2019 Goals

          I thought about writing this post at the beginning of January to mark well, the beginning of a new year but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I wasn’t completely sure whether the goals I set for myself in December would still be relevant for me in 2019. I am the type of person who likes starting over, I like new beginnings and therefore I love starting a new year. I stand by the ‘tomorrow is a new day’ saying and thus 2019 started and I was sat down at my desk, pouring over my goals and trying to break them down into more manageable tasks, to understand how I want to go about achieving them. This is how I realized that I wasn’t so keen on some of the goals I set for myself. Of course, in true perfectionist fashion, I started to panic because January already started and that meant I didn’t have the perfect plan to get me through the year (I am an anxious person.)

          This made me realize that:

  1. You can never have the perfect plan because life’s a bitch and it likes to throw curveballs.
  2. I can always switch things up. If halfway through the year I don’t care to learn to play the guitar anymore, I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to force myself to do anything that doesn’t make me happy and that is okay.

          Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m willing to just scrap goals just because I know I won’t achieve them or because I’m too insecure about doing them (e.g – going places on my own). I just have to adjust them, tweak a few things here and there and hopefully, I’ll achieve the goals I’m not 100% sure about. This is why when coming up with your goals, be them monthly, yearly, 5-years and 10-year goals, it’s important to sit down with a cup of coffee and really ask yourself what do you want to do. What’s worth your time here on earth and what makes you happy? Tailor your plans according to the answers to those questions, have some ambition and you’ll see you’ll come out a happier person in the end.

          So, a couple of my 2019 goals (as of now) are:

          Get a first in my second year of university – this one is pretty self-explanatory and a goal that most likely won’t change. Some of the steps I’m taking to achieve this goal is to attend each lecture and seminar as much as possible, to read for my seminars every day and to start my assignments two weeks before they’re due instead of leaving them until the last minute. I already wrote down all my deadlines in my bullet journal and my calendar on my phone.

          Go fully vegan – I’m quite embarrassed to say that I’m weak when it comes to sweets and I am the worst baker ever. As in I burn everything I try to bake. So if baking my own sweets is impossible and buying vegan sweets is super expensive for my student budget, well, I haven’t been really doing great in that department… but I am working on it every day and hopefully this year I’ll go fully vegan.

          Read 30 books – not counting the reading I have to do for university, of course. My reading goal last year was 30 books and I barely managed to achieve that. I’m not sure why I struggled so much when in other years I would read way more than 30 books with no problem. It’s probably because I have to read so much for school that when it comes to reading for pleasure I’m kind of exhausted.

          Finish three of the stories I started last year – I tend to go through phases when I’m super motivated to write so last year I started three stories, one of which I was supposed to finish over the Christmas break so this year I want to at least finish two of them – the one that I was meant to finish over Christmas and the collab. I think out of all my goals this goal and the reading goal are the most susceptible to change.

          Complete my BTS album collection – this one’s pretty up in the air too but right now I’m determined to achieve this goal. I’ve always been someone who collects stuff from W.I.T.C.H. comic books to well, books and stationery to kpop albums. I currently have all their Korean albums but I still need to complete the LY Her, Tear and Answer albums and the WINGS albums. Of course, this is going to be a pretty slow progress since these albums are damn expensive but I guess we’ll see by the end of the year if I manage to achieve this.

          Learn graphic design – I used to do graphic design for forums back in 2013 and 2014 and I’ve always enjoyed it so much but of course, I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to actually know what I was doing. This year I want to learn the right way and so I am planning to achieve this goal over the summer.

          So this is it, these are my current 2019 goals. Of course, these are all (okay maybe some of them) susceptible to change but I guess we’ll see. For now, I’m really excited to see what 2019 has in store for me. I feel like for the first time in my life I am finally able to look forward to my future without too much anxiety clouding my mind which is something I’m very proud of.

          Anyway, until next time!

          With love,

          Sonny xx

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi Review

          This review contains minor spoilers! If you haven’t read the book I suggest reading it and coming back to this blog post later.

          Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is that book that every Instagrammer has on their feed, almost like Milk and Honey and other IG poetry. Of course, that’s why I picked it up and why I was interested, plus the cover is super pretty so on an evening out with friends I picked up this book and it sat on my shelves for half a year before I read the entire book in one day. Let’s just say I enjoyed it enough to power through 390 pages – but that’s something usual for me.

          Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam and how they became each other’s emergency contacts. Of course, it wouldn’t be a young adult novel without the parental issues, the insecurities and the coming of age plot but the reality behind these characters is what made the book for me. I enjoyed Penny’s self-introspection and the fact that she didn’t change to make Sam like her and I enjoyed Sam’s characterisation. We got to see inside the brain of the broody male protagonist and came to understand that he’s not broody for the hell of it.

          I also enjoyed that the resolution was realistic and didn’t tie all loose ends – real life is not that clean-cut and looking at the way Mary H.K. Choi narrates her story I think her aim was to portray these characters as realistically as possible, which in my opinion she achieved from the beginning.

          One thing I didn’t like was how the two protagonists took centre stage all the time. We have Penny’s mum and Sam’s niece and a couple of other useless characters peppered here and there but we don’t really get to know them. Sure, we know Penny’s mum is *ahem* young at heart and we know Sam’s niece is hyperactive and needy but we don’t get to form bonds with them so when Penny argues or neglects her mum I don’t really care about it?

          I feel like I could have given this book five out of five stars if it wasn’t such a quick and easy read. It’s 390 pages but it felt like 100 at best – although it was realistic and the protagonists were well written, the plot wasn’t. It dragged on at times and was redundant at others which put me off reading it at first.

          Overall I would say I enjoyed Emergency Contact and I am looking forward to Mary H.K. Choi’s future releases! Did you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and I’ll catch you next time!

 

         With love,

         Sonny xx

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2018 – A Review

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          2018 has been an odd year because it’s been good in some regards and bad in others. I started the year ready to take on the world, I made changes after changes in order to improve myself and achieve my goals and so the start of the year was probably why 2018 might be my best year so far. I started Marbled Intentions and I even started writing my favourite story ever. I got close to 1k followers on Instagram and made so many amazing friends on there too. People I can easily call my internet family and who have become such an integral part of my daily life – I am thankful for all of you. I also made up with old friends this year, we got over our differences and came out stronger in the end. I made more of an effort to keep in touch with old friends and made memories I will treasure forever.

          In 2018 I finally went vegan. This is big for me because I have a hard time making these big decisions so I am proud of myself. I started penpaling this year so I now know how to mail stuff and I am less awkward and anxious on paper. I learnt to write letters and to appreciate deeper bonds with people in my life. In 2018 I saw Burn The Stage with my friends and revisited an old story that’s always been my home. This year I finally allowed myself to drop my scepticism and allow myself to be curious about the potential of being spiritual. I learnt that this moment is a blip in time and better days will come.

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          This year I started to understand myself better – I am a very chill person but small things can set me off. I have trouble relating to people but I have no trouble guessing how they’re feeling. I now know that I don’t have a dream like so many other people do but I have my writing passion and that’s enough for me. This year I learnt that in order to be completely free I have to rid myself of expectations. I learnt to value myself above others because I can’t pour from an empty cup. I learnt that I only live once and yes, it’s sad that I missed some things I’ll never get to do/have but I can’t do anything about that so what’s the point in being sad about it. In 2018 BTS taught me to love myself and for that I’m grateful.

          This year I also went vegetarian for Christmas, skipped A LOT of classes and got a few bad grades. In 2018 I didn’t really learn much about my spirituality even though I allowed myself to. I created Marbled Intentions, posted three times per week during the summer holiday and completely stopped posting in November and October. In 2018 I fell into such a slump that I started doubting myself as a person, I started going back to the darker days and I debated dropping out of university. In 2018 I pulled my friends closer while I pushed my family away. I didn’t read as much as I wanted, I didn’t stick to a skincare routine and I still eat a whole lot of junk food.

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          So yeah, 2018 has been good but it has also been bad. But we wouldn’t know happiness without pain so I am grateful for this year either way. I’m turning 20 in January. In less than three weeks I will officially have been on this earth for two decades and that scares me in ways I don’t even know how to describe but I’m also excited because 2018 gave me the tools to move into my 20s confidently.

          This is the last post of 2018 so I’d like to thank anyone who reads this blog (I don’t really check the stats so for all I know I might be talking to myself). The plan for next year is to post every Saturday at 12 PM GMT so stay tuned for that and have a great New Year!

          With love,

          Sonny xx

 

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Chat With a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal Review

I received this copy for review however, all my opinions are honest.

Given that it’s such a short story I can’t really review it the way I reviewed other books on this blog and therefore I will keep my thoughts concise and straight to the point. This is a no-spoiler review!

I couldn’t help but enjoy this story for what it is: a funny, interesting dissection of the human brain and how we operate when we’ve been wronged. Throughout the story the serial killer is blunt and straight-to-the-point, she doesn’t seem remorseful at all except for the little clues of her humanity which he sprinkles during her conversation with Corrigan.

I quite enjoyed the dialogue because how straightforward it was, probably due to the interview style. I also enjoyed the prospect of the story – the dark web interview was interesting and the main character is funny and unashamed which makes for a fun to read protagonist.

Although I do find it ironic that there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes throughout this short story given the prospect of the plot.

Overall, I definitely recommend giving it a read!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Exhaustion

I always joke around with my friends that exhaustion is a powerful drug. You know that feeling when your body is just so, so heavy that you can barely move? Or when your head is so full and your eyelids are constantly ready to drop that you can’t focus? You lose motivation to do things that you love or even things you don’t love but have to do anyway. So you end up procrastinating, spending hours watching YouTube and then even more hours trying to catch up on whatever work you were supposed to do and then your sleep schedule is all out of wack and maybe your diet is too and this keeps on going until you break down.

That’s not healthy. It’s definitely very common, sure, but it shouldn’t be. We live in a society in which we rarely stop to rest and when we do, well, we think about all the things we have to do when we get back to work. How exactly is that rest? It’s not. It’s tiring and exhausting and it doesn’t help anybody in the long run.

Now, picture your body and mind as a machine – it works perfectly when it’s out of the box and it serves you well for a while but after that, the wheels start rusting and you might need to do some work on it to restore it to its original form. That can take the form of what we now know as self-care which can be of many types but is mostly advertised as bubble baths and scented candles. Others like to say that self-care doesn’t have to be all bubble baths and candles and meditation which is fair enough, not everybody responds to these things in the same way and doing something pretty mundane can easily trick us into thinking about work so what do you do when the bubble baths don’t work and going for a walk just doesn’t seem feasible? You go back to the basics.

I finally finished the first semester of my second year of university. I started the month of September excited and ready to go to university and do my best then bad things started happening one after the other, ultimately snowballing into a massive depressive episode which lasted for the past three months or so. This semester has been exhausting, to say the least. I missed a bunch of classes because I was exhausted. I didn’t do some of the reading because I was exhausted. I focused on less important things to make myself and my anxiety feel better. I procrastinated and tried to catch up and it just didn’t freaking work because I was and still am exhausted.

My arms and my brain ache as I’m typing this blog post, that’s how freaking tired I am. I sat down to write for one of my stories and I just couldn’t gather the energy to think about this whole other world full of energetic and diverse characters. I feel like there’s this fog clouding the inside of my skull and a cold well inside of my chest and I honestly don’t know how to repair any of those things in a way that will still get me the results I want. I keep saying that I’ll get my shit together, that I’ll figure a way out but I never do because, in the end, there’s rarely one answer to all of our problems. Sure, I can buy a new planner and sit down to write my new year resolutions and goals or I can clean my entire room until it sparkles but that’s just a band-aid solution to the bigger problem which is the fact that I strayed so far from the basics that not even bubble baths and planners can help me feel like a well-rested, well-adjusted member of society.

I aspire to a great life, we all do. I want to live comfortably, to travel and to… uh, well, I don’t know what else I want because I’ve been stuck in this loop of exhaustion and trying to fix things with band-aids that just won’t hold things together. I’ve been so caught up in fixing the petty stuff that I forgot that the world is not just the small bubble that I created around me, that in fact, it’s an ocean of dreams and ideas and opportunities for learning and adventure. I can only describe this as walking around with my eyes closed because this is how I’ve been living my life for the past twenty years or so. I want to open my eyes and finally feel that fire in my chest, instead of an empty, cold well and I want my vision to be clear so I can fully understand what I want from life and effectively work for it without getting so exhausted (we’ll get exhausted no matter what, after all, but it should never get this bad) that I end up procrastinating and covering it up with a dumb band-aid. Now, mind you, if bubble baths and planners work for you then that’s great! I thought they worked for me too and in a way they do but for me, to fully recover I think I need to get back to the basics.

What are the basics you ask (you probably didn’t)? Eating a healthy, balanced diet (keep in mind that I’m not talking about your weight-loss diets, but diet in general) at specific times of the day, drinking enough water, sleeping eight hours per night, getting enough sun, etc. I don’t do these things even though they are the bare minimum, basic things everyone should do. I make a healthy meal plan I never follow and I say I’ll go to sleep early tonight but I never stick to it even though these things have been proven to make me feel less exhausted. Instead, I slap on a band-aid by taking a bubble bath and getting right back to procrastinating.

Now, I’m not here to tell anybody what to do. In fact, during these three months, I realized that although I started this blog with good intentions, it turned into something I don’t enjoy. Sure, I like music and what not but this is not what I want to do with this platform. Instead, I’m putting this out there as a form of self-care. I am writing my thoughts down and working through them as I type the words and if this is inspirational to anyone then it is, if it’s not then whatever, it helps me.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this long word-vomit. The short version of it is that these past few months have been very difficult for me and I have finally found a solution to the problem which is to go back to the basics. Work on setting up a strong foundation for myself and then go from there, or at least that’s the plan – I’ll keep you updated.

I am planning to revamp this blog during the winter holiday which means new content and possibly a new look. I want this blog to be more ‘me’ and less every other lifestyle blog out there so I’ll work hard on that over the next few weeks! Thanks again for reading and I hope you’ve had a great week!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Worst TV/Literature Tropes

trope (n)

1 A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

‘both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self’
‘my sense that philosophy has become barren is a recurrent trope of modern philosophy’
‘perhaps it is a mistake to use tropes and parallels in this eminently unpoetic age’
1.1 A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
‘she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope’ Source

As we have already established, I am a big book person. I love books, I love reading and I love ingesting stories. It’s a form of escapism for me. I feel the same way about TV shows – I get to know unique characters that I can relate to or learn from, I get to understand someone else’s mind and how they work as a person through the way they wrote the book/script for the TV show. I just love it.

What I don’t love, is when that source of escapism is tainted by bad tropes. It ruins everything, the stories, the characters and the entire universe that has been built. I think that’s definitely one of the reasons why I’m so picky with the way I consume any type of media. I’m selective about the books I read, I never liked those cheesy romance novels, about the shows I watch (I don’t like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones) and I even do that with anime! I’m so particular about the things I don’t like because it helps me pick and choose what to spend my time on (and my energy, let’s be honest).

The first trope I hate is the best friends turned lovers trope. I hate how unrealistic it is, how it doesn’t let our main girl, because let’s be honest, it’s usually the girl who ends up crawling back to her childhood best friend, grow into the person she can be. I believe this trope is a comfortable way for an author to write a novel which a lot of people will enjoy. It’s all about comfort, about being secure and not stepping out of the comfort zone. People find it easier to digest a story about a girl who’s infatuated with two boys but in the end chooses the childhood best friend because it’s easy. She doesn’t have to get to know this new guy, she doesn’t have to see if it’s going to work or not because it’s safer to go with the comfortable choice, even though that choice might not be a good one. Urgh, this trope pisses me off so much that I could write an entire essay about it.

The second trope that I hate is diversity for the sake of diversity. We are in 2018, we live in a *mostly* diverse world, in a global world, but some authors still choose to stick to one type of character (the white cis heterosexual male/female). When they do choose to write diverse characters, they don’t write them because these characters are just that, humans experiencing the contents of the plot, but because that’s what’s expected in 2018. I really dislike this because even though it is 2018, a lot of people still can’t relate to the characters they read about/watch on screen. Everyone wants to feel represented, to feel heard, to not feel invisible. And so when so many books and TV shows attempt to be diverse, it almost always comes across as disingenuous. These diverse characters never get a normal plot of their own, their stories almost always revolve around their diversity. The LGBTQ+ character’s story is almost always about their struggle as an LGBTQ+ character, they’re rarely just people with a different sexual preference. This trope is so disappointing, even though we are making a lot of good progress, it’s really not enough.

The third trope I hate is the 1000-year-old monster dating a 17-year-old girl. I have to preface this by saying that I have read these types of books and I have watched TV shows that revolve around this trope (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) and came to find this trope creepy. I understand why it’s the way it is. People are dreamers, they want the impossible, they want to feel unique and adventurous and what’s more adventurous than vampires and beasts and zombies? The part that I don’t understand is, why do they have to be so damn old? How is it normal for a 200-year-old vampire to pursue a high school girl? Would people be alright with this trope if the love interest wasn’t a vampire and was just a plain old guy? Of course they wouldn’t because it’s gross! Just because the 200-year-old vampire looks like a 25-year-old student, it doesn’t make the situation better – it makes it worse.

Lastly, I hate the plain-jane trope. Writing characters for the sake of relatability is such an overused trope, especially in YA, that I can’t even begin to describe how much I hate it. It doesn’t necessarily stop me from reading the novel because when it happens I tend to focus on the story rather than the character, but at the same time, I believe that a story is incomplete without a good, well-rounded character. Women are always written either as the blonde bimbo who sleeps around a lot, the geeky girl or simply, with no personality because it allows people to insert themselves into the story. If the author writes a story where the main character is very detailed and real, people who haven’t found themselves yet cannot relate therefore the book doesn’t sell. It’s as simple as that. The male characters don’t get it any easier though. It’s always the nice guy who’s not really nice, the geeky guy who can’t get the hot girl and when he does he doesn’t change at all (but when the geeky girl gets the popular guy she has to change completely) or the mindless hunk who can get any girl but somehow falls in love with the geeky girl.

While I don’t like these tropes (and many others, I might make a second post), it doesn’t mean you can’t like them. Everyone views the world differently and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, their own likes and dislikes and I respect that!

I hope you enjoyed this long, ranty blog post. Feel free to tell me all about the tropes you hate or love. Thanks for reading and make sure to read my last blog post which is a list of my favourite BTS songs.

With love,

Sonny xx

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To Do – Year 2 of University

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As the start of the second year of university is approaching, I’m realizing that even with my 5 months of holiday I didn’t prepare enough. This happens to me all the time, I am, after all, a master procrastinator. I spent the first month recuperating from the first year of university, the second and third applying for jobs and the fourth hanging out with friends. As my summer holiday is coming to an end, so is my sense of peace, calm and my composure.

I am freaking the f**k out, internally.

So what do I do when I’m freaking the f**k out internally? I make very detailed plans on how to get my s**t together. Yep, that’s right, I make plans. I write to-do lists and wish lists and I write paragraphs all about the things I want to achieve and by doing these things I manage to collect my thoughts and put myself together again. I started doing this a couple of days ago and now that I am done, I think I finally have a sound plan of what I should do to be completely prepared for my second year of university. (I’m making myself sound like a real f**k up, aren’t I?)

So here it is, my to-do list. Feel free to use this for yourself and improve on it!

What went well and how can I improve?

The first thing I plan to do is figure out what went well in the first year of university and how I can improve in the second year. I write it all down and talk about how specific things affected my physical and mental health as well as the grades I got at the end of the year. This allows me to really think about the things I need to change and in the end, the changes I will make will be beneficial in the long run.

Finish all my reading, complete with notes

This one is a bit of an obvious one. I want to finish all my reading, or at least as much of it as I can before the year starts so that I don’t have to struggle during the semester. Instead, I can focus on re-reading the material and getting a deeper understanding of the subject and the analysis.

Refine note-taking methods

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but the way I make my notes affects the outcome of my studies a lot. My note taking style changed a lot from secondary school when I had 9 different subjects (the way I took notes for maths was different from how I took notes for English) to college when I did 3 subjects to university where I only do 1. In the first year of uni, I struggled to find a note-taking system that worked for me and I only found something that worked decently by the end of the year and so I want to perfect my note-taking style by the time I go back to uni.

Refine assignment steps

I’ll explain. Whenever I have an assignment due, I take specific steps to complete that assignment. I write it down in my calendar with an earlier due date than what’s actually assigned, I write down everything I need to do to complete this assignment and then I break everything down into a very detailed plan. Or at least I try. This method is so long and tiring that I almost never did it. Instead, I procrastinated a lot and ended up rushing some of my assignments because of it. I suggest looking up some blog posts about it (I’ll upload mine very soon so stay tuned for that.)

Lunch ideas + budget

I go to university in a very expensive area which means that buying lunch every day would break the bank *very* fast. I only go to uni three to four days a week and some of those days are very short so I don’t bring food to school, but when I do, I want to bring something from home. This didn’t work out well in the first year because I made all these plans and came up with super fancy recipes that never worked out. I didn’t bother preparing my lunch the night before because it was too time-consuming and so this time around, I want to figure out a meal plan that’s affordable, simple and nutritious. I might even make a post about that! Similarly, making a budget is very important because let’s be honest here, we’re students and we’re not made of money. By making and sticking to a budget, I can afford everything I need and even things I want.

Stationery!

I personally don’t have to buy any new stationery since I make digital notes and I have enough stationery to last me a couple of years but going stationery shopping is not only fun and exciting because it’s a great way to start the new semester, but it’s also a great way to infuse some fun into this long-a*s to-do list.

Plan out outfits

If you’re anything like me, you’re too lazy and disinterested in fashion to care how you look in a 10AM lecture. Make-up be damned, right? Well, that was my attitude for the entirety of the first year and I have to say that half the time I felt like crap because of it. It’s not like I showed up to class in my pyjamas or anything, it’s just that after a night of studying and surviving the rush hour, I just couldn’t be asked to cake my face with makeup – it was tiring. You know how we all feel pretty when we put effort into how we present ourselves? Not for others, of course, but when we dress up for ourselves! I want to invest more time into feeling comfortable going to class but putting effort into my appearance at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a hoodie and jeans (which is probably how I’ll dress after the first two weeks) and I’m not going out to buy a whole new wardrobe. Instead, I’ll look through my closet and come up with 7 interchangeable outfits that I can put together real fast the night before. That way I get to be lazy and cute at the same time!

Make a playlist!

This one is a bit silly but hear me out. To me, music is a thing that makes me so happy, it calms me down and it puts me in the right mood for anything. I am that person that makes a playlist for anything. I have a playlist that I play during autumn, one that I play when I walk the dog, one that I play when I’m taking a bubble bath, etc. Going back to school, be it secondary, college or university or hell, even going back to work after a nice, relaxing holiday can be difficult and draining. Doing little things to perk ourselves up like a celebratory cupcake, a new playlist or reading a cheesy novel might sound silly, but they’re not. Anything to get us through the day, right?

So here it is, my to-do list for my second year of university. This post turned out to be so long but I think it’s important to put it out there, maybe as a form of inspiration, maybe for you guys to marvel at how much of a mess my life is. Either way, thanks a lot for reading and feel free to tell me how you prepare for a new beginning! Make sure to check out my last blog post which is my August playlist.

With love,

Sonny xx

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