Over the past month, I have read close to 15 books. I have fallen in love with the joy of reading again with no signs of stopping. How did this change come about? It would be thanks to a lovely series called Off-Campus and its spin-off series Briar U. These books capture a novela- type romance in a college setting. As a recent college grad, I wanted to start reading again as I did in high school, seeing that I had more time to do so! I happened to go on a deep dive on Bootok and found the book The Deal. The Deal revolves around Hannah Wells and Garret Graham. Garret happens to be on his way to going pro in the NHL with a great career in college hockey. Hannah and Garret meet and become friends at a party to which they come up with a plan to help get the guy she truly likes, a football player. As a rule of friends to lovers in romance books, you can guess where this story goes. They fall in love, and both learn to deal with each other's troubled pasts and complications. Hannahs is that she can't get an inmate because of a tragic incident that happened to her in high school. Garret's issue is with his father and the rocky relationship that they've had since his mother left him. The story's most remarkable quality, though, is how it sets up all the side characters for their own respective books. Nine books later, off Campus and Briar U have become my fav series to date. My favorite couples of the whole briar series are Jake Connelly and Brianna Jenson in the book The Risk, Logan and Grace from The Mistake, Fitz and Summer from The Chase, and Taylor and Connor from The Dare. Every couple has their own issues with love and learning to be in love with another individual. My dream bookman would be a combination of both Fitz and Connor because of their personalities. Fitz is a gamer who happens to have a shyer character but is extremely loyal. Conner is outgoing but doesn't know how to channel his emotions in a romantic sense. Both of their respective books took less than one day to read or audiobook. I have reread their books multiple times already because I love the journey and development of their relationships. The Dare hit hard because it dealt with self-worth and image in a world of social media. Growing up with social media in my life has affected me negatively in more ways than one. I deal with self-image issues just like Taylor, and it was refreshing to see a character like her in a romance book. All in all, these series opened a floodgate of book appreciation in my life. Now I am an avid person on Booktok and have started buying books like crazy. I have even considered purchasing a kindle cause I can't get books fast enough sometimes. Many of these romance novels are self-published, and I feel like buying them brings more awareness to their respective stories. If you are a person who has read the Off-Campus series and want a similar read! I recommend the Fulton U series, which also deserves a whole blog post dedicated to it. Books 1 and 3 of that series will have your heart swooning. As a result of my constant reading, I hope to start posting book wrap-ups on here and TBR lists to showcase my crazy book buying. I would also like to say that getting back into books has made me realize how much I love stories and the adventures that come with them. So go out and read a book and be inspired again because it's worth your time. The series I am currently reading is the devil night series by Penelope Douglas, and it deserves a whole blog post to itself, so I look forward to that!!
Just a tid bit of I what I saw in the 17 days I was gone!!!
On September 22, I ventured on another road trip, but this time with a bit of flying involved. It took an entire month for me to really decompress about and think about the trip. It left waves of impact on my life and a realization that my heart belongs to the exploration of life. Every state we visited had something unique and adventurous to it, and you can't really put into words what every moment meant.
The Florida section of the trip was 21 years in the making. For years I have begged my parents to take trips to Florida because of a bit of place called Orlando. The Dodgers also used to do spring training there, and I got to go one year, which made me extremely jealous. Last year's road trip, we were extremely close to Florida cause we drove through Georgia. September 22, 2021, was the day my Florida dreams became a reality.
The first 3 days in Florida took place in Miami, and right after we landed, the beach was the next destination. This will go on record as the second time I've ever just jumped into the ocean and had no problem adjusting to the temperature.
The second part of Florida and really the highlight of the trip was Orlando. Day one of Orlando's adventures was checking out the waterpark Aquatica, which was on my life bucket list ever since I saw it on the Discover channel. I will die on this hill by saying this is one of the most fantastic waterparks in the United States. The two different lazy river experiences, one being a lounging one and the other being the experience of a wild rapid.
The second day of Orlando, or 1.5 if you count it, involved going to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando. It was here where I discovered that Florida never gets cold !! I mean, it was 1 am, and it was still hot as hell, and I was sweating like crazy. The walking was insane, and by the time I got back to our cottage house/hotel, I passed out. The following day we were back in the park exploring Islands of Adventure during the day! I got to ride the brand new Jurassic Park rollercoaster, which was incredible!! To the greatest human alive Tonya Alexander thank you for being the ultimate ride buddie !!
Talking about the cottage, Margaritaville hotel is hands down the best place I've ever stayed and was gorgeous. Unfortunately, during the four days, we stayed there, I didn't fully explore it because I had a full schedule planned.
The last two days in Orlando have explored the dream destination what Disney world is. Day one was Epcot/ Magic Kingdom and day two was Animal Kingdom/ Hollywood Studios. My advice after going is that you should spend a whole day at Epcot cause it's a foodie paradise. I ate at a restaurant in Japan, and it was worth every penny. The food in general in all four parks was fantastic! The alcoholic drinks, not so much, unfortunately. The takeaways, though, were that if I lived in the area, I would be at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios all the time. The engineers of Avatar need a raise because it was singlehandedly the best ride I've ever been on!! The 50s diner restaurant I ate at in Hollywood Studios was some of the best food I ate my entire trip !! It also took me to Florida to ride the coveted Rise of the resistance ride, which I'd gladly wait 2 hours to ride again. All in all, I hope it doesn't take me another 21 years to revisit these parks, especially since I have a cousin moving over there very soon !!
New England was a dream, and now I understand the appeal of traveling there because it gives off such quaint small-town vibes. Boston was magical because it was a bustling city with so much rich history between its skyscrapers. The people were friendly, and it was just so pretty to walk through. Besides, the random cemeteries were historical tombs. Salem is also the cutest little town you'd ever come across because of its time of year. Not many people get to say that they visited Salem during October, and I'm glad it was a part of our trip. Maine started out rough but ended up being spectacular. I could spend a whole week exploring both Bar Harbor, Maine, and Boston, Mass. Seeing as Maine was our last stop, I soaked up as much as the Atlantic seaboard as I could. I realized life would not be the same after taking a trip like this one and understanding the weight of being 22, and having visited almost every state in the country.
Pennsylvania is just as I remembered it from my 8th-grade trip, and between all the big cities were beautiful suburban areas. I always thought the state was kept up from the parts I've seen and always gave off homie vibes. I'm sure I'll be back in this state one day because my brother's dream is to go to Pittsburgh for apparent reasons. The Amish country was lush and green. The people were generous and friendly. The state as a whole is entirely different from southern California. People are just so much more content with life, and it's so much more refreshing.
One of the significant highlights of Pennsylvania was running the steps of Rocky. I recorded my mom running up the steps, and it will be etched into my memory until they say I die. I am a huge movie buff, so accomplishing this small task was a significant checkmark accomplishment on my bucket list of life. A BONUS TIP DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THE ROCKY RESTAURANT! JUST TAKE A PIC AND SAY YOU SAY IT CAUSE THE FOOD WASN'T GOOD!!
Another notable state was Maine because Bar Harbor is where I would drop everything to come back again. I legit walked across the ocean, which was insane to think about, and it was something that brought a smile to everyone's face. It's fitting to say one of the last meals of our trip was eating a whole lobster by the harbor. Every cute seaside town in America deserves its own nod of acknowledgment because of how cute and quaint it is.
I could go on for another two pages of all the little things that impacted my heart in each state, but it wouldn't give it justice. I can't put into words how special it was to see the specialties of each state.
This trip taught me that I need to expand my horizons past the state of California and have a new approach to jobs. I have struggled with dealing with failure in some way my entire life, and the job market for the career I want seems too hard to break into. I have decided to expand on specific passions and wait for the right job to come, whether out of state. When I was applying to colleges, I really wanted to go out of state, but I knew I wasn't mentally prepared yet, and now, at the age of 22, I can say I feel a lot more comfortable. I know I'll struggle to adjust, but I know God put me on this earth to explore my passions for a reason.
I miss the new England fall weather so much, and I got to wear sweaters. I'm honestly tired of Cali being 90 every other day because I want to wear leggings and a sweater again. I miss the vibe that the east coast gave me with its small quaint neighborhoods surrounded by the big city life. I am a firm believer that Californians live in a bubble and only know a particular way of life. The United States and beautiful and vast !! Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to themselves and hasn't explored its vast expanse. I am just starting out life, and I hope to use my life knowledge in a career that keeps the adventure going!