Etsy Review – Vintage Casio watch from LateRabbitWatch

It’s been a hella long time since I did an Etsy order review. I’m not even sure if I ever wrote one for this blog, or if it was something I had only done on my old one. In any case, I’m doing one now.

Last month my beloved Batman watch broke. I was at my temporary job at the post distribution centre and when I took off my gloves at the end of the day, there was a violent clatter on the ground. I looked down. There lay my Batman watch in pieces. It had always been too large for my wrist and it seemed to have been pulled off along with my glove. I was devastated. That watch had been with me for three years.

But, with every ending, there is a new beginning. I thought it was a good opportunity to buy myself a nice, grown-up watch that actually fit my tiny wrist. So I browsed through the small, black watches in the vintage section on Etsy. I came upon this Casio classic 90s watch from LateRabbitWatch. It was more or less exactly what I wanted and at such a reasonable price. So I thought I’d try it.

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It was shipped very fast; the day after I ordered it. It took a while to arrive, but that’s to be expected from Singapore. When it did arrive, it was in a small, square box which protected the watch well on its long, perilous journey. I opened the box.

It was love at first sight. Pictures don’t really do this beautiful watch justice. I love the minimal design of it, the colours (obviously) and the textured band. And the size! I was pleasantly surprised at the size. It had looked larger in the pictures, which I had been worried about, but it turned out to be the perfect petite size for my petite wrist. I almost couldn’t believe how perfect it is.

The more I wear this watch, the more I love it. It is so exactly, exactly what I needed. It’s so small, I barely feel it. I even forget that I’m wearing a watch over the course of the day. It’s so lovely to not constantly feel a big chunk of clock on the end of my arm. I can do so much with my hands without having to take my watch off; lovely.

To go back to the shop I ordered from, they have a lot of beautiful, vintage watches on offer. Their service is good. If you’re also in need of a new watch, I would definitely recommend checking out LateRabbitWatch.

A little taste of their selection:

Happy watch-hunting!

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Video – KILLSTAR unboxing

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in a month! NaNoWriMo is a terrible excuse. I will get back to regular blogging soon. For now, here’s a nice & frivolous KILLSTAR unboxing video. Filmed this last week & painstakingly edited today.

All from the official KILLSTAR site.

The items I ordered:
Stockholm Syndrome cardigan
Nu War Hood maxi dress
Dye Fast crop top
Nisha harness
Rayne Mesh maxi skirt
Hell-O Platform booties

Series Review – Girlboss

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Girlboss is about twentysomething misfit Sophia and how she builds her vintage clothing business, Nasty Gal. While building her business, she has to deal with a hernia, unsatisfied customers, neglected friends and other vintage sellers who disagree with her methods. The show is full of colourful characters and fantastic fashion.

From the beginning the main character, Sophia, is insufferable. She walks over everyone else to have her own way, acts like she knows absolutely everything and expects others to be endeared by her quirks. Her best friend, Annie, is not much more likeable. This made the first couple of episodes hard to get through. And yet, there was something about the show that made me keep watching.

The story was intriguing enough and the aesthetic fantastic. Watching Sophia go through all that vintage clothing, while well-dressed herself, inspired me to go back to my favourite thrift shops and experiment more with my own style myself. Also, to get my bangs cut again. And go to San Francisco.

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Her entrepreneurship was very inspiring too. She’s not a girl you expect to succeed, but she turns out to be highly resourceful. She actively solves problems and is shown to have good business sense. Together with showing her vulnerability, she becomes a lot more likeable over the course of the series. In the final episodes I was happy to see her succeed with her business and really felt for her when she was unexpectedly betrayed.

Unfortunately, only snippets of the building of her company are shown. Most of the storyline seems to be about Sophia’s personal life, her relationships and struggles (unlike what the trailer suggests). I would have liked to see more about the business side of it. The best episodes are the ones which center on some facet of Nasty Gal, like ‘Ladyshopper99’ in which Sophia goes through every resource to satisfy a disgruntled customer. The ones which are more about Sophia’s relationships, like ‘Top 8’ and ‘The Trip’, I could have done without.

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The humour in the series is here and there. Sometimes it’s hilarious, like in the dialogue or in the portrayal of certain characters. Other times it completely misses the mark. In the already mentioned ‘Top 8’ for example; I kept waiting for those outlandish flashbacks to become funny, but they never did.

It was inconsistent in tone too. The text messages and sales popping up on the screen, to name some, seemed out of place. Those didn’t fit with the rest of the tone/aesthetic the series was going for. In ‘Vintage Fashion Forum’ the incorporation of the internet was brilliant though. I loved how they showed the interaction between the characters on the forum and in the chatroom.

If you like stories about female entrepreneurs, vintage fashion and Wes Anderson type humour, give Girlboss a shot. Even if you don’t love the main character, you may find yourself binge-watching it late into the night.

Music Review – Stray From the Path’s Only Death is Real

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Say what you will about the current political situation, it does make for some damn fine music.

Stray From the Path’s Only Death is Real is a relentless attack against the present U.S. administration, and its supporters, from start to finish. SFTP have made brutal, confrontational political music before, but not to this degree.

Only Death wastes no time in engaging the listener and demanding them to pick a side. “You with us or the enemy?” in ‘The Opening Move’. This polarisation is characteristic of the album as a whole. Every song shoves SFTP’s political views down your throat, leaving you no room to breathe. It sounds great if you agree with them. If you don’t… Well, you probably won’t listen to this album for long.

Musically, SFTP have not changed much. Rage Against the Machine influenced riffs, punishing breakdowns that make you yearn for a moshpit, vocals that are more rapped than sung. The first couple of songs on Only Death sound very exciting. But then they tend to bleed into each other. The only standout tracks are ‘Goodnight Alt-Right’, ‘The House Always Wins’ and ‘Only Death is Real’.

There are some gems in the long-running stream of vitriol though. The opening of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ for one: “Everything has its price, but the price is wrong bitch.” SFTP do have a knack for creating killer opening lines. Lines that you can’t help but belt out as loud as you can wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. I also love the breakdown in ‘Plead the Fifth’, with the lyrics “Welcome to the melting pot motherfucker. If you don’t like it, then get the fuck out.” And, of course, Keith Buckley kills it in ‘Strange Fiction’.

Only Death is a good album overall. However, it doesn’t have the same replay value as SFTP’s previous couple of albums. It’s too specifically political and has too little innovation.

Rating: 7/10

Recommended for fans of Rage Against the Machine, Hatebreed, Stick To Your Guns etc.

Book Review – How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

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I had been meaning to read this book for ages. It came highly recommended from feminist friends and I had a copy I got for free lying on my shelf for maybe two years. The fact that the copy in question is a Dutch translation was not very motivating. But a couple of weeks ago it felt like its time had come. It’s funny how that goes with books sometimes. They can be on your shelf for say, two years, and many times your eyes skip over them as you scan your overstuffed shelves looking for the next book to read. Then out of the blue, when you’ve long forgotten the initial interest you had in them, they can call out to you and you know YES, this is The One. That gut feeling of how this book was what I needed at the moment proved right.

This book starts off with a rather clunky prologue detailing the author’s worst birthday and how clueless she was about how to become a woman. The best part of the prologue is the end when Moran discusses feminism and its enduring necessity. I loved her straightforward definition:

What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be.

After this Moran goes through all the big milestones of “becoming a woman” in more or less chronological order, with a lot of personal stories to accompany them. A lot of this was easy to relate to. I can’t tell you how often I read something and mentally gasped and said to myself I thought it was only me!

I loved the writing style, even translated. It’s lively, creative and intelligent. It’s hilarious at the points when you agree with the author, obnoxious when you don’t. The writing style is also uncompromising and confrontational. Moran has a tendency to assume that all women are the same in certain areas. I get that this tendency is necessary to keep a book like this consistent, but it did bother me at times. For example in the chapter about weddings. She takes it for granted that all women dream about their ideal weddings and look forward to it like it will be the greatest day in their lives. This was completely alien to me.

This book has an extraordinary honesty. In it Moran discusses so much that we would rather sweep under the rug. It gets uncomfortably graphic about certain female experiences. I didn’t mind this much; it was strangely reassuring. The part where she described the birth of her first child read like a horror novel though. If you already know that you don’t want children, this will only make you more steadfast. If, on the other hand, you do want children… Good luck getting through it!

Overall, I loved this book. It was very relatable and eye-opening. Reassuring, as I’ve mentioned before. Also inspiring to improve my non-fiction writing. I would love to read it again, in the original language, someday.

Modern females, if there’s only one feminist book you read in your life, you should consider How to Be a Woman. If the confrontational tone, graphic descriptions and swearing don’t put you off, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Quotes:

You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.

It’s difficult to see the glass ceiling because it’s made of glass. Virtually invisible. What we need is for more birds to fly above it and shit all over it, so we can see it properly.

At its best fashion is a game. But for women it’s a compulsory game, like net ball, and you can’t get out of it by faking your period. I know I have tried. And so for a woman every outfit is a hopeful spell, cast to influence the outcome of the day. An act of trying to predict your fate, like looking at your horoscope. No wonder there are so many fashion magazines. No wonder the fashion industry is worth an estimated 900 billion dollars a year. No wonder every woman’s first thought is, for nearly every event in her life, be it work, snow or birth. The semi-despairing cry of “but what will I wear?” Because when a woman says I have nothing to wear, what she really means is there is nothing here for who I am supposed to be today.

New Converge EP – ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’

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Yesterday I got a casual little e-mail from Spotify: “New single from Converge now available.”

WHAT?

It’s been five years since their last release (excluding live albums and re-workings) and with no warning this bomb gets dropped on us.

The single is called ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ and along with another track, ‘Eve’, it was released on an EP. The beginning of ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ is pretty standard Converge, in so far as there is anything standard about Converge: fast, brutal and angry. Then it lurches into another direction with “I just need to leave, just need to find my way out”. Oh, these lyrics. They hit deep.

When you’re already convinced that this is another great Converge song, it ends with an epic, annihilating breakdown. The second half of this song is really what takes it to the next level.

I have been listening to it over and over and over this afternoon. ‘About Pain’ has a rawness reminiscent of You Fail Me, one of my favourite Converge albums. The rawness is what makes it so disturbingly relatable.

As for ‘Eve’… I have no words.

Just listen to it. With decent headphones.

It’s a fairly long song at 7 ½ minutes, but keeps you captivated throughout. When I was listening to ‘Eve’, with my headphones on and eyes closed, I drifted off to another world. Especially at the beginning, I felt like I was in The North in Westeros or some post-apocalyptic wasteland or something. I have also been listening to ‘Eve’ repeatedly this afternoon, after I recovered from ‘About Pain’.

This EP only has the two songs, but strangely it’s all you need from Converge. Both of the songs showcase the best of them. ‘About Pain’ features their fast-paced, angry side and ‘Eve’ their more contemplative, experimental side. While they’re very different songs, they’re equally intense. No punches are pulled.

I do hope this means that they have a new album coming up though…

Music Review – Motionless In White’s Graveyard Shift

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I have a love/hate relationship with Motionless In White. I adore a lot of what they do, but there is also a lot in which they just miss the mark. It also irks me how often they cover the same sort of subjects in the same sort of language. Always people making them fucking sick, fuck this and fuck that. Gets boring. I hadn’t been following their new music for this reason.

Then I watched Black Friday’s interview with Chris Motionless and my interest was piqued again. I followed the link she gave for MIW’s newest video, for a song called ‘LOUD (Fuck It)’, despite the same boring, over-used word in the title.

I was blown away. It was so fun, catchy and intelligent. Also confrontational, but in a subtle, interesting way. It reminded me of ‘Everybody Sells Cocaine’, a lovely little gem from their previous album, and made me excited about their music again.

Last Friday they released a new album, Graveyard Shift. With Graveyard Shift they further refined the spooky industrial metal sound they developed on Reincarnate. At the same time, they took the best of their early metalcore sound, mixed in some more Manson influences and lightened up a bit. They generally sound more melodic, though they can’t resist a good breakdown. The transitions between the melodic and heavier parts are super smooth too. Such an improvement over their earlier music.

motionless-in-white-graveyard-shift

The same sort of subjects I mentioned in the beginning? Those are either gone or packaged in a more interesting way. Lyrically, and musically as well, Graveyard Shift is a lot more diverse than their previous work. There is a cringey line or two, but those are well compensated musically. I’ve already mentioned the fantastic ‘LOUD (Fuck It)’, which is by far my favourite song on the album. Other highlights are ‘Rats’, ‘Eternally Yours’, ‘Voices’ and ‘Untouchable’.

‘Eternally Yours’ is their best song about love until now. The songwriting is great and the imagery Gothic and lovely. Is there anything more darkly romantic than “I’m more than willing to rot in hell with you”? In ‘570’ there is the old defiance, though there is also pride of how far one has come and the recognition of flaws in oneself. ‘570’ has really been growing on me. It’s reminiscent of Parkway Drive’s ‘Dedicated’, which I love. Like Parkway, MIW seem to be moving more towards the ‘metal’ side of metalcore. On the unapologetically heavy ‘The Ladder’ MIW sound more metal than ever before. Then there’s the ridiculous horrorpunky fun of ‘Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2’, which is a lot more experimental and risky than the original ‘Dead as Fuck’. A lot on this album is more experimental and risky than their previous work.

Graveyard Shift is definitely MIW’s best effort so far. It’s the first album of theirs that I can listen to all the way through, without skipping (or wanting to skip) songs. Not to say that all the songs are flawless; just that the weaker ones have something good to compensate for those flaws.

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that MIW are good at what they do.

Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended for fans of Marilyn Manson, Bleeding Through, Parkway Drive, Murderdolls, Deathstars etc.

Music Review – Creeper’s Eternity, In Your Arms

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Last year I heard Creeper’s ‘Black Mass’ and fell in love. Their sound, subject matter, aesthetic; everything about them excited me. Not since AFI (1999-2003) has there been a band that merged punk rock and goth themes quite like this. I have anxiously been awaiting a full length album by Creeper since. And last month, they delivered. Oh, how did they deliver.

Eternity, In Your Arms is everything a spooky punk rocker could ever want. I have continuously been playing it for the past couple of weeks.

There is such a variety in the music, from the ridiculously catchy ‘Suzanne’, to the slow, minimalistic ‘Crickets’, to the theatrical ‘I Choose To Live’. This keeps it interesting through many listens. No two songs sound the same, though some lyrics can be a little repetitive. They deal with themes such as longing, heartbreak and lost youth. There is an overall sense of 90s goth nostalgia: sometimes subtly in a description like “skirts of velvet”, sometimes more explicit like the song titled ‘Winona Forever’. It also reminds me of my own teen years and all the superficial drama that went on, in the most endearing way. At the same time it reminds me that those years are not lost; they will forever be a part of me.

Their subject matter is a breath of fresh air in the current scene. So many heavy bands with a goth or horror aesthetic waste their potential churning out the same rebellious drivel over and over (Motionless In White, I’m looking at you). Creeper goes for something more vulnerable and interesting.

Some of my favourite lyrics are: “We’re going through this phase where we feel nothing / Making out with ‘loneliness’, cheating on each other with ‘regret’ / We’re so forgettable and miserable”, “When all I wanted was a hand to hold to watch the world explode / I was all of the things that you always dreamt and then never did / All of the lives that you could have led but then never lived / The midnight kids” (‘Black Rain’), “And it’s breaking  me to see you so happy / I just want the worst for you / So selfish and typical of me / To sail and sink with you” (‘Winona Forever’), and basically all of ‘Misery’.

Rating: 9/10

If you like bands like AFI, Misfits, My Chemical Romance or Alkaline Trio, you should definitely give Eternity, In Your Arms a listen.

the end of penny dreadful?!

(spoilers ahead)

Episode 309
Josh Hartnett as Ethan and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). – Photo: Patrick Redmond/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_1579

when i innocently logged into netflix today to watch the new episode of penny dreadful, i had no idea what was in store for me. i thought it was just another episode of the week. it seemed like there were still some more episodes in store, counting them by number. of course, looking at what last week’s episode had set up, i should have suspected something. suddenly there was a big climax and the dreadful words ‘The End’.

it took a while to process.

however, now that i have gained some distance, i have to admit that it was a spectacular finale. i’m sad that i don’t have an episode to watch forward to next week & that vanessa died though. vanessa died! what! i was considering possible deaths for almost all the other characters (really crossing my fingers for frankenstein), but vanessa! i did not see that coming at all. it does make sense, but it did seem like a very bleak ending. earth has nothing but suffering in store, so better to take an early train to heaven. the religious thinking behind it is so typically 19th century; fascinating in such an otherwise modern show.

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speaking of that big plot point, the scene in which it played out is done fantastically. the way ethan goes up the stairs, all the candles, vanessa in the white dress, the prayer at the end, & the acting of both of them… wow. the aftermath, in which the other characters grieve for her, is also beautiful. it’s the little things, like how frankenstein hugs ethan before he leaves. aww. in a sidenote, that hug was also one of those things that redeemed frankenstein a bit. he was such a jackass this season.

there are so many cinematographic things that i could praise in these two last episodes. london covered in fog. the woman singing to her child integrated with the edited opening credits. our heroes entering the slaughterhouse. dorian in his empty room flooded with light. the burial. the creature reciting the poem at the end. so many things. this whole season was on a much higher level than the previous ones. i loved all the new characters too. catriona hartdegen, oh my god. her character is slightly anachronistic, but so fabulous. i love her intelligence, attitude, & how she saves so many male characters at some point. dr. seward is also badass. inventive interpretation of the dr. seward of bram stoker’s dracula. i love how many more coloured people there are this season too. of course they had to do something after killing off the one black character, but i choose to see it in a more positive light.

as for the storylines of the other characters, they were wrapped up nicely. i was glad to see the vulnerability & change in lily. brute strength aside, she becomes a much stronger character towards the end. we also got to see a new side of dorian, though he of course goes back to how he always was. fitting for his character. the creature has a predictable sad ending. however, it was interesting to see how he deals with it.

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frankenstein i have already touched upon. this season he was significantly more monstrous than his ‘monsters’. he pissed me off more with each episode. yes, he was devastated by all that had happened, but that is no excuse. in the second to last episode he finally recognised how wrong he had been, in another beautiful scene with lily. & then he is reunited with our heroes, just in time. interesting how he then immediately seems to become more heroic himself. it does seem that it was his isolation more than anything that led him down that dark, dark road. anyway, his clumsy way of fighting later provides some chuckles in that otherwise dire situation. luckily he has miss hartdegen to save him.

& then there are ethan & sir malcolm. it is touching when ethan calls sir malcolm ‘father’. even for the viewer it is comforting that, though vanessa died, they still have each other. vanessa! before the episode had ended, i already thought there was no way they could go forward from here. penny dreadful is vanessa’s show after all. it’s good that they ended with this season. the plotline of vanessa eternally being hunted by some demon/the devil was already getting stale in this one. looking at it as a whole i did love it though. it had its faults, & it had jackass frankenstein, but it is definitely worth a re-watch. the whole of the show is. it is so complex, centered around loveable, intriguing characters, & an aesthetic delight. i do think this show will stay one of my all-time favourites.

2015 recap

TarynDavidsonfantasy7photo by tim walker

before we head into the new year, i thought i’d do a little recap of 2015 here. this has been a pretty big year for me. i think i have put down enough of a foundation down to make 2016 my biggest yet. so much that can, & is bound to, happen… but for now, 2015.

some goals i had for 2015 were to improve my singing, learn more about (making) music, learn to write lyrics, make more art in general, make more videos, read more & save money. i think, overall, i have done well. with a lot of hard work, my singing has greatly improved. i still wouldn’t call it ‘good’, but i have reached a point that it is not unpleasant to hear. you should know that i have no natural talent for melodic singing whatsoever. later in the year i have also been working on more aggressive vocals. i think that i am much better at that.

this year i also learned to play the guitar! something i never thought i could do. i had lessons in the first half of the year & then just kept practicing on my own, & with my brother. i also tried to learn some musical theory, but that ended up being a disaster, haha.

as for other arts, i did a bit of sewing, drawing, & painting. i ended up mostly writing. in november i spontaneously participated in nanowrimo again & succeeded in writing a novel of 50,000 words. i wrote some short stories too. & even some poems, which could also be lyrics.

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i didn’t make as many videos or read as many books as i planned, because i honestly wasn’t as interested in it as i expected to be. & my last goal of saving money…. hahahahaha. what a spectacular fail. it was an educative fail though.

but enough of the boring goal stuff. i also did a lot of fun things this past year. some of my biggest highlights were my trip to england to see frank iero & later the wgt festival in germany with one of my favourite people in the world. i went to a lot of parties & other events with people i adore. of course i also went to a lot of concerts. i saw quite a few amazing bands more than once. even sort of befriended some of them. big highlight there is every time i die, who i will see again, at least three times, next year.

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i traveled around a lot more than i had expected this year, which was fantastic. budapest, brighton, oxford, around germany & just new places in the netherlands. this year i have really come to realize how happy traveling can make me. compared to that, all the material shit that i usually spend my money on means nothing.

speaking of material shit, this year i have been put off materialism and capitalism like i never have before. while i have also become obsessed with lolita fashion. oh, the contradiction. but especially later in the year, i really have become less materialistic. while i did spend a hell of a lot of money this year, i don’t think i bought that much (compared to previous years). a major reason for this is music. i am listening to stray from the path’s black friday as i’m typing this. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard TOO MANY PEOPLE BUY TOO MANY THINGS THEY DON’T EVEN NEED in my head as i was contemplating some essentially useless purchase. stray from the path has been one of my biggest musical obsessions this year. along with bands like cancer bats, counterparts, letlive. & rolo tomassi. it’s like i’ve fallen in love with hardcore & hardcore-related music in general all over again. more than ever it felt like that is where i belong.

yes, this has been a good year. of course, there were also some less pleasant things, but they are so small compared to the rest. i am so grateful for the many nice experiences i’ve had & the things that i’ve learned. thank you to everyone who was a part of it!

some honourable mentions: ♥ growing my hair out & dying it green ♥ turning 25 ♥ that crazy weekend around my birthday ♥ confirming my eye surgery ♥ comic books ♥ gala darling providing endless inspiration ♥ getting back into games ♥ successfully finishing the second year of my study ♥ being secretary of my study association, with a wonderful team around me ♥ anime ♥ meeting so many fantastic new people ♥ including online friends & acquaintances ♥ wearing my same favourite clothes over & over again ♥ knitting ♥ the shows penny dreadful, vikings, & gilmore girls ♥ re-reading all the harry potter books ♥ scents ♥ the elf fantasy fair ♥ pop punk ♥ making a 2015 playlist on spotify ♥ minimalism ♥ having a decent hardcore festival in my old local town ♥ shamelessly indulging in my girliest side ♥ re-discovering old favourite things ♥ enjoying a subscription to rock sound ♥ visiting libraries for fun again ♥ wandering around new cities without any plan ♥ honesty ♥