I’m avoiding NaNo for a little bit (but I will get to this month’s Beautiful Books later) to talk about a movie that I saw over the weekend:


It was my brother’s birthday, so I decided to treat him (and myself 😉 ) to the movies. So Sunday afternoon, he drove us to the movies. it was sold out (low-key [lol] glad that we bought our tickets online), and we had to sit in the second row. like, the FRONT second row. so we were looking up at the screen like this for two hours:

look up

my neck was not happy, let me tell ya


I will try to cover most of the cool stuff without revealing too many important spoilers (although that shouldn’t stop you from going to see this movie asap – unless you are prevented in some way, in which case I totally understand)

before the movie even started, my geek side was very happy. I saw the trailers for two highly anticipated (by me) movies: Murder on the Orient Express and Black Panther. so I was excited. and then the movie actually started.


  • LOKI : this should probably be mentioned first. a few years ago, I could not understand the hype surrounding Loki AT. ALL. and now he’s one of my favorite characters and ended up being my favorite character in this movie. GOSH, IT’S SO HARD TO NOT SAY SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE SEEN AS A SPOILER. but maybe it’s not, cause most people have seen the trailers. anyways. the ‘get help’ scene was my fave XD but yeah, I felt that Loki’s character arc in the past couple movies he’s been in has been amazing, and this movie really put his personality into highlight and showed us what we can expect from him in the next Avengers films. I seriously can’t wait until Infinity War comes out 😀
  • THOR : I kind of missed his polite, formal personality. I can kind of say that was due to the fact that he has spent more time on Earth and picked up some of Tony’s personality, but still. I mean, it was cool to see him joking around, but it felt less ‘Thor-like’ than in the past. BUT I really like his new haircut. I feel like now, kind of like RDJ is Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth is becoming more synonymous with Thor. and I like that 🙂
  • VALKYRIE : one word: alcohol. not a fan of how much she drank. aside from that blip, she was pretty cool. I love her hair. that sounds kinda weird, but it’s true. and the Valkyries look/sound reallllly cool (except for this one’s drinking problem – does that count as a spoiler?). like, can I be one, please?
  • HELA : as the only female villain in the MCU so far, she ticked most of the boxes. super powerful: check. cool outfit: check. messed up eyeshadow: check. and she has the coolest wolf ever. AND IT’S FREAKING CATE BLANCHETT. for those of you who have seen the Lord of the Rings (only the best movie franchise EVER), she plays Galadriel. and at one point she says: ‘in place of a Dark Lord, you will have Queen.’ she does say ‘not dark’, but hey. that’s all I can think of when I see Hela. and her ‘henchman’ is the same actor who plays Éomer. haha. I see what y’all did there.


  • HULK : soooo. this was kinda weird. Bruce didn’t really  … act … like the Bruce that I know and love. I don’t know if it was his voice (higher than normal), or what, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that –  ERROR SPOILER FOUND – whoops. so yeah, that was a little disappointing. and he also felt like more of a comic relief that anything else 😦
  • OTHER CHARACTERS : Heimdall is a boss, I freaking love him. and his dreadlocks… umm, yes. I wish he had a larger part, but he was perfect nonetheless <3. the rock man, what’s-his-name Korg, was really funny. Skurge reminded me of Alfrid from the Hobbit movies for SPOILER reasons, but he was okay. the Grand Master was funny but also really crude and messed up. and omigosh, Doctor Strange‘s cameo gave me life. I haven’t seen his movie yet, but I absolutely loved his character from what I’ve seen. ‘okay, we’re done.’ SO GOOD.


  • at one point, my brother leaned over and whispered that this one place in the movie reminded him of Ancient Rome. it didn’t look at all like it, but the things the people did and celebrated was very reminiscent of the Roman Empire before it’s fall. so that was a bit disturbing.
  • language is not a huge problem, but a few inappropriate jokes are thrown around regarding the names of places and things.
  • a bit more obviously, considering Hela is the ‘goddess of death’, we see some people getting incapacitated and the like.
  • I was a bit… disappointed isn’t really the right word, but I guess it works… the movie  felt more like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, what with the humor and all that. I like the Guardians movies (the second is better, can I hear an ‘Amen!’?), but the tone felt a bit wrong for a Thor movie.
  • and I can’t think of anything else

SO YEAH. I would love to see this movie again sometime, if just to revel in Loki again XD

have you seen Thor: Ragnarök yet or are you planning on seeing it? if you’ve seen it, who was your favorite character? wasn’t Loki amazing?

alright, I’ll be back soon with Beautiful Books!

have a great week, everyone!



beautiful books


and I actually have a good story idea for it this year, and I am making good progress with the plotting so far, so heeeeerrrrree is this year’s edition of beautiful books 🙂

Beaitufl books

i. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I was actually taking a quiz on Buzzfeed and the answer I got really excited me and I thought ‘wow, those could be elements of a story!’ that was a few weeks ago, and I forgot about it until I realized that this month is supposed to be designated for nano prep XD

Ruins everything

ii. Describe what your novel is about!

well… most of the details are still fuzzy and I might change them later, but okay. it’s set in a parallel universe, and the young female president of the United States is not allowed to see her people or really do anything that a ‘normal’ young adult would do, because her parliament/congress is afraid of her being assassinated, like her older brother, who was president before her (the presidency passes from parent to child… or children, in this case). The president discovers that some unsavory secrets from her brother’s term have been uncovered by someone in the government and are being used as leverage against her. They are also threatening to untruthfully slander her name and her reputation, as well as induce her to give up her position. She sends one of her personal aide-de-camp’s, along with his assistant/intern, undercover into society, in order to infiltrate and gain information as to who is attempting to depose her.

Writing is hard

iii. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

check our my pinterest board with the general aesthetic on it

iv. Introduce us to each of your characters!

I only really have one planned out, but okee:

Claire Dominis is the president. I haven’t really gotten to her specific personality yet, but so far physically she has wavy brown hair. and that’s about all XD I’m horrible

Takumi (my younger brother gave me the names, can you tell? XD) is the aide-de-camp, and aside from being of Japanese descent, I don’t really know much else about him.

Takumi’s female assistant is the one I know zilch about, because I almost literally just came up with her. whoops.

v. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

well, right now, I’m just plotting out the general idea and flow of the story with a general outline. I’ll most likely do more research later, once I get the general stuff down. like you have seen, I made a pinterest board, so that distracts me helps 🙂

vi. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

writing in more of a contemporary setting, but with some fancy, ‘different’ details than would typically be in a contemporary novel. lots of fancy dresses and rich peoples’ houses and the like 🙂 also, wow politics. yikes.

vii. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

a) parallel universe b) lots of mansions and large palatial buildings c) umm, politics?

viii. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

my characters’ goals are to discover who is threatening the president and bring them to justice 😛 and whoever is threatening the president stands in the way. well, the fact that they don’t know who it/they are is standing in the way.

ix. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

I don’t know yet. I guess I’ll find out.

my novel be like

x. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

honesty is a theme, I guess, as well as justice and truth.

I would like my readers to feel … like truth is always attainable (please use reason and moral judgment when seeking truth though 🙂 )

alright, alright! thank you so much for reading! I’m really excited to flesh out this story more and actually write it when november comes around.

let me know what you think about it in the comments below! also, are you doing nanowrimo this year? what is your novel about? if you’re signed up with the official nanowrimo website, let me know what your username is so that I can follow you! 😀




w a n d e r l u s t

wanderlust – a lust to wander ; an overwhelming desire to be somewhere other than where you are

not as glamorous as it sounds, or as it feels either – at first

maybe it’s different for different people, but for me . . .

the idea of wanderlust, even the experience of it, is certainly bittersweet, but the good kind of bittersweet

the fulfillment . . . again, maybe it’s just me, but travel doesn’t seem as fulfilling as it should

maybe all the different factors – when you go, what areas of the big cities did you stay in, what you did, if you’re familiar with the culture, etc. – have a huge say in whether travel is enjoyable or not

or maybe not

maybe it’s just me


maybe I’m the only one who romanticizes trips to the point where I am disappointed by the fact that London has dirt and grime and that Paris has more homeless people than I originally knew or imagined.

maybe I’m the only one who gets physically and mentally exhausted when I am in a strange city where the customs are different, where I don’t know anyone, where they speak an entirely different language

photo 2

maybe I’m the only one who wants to go home halfway through a two-week family vacation

and as all my former desires and dreams begin to crumble like they were only façades, I realize the cycle of ‘wanderlust’ and fallen air castles will continue and I begin to wonder if I actually am the only one


in deepest waters

do not think for one moment that you did not cross the mind of the Savior as He hung on that cross

that He did not see your face flash in front of His eyes

that He did not notice your soft hair,
falling on waves over your face

your eyes,
brimming with sadness,
or joy,
or anger,
or uncertainty

your hands,
clenched fists with white knuckles
or folded in desperate prayer,
or raised up to the sky in praise

your voice,
crying out in pain and grief,
or yelling and screaming in anger and hate,
or laughing and singing in joy and love

do not think for one second that He did not see you

the entirety of you

your life,
your loves,
your desires

all of you

as He hung on that cross,
giving up His spirit

and do not think,
that in that moment of suffering and pain and heartache,
that He did not love you


He was there for you

He was there for your life,
your loves,
your desires,
your dreams

His life did not flash before His eyes in His final seconds

you did

every second of your life,
every scar,
every bruise,
He saw it

He died for you

there is no greater love than this

do not think for one moment that you did not cross the mind of the Savior as He hung on that cross

because you did

normandy / going home

this is the last post from my Europe trip! enjoy!

le dog on the train to bayeux
this is a dog that I saw on the train going from Paris to Bayeux. it was so cute!

Monday July 31 / 12:58

why do I have to get so emotionally attached to guys I see for an hour in a museum and then are gone? cause it happened again and now I’m pissed, probably because of the all the eye-contact and the few smiles I assume he threw in my direction. I think he and his family were from Holland. I wish I could understand / differentiate more languages from each other

eh, no matter. I’ll forget in a few weeks (maybe days!) and the sting will be less when I look at this again. I might even laugh. I could almost laugh about it now

I wasn’t feeling well yesterday [Sunday July 30], but I still went with my family to Omaha Beach and the American Memorial / cemetery there

Omaha Beach feat. my older brother’s shoe
a memorial

we stopped for a late lunch in Carenten and the[n] walked around downtown Bayeux, touring the cathedral and buying little things in the shops. I got a handmade bracelet for L. it has a blue strap and gold star charms on it

cool building
cute old building by the river

we had pizza for dinner. I didn’t have my own pizza; my mom and brother shared a few of their slices with me. it started drizzling almost as soon as we left the building and it started pouring before we got to the car, so my mom, brothers, and I waited under a large maple tree for my dad to go get our rental car. I was very cold, but it was kind of fun. [this was all yesterday]

we just [now] went through another D-Day memorial museum

a copy of a letter that Dwight D. Eisenhower sent to all the D-Day troops

well, my brothers and I did. my parents REALLY like to take their time, so we’re waiting outside for them

I’m in a much better mental state than the last couple of days, even considering I had a dream of waking up at home on [this coming] Thursday morning, then [I] actually woke up and discovered I was still in France

it’s not like France is ugly or anything / photo creds to mama

maybe because I was feeling better physically and actually slept well and long


another cute guy at the restaurant we had dinner at, [except] this time [he was] French

my brothers and I walked from the museum back to the chateau we are staying at while my parents went to see botanical gardens and another museum to see the Bayeux tapestry

Bayeux cathedral

basically spent the afternoon on my phone, listening to music, and writing some of my thoughts down (on paper)

we got back from dinner a while ago, and I stayed outside to talk to the horse in the field across the street and to be Anne Shirley for a little bit, walking among the roses and tress, saying hello to cows and twirling under canopies of leaves. wow, that rhymed XD

me and ‘my’ horse

my mom braided my hair on Saturday, and now that I’ve taken my braids out, my hair is at the texture that I wish it were naturally at: beach waves. it was more poufy earlier, but it straightens out very quickly. heat-curling doesn’t do anything, the only thing that works [to make it slightly curly] is braids for two days

Tuesday August 1 / 08:18

gosh, it’s finally August AND WE’RE GOING HOME TOMOROOOWWWW

going home and leaving this 


kinda pissed cause I had a two-week streak going on my daily lesson for French that I take on my phone and I forgot to do it yesterday

new goal is to not miss one day in August [update: I have kept it so far, two days left]

passionate about learning French #redthebloodofangrymen [les miserables pride]


back in Paris in a hotel right next to the airport [that was the ugliest hotel on the outside, but it was nice on the inside]

they gave us madeleines when we first got here. they were large and delicious


we had a mini dinner in the club lounge [that was really cool] and [we] will be going down to the lobby for dessert later

my parents are going to sit us down in a little bit and ask us about our best and worst experiences in each city we’ve been to on this trip

one of my favorite views on a bridge in Bayeux

trying to mentally prepare myself for sharing my deep thoughts with my occasionally judgmental family [I ended up not having to share that night and I was happy about that]

Wednesday August 2 / 11:47

about to take off from Paris CDG [Charles De Gaulle] to Dallas / Fort Worth

flight will be approximately 9 hours and 45 minutes, then we have to go through customs and take a 3 hour flight to SFO [San Francisco International]




Split [it’s a movie] is kinda scary, kinda sad

to be able to act so well, to pretend to be so many different people, [wow] James McAvoy is very good [horrible grammar and sentence structure, I know, but I have a lot of feels about that movie]

11:07 (Dallas time)

about 3 and a half more hours to go [to get to Dallas]

I’ve seen two movies so far: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 [I like it better than the first one] and Split. I’m planning on seeing Cinderella and maybe Ricki and the Flash (just cause of Sebastian Stan *insert heart-eyes emoji here*)


finished Cinderella a while ago

now watch[ing] Ricki and the Flash

and Seb is a babe *another heart-eyes emoji* ❤


we have begun to land

since I’m sitting right behind first class, I have a lot of leg room, [but] the monitor I watch movies on [has to] get stashed on the side of my chair, so I couldn’t finish watching Ricki and the Flash, which means I didn’t get to see anymore of Seb

but the scene that he was in, he was perfect *ONE MORE HEART-EYES EMOJI*


what I don’t understand: it takes roughly 10 hours to fly from San Jose to London

Paris is one time zone away from London

it took two hours to go from Paris to London by train

it takes roughly 10 hours to fly from Paris to Dallas

Dallas is two time zones away from SF and it takes THREE HOURS to FLY there from Dallas

is it just me, or does no one else find this a little strange?

maybe I’ve got it wrong, though. that’s always a possibility with me [and that was the case, as it turned out]



look up ‘crop circles’ when you get home

no idea what state we’re flying over right now, but it looked very flat and dry with lots of large green circles here and there

knowing nothing about crop circles, I’m assuming that’s what they were [that is in fact not what they were. they were actually crops {DEFINITELY NOT CREEPY CROP CIRCLES} and the way they are watered forms a circular shape, because any plants outside of the reach of the water don’t… get… water. duh]

two hours until touch-down @ SFO


so I consulted my inflight interactive map and we are currently over New Mexico

I’ve never been to NM and I’ve never known when I’ve been flying over it, so that’s cool


I never realized how much I love[d] my home until we flew over the Bay Area just a few short hours ago

it was so wonderful to feel so strongly for an old place after seeing new places

and I realized that no matter where I go, no matter where I may end up in the future, the Bay Area will forever be my home

jeremiah-higgins-208802photo by Jeremiah Higgins on Unsplash

in the city of love/lights

PARIS. I went to Paris, y’all. it’s as beautiful and amazing as you have always heard. all the beautiful buildings you see in pictures… they’re everywhere. the whole city is old and beautiful and so architecturally pleasing, I just… GAH

and cafés and bistros EVERYWHERE

Wednesday July 29 / 17:23

just had a delicious crêpe with jam at an outdoor café in the Jardin des Tuileries

crêpe with jam
voila, crêpe with jam and a café creme

last night, I had basil ravioli with mushrooms at a café across the street from our flat [legit best meal I had in Paris, and therefore why it is not striked out]. the salad and bread they brought us was also good

I slept very well, even though there was a lot of light coming through the front windows and I heard sirens in the city

breakfast was toast, then we took the metro to the Louvre

inside the pyramid
inside the famous pyramid at the Louvre
atrium at the louvre
this was like an atrium, inside the smaller pyramid of the Louvre

the louvre.JPG

I saw the Mona Lisa, took a crap-ton of pictures, and enjoyed myself thoroughly [funny story about the Mona Lisa: my mom and I were walking together in a gallery, knowing the Mona Lisa was somewhere around where we were (I wanted to see just to say I saw it), when we looked to our right and saw a room with a ton of people holding up their phones. we looked at each other and said, ‘I bet that’s where the Mona Lisa is.’ I just saw the top of the picture, then my mom and I turned our attention to the massive painting on the wall opposite, which depicted the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine]

lunch was at the Louvre: chicken Caesar salad and a piece of raspberry cheesecake

we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries and took in the Musée l’Orangerie. my favorite paintings were my Renoir

we could see the Arc de Triomphe from the Jardin des Tuileries 

it seems to have stopped drizzling now – it was drizzling when we left the museum [l’Orangerie]. we are about to leave the café to go back to the flat now

Thursday July 27 / 19:26

the introvert in me is starving for alone time, and yet… that is impossible


we ate at a posh café last night. I had bolognese and a delicious chocolate cake w/ ice cream

we spent most of today walking around Paris and a few select museums (the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée l’Armée)

also notre dame
we saw the Notre Dame cathedral too, but we didn’t go inside
vincent van gogh
the Van Gogh exhibits at the Musée d’Orsay were my favorite. I could have stared at his self-portrait forever
le tomb de napolean
Napoleon’s coffin at the Musée l’Armée. it’s pretty massive

my feet did and do hurt like heck. I can’t even explain it [they hurt so bad]

I’m SO in need of alone time, but I can’t have any. family vacations are called that [family vacation] for a reason [cause you’re with your family all. the. time.]

[we saw the Arc de Triomphe later that day, although I forgot to record that fact. here is a picture. I think this one is my favorite]

le arc de triomphe
getting up close and personal

Friday July 28 / 13:56

just had lunch at a bistro with my brothers: tomato and goat cheese quiche and a salad

had a chicken sandwich yesterday after we saw the Notre Dame and walked around the Musée d’Orsay. I sat right by the River Seine and my family sat behind me on the steps [going down to the Seine]. it [the sandwich] was good, but I dropped my last piece of chicken on the ground. I was so looking forward to the last piece

yes, that is me

I had salmon with rice and green beans yesterday at a bistro close to the Notre Dame. it was pretty good; not the best salmon I’ve ever had

I shouldn’t have had dessert, but I did: a New York brownie sundae. I didn’t finish it, not because I couldn’t, but because I didn’t want to. [I know,] strange happenings over here

we walked home through pretty streets and across bridges with people playing instruments on them and the lights from buildings shining across the street and on the water

I think this was taken on the Pont Louis Philippe

today has been fairly relaxing. we’ve stayed within a few blocks of our flat and later my mom and I will go to a few select stores that we noted to buy some scarves and gifts


thoroughly enjoying my last night in the city of lights. we had dinner at the same bistro as a few nights ago. I enjoyed a burger patty with a fried eggs on tops and some pommes frites

we are now sitting by the Seine across from the Notre Dame, about to enjoy some dessert. our waiter is very nice and funny and the weather, though windy, is quite nice [and warm]

more crêpes
caramel apple crêpes

I’m quite content right now

and going to enjoy this time with my family

Saturday July 29 / 08:13

[I’m] desperately hoping that time in the country will rejuvenate me

I was just thinking about arriving at Dallas/Fort Worth [airport] and feeling comfortable again, even though I’ve never been to that airport. all the different states are still familiar territory compared to France

even England felt more familiar than France

the seine
even though the Seine is beautiful. I like the Seine more than the Thames

three more full days after this, then I’ll be home

oh, so looking forward to going home

maybe I’m not cut out for world travel

we’re at the Paris train station right now, waiting for our train to Bayeux

I had a nice time last night

the problems started when I was getting ready for bed

it was hot, very hot and stuffy

my stomach wasn’t feeling well

and it still wasn’t feeling well at 2:30am, when I was rudely awakened by a pack of screaming, yelling, laughing people in the street right outside our flat

photo 2
our street sign

but then I got to text L for a little bit. she and the rest of the missions group had recently arrived back in California after their week in Mexico building a house for a family

I miss her a lot

we’ve already planned a sleepover for next week. we’re going to watch Les Misérables 🙂

why does this feel like the longest vacation ever?

I guess I really am a homebody


at the Château Bellefontaine right now, sitting on the windowsill in the loft that I’m sharing with my brothers

view from my window
view from my window, feat. my mom and brothers

no sounds of the city here

just birds, the wind in the trees, and the occasional car driving by [oh, and the train too, but that was only once in a while]

it is very pretty here, but a little bit cold

it was drizzling a few minutes ago when I was outside saying hello to the ducks and swans. I would have given almost anything at that moment for my volleyball pullover. I still would. I miss that old thing

I wish we could stay here longer than just a few days, but at the same time, I just want to be home already. maybe I wish this was home. that would be nice

I’m sitting warm and dry on the window sill, the window wide open, but if I just stick out my arm, I can feel the tiny pricks of water falling from the sky. I can see it too. it is very thin

it smells nice here. no cigarette smoke, no gas fumes, just fresh air, green growing things, and rain

my mom’s picture of the creek/pond thing that flowed through the property we stayed on

well! there’s all of Paris and a little taste of Bayeux! I started getting homesick around the time we arrived in Paris and really needed to introvert, but I couldn’t, so that meant a grumpy me. anyways…

only a little bit left to go, because I didn’t take as many entries in the last few days 😛

thanks for reading!


ps. no, we didn’t go see the Eiffel Tower. this is as close as we got

eiffel tower
it’s off to the right of the statue

there’s always next time 😀

last days in London

featured image by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash

posting this today, because I will be away all day tomorrow

so yeah London was my favorite part of our Europe trip and I would love to live there someday ❤

Sunday July 23 / 08:57

we watched First Knight last night. it’s a movie about Lancelot and Guinevere with Richard Gere and Sean Connery. I’ve never liked the story of Lancelot and Guinevere (poor King Arthur 😥 ), but the movie was good nonetheless

we will be going to St. Paul’s for morning service today. I’m really excited about that

then we’ll go to the Borough Market, the George Inn, and the Imperial War Museum, and maybe have tea this afternoon

I’m excited for today. it will be fun


at the George Inn right now, waiting for my fish and chips

the service at St. Paul’s was beautiful and the cathedral itself was even more so

statue in front of st. paul's
since you’re not allowed to take pictures inside, here’s a picture of a statue outside the cathedral

there were quite a few people there

the preacher spoke on the parable to the weeds and the wheat in the gospel of Matthew

it was a bit hard to hear due to the acoustics in the dome, but I fully enjoyed myself. it was nice to have a majestic service in a building that has been a place of worship for 1400 years

we took the Tube to Borough Market [the actual market was closed by the way. it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays. just a heads up if you ever plan on going] and walked around trying to find the George Inn, when we realized it was just down the street from the Tube station

take courage
really cool building we saw while trying to find the George

the George Inn is down a little side street in a courtyard and it’s very old and beautiful. Charles Dickens mentions in in [his novel] Little Dorritt

the george inn
crappy picture of the George, but one of the only ones I took


we also had dessert – apple-rhubard crumble with Cornish clotted cream once cream 🙂

then we went to the Imperial War Museum, which was cool. my feet and legs started to hurt pretty badly and we still had a few more places to go [though, which kind of sucked]

imperial war museum
the crooked Imperial War Museum, featuring some of my family

we took the Tube to Piccadilly Circus and walked around Regent Street, which was really cool, [even though it was] kind of crowded, then [we] went back to the flat

piccadilly circus
the statue in the middle of the Circus

we almost went to Harrods, but it would have been out of our way [thanks to one of the most direct Tube lines being down] and we were tired

didn’t have dinner

[note: Sunday was my favorite day]

Monday July 24 / 10:49

on an overground train, trying to get to the Royal Botanical Gardens

also the greenhouse
inside the smaller greenhouse. the huge one was closed for renovations
my mom took a more aesthetically pleasing pic


still at the gardens

me in front of a memorial for a royal
yup, that’s me / pic creds to my younger brother

Kew Palace was nice and homey; I could imagine myself living there, like in a Jane Austen novel

Kew Palace / pic creds to my mom

might not make it to tea today

I think it’s kind of a waste to go to England and not have afternoon tea… but that’s none of my business


on a train back to London

breakfast this morning was toast and eggs [no one cares, girl]

lunch was an egg/mayo sandwich and a few bites from L’s brownie, N’s muffin, and Mama’s scone [seriously, no one cares what you ate]

the gardens were nice; kind of windy and cold, but fun nonetheless

we could be a cover band / pic creds to one of my parents, can’t remember which one


had to rush to the Kensington Palace Orangery right out of the Tube station. I was already feeling anxious due to fluctuating hormones, but the rushing from train station to Tube station to palace resulted in it [anxiety] worsening. fresh air and sitting down in a relaxing environment helped calm me down, but it took a bit of time

the building was beautiful. the tea itself (I had wild berry) was delicious, the sandwiches were tasty, and the sweets were a tad too sweet, but delicious nonetheless

tea and scones with clotted cream
going to London resulted in me falling head over heels in love with clotted cream

we walked home [to the flat, that is] on the street with all the embassies on them (one of my favorite streets in the city)

some of the houses looked like this, some were more beautiful 
me facing away from kensington palace
in front of Kensington Palace

Tuesday July 25 / 12:21

at St. Pancras train station, waiting for our Eurostar train to Paris

breakfast was toast and a piece of pastry [what the actual heck], then Papa, Mama, Lucas, and I took the Tube one last time to Westminster to walk across the bridge and hear Big Ben strike on the hour. I took some pretty great pictures [in my humble opinion]

across the river from big ben and the parliament buildings
the famous ‘across the Thames’ shot
jubilee greenway
hehe, artsy fartsy
such a cool gate

lunch was a butter and cheese sandwich

I am quite tired and my body is aching, but I hope the rest of today will be fairly realizing, with the exception of traveling between the train station and the flat [in Paris]

I’m going to miss London, but [I] am excited to see Paris and practice my French


[this entry just complained about security getting onto the train]


finally in the city of light

our apartment is absolutely beautiful and our host is very nice

the view from the windows is classic France and I saw some very nice restaurants and cafés on the way here

view from our flat
voila, view from our windows

excited to finally be in Paris, but experiencing the same feelings as when we first got to London

[I’m] expecting them to dissipate in the next day or so, so I can enjoy this city

I just need to be on my guard, I guess. no need for real fear, [I] just [need to] be smart and street wise

and [I need to] remember how to ‘parler français’ 🙂 [I know ‘parler’ is ‘to speak’ and therefore I’m saying ‘to to’ in that last sentence, but I dont’ really care]


so there! my last few days in London and the transition from London to Paris! I hope you enjoyed London along with me and I hope that you will stay to enjoy Paris and Bayeux!







first days in London


continuing my our travels through a small corner of Europe

I don’t know how many days we’ll fit in here, but the length of the post will be reasonable, I promise

’cause when am I not reasonable? 😉

Friday July 21 / 09:27 

the evening was pretty much a success

I was able to sleep well and fairly long, enjoying a delicious breakfast of bread, butter, strawberry jam, cheese, and coffee after I woke up

we will be leaving soon, taking the Tube to the other side of the city to tour the Tower and Westminster Abbey.


on the Tube right now

it’s a lot of fun

smoother than BART or Caltrain [the train options where I live]

there were a few cute American guys in our car earlier, but they got off already

I haven’t seen many other attractive males, unless you count the Russians yesterday. they were ‘eh’. [ahem, anyways…]


the tower was [great]

the White Tower

chocolate fudge brownie and strawberries and clotted cream ice cream in a cone and the Crown Jewels were the [highlights] of the day

where the crown jewels are housed
since I couldn’t take pictures of the actual Crown Jewels, here is the building where they were kept

next stop: Westminster Abbey


Westminster Abbey is beautiful


I saw a memorial to William Wilberforce and I walked over Charles Darwin’s grave

his theology and beliefs were not good [wow, nothing better than ‘not good’], but [he was] pretty [brilliant, nonetheless]


about to have late lunch/early dinner

saw memorials to Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Dickens, Keats, and, the most special, C.S. Lewis, at Westminster [no one was allowed to take pictures inside, or else I would have had some for y’all]

I really like taking the Tube. it can get tiring if you have to change lines a lot, but it’s fun for the most part

Covent Garden, where we are now, is very pretty. the buildings are really old and cars aren’t allowed in the street, so we can walk in the middle [of the street]

covent garden 'burberry'
isn’t this a beautiful building? crooked, yes I know, my photography skills are not the best


lunner [lunch/dinner] was mac ‘n’ cheese

more Tube time, but not so many changes this time around

relaxing at the flat right now


other highlights of today:

  • seeing the unknown soldier’s grace at Westminster Abbey
  • seeing Elizabeth I’s grave
  • viewing the Crown Jewels and the tower where Lady Jane Grey was presumably held (Beauchamp Tower)
if you don’t know who Lady Jane Grey is, do some research and maybe read the book about her by Faith Cook
  • viewing the torture chambers [yes, this was actually kind of cool]
  • taking pictures with Tower Bridge in the background
tower bridge
voila, Tower Bridge
  • THE TOWER ICE CREAM [seriously, if y’all ever go to the Tower, try the ice cream, especially the strawberries with clotted cream. it’s a-mazing]
  • our waiter at Maxwell’s at Covent Street [he was funny]
  • seeing the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye
big ben and the eye
I think this is a pretty cool shot
  • the Tower ravens
  • riding the Tube, because checking in and out was really fun and easy and made me feel like a local

Saturday July 22 / 08:44

took a shower this morning; feels good to be clean again

Papa went out early this morning to a bakery and got some butter and chocolate croissants for breakfast. we had them along with eggs, toast with butter and jam, and orange juice. the chocolate croissants had the perfect ratio of chocolate to dough and [they] tasted good, too

we’ll be going to the royal botanical gardens in Kew today

looking forward to a more relaxing time after the hustle and bustle of yesterday [lol, that didn’t happen]


didn’t end up going to the botanical gardens

we walked through Kensington Gardens, the[n] took the Tube to Buckingham Palace and watched the changing of the guard

kensington palace 2
Kensington Palace (something funny: a couple was walking their dogs near here and one of the dogs jumped into the pool around the statue of Queen Victoria and started swimming and the owners kinda freaked out)
buckingham palace
Buckingham Palace


walked through St. James’s Park, had lunch (cheese and tomato croissant sandwich) at Trafalgar Square, spent half an hour or so at the National Gallery, then took the Tube home, stopping for mango sorbet and coffee ice cream at Fenton’s on the way

also trafalgar square
my favorite picture of Trafalgar Square
national gallery
the National Gallery (art museum)

Papa, Mama, and I might be going to afternoon tea at Kensington Palace later, but it has been raining and it’s a good ways away


didn’t end up going to tea – we all fell asleep

it’s been raining on and off since this afternoon

we might go tomorrow, Monday at the latest

we walked to Queen’s Way [a street and also near a Tube stop of the same name] and had Italian food (past with lamb ragu), picking up some pastries and admiring the mews on the way back [mews are hard to explain, but Oxford Dictionaries has a good definition: a row or street of houses or apartments that have been converted from stables or built to look like former stables. we had some of these behind our flat and they’re really pretty]

diana's white garden
this is a special garden that was planted at Kensington Palace in honor of Princess Diana and the 20th anniversary of her death


okay, so… that’s all for today! we’ll do our last few days in London next, and then move on to Paris 🙂

I hope y’all enjoyed reading and looking at all the pictures (I took the majority of them, by the way, that’s why they’re not that great)

thanks for reading!



flying and exploring London

so I went to Europe last month with my family

we went to London first for four full days, Paris for three full days, and Bayeux in Normandy for two

I actually kept a log for almost every single day while we were gone, which was two weeks in total, so I am very proud of myself and ready to share my trip with y’all!

I’ll do my best to include our first day of travel and all of our London experience in one post, but if it’s too long, I’ll do two or three for London


Wednesday July 19 19:47 California time


this is so exciting

I’m on the plane right now, window seat and everything, about to leave for London Heathrow with my family

I haven’t been out of the country in almost 7 years. and now I’m going to London. like, WHAT?

I’ll keep on with updates as the time and days pass.



we’re moving

hopefully taking off soon 😀


taxi-ing, taxi-ing, taxi-ing


I didn’t know Avaya stadium was right by the SJ airport

we’re speeding up!

and about to take off

lucky to have a window seat



san jose mountains
San Jose mountains from my window


I hope I never lose the fascination and joy of flying



I never remember it being this bad

at least I get to watch free movies


one of the stewardesses/flight attendants looks like the actress who plays Jane Fairfax [in the BBC version of Emma]

‘Gifted’ is a pretty good movie; not what I would typically watch, but Chris Evans is a hunk and the music is beautiful

a scene from ‘Gifted’


dinner: tomato pasta, salad, bread w/ butter, and a slice of cinnamon roll cheesecake 🙂

also, the flight attendants have accents and I’m kind of in love ❤


almost watched ‘Split’, but decided that almost 11 o’clock at night was a bit too late to watch something that intense. someday, though

currently over Canada, about six and a half hours left of our flight. going to listen to music and then try to sleep

Thursday July 20 / 11:05 London time

we’re over the Atlantic, but that’s all I know

it’s 3:05 California time and I hardly slept at all 😦

about two and half more hours until we arrive

I’m trying to relax right now, listening to twenty-one pilots and attempting to ignore the loud [people] behind me

I really want to lighten my window and look outside, since it’s light outside and we’re over the ocean, but I don’t want to bother anyone


I’m going to try to sleep again, even though I can’t really sleep while listening to music


I’m going to England




this is going to be so much fun

a life-long dream, about to come true


two more hours

I don’t know if I can do this

maybe it everyone else woke up and I could read or something




they just turned all the lights back on and hopefully will let me lighten my window soon

one and half hours to go

the clouds look so small from up here and everything is so blue

I might actually be able to deal with jet lag, seeing how beautiful everything is right now

my mental/emotional state is good at the moment


just finished breakfast (it is 4:52 back home): omelette, tomato, potatoes, blueberry muffin, coffee, and orange juice 😛

we just flew over Ireland and I hope we will be landing in about 45 minutes

enjoying some Pride and Prejudice before I land in Jane Austen’s native land


I’m assuming that’s Devon/Cornwall, from what I know of British geography

maybe Liverpool… OH, probably Wales. it’s most likely Wales

wow, I really should study more geography

this actually was around the Liverpool/Manchester area


captain announced landing in 40 minutes 😀



haven’t landed yet, but I can see the countryside below and I am ON TOP OF THE WORLD RIGHT NOW THIS IS AMAZING


we are officially descending/landing 😀


I can see cars driving on the left side of the road!


watching the ‘rain scene’ [in Pride and Prejudice the 2007 version with Kiera Knightley] as we descend through the clouds


london and the thames
part of London and the Thames




about to go through customs and baggage claim


driving to London from Heathrow

it’s so green here

and it’s a bit overcast, but there’s some blue sky peeping through

and then I realize… there’s blue sky even in England

it’s not that different from home

and driving on the left side of the road doesn’t feel that strange to me, although the steering wheel being on the right does [disclaimer: I am not driving yet, just the sensation of being in a moving car where everything is backwards is strange]


I don’t like Kensington so far, but I haven’t seen much of it, so I can’t really say

but so far, it’s kind of crowded and seems a bit dirty…

it’s only Thursday, and it’s already pretty crowded, lots of cars and people walking

the outskirts of the city are nice, pretty houses and green areas, so if I did move to London in the future, which is doubtful, I would want to live in the outskirts… at least not in Kensington


I love the outside of the building we’re staying in. the surrounding area is pretty nice as well

the problem is… I think… no, I KNOW I’ve been romanticizing this whole trip, unfortunately. I’ll try, from here on out, not to set my standards too high


before dinner, we went walking to a nearby supermarket and bought things for breakfast tomorrow [since the place we’re staying at has a kitchen]

then we went to a pub for dinner

Papa, N [older brother], and L [younger brother] all had variations of fish and chips, Mama had some sort of smoked salmon open-faced sandwich, and I had a chicken and mushroom pot pie. I almost had shepherd’s pie, but it was pretty expensive

then we walked to Hyde Park, just to see kind of what it looks like and what to expect when we walk through there [which we hardly did]

the worst thing for me about London are the smells of cigarette smoke (smoking is not as strictly controlled as in the US) and it’s a bit dirty, like any big city, I guess

by far my favorite things are the architecture, the humidity (not overpowering, but more than at home), and consequently, how green it is and how many plants there are. our little flat and the area around it I especially love

another cool thing: there is a church right across the street, which chimes every half hour


I’m supposed to be in bed, but I’m not ready to fall asleep yet

the view from the front window is my favorite thing

the street here is so quiet, removed from the craziness of Kensington, and the flat is removed from the street a little bit as well

it’s so peaceful and beautiful

I’m staying in the front room, so I could stare out the window the whole night, if I wanted to

but I haven’t slept in I-don’t-know-how-long – time when I travel get screwed up really bad in my head – so I really shouldn’t

I had my second wind already and I think starting to crash again

my body was aching earlier like I had the flu, but that was just because of trying to sleep sitting upright in the plane for hours

I’m slightly better now, but I really should go to bed

goodnight, London,

I will explore you on the ‘morrow ❤


okay, so this was super long. thanks to whoever read this far!

we’ll split this up into a few posts, so I don’t bore y’all

alright, next time, we’ll talk the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey (with more pictures) 🙂








camp in the santa cruz mountains




these are pictures from my week at camp last month (yes, yes, I know) and I’m really excited to share them with y’all!

I just put all my camera’s pictures on my computer, so I might have another post with pictures from my Independence Day up soon 🙂


this is the building I was staying in with my grandparents, older brother, and cousin. we stay in the same room every year.


a house with an adorable sign hanging from a redwood tree in the front


this is one of my favorite pictures. this was taken from the front of the outdoor amphitheater where we have acoustic worship on wednesday night. all the youth come and sit on the benches, there is a fire in the fire pit, people sing, and we get to share about things God has shown us during the week.


cool mossy rock wall, featuring my friends in the background


this swing is one of my favorite things ever. I found this spot with a friend a few years ago, and have gone there every year since to sit and swing a little bit. it is very peaceful and pretty, if a little tiring to get there.

I was so happy to be able to go back to camp again this year. each year, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go back and each year I do. and this year was one of the best yet.

thanks for reading, loves! I will be going on a two-week vacation next week, so expect TONS of great pictures when I get back!

have a great week!