february 2018 | a look back

Feb 28, 2018

february was rough for many of us in a number of ways that left us feeling various things.


  • my lola (grandma) came home after a year in the philippines!
  • BLACK PANTHER. the best mcu movie out there (so far). don't @ me. it's up to par with thor: ragnarok in my opinion and i recommend everyone to go watch it if/when you can.
  • sent out valentine's day cards to immigrants via toimmigrantswithlove.com
  • watched LOVE, SIMON again at another advanced screening. it was even better the second time. (thanks again to the studio for the invite!)
  • attended the very last love and fifty author signing event here in sacramento. it was bittersweet, but made such fun memories and met some new-to-me authors. thanks to the organizers who hosted this event for the past 3 years.
  • requested a handful of #ownvoices diverse books at our local district community/public libraries. i see a couple of them as 'ordered' so fingers crossed.
  • attended the aclu sac county's 'meet your da' program meeting, where we discussed da candidate debates for the upcoming election in june, and more. never underestimate you state da. if yours is up for re-election this year, make sure to do research and vote responsibly.
  • i only had two submissions to read over and report this month for my internship. i needed this little break, so thank you, entangled! 


  • the florida high school shooting was as devastating as every mass shooting we've had here, so this brought even more of a heavy heart. however, these kids are not letting this go quietly as other shootings have. they are our future, and they are going to lead and fix our mess. their strength and resilience is absolutely inspiring. people attacking them -- both during and after the shooting -- messed with the wrong school.
  • on the topic of the school shootings, my little brother wants to be homeschooled. i'm pitching in to buy my little brother a bulletproof backpack and practice active shooting drills to finish off the school year before considering private or homeschooling.
  • my eyesight has significantly gotten worse in the last two months, i'm hoping it's not anything serious. fingers crossed it's nothing worse than a change of prescription.

what i read

total books read: 36

poetry: 11
novelette/novella: 2
nonfic: 8
kidlit: 3
ya: 12

what i listened to

for you // liam payne x rita ora
big spender // kiana lede x prince charlez
getting over you // lauv
god's plan (rock cover) // fame on fire
love lies // khalid x normani
new world // krewella x yellow claw x vava

[my full february playlist here]


san francisco

Bay Bridge

inspiration/motivation of the month

the survivors of the parkland shooting calling our politicians and adult voters out. these kids are not holding back. they are our future and i am ready to vote for them. (please run for a public office once you're eligible!) in the meantime, make sure to register to vote, and then go out an vote, vote, vote! it's one way to bring about change and to show we are serious. let them know that they need to step up or step out.

posts this month

february 2018 playlist

the bedtime tag

looking forward to in march

  • the national school walkout. i'll be volunteering and marching with my little brother and parents. we are marching for my little brother and sister, their school peers and every kid out there. don't care who this upsets. die mad about it.

♥ how was your february? did you do anything fun?
comment your links to your feb recap below! ♥

february 2018 playlist

i was mostly into the fifty shades freed and black panther inspired soundtracks this month.

big spender // kiana ledes x prince charlez
for you // liam payne x rita ora
high // whethan x dua lipa
heaven // julia michaels
getting over you // lauv
love lies // khalid x normani
god's plan (cover) // fame on fire
pray for me // the weeknd x kendrick lamar
x // schoolboy q  x 2 chainz x saudi
king's dead // jay rock x kendrick lamar x future x james blake
mine // bazzi
faded love // tinashe x future
new world // krewella x yellow claw x vava
heart to break // kim petras
alibi // krewella

♥ what were you listening
to this month? ♥

{Story Diary} Prep & Prejudice by Miren B. Flores

Feb 14, 2018

Modern Filipino retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Philippines? I'm sold.

prep & prejudice miren b. flores pride and prejudice retelling #romanceclassPrep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores 
Contemporary Romance, Retelling, Filipino Lit 
October 4, 2016

You can take the girl out of teenage hell, but can you take teenage hell out of the girl?

At fourteen, Andrea was a geeky, gangly teenager who spent one magical summer with the rich and famous—surrounded by art, polo ponies, and children who bear the names of corporations and main avenues. She had a mad crush on handsome trust fund baby Manolo, but her silly romantic notions were painfully crushed one night by spoiled, arrogant Jaime—the one boy she loved to hate, and who hated her right back.

More than a decade later, Andrea is overworked and under-loved, with no man in sight and no intention of getting back to the delusional business of hoping and throwing caution to the wind. Ordered by her doctor to hightail it out of the city and into a true-blue vacation, she and her best friend, hippie-heiress Pilar, head off to a small, soon-to-open resort on a southern island. But Andrea’s plans of a tranquil summer holiday are ruined by cruel reminders of the past—taking her back to her humiliations and her thwarted desires.

Manila, Philippines

[Image Source]

Paris, France

paris france lourve museum
[Image Source]

San Enrique, Philippines

[Image Source]

Brisa Marina Beach Resort, Morong, Bataan, Philippines

[Image Source]

Banca = a small Indigenous Philippine boat; a dugout canoe without outriggers and bamboo roof Pilyo = naughty; mischevious
Kabayo = horse
Talisay = tree

(aka Cebuano, the Filipino dialect of the Cebu's.)

Guwapo = handsome

Tia = aunt
Como estas = How are you
Yo tambiente extrano = I miss you, too
Abrazos = hug; embrace
Hijo = son

"[S]omeimes...the body says out loud what the brain won't acknowledge. Sometimes your body will scream because you've become too good at not listening."

--Miren B. Flores, Prep and Prejudice (Loc 1890)
We make our cages. We build them with uncertainties and hesitation; with fears that, when left unchecked, grow into hate. Even self-loathing. Who ever said you didn't? Who said you never would be? You did.
--Miren B. Flores, Prep and Prejudice (Loc 2024)
He raises an eyebrow. "Last time, you forgot half of the stuff and we had to eat with our hands."
"I didn't hear you complaining when I became your plate," she retorts, handing him the picnic basket.
[. . .]
She glares at him, fighting the smile dancing on the corners of her mouth. "It took me forever to get rid of those chocolate stains. Let's not do that ever again."
He closes the gap between them, his free hand grabbing her hip and pulling her against him. His eyes and his voice go dark. "Deal," he murmurs. "I'll just eat...you."

 --Miren B. Flores, Prep and Prejudice (Loc 2078-2081)

Miren B. Flores has a weakness for bread, British accents, Parisian Instagram feeds, and everything lavender.

Loveless. Childless. Clueless. is her first sorta kinda book–and her nerdy, bookworm-y fourteen-year-old self couldn’t be prouder.

the bedtime tag

Feb 13, 2018

i saw this tag floating around the blogosphere and thought it'd be fun to join in. my bedtime routine is a huge part of my self-care, so this tag is perfect opportunity to share mine!

1. describe your usual bedtime routine.

after washing and cleansing my face with a homemade diy face wash (raw honey, vitamin a & e oils, jojoba oil, and dr. bronner's pure-castile liquid soap or coconut oil and raw honey), i would draw a lavender epsom salt bath or a death sea salt bath (if i'm having eczema flair ups). the nights i don't take a bath, i'll make a diy matcha green tea face mask and moisturize with vichy aqualia night spa or coconut oil. and brush my teeth.

then i go into my room, and either turn on my diffuser (with lavender oil, of course) or just use lavender oil drops on my pillow. but before i get into bed, i sit on the rug of my floor, turn on the headspace or calm app on my phone and do nidra yoga for 10-15 minutes. this is also known as "sleep yoga" and i learned this at the wellness retreat i went to in thailand last year. however, it's more like meditation than yoga.

i have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep through the night or have sleep paralysis, so this routine helps me with those issues. not fun or exciting, i know, but it works for me.

2. what are your favorite pajamas?

when it's cold, i opt for an oversized tee shirt and lounge pants and knee high cotton socks. and in the summer, i just wear a basic cotton tank and sleep shorts.

3. what is your current bedtime reading?

4. what would I find on your bedside table?

lamp, a succulent plant, portable iphone speakers, hair scrunchies, glasses, kindle and phone. my bedside tables is also a mini bookshelf, so my books are in there and not on top.

5. What scent makes you sleepy?

lavender and jasmine works best for me. like lavender, valerian also has anxiety-reducing effects, so that helps my anxious nighttime brain a bit.

6. What is your usual bedtime and wake up time?

i usually go to sleep between 11pm to 2am, and wake up at 8am or 10:30am on my days off.

7. What are your top three bedtime products?

homemade face cleanse ingredients
vichy aqualia hydrating cream
lavender oil

8. What is your most common sleeping position?

fetal when i'm cold, or halfway on my side and back with a knee up.

9. Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

does a kindle count?

10. What’s your worst bedtime habit?

either the phone or kindle, especially in the dark.

♥ i tag anyone who wants to do this tag! 
if you've already done it, comment the 
link to your post in the comments! ♥

january 2018 | a look back

Feb 2, 2018

january has finally come to an end after what felt like 84 days. here's a look at all the happenings this month.


  • i finally met my friends baby after 1 month of being in nicu! he's so adorable and i am so happy for my friend and her baby boy.
  • watching LOVE, SIMON at an advanced screening on the 31st! many thanks to the studio for the invite!
  • marching + volunteering at the sacramento women's march. this was an experience for the books. so proud of everyone who organized, volunteered, planned, marched, spoke and everyone involved supporting + uplifting women.
  • my little brother turned 10! he's in the double digits now, how did that happen!?
  • 1 year anniversary of adopting the minimalist lifestyle. it's been a feat, at times harder than others, but here's to improving in the 2nd year of minimalism.
  • finally figured out how to get out of sleep paralysis quickly. i've been dealing with sleep paralysis for about 3 years now, and every time i'd had to suffer through it while panicking. if you've ever experienced it or heard about it, it's a terrifying experience. so to finally get out of it was a relief and i am going to celebrate. if you want to know how i did it, let me know in the comments or email or on twitter.
  • attended aclu of sacramento county's annual event and the in-person training, as well as the aclu training for change makers webinar series. i've learned so much from the aclu of sac county + northern california in the past year, and i am grateful that they take the time to help educate us regular folk on what's going on and guide us on how to get our voice heard on important issues. if you have a local aclu chapter near you and want to learn how to get involved, i recommend checking them out.
  • i binge-watched for the first time in...a long time. i hardly have time to watch tv (which explains why i'm way behind on all my fave shows), so it felt nice to sit down and watch something. show in question: baby daddy. i forgot how funny that show was. can't believe they ended the show like that without telling us a certain baby's name. what kind of cliffhanger is this!?


  • i was sick for half of the month. i still don't know what i had. it started off with the worst sore throat i've ever experienced that lasted for 3 days, lost my voice for a couple of days after, had bloody nose every other day or so (one time lasted 4 hours! what even?), cough that wouldn't quit and other cold symptoms. it was hard to function, especially when i couldn't rest like you're supposed to when you're sick. perhaps it's time to get that flu shot.
  • being sick got in the way of work, and my photography, but the silver lining is that it gave me time to focus on intern duties, so i guess it wasn't all bad.
  • dealing with and figuring out how to fix the changes with my health care. sigh.
  • tried, then failed, to get my mom into minimalism. after hearing our state governor mention the possibility of another recession ahead, she freaked out and asked me to show her the ropes. let's just say it did not stick. hopefully, february will be more successful.

what i read

it may seem like i read a lot this month, but majority were short stories, poetry, essay collections and novellas. probably only 13 of them were full length novels, and the rest were around 100 pages.

what i listened to

finesse (remix) // bruno mars x cardi b
curious // hayley kiyoko
wait // maroon 5
giants (tagalog version) // lights
despacito (mandarin version) // luis fonsi x jj lin


no adventures this month, unfortunately. stay tuned for next month.

posts this months

{story diary} ripped pages by m. hollis

postcards from bali

looking forward to

  • all the february book and movie releases!
  • love and fifty author signing event in sacramento. the very last one. *cries*
  • electing more progressive candidates for midterms!

♥ how was your january? comment the link to your 
monthly recaps/rewinds in the comments below! ♥

{Story Diary} Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Feb 1, 2018

A Snow Queen retelling, set in Southeast Asia with all-POC and LGBTQ+ badass characters.

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Fantasy, Retelling, LGBTQ+, Novelette
December 5, 2017 from Apex Book Company

Winterglass is a sci-fantasy about one woman’s love for her homeland (Sirapirat) and her determination to defeat the Winter Queen who has overtaken the land.

The city-state Sirapirat once knew only warmth and monsoon. When the Winter Queen conquered it, she remade the land in her image, turning Sirapirat into a country of snow and unending frost. But an empire is not her only goal. In secret, she seeks the fragments of a mirror whose power will grant her deepest desire.

At her right hand is General Lussadh, who bears a mirror shard in her heart, as loyal to winter as she is plagued by her past as a traitor to her country. Tasked with locating other glass-bearers, she finds one in Nuawa, an insurgent who’s forged herself into a weapon that will strike down the queen.

To earn her place in the queen’s army, Nuawa must enter a deadly tournament where the losers’ souls are given in service to winter. To free Sirapirat, she is prepared to make sacrifices: those she loves, herself, and the complicated bond slowly forming between her and Lussadh.

If the splinter of glass in Nuawa's heart doesn't destroy her first.

"Fear is the assassin's first weapon." Lussadh pulls two robes from the rack, holding one out to the duelist. "Destabilize the target and much of the battle is already won. . ."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 83)


"A fairy tale, beautiful like an ice crystal, and razor sharp."
--Silvia Moreno-Garcia, World Fantasy Award-winning co-editor of She Walks in Shadows

"Winterglass is rich with diamondine prose, a scintillant retelling of the Ice Queen that challenges Occidental aesthetics, colonial mentality, and personal identity."
--Cassandra Khaw, author of Hammers on Bone, BFA & Locus Award nominee

"An exquisite gem of a novella. Politics, relationships, and combat presented as a matryoshka, the beauty of which is there's no easy way of telling which shells are within which. Sriduangkaew’s sensuous metaphors and elegant imagery are never less than a pleasure to read. Thoroughly recommended. "
--Jonathan L. Howard, author of Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

*Set in Southeast Asia*


Out in the streets, away from the luxuries of the Marrow, Sirapirat is bitterly cold.

Mother tells her that Sirapirat once knew three seasons. Hot, wet, cool. Monsoons and storms, droughts and floods, rice paddies running full and mangoes bursting on the tongue. It is beautiful at first, snow, Mother would say, until it erases and turns all you know into a copy of itself. Soon you no longer recall a time without; soon as you forget warmth and buffaloes dozing by the riverbank. Soon, you remember only what it wants you to remember.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 6)


Matiya Street

[A] neighborhood of tenements housing students, non-tenured professors, various researchers and academics of the less-prestigious stratum.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 7)


The Filament House

The Filament House is secluded behind a thicket of tall tenements, away from the immediate business of the boulevard. Event its architecture does not belong, tessellated arcades and balconies, a facade of bricks and painted stone. Oblong windows done in jagged tracery and tinted panes.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 52)


Wat Totsanee

Wat Totsanee is quiet this time of day, the yard scant save for novices shoveling snow, sweeping evergreen detritus. It's not one of the temples she frequents, its walls enclosing no more than one scriptorium and a prayer hall. Smattering of shrines to large-bellied Totsanee, snake-armed Sravasti, minor icons with the faces of elephants or eagles.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 66)


Most say she is from the distant isle of Yatpun: a snow-woman from permafrost peaks.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 3)


  • She does not forbid commemoration of the past
  • The only thing she does forbid is fire (duh). Candles and lamps are barely allowed, and pyres are prohibited
  • A way she is contacted is through a calling-glass
  • She can give you frostbite just by exhaling at you
  • Her mirror was a treasure that held everything, which shattered and its shards live within glass-bearers


Perfect, just as the real one is, hair moving gently in a breeze of its own, brocade robe indigo against a complexion that is unique to her: tinted by no arteries, faintly luminescent like the sheen of a good opal.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 12)


  • It's a Snow Queen retelling
  • Set in post-colonial Southeast Asia powered by ghosts
  • All POC characters
  • Unapologetically LGBTQIAP characters: queer, lesbian, non-binary, gender-fluid, and transgender, to name a few
  • Genders and sexual orientations are never assumed and are always respected. (Heteronormativity does not exist in Winterglass)
  • They use and respect characters preferred pronouns
  • Smart writing and characters, and vivid imagery and world-building
  • It's #OwnVoices (Asian, non-binary)
  • Badass lesbians kicking ass and taking names
  • On-page queer sex
  • Tournaments
  • It's a short novelette of 128 pages, but has the heft of a full-length novel
  • Even if you're not familiar with Han's The Snow Queen story, readers can still enjoy Winterglass


Winterglass Aesthetics

[Reblog on Tumblr]


The Marrow

The Marrow offers lodgings to a duelist of her caliber, but she prefers distance between home and work.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 7)


Tribute Game

The tournament of all tournaments.

"We're getting our first tribute game. The winner gets an officer's commission and the queen's general will train them as her very own protege. . ."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 4)



"Duelists at the Marrow go into each match blind, but the auditions give her some idea of new challenges."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 4)


A Western person (of the Western regions); of, relating to, or situated in the Occident.

Nuawan spots two duelists she's fought in other venues. But most of the aspirants are foreign, a few occidentals whose faces and coloring are only slightly less alien than the queen's.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 4)

Glass-bearer: a bearer of shards of the Winter Queen's mirror.


There are non-binary characters in Winterglass, one of which prefers ey/em pronouns.


"Ytoba isn't an easy person to converse with. Ey used to serve as an assassin. A long time ago. When I was young, I would never have imagined em brought low in defeat. But I wasn't able to imagine a lot of things."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 92)


[Image Source]

[Learn more about gender-neutral pronouns]


"For your mind is a weapon, Nuawa, and we shall nurture it in the absence of fear. One day you will fire all that you are, like a bullet, into the heart of the Winter Queen."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 1)


"When we meet again, I'll make you senseless; I'll take you into my mouth until you cry for mercy." The queen kisses her, full on the lips. "I will keep you with me for days, as long as your mortal stamina can last. You'll be raw, everywhere."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 13)


"The creation of a more just government, a better distribution of mercy requires a sacrifice."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 35)


"Animals are kinder to deal with than most people."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 65)


"Everyone is a weapon," she says. "Against an ideology; against themselves; against conditions that chew at existence. . ."

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 75)


Nothing is forever. Even winter can end; even the queen can fall.

--Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Winterglass (pg. 113)


"Even the queen can fall"!?!? Oh, shit! This just makes me excited for the sequel... There's going to be a sequel, right? The queen needs to go down.

Science fiction, fantasy, and others in the between. Cute kissing ladies? I write those. Ruthless genocidal commanders? Got that covered too! 2014 finalist for Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2015 BSFA finalist for Best Short Fiction (SCALE-BRIGHT). I like beautiful bugs and strange cities.



love, simon advanced screening

love, simon

i was fortunate enough to go to an advanced screening of LOVE, SIMON (the film adaption of becky albertalli's simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda) yesterday, courtesy of 20th century fox. don't worry, i won't spoil it for you guys.

LOVE, SIMON was cleverly funny, relatable, organic, true, important and heartwarming. dare i say nostalgic of the high school days. i didn't expect to cry as much as i did. it broke my heart and mended it back together.

fans of the book will be pleased with how careful the studio took care of this adaption. LOVE, SIMON better win some movie awards this year and the next! don't sleep on this one, movie award shows.

huge thanks to 20th century fox for the invite!

read the book before you see the movie!

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