Tag Archives: Discussion

Where Have I Been? | A Life Update

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Random Quote of the Day: “Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.” – John Barrymore 

Hello sunshines! 🔆 It has definitely been…a while. I can’t even remember what was the last thing I posted, lol. Anyways, I’m just going to cut right into the information and give you guys the run down of the where, when, how, why of my life since September.

Since September I have not had the will power to get up, plan out posts, and actually type them out. As you may have suspected, school has been kicking my tiny butt. If I had free time (unlikely), I was sleeping or watching Netflix. Nothing in me wanted to get up and put effort into my days if I didn’t NEED to.

➡ SEPTEMBER

Nothing much happened in September — this month always goes by so fast and I think it may be due to the angst that I have since my birthday is the last day of that month. In fact, the only fun that came out of September was my birthday. Instead of posting a haul, I’m just gonna show you guys what I got.

I visited HALF PRICED BOOKS and DICK BLICK ART MATERIALS to celebrate my birthday. Here’s the quick haul of the books:

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➡ OCTOBER

Just like September, October hasn’t been treating me TOO well either.

  • I bought John/Hank Green tickets for their Tour surrounding John Green’s newest novel release, Turtles All the Way Down. I’m going to the San Francisco show on October 31st if anyone else is attending!
  • I’m still working everyday after school from about 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. I know it’s not A LOT of hours, but working with kids straight after school does take a toll on me.
  • As many of you may have heard, my city in Northern California has been under some natural disaster business. From the beginning of this week, there has been a ton of wildfires (AKA Atlas Fires) around my area. I went to school on Tuesday, but the sky was horrendous and the air quality was horrible. School was cancelled this entire week as the fires have not been contained. I haven’t seen many people talking about it on social media unless they live in the area which is odd. People are losing their lives, their homes, etc.. But anyways, my family and I are safe for now. If anyone would like to donate or help out, feel free to donate HERE, or use Google to look up different sources.

Besides these odd happenings, my life has been pretty dull. School has been taking over and it’s only going to get more busy. College Applications are coming up in November so that should be fun. If anyone has any tips to get through Apps, definitely let me know!

I haven’t been reading unless it’s for school. Right now, we just finished I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and now we are studying Sylvia Plath and her poetry. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of poetry every day, lol.

I’m not going to make any promises and say that I’m going to try and post because honestly, I don’t have time. I definitely miss blogging and the community, but I haven’t been active on Twitter or Instagram, either.

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So that’s about it! Again, I do miss you guys and I will try and check in here and there. I probably won’t be completely active again until after November since the stress will be semi-decreased.

💬 But what about YOU guys? How are you? Did you hear about the wildfires in California? What have you been reading?? Chat with me in the comments!

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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Guide to Juggling School & Your Blog | Chat with JBelkBooks

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Random Quote of the Day: “1. Never tell everything at once.” – Ken Venturi

Hello sunshines! 🔆 With my last year of high school right around the corner I thought this would be a great time for me to post this discussion! I’ve actually been slowing planning out this post so it’s cool that I’m able to finally share it with you all!

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That time in the beginning, middle, or even the end of the school/uni year where you ran out of ALL steam possible to blog. No inspiration, no time, no will-power to get up and type that post. You tell yourself that you’ll do it over the weekend but then you end up laying in your bed watching Netflix — I know, relatable.

There is no shame in this act, however, because WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE. But we are not here to dwell on the past. In fact, I’m here to help you get a kickstart to the school year and share…

✨ A GUIDE TO JUGGLING SCHOOL & YOUR BLOG ✨

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Happy Blogiversary To Me! + GIVEAWAY | Two Years and Counting

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Random Quote of the Day: “CELEBRATE WITH ME!” – JBelkBooks

Image result for balloon flying gifHello sunshines! 🔆 Two years ago JBelkBooks was featured on the internet so all could see and I am so excited to say that it has been an amazing experience. It simply does not feel that I’ve been blogging and interacting with all of you for over 365 days — time has flown by so fast!

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Last year, I told myself I was planning to self-host, visit Book-Expo America, and expand my knowledge. As you can tell, I did not self-host yet simply because I haven’t gotten around to actually planning out a new layout. This task probably won’t be complete until next year or the new year if I’m being honest. As for BEA, that one was a stretch since it’s not located near me and it would be pretty expensive. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to go to BEA, but I’m hoping for the near future. The only task that I did somewhat complete is expanding my knowledge. I’ve become more active in promoting Diverse reads and doing my research before I purchased/read novels. It has been a journey for myself as I am beginning to read more #OwnVoices novels and really investing my time and money into indie authors, bookstores, and authors of color. Of course, I am still learning but I know that it’ll be an interesting and worthwhile educational opportunity.

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While I do have other favorite posts for the year, these are the two that I have poured my heart and soul into. I hope you had the chance to visit and comment on these posts when they were Live, but if not, let that be my Blogiversary gift! Feel free to visit these posts and let me know that you’ve done so!

💬A SMALL GUIDE TO DIVERSITY

Screenshot (5).pngThis has to be one of my favorite discussion posts as it’s the first time I’ve actually expressed my thoughts surrounding Diversity in our novels. Posts like these are always risky in our society and community as not everyone will agree with your thoughts, but with the interactions I gained with the post, I can say that it was successful. Everyone in our community is continuously educating each other positively and it is an honor to be surrounded by such people. YOU have helped my blog and I grow and I am forever thankful.

💬HOW/WHY TO COMMENT LIKE YOU CARE

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This is another post near and dear to my heart. This is one of my first discussion posts that had phenomenal feedback and comments. I truthfully typed from the heart with that post and it made me extremely happy to know that you guys actually read the post. I definitely recommend that you visit that post and read what I had to say because I’m sure some of you will agree with my thoughts!
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Now to what most of you are here for — yeah, I know, lol. But it’s okay because I love you guys! Today (August 1st, 2017) until September 1st, 2017 12:00 AM PST I will be giving away a $10 USD Amazon gift card! Giveaway is INT’L. You must be comfortable sending me your email address. Winner will be contacted following the end date — an additional winner will be chosen if initial winner is unresponsive for 48 hours.

✨ ALSO. If I reach 600 WP Blog Followers AND 950 Twitter Followers, I will be picking ANOTHER winner!! However, the second winner will be receiving a 5 USD Amazon gift card.✨ The more you share the giveaway, the better your chances!! ✨

A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

I recommend that you use the giftcard for a Diverse novel, but it is not required. The book of choice can be #OwnVoices, feature mental illness, represent a culture or ethnicity, etc. If you need help in findings Diverse reads, here are a few of my favorites/anticipated:

lineThank you ALL for sticking by my blog and I! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for JBelkBooks! ❤

If you missed LAST YEAR’S Blogiversary Post, feel free to check it out HERE.

JBelkBooks is a blog for the lonely, the lovers, the readers, & anyone else willing to read what I have to say.

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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Is Social Media Necessary For A Blogger? | Chat with JBelkBooks

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Random Quote of the Day: “That which costs little is less valued.” – Miguel de Cervantes

Hello sunshines!🔆 Lately on social media (specifically Twitter) I’ve been seeing a common theme — the blogger community is supportive and somewhat enjoying themselves one day, and then the next there is some issue about an author, a misrepresentation, etc.. And this leads to some big triumph that in the end influences individuals to leave our community or feel that they no longer belong.

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Now this isn’t to give the blogger/reading Twitter community a bad name. In fact, there hasn’t been a time for me where I felt like I didn’t belong, despite my mini-hiatuses involving social media in general. But I have witnessed and read some tweets of fellow bloggers that they felt disconnected due to the drama, misunderstandings, and overall communications.

This instance does bring great discomfort to me as when I first started blogging and involving myself within the social media realm I felt we were all united in some form, especially within my mutuals — I was able to reach out to bloggers to get advice, I didn’t see much controversy between replies…Now this might be due to the fact that I am following new people now than I was earlier, but there is definitely a new “feel” going on within our community.

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Now to the main question…

IS SOCIAL MEDIA NECESSARY FOR A BLOGGER?

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In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer to this question and I think it depends on the blogger themselves. Are you able to receive an audience without using other sources, such as social media, to spread awareness about your blog? Do you feel that it is beneficial to have other platforms to connect with a wider audience or your followers via your blog? These are questions that I think you should ask yourself before you decide to involve yourself into social media.

Personally, those two questions were the main reasons WHY I decided to join Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, etc. I wanted a way to expand my blog and my audience, but also to find another way to reach different audiences and understand new perspectives about my favorite books, authors, and other interests. When I first started blogging and reading tips, one of the most consistent tips was to have social media outlets. But does having social media do more harm than anything?

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When I mentioned that there is a new “feel” within our community, I sat back to think about that for a second. WHY does it seem that we are different? And the main reason that arose in my head was that NOW we have differences. NOW we have people reading #OwnVoices, new people SPEAKING UP about the LGBTQIA+ community, MORE people expressing their minds. And because of this we now have this newfound sense of controversy due to our difference of opinions.

Image result for rise up hamilton wallpaperI LOVE that individuals are beginning to speak their minds, especially when it’s for the greater good. I LOVE that I am able to find #OwnVoices trending or on my timeline. And I think it’s time to realize just how much our community has changed for the better. I’m not saying that we need to DISREGARD the ignorant individuals and those who hold different viewpoints, but we should continue to express what we believe in order to form a stronger community. There are millions of individuals on Twitter, Instagram, etc. that believe that representation of POC is important, millions that believe that we need more awareness involving #OwnVoices, the LGBTQIA+, the expansion of ARCs going around to those that take advantage of that opportunity…There are so many aspects of our community that are able to grow because WE speak up. Now, this can turn into a whole new conversation involving when is it right to speak your mind, when are you being disrespectful, and why this can turn into a negative, and I think that’s the main reason why our community is so different now. Because more individuals are willing to speak their minds, others are then responding (hopefully) positively, but also negatively; this is what sparks that fire that influences bloggers to feel that they don’t belong, that they don’t have others to coincide with…

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I held a short poll thread via Twitter that will hopefully put everything I just said into a better perspective. I asked my following a series of questions that I presented within this post and asked if they could Retweet so I could have a wider audience. HERE ARE THE RESULTS:

90% responded YES to “Do you think social media is necessary for a blogger?”

94% responded YES to “Has social media benefited your blog in any way?”

72% responded YES to “Have you ever felt like you did not belong within the blogging/reading community?”

56% responded YES to “Do you think the blogging/reading community has changed negatively?”

To the question, “Why do you think social media is necessary for a blogger”, 10% said MORE STATS FOR BLOG, 15% said NEW FRIENDS/PERSPECTIVE, 71% said A COMBINATION OF FIRST TWO OPTIONS, and 4% said OTHER

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Now that you’ve seen the stats, what do you think? Has social media benefited you more than harm? Do you think the blogging/reading has changed? If so, why? Chat with me in the comments! (After all, this is a DISCUSSION post!!) (:

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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My Top Art Supplies! | Chat with JBelkBooks

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Random Quote of the Day: “Nature made him, and then broke the mold.” – Ludovico Ariosto

Hello sunshines! 🔆 I know I rarely talk about anything art-related on my blog, but I’ve been asked a few times in the comments what my all time favorite art supplies are. So today I am sharing MY TOP 5 FAVORITE ART SUPPLIES!

✏️ PRISMACOLOR PREMIER: SET OF 79 ✏️

These were my most expensive investment early in my artist hobby and I do not regret it! I love these Prismacolors — they are really easy to use, suitable for any sketchbook, and there are such a variety of colors! I’m really happy that it came with other supplies besides Prismacolors; they included a few watercolor pencils, artist chalk pastels, & Verithin Colored Pencils! I don’t use them too often because I am primarily a painter, but here are a few works that I’ve created using the Prismacolors.

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2017 Challenges Recap #1

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Random Quote of the Day: “A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”-  Jonathan Swift 

Hello sunshines! ☀ Since it is the 3rd month of the year, I am here with a recap of my progress for my 2017 Blog & Reading Challenges! I’ll be posting these every 3 months or so, or whenever I feel necessary. Let’s get into the post:

🗯 Comment more! This is always a goal of mine, and because of this I will be taking part in the seasonal 2017 Commenting Challenge hosted by . I was too late in signing up for the January Challenge, but I will be signing up for February. Details here.

marchSo, I did stay true to my word for this Commenting Challenge, and I am currently taking part in the 3rd and final month of Alicia’s Winter Commenting Challenge! This Challenge was much more easy to keep track of, rather than the 365 Commenting Challenge I took part in last year. I definitely enjoyed my blogger partner last month, so here’s to another amazing month of commenting! (I just said “commenting” maybe 10,000x’s, lol)

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A Small Guide to Diversity | Chat with JBelkBooks

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Random Quote of the Day: “Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.” – Lily Tomlin

Hello sunshines! ☀ I’ve been hesitant to write this post for some reason, but I have defeated my mind and decided to finally write this for sure-needed discussion. And, it’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH, so why not:

GUIDE TO DIVERSITY

Now, I am in no means an expert on Diversity, so just a disclaimer. Everything that I am expressing today is what I’ve learned over the course of a year or so, and with that being said, this is generally an ADVICE post. Take or leave my advice — it’s your choice.

In this post I’ll be covering some minor advice, regarding how to promote diversity, how to get involved, and some things to stay away from. This is only a small guide and I’m sure I could add so much more to this post, but there’s always time for a Part Two.

📢 HOW TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY 📢

Image result for diversity tumblrThere are some simple ways to promote diversity just from sitting down, on the internet, reading this post. Here’s a list:

💡 Speak UP, don’t stay silent. This is the BIGGEST advice I can give anyone with a voice. You have a voice, so use it in the best way possible. If you are a victim of discrimination, abuse…speak up and talk to people whether it’s your family, friends, or some strangers on the internet; let them know who you are and I promise you’ll find support. There are tons of people just like you even if it doesn’t seem like it. So use that voice of yours to advocate what you believe so others can educate themselves.

💡 Speak OUT against discrimination, racists, homophobics…Again, your voice is SO powerful and YOU have the ability to spread awareness everyday. Staying silent & being a bystander is just as bad as committing the crime.

💡 With that being said, please make sure to consider the impact of your words before you express them. Are you using problematic terms? Are you perpetrating biases or prejudices for “fun”?? If you are unsure about something that may come off as offensive, ask someone. Find a reliable source, and ASK QUESTIONS.

💡 Be open-minded, do your research, learn about other people and their differences, and ACCEPT and UNDERSTAND them. Before you read that one book that everyone is hyped about, do your research on the author and what they’re known to write about. Before you retweet a post from a friend or famous author, understand what you are sharing. It may seem like a lot of work, but if it’s for a great cause it’s definitely worth it.

🗯 HOW TO GET INVOLVED 🗯

💡 Take small steps. From experience, you can’t just jump right in into being an activist no matter how much you want to because you are still LEARNING. Start by retweeting reliable sources with great representation on Twitter. Find accounts, blogs, websites to promote and share. For my book lovers, We Need Diverse Books is a great place to start.

💡 Create and share posts like this one. Whether it’s a Guide post, a Recommendations post…ANYTHING to help spread awareness is the way to go. Don’t think that you have to CONSTANTLY preach what you believe in, but taking the initiative to do it when you think is necessary is ideal. However, by all means, if you want to preach Diversity, more power to you!

💡 Educate others. Whether it’s your family and friends, your co-workers, or some random people on social media, share meaningful websites, sources, and even people. There are a ton of book bloggers that promote diversity, including Naz, Ryy, Whitney, Mishma, Chioma, and many others.

✨ QUICK TIPS AND TRICKS ✨

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💡 What you say and how you say it can make a big difference. Again, this all ties back to research and asking questions. Stay away from offensive, prejudice terms. Represent a culture, community, etc. accurately and positively.

💡 Hypocrisy is not the way to go. You don’t have to STOP reading non-Diverse books or supporting non-Diverse authors all together, but if you are going to promote diversity, review Diverse novels. Share Diverse novels. Purchase your general novels ALONG with the Diverse ones. Practice what you preach, my friends.

💡 Take part in Diverse Reading Challenges, Chats, etc. This is SO simple — I guarantee if you type “diverse reading challenge” into Google right now, you’ll find A LEAST one for 2017. Look into those, find chats on Twitter, and collaborate with others to further educate yourself. I recommend THIS Diverse Reading Challenge for starters.

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Image result for black history month tumblrSo, what are you going to do to make a difference and promote diversity? Our world is in grave need of equality, and YOU can help one step at a time. Combine what you love, whether it’s books or blogging, and use your platform to promote what means the most. YOU have a voice, so use it for the greater good of the world. In the words of Gandhi, be the change you want to see in the world. 🌟

SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT.

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…

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