Motivation, Project 5

Let’s Talk About Evolving Goals (Project 5)

There’s something so pure about the feeling of completing a goal you set. Not only do you have the satisfaction of completing whatever task you laid out in front of yourself, but it actually can increase your confidence and make you more likely to complete future goals. But when your goal keeps changing, are there different rules?

First, we have to ask why the goal is being changed? If you’re lowering it to something more attainable, then you’re not changing it, you’re settling. Or maybe you’re setting an intermediary goal to work towards what you actually want.

Changing your goal, on the other hand, shows that you’re internalizing it. You’re taking active steps and saying “Wait, wouldn’t it be better if I ____?” It shows self-awareness and evaluating what’s actually important to you.

Evolving goals are completely normal and healthy. I challenge you to look at goals you’ve set and haven’t worked on and ask yourself why you’re not actively working towards them. Do you need intermediary goals or are you just not interested in the goal you set?

My Evolving Goal

This was something I realized recently. I’ve always been in the habit of creating larger-than-life goals and telling myself that it wasn’t the right time to work on certain goals. I didn’t realize it was a sign.

You may have noticed Project 5 has been a little, well, quiet. Besides posting the project topic, it doesn’t seem like I’ve worked on actually writing a book. Abbey and I had this fantastic story, but putting words to paper was something both of us put off.

But we had the outlines of the book – it was a mystery novel. It had the twists and the turns. We planned out the characters and the settings meticulously. It was something we were interested in. But when it came to writing, we had no interest.

I think it’s because neither of us actually want to write a book. At least not at this point in our lives anyway. But we knew we had a story we wanted to see come to life.

I’ve mentioned before that Abbey and I are big fans of the Nancy Drew games. They’re essentially virtual escape rooms, filled with puzzles and clues. We’ve played so many, we’ve begun to recognize patterns in puzzle making. That’s when I realized that that was a way to express our story: making a game.

Everything clicked and fell into place. That’s what we’d do, we’d make a mystery game out of this story. We’d build puzzles and create dialogue and make a playable game. Who knows what form the game takes? Video game, board game, murder mystery party. It’s all something we would actually want to try. Also, wouldn’t it be fun for me to share some of the puzzles with you guys as we make them?

So with that, we have an evolved goal. I’m curious if other people think this way about goals, have you ever changed a goal you’ve had? If so, how did it turn out? I’m really interested if evolving goals have a higher success rate.

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School

Looking Back on the Semester and Getting Grades

Amidst adjusting to my new job, I just received my grades for the spring semester. It’s crazy to think I started the blog at the start of the semester and was able to write about my first day of class, the COVID-19 pandemic, all the way to the very last exam.

In that time, I’ve done so much for the blog: I’ve read 15 books (15 more than last year!), began learning calligraphy, revisited music production, and have completely organized most of my life!

So needless to say, not only did I want good grades for personal gain, I also wanted them to work towards achieving for the blog. With Project 1 being dedicated to trying to CALI a law class (getting the highest grade), I felt determined to work towards it.

In light of the grade changes following the school closing for the semester, our classes became pass/fail. I’m excited to say I passed them all! I can’t say I was particularly nervous, but there’s always that one voice in the back of your head that whispers “what if?”

My school also implemented an honors pass which means the top 30% of the class received an honors pass instead of a pass. It doesn’t affect your GPA, but for those that demand competition, it’s what we got.

I received an honors pass in my legal writing class, which means there’s a chance I CALIed in it. If it didn’t, I made it to the top of the class, which honestly is enough for me. I did bet during the last week of class that I had a chance in legal writing. While I’m not going to bet that I got it, we should find out who did in the next few weeks. So who knows, maybe I did complete Project 1?

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School

I Started a New Job!

Hello! Apologies for the radio silence lately, but I come bearing good news: I started a new job!

I’m extremely grateful the summer position I was given was not cancelled due to the pandemic. Many of my classmates had their opportunities cancelled and of course, with the current economic conditions I expected mine to follow suit.

Usually law firms hire several students each summer. My firm hires a few in anticipation of them collaborating and working together. While there are other students working with me, they all started before me and are in the classes above mine. When paired with the fact that this is my first legal position, I am a bit overwhelmed.

That being said, I’m very excited to be starting this position. I’m working for a great company in the heart of the city and everything feels like an early 2000s Devil Wears Prada-esque movie. Except all the people I work with are lovely.

My days consist of taking the train downtown, walking through the city to my skyscraper, going through the gorgeous marble lobby, and heading to my office. I seriously couldn’t ask for a better gig.

Sheraton Palace Hotel, Lobby, Architecture

In the midst of it all, I’ve failed to update my blog. As it’s still the first week, I’m still transitioning. I’ve been so tired when I get home, I don’t really have many project updates. However, I hope to find some sort of normalcy soon.

Thank you for bearing with me as I get used to my new routine. I promise, I’ll still have plenty of project updates this summer! I’m looking forward to sharing this next chapter with you all!

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Project 7, Uncategorized

How To Learn a Basic Calligraphy Alphabet in a Few Hours

My calligraphy journey has been off to a great start! I’ve probably committed about 7 hours or so to it so far but I’m really proud of my progress!

The Skillshare class I’ve been following has been fantastic (not sponsored!). It’s meant for beginners and is a perfect introduction into lettering. Additionally, he shows you how to make a calligraphy pen out of a soda can and a popsicle stick, so if you’re unable to get a pen, he’s here to accomodate.

The first few classes were centered around learning basic strokes. For each stroke he taught you, he asked that you do a full page. At first, I was hesitant since it seemed like so much work. But I did it nonetheless. I’m so glad I did, because it really steadied my hand. It also taught me to recognize how much ink is on the pen and how often I need to refill.

The basic strokes ended up looking something like this:

And because I’m a child, I colored on some of the exercises. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. Note that the smudging on these came from my coloring, not from my ink which was strange since I colored the images days later.

I was really satisfied to see improvement across these images. I was starting to feel really confident with these basic movements.

From there, I tried my first alphabet. It turned out like this:

I apologize for the shortened video, I usually use my boyfriend’s phone but since he’s at work I used mine and well, I ran out of storage. Oops. I’m a professional. I’m also hoping I can make this videos higher quality soon. I’m doing the best I can here.

I’ve got a long way to go – especially with letters that are not within the parameters of the basic strokes I learned. Letters like g, k, p, w, w, x, and z all need a little workshopping. But for a first try, I’m pretty happy. It’s not wedding invitation worthy, but it’s definitely fridge worthy.


So there you have it: progress. Nothing more satisfying than seeing growth, right? Next I’ll tackle uppercase letters.

How do you think I did? Would you ever want to learn calligraphy? Let me know in the comments down below!

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Uncategorized

Project Updates – June 2020

Happy Hump Day! After finishing my law journal writing competition, I now have a week of freedom before my job starts. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this week of nothing – maybe a bit too much. In anticipation of starting the job, I’ve been putting my all into blogging. Here’s where we stand with the projects:

Project 1: CALI a Law Class

This project has most definitely morphed into an amalgamation of legal success, which is fine by me. I won’t mention the writing competition again – but that was tough to do for the three weeks after finals. Burnout is everywhere.

But I’m excited to announce that I’ll be working at a downtown law firm over the summer! I’m really looking forward to trying out the career I’ve worked 23 years for, but nervous nonetheless. I’ve never really had a steady 9-5 job. All of my jobs in the past were either intermittent or entirely at home. It might take a little adjusting to go full adult.

Project 2: Get Organized

I’m almost done! Yesterday I tended to some much needed lawn care and general landscaping – a task that didn’t even make my list. I don’t have a lawnmower, but my front yard isn’t more than 20 square feet, so I just used scissors. It may have looked stupid, but it got the job done. After I get my next paycheck – shears. The bushes need trimming.

Everything else that’s left is mostly on my hard drive. My hard drive plunges into the depths of my childhood and it’s tough to clean without getting distracted. Oops.

Project 3: Make a Cover Album

I’m so slow on this project and I’m sorry. I’ve had very little motivation or inspiration for it. However, a slight breakthrough that might be a gamechanger: I got SkillShare (not sponsored). While I got it for my calligraphy project, I figured I could make use of it to really learn how to use FL Studio. Hopefully learning more about the program can inspire me.

Project 4: Read 100 Classics

Abbey and I have officially started a book club where we’re holding ourselves accountable to reading one book a week. This week is Madame Bovary. Outside that, I’m also working through Beowulf – but progress has been slow. When I’m not reading, I’m listening to Les Mis on Audible (not sponsored). So while it’s been over a week since there’s been a review, it won’t be much longer, I promise.

In the meantime, Abbey’s been crushing it. She actually surprised me by listening to Les Mis at work over the past few weeks. Not to be outdone, I got it too. She’s only one or two books behind me now and I’m a little intimidated (don’t tell her I said that).

Also, I’m on Goodreads! Come stop in and say hello! Reviews will be going up this week!

Project 5: Write a Book

Yeah, there’s been no progress here. Doing this project with Abbey makes it a little tough to work on since we both have to be willing and able. But I’m hoping to force her soon.

Project 6: Learn How to Blog

This project has shown the most promise. I’ve really put in effort here. You may have noticed my posts looking a little better and that’s no coincidence. I’ve been focused on creating better content.

I’ve also been diving deep into social media! It’s beyond overwhelming to optimize one platform, let alone several. I’ve been putting most of my effort into Pinterest, creating pins left and right. Everything’s scheduled, so expect to see a lot of pins there in the coming weeks.

It’s been so much fun meeting new bloggers. To the fresh faces, hello and welcome!

Project 7: Learn Calligraphy

I’m really, really enjoying this project. It’s a bit unexpected honestly. I didn’t expect to sink my teeth in as far as I have. After the first attempt, I’ve begun following a SkillShare course. I’m still learning basic strokes so while I haven’t written any words, I have pages and pages of lines and circles and boxes. I’m glad the course moves slow though, I’m actually seeing real improvement. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Project 8: Run a 10K

This project was paused for my competition. Each and every day was spent writing and writing and writing. Now that it’s over, I’ve been slow to get back into the runs. Don’t worry, I will. It’s a minor setback.

And that’s where I’m at with everything! If you enjoyed today’s post let me know in the comments down below! Which projects are your favorite to read?

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Blogging, Brand Building

Can Social Media Grow Your Blog Quickly?

I’m now on social media!

As a part of my learn to blog project, I’ve been reading up about tips and tricks to help make your blog a better experience for your readers. Of course, social media is an integral part of connecting with your community. However, I want to use this opportunity to run a little experiment to find out which platforms are most effective.

So after doing some research, I compiled the most heavily suggested platforms for bloggers and some of the advice successful bloggers have given for using the platforms. My goal is to try these out in the way they recommend and see if it really does drive traffic and engagement on my blog. Without further ado, I present to you my preliminary findings (and handles) for social media platforms for bloggers.

Pinterest

I was shocked to find that Pinterest seems to be the bread and butter for bloggers. As someone who phases in and out of using it personally, I didn’t really understand how I could promote my content there. The best description I found was that Pinterest is a visual search engine that operates outside of the limits of SEO (Search Engine Optimization: the metric that Google uses to decide which results to show first when you search something).

Pinterest has its own internal search algorithm that can give you a shot to be seen. Also, in terms of longevity, your content is even more evergreen. As long as someone searches for something that’s similar to your pin, it has a chance to be seen.

There’s also plenty of data about when and how often to post. The general consensus of what I found was posting 5-10 pins a day was most effective for getting seen and the best time to be seen was between 8-11 PM EST. I found a really useful (and free!) downloadable Pinterest guide linked in this post that told me more than I knew about Pinterest.

I started posting pins I created on Canva twelve hours ago. Each pin has two views and one has one save. I focused on big fonts and clear presentation. Definitely more visibility than I was expecting for someone who doesn’t follow anyone yet.

Would you pin it? I’m still trying to get a feel for what’s “pinnable” and what’s not.

Find me on Pinterest: jacquelineofalltradesblog

Instagram

Instagram is everywhere. It’s not a surprise it’s recommended, although the ways to scale on it seem to be different than Pinterest.

The key to Instagram seems to be 1) a strong hashtag game and, 2) following similar accounts to yours. I still have yet to figure out which hashtags work. Once I find out, I’ll do a deep dive on what I find to help you all too.

Also, stories? I’ve never posted a story on my personal Instagram, so I have no idea what I’m doing there. Let’s find out together.

I made my Instagram so I could post my time lapse of my calligraphy attempts, I expect to put more content there soon!

Find me on Instagram: jacqueline.ofalltrades

Facebook

Okay, so I actually had no idea how to grow a Facebook page besides promoting it. As a broke college student, paying for views is not within the budget. Enter facebook groups.

Facebook groups that promote bloggers are a great way to find similar creators and discover new blogs. They work in a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours kind of way. Nevertheless, some of these groups are over 30,000 bloggers, so that’s a big audience that can potentially see your content. Here’s a list of recommended blogging groups.

Some pages let you join as your blog page, where others you join as your personal account. I’m having trouble joining any with my blog page at the moment – I wonder if it has to do with the fact I have only 2 likes on the page. Once I figure this out and can join groups, we’ll revisit my findings.

Find me on Facebook: @jacquelineofalltradesblog

Twitter

To me, Twitter is the chaotic evil of social media. I stopped using it about five years ago. I’m going to have to really be convinced it’s worth my time to get one. Sources seem mixed and with other platforms being recommended more heavily, I’m staying away for now until I learn more.

Do any of you have a Twitter for your blog? Does it actually help engagement?

Goodreads

Goodreads is really only relevant to me because of Project 4. It’s basically a virtual book club: you can share what you’re reading, reviews on what you have read, and join chats all about it. Honestly, I’m looking forward to talking about the books I read more with others. I created a bookshelf with my list of classics and I expect to be retroactively posting my reviews.

The only downside is that it can mess with your SEO. Basically if you post the same review on your blog as you do on Goodreads, Google is going to recognize the duplicate content and likely display the Goodreads search result before your blog (since it’s a bigger website Google finds it to be more relevant). There is a solution which is to write different reviews. For me, I think my Goodreads reviews will be shorter and more about how the book made me feel. Here’s an interesting article about this problem.

Find me on Goodreads: jacqueline-of-all-trades

Bloglovin’

I’m very mixed on Bloglovin’. It’s a one-stop-shop for blogs where a reader can read their favorite blogs from a variety of platforms. On one hand, that’s great. Finding people who like to read blogs is perfect for what you’re doing. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure you’ll have the same problem as you do with Goodreads. Will Google recognize the Bloglovin’ content as the original?

I’m not really sure on that. So for that reason, I need to do more research before I can be convinced the platform helps more than it harms.

Do you use Bloglovin’? What’s your experience been? I’d love to know especially since I’ve never used the platform myself.

So with that, I enter my social media journey. I’d love to hear from you guys though: what’s your experience been with using social media?

Also, follow me or drop your usernames in the comments down below! I’m looking for accounts to follow!

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Project 7

My First Attempt at Calligraphy

This week, I received all my calligraphy supplies for Project 7! There’s no better way to decompress after finishing a massive task than to get a little creative, so upon finishing our law journal writing competition, we decided to blindly test the materials.

The Materials

I chose this set from Amazon (not sponsored!). After redeeming a coupon, the set went from $15 to $9. The set included one pen, eleven nibs, and some ink. While I don’t have anything to compare it to, I did like the pen and thought it was easy to use.

Without any instruction whatsoever, I blindly tested the nibs. Each one is different in both shape and size. Some have a pointier tip where others create a brush effect by a flatter edge. Some also are longer than others, I have yet to figure out what the effect of that is. Here’s what each of the nibs looked like:

As I was using the pen, I realized it was easier to use than I expected. The ink was easily controlled by the nib which surprised me. I thought using a calligraphy pen would be like writing with a needle – scraping the paper. But it really wasn’t. It felt just as natural as any other pen.

I Tried My Best…

From there, I decided to try writing a little bit of print and a little bit of script. I didn’t look up any sort of instructions – I wanted to start at the absolute beginning. While I will learn actual technique, I just wanted to mess around. I’m hoping that as I get better, I can look back on where I started and see some progress.

I also made a time lapse of my first attempt. (Yes, I did have to set up an Instagram just to post this, expect more content there in the future!). Check it out:

All in all, I was not disappointed. I expected more smudging, but I was careful not to overload the pen with ink. I’ve always had decent handwriting, but I’m looking forward to learning calligraphy fonts. I know consistency is the most important part and my handwriting has never been very consistent.

…And Then My Boyfriend Blew Me Out of the Water

My boyfriend also gave it a go. He might have been the underdog being a lefty, but he was able to pull together something very impressive. He’s always been a bit snotty about his pens, always using only a certain kind of pen because he liked the way the ink flowed. Before trying the calligraphy pen, he was already an accomplished doodler. Here’s some of his older stuff using normal roller-ball pens:

Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to get the calligraphy pen in his hands. He managed to make this on his first go:

(To see a time lapse of his work, check out the second slide in the Instagram post above!)

He also had an absolute blast. I made the executive decision to leave the calligraphy materials at his house so he could dabble whenever he wanted.

I’m excited to take on this project and I can’t wait to get into the real stuff! Playing around was fun – but now it’s time to craft an actual skill. We’re looking forward to both learning more and discovering a new world we know nothing about.

How’d we do? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments below!

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Motivation, Resources, School

The Importance of Being Competitive with Yourself

Hello again! I know I’ve been gone for a while – which is a little ironic seeing as my last few posts included gems like What I Learned from Blogging Every Day and Four Reasons Why Taking a Break Can Boost Your Productivity.

The Writing Competition

I’ve been away working on my law journal writing competition. What started as a three-week chance to earn a spot on a law journal at my school turned into one of the most stressful experiences in recent memory. Something kicked into high gear and I just wanted to compete. As someone who is usually low stress and hardly ever feels competitive, this was a strange shift. One I definitely wasn’t prepared for.

Now, I’m not allowed to talk about the specifics of the competition, but what I can say is that it was hard. The topic, in my opinion, was very difficult. I spent two of the three weeks just trying to understand the material, not a single word written.

Finding the Competitive Spirit

Something happened while I was competing and every ounce of my body just wanted to win. So much so, that I (safely) went home to stay with my parents – abandoning my boyfriend who was also competing – just to completely focus. I kicked all other distractions out of my life, including this blog.

It was a roller coaster of emotions, but I got through it. In the end, I turned in what I thought was a really strong effort. But honestly, even if I don’t make it, I’ve found peace. I forgot that while I make an effort to better myself in my personal life, I’m often complacent in my academic life. Being the best in the class has never been important to me (that’s why I started a project trying to do it, I wanted to see if I could motivate myself to compete). I’m excited that I’ve found that drive to compete.

Maybe it’s a byproduct of this blog – because since starting this journey I’ve just wanted more for myself. Not handouts, but I wanted to earn every bit of satisfaction. Finding competition has been one of the most fulfilling experiences and I’m really glad these weeks of mental burnout and suffering are over. I’m even more glad I came out on top.

The Validation

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, this morning I received my grades for the motion I wrote. It was the only other thing I slaved over, and I slaved over it because it was a part of my project. The grade came back and I was way above the average. Pushing hard and competing against yourself does pay off.

Do you compete against yourself? Do you find this practice healthy? I’d love to hear any and all thoughts down below!

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Uncategorized

The Blogger Recognition Award

I’m excited to announce that Jess over at Beyond the Front Cover has nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award.

A Little About Jess and Her Friends

Throughout my journey of reading 100 classics, I’ve found plenty of book-review blogs and Jess’s blog is one of my favorites. Her reviews are so well-written and even-handed that it’s hard not to recognize her ability to fairly review books. One of my favorite reviews of hers is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It was a book that completely missed my list and after reading her opinion, it’ll be one of the first books I read once I finish Project 4.

Not only that, she has a great taste in blogs and the other bloggers she recommended are also fantastic: Alice from Alice and Her Bookshelf, Kate from KateHeartsLife, and Jess from Comfort Reads. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them and their blogs from her and I can’t recommend them enough!

And lastly, I’d be remiss to not give a little shout out to Jess’s instagram. She channels cozy vibes and lazy Sundays so well. (You might even be seeing a slightly more chaotic Jacqueline of All Trades instagram soon… she’s got me inspired!)

If you’re interested in reading books a little bit more than you already do, send some love her way.

The Actual Award and Rules

There’s only six quick things you need to know about the rules behind the award:

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump right into it.

How Jacqueline of All Trades Started

I’m very new to blogging still; I started in January of this year. However, the concept of working on projects has always been a part of my blood. I have an insatiable curiosity for life. It’s led me down some strange paths of uncertainty like completing degrees in chemical engineering and international studies, all while keeping with the plan to go to law school.

I don’t like the idea of compromise and I believe we should always be exploring and creating anything that catches our attention. So outside of my academics, I found projects like making a cocktail book with my cousin Abbey or dropping an album just to throw the best party of all time. These projects slowly spiraled into a lifestyle – with some being finished and others left to collect dust.

Last fall, I entered law school. I quickly realized that everything around me was all related to law. I lived with other law students, was constantly doing my readings, and had no other hobbies. I was wilting. The blog was a way to salvage my creativity and give me something to work towards.

I almost didn’t even start the blog. I was afraid of possible repercussions for my legal career. Not that I’d be writing anything bad, it’s just it might not be seen as professional. But I realized that if I don’t do it, I would stagnate as a person. Being entirely immersed in law wasn’t something I ever wanted for my life.

So I did it. I started the blog. And oh did it catch my attention. I now live and breathe my blog (for better or worse).

Advice to New Bloggers*

Seeing as I’m a new blogger myself, I’m not sure I’m really qualified here. My blog has a fairly small following and I currently have a project all dedicated about learning how to blog. That being said, I feel like I’m more qualified to give advice to people who have a goal they aren’t chasing. It more accurately represents my story and my journey.

So here’s a few things I’d say to anyone hesitating on a project:

  • Excuses Can Be Contagious: Making an excuse about trying one thing will make you more comfortable to make an excuse about trying a second thing. Pretty soon, you’ll start thinking you’re less and less capable of doing anything. Don’t make it a habit.
  • The “I Don’t Have Time” Line: I once heard something that changed my life: someone who says they don’t have time for something is really just saying that thing is not a priority for them. You’d be surprised how much time you have. I promise you, deleting this sentence from your vocabulary will change your life too.
  • If You Have Something On Your Mind Right Now, Do It: If you’re reading this and a specific thing came to your mind, you obviously want to do it. So why not just start it?
  • Little Steps Are More Valuable Than Big Ones: This was something I implied recently: doing little bits turns into a lot of progress. Spending one day working hard on something will probably lead you to not pick it up again.

My Nominations

The fun part: picking blogs I like to read! I tried to pick a little bit of everything and each one of these blogs continually puts out great content that they pour their heart and soul into:

  • Meredith from Artsy Arrow: This blog is so much fun to read. Meredith does a little bit of everything and when it comes to blogging, she so talented. The website is so user-friendly and so engaging, good luck not getting trapped on it for hours! Also, be sure to check out her art skills if you do visit. Post Recommendation: I Painted a Mural on My Bedroom Wall // Summer 2020
  • Dave from Endless Roaming: Look no further for your daily dose of wanderlust. Posting pictures from his travels, Dave never disappoints. Be careful, endless scrolling abound. Post Recommendation: Cadiz Spain
  • Prerna from Read With Prerna: Another book reviewer I adore. Prerna puts serious effort into each one of her reviews and she flies way under the radar. She picks quotes that make you want to read all the books she does. Would probably be a great reading buddy. Post Recommendation: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Trisha from Trisha’s Musings: This girl hustles. She posts every single day about anything and everything that catches her attention. She’s new to the community and it’s really inspiring to see her produce better and better content. Not to mention, she’s sweet as can be. Post Recommendation: My Learnings From The 30 Day Blogging Challenge
  • Sarah from The Critiquing Chemist: There’s something I love about reading a book review from someone with an analytical mind. Sarah writes mostly about the books she reads, but she also has insane travel posts every now and then. Post Recommendation: Four Days in Jordan

Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I’m still really new to my journey and am humbled by the gracious outpouring of support I receive. Each of you motivate me so much to continue doing the things I love. So please, don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello! I’m always a comment or e-mail away (jacquelineofalltradesblog@gmail.com).

But I know that I haven’t found all of the great reads out there: what are some of your favorite blogs? Who should I be reading next?

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Book Reviews, Project 4

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Book No. 15

71. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)

Dates: 5/21/20 – 5/22/20 (2.5 hours)

Plot: Fantastic confectioner and inventor, Willy Wonka, invites 5 children – chosen by his famous Golden Ticket system – to tour his chocolate factory.

Experience Before Reading: As a child, Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of his books and took the stories with me well into adulthood.

Takeaway: Maybe it’s because I just finished Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that I felt the need to read another English children’s classic. I’m not sure. But I’m glad I did. It’s just as whimsical as I remember. Roald Dahl has a unique writing style in that he almost writes like a child, rambling on like only a child would:

And what a palace it was! It had one hundred rooms, and everything was made of either dark or light chocolate! The bricks were chocolate, and the cement holding them together was chocolate, and the windows were chocolate, and all the walls and ceilings were made of chocolate, so were the carpets and the pictures and the furniture and the beds; and when you turned on the taps in the bathroom, hot chocolate came pouring out.

Chapter 3

Additionally, Dahl shows and doesn’t tell. The story moves quickly. Willy Wonka himself picks up the pace by telling his guests that they need to hurry up. There’s never a moment to digest the craziness, it’s just a plethora of ideas.

These impossible ideas are thrown at you from every direction – on the tour they pass rooms with fantastical names that they just walk (or run) right on by. I absolutely loved the absurdity of some of these rooms. I won’t spoil them for you, read them for yourself with an absolute grin on your face.

The whole book is just fun. It makes sense why it has survived all these years: Dahl has the imagination of a child. As adults, our brains often strike down ideas that we believe to be impossible, but Roald Dahl embraces this and pushes his creativity to come up with such crazy notions. When paired with actual lessons and commentaries from why television rots children’s brains to how resisting temptation may lead to rewards, it becomes a book that children of every era can enjoy.

I’ll end this review with the best review of the book I saw. I think it sums up my experience well:

I responded to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it respected the fact that children can be adults.

Tim Burton

Would I Recommend It?: To every child, whether they’re “grown-up” or not.

Abbey’s Review

Dates: 5/31/20 (2 hours)

Experience Before Reading: I read this book as a child and remembered thinking it was a bit too weird for my tastes. Obviously I watched the movie(s) – let’s not talk about the Johnny Depp one. In addition to being vastly underwhelming, it is the source of an embarrassing moment when my brother mentioned he thought it was a dark film and I responded, “I agree, it was kind of hard to see a lot of it.” His subsequent laughter has haunted me to this day. I’ve never liked the movie and this may be part of it. I would like to say in my defense that I was 10, so cut me some slack.

Takeaway: People always give Grandpa Joe sh*t for being in bed and then when suddenly presented a golden ticket he’s fine to go out, but like he’s 96. My grandma can barely get out of her chair, but I’ve seen her walk nearly a mile to get to a “lucky” slot machine and she’s 88. Give Grandpa Joe a break! Also why is gum chewing so bad?

Important Note: While tasting the wallpaper, Willy Wonka says to try the snozzberries. In a later work, Roald Dahl uses snozzberry to refer to, well, Roald’s little Dahl. Thought this was important for all readers to know. Also, the fact that Roald Dahl wrote an erotic novel is ludicrous. I heard he was a big sult actually. (Not sult shaming, just sult surprised)

Would I Recommend It?: If you liked Alice in Wonderland, I would totally recommend this. It has the same sort of nonsensical fun that children always enjoy. I think I probably liked this better than I did as a child. I am definitely going to be watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory tonight!

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