Monthly Archives: March 2021

Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: June 5, 2012

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“The Darkling slumped back in his chair. ‘Fine,’ he said with a weary shrug. ‘Make me your villain.’”

Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone

So Shadow and Bone is becoming a TV show on April 23, 2021, and I wanted to prepare for this by reading and re-reading the Grisha Trilogy, Six of Crows duology, King of Scars, and Rule of Wolves. I began by re-reading Shadow and Bone. While I didn’t enjoy it the first time, I found my thoughts changed quite a bit the second time around.


Reading Order

First let me start by saying that originally, I picked up the Six of Crows duology before reading the Grisha trilogy, and it definitely made it far more confusing to read. The trilogy has a lot of world-building and explanations, which are helpful to read before the duology, which is meant to take place two years later. Also, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom mentioned a lot of the characters and storylines from this trilogy, so it’s nice to be able to catch those things. Here’s what I suggest: Read Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, followed by Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Then go on to King of Scars and Rule of Wolves.


The Grisha world is so well-developed it blows my mind. Leigh Bardugo’s work is absolutely amazing, and I love what she’s created. In this book in particular, it’s a little hard to follow at times, with all the explanations of the different kinds of Grisha, but it gets easier as it continues. This is one of my favourite fantasy worlds of all time.


As someone who read Six of Crows first, I definitely wasn’t expecting this plot to focus so much on one character. Six of Crows follows six vastly different people very closely, but this focuses mainly on sole protagonist Alina. This is a fairly quick read, and quite fast-paced as well, with the plot being easy to follow and interesting as well. I’d definitely suggest people to continue on with this story, because it only gets better, with Bardugo adding more twists and turns in the plot. This also focused far more on romance, which I wasn’t so used to. It was definitely a good addition, just really differently written than her other books.


Characters was one point which I struggled with in this book. I didn’t love Alina, which is difficult because she’s the main character, and I definitely didn’t love Mal either. Alina was lacking he confidence I love in characters, and Mal was pretty annoying at times. Side characters such as Genya were okay, but there was no one I was crazy about. My favourite was probably The Darkling, but of course he has his problems as well. However, again, as the series continued, more characters were introduced or given more prominent roles, and they really began to grow on me.

Final Thoughts

Read this book! If you love Leigh Bardugo or the Grishaverse or you just want to prepare for the show, I would definitely recommend picking up this book!

Happy reading!

Concert: Lauv

Week 11: Blog Post / Mini Assignment #6

Featured Image Credit: Bandwagon

Wave hands up and down, spin and blackout! And that’s a wrap on the mini assignments for the semester. This GIF represents fun and excitement, I would send it when discussing parties or concerts.

But I have more to say about the artist in this GIF.

This GIF is created from Lauv’s concert, which I attended back in 2018 at Fortune Sound Club. Lauv is a pop artist who is known for his hit song I Like Me Better. In this GIF he is performing that song. Although there is no sound in the GIF, through the lights and his actions you can see that it is a very upbeat and fun song. I think this GIF perfectly describes Lauv and his music.

However, Lauv’s songs range in variety. I Like Me Better is a fun and upbeat song but he also has songs like Sad Forever, which discusses depression and mental health. Through the lyrics in this song listeners can empathize with Lauv and understand what he is going through. Also in the song Lauv sings softly but fast and I think this fits perfectly with the message of the song, because mental illness can sometimes take away ones voice or make it super fast due to anxiety.

Here are a few other songs of his I enjoy, Paris In The Rain, I’m So Tired, Modern Loneliness, Easy Love, Breathe, The Story Never Ends, Getting Over You, Reforget , There’s No Way and Fake. Basically, what I’m saying is I like all of his songs.

It was a great concert and as I have said before smaller concerts like this are always a lot of fun!

Here is the full video of that clip that was used in the GIF:  

Multiple Channels

Week 11: Process Post

Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

Unfortunately, I was sick and could not attend this week’s lecture on Multiple Channels and Multiple Media, and the link to the lecture slides was not working, so I had to do some research on the definition of transmedia. From the website Target Internet, I found out that transmedia deals with telling stories or producing content across multiple media platforms.

In this process post I will be discussing how I plan to integrate more transmedia into my website and what channels I will be focusing on. YouTube and Spotify will be the two channels I connect with the most. I know there is an argument around whether Spotify is considered a social media channel but for now I will count it as one. Through Spotify I have already created an account called Blue Bedroom Playlists, and I would like to continue to develop that account while getting more followers who enjoy the playlists I create. Through Spotify I would create a specific playlist for DKT MUSIC, so that users could find my website. As for the website users can find the playlists by clicking on the menu option that is titled Blue Bedroom Playlists, and this would connect them to Spotify. I have also linked out to Spotify and integrated the Spotify playlists into my posts.

YouTube would be another channel I would work with. I have also been linking out to YouTube and have integrated videos from the channel onto my site. I think through YouTube I could create playlists and a channel that reviews albums, just as I do on my site. In this way through YouTube I could link my website.

Instagram is another channel which I have been thinking about. I think if I create an account that incorporates the playlists and is an extension of my website that this would help to integrate more transmedia. Through Instagram I could gain followers with shorter posts and if they are interested, they could go to the website for more in-depth posts. Similar with the playlists this could introduce users to the playlists which could lead them to follow my account on Spotify.

The reason I would focus on these three platforms specifically is because I use them the most and they make sense with my website. Spotify and YouTube are both music platforms that I can use to further engage people in the music community. Instagram is a popular social media platform and I find that people like content that is short and quick, for example Instagram stories. So I could engage audiences in this way which could initially lead them to my website.

Link to the definition of transmedia from Target Internet:,blog%20entries%2C%20radio%20and%20advertisements

Peer review 3

Today I am going to be introducing the blog of my classmate Kim. The blog is titled Kim’s Eureka and is full of Aha moments and adventures Kim shares with her readers. 

First thoughts 🤔

When you enter Kim’s blog you land on her hello page. From this page, I can see she has a great understanding of the topics of her blog: yoga, wellness and spirituality. When Kim addresses her readers she is honest and gives you details about who she is and the purpose of her blog. I like that this Hello page was neat, clear and modern. Kim added a picture of herself to the right. She uses bolded works to highlight text and the spacing is great for reading.  

Design 🤍

The design of her top banner of her page is very nice and modern. I liked that she used a shadowing picture of a yoga pose, it visually gives insight into what the blog is about. She has a link to her Linkedin account, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube channel in the menu bar. Kim uses a grayish palette combined with colorful undertones. She has two main sections in her menu or navigation bar. The Eureka section is aligned with the categories she created for the blog posts. It seems like she took time to also color code the sections in her blog either gold or silver. She creates images for each blog post that gives the overall blog a consistent look. I liked how she links up videos, audios, photos and even posts within her blog to share basic examples. At the bottom of her page she added a calendar and a sign up section for a newsletter. Kim also included a section where you can use tags to help you navigate the content of her blog. I would recommend trying to change the lighter color of the text and/or size; at times it was difficult to read. When navigating Kim’s Eureka I learned a lot from external links. 

Content 😌

Her content often includes screenshots and details. She keeps a casual tone when writing but makes great connections with class content, discussion and readings. She also summarizes her takeaways from each week of class which was very helpful to see. Kim is very careful with her grammar and has a great vocabulary, I had to google some of the words she used. I really enjoyed when she used emojis within her text. I would recommend creating a section where she gives readers some recommended ways to navigate the website. Maybe creating a page that outlines what will be found in each tag or section of the blog and how to better find the content the reader wants. 

Audience and Advertising 👏

Kim’s intended audience is folks who are interested in fitness, yoga and wellness. I am learning about yoga just now, so I wouldn’t know which channels to recommend. Maybe post ads on yoga studios websites, like Oxygen Yoga and Fitness. I would recommend using both text based simple ads and other ads with pictures to reach a wider audience. 

I think Kim made great connections in her blog. I really liked the yoga tips. The image selection was beautiful. Kim’s website shows she dedicated a lot of effort and time into her page. 

Namaste! 🙏

The Dangers of Advertising in Journalism

Tom Bleymaier’s article, On Advertising – Maria Popova, opened my eyes to the dangers of advertising in journalism. In the case of Maria Popova, she has made an immense amount of money by using affiliate links and generating even more by soliciting donations. All while claiming her site is “ad-free.” According to Bleymaier, the Affiliate form of advertising is more disruptive, as it interrupts the reader with a link, and encourages the writer to change their tone in order to encourage the purchase. Ultimately, Bleymaier argues that it is morally wrong to claim to be “ad-free” when benefitting from Affiliate links and donations. He underscores the importance of transparency when using programs such as Amazon’s Affiliate links.

In terms of my site, it may be difficult to incorporate Affiliate links as there is not much for me to advertise. Hopefully, I will be able to come up with something down the road!


My Spotify Infographic

For this week’s mini assignment, I decided to summarize my online self by focusing on what I spend most of my time online doing, listening to music. I chose to highlight my top tracks, genres, and artists to give a better idea of the music I tend to listen to. I used Canva to make the infographic.

Here are some links to help find out your Spotify statistics:

eReaders vs Books

When eReaders started to take the book world by storm, I swore that I would never get one. I loved reading actual books too much, feeling them in my hands and collecting them on my book shelf. My parents made the switch first, buying Kobo’s while I continued buying real books.

I am someone who does most of my reading on vacation, and I am a very fast reader. So I started to have the trouble of packing books in my suitcase and not weighing it down. Finally, after filling my suitcase as much as I could too many times, I decided to cave and buy an eReader.

I immediately fell in love with it. It’s so light, and I love how many books I can carry on it. I even got a waterproof Kobo, so I can sit in the pool, a hot tub, or the bath without worrying about dropping it in. I also started to borrow ebooks from the library, instead of buying books all the time. Although there was the initial high price of the eReader, I have saved so much money borrowing ebooks. I also love how I can do this without having to leave my house, I can get the library download for a book instantly, or join the waitlist to get it as soon as possible.

I do still own plenty of hardcopy books, and I won’t be getting rid of these any time soon. I maybe buy about one or two hardcopy books a year, especially if it’s a special book I know I want for a long time. But the eReader has completely changed the game for me, and I will never go back to only reading hard copy books all the time.

If you’ve been thinking of buying an eReader, consider this as a sign. Here is my favourite.

The post eReaders vs Books appeared first on Home.

Ye (2018) Review


Ye is Kanye West’s eighth studio album, released in June of 2018. The album paints a vivid picture of the state of his relationship with himself, his family, his mental health, and addiction at the time of the album’s release. Mental health is especially prevalent, considering he officially announces his diagnosis of bipolar disorder on the album cover.

Kanye starts off Ye with one of the darkest tracks on the album. “I Thought About Killing You,” unapologetically explores the deepest corners of his mind and admits to the thought of premeditated murder. Throughout the song, Kanye explores the dichotomy of Kanye as a figure and artist, as well as Kanye as a human being. The song could be interpreted to explain that he has considered killing Kanye as an artist, meaning he would quit music, as well as killing human Kanye, committing suicide. He struggles with these thoughts despite loving himself. The “you” he references, likely being himself, introduces the bipolar angle of the album. During the spoken-word portion of the song, he uses a pitch-shift effect to symbolize the bipolar nature of his internal monologue. The track begins with subtle, angelic vocal harmonies which border extraterrestrial. At 3:10, the beat switches, turning into a combination of glossy synths and creating a more aggressive mood and atmosphere. This track functions as a good beginning to the album, introducing many prevalent themes and exploring Kanye’s mind frame around the time of the album’s release.

“Yikes” is another track with dark undertones, highlighting Kanye’s struggles with drug abuse and mental illness. He explains that his frequent use of hallucinogens and prescription opioids have caused him to have suicidal thoughts, a common result of opioid addiction. The narrative shifts from Kanye speaking about himself in the first person to the third person may be indicative of his bipolar disorder, which causes quick shifts in mental and emotional states. At the end of the song, Kanye comes to terms with his struggles, as opposed to seeing his disorder as a disability, he chooses to see it as a superpower. Overall, the song’s simple beat and Kanye’s killer flow depict a man on the edge. The song’s content is again, very dark, but the song itself is catchy. “Wouldn’t Leave” is an ode to Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian. The song depicts a more sincere side of Kanye, as he expresses gratitude for his wife for sticking by him through thick and thin. He references faults of his such as his famous rant on Sway in the Morning or his more recent TMZ interview. He outlines much of the adversity he experienced in the months leading up to the release of this album, including that which he faced behind closed doors. This song is reminiscent of the old Kanye and has a sort of throwback 80s R&B energy. PARTYNEXTDOOR’s slick, harmonized vocals mixed with the track’s glittering keys and subtle percussion make this a highlight on the album.

The most notable song on the album is “Ghost Town” which is an ode to complete numbness, ironic that it is also the album’s emotional and sonic climax. In the chorus, Kid Cudi confesses Kanye’s deepest desire, to be loved and adored by the masses. However, the deeper you analyze the song, the more you come to understand that these desires are directed toward himself. Acceptance is a huge theme on the entire album. Kanye switches between addressing himself in the second and first-person, again drawing on Ye’s bipolar angle. Cudi’s deep voice and mournful vocals emphasize feelings of rejection, whereas 070 Shake sings about being invincible. The juxtaposition between their voices and the content of what they proclaim brilliantly highlights the depression and mania that accompany bipolar disorder. “Ghost Town” has a nostalgic beat with a blaring, distorted guitar, and some of Kanye’s best singing. My favorite part of the track is 070 Shake’s chilling two-minute-long outro. 

Heji Shin, Kanye III, 2018.

Overall, the album is raw and unfiltered both emotionally and sonically, with simple mixes, synths, and obscure samples. However, the production is a bit rough and I wish the album as a whole were longer. It tackles such deep topics that it seems unfair to make the album so brief. Since most of the album was written and produced the week leading up to its release, a lot of these issues could likely have been tweaked if given more time.


Favorite tracks: “Ghost Town”

Least favorite track: “All Mine”

Overall rating: 4.5/5


Open in Spotify

How do I Annotate my Books?

Journalling, sticky notes, writing in the margins? There are many ways to annotate your books and make them more personal to you. Here are some of the ways I have annotated books in the past!

 Sticky Tabs

The most frequent way I have annotated books is by using sticky tabs! This is the least permanent way as they come off easily and do not damage the pages, which makes it ideal for books you are borrowing from friends or the library. I’ve seen people who have an actual sticky note key and system (pink for romance, green for the plot, etc.) However, I usually am not sure what I plan to tab until reading so I tend not to go for a system and just tag moments I like – character interactions, quotes I like, or other points I think I might want to revisit later on. Sometimes I like to just reread my favourite parts of a book by going through the tabs in my copy!

Writing in books

This isn’t something I’ve done a lot, but I think there’s something so satisfying about seeing a book filled up with annotations showing how well-loved it is! The only books I have done this in are my copies of the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. As I was reading them I could already tell they were going to be favourites of mine (plus I didn’t want to disrupt the sprayed edges) so I decided to underline quotes and write some notes in the margins.

As I reread Six of Crows in the summer, I also added to these along with putting bigger sticky notes with important plot points and names of the background characters/ gangs in the front of my copy to refer to. I decided to do this so I would be able to better understand the intricacies of the plot the second time around, and discuss it with my friends!

I usually am hesitant to write in my books in case I do end up giving them away or selling them later on, but there are a few like Six of Crows that I love and enjoy making my copies more personal. If you are looking for ways to personalize your books, try a book stamp or embosser! I actually got both for my birthday and they have been really fun to use on my favourite books in my collection, especially when I might lend them out! They both say “From the library of Victoria”. Here is what an embossed page looks like:

Personalized Embosser

Another way to “write” in your books is by using small sticky notes that you can leave between the pages! This is also a cool way to annotate a book for a friend. It can be a way to highlight parts that remind you of them and make it really personal or however you like. Kayla actually did this for my birthday with a beautiful edition of The Bell Jar, and I cannot wait to read it! It feels like extra little surprises waiting for me to read inside the book. I think I might try this method more in books as it is a way to jot down a short thought while also being removable if you end up wanting to take them out, or if it’s not your book. Right now, I am reading her copy of New Moon, so I decided to leave her some notes of my thoughts throughout which I hope she finds entertaining :).  Another great thing about annotations is that they can help you to organize and remember your thoughts and feelings about a book, especially if you plan to create a post when you finish. Which brings me to my next point about journaling…


If you don’t wish to write in your books, you might keep a journal where you can write the page number along with your thoughts. While I tend to sticky note most of my books, I often do this with books I have to return to the library and do not have my own copy of! I’ve also gotten into creative journaling for books which is a whole other topic, but can be a fun way to display some of your favourite quotes or even write your thoughts on the book next to images (drawings, stickers, photos, fanart) of your choice!

My Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom Journal Pages


I don’t read eBooks a lot but when I do, one of my favourite things is the annotation function! You can easily highlight and leave comments on the text, as well as search up certain words or quotes which comes in very handy. I read the entire All For The Game trilogy in ebook format on my iPad a few years ago, and it’s cool to be able to look at the comments I left! While Goodreads allows users to do status updates for books they are currently reading, I often don’t want to constantly pause to update or include potential spoilers so those turn into more general thoughts. Another thing I’ve seen people do is share threads of the book they are currently reading on Twitter, along with screenshots of their eBook highlights etc, basically live-tweeting their reactions. I tried to do this last year with my copy of Chain of Gold, just taking pictures of my tagged quotes and adding my thoughts. It was fun, but this time when I read Chain of Iron, I might try making a reading vlog for BookTok or some other type of content (Let me know if you have anything you’d like to see!)

So it seems like my annotation style varies from book to book depending on the story, copy, and format. I know for myself, sticky notes are definitely here to stay, though I’d like to start writing and personalizing more of my own copies of books!

Please let me know what ways you annotate your books! Is there a way you think is the best? I’d love to hear them and get further ideas.

The post How do I Annotate my Books? appeared first on Procrastireader.

Beware of the Dogs Album Cover Remix

For this Mini Assignment I decided to remix the cover of an album I have been really into recently. Stella Donnelly’s 2019 debut studio album, Beware of the Dogs, has been on repeat for the last few months. Between her captivating voice, strong message, and indie-rock sound, I cannot get enough. My favorite tracks on the album include, “Old Man”, “Tricks”, and “Boys Will Be Boys”.

Open in Spotify



Peer Review #3: Average Sam

Hi everyone! This post will be another peer review, this time on the blog Average Sam! Average Sam is a blog celebrating all things creative as reiterated with the tagline on her banner: “Staying Creative. Trying her best.” If you are looking for new creative adventures, Sam’s site is the place to be as she posts new activities each week and encourages readers to join in by sharing photos of their creations in the comments! As I will be providing feedback and suggestions in this review, I will be addressing it to Sam. 

Hi Sam,

First off, I love the visuals on your site so much! It feels very fun and artsy with your use of primary colours, graphics, and of course the egg cursor! I think the sidebar where you highlight the “Activity of the Week” is also a great idea to pique the interest of your audience and get them involved with your site. This definitely helps to develop a feeling of consistency for your brand. It has a carefree association with it, which I think goes well with the backstory of creating your blog. As you mention on your about page, Average Sam has been a way to celebrate and engage in creativity without judgment and comparison – it’s for fun and highlights how anyone can be an artist! Also on your about page, I loved reading about your work with the community centre and how that care and passion shows through your blog with your “Let’s Cook!” section. One thing I think that could help further solidify your brand is to include your mission statement on your about page too.

When it comes to monetization, ads for craft stores like Michael’s or local craft stores come to mind. If you don’t want banner ads on your site, affiliate advertising could be another option to link to certain craft supplies that you use in the post or ones that are similar! Another option could be a Ko-fi linked on your sidebar. This way people who enjoy your posts and have maybe found a new craft idea, can make a small donation to buy you a coffee and support your work!

I got to take a look at your site near the beginning of the semester and remember loving your “cartoon yourself” post. I’m happy to see that you did the “What I would wear as a cartoon character” TikTok idea! It definitely goes along with the vibe of your content and your outfits are super cute! I think TikTok would be a great platform if you plan to make more content creation videos as there is definitely a space for crafty videos. I have seen a few “before and after” videos for creations that would be perfect for the type of content you make. (Here is a felting one that my friend made!) From making an account this semester, I can say it is definitely addicting and time-consuming though so I can understand if you’d like to stick to your blog.

Sam, I really love the idea behind your site as well as your branding. Your site is visually engaging and very refreshing with its unique graphics. I think your personality comes across in your posts which are written well and very nicely put together. Though you consider yourself to be “average” at most things, consider me impressed! (That 20 min corsage, wow!) You have also inspired me to try more creative projects just for the fun of it. I hope that you continue with Average Sam after the semester, as it seems like it has given you a much-needed opportunity to unwind from all the work you do and create some art!

– Victoria

The post Peer Review #3: Average Sam appeared first on Procrastireader.

Blog Review – Slayer Willow

Peer Review #3 – Willow Leach

For my final peer review, I was paired up with Willow. Her site Slayer Willow is “a combination of text and video-based book reviews and essays” where she focuses on QTBIPOC themes, stories and authors. I’m not really a huge book person myself, I’m just getting to read the Harry Potter series now, (obviously buying used as not to support JKR.) I definitely can appreciate the time and effort that has gone into this site and the genuine and helpful reviews.

I know this peer review is meant to be less about design, but I just wanted to point out how great I think Willow’s site looks. It’s super functional, it looks great, and I love the dynamic front page. The movement prevents the site from being too static and is a great carousel to show off any new content.

Willow’s site does a great job of tell her brands story, and it’s not too long that people won’t read it but is short enough to present the important things we need to know. Her brand is compelling to her target audience and is very inclusive and inviting to every kind of reader. As an avid TikTok user myself, I can really appreciate her post “I’m on BookTok!” I think that this was a perfect opportunity for a call to action. By including a video of hers from TikTok as opposed to just the link, this encourages users to check out her content, and it takes them directly to her account for more. Willow’s site is set up very well for possible monetization. TikTok specifically is a huge growing market for brand deals, sponsored posts, and even affiliate links. In class, we talked about a few of my other peers’ website; specifically, those about book and the possible collaborations with brands like Audible and Indigo. I think that Willow’s site is another that would fit this criteria perfectly. Especially if she chooses to pursue creating more content on TikTok.

Next, it appears that Willow has taken the feedback she received from Sara’s peer review and applied some of them to her site. I agree with Sara that adding a little teaser to her goodreads would definitely help with building her audience. By luring the readers in, she could see huge growth on her site. However, Willow did follow Sara’s advice by filtering out her school related content. The home page is purely filled with content directly related to her site and think that really helps to maintain a sense of coherence.

Overall, Willow’s site is super functional, and she has huge opportunities for monetization. I love the look of her site, and I look forward to seeing her on BookTok!

xx Savannah

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

process post wk 10

When hearing the word analytics I think about donations. I think about how a website is supported. 

what is the cost?

It costs mostly a dollar shown by users who support the website. Users give their attention and participation to websites by commenting and watching. They can also click adds. However, the cost is leaving evidence or data breadcrumbs behind. The downside is that this data can be tracked down.

what is my opinion about data trails?

My thoughts are “where’s the data trails coming from?” I haven’t got any expectations that users can attract other websites. Before our lecture on privacy I did not know that data trails existed and that this information was being collected. When browsing online, I have not gotten a chance to browse what my data footprint can be. 

Is there hope?

I have not given up on preserving my data online. Although I just learned about this I want to continue learning about this and how to have a more private online browsing experience.  I think we have an opportunity to use this for good. For example websites like we can use our online power to giving money, finding missing pets or starting petitions for a topic of your choice. – Peer Review 3

For our final peer review, I was paired with Savannah, who runs, a personal blog dedicated to “lifestyle, travel, [and] health & wellness”. 

Savannah’s blog is visually stunning, something that visitors can immediately feel soothed and welcome by. The design is very user-friendly and simplistic, which lends great to accessibility while staying within a clean and modern aesthetic. 

The About Me page centres the framing of the website, and serves as a great introduction to Savannah’s brand and personality. I really like how clear her mission statement is without explicitly stating that it is her brand’s mission. While I tend to follow content creators who fit into more specific niches that align with my interests, the brand and business narrative being presented here are very effective and have piqued my interest greatly. Savannah notes that she strives to be “authentic” on her About page, and that authenticity is extremely present and what is keeping me enticed by her brand. 

From that, the posts on the site are very reflective of the overall goals. The content of the website is very well aligned to the topics outlined in the About page, with each topic of interest clearly organized in the drop-down menu. I really appreciate the raw honesty in her post Well, It Finally Happened… in which she discusses testing positive for COVID-19. It’s personable in the way it’s written and the subject matter, but the categorization of the post fits seamlessly in with the branding of the blog. I also really enjoyed reading R.I.P. To My Bank Account. I love fashion and clothes, so it was great to see some very nice pieces, but also to learn more about who Savannah is. All of her posts have that same theme of fitting with her interests and speaking to her personality, which achieves her blog mission incredibly. 

I completely agree with Cailey’s peer review of Savannah’s site, especially with the emphasis on how Savannah is inviting her audience into what works for her and encouraging them to find their own ways and inspiration from her, rather than telling them what to do. I also think that Savannah should continue to focus on copy editing her content, as there were a few typos in the posts I looked at.

In terms of monetization, the site’s design makes it friendly for advertising, and making ads stand out. While I think the site could use Google Ads, or other kinds of banner ads, I believe sponsorships and affiliate links would be more effective and logical ways of monetizing. For example, I think having a discount code or a sponsored post for comfortable and fashionable workout clothes would fit really well into her brand, all without forcing banner ads or clicks, which can deter an audience. This would be great on the blog itself, or on her YouTube channel, where sponsored content and banner/preroll ads can generate funds. 

Overall, I think Savannah’s blog is very well branded and extremely compelling. She has found a wonderful balance of the personal and professional self in her content, which is great for drawing in a broad audience and for monetization. I really look forward to seeing how her blog and brand continue to develop! 

Peer Review: Chii’s Sweet Home

Today’s post is going to be another blog review, this time for Chiharu, over at Chii’s Sweet Home, who shares “home-cooked recipes, inspired by Asian cuisine with a touch of Western style”, which I’m very excited to look into. This is going to be an overall review of the site and it’s functionality, as well as some ideas on how to further it. Let’s get started!

The front page of the site is really visually appealing, and I really like the light pink colour as the background, as it’s not too distracting, but also a bit more creative than a white background. The about page is also very inviting, and really sweet and simple, but I think it can benefit from including a more formal mission statement. I also believe a contact page would be really help this site a lot, so that more people can get in touch and share ideas about these recipes and others. This can be as simple as having an email attached to this site, or even more social media platforms.

In terms of social media outreach, a fun option to add to this blog would be a TikTok channel. Chii could make mini recipe videos on TikTok, including how-tos, or recent foods they cooked. Food TikTok is probably one of the most popular niches on TikTok, and I know there would be opportunity for a large audience of people who would love to watch them, including myself! However, another idea is to link out to an Instagram page. I noticed that Chii mentions they already have an Instagram, so even linking that to this site, or having it as an option to contact them would be great.

The posts themselves are really enjoyable to read, and the food looks delicious. They are very well explained, which is great as the posts are not intimidating, and the voice in the writing is quite personable and fun as well. However, the only downfall is that there are not very many posts about food, or recent posts at all. I’d love to see more recipes and food-related posts, since they are so great and such an important component to this blog. I believe it would bring a lot more viewers to the site, and give more options for monetizations or further planning out the business side of the site in the future.

Glad to have viewed this site, and I’m looking forward to seeing it continue to grow!

Response to Peer Review

Emily Sweeney reviewed my website this week and gave me some excellent feedback to think about. I in particular appreciated her feedback about the public I am creating and the audience I am trying to reach with my website. As Michael Warner writes in his essay Publics and Counterpublics, a public is different than the public. Through my website I was trying to address the entire public – the entire internet. Emily pointed out that it may be more effective to target a public, like women, previously homeless folks, or Vancouverites.

I do often have a tendency to “bite off more than I can chew”, trying to address all aspects and perspectives on an issue in an 800 word essay, or address the entire general public with a website. Even knowing this rationally, I am too stubborn to narrow down my population too much (to just women, or to just previously homeless folks). However, narrowing the scope of my blog to just Vancouver is a good compromise between me and the rest of the world.

To change the blog to make it more centred on Vancouver, I will make a few small tweaks in presentation and wording, and the majority of the photos I use will of Vancouver, covering the homeless epidemic locally instead of province- or nation-wide, or globally.

Old Tagline “Our aim is to humanize the dehumanized”
Updated Tagline “Humanizing the Dehumanized in Vancouver, British Colombia”

I’ll also change the tags in each post to put more emphasis on Vancouver, instead of homelessness broadly speaking, and change the “About Me” section of my blog to establish the locale of the blog.

Updated “About Me” Section
Old “About Me” Section

Experiences With the Emergency Department

Many homeless and vulnerably housed folks do not have a GP, and instead bounce between walk in clinics and the emergency departments of various hospitals instead. This is particularly worrying for this population, who are vulnerable to a cornucopia of health problems due to a variety of factors. Unfortunately, empathy for people struggling with mental health problems and addictions is not built into our health care system.

Tonight, a resident in one of my buildings was suffering from a painful hernia, he could not stand up straight or walk on his own. Despite this, he refused to the go to the hospital without first doing laundry, taking a shower and combing his hair. A young Indigenous woman reports a similar narrative to the researchers and authors of In Plain Sight, stating “I am afraid to go to any hospital. When I do have to, I dress up like I’m going to church [in order to receive proper treatment]. It’s ridiculous.” To your or I, this seems absurd. When someone is in a crises of health, they should go to the hospital to receive emergency care.

However, that’s not how the hospital works for everyone. The experiences of Indigenous folks in the healthcare system is a whole post by itself – a whole blog by itself in fact. The colonial healthcare system has a long history of dismissing, disrespecting and abusing Indigenous Peoples, performing medical experiments on them without their consent and denying them proper standard care. Homeless folks and people who use drugs also regularly experience disrespect, neglect, and mistreatment at the hands of jaded and cynical healthcare workers in the emergency department. Their symptoms are regularly dismissed as psychosis or drug-induced, their mental health crises left untreated due to concurrent substance use, and they are often denied medication (particularly pain medication) due to perceptions that they are lying about their symptoms to obtain drugs.

The resident I mentioned above finally made it to the hospital around 3:00am after a painstaking 6 hours of laundering his clothes and showering while in unbearable pain. By 5:00am, he had returned from the hospital – discharged almost immediately, in the same condition as he had left in.

Brand Story Video

Here’s a little video I made about my brand, to reflect the story behind it. My story is heavily dependent upon the fact that I used to really dislike reading when I was younger, and would even rip pages out of household books and draw in books as well, as this joke BookTok shows.

Resources for Homeless Folks In Vancouver BC

Free or Low Cost Food

Free or Low Cost Clothing

Shelters and Warming Shelters

Community Centres for People Experiencing Homelessness

  • Carnegie: outreach services, washrooms, library, meal services, drop in recreational services
  • Evelyne Saller Centre: health support services, washrooms, laundry, meal services

Book Recommendation – Never Enough by Judith Grisel

In her book “Never Enogh, the Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction”, Judith Grisel shares her unique perspective on addiction, as a neuroscientist and person in long-term addiction recovery. 

Through her education and life experience she is able to marry emotional and scientific views to drive her point home to the reader – there is no free lunch. She explains the laws of pharmacology and how the brain adapts to every drug by counteracting the drug’s effects. The opponent process theory (below) illustrates her point. On the right, we see the effects of a drug on a naive brain (in red), the response of the brain to the drug (in blue), and the experience of the user. On the left we see the same processes and experiences but in a seasoned drug user, where the brain has come to anticipate the stimulus and responds immediately and intensely when stimulated – making for a much worse high and much worse withdrawal. 

Opponent – process theory

Grisel explains all the neural processes which indicate addiction; she is the perfect yin to Gabor Mate’s yang. She illustrates her points with diagrams, graphs, and personal anecdotes, making her points clear to understand for anyone, regardless of learning style.
I can’t recommend her book highly enough, her perspectives on addiction are so unique and interesting, and her policy recommendations for addressing addiction are so pragmatic and understanding.

Artist Progression: Taylor Swift

Week 10: Blog Post

Taylor Swift on Politics and Her Sundance Documentary 'Miss Americana' -  Variety

Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews for Variety

Taylor Swift is a very successful artist as many of us know. But why is she so successful?

Taylor Swift is not only a great musician and songwriter, but she is also a storyteller.

Taylor Swift started off as a country pop artist, she had released her debut album Taylor Swift in 2006 and quickly saw success. Then in 2008 with the release of her second album Fearless, she started to become a household name.  

Her album Fearless gave us hits like Love Story and You Belong With Me. You Belong With Me is said to be “one of the best selling singles worldwide.” Taylor Swift was successful at the start of her career because her songs were always honest and relatable.

Her song You Belong With Me, is a story that I think many people can relate to. It’s a story about liking someone and believing that, that person should be with you and not who they are currently with. Here are some lyrics from the song that describe this, She wears high heels / I wear sneakers / She’s Cheer Captain, and I’m on the bleachers /Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find/That what you’re looking for has been here the whole time.

Skipping ahead to her album Speak Now which was released in 2010, it continued to follow the country pop sound but what made it successful was the stories she told throughout these songs. Taylor also has this very soft and whimsical voice that helps listeners feel the emotion in her songs. Taylor Swift has a light-lyric Soprano voice type. Her album Speak Now also had successful hits like Mean, and Sparks Fly. However, my personal favorite is Dear John.

This song is about the relationship she had with John Mayer. Dear John is a honest and vulnerable song, and this song demonstrates that Taylor Swift is not afraid to sing about the truth even when it’s sad and ugly. I think this is why listeners enjoy her music.

Here are some descriptive lyrics from the song where Taylor discusses this toxic relationship she was in, You are an expert at sorry /And keeping the lines blurry /Never impressed by me acing your tests /All the girls that you’ve run dry /Have tired, lifeless eyes / Cause you burned them out /But I took your matches before fire could catch me, /So don’t look now, I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town.

Next is her album Red which was released in 2012. Taylor Swift slowly starts to move away from country to more pop music. Her sound changes, as her songs switch over to an allegro tempo (fast) and are more upbeat. Her voice also gets rough in this album. Songs like I Knew You Were Trouble and Red, were hits. With Red, I especially liked how she added colors to certain emotions, as this creates imagery in the listener’s mind.

Then came her album 1989 in 2014. This was a pop album which was accompanied “by heavy synthesizers, programmed drums and process backing vocals.” She had number one singles like Shake It Off, Blank Space and Bad Blood. This refreshing new pop sound and her story telling skills, grasped people emotionally.

Her next album was Reputation which came out in 2017. She changed her sound and style in this album but still continued to produce stories in her songs. Songs like Look What You Made Me Do, Delicate and Endgame, felt like storylines to movies. Then came her album Lover in 2019, which was the complete opposite of Reputation.

Her most current album releases were Folklore and Evermore which were both released in 2020. Folklore is an amazing album lyrically. Her soft voice and slower tempos return. Her song My Tears Ricochet demonstrated that Taylor is a talented songwriter and storyteller. The lyrics, You wear the same jewels that I gave you / As you bury me, are assumed to be referring to her songs (jewels) that her previous record label still owns and she discusses this pain. This is great song writing because she is able to disguise these problems in stories and tell them through songs. Songs like The 1, Cardigan, Illicit Affairs, Exile, Hoax, This Is Me Trying and Mad Woman, are all great songs lyrically. Her album Evermore is similar to Folklore and songs like Tolerate It and No Body, No Crime are also great songs lyrically. The song No Body, No Crime feels like a murder mystery movie. Taylor Swift is a successful artist and as discussed through this progression I think she continues to be successful because she is a talented song-writer, and each album I discussed was a progression from the last lyrically.