In honor of my 16th birthday, I decided to do a blog post to celebrate! This post is loosely based off one of my favorite fellow book bloggers out there, Xan at twirlingpages who once wrote a post called ’18 Candles & Lessons Learned’ if you’re interested in reading her post, I will link it here. I highly suggest it, because Xan is an adorable, perfect human being.
However, this blog post of mine is in no way similar to Xan’s
her blog is extraordinary I can’t even compare
Other matters aside, I am officially 16 as of today: July 28th, 2016. Fun fact, all 3 kids in my family reached a milestone age this year. My sister: 21, my brother: 18, and me: 16. How coincidental is that? Despite turning 16, it feels just like every other birthday: I’m once again not getting my driver’s license
I don’t even have a permit, I didn’t even try, I will still be regarded as the oldest 1 percent of my classmates, and most frightening, I’m this much closer to becoming an adult.
Sorry, I just love Melanie Martinez.
Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. Jill, quit it, it’s your birthday. At least try to lighten up. my second nature. You guys are absolutely right. I decided to write you lovely readers 16 lessons I have compiled for you as well as 16~random~facts about me that you probably didn’t know AND my 16 favorite books from this year so far. Maybe you’ll find my advice interesting, maybe you find them boring. Either way you’re in for quite a surprise before you click away 🙂
I don’t know how much a
primarily straight, white, more or less privileged, suburban girl like me can teach you about the ups and downs of life, but I’m willing to give it a try.
1. Materialism is only temporary. Fellow book bloggers: has blogging, in any form, made just a little bit materialistic? Bear with me, here, I just have to ask: do you worry you don’t own the correct props for photos? Do you spend more cash on books you don’t
completely need? That you’d give anything for that bookish mug? If you relate to any of those, you might be a little materialistic. Truth be told, humans especially ones of privilege are naturally a little concerned on what impresses others. I was the kid who spent hours wishing for something, but when I received it, I’d obsess over it for maybe a month? Then never touch it again. I convince myself my life will never be complete until I have this very item. But I snap out of it now and then, reminding myself that I won’t always get what I want. The only remedy I can give you is that working for something is actually far more rewarding. Maybe this is why I’m a hufflepuff.
2. Establish friendships online. Bloggers are the unique group of people who learned that there is thousands of people like them who thrive online. I have met some of the most spectacular people online—from ones in Australia, across the U.S., to some just an hour away. Unfortunately, if you attempt to explain this to a typical, I-only-use-the-internet-to-boast-about-my-lunch-on-my-instagram person, they’ll glare + ask if your ‘friends’ are really 50-year old perverts. I’m s
o glad you have faith in me. Internet friends are just as great as if not better than real life ones. See, you befriend someone online because they seem kind, inviting, and pretty chill. I’ve made friendships by who these people are as a person. I wasn’t at all concerned about who they are, what status they hold—just that I wanted to know them. In real life, I’m always confronted with the high school hierarchy (which is gradually dissolving, don’t fret.) That being said, keep your ‘real life’ friends around, since you’ll need someone to join you at the bookstore while your internet friends are living their own physical life—but that’s only a mere side effect of this wonderful thing called online friendships.
3. Complain little, appreciate a lot. There’s so much possible context to this statement, but it’s based off a tweet, “the worst people to be around are the kind that appreciate nothing and complain about everything.” And I completely agree. Personally I know some people that, when they’re uncomfortable, everyone knows it, because they won’t shut up. These people just drain the positivity from the air. I could erupt into an elaborate spiel about loving + appreciating what you have, but I have a feeling you’re going to see that common thread throughout this post. Instead, I’m just going to be crisp and concise: the world doesn’t own you anything, so take what you can from it and accept its offering.
4. Stick to priorities vs ‘next best thing.’ I’m generally not the confrontational type, but I will personally call out anyone who ditches previous, established plans for the ‘next best thing.’ It’s a severe peeve of mine when I solidify an event with someone, then they turn around + ditch me for a better offer. And don’t think I’m being hypocritical, because yes I’ve done it too. But when I catch myself in the act, I attempt to find a compromise. I usually try to split my time evenly between these conflicting plans. If there’s no other option, just one or the other, I ultimately pick which plan I agreed to first. You should too.
Of course, nothing is ever black + white, so there are exceptions, but only if someone died or something.
5. Books actually are the only thing you can buy that can make you richer. It’s true!
Well, besides stocks, but there’s a bit of risk-taking. The only risk in books is receiving a damaged copy in the mail. I love asking my followers what it is they enjoy most about reading. The responses are always so heart-warming. For me, it’s always two things: 1. the ability to escape reality / experience a new world, + 2. explore new perspectives of people. Onto what I’m really here to say. I’ll be honest: I come from a suburbia that’s 98% white. From just that snippet of information, how socially correct would someone to expect me to be? But due to the beautiful internet + all the reading I do, I’ve grown to appreciate different cultures, races, & perspectives. As stated by my mother, my open mind comes “from all of those books you read.” And you know what? Damn straight.
6. We’re all a little shallow inside. Oh, oh! Listen, kids, you can hear bubbles bursting everywhere. This is also inspired by twirlingpages—the first post I read on her blog, actually. She discussed that we often criticize each other for being shallow. But we’re all a little—whether we like it or not. I agree. I’m the kind of person to accuse someone of being superficial.
I mean, how else do I cope with my own insecurities? But it makes me hypocritical. In fact, social media has slowly made me a bit more shallow—worrying about follower count + how many likes a photo will get. Why do I care? Is the question we ask ourselves. As for physical appearance, I won’t spend a fortune on products, but since early 2016 I apply at least a coat of concealer on my face before leaving the house. Everything aside, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you will worry about your looks sometimes, and maybe how many advanced reader copies you aren’t receiving just wait, I’m going to write about that soon. But in the end shallow is simply just like ‘weird,’ everyone has a different view of the word. You can’t rid yourself of shallowness, but you can sustain it.
7. You don’t need ARCs to be a book blogger. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never tangled myself in the ARC drama circulating social media—but I know a thing or two. If you’re unaware, an ARC is advanced reader’s copy. A prototype in terms of reading. Their intended purpose is for bloggers to promote it on their blog + social media to express anticipation for the novel’s release. What’s the drama, you ask? Well, think of ARCs as the holy grail of bloggers. You feel powerful, special—invincible.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating. A lot of bloggers feel that they aren’t a ‘true’ blogger if they can’t score any ARCs. Not to mention, there’s the whole drama surrounding BEA & people snagging extra copies + selling them online. Maybe I’ll go further in depth about this topic in a separate post, but for now I say: you don’t need ARCs to be a ‘true’ blogger. I have spent nearly 2 years on bookstagram with books I’ve purchased myself. Sometimes it gets to me, the jealousy, but other times I remember the book will be released soon. Be patient. Advice for those who have received an ARC: please, do your part + read it, review it, promote it. If you’re desperate to get one, keep the idea close that we’re all here, online, to share our love of books. That, and the fact I’ve only received one print ARC in my life, so if you ask me how to get an ARC. . .Your guess is as good as mine.
8. Never apologize for what you love. As much as I hate to admit, I’ve received a ton of crap for being myself. I love books + photography + blogging + writing, but this hobby of mine doesn’t always translate well to someone who hasn’t picked up a book unless it’s for English class. How I choose to spend my time is different from yours, I know. But still, why do people build barriers instead of gates? So what if someone wants to watch Netflix + avoid a party? A few differences doesn’t make them less than a human being. Acceptance + toleration n is all I ask of you—and other people. Always remind yourself an hour doing what you love is equal to a thousand lifetimes of pretending to hate it.
9. Put yourself out there. I’ve always had an issue with expressing myself for the fear of judgment. From my art to my writing to my values, I undermine any sort of compliment + deflect criticism. However, once I began #bookstagram, it got a little easier. I’m putting my talent into the world, and sitting back to view what feedback I receive. An even better example: I joined speech + debate. Now that was quite the social experiment for me. I forced myself out of my comfort zone and experienced a new feeling—being judged on a constant + deliberate basis. So push yourself out of your comfort zone! I can’t say it was easy
it still isn’t but you’ll get there. Promise 🙂
10. You’re not irrelevant. With the USA elections in tow, I’m as much stumped as my fellow Americans. My sister waltzed into my room to talk about the candidates. When I disagreed with her, she ruffled my hair and said, “It’s okay, you’re too young anyway.” I just don’t have to take that. So what if a vast majority of us can’t vote? In no way shape or form does that damper our views on the subject matter. It doesn’t even have to be political views, either. Humans were born to shape opinions and wreak havoc on mainstream society. Never let anyone tell you that you’re too small to express your opinions. No matter who + where you are. Go change the world, my lovely readers.
11. Combat procrastination. You get home from school. You retreat to the kitchen for a snack. Maybe some Youtube binge.
We’ve all done it don’t even deny me. Soon enough you find so many other things to do with your time that your math homework due first period tomorrow isn’t finished. While some of you probably don’t really care about homework—I just so happen to. If you’re a student—or a human—chances are you’ve procrastinated. It’s a nasty, highly universal habit. Vacation tomorrow? Procrastinate! Paying rent? Procrastinate! Blogging? Procrastinate! Sleep? Procrastinate! You get the idea. On the other hand, don’t be like me + procrastinate the big picture too—getting a driver’s license, college apps, finding a career. . .Yeah, that scary stuff. But the longer you wait, the more impulsive your decision will be when the time actually comes. On the bright side, I’ve learned that procrastinators make excellent bargainers. (“If you let me copy your math I’ll give you my history paper.”)
12. Stand on your ground + hold down your values. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been pressured into things I didn’t particularly want to do. I’m always hit with the “well why don’t you want to?” And time and time again it doesn’t matter what excuse I cough out, I’m refuted with some backlash response. I learned if you badger them enough, they’ll step off, thankfully. To keep it brief, fellow readers, I want—no, beg—of you to stand on your values and refuse to give in to pressure. The reward is much greater if you stand on what you believe than yield in + hate yourself for it.
13. Drink caffeine in moderation (aka, just don’t get addicted.) I’m not sure when I first drank coffee, but I was definitely in middle school. It wasn’t long before I began drinking it every day before school. Now, several years later, I drink it every morning—when I find myself unable to, I brew caffeinated tea instead. Granted, I’m no doctor
my mom is but when I don’t drink my daily caffeine I might just be south of a caffeine addict. I don’t drink several cups a day like a handful of bloggers, but one cup or twenty the dependence isn’t healthy. So for you, readers, I suggest moderation. I myself am procrastinating moderation (see #11) but fun fact: Starbucks Fraps are merely coffee flavored drinks. If you’re into those, it might help with the essence of coffee without the caffeine. Then again, you’re dealing with the sugar overload. Caffeine is just too addictive, so just save yourself while you can.
14. Kill them with kindness. I’m not the confrontational type. I’ve never been that kind of person. I stand on my beliefs, albeit quietly. So when someone disagrees with you, don’t lash out, I suggest expressing kindness. Maybe even a smug kindness, too. Having the last laugh + upper hand is a lot more rewarding than breaking down + lashing out + losing control of your emotions. And if you know someone hates you—for no reason at all—act super nice to them. It’ll throw them off. Trust me.
I don’t listen to Selena Gomez, a mere coincidence 🙂 yeah it’s totally not a famous saying or anything.
15. Good things come to those who wait. Really! I began book blogging as of August 2014, but only this year did things really take off. If you ask me for blogging advice, all I’m going to say is practice. Choose a style that is comfortable you, and work with with it. First, you have to be patient + find your style first. This applies to your life just as much as blogging. I began calligraphy last spring—it hasn’t been easy. First I worked with pencils, then ballpoint pens, markers, but hopefully I receive some *actual* brush pens soon.
Maybe tonight? It is my birthday.
16. Never deliver advice you don’t follow yourself + accepting your flaws. I could drone on and on about believing in yourself, refusing to let criticism get to you, and going straight for your crush in English class who asked you for a pencil once. But if I did that, then I’d sorta be a fraud. It’s true—I’m a procrastinator, I’m addicted to caffeine, I’m afraid to express myself for the fear of being judged. I can’t tell you you’re going to outgrow your flaws—that would be too easy. Learn to live with them. Maybe even love them. It won’t be an easy path, but I’m trying. I really am trying. And I hope you are too.
16 Random Facts About Me
- I’m a hufflepuff + horned serpent
apparently horned serpent is ‘scholars’ but related to slytherin? whatever who needs to translate the houses anyway
- My bookstagram 2 year anniversary is August 26, 2016
- I am quite literally hooked on caffeine—coffee + tea alike
- I don’t have the most consistent sense of humor, but when I do it’s downright hilarious
it’s usually horrible puns but we’re not going to talk about that
- History is my best—though since I’m taking APUSH it may be dethroned sometime this year—and favorite subject in school / out of school
- I am the youngest of three, but I’ve googled ‘youngest child syndrome’ and I only relate to a handful of them
- My fave food is French fries—it can be fast food, homemade, or carnival fries—I JUST LOVE FRIES
- Since I’ve gotten this question before, the camera I use on my instagram is a Nikon D3300, it is by far the greatest thing I own ❤
- I’m not the most extracurricular-inclined student, but I joined speech + debate
with the commitment though, it’s practically equal to five extracurricularand Italian Club last fall I’m not Italian I just study the language
- I’m a European mutt—my dad’s side is English, German, Irish, an Croatian; while my mom’s side is Hungarian + Czechoslovakian
I know the nation is split, but my great grandparents immigrated here so I can’t tell you which one I am / am not
- My hobbies includes reading, writing, photography, sketching, + calligraphy / lettering
- I am a registered notebook hoarder
- My favorite vacations ever were Chicago + the Florida Keys + Washington D.C.
- Hamilton is my favorite thing ever as of this moment
- My daily essentials includes earbuds, iPhone 5s, a pack of gum
anything but mint, I hate mint,and soon enough my bullet journal
- I am 16 as of July 28th, 2016 🙂
Favorite Books of 2016 So Far
- A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J Maas
- Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
- Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
- The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
- When We Collided by Emery Lord
- The Wrath and the Dawn / The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
- The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
- My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
- Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
- Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
- The Love That Split the World
- Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
You readers won’t believe how much of a crisis I went through creating that list, I hope you’re all proud of me ❤
As for the fact it’s my birthday, I only have one more announcement brought to you by Professor Dumbledore:
When’s your birthday? How do you typically celebrate? Comment below!