished a little more because Lee Min-ho was cast for it. And I’m sure that the show’s creators/writers/producers banked on Lee Min-ho to bring in a ton of viewership. And hence, they showed him off with this perfect AF character.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Min-ho as Lee Gon smile
  • Jung Tae-eul was good… but also not good.

She was more real, with a snarky personality and flaws. I actually quite liked her at times.

Jung Tae-eul is a cop, has smart instincts, and does not need to be saved from every single situation. She is not a damsel-in-distress. She is strong and tough.

the king: the eternal monarch. Kim Go Eun as Jung Tae-eul

BUT.

Much of her personality vanishes when she is with the King. She turns into a pining, sad cry-baby. There were even some scenes where she was shown as a damsel-in-distress in order for the King to rescue her even though she didn’t need it.

the king: the eternal monarch. Jung Tae-eul crying as she sees the King.

Jung Tae-eul had some good scenes but they were nullified with some really bad scenes. I was annoyed when she’d be turned into the King’s love interest instead of her own person. What a shame.

  • The love triangle was not bad.

I usually hate love triangles but this one didn’t actually bother me. Probably because there wasn’t much outright tension between all three of them.

Kang Shin-jae, who is Jung Tae-eul’s long time friend and colleague, mostly pines after her in silence and doesn’t even try doing anything about it. I felt bad for him right from the beginning because obviously he won’t end up with her.

the king: the eternal monarch. Jung Tae-eul having food with Kang Shin-jae.

The reason I didn’t dislike this love triangle is because there weren’t drawn-out scenes showing the love triangle. Kang Shin-jae likes Jung Tae-eul but we don’t see the guys fighting over her or having much tension because of her.

Personally, I didn’t think Kang Shin-jae and Jung Tae-eul were right for each other anyway so I wasn’t invested in the possibility as well.

  • Kang Shin-jae had actual life issues.

He was the only one who had issues of his own which were different from the parallel world thing. Most of the time, he wasn’t even involved with Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul. He had other problems to deal with.

Kang Shin-jae had a difficult relationship with his mom, had lingering feelings about his childhood and how his life changed etc.

Him being in love with Jung Tae-eul didn’t determine his role in the drama. I appreciated that.

the king the eternal monarch kang shin-jae
  • My biggest disappointment: Koo Seo-ryung.

She was THE BEST female character of the show. I was in awe of her right from the start.

Koo Seo-ryung is the Prime Minister of Corea. She started at the bottom in her life and worked her way to becoming the PM. How cool is that? She has ambition, is ruthless, and is a role model.

the king: the eternal monarch. PM of Corea, Koo Seo-ryung

The drama even highlighted issues of being a woman in politics. The men constantly undermine her even though she is smarter than them, and they say that she should resign and stay at home. But Seo-ryung pushes through and proves her abilities.

The writers were really onto something with this character. And they messed it up royally.

Koo Seo-ryung was portrayed as a villain because she is ambitious and goes after what she wants. She wanted to become the Queen because that is the highest position achievable and there is nothing wrong with that. A PM can only serve two terms but a Queen’s term never ends. And she vied for that.

But. There was negative light on her because of that and the King constantly undermined her.

the king: the eternal monarch. PM of Corea, Koo Seo-ryung.

Even when the situation was political and she deserved to know the information, the King simply told her to mind her own business. How rude. She would have been able to help him but he told her no simply because of personal reasons.

She asked for honesty because it’s her JOB and he gave her stupid horse-riding riddles.

Through it all, the King is the good guy and she is the witch. That is a strong no in my book and it affected my overall opinion of this drama.

  • There were some good comedy segments, but not enough to redeem the show.

Honestly, the segments I actually liked were ones with supporting characters and not the main characters.

Towards the end, there were barely any funny parts. The show seemed to consist of only:

  1. scenes with the main plot and
  2. romance.

By the end, the show was just a mess and I couldn’t wait to be done with it.

  • The villain was awesome.

The villain of this show is the King’s uncle. Lee Lim is a son born out of wedlock and hence could not inherit the crown even though he was older than Lee Gon’s father.

The royal family is in possession of the powerful flute but Lee Gon’s father was not interested in exploring it’s powers. Considering that a waste, Lee Lim leads his followers so he can steal the flute and have infinity and eternity in his hands.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Lim and Lee Gon with determined faces.

The King is portrayed as the smartest person ever but in my opinion he is dumb compared to the villain. The villain is cunning, clever, patient, and ambitious*. Lee Lim is smarter than the stupid King who can only say cringe-worthy lines he thinks are romantic.

I was awed and super engaged every time the villain was on-screen. You could not make me pause watching. Keeping up with the villain’s plans was interesting as hell.

the king: the eternal monarch. Lee Lim played by Lee Jung-jin

But.

Lee Lim was another character that the writers messed up at the end. He had a few out-of-character scenes where his actions did not make sense with who he is. That’s all I will say because I want to avoid spoilers.

*do you see a pattern with the characters I liked or is it just me.

  • The supporting characters were awesome.

I wish the drama only included the supporting characters and did not show the main couple. They were much more interesting and entertaining.

Any time the supporting characters had a good scene, I gobbled it up with affection. Their scenes without the King and Tae-eul were even better.

Besides PM Koo Seo-ryung, my favourite character was the King’s right-hand man and (kind of) best friend Jo Yeong. I. LOVED. HIM. He is badass and pure and any time he showed emotion, I was gripped.

the king: the eternal monarch. Woo Do-hwan as Jo Yeong. Jo YEong smiles in this gif.

His counterpart in Korea, Jo Eun-sup, was hella entertaining as well.

the king: the eternal monarch. Woo Do-hwan as Jo Eun-sup being cute gif.

Since we’re on the topic, I would like to show my appreciation for Woo Do-hwan. His acting is BRILLIANT. He played two very different characters and pulled it off so well. His acting was better and had more complexity than Lee Min-ho’s. Woo Do-hwan deserves recognition for his roles. I would like to see him as a lead in the future.

the king: the eternal monarch. Woo Do-hwan as both Eun-sup and Yeong.

An underrated supporting character was Head Court Lady Noh. She raised the King and always had good intentions for him. She’s also a mother-hen and frets over King all the time.

There was one fact which was randomly thrown out in the middle only to never be brought up again. And that was really weird. Her character, especially with that twist, had so much potential and it was wasted.

the king: the eternal monarch. Head Court Lady Noh played by Kim Young-ok.
  • Supporting characters were overshadowed a lot.

One of the reasons I like Kdramas is because they usually give attention to the plot and characters arcs of the supporting characters as well. It’s not only about the main characters.

But in this drama, everything was about the main characters. There were barely any scenes that really focused on the supporting characters alone. And this really disappointed me.

In the last episode there was ONE scene about a random character that we never got much of. It was very off because that character’s role in the plot was minimal at best. And they got focus in the epilogue when other supporting characters didn’t.

  • Supporting characters falling in love was better than the main couple.

I was so into the romance between Jo Yeong and Myeong Seung-ha in the Kingdom of Corea. And I was also into the romance between Jo Eun-sup and Myeong Na-ri.

Basically, the same two people but in both parallel worlds.

This pairing was so good and even though there wasn’t much attention given to their relationships, it was enough for me to love it.

the king: the eternal monarch. Jo Yeong and Myeong Seung-ah.
  • There was too much confusion.

Confusion is warranted and usually expected when watching shows with mystery plot-lines. This drama definitely banks on viewers being confused and waiting to see how everything is resolved. We watch so our questions get answered.

But this drama caused too much confusion. My friend and I had tons of questions. If I look back on our texts from episode 8 or so, I can see us asking each other questions to see if we missed anything.

The worst part is that many questions went unanswered.

"what does that mean?" gif

While there can be elements, especially in fantasies, that cannot be explained, this drama simply chose not to explain some things. The questions were raised and forgotten.

Before the finale aired, my friend actually went through all recaps to understand things better and even read theories. I did not spend that much time on it and I am glad. Because even those efforts did not lead to anything. Many viewers were confused.

  • There were a TON of plotholes.

I am generally a person who keeps up with the logic and analyzes things. I’ve noticed plot holes in other shows and dramas as well. Plot holes are never good to notice but they can open up conversations through which you may find out that you missed somethings.

This drama had the latter, where we figured out what happened through discussion. But it also had a lot of unresolved plot holes.

In fact, there were massive plot holes in this drama. So huge and obvious that you’d think the writers deliberately ignored them. Because they can’t be stupid enough to not notice them.

The concept of parallel worlds is tricky alone. The concept of time travelling is complex as well. When both are used together, there needs to be much more thought put into the story and plot-lines. The writers should spend time going over timelines and see that everything makes sense.

That was clearly not done for this drama. The plot hole in the last episode is so glaring and massive that I really wonder, how did they not think of it?

It’s almost as if viewers are expected to not analyze anything because we’ll get distracted by Lee Min-ho’s face.

This review on dramabeans (which includes spoilers) accurately describes many of my opinions.


DISCUSSION (INCLUDES SPOILERS)

If you don’t want spoilers, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

I had a lot of questions and noticed many plot holes. But there are quite many and hence I will only talk about the bigger ones here.

  1. If all parallel worlds were the same until one event which split them, then how is the flute in only one world? Won’t there be multiple flutes, one in every world.
  2. Lee Gon went back in time to save his younger self twice. How is it that the second time he went back, only one older Lee Gon was there? What happened to the dressed-in-black Lee Gon from the main timeline? If you think about the logic for a minute, you’ll realize there are supposed to be 2 older Lee Gons in the past at the same time. Time travelling doesn’t work however you want it to. It’s tricky and messy.
  3. The epilogue showed the couple going on dates by travelling to a point in the past. But Lee Gon is the king. He has to marry and have heirs at some point? How will that work?
  4. Why do they always travel to the past when all eternity and infinity is at their hands?
  5. A main point in the plot is that time stops longer the more times Lee Lim and Lee Gon travel between the worlds. But Lee Lim has been travelling for almost three decades. How is it that time started slowing down only when Lee Gon started travelling? Makes no sense. And when time did stop for longer periods, what Lee Lim and Lee Gon did was not shown. They could have actually done crucial things when everything is paused but they didn’t.
  6. Due to the altered past events i.e. Lee Lim dying in 1994 itself, many things would have changed. It appears that the writers of this show did not consider butterfly effect at all. Several people in both worlds died at Lee Lim’s hands and since he was killed, they would be alive. The world would look very different. That was not shown or accounted for.
  7. Also, according to the new past where Lee Lim is killed and young Lee Gon is saved by Yeong and doesn’t have the ID card, Lee Gon’s memories would be vastly different. Those memories were not shown. If a point in past is changed, everything from then changes. And yet this show had the past changing massively but the current day remaining same. Makes. No. Sense.
  8. What was up with the stupid scene in the epilogue where the new PM’s kid comes up on stage and asks the King who he is? And that glow behind the King when he smiles? Ugh. Barf.

Okay that’s all I can remember as of now. If there are more, I will come back and add them here. If you have theories or answers for any of these, let me know in the comments. And if you have any questions, feel free to mention them below as well.


Overall

I had high hopes for this drama and was disappointed by the execution of it all. I regret wasting 19.2 hours watching it.

If you would like to simply look at Lee Min-ho, this drama is good for you because he looks handsome AF.

If you care about the plot and substance, I suggest skipping this because it will only confuse and irritate you.


Dramas that I recommend instead of The King

While You Were Sleeping (fantasy, dreams come true, badass heroine)

Kill Me, Heal Me (multiple personality disorder, mystery, comedy)

W: Two Worlds (Lee Jong-suk looks great, reality blends with fiction)


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Have you seen The King already and are here to seek validation that you’re not alone in disliking it? What are your thoughts?

The Stay at Home Book Tag

Book tags are fun and light and I could use some of that right now.

As someone from India, I can’t really say anything of substance about what is happening in the US right now. All I can do is support and raise voices of those who need to be heard online, which is what I focused on the last week. But I have to say, it kind of felt like the same conversations (with friends & family) and struggles of the minority as what we had witnessed last year in India with CAA/CAB. The only real difference was I knew people who could be directly impacted by the situation then.

After these last few days of looking at news, retweeting and sharing info, and having continuous discussions about it, I do not have the energy to write a proper blog post or review. A book tag is what I’d like to do now because it’s easy and fun.

I found this tag over at Reads and Thoughts and it is created by Princess of Paperback so do check out their versions as well!

To make things a little more fun, I’ll be trying to answer with books that I read during this time of staying at home.

*hope y’all are social distancing too!


LAYING IN BED- BOOK YOU COULD/HAVE READ IN A DAY

100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

I read this book in a few hours. It was really nice to read and very easy to get into. All my thoughts about it are in my review.

book and tea

SNACKING- A GUILTY PLEASURE BOOK

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland

This book found its way to me through a romance book club because otherwise I wouldn’t have read it since I really dislike boss-employee relationships. I actually didn’t like this book as well, it was a meager 2/5 stars for me.

I didn’t feel like writing a whole review on it but I did write a mini-review.

NETFLIX- SERIES YOU WANT TO START

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmer

I’ve seen this book on Instagram a lot and want to get into the club haha. But to be honest, I want to start any Fantasy series that I missed while I’ve been on my romance streak.

the dark artifices trilogy books
The Dark Artifices trilogy is my #1 fantasy series!

DEEP CLEAN- BEEN ON YOUR TBR FOR AGES

Where do I even start? My Goodreads TBR has over 400 books and that doesn’t even include other random books that I’ve seen around and take up space in my head as “I have to try that one”.

Let me pick one up from the depths of my Goodreads TBR.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

This is now #1 on my Goodreads TBR. It was The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani but I read that recently. I’ve been intrigued with this book for so long and yet I haven’t picked it up yet. I also don’t want to remove it from my list.

ANIMAL CROSSING- A BOOK YOU RECENTLY BOUGHT BECAUSE OF HYPE

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I read this book a few days back due to the hype. It sounded like a good romance novel and I was surprised that many readers were praising it, even people who don’t read romance that often. I ended up not liking it, though. As I wrote in my mini-review, it felt like a retelling of many other romance stories that I’ve already read.

an open book

PRODUCTIVITY – BOOK YOU LEARNED FROM OR HAD AN IMPACT ON YOU

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

This book has been on my TBR from before it even released. Back then I kept track of new releases and marked anticipated books. But I actually read it only recently.

It is my first book with a non-binary main character and I learnt so much about how simple phrases that I use all the time like calling every “bro” etc. might makes someone who is non-binary feel. It showed me how I am not considerate. I may not know anyone who is non-binary but it could also be because they’re not out yet. It doesn’t mean I stay insensitive.

So yeah, it made an impact on me.

FACETIME – A BOOK YOU WERE GIFTED

Circe by Madeline Miller

My book club gifted me this book for my birthday way back in December but I got to it only during lockdown. I wrote a whole review talking about my thoughts on it but her’s a gist: I love it and I’m looking forward to reading A Song of Achilles.

circe by madeline miller

SELF CARE – WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HAVE DONE RECENTLY TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Since I’m doing an internship and have college going on as well, I’m stuck to the laptop way too much. If you add blogging onto all that, I’m basically on the laptop all day long. My eyes are having a really hard time adjusting to this sudden increase in screen time.

It’s taken me a while to find something to do that keeps me occupied and awake but also doesn’t strain my eyes with screen time.

Now, I usually doodle in my bullet journal while listening to an audiobook when I want some rest for my eyes. This really helps as I can be occupied for a long time without screen time or a lot of strain on the eyes.

a bullet journal spread with lots of leaf doodles
here’s one of my doodle-heavy bullet journal spreads

BONUS – NAME A BOOK COMING OUT SOON

I am not keeping track with new releases at all. There was time when I had a list of books to look out for and get ASAP but I’m just not into that anymore. It takes quite some time and effort and my backlist books are too many to ignore.


I tag..

YOU! Only if you want to do it, of course. I’m sure all of us can use another fun way to talk about books haha.


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What have you been reading while staying at home? How are you keeping your health up?

if we were having tea header image

if we were having tea… // 17th May 2020

It’s tea time!

I was confused on what to post today since I had multiple ideas. As I couldn’t make a decision, I put up polls on Twitter and Instagram. In both places, this post got the most votes so here we are.

I got myself a hot cup of tea as well to set the vibe for myself. You might as well get a cup of something too.

a steaming cup of tea gif

If we were having tea… I’d first comment on how time seems to fly by. A new week starts and by the time I keep up with work, college, and blogging, the week is almost over. If it’s like this with me being home, I wonder how I would have managed in normal life without the pandemic.

If we were having tea… I would say that deadlines are catching up to me. They’re creeping up out of nowhere leaving me flustered and overwhelmed. I can think of two major deadlines for college as of now which need to be worked on ASAP.

Along with the major deadlines in college and work, small deadlines like assignments and small goals are also adding to my stress. Every few days I find that there are multiple assignments left to do that are due within a day or so. Once they’re done, I take a break to focus on other things. Repeat.

It’s starting to become overwhelming, especially since our situation with finals is also up in the air. I’m worried that we’ll have to write finals without having written even one internal test. Those internals are the ones that help in the end because they give familiarity with the topics. I learn about what and how much to write through them. Without internals to guide me, I don’t know how I’ll do in finals.

According to our seniors, the last semester is the easiest and we’ll score the best. But with the current situation, who knows.

sigh gif

If we were having tea right now… it would probably be a video call and you’d hear loud music and noise coming from my side. It’s because the people in the house that my room’s window faces (in the apartment next to ours) play everything SUPER LOUD.

I am SO ANNOYED. We’ve tried calling out to them through our balcony and reaching out through other means but haven’t been able to successfully so far.

I think they have a home theatre system and they use it a lot. If we consider both the apartments, they’re the ONLY ONES who turn up the volume so much. They have to be deaf by now.

It’s the worst when I’m trying to get something done or when I’m in class/a work call. As I write this, I’m literally listening to lofi music through headphones in a high volume to drown them out. And I don’t turn the volume up this high usually but I have to because of them.

From spying through the window, I know that a couple live there. I assume they also work from home because every weekday during the afternoon they play LOUD MUSIC or watch television for an hour. Which I assume is their lunch break. It’s so loud that I know what they’re watching, what the characters are saying, everything.

As you can see, I have a lot of frustration built up.

These are also the people who had multiple friends over for a SLEEPOVER lasting THREE DAYS right after the lockdown was announced. And you bet they had a great time because we heard the party music.

frustration gif

If we were having tea… I’d talk about how I’m really enjoying lofi music right now. I play it in the background when blogging and working. It’s really nice.

I made a playlist of my favourite lofi mixes so check it out if you want to! The third and fourth videos are my favourite.

Recently, I also found a 24/7 lofi beats livestream titled Quarantine Vibe. It’s quite nice too but I find that its beats do not suit my timings, which is sad.

If we were having tea... continuing from the previous topic, I’d talk about the new Discord servers that I joined (after searching for days). I was looking for Discord servers where people listen to music together and maybe chat. In the last tea hangout post I had mentioned that I missed listening to chatter which is what led me to looking for these servers.

I found them only yesterday and I really like one called Medium Cafe because of 2 things:

  • there is music playing 24/7 through their custom for-the-channel bots. One of the bots plays really good lofi which takes the problem of finding mixes out of my hands.
  • there are multiple voice channels broken down as “cafe tables” and “cafe booths” to chat and listen to music together with other people.

So yeah, nice stuff.

aww yeah gif

If we were having tea… I would mention that my friends and I are almost done with Orphan Black. By that, I mean we have only a few episodes left. I am so glad to be finishing it because I’ve been curious about the ending for YEARS. Its been fun to watch with friends.

If we were having tea… you’d have another watching update from me. A few friends and I watched Anohana together. Anohana is a BEAUTIFUL and HEART-BREAKING ANIME that I first saw a couple years back. Since it is only 11 half-hour episodes, I had binged it in a day and sobbed my eyes out.

This time, I’m re-watching with friends and as it’s hard to coordinate times, we spread out watching the anime over two weekends. We watched the last 7 episodes yesterday though. AND IT’S STILL SO GOOD. Even though I knew what’s coming, it blew me away.

100/10 recommend.

If we were having tea… I’d talk about how I’m super inspired to blog even though I don’t have the time. I usually post thrice a week but for the last two weeks I posted four times. And blogging takes TIME, especially when you’re doing 500-1000 words a post.

And I have so many ideas. Lately I’ve been coming up with more chatty posts where I talk about my perspectives on things. And they are posts that will have 1k words* easily because I have so much to say. Although they might not be popular, they would open up discussions too.

My only problem is finding the time to write them all haha.

I’m happy that I’m not having a blogging slump, though! I usually get them when things are too hectic in real life.

*Oh hey look this post is already over 1k words. Thanks for sticking with me, y’all.

furiously typing gif

If we were having tea… I’d hit you with another watching update. Yes it’s a lot of watching but I have the time now! And I’m mostly watching in small doses.

I’m currently watching the Kdrama The King: The Eternal Monarch which stars Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun. Netflix is releasing two episodes every weekend. A friend of mine is also watching it as it releases which is great because I have someone to discuss with.

Being a fantasy show, it does have many aspects that start discussions. The plot, the science-fiction elements, and especially the plot holes. I will (hopefully find the time to) write a review* on it once the Kdrama is over. But one thing I can say is that I don’t like the romance. And the show isn’t directed/edited well. My friend and I have been confused at parts and totally dislike the romance.

*Although I forget things easily, I have the chats with my friend to look back on and remember by opinions. So this review will turn out good.

If we were having tea… you’d hear about how I’m back to being (somewhat) active on Instagram. I wrote a whole post on my mixed feelings towards the app and the bookstagram scene a while back. In fact I was considering deleting the account recently. But that’s giving up, so I thought why not give it one more shot. This time just not at all looking at the numbers.

Let’s hope I can do it lol. If I can’t, I’ll probably go on hiatus over there.

thumbs up gif

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If we were having tea together right now, what would you tell me?

How I’m coping in lockdown

Hey everyone!

I’ve seen many bloggers do this kind of post where they just talk about how they’re doing and what their routine/life looks like in self-isolation/lockdown and I wanted to do my version as well.

This post was actually supposed to go up yesterday but I took a complete day off by not opening my laptops. After the week I’ve had, I really needed a break. All the tasks on my to-do list have been moved forward to today.

Routine

In my last life update, I mentioned that I was trying to set a routine. Well, it finally worked out. I now have some kind of routine for weekdays.

By routine, I really mean just a morning routine. After waking up and having some green leaf juice that my mum is forcing me to drink every day, I work out for a little to get my energy up. I’m not working out for weight loss or fitness but just to get my energy going and become fully awake.

Then I wash up and get dressed. Now, getting dressed has really helped me switch my mind from home-mode to work-mode. A lot of people are happy that they can work in pajamas but that doesn’t work for me. I dress up almost like I would if I were going out.

Changing back into home clothes at the end of the day makes the switch into chill-mode. I know that keeping home-life and work-life separate is important. Having a proper off-time is important. So the clothes really made a difference.

Before starting to work for my internship, I had college online classes this past week. So 10am to 11am I have a class and I start working at 11. This was Monday to Saturday this week. But from next week they’re making it 9am to noon thrice a week which is going to be hard.

First of all, three hours of class followed by 8-9 hours of work is not possible by me. That too with only a lunch break. Also, it adds a lot of screen time which is bad for my eyes.

After logging off work, I usually take at least an hour off to spend time with mum while having a drink or listen to audiobooks. I have a tendency to forget I have a phone during the day so I also catch up on texts and conversations at night.

And then, I just read or watch something. I try to blog but it’s not working out because I can’t look at the laptop screen any longer.

Screen time

My eyes are normally weak as it is. I wear glasses when using my laptop or looking at TV to help with the strain. I wear glasses all day long because even too much sunlight causes my eyes to become red.

8-9 hours for work is about as much as my eyes can take. By adding on an extra hour this past week for classes, my eyes need dedicated break/recovery time. For three out of four work days this week (Friday i.e. yesterday for me was a holiday for Good Friday) I’ve ended my workday with red eyes.

Red eyes means that I need to completely rest my eyes for at least an hour so they can take the strain again the next day. This is the one thing that I’m really struggling with.

Everything that did not require using a screen before requires it now. I am very conscious about the strain my eyes are taking. I find myself rubbing my eyes or closing them for a few minutes, just to rest them, multiple times a day. Whenever I can, I spend meetings walking around instead of looking at the screen. But only so much can be done.

Evenings are spent reading, listening to audiobooks, or doing anything else that will have me not looking at screens.

Internship

This Thursday was the first time that I felt like I was fully productive since work from home started. It has taken me this long to adjust to working from home and having meetings online. Also to figure out how to really communicate and what works best.

I’m a productivity-oriented person. I’ve mentioned this many times on the blog. It’s a good day when I’ve been productive and got a bunch of things done. Unless I specifically decide to take a day off for rest, I like to get at least a few things done. The tasks can be anything, but I need to do something.

In fact, it keeps me energized. After a productive day, I log off with energy to do non-work things like blog or chores.

So working an entire day for the internship and being productive makes me feel good. This week was the first time during work from home that I was satisfied when logging off work.

One thing I’m really glad about is having a partner who works like me. She is also productivity-oriented and we’ve worked well together so far. That really helps.

College

It feels like we’re still in an adjustment period and we’re figuring things out. The college authorities seem to have made a decision recently which translated into an email with upcoming plans that we received yesterday.

Obviously, there are holes in the plan and things that can be done better, but everyone’s trying. When the semester started, I expected to be studying on my own because of the internship which doesn’t allow me to attend most classes.

Since it’s online, and just hearing the class helps familiarize the topics, I’m trying to attend as many classes as I can. I did miss a couple classes this week because they were in the afternoon when my work is at it’s peak.

I have no idea how I’m going to manage the new plan of three classes thrice a week, like I mentioned before. No clue how that will work. Especially since the email mentioned that attendance counts towards scores.

In my opinion, that’s not good because tons of people have internet issues. Three hours of continuous class thrice a week will require quite a bit of internet data and good internet connection, which many might not have. Even I face internet issues almost everyday when I’m working.

My classmates and I are hoping to talk to the teachers and put forward concerns. Hopefully, a solution works out.

Blogging

Is NOT HAPPENING. I’m still trying to post thrice a week. Until last week, I had some sort of a schedule to post but this week it was not possible. I couldn’t bear to look at my laptop anymore and hence, blogging was out of the question. Thankfully, I had written a couple posts during the weekend, which went up in the beginning of the week.

Going forward, I’ll have to somehow blog during the weekends for the upcoming week in order to keep posting regularly. I don’t see myself blogging during the week anymore, to be honest.

Not only am I not able to blog, but I’m not able to blog hop and visit other blogs much as well. I used to see some during breakfast before work but now I have breakfast during class so… yeah. I don’t know. Have to make some changes in my routine to accommodate college classes well.

As I said before, this post was supposed to go up yesterday. I thought I could do it since yesterday was a holiday (for work, not college). But I a few hours after waking up, I knew that I needed a day off from laptops.

Reading

My reading has definitely increased during self-isolation/lockdown. I mentioned this before as well. Since my travel time has cut down and I am trying to not use screens after work, reading has been my go-to activity.

I’m even able to finish whole books in ONE sitting. For the first time this year. I’m so glad that I have unread books on my shelf and a Kindle that allow me to read a lot.

Although my reading has increased, I haven’t reverted my 2020 Goodreads reading challenge back to 150 books. I’m 15 books ahead on my current goal of a 100 books, but I think I’ll need to get ahead now to meet my goal by the end of 2020.

Things are definitely going to become more hectic once lockdown is lifted and the society starts to go back to normal. There won’t be time for reading then.

Reading more also means that I have more books to review, but blogging less means that I don’t get the time to review them! It’s a dilemma on it’s own. I’m going to have a huge backlog of reviews by the time self-isolation ends.

Watching

During the weekends I watch a bit too. Also during meal times if I can handle it.

Last weekend, I finally binge-watched High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. I’ve heard way too much about it since Disney+ came out and I’m glad it came to India so I could watch it. A friend lent me his Hotstar account so I can watch lol.

I’ve also been watching Shark Tank for a couple months now, mostly during meal times. I finally finished the three seasons on Netflix. Time to look for a new show to accompany meals.

A couple weeks back, I also rewatched Orphan Black season 1 with three of my friends on Netflix party. Going back, I see so many plot holes in the show. I also notice a ton of other things, which makes the show predictable even without me knowing the story. It was still interesting but not as much. I’m not continuing with the show anymore.

Yesterday evening I started a Kdrama called The K2. I’ve been eyeing it for a long time but held off for so long because it’s an action drama and I’m not into actions. Too much fighting which takes up plot time, in my opinion. On a whim, I decided to give it a try yesterday.

My opinion is the same on fighting scenes taking too much time of the show but the plot itself isn’t bad. I’m halfway through. Final verdict is still out.

Socializing

This is barely happening. I’m not a very social person as it is and most of my socializing came out of friends making plans.

My college friends and I did have a couple video calls but didn’t have much to talk about. We’re all having monotonous days.

I did a video call with my best friends once which was impromptu because one of them was bored lol. My girl group from school have planned for one this evening which will be the highlight of my day.

One things that has really changed is the amount I text. I generally don’t talk much as it is, but I don’t texting. I usually reply whenever I can and do have long conversations over text.

But now that I have nothing else to occupy my mind, texting really annoys me. I can text a bit, but not a lot. And I feel like I’m wasting my time by texting about things which I consider unimportant. Like shows or random topics.

It’s probably not good but I feel better now that I really cut down my texting. Whatever makes me feel good is good, right?

I do text and have conversations everyday but not very much. My notifications for all social media apps are off so.. I sometimes forget about them. I haven’t opened snaps that I’ve received in over a week.

My coping mechanism seems to be not talking a lot.

In daily life

Mum and I live around each other more than live together. It’s mainly because of me and my need for space and alone time often. Both of us can’t go out and take a break from each other, which is causing strain in our relationship.

I consciously avoid arguments with her because I know that it won’t be good since we’re stuck with only each other. Being my mum, she constantly tells me what I can do different or better which really affects me because I’m doing my best.

She can chant or sing devotional songs all day but I’m not going to do that because I don’t believe. That’s that. She has taken this lockdown as an opportunity to get me into devotion and constantly tries to make me do things.

So yeah, I’m not doing great mentally. Because every time I go to spend time with her, she will bring up something that I should do or how I’d trouble her less if I just listen to her. I know that she thinks for my own good but I have my own beliefs. I am 21. The time for listening to everything she says has gone.

Because arguments over religious activities is enough on it’s own, I simply listen to whatever she says otherwise because I don’t have the energy to argue. I’m just hanging in there, y’all.

As for groceries and food, mum goes out about once a week in the morning to nearby stores. We spend at least half an hour after she gets back just washing and everything.

Now we might not be allowed to go out as well, soon, so delivery systems will be put in place by the government. It should have been worked out before itself but better late than never.

The COVID-19 situation

I used to be quite obsessed with keeping updated on the news and reading all the information. In fact, I used to update my friends with the news. A few friends and I have a group called “updates” where we used to just send updates and talk about COVID-19. Anyone who didn’t want to could simply not join/leave. It was how we coped.

That has fizzled out in the last couple weeks. Some friends still stay updated but we don’t talk as much about it on the group. I’ve stopped seeing the news and searching “coronavirus update India” on Google. I have a friend whom I text once every few days asking for any important news.

Basically, now we’re coping by not concentrating on coronavirus updates.

It doesn’t look like it’s going down, though. Three states are in really bad condition and all we can do is hope and do our parts right.


And that’s all I have to say. I spoke a LOT. This post has 2.4k words now. There was a ton I wanted to talk and let out of my chest, clearly.

The total lockdown isn’t ending soon, and there will most likely be stricter measures put in place soon. This is the new normal, at least for some more time.

It’s definitely making completely different memories for seniors in high school and college. My friends who planned to go abroad for masters are not sure if it’s going to happen. There are a lot of uncertainties and we can only take it day-by-day at this point.

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How are you doing? How is life for you, with work or school?

Break through the boredom at home

Ever since people started staying at home due to COVID-19, there have been TONS of tips going around to maintain a good life at home.

Be it workout exercises, things to learn, goals to hit, self-love routines or work-from-home tips—EVERYONE has been sharing their insights.

My twitter feed has been FILLED with advice on all the things. And it definitely helps. Learning from others’ experiences is easier than trying and failing on your own.

All of us had some form of a routine before but now we need entirely new routines. Hence, one thing that almost everyone is working on setting up a new routine. Routines make sure that we get everything done and are on time for work/study.

gif of a man saying "this. has. got. to. be. perfection."

But I have a slightly different opinion.

A few months before, our lives every day were different. Even though we had a routine, it wasn’t completely set in stone because of factors not in our control.

We could have been on time and yet the bus could be a few minutes late, setting your schedule off. You might has forgotten something at home, causing you to go back and start the trip to office again. You and your friends might have suddenly decided to go out for dinner.

And that’s what made life interesting. The absence of monotony or a perfect routine made our days interesting.

Since we are all at home now, almost everything is in our control. Which means that there fewer variables and very few differences between one day and the next. This leads to monotony and boredom.

person falling face first onto the bed

In order to not let boredom set in, BREAK. THE. MONOTONY.

Now, I know what you’re asking. But Sumedha, I need a routine in order to get things done! How do I break the monotony?

Have a flexible routine.

Don’t section off every minute of your day for something.

I’ve seen people online with routines where they’ve marked down EVERYTHING in advance. This will just lead to boredom in a few days.

Only mark down chores, work and study. Only mark down things that have a deadline, or require collaboration with other people. Those need specific timings.

But DON’T hardcore schedule fun time or chill time! Don’t do 9pm-10pm read. Just read when you feel like it. If you don’t want to read, watch a movie. You can even simple video call friends.

Do something fun every day

And by fun, I mean something that will make you smile and laugh. This can be a hobby, or this can be playing games with your family or friends. Even if it is just for 15 minutes everyday, do something fun to lift your spirits.

I suggest doing a dance party. Play happy or dance music and break your moves out. Just dance for 15 minutes. Jump around, do random moves. I frequently do this, and it never fails to brighten up my day. This can also be done with everyone in the house.

Regularly change parts of your routine

And I mean small things, like your meal plans or the days on which you do something. Make changes in what you have control over. Just to keep the monotony out of your routine.

Frequently do things with other people

Most of us thrive through contact with other people. Most of our lives are usually outside so this is not surprising.

This sudden lack of contact with other people will affect us. So find ways to still keep in touch with your friends and family and do activities with them online.

For example:

  • play multiplayer games online.
  • watch movies or shows together.
  • do video calls and spend time “hanging out”.
  • simulate lunch or coffee outings through calls.

Keeping in touch with people and doing fun collaborative things will stop boredom from setting in.


To summarize:

  • Have a flexible routine.
  • Do something fun everyday.
  • Regularly change parts of your routine.
  • Frequently do things with other people.

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How are you faring at home? What do you do in order to keep your days interesting?

if we were having tea header image

if we were having tea… // 25 March 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken in a casual and chatty way, and I think it’s long overdue.

Many things have been happening in the world and I think we all could use a break from the news to just talk to each other and update on how we’re feeling/doing*.

Grab a hot cup of tea or coffee or any drink of your choice and settle down to hear some chatter from me.

*to keep things light, I will not be talking about the coronavirus situation itself. Maybe just some references, but all the talk will be about other things. We all need a break.

a steaming cup of tea gif

If we were having tea… I’d talk about my schedule nowadays which is CRAP. I sleep for 10 to 11 hours for no reason. Because I have no real time-sensitive work to do like internship or classes. I’m working on slowly resetting my schedule back to early timings, but it’s going in baby steps.

If we were having tea… you might have said “wait what?? I thought you were working from home for your internship?? That’s what you said in your last update?!” and you’d be right. I did say that, but a DAY after that my office decide to pause the internships for two weeks. We’re all scrambling to figure out our business plans and since many of us interns don’t have good internet connections where we stay, they gave us leaves. All the interns who stay away from family went back home.

My internship is paused until March 30th but we’re not sure if that will continue or whether we will resume. Let’s see.

If we were having tea… I would talk about how I need purpose to my days. Even if I’m on vacation, I like to know in advance so I’m prepared for not having work or focus on relaxing. Getting a sudden off from internship (and college classes are suspended as well) means that I’m suddenly free. I’m a planner and this was not nice to my brain and schedule. It took me a couple days of moping and sleeping too much to accept it and make a plan for the coming while.

I decided to take it as a vacation and make some progress on reading books, since I didn’t get much time to read before. I AM being a little productive everyday though because I’m a productivity-oriented person. Sleep won’t come to me unless I get something done. That something has been blogging for the most part, and reading. Now I’ve started working on my project for college as well.

rapunzel from tangled picking up books to read

If we were having tea… I’d share news about my college. Since all classes are suspended, we’ve moved online as well. But it’s a little weird for us because even normally we had only few hours of classes three days a week. And barely anyone that because most students have internship Monday to Friday.

Hence, we don’t really care about videos and lectures because it’s a foregone conclusion that we’ll be basically studying on our own from notes. We only had to worry about assignments and stuff. We haven’t even bothered to consider online classes haha.

But now we’ve been given reading material day-wise and assignments every week (before it was once two to three weeks). This is so weird. I’m going to be actually doing classwork for the first time this semester.

falling face-first onto bed

If we were having tea… You’d learn all about Twitter prom! A while back this tweet went viral which suggested having prom online since most events are cancelled in real life. We deserve some sort of celebration, yeah? Even with social distancing.

The tweet went viral with A LOT of people showing interest. A discord server was made for it called twitter prom (but on discord) and there are thousands of people on it now. Kudos to the moderators who have worked hard to properly moderate, give people roles depicting age, pronouns and sexuality.

Twitter prom is just an excuse to hang out, though. Strangers hang online on the text and/or voice channels and can make friends too. I have seen people asking out others to the twitter prom randomly haha. The actual prom happened at 4:30am (for me) today and because of the timing I wasn’t a part of it. No clue how it went.

I’ve been hanging on the channel to listen to music with others and play skribble with them sometimes. There are ALWAYS people just listening to music together I just join in whenever and have a fun time. I’ve also made some new friends! They have good taste in music, so that’s good. We have fun 🙂

Michelle from Full House dancing with excitement!

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that my Bangalore book club made a new Instagram page (follow us here!) and we’re super excited to start over. This time with better graphics and ALL the enthusiasm.

In fact, we’re currently in the middle of our first readathon! Since today is a holiday for most Indians as it’s a festival (hence no work from home as well), we thought today would be good to start small. This readathon goes on for 12 hours—10am to 10pm—and the goal is to read for SIX hours.

As I write this, we’re already almost three hours in and I HAVEN’T STARTED. This is partly because I stayed up until 3:30am reading and only woke up at 10:30am. I’ll start reading as soon as I finish this post. The book that I’ll be reading is Tatiana & Alexander by Paullina Simmons because I need a readathon to actually finish it. I left it partway a week back and haven’t returned.

If we were having tea… we would probably bond over boredom of staying at home. I’m envying the people who are quarantined with friends and their significant others because being with my mum not is not very fun. I MISS MY FRIENDS. I miss their faces. I suggested doing an online coffee/tea hangout (kind of like this post!) so let’s hope that happens. It’s not that I have much to say, but I miss hearing random things about them and I miss us all discussing things and ribbing each other.

animated cat sighing.

If we were having tea… I’d ask you to safe safe and healthy! The situation all around the world isn’t good right now and we need to keep ourselves healthy and happy. Mental health is just as important as physical health.


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What would you tell me if we were having tea (or coffee) right now?

Book Design Tag

Books can be SUPER PRETTY and make you cover buy.

They can also be so creative. The book designs, especially nowadays, are BRILLIANT. Designers come up with such good designs, I get heart eyes.

I found this tag at A Little Haze Book Blog and thought it would be fun to do!


1. A book you bought primarily (or completely) because of the cover.

the crown by kiera cass

The Crown by Kiera Cass. I didn’t even want to read this book because The Heir (it’s immediate prequel) was SO BAD. But. It’s so pretty. So of course I bought it.

2. A book you want to buy that has a beautiful cover

six of crows collector's edition

Since I already own the Six of Crows collector’s edition, I’m going to say Crooked Kindgom collector’s edition! These editions are way too beautiful.

3. Your favourite series design

the selection series

The Selection series by Kiera Cass. All the books look way too good. The dresses, especially.

4. Dust jacket: a book with a beautiful dust jacket, or something unexpected under the jacket

I’m not a huge hardcover follower, so I’m actually not sure. I’m going to say.. A Darker Shade of Magic collector’s edition.

5. Naked hardback: a gorgeous book with no dust jacket

Going with Six of Crows again!

6. A beautiful paperback

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore cover

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan! When I noticed it in the bookstore last year, I was struck by how beautiful it looks!

7. A nonfiction book with a lovely cover

I’m not a non-fiction person so I don’t keep track of this genre. Skipping this one!

8. A book with great endpapers

Okay I don’t pay much attention to this too. But I did see endpapers of The Shadowhunter’s Codex once and LOVED IT. So I’ll choose that.

9. Spine: a book that looks just as gorgeous spine-out as it does face-out

circe by madeline miller

Circe by Madeline Miller! It’s very catchy showing the spine on my shelf 🙂

10. Tag some friends!

YOU! Only if you want to do this too, of course.


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the sunday post header

The Sunday Post // first week in my internship!!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Oh my gosh it’s been SO LONG since I posted a life update. I want to spend my time and make this post long and detailed but honestly I have other things to do as well so I’ll try to keep it short.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.


Internship update

Technically my internship started on 16th but this was my first FULL week. It was hectic, I’m not going to lie. It didn’t leave me with a lot of time at home because I come around 8pm.

But, I am quite enjoying it. I tried socializing in the beginning but reached my socializing limit pretty soon. I am talking to new people but haven’t made any concrete friendships. It’s great that I have a couple friends from my college with me so I’m not alone most of the time.

The workspace and environment is GREAT. It’s awesome and I’m loving it so far. I’m not unhappy to spend that many hours in the office.

Reading Update

My reading challenge for this year is 150 books, same as last year. But it may appear that I was too optimistic. I’m ALREADY FALLING BEHIND on my challenge.

On the other hand, though, I am reading much more quality books than I did last year. By quality, I mean books about heavy topics and interesting fiction instead of a ton of romance. I still like romance, and have read one romance book, but that’s not my first pick.

The books I’ve been reading are also longer, so that adds to me falling behind on my challenge.

Currently I’m reading Kafka on the Shore by Karuki Murakami. I started it a couple weeks back but I’m CRAWLING through it. It’s not as good as I expected it would be because of the hype. I’m not enjoying it very much.

The pace picked up only at around 40% but until that I was not gripped by it. The fact that I was reading for barely 15 minutes a day also added to me going through it slowly.

I finally made a big dent in the book last night and now have only 100 pages left. I can’t wait to finish it. I think I’ll go for a fluffy YA contemporary or a rom-com next. I require a pick-me-up read now.

TV Show Update

Last Saturday and Sunday saw me binge on a reality TV series on Netflix called The Circle. I’ll be honest, the show is actually pretty trashy and overly fake. But it’s so entertaining! And it’s good as a min-numbing show to binge.

The show did have it’s meaningful moments, though. It’s based on social media so of course we talk about social media issues and things like catfishing and insecurities.

My favourite part of the show was this one contestant called Shubham. He’s Indian-American and the PUREST CUTEST person on the show. I loved him.

Book Club Meetup

Last Sunday, my Bangalore Bookstagram club met up and it was SO FUN. We went to a restaurant for lunch and chilled there for a long time. While I did go to two meetups last year (we have one every month), this meetup included many new people for me. We’ve spoken on the Whatsapp group but it was good to place faces to names and Instagram IDs.

All of us bonded very well and I made a ton of new friends and connections. The best part of the club is that we’re all brought together by books but we’re on totally different paths in life. There was quite a big age gap between the youngest and the oldest in attendance, and I was actually the second-youngest that day.

Book club peeps with our happy faces!

It was great to bond with people I wouldn’t have spoken to without this bringing us together. And it wasn’t awkward at all. We all had so much to talk about, especially on books.

After the lunch we hit a couple bookstores and I’m super happy to say that two people bought books on my recommendation. I can’t wait to see what they think about the books.

Friend’s birthday yesterday

After 5 long days of internship, I spent the whole day out yesterday as well.

One of my friends’ birthday was yesterday and since all of us hadn’t met in a long time, we decided to make a day out of it. The birthday friend invited all of us home and we had lunch there as well.

It was so nice, and I MISSED that. I missed hanging out with these guys so much and I don’t know how it’ll be if we aren’t able to meet for a long time.

The birthday friend is going to Canada around the end of this year, so this will be his last birthday here. That made the day a little emotional as well. It seems like we’re all heading towards different paths and I don’t want us to split so bad.

So yeah. I’m a little emotional now. But let’s move on.

Getting used to a 5 day week

All my life, I’ve had 6 day weeks. It was either school Monday to Saturday or college Monday to Saturday. All these years I made routines which involved only Sunday being off, and distributing small things throughout the weekday evenings.

But now, the timings are completely different. I get only nights Monday to Friday and whole days on Saturday and Sunday. For the first time ever, I’m experiencing an actual full weekend and I don’t know how to deal with this.

In fact, on Friday, I didn’t feel like the next day was going to be off. All week, I was ready to have a 6 day week. So, to have a Saturday suddenly off was weird.

As I’m not used to these timing, my blogging has fallen behind. In fact, I couldn’t blog all week. I’m just not used to having only the nights free, as opposed to evenings and nights. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog in the coming week as well.

What I need to do ASAP is figure out a routine involving 5 full days and a full weekend off. I have to plan my blogging and hobbies around work hours instead of college hours. This has to be my first priority. Don’t know how long this will take, but I’ll probably update y’all on it soon.


And that’s all the updates I have for this week!

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How has your last week been? Was it as filled and hectic as mine or more relaxed?

looking back at 2019 header

Looking back at 2019 // Life, Blog, Social Media

desk space where a person is journalling.
Image credit: Unsplash

Although it had many ups and downs, 2019 was a good year for me.

It was one of the best years I’ve had, and by far the best year of college. Because it was such a memorable year, with tons of happenings, I want to record all the highlights so that I can look back later.

All I could think about during New Year’s Eve, when I was supposed to be studying for the next day’s exam, was 2019 memories. I roughly drafted this post on the morning of 1st Jan during breakfast even though I was supposed to leave for college in 10 minutes. That’s how much I want to record the last year.

nostalgia. it's delicate. but potent.

Since I have a LOT to recap, I’ll try to keep each point short. Otherwise this post will never end lol.

LIFE

  • Medical ups and downs.

My platelet count, which has been low since my first year of college, finally edged back into the normal range. But we suddenly found a swelling on my neck which kept growing. It persisted throughout the year, and caused so many problems.

  • 7 months of gluten-free diet.

I went on a gluten-free diet from April through October, for medical reasons. It was really hard because it cut down most of what I can eat outside, and meant that I mostly only ate at home.

  • First ER visit & hospitalization.

I was rushed to the hospital Emergency ward in the end of October due to breathlessness, caused by my swelling which suddenly kept increasing. And I stayed in the hospital, hooked up to IV and doing several tests, for three days. I absolutely hated that hospital stay, and hate that hospital now.

  • My relationship with my dad fractured.

It was barely hanging in the first place. I don’t know if we’ll be able to recover from this, and I’m not sure I want us to.

  • I cultivated my existing friendships over making new ones.

2018 was all about making new friends and getting out of my shell. But last year I spent a lot of time becoming closer to the friends I had, than reaching out to new people. It’s not to say that I didn’t make new friends, I did, but they’re fewer. My group is a tight-knit tribe now, because all of us spent a lot of time hanging out.

Happy hug GIF from Jane the Virgin
  • I got a job!

I was very worried about this, and I’m super glad I managed to get a job. My internship there starts this month, and it’s very exciting to think about.

  • Started choosing brighter colours.

I hated bright colours because they grab attention and I basically wanted to not be seen. Red & yellow were the worst. For many years my favourite colours were brown, dark purple, and then dark shades of blue. But last year, my favourite colour changed to pink. Not only that, but light pink! And I even began buying clothes which are yellow or red. It’s a huge change, which reflects my confidence.

  • I was open to many new plans.

I met up with tons of new people, and even suggested meetups myself. The most notable are meets with my Bangalore bookstagram club and meeting up with people from my last internship.

  • Made very many memories.

Especially the small ones. The most cherished times were everyday things from hanging out at our college’s canteen, to playing cards and other things.

girl working on her laptop

BLOGGING

  • Blogging fell to the wayside during multiple months.

I prioritized life things over blogging, and let my blog go without new posts for months together. The worst part was that I didn’t even read other blogs much during the time. By the end of that spell, I was disappointed in myself for doing that. While my priority choices were right, I could have put more effort into blogging.

  • Very many personal posts.

When I started blogging, I did a lot of personal posts but as I immersed into the blogging world, I restricted most of my posts to the bookish zone. Inadvertently, I put myself into a niche even though I didn’t want that. 2019 changed that, because I had SO MANY THINGS to talk about and wanted to share my life with everyone.

  • Hit 1.5k followers, 50k total views, and 700 total posts.

Achievements and milestones!!!

  • Struggled to decide where I want to go with this blog.

Since I was being irregular, I was confining myself to keep it as just a hobby. But I also have the dream of making it a side hustle, which will take a lot of work. It’s very exciting to think of. But in 2019, I was very undecided throughout the year.

  • My blog started coming up high in search engines!

In fact, the most number of views this blog currently receives is from search engines. Few of my posts have become really popular, I don’t know how, and garner so many views.

  • Engagement from the WordPress community reduced.

I’m not able to pinpoint why, but the engagement from WordPress reader has considerably reduced from past years. That’s quite sad because they’re my original reader base, and the ones I used to interact a lot with.

  • Blogmas!

I’m super glad that I did blogmas this time, and I managed to blog ALL 25 DAYS. That’s.. wow. Surprised myself, honestly. Click here to see my blogmas posts.

person using Instagram on their phone

SOCIAL MEDIA

I was only doing short themes, but in 2019 I tried outdoor photos, themeless feed and I did some experimenting with the posts. 2019 was also the year when I first put up my face on the account, which I had never done before.

  • Struggled a lot with motivation.

Especially because of the engagement drop in Instagram. It was very discouraging and it made me want to give up on my bookstagram multiple times. I even did a whole post with my thoughts on Instagram.

I considered monetizing it, but signing up on paypal gave me issues as it wasn’t accepting my ID. And somewhere during the beginning of 2019, I didn’t feel very inclined towards that account, and my activity went down. It took a backseat to @thewordyhabitat, and I wholly regret that.

  • My twitter was just… I don’t know.

I started being more active there, and started using Hootsuite to schedule promo tweets for the blog. But otherwise, I’m just enjoying seeing my twitter feed over actually putting content there myself.

  • Struggled to find my place in social media, overall.

My goals and my vision for my social media was completely unclear. I just kept doing something, but in my head, the end picture was not formed at all.

messy desk workspace picture

This year, I have some sense of direction because I figured out what I want to do, mostly. I have goals and action plans, and hopefully it will lead to the right end vision.

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How is your 2019 in review? Was it good, or was it disappointing?

Happy New Year!

It’s been almost 4 years since I started blogging, and it’s been quite a journey. Every year is filled with changes, new opportunities, and growth. Through it all, this blog has grown with me.

I haven’t said this in a while, so thank you to everyone who takes time out of their busy days to read my posts. This blog is my main hobby and I pour all of myself into it, and it feels great to see people reading and commenting here. Thank you very much ❤

Happy new year everyone, and I hope you have a great year ahead!

blogmas 2019 header image

Merry Christmas! & End of Blogmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m sitting at home, about to start studying for my next final, but I hope you have a very nice day.

Christmas also marks the last day of Blogmas. It’s slightly shocking that I made it without skipping a single day? I blogged every day from 1st to today and it’s… phew. Blogmas is not easy.

I’m super glad to have done Blogmas because it pushed me to see how much I can manage my time to blog. and because it made me write and post many pending ideas. I learnt how to manage my time to suddenly blog everyday, and how to blog in advance so I’m prepared for the days when I can’t blog. I did daily blog back in 2016 but Blogmas was more intense this time because of my many other plans and things to do.

But. I’m glad Blogmas is over, not gonna lie. I’m ready to go back to a laid back blogging pace where I can take my time making every post good. And I won’t have to compromise on other things to blog, like lazying around and gaming haha.

Anyway, I’ll stop talking since I don’t really have much to say.

If you haven’t seen my posts during Blogmas, check them out! Here are all the links below.

Day 1 – Hello Blogmas!

Day 2 – December ’19 Bullet Journal Setup

Day 3 – The Knight Before Christmas // Movie Review

Day 4 – (life update) if we were having tea… // 04-12-2019

Day 5 – (book review) Heads You Win || highly captivating

Day 6 – Let’s Talk Bookish // Content Warnings For Books

Day 7 – Let’s Chat // Spotify Wrapped, YouTube Rewind, New Music by Taylor Swift, Halsey

Day 8 – Christmas Jars // Movie Review + Giveaway

Day 9 – (blogging tips) How to Consistently Blog Without Tiring Yourself Out (Part 1)

Day 10 – Top 10 Romance Reads of 2019

Day 11 – (book review) Wilder Girls || gory and creepy

Day 12 – My First First Love // Kdrama Review

Day 13 – All I Want For Christmas Book Tag

Day 14 – Songs On Repeat // blogmas edition

Day 15 – (life update) The Sunday Post // blogging, studying, REPEAT

Day 16 – My Favourite 2019 Blogging Moments Tag

Day 17 – (book review) The Gilded Wolves || full of adventure

Day 18 – A-Z Reading Challenge 2019

Day 19 – (book review) Maybe This Time || so adorable

Day 20 – I’m joining #StartOnYourShelfathon! + Jan TBR

Day 21 – (life update) if we were having tea… // 21-12-2019

Day 22 – thoughts on Instagram

Day 23 – (book review) Shortcake || slow burn hate-to-love romance

Day 24 – 2020 Reading Challenges and Readathons I’m participating in

And today’s day 25!

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How is/was your Christmas? Do you have plans for New Year’s Eve?

blogmas 2019 header image

2020 Reading Challenges and Readathons I’m participating in

2020 is right around the corner and I am excited.

The upcoming year is the start to a new decade and the start to tons of new life experiences and opportunities. Everyone is abuzz with hopes and huge bucket lists and ambitious plans.

Going into 2020, I’m obviously going to keep up with my reading and am planning on making my reading a little bit more fun. Over the past month, I’ve seen SO MANY announcements for 2020 year-long readathons and reading challenges. It’s overwhelming to decide from several amazing options, but I’ve managed to decide on a few of them.

Now, I generally don’t participate in year-long reading challenges because I tend to forget about them. But this time, there are groups for these ones and friends from my bookstagram club are joining in as well. Hopefully, this will help me not forget and actually finish these challenges.

an open book

Totally, I’m participating in 5(!!!!) reading challenges this year.

[1] Goodreads Reading Challenge

This is a staple for me every year. I’ve been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2015 and it’s a great way to track your reading.

How this works: it’s a very flexible challenge because the goal is set by you. The goal is the number of books you want to read next year, and using Goodreads* helps track your reading. All the math about whether you’re behind or ahead in your reading is done by Goodreads to help you keep track of your status.

My goal is 150 books, the same as 2019. Usually I stay ahead of my goal and manage to surpass it early enough but it wasn’t so this year. I barely managed to hit my goal. Because of that, I’m not increasing my goal next year. It would be nice to read more, but 150 is what I’m aiming for.

*by marking books as “read” along with the dates on the website

[2] A-Z Reading Challenge

This is another staple. I don’t consciously put effort for this every year. It’s more of an afterthought at the end of the year where I look back and see if I managed to get all the letters done. It’s just fun to look back and see how many you’ve managed to fill. This is also a very low effort challenge.

How it works: You read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet, with an exception for a few letters. See this post to know more.

me standing with my kindle

[3] South-Asian Reading Challenge 2020

Fanna @ fannatality came up with this brilliant reading challenge which aims to put more focus on South-Asian books and diversify our reading. More details about the challenge haven’t been released yet but I’m super excited to participate.

Click here to see the announcement post.

[4] #StartOnYourShelfathon

CW @ The Quiet Pond came up with this idea because she has a ton of backlist books on her physical which needed to be read last year. When she posted the idea on twitter and received a ton of positive response, she made up this AMAZING reading challenge.

To be honest, I don’t really need to be participating because my backlist books aren’t that many, but I want to just for the aesthetics and activities within this challenge. It’s very tempting.

The best part of this is that it doesn’t have prompts so I can mix it up with other reading challenges as well. Flexible challenges are my jam.

Click here to see my joining post and TBR!

me standing next to a stack of books of almost my height.

[5] 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge

I found this challenge purely by luck after it was shared in a book group that I’m in. The challenge has a total of 50 prompts (a lot, I know). I was very unsure of joining this one because of the amount of effort it will take to find books for the prompts, and the large number of prompts.

After deliberating for a whole day, I decided that I might as well give it a go. I haven’t participating in a reading challenge like this before and I really want to try. Plus, the prompts are so good and interesting! They will definitely push me out of my comfort zone and introduce some new books.

Click here to see the official post.


If I said that I’m not overwhelmed at all by the thought of taking on all of these challenges, it would be a lie. But since most of them are flexible and can be mixed with other challenges, it should be doable as long as I plan my reads right.

I’ve already started planning on how to tackle the Popsugar challenge with #StartOnYourShelfathon bu choosing books that I own which fits some Popsugar prompts. I think I can do this.

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Are you participating in any challenges for 2020? Reading or otherwise?

thoughts on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media streams that are currently in use, and it comes with new advantages and challenges.

The social media app has been around for a long time now, and its STILL rapidly growing. More and more people are registering for it everyday, and there are TONNES of accounts and account types to look through and stalk.

But.

Let’s be honest, right now, Instagram is a hot mess.

person using Instagram on their phone

One one hand, the app is doing SO WELL. Cases in point:

  • The multiple communities formed. We have the study community, the bullet journal community, the book community, the aesthetic accounts, the meme accounts, and so many more categories. Whatever you’re looking for is available in large numbers.
  • Instagram trends. There are new trends everyday and there are different trends in every community. It brings people back to the app to see what’s new and trending so that everyone can keep themselves up to date.
  • Stories. When they first introduced stories, we were all really skeptic, but stories have actually taken off! In fact, more people look at and engage with stories than they do with normal posts on their feed.
  • Since the entire app is based around visuals, it’s perfect for capturing attention quickly. In this super fast world where we are all racing and want to spend lesser time on everything, pictures and visuals are on the top of the game. Because of this, businesses and consumers both highly benefit from this app.
  • It’s provided a perfect platform for photographers and artists to showcase their work. It has also encouraged more people to get into photography and try new and unique styles.

There are many more points which I’m not mentioning, but these are enough to showcase just how successful this app has been. But on the other hand, Instagram does have it’s flaws. Cases in point:

  • It can become toxic. If you’re on Instagram to personally follow the lives of friends and acquaintances, the app has a huge hold over your mental health. The talk about Instagram being a “filter” and only showing the good sides has been around for a long time so I won’t bother explaining that.
  • It sucks your time like a black hole. Because it’s so easy to consume content in very short amounts of time, you tend to spend more time on the app. I know many people who spend HOURS of their time just scrolling on Instagram. While its good to consume content, it’s not as useful unless it helps you in any way. If you’re an influencer, or work in a graphics/visual-related career, understanding the trends on Instagram is required. But otherwise, it’s A HUGE WASTE OF TIME.
  • Some of the updates on Instagram are complete trash. As Instagram adds more and more features, the usability of the app is degrading. I’m not sure if this is just me, but I find that I much prefer lesser options to click and swipe through than the number of options available on the app right now. There are too many buttons, swipes and taps now, which makes the usability flow messy.
  • Let’s not even talk about the algorithm which makes it hard for influencers. We’ll be here all day with that.
  • Also, the app is currently a NIGHTMARE for people using accessibility tools. And it’s definitely a challenge for creators of accessibility tools.

Everything in this world has pros and cons, and obviously Instagram can’t be free of that. But I would like to point out one thing. Instagram today is wildly different than the vision it started out with. Remember Instagram when it first caught wind? It was all about people sharing their lives through pictures, and text NOT being the focal point. At that time, every social media platform we used centered around text so this was very new and exciting. The app was simple to use, had very few user actions which ensured that our attention was on the pictures on our feeds, and was cohesive. The explore page was just that, used to simply explore new accounts and content which we might like.

Today’s Instagram does not feel cohesive. Sure, they’re incorporating multiple elements related to visuals but does it actually feel cohesive? We have the main feed, then we have the stories, then there’s IGTV. These three things itself are entirely separate sections with accompanying extra features of their own. Our explore pages don’t feel appealing anymore because of the IGTV videos included in and the options on top for various genres.

The main drawback is that we spend minimal time looking at our feeds. Ever since stories arrived, we keep going through them instead of the content on our feeds. Because tapping to go to next story is easier than swiping and double tapping etc. We users are lazy and it’s shifted the entire dynamic of the app’s usage.

Speaking of the changed app usage dynamic, can I just rant about the 101 things on screen? Right as we open the app, we have multiple things popping up and fighting to grab our attention. The short attention span of users is fully exploited by constantly changing where our attention is pulled.

For example, the latest Instagram update which puts a red dot next to your account name to indicate new notifications in ANY of your accounts. So there’s a red dot that’s constantly pinging my attention to tell me that there are outstanding notifications in some account of mine. This may seem good, but it’s not for people like me who can’t ignore notifications. I can’t leave messages unread or notifications unseen. I can’t ignore them, and usually clear them all off as soon as I can.

If you’re thinking “why not just clear the notifications so the red dot will disappear?”, it’s not possible with a larger account. One of my accounts receives notifications CONSTANTLY and I have blocked notifications from the app because of that. Since I blocked them, notifications from that account don’t bother me unless I open that specific account. With this new update, those notifications cause the red dot to be persistent in every account which drives me nuts.

Another update which I’m on the fence about is the categorizing of accounts you follow. It’s great to know whom you’re interacting with less, so that you can correct it, but I’m not happy that it takes me so many taps to get to that point. That function is BURIED somewhere under several other things.

There are users who are good with all the distraction and multiple things on screen, but there are users like me who like our screen and usage to be simple. With every Instagram update, the UI feels more messy, which discourages me from using the app. Instagram is repelling me at this point. In fact, my daily average is 30 minutes with all three of my accounts. I spend minimal time using the app because just looking at it’s screen drains my energy.

I am not an avid user of the app, and would open another app if I can. Aesthetics are available on Pinterest as well, and trends are much better seen on Twitter. My Instagram usage has been declining over the past few months, and it has hit a low this month because of blogmas taking up my time. And this has made me realize that I don’t particularly like the app. I don’t miss it, and there is nothing I’m missing out on by not using it.

Bookstagram is a wonderful place with all the book aesthetics to make my heart warm, and I really like taking and posting my own pictures. But this time away has shown me that it’s not that great. I’ve been irregular in posting and viewing for the last month and I feel nothing. There’s a picture in my camera roll ready to be posted from two weeks but I don’t have any urgency to post and be regular on bookstagram. It’s quite liberating, I won’t lie. And now I’m actually considering deleting my bookstagram account.

It’s just a thought so far, and there are pros and cons to it as well. I like that all the bookish content is separated from personal content (which is on another account). And I don’t want to mix it up. So right now, I’m thinking I’ll keep the account but only use it when I really feel like it. While it means irregular posts from it, this also does mean that whatever I post will truly be something I want to share. There won’t be any posts just because I’m forced to stay consistent.

The same goes for the entire app, to be honest. From now on, I’ve decided to not feel any responsibility towards my accounts and only do what I feel like, even if it means not opening the app for days at end. There will be new photos only if I really feel like taking them. Although I might use stories regularly, but they will also be less, as they have been this past month.

Wow this post is nearing 1.5k words so I will stop. If you’ve stuck through with me this far, thanks for lending me your precious time!

What are your thoughts on Instagram? Are you on board with all the new updates?

if we were having tea header image

if we were having tea… // 21-12-2019

Hello!

I’ve been running ragged concentrating on studying for my finals in the last few days, and I really felt like having a casual chat, so here we are with some tea again!*

*I’m actually having tea while writing this so it’s the perfect feel.

a steaming cup of tea gif

If we were having tea… I’d first comment on how it’s been quite a while since we last met up with tea. That was back when blogmas had just begun and I was worried about making it to the end. It’s now the 21st and I’m almost at the end! This has been a really good run and while I really liked doing blogmas, I miss taking my time with posts.

If we were having tea… I’d give you an update on my health. The last time we had tea I was sick and worried that it would escalate, but it thankfully didn’t! I took meds right on time and am now well enough.

If we were having tea… you might ask me about my finals. As of now, two of my theory exams have ended. (Yes, only two out of five) But the second subject which I had on 19th was the subject I was very worried about, and it went much better than expected. It feels like a huge load off my shoulders to have that subject done with.

If we were having tea… I would comment on how lofi mixes really help me when studying. Every time finals come around, I find a new support system to help me study. In the previous years, it has been the pomodoro method, the Forest app, study with me videos on YouTube, and my own playlists. This time, I found lofi mixes and they’re really helping me keep my concentration. There are some really good mixes on YouTube and just playing them gets me into the mood for studying.

If we were having tea… I would brag that I hit my Goodreads reading goal of the year! I finished my 150th book of the year a couple days back and Goodreads congratulated me with confetti on my screen. It was a really nice feeling. This is the first year that I’ve cut it so close to the end. Usually I finish my goal at least a month in advance, and then I increase my goal a little. But this time, my original goal itself took a long time. Phew.

If we were having tea… you would hear about my latest read which is Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. I’ve read a couple books by the author before but this book is probably the popular in the book world. So many people have read it and raved about it. I finally started reading it yesterday, and I’m enjoying it so far.

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that I’m participating on 3 extra readathons next year. Back when I tried to do one in 2017, I forgot about it half-way through the year. But this time, I have groups and friends online who are doing it with me so I’m hoping they’ll keep me in check and motivate me to complete the challenges and readathons. Yesterday’s blog post was the joining post for one of them. I’ll make a blog post talking about all the ones I’m doing next year in one place, so keep an eye out for that!

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that I cannot wait for exams to end. I have so many half-baked plans in my head, and I want to do them all. The first thing on my agenda is to visit a coffee shop nearby which has some special Christmas coffee flavours right now, and I want to try them before they’re gone forever. I might just go for it before exams end, because I’m not sure they’ll still be available in Jan.

If we were having tea… you would hear me talk about how life is SO BORING during finals. I can’t properly enjoy anything without the guilt that I’m not studying, so I don’t go out anywhere. And our finals last for two weeks which is ANNOYING. I take mini vacations of half days or one day between exams to enjoy without guilt. And then, it’s back. Ugh. Even as I’m having tea with you now, 20% of my mind in the background is saying that I should be studying. I hate that our finals go on for so long. But, this is the last semester it’ll be this long. Next semester, which is my last in college, has only 3 subjects so it should be shorter. Let’s hope.


And now, I need to say goodbye because my guilt about not studying is weighing on me heavily. Need to get back to my Machine Learning notes. See you next time!

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If we were having tea together, what would you say to me?