Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: 5 Best Places I’ve Visited

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

A herd of bison walking on a plain

Place: Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Why I Loved It: This isn’t my photo, but I remember being mesmerized by the herds of elk, buffalo, and other large animals when my family visited Yellowstone when I was a kid. It’s awe-inspiring to be that close to creatures you’d normally only see in photos or videos. This is a fantastic place to visit for people of all ages and ability levels. Two parents and three young children sitting on a large boulder at Vedauwoo National Park.


Place: Vedawoo National Park in Wyoming

Why I Loved It: Here’s an old photo of my parents, siblings, and me in Vedawoo when I was a child. It’s such a wonderful place to enjoy nature and spend time with people you care about. Someday I hope I’ll get to go back there and have another picnic and hike like we did so many times when I was little. Maybe it could even be a big extended family trip! My nephews would like running around in Vedawoo.


A small ship floating next to a gigantic wall of ice in Alaska
Photo credit: Jim Schoch

Place: Alaska

Why I Loved It: I’ve mentioned this Alaskan cruise my extended family took here before. The scenery in Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful both on water and on land. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and would love to explore the parts of it I didn’t have time for on my first trip there. There were more sights to see than there were hours in the day!

Lydia standing on Labadee Beach in Haiti

Place: Labadee Beach in Haiti

Why I Loved It: I love swimming and building sandcastles. Soaking up all of that warm sunshine feels great, too.  Labadee Beach was private beach in Haiti my spouse and I have visited on a few different winter cruises. It was warm, relaxing, and peaceful. As you can probably already guess, I’d love to go back here again someday as well. There’s something nice about returning to vacation spots you already know you’ll enjoy. In the meantime, my fingers are crossed that it might be okay to visit Toronto’s beaches this summer. We’ll have to see how this year goes.

I have no idea what to add for my fifth answer to this week’s prompt, so I’ll stop here. Prince Edward Island and Hawaii are still on my bucket list, so maybe I’ll be able to see them eventually!


Top Ten Tuesday: My Hopes for 2021

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

These are my hopes for 2021. Some are serious while others are purely frivolous.

a red lighted candle burning in an otherwise dark room

1. That all of us who can be vaccinated for Covid-19 will be able to receive that vaccine this year. Herd immunity saves so many lives.

2. That this pandemic ends quickly and the economy of every country stabilizes again.

3. That President Biden’s transition into the White House goes smoothly.

4. That Toronto gets at least one decent blizzard this year. I love how quiet our corner of the world becomes when there’s a thick layer of snow covering everything.

5. That Jana eventually chooses one of my submissions for a future Top Ten Tuesday theme. Haha!

6. That streaming services or TV channels make more science shows like Cosmos while we’re all waiting for museums to safely reopen. I love learning about how our world works.

7. That all of our favourite living authors release new books this year.

silhoutte of person sitting by a beach and raising their hands to the sky as the sun sets8. That everyone gets two weeks of paid vacation time to rest and relax after everything that happened in 2020.

I’d argue that frontline workers should get at least double that amount of time off in appreciation of everything they did in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. to keep the rest of us safe, healthy, fed, and educated.

9. That I find the perfect job for my strengths, skills, and interests (and you do, too, if you also need this!)

10. That all of us have a peaceful, happy, and wonderful 2021.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Goals for 2021

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Due to the pandemic, I’m keeping my goals small, flexible, and open-ended this year. Right now Toronto is in lockdown due to our hospitals being overrun with patients suffering from life-threatening cases of Covid-19. Everyone has been ordered to avoid mixing with other households and to only leave home for essential purposes like grocery shopping or going to work (for those who can’t work from home).

Drawing of a person holding a thick lit candle in their opened, cupped palms.

I’m doing my best not to try to predict when the current vaccination efforts here will begin to reduce the pressure on our overwhelmed hospitals, much less when life will start to feel at all normal again.

These are the things I can control, so they’re the goals I’ve set for this year:

Meditate Daily. I meditated a few times a week in 2020 and am trying to make that part of my daily routine in 2021.

Exercise Daily. Not all of my workouts are strenuous by any means. Sometimes I simply go take a walk and enjoy the crisp, winter air! I notice both mental and physical health benefits from doing something active every single day, so I make a point of prioritizing it.

Look for the Good in the World. Honestly, I believe this habit is most important in times just like these. This doesn’t mean I ignore the difficult parts of life, only that I think humans sometimes need a little prodding to take note of what’s going well for them (or humanity in general).

Try New Things. Right now this must be limited to new recipes, TV shows, and movies, but I hope it will be safe to leave home and expand that list dramatically later on this year. Will I be able to take that dance class I wanted to try a year ago? Make new friends? Learn a new skill? End up with a job or volunteering gig as a result of saying yes to something I haven’t even heard of yet? The possibilities are endless, and I’m open to them all.

Finally, here is one final goal that is only somewhat under my control this year but still important to me:

Get Vaccinated Against Covid-19 . I’m in a low risk group for this illness, so it will be quite a while before there are enough vaccines for young, healthy folks like me. Still, I want to do my part to help end this pandemic for the sake of everyone who can’t be vaccinated and/or who is high risk for this illness.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

As always, I don’t know exactly when I’ll be reading these books. So much depends on if or when they arrive at my local library!

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor book cover. Image on cover is of a woman's face that is also a large forest.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Release Date: January 19

Why I Want to Read It: I’m always interested in checking out Ms. Okorafor’s new stories.


The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin book cover. Image on cover is of two yellow roses in bloom.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Release Date: February 18

Why I Want to Read It: Intergenerational friendships always catch my eye.


Love Is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of a skeptical young woman looking to the side.

Love Is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann

Release Date: February 23

Why I Want to Read It: The title makes me giggle.


The Salt in Our Blood  by Ava Morgyn book cover. Image on cover shows young girl holding a lantern against a stylized night sky that includes swirls of red, orange, purple, and blue.

The Salt in Our Blood  by Ava Morgyn

Release Date: March 2

Why I Want to Read It: It sounds like something I would have loved to read as a teenager.


The Conductors by Nicole Glover book cover. Image on cover shows young woman holding a lantern. There is an illustrated celestial map superimposed on the trees behind her.

The Conductors by Nicole Glover

Release Date: March 2

Why I Want to Read It: The Underground Railroad is one of those historical topics that isn’t talked about enough in fiction.


Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town  by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock book cover. Image on cover shows two people standing in a parking lot between a diner and a truck.

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town  by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Release Date: April 1

Why I Want to Read It: I grew up in various small towns. While that wasn’t the lifestyle for me, I do have a soft spot for books that accurately describe what it’s like to be part of such an insular and tight-knit community.


Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal book cover. Image on coer shows young woman and wolf both wearing blue sunglasses.

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

Release Date: April 27

Why I Want to Read It: I enjoy the occasional werewolf story and am quite curious to see how the main character’s Lyme Disease affects the course of the plot.


The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary book cover. Image on cover shows sketch of back of car driving away on a road trip.

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Release Date: April 29

Why I Want to Read It: Oh, how I miss road trips! Maybe I can live vicariously through this one until it’s safe to do them again.



The Ones We're Meant to Find  by Joan He book cover. Image on cover shows two young woman closing their eyes and touching their heads together.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find  by Joan He

Release Date: May 4

Why I Want to Read It: I love the idea of characters using science to help humanity.


Jay's Gay Agenda  by Jason June book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of two young men standing in a park gazing into each other's eyes.

Jay’s Gay Agenda  by Jason June

Release Date: June 1

Why I Want to Read It: The title made me giggle. Yes, funny titles are something that can easily convince me to give a book a try.

The 2021 Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge Topics

Happy New Year! Long and Short Reviews has released the list of topics for their second year of Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge posts. There isn’t a topic for today, but I will be participating in it again beginning next week.

If you’re having trouble reading the graphic above, scroll down for a transcription of it. Everyone is welcome to join in!


6 -My Goals for 2021

13 -5 Best Places I’ve Visited

20 – Something I Collected as a Child

27 -A Book/Movie/TV Show That Influenced My Life



3 – A Few of My Favourite Things

10 – Most Romantic Book or Movie Ever

17 – How I Take Care of My Health

24 -My Greatest Strength



3 – My Greatest Weakness

10 – Best Non-Book Gifts for Readers

17 – My Theme Song

24 – What My Last Meal Would Be 

31 – TV Shows I Binge Watch(ed)



7 – Books I Chose Based on the Cover or Title

14 – If I Won a Large Lottery Jackpot, I Would….

21 – Creative Outlets I Enjoy

28 – Favourite Outdoor/Nature Activities



5 – Fictional Characters I’d Love to Meet and Why

12 – My Favourite Indulgence 

19 – Recent Topics I’ve Googled

26 – My Fantasy Vacation




2 – My Favourite Book and How I’d Cast It for a Movie

9 – The Best Gift I Ever Received

16 – The Best Part of Each Season

23 – Saddest Book I’ve Ever Read

30 – A Person Who Inspires Me



7 – Best Biography or Auto-Biography

14 – Favorite Holiday (and a Recipe)

21 – 5 Items I Can’t Live Without

28 – TV Show/Movie/Book That Could Be About Me



4 – Meet My Pets

11 – My Bad Habits

18 – One Task I Wish I Never Had to Do Again

25 – Book I Wish They’d Make Into a Movie or TV Series



1 – The Best Dish I Cook (and Recipe)

8 – What I Do to Recharge

15 – Books to Include in a Time Capsule and Why

22 – What Makes Me LOL

29 – Something I Wish Someone Would Invent



6 – Required Reading in School – Yay! Or Nay?! Why?

13 – An Odd or Useless Talent

20 – Scariest Books I’ve Ever Read

27 – Favorite Halloween Treats



3 – Words to Live By 

10 – Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received

17 – Paperback, Ebook, or Audio?

24 – Traditional Thanksgiving Foods I Like (or Dislike)



1 – What Sparks My Creativity 

8 – What I Thought of Santa as a Kid

15 – Funniest Book I’ve Ever Read 

Graphic for the Wednesday Blogging Challenge. Image in graphic shows a laptop sitting on a wooden surface.

Let the blogging begin!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2020

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl 2020 was a topsy-turvy reading year for me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you feel the same way. We’ve all been through a lot this year. The Deep by Rivers Solomon (My review of it is here). What I Liked Most About It: The world building… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Profession From a Book I’d Love to Try

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. I can’t count the number of books I’ve read about libraries and the librarians who work there. Being a librarian seems like an amazing job to… Read More