In October…

Ahh, the month of Halloween, NaNoWriMo prep, and people arguing about whether it’s basic to drink Starbucks in the fall.

In my case, it was the month where I decided to relaunch my blog, get back into posting YouTube videos and try a new way of planning my reading. But, things didn’t quite go as planned, which threw off a few things as October went on.

Living

The biggest thing that changed was me resigning from my job two weeks in. I wasn’t happy there and the work wasn’t making me feel like my skills were actually being utilized. Throw in some major cultural and communication differences and I decided that the money wasn’t worth my being miserable for 5.5 more months.

I can say that I’ve learned a lot from this brief experience, mostly that I value my happiness and mental health more than money. I’ve always known that I have to have some level of love for what I do in order to enjoy it, and these six weeks proved that life in corporate communications isn’t for me. I’ve also reaffirmed how much good communication means to me and how essential it is for me to be happy with any job.

Outside of work, I finally made the jump into buying some new products for my hair. Moving internationally means finding a new shampoo and conditioner set that I love as much as what I used in the US. Because unfortunately for me, I fell in love with a brand that isn’t sold here. So the hunt is in progress. Trying to find something CGM (Curly Girl Method) friendly in Singapore is a task unlike any other. I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the accessibility to a huge range of products back when I lived in the US.

I have hope that I’ll be able to find something because iHerb makes it possible to get ahold of some CGM-approved products, but only time will tell if my hair likes the change. If it doesn’t, then I’m back to figuring out how to buy and ship my usual products internationally without paying an arm and a leg for shipping.

Reading

Number of books: 3
Number of hours read: 18 hours & 21 minutes
Number of pages read: 1,182

I’m a bit behind on reviews cause I’m still putting up ones from earlier in the year. This is what happens when I take 5 months off from blogging and read 16 books in the meantime. Links to individual reviews for October’s reads will be available once I get through my backlog.

This month, I tried something I found on Instagram called #AngieWay. It was created by @readswithangie as a way to manage and organize all the reading she wants to do in a month. I gave it a shot to see if it would help me get through more books and decided to vlog the whole experience.

#1 – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Historical fiction – Paperback
People have been raving about this for years and I finally decided to pick it up because two different people I trust a lot recommended it on the same day. The story follows Daniel, who discovers a book by an author no one seems to know anything about, Julian Carax. Then, he learns that someone has been burning Carax’s books. The more he learns, the more Daniel realizes that Carax’s past is tied to some of Barcelona’s darkest history.

#2 – Welcome Descent by Cam Wolfe
Horror – E-book
I’ve been following Cam’s author channel for around a year and was excited to buy his book when it came out in January. It being Spooky Month and all, I thought it was the perfect time to pick this up. Taking place during a horrific storm, the book is about Joe Ridley, a man who is having a hard time in life. As the storm gets worse, Joe begins seeing and experiencing things that just don’t make sense, all of which force him to reflect on the things that got him here.

#3 – The Art of Running Away by Sabrina Kleckner
Coming of age – E-book
When I was scrolling through NetGalley after my return to the site, this caught my attention. Middle Grade isn’t an age group to reach for very often, but something about the synopsis made me download it. Maisie is twelve and the thing she loves most in the world is art. Summer is supposed to mean time with her best friend, but instead, Maisie’s parents send her to Scotland while they try to save the family art store. Wanting to help, she runs away to London to reconnect with her brother who ran away from home six years ago, and convince him to help save the store. But the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes that there are things she doesn’t know about her family.

While three books wasn’t as much as I wanted, it was a good effort and I enjoyed all my reads thoroughly. All were outside of my comfort zone, but I liked that it got me to try things I would normally avoid.

Writing

Blog words written: 4,953
Novel words written: 1,328

The decision to track the number of words I wrote each month was a really last-minute thing. Really, it’s an excuse to create another spreadsheet and track more numbers. I just like tracking numbers…

Anyways, with blogging again, the number of words I write on a monthly basis has gone up quite a bit. It’s nice to see how much time I’ve written across the eight blog posts that went up in October. While the numbers aren’t the important part, they’re encouraging. They remind me that I can produce quite a bit when I’m working on things I care about.

My novel words were all in preparation for NaNoWriMo. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on anything fictional, but with November rolling around again, it’s my annual attempt at getting myself into a rhythm of writing regularly. I say this every year, but it really doesn’t last once December arrives.

That being said, I think that having a tracker to show me what I have and haven’t done will be an encouraging thing. As a goal-oriented person, the visuals make a big difference when I’m trying to develop a habit or get an idea of how well I’m doing at something.

Watching

YouTube: I’m sad to say that I looked at my “Watch Later” playlist and realized that I have videos from last year that I still haven’t watched. 800+ videos are waiting for me and I am still interested in watching them, but it’s scary to know that I’ve accumulated that many videos.

All this in mind, I’ve not actually made a dent in the playlist at all. Instead, I’ve watched a lot of tutorials about diffusing my hair (I still don’t really get it), many videos about understanding algorithms (I don’t get that either), and a Deltarune play-through (this one I understand). Oh, and how could I forget the 30+ reviews of the Kindle Paperwhite in anticipation of the Signature Edition that just came out? I’ve seen about 7 reviews of the Signature Edition too.

Movies: I’m not sure that I’ve watched any movies in October. Thinking back on it, I know that I’ve seen bits and pieces of movies my mom put on, but nothing has stuck. I guess that almost defeats the point of trying to recap it…

I should probably start writing them down for November.

Shows: There are many bits and pieces of k-dramas my mom watches that I’ve seen, but not enough to understand what’s going on. What I’m really good at is paying attention right when a plot hole or factual error happens.

The ones I’ve actually sat down to watch are I am Mita, Your Housekeeper, which is a Japanese show on Netflix. My dad and I decided to try it as a break from the k-dramas my family has been watching. The show was okay. It started off strong but became a bit predictable for my tastes after the 4th or 5th episode.

Aside from that, I’ve gone through Seasons 20 & 21 of SVU with my dad. I was doing a major rewatch last year when my family visited in Maryland and my parents watched several seasons with me. They left before we got to the more recent seasons so I suggested that we go through them slowly with a couple of episodes each night during dinner while my mom attends her night class.

On my own, I’ve watched Season 3 of Sex Education and gone back to rewatch the show from the beginning. I’ve missed British humor so much and the show is too good not to watch again. Yes, Otis can be frustrating at times, but I love the dynamics between all the characters more than anything else. And I’ve got to applaud a show that’s so sex positive and educational.

Listening

Podcasts: I was looking for something new to listen to earlier in the month and decided to give the Bad on Paper podcast another try. I first listened to their episode about women asking for raises back in April, but haven’t really gone through their other episodes. On a whim, I pulled up some of their more recent episodes and found that I really enjoyed what they had to talk about. It’s kind of like having two older sisters talk about all the things we don’t learn as women. I’ve yet to go further through their backlog, but I think I really want to.

I’ve also been re-listening to My Dad Wrote a Porno because it’s light and silly and sometimes I need to laugh at ridiculous things. The podcast isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it reminds me that I can be an author if Rocky Flintstone can somehow write “porn.”

Music: It’s really been a lot of Taylor Swift in anticipation of Red (Taylor’s Version). I’ve gone through her entire discography twice and then gone back to listen to specific albums. Sometimes I forget how much I loved all the albums from Red to Lover because it gets eclipsed by my love of folklore. Going through everything again reminds me why she’s the artist I come back to time and time again.

At the beginning of the month, I listened to Happier Than Ever on repeat after realizing that I’d somehow not listened to the full album yet. It’s truly amazing. All the songs are great and really show how talented of an artist Billie Eilish is. So many of the songs off this album have made it into my regular rotation of music for fall.

Posting

YouTube: It’s a bit weird to be posting back on YouTube again, but I have missed it. Seeing my face and hearing my voice so much during editing, but I am getting somewhat more used to it. I’ve decided to start a collection of weird screenshots from editing because I saw Olivia (@storiesforcoffee) do it and I’ve realized that I do sometimes make weird faces.

Blog: I’ve had so much fun with this. I’m enjoying writing about a wider range of things I’m allowing myself to write about and the inspiration has resulted in me collecting ideas into growing Scrivener file. I think my favorite post from October is about all my favorite podcasts. It was a lot of fun to put together and I’ll take any excuse to gush about the things I love.

IG: This whole “not posting on the weekends” thing has been truly wonderful. I love only needing to post five times a week and being able to relax more on the weekend.

Reel that I made at the beginning of the month suddenly gained some major traction in the second half of October. I thought it was funny when I put it up and other people seemed to think so too. Waking up to a notification that it’s gained 3K views was a really, really nice feeling. It was a surge of confidence that people do enjoy the things I post about too.

Wow, there was a lot to talk about in October. I didn’t realize how much had happened until I sat down and started writing this. It was kind of nice though, taking the time to reflect on all the things that have gone on in my life.

Apologies if you didn’t realize it would take this long to get to the end. Knowing me, all future recaps of my month will probably be around this length too, so take this as a friendly heads-up that you might need a snack and drink next time.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Heather Smith

    This was so lovely to read, your style is really engaging (: also seeing a picture of The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo made my heart jump a little, I feel a reread coming on. Also leaving a job sucks, but I did a similar thing about a month ago and I learnt a lot in the process, I’m glad you did too!!

    1. Charmaine Lim

      Thank you, that’s really sweet! Yes, it’s hard to leave a job but there are so many new things to look forward to after 🙂

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