wrap-up: january 2022

Welcome to the first installment of a new series on my blog…*drumroll please*…monthly wrap-ups!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series on my blog…*drumroll please*…monthly wrap-ups!

I’ve always loved reading these for the glimpse they give into people’s lives. While books are always fun and interesting to read about, I also like seeing what else bloggers are interested in. Wrap-ups help me get to know other creators better and so I wanted to implement this monthly reflection into my own blog!

Since this is my first time writing one of these posts, I’m not really married to any particular structure yet and might change the formatting as I make more in the future. But the content in this post—some talk on books, some talk on what I’ve been enjoying, some talk on my life, and some talk on what’s ahead—is the kind of content you should expect from me in my monthly wrap-ups!

what i read

January was a slow reading month for me because I only finished two novels. However, I still feel like I consumed a lot of words—I went back to school at the beginning of the month and have been doing nonstop readings for my classes ever since. So even though I didn’t finish a lot of books, I do feel like my mind has been constantly expanding!

The two books I did read were both ones I really enjoyed. And so far, I’ve been sticking with my goal of writing more Goodreads reviews this year!

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Read my Goodreads review here.

Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu – ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Read my Goodreads review here.

what i blogged

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged this consistently! I’ve liked challenging myself to think of new topics each week and to interact more with the community on here.

2021 roundup

2022 bookish goals

pondathon ii sign-up post

if you liked this, read this

2022 anticipated releases by asian authors

what i watched

Single’s Inferno (2021)

Yes, I fell into the Single’s Inferno trap…at first I checked it out because everyone was talking about it. But despite my aversion to the premise and the superficiality of the show, I have to admit that I became very invested in it. I’ve never been able to watch Western dating shows but with Single’s Inferno, I actually enjoyed getting to see the cast bond with each other and to see the psychology behind how people acted. The show has its problems but I won’t say I didn’t derive a lot of enjoyment from it—and yes, I’m hoping for more seasons or a reunion segment.

Our Beloved Summer (2021)

When I tell you I became so invested in this show that I put off all of my schoolwork to watch it…this was the first K-Drama I’ve ever finished and now I’m hoping to watch more. The story is so sweet and honestly made me cry…MANY times. I love the childhood rivals-to-friends-to-lovers-to-exes premise, and then seeing how they come back together. Even more than that, I feel like this show is just genuinely super well done. Every character gets their own backstory, the storytelling techniques are extremely smart and innovative, and the vibes of the whole series are just so sweetly nostalgic. Also, even though the protagonists follow the “nerd x idiot” pattern, they both also have their own unique personalities and characteristics, which I liked.

The Great British Bake Off Series 12 (2021)

GBBO is one of my comfort shows (even though it’s oftentimes completely stressful to watch) so I had to catch up on the latest season with the one-month Netflix subscription I got myself in January. I have to say, this was probably one of my favorite seasons. I loved a lot of the bakers and their dynamics, and I always love seeing the creations they come up with for each prompt.

what i listened to

“Christmas Tree” – V

Ever since I watched Our Beloved Summer I’ve been listening to V’s “Christmas Tree” nonstop. It’s just so pretty and brings back all the feels from the show.

“Yesterday Once More” – The Carpenters

This is an old favorite of mine because my mom would sing it all the time as we were growing up. I listened to it a lot this month because I was writing about it in one of my classes.

“I Will Spend My Whole Life Loving You” – Imaginary Future, Kina Grannis

This is also a song I’ve loved for a while—ever since it released in 2017, actually. I’ve been playing my spring playlist a lot, so my roommate heard this song when I put the playlist on in our dorm room and she really liked it. We’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since.

what i did this month

January was a pretty jam-packed month! Like I mentioned before, my Winter Quarter started on January 3rd and I’ve been really busy ever since. I just finished Week 5 of my quarter, which means I’m in the middle of midterm season.

Despite the heavy workload, I’m really enjoying my classes this quarter. I’m taking a reporting story called “Exploring Asian American Stories” and it’s super fun, interesting, and rewarding. I’m also taking another Journalism class on how marginalized people are framed in the media. And I’m taking a Creative Writing class on creative non-fiction, an Asian American Studies class on refugee aesthetics, and a plant biology class as well. This latter class is an intro class and it’s a bit out of my comfort zone (I had to take my first written exam!), as I’m a humanities gal through and through, but I’m genuinely enjoying all the new things I’m learning and I love how passionate my professor is about the material!

I made vol-au-vents with salmon cream cheese filling right before I left home. I’ve been wanting to bake these ever since I watched Series 6 of GBBO (probably my favorite season of the show ever). They turned out so yummy! I made my own rough puff pastry and was scared they wouldn’t rise enough, but they came out just as I wanted them to and I was really happy.

If you want to make these yourself, I used this YouTube video for the puff pastry, this recipe for the shell-baking specs, this YouTube video for more vol-au-vent shell-specific tips, and this recipe for filling inspiration (I adapted it to use salmon, hot mustard, basil pesto, cilantro, ground pepper, and green onions in the cream cheese).

We got a ton of snow where I am so my friends and I had a snowball fight and made a bunch of snow angels. It was nice to get a break from doing work and to feel like a kid again.

I got to see a beautiful performance by my school’s symphony orchestra (they are extremely talented and led by a really amazing conductor). They played Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 as well as the overture to Rossini’s Semiramide, and it was gorgeous.

On the first day of Lunar New Year, I got to go to Chinatown for one of my Journalism class assignments. It made me really happy because it made me feel connected to home, which I was missing a lot. It was also a super rewarding experience—my partner and I were tasked with talking directly to Chinatown residents, business owners, and community leaders. I had to pull out my rusty Mandarin skills but I learned so much from the conversations and it was so nice to connect with the community! We also got to eat a lot of yummy food.

To celebrate Lunar New Year, my residential college held a dumpling-making party which was so fun.

This month, I also celebrated some friends’ birthdays with delicious meals, published an article in the school paper, mooched a ton of free food off of school events, and dressed up and danced at my residential college’s formal.

Overall, it was a busy month, but a rewarding one.

looking ahead

Later next week, I’ll be going to San Francisco for a class trip and I’m so excited! It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled anywhere far (besides going back and forth between school and home). I’m hoping that the last half of the quarter will give me some more time to read for pleasure (although based on past quarters, this might be wishful thinking).

I hope the weather will warm up as the days get longer, because I can’t deal with the freezing temperatures here anymore—almost every day is in the teens (Fahrenheit)! But above all, I’m looking forward to more good times with loved ones and for more learning.

How was your January? What are you looking forward to the most in February?

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Author: april | lostinthebookstacks

hello! i'm april (she/her), an asian american reader who’s passionate about words and scallion pancakes.

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