Monday, October 27, 2014

The Peru Experience

I returned home from a two-week vacation to Peru recently. The tour turned out to be quite an enjoyable time but life changing too. I relaxed and gained a new outlook on life.
Pre-Peru Julia lived her life longing for the time when she was able to crash into bed at the end of the day.
Post-Peru Julia lives her life taking in all she can throughout the day until she is able to happily tuck herself in bed at night.
This may make me sound like a depressed person (of which occasionally is the case), but that is not the point; the point is that something changed in me in Peru.
Here's how it happened: The first day of the tour we were in the Amazon jungle and I was tired. All I could think about was hitting the sack at the end of the day. In my mind I scolded myself saying: "Julia, you are in Peru only once in your life! Enjoy it! Every minute of it!" The rest of the tour, I lived deeply every experience from nighttime caiman spotting in the jungle, to scaling the endless steps of Huayna Picchu, to enjoying countless Incan ruins, to visiting native communities on the Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca, to strolling along the streets of Cusco. 
I pulled so much strength and resolve from this tour and, surprisingly, without even knowing it. It was about a week after I arrived home that the realization of this delightful paradigm shift had occurred and I am happy for it. 
The thing is I have to work hard on keeping this resolve. There have been a few times since returning home that I have found myself sliding back into my old stress bucket ways, and I have to take a few deep breaths and exhale a healthy "Don't sweat it."
Life should be beautiful and enjoyable, not a routine of longing to go back to bed all the time.
Have you had a similar experience? Are you hoping to have this kind of a change occur in your life? I just hope you don't have to travel across the world to figure it out.
And for those who want to see some pics, here you go:

Relaxing in the Amazon jungle at my bungalow.
 Julia's gone native.
 I made friends with some alpacas.
 Cristo Blanco high in the hills of Cusco.
 My alpaca friend I named Frazzila May.
 Julia at Machu Picchu! This place is wondrous and magical.
Uros floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca near Puno, Peru.

 Eating alpaca. It was beyond delicious.
 Eating guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy.
In front of what is considered Peru's white house in Lima.

Writing Jewels

Monday, August 18, 2014

You Don't Want to Miss This Book: REMEMBRANDT

Hello friends! Long time no write... Well, for me, at least in the blogoshere.
I had to blog about something that is just fantastic! So HELLO!
My sister-in-law, Robin King, has a publishing deal through Walnut Springs Press for debut novel called:
Robin's novel is due to be released in November 2014. I have read REMEMBRANDT and it is amazing! She revealed the to-die-for cover last week on her blog. Since I love the book and it's cover ever so much, I'm going to show it off here on my blog, too!
Take a look at this pretty little gem:

Find it here on Goodreads. Go ahead, add it to your to-read shelf. You know you want to. ;)
Oh, and the blurb to tempt your fancy all the more:
"Alexandra Stewart doesn't just walk down memory lane, she lives on it. Her eidetic memory records her experiences and plays them back, DVD style. It's great when she wants to ace a test, but not so great when she topples over a cute boy in the hallway and the humiliation plays back over and over and over . . . Brown University seems like the perfect place for the seventeen-year-old to forget her past. Hope for a normal life comes in the form of a handsome new running partner who makes her heart race and body perspire even before she laces up her shoes.

When her Russian professor gives her a puzzle that seems impossible to solve, Alex discovers that he has a secret - one that will catapult her into a world of cryptic codes and covert missions. As she tries to find a balance between the two different worlds vying for her attention, Alex wonders if she can have relationships with the ones she cares about while hiding a clandestine life, uncovering the truths of an underground enemy.

One thing is for certain, whatever happens will be forever etched into her memory. And some things are better left forgotten."
Isn't the cover gorgeous?
I hope you have been doing well.
Writing Jewels

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

And Then There Was Sight

Hi all. It has been some months since I last posted. Where has the time gone? Where have I gone?
I've been here, just not so much in blogosphere-land. Sorry for being out of touch. I am not sure how often I will be posting from here on out, but I wanted to check in and say hello.

What have I been up to? Well, the day job has been insanely busy. I had a breakthrough for one of my book's plots. Gotta love sleepless nights, huh?

Speaking of sleepless nights, something else has played a part of my distance from bloggy-world. I had corrective eye surgery, PRK, on February 20. I decided to go for this eye surgery because I just wanted to see, I mean really see. It is miraculous to not need to rely on contact lenses or glasses to function during the day. To see the patterns on the ceiling when I wake up in the morning is spectacular.

Why did I segue to this topic with sleepless nights? Well, that is exactly what I went through for 4 weeks. The first week was filled with excruciating pain and intense discomfort. Suffice it to say, I was in agony. It was to be expected, and I knew that beforehand. I just didn't expect it to be so debilitating. When I thought I would only need to take off three days of work, it turned in to six. Even after that amount of time, I couldn't see properly. Work was not a walk in the park for a week and a half with having to catch up with emails and projects, being light sensitive and exhausted, and not being able to drive or see a computer screen properly. I had to wake up every two hours during the night to put in eye drops too, not so conducive to a good night's sleep, huh?


After 5 weeks post surgery, I. CAN. SEE!!!

It is pretty amazing and will only get better over the coming months. The pain may have been unbearable and boring being at home in the dark for a week, but I think it will be worth it. It already has been worth it.

I said I was bored. All I could do was listen to audio books, and I listened to four books. Not too shabby.

How have you been lately? Any book plot breakthroughs?


Writing Jewels

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year of Entertainment: TV and Books

Is it really 2014? Another year has been swept away into the wide expanse of time to usher in a great new year full of numberless possibilities. What a good feeling! Another good feeling is noting all the great TV shows and books I feasted upon last year. As an account, I list them here. Hopefully, you see some that will capture your attention to watch or read!

TV Shows:
  • Switched at Birth seasons 1-2
  • Touch season 1
  • Doctor Who season 7
  • Psych seasons 1-6
  • Lie to Me seasons 1-3
  • Fringe (I have 6 episodes left and I done. Love this show!)
Books: note - bold titles are my favorite reads of the year
  • The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl) by Eoin Colfer
  • Wings by Aprilynn Pike
  • So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible by A.J. Jacobs
  • Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni
  • Until I Die (Revnenants) by Amy Plum
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
  • If I Should Die (Revenants) by Amy Plum
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Arise (Hereafter) by Tara Hudson
  • Inferno by Dan Brown
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
  • Spells (Wings) by Aprilynne Pike
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
  • Cinder  (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
  • Illusions (Wings) by Aprilynne Pike
  • Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
  • Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
  • The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
  • Destined (Wings) by Aprilynn Pike
Through my journey with the written word this year, I have found a new favorite author--that being Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles series. She blew me away with her retelling of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood stories. Her writing style is unique and simply amazing. Out of all the books I read last year, I'd recommend hers the most. Oh, I can't wait for the next two books to be released. The dates won't come fast enough. The first two books covers are fantastic, huh?

And of course, TV-wise, I'd recommend Psych for sure, but if you enjoy some good sci-fi, then check out Fringe.

What are some of your favorite reads and watches from 2013? Have you read or seen any of the TV shows or books I listed above? Are you as much of a TV and book junky as me?


Writing Jewels