Did you miss me? This author has been *checks notes* rewatching season two of Bridgerton an ungodly number of times to feel alive again. Otherwise, I’ve been trying my best to live, laugh, and love while managing an incredibly hectic work schedule. Did I mention that our family has three dogs now, a little devilish retriever-like mutt and two stinky shih tzus? So that’s been a thing.
I am, once again, trying to make this blog happen. I do receive the most paltry amount of ad money for it and already paid for its upkeep, so why not blog away to marginally increase my revenue?
So anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to and some of the hidden gems I’ve discovered while I took my little break.
I’ve been reading voraciously.
Despite the fact that this page started off with an appreciation for children’s books, I haven’t read much in the realm of kid lit as of late. But my reading hiatus officially broke this year when I started binge reading romance novels in preparation for the second season of Bridgerton. I also started going to the library again, which is always a great motivator because library books have due dates—other than physical books, I’m especially grateful for the e-book borrowing system, too!
- What to read for a cute holiday rom-com: Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur. It’s a witty queer rom-com that pays homage to Bridget Jones’s Diary and Pride and Prejudice…AKA ze CLASSICS. It’s enemies to lovers with cozy holiday vibes between an actuary and social media astrologer! What is there not to love? Of Bellefleur’s three novels, it’s my fave, and Count Your Lucky Stars is a close second.
- Which cozy book to read every day: The Comfort Book by Matt Haig. It’s a little book of comforting excerpts. It reminds me of those motivational, you’ll-be-okay types of graphics on Instagram, but in book form.
- Which Bridgerton book is the best: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgerton Book 3) by Julia Quinn for a Regency-era retelling of Cinderella. This book follows Benedict Bridgerton and his relationship with a servant named Sophie Beckett. An illegitimate child by birth, Sophie grew up a ward to her wealthy father but finds herself working as a servant to make ends meet after the earl dies. Bypassing her cruel stepmother, she sneaks out one night to attend a masquerade, where she and Benedict hit it off—but she’s masked, so he doesn’t know who she is. Sophie’s so uncompromising yet complicated, and I need her to have a sisterly moment with Kate Sharma (Bridgerton?) on the show!
…and writing a lot about plants. But I haven’t bought too many plants.
I’ve been more into cut flowers and learning about different ways to arrange the plants that I do have as of late. I went through a succulent phase for a minute, hoarding $2 minis from the West Wind Capitol flea market in San Jose. And then I got into *gasps* finicky calatheas.
After much houseplant frenzy for three years, my fervor has died down a little. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll probably still buy that cute affordable plant at Trader Joe’s. But at the end of the day, I already have most of the mainstream houseplants out there and don’t really want to invest in the hype around “rare” houseplants. I just want to appreciate what I already have…which is a lot.
I’m hoping to use this space more for sharing décor arrangements and plant accessories. Here’s a plant stand that Potey sent me that I’m still absolutely OBSESSED with. If I can put it together…so can you!
Plug: Find my writing at https://www.happysprout.com/users/snguyen/! The main reason why I’m trying to shift the focus of this blog is because I write 10 to 20 articles per month for Happy Sprout, so I want to take a different approach here.
- Where to buy affordable plants: Your local nursery and local plant sales/Facebook groups. Seriously. While big-box stores might have dirt-cheap prices (lol pun intended), you usually won’t find less traditional plants in the mass market.
- Where to find affordable planters: TJ Maxx and Ross. Target has also been on top of the houseplant game with its pots and trellises in Bullseye’s Playground.
…and going on my weekly thrift trips.
My closet has really shifted towards brighter colors and patterns after I started rewatching all of The Nanny in quarantine. I went through a really bleak neutral navy era after college. Now, I try to visit my local thrift shops weekly to check out what goods they have. I’ve found lots of cute dresses for $5, like these two steals from my little excursion in Modesto. The other day I even found a pair of raw denim 501’s for $7!
My dream is to have a walk-in closet like the one I shared with my college roommate in our Berkeley studio. My thrift finds deserve a proper display!
- How to find hidden thrift treasures: It’s worth checking out all parts of the stores. I look at different sizes and wander into the children’s and men’s sections to see what I can find. Oh, and forget to swing by the book and home goods sections!
…and snuggling my dogs.
What can I say, I’m a dog person now! I am 100% dog slobber, and my warm musky Paco Rabanne Olympea perfume sometimes works overtime to hide that subtle undercurrent of chickeny dog saliva.
- Where to buy inexpensive dog toys: The discount spots! Ross, Grocery Outlet, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Homegoods. I’m hesitant to buy any more dog toys because Luna is a super chewer, but the toys are fairly affordable at these spots so I’m not particularly bummed out if a plushy gets destroyed. If you’re looking for something specific, I recommend browsing on Chewy. If you don’t have a dog who will tear everything up with her mouth, I also recommend browsing Dollar Tree and Daiso.
Other stuff I’m obsessed with:
- FLOWER BEAUTY’s Color Shift Lip Smoothie: This stuff is non-sticky, moisturizing, and gives your lips the subtlest fuschia shine.
- Marc Tetro bags: I am OBSESSED with Marc Tetro pop art bags/wallets/backpacks with cheeky pop art dog prints. (You can also find them at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, teehee.)
- Michael Kors Sexy Sunset EDP: It’s the perfect spring scent, floral and sweet without being super cloying! It reminds me a little bit of Marc Jacobs’ Daisy, but inexpensive and with a bit longer lasting power. You can often find it at Ross for under $20.
- Berries: Is anyone else just a little obsessed with berries? Not only are they delicious, but they’re also the perfect size to eat! All you have to do is wash them and pop them into your mouth, no wrangling with leaves or pits or stems or seeds necessary.
At the end of the day, a plant and book blog is an accurate-ish logline for whatever’s going on here, but I’ll keep y’all posted about which direction it veers in.