books · culture · international · life curation · travel

Becoming Bilingual – 5 Free Language Resources That Aren’t YT, Duolingo or Podcasts

As an aspiring polyglot, I’m always reviewing language tools and resources that can help me fast track my mastery. Naturally, I dove first into Duolingo, YouTube and various podcasts. But, there are limitations with those resources, and sometimes you just want to try something different.

If you’ve been trying to learn a language but you want to go beyond YouTube videos, podcasts and Duolingo, then this is the post for you! I’ve located five other language learning resources that can help fast track your language learning, give you some much needed variety, and are all completely FREE! I discuss these options in a YouTube video (the link to the video below).

  • Amazon Kindle ebooks – This gives you a great source of free ebooks in various languages, as well as some free instruction books, too. To find them, search for books in a particular language, then filter by price (lowest to highest). Filtering by price shows the lowest priced books first, so you can quickly identify free publications.
  • MIT OpenCourseware – If you’re interested in college-level language instruction, this site is excellent. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) archives resources from courses taught during prior semesters. The courses include syllabi, worksheets, exercises, and links to other great resources. To find these courses, look under the Global Studies and Languages department.
  • Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Free online course material – This page speaks for itself: it’s the material developed by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to instruct diplomats before assigning them to foreign posts. These classes are developed to quickly acquire mastery at the highest levels of language. The link has lots of languages available, especially some that are somewhat rarer and harder to study online.
  • Alison & FutureLearn – Both Alison and FutureLearn offer language classes that are paced and offer certificates of completion at the end of the course (the documentation of completion has a cost). This also gives you the advantage of participating in group discussion and other ways of interacting with other learners.
  • Internet Archive – There is a host of free archived materials on this website, including movies, music, books and newspapers. Find the kind of material you want and filter it by the language that interests you.

Here’s my video, discussing the ways to use these resources:

Those are the five free resources I can recommend for language learning, outside of the most popular recs. Do you have any language resources that work for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

books · writing

Writers Wednesdays – The Books I Planned To Read On Vacation (& What I *Actually* Read)

Initially, I planned to take a couple of hardcover and paperback books with me on vacation. However, my space was at a premium, and I wasn’t able to take any physical books with me. Fortunately, I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I had a way to access a library (my digital library, that is).

Now, I did a whole YouTube video with my hardcover and paperback books that were *supposed* to go on vacay with me. Here’s that video:

The books I discussed in the video were The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Caring Economics edited by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard, and By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie.

In actuality, the books I read while I was gone were Longevity by Maria L. Ellis, MBA and Take Back Your Life by Tami Stackelhouse. These were both digital books (ebooks) downloaded into my Kindle app before I left home, that I read while I lounged poolside in Spain (bliss!).

I’m glad that I chose to read some of my ebooks while I was away, since I tend to prefer paperback and hardcover while I’m at home. Being able to read anywhere I have my phone or laptop was a blessing, and these two books were instrumental in me defining several things I could do right now to uplevel my health (which is why I’ll be reviewing both of them in the weeks to come).

That’s all for my travel reading list! What do you all like to read while traveling or even during your staycations? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

books · culture · reading list · relaxation · words of wisdom · writing

Writers Wednesdays: What I’m Reading This Month

Happy Black History Month! I know I’m a bit late with this post, but I’ve been trying to get back on track with my writing and filming schedule (no easy feat, but I’m getting there!)

I posted a video on my YouTube channel last week, discussing the Black authors that I will be reading this month (I originally had five hardback and paperback books, but also added some digital books to the mix, just in case I finished before the end of the month). I’m focusing on reading up on a few different topics (not just self help!) and branching beyond American-centered stories, which is new for me.

Here is my book list for the month: I’m looking forward to diving into these.

I Am Your Sister by Audre Lorde is the book I’m reading first. You all already know about my love for Audre (I posted some of my favorite Audre quotes a few years back). This book is DENSE, so I already know it’s going to take me a bit more time, and a subsequent read (or two, or three . . . ) to get a good grasp of what she believed and taught. After I finish that, I’ll dive into Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I’ve heard the title before but I’m completely unfamiliar with the plot of the book so I’m really looking forward to this one.

It wouldn’t be my book list is I didn’t include at least one self-help/advice book. Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu promises to show me how to achieve more while doing less. Less effort, more results? Sign me up!

The next two books are about the history of Black entertainment in the US. The Power of Pride by Carole Marks and Diana Edkins spotlights the superstars of the Harlem Renaissance, including some lesser-known luminaries of note. Then, I’ll be enjoying Brown Sugar by Donald Bogle which focuses on Black actresses, singers and other entertainers from the 1920s to 1970s. I’m really excited for both of these books, since I’m in love with all things vintage.

*If* I can get through the main book list, then I have a few others that I can read, that should cover me until the end of the month. The first is The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison, a book that I purchased last year in anticipation of a book club meeting that I planned – and failed – to attend. In any case, I’ve always loved Toni Morrison (I’ve posted about her here and I also wrote about her here, after her passing) and enjoyed her works immensely, so this should be a great one.

Finally, I have one more book that made it onto my back-up list: Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler (I previously read Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind, in this set: “Seed to Harvest: The Patternist Series“). As a huge Octavia Butler fan (I posted about her ages ago), I’ve been eager to get back into reading her books, and Clay’s Ark was next on my list. And, since March is Women’s History month, I can always continue my reading streak and carry this book and the Toni Morrison one into the next month, if I run out of time in February.

That’s my reading list for the month: I’m looking forward to each of these! Do you have any books you’re reading this month? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below. Also, here’s my YouTube video, discussing these books a bit more:

(This post contains affiliate links)

culture · goals · life curation

Inviting In Prosperity

One very popular New Year tradition involves deep cleaning a home, from top to bottom, in order to “bring in” the year properly. I do not deep clean a home simply because the calendar changes from December 31 to January 1, but I did spend a little time thinking of the significance of this, and how, energetically, this applies to a lot of things (not just New Year’s Day).

I wonder how many times abundance or prosperity knocked at my metaphorical door and felt uninvited, because I had too much going on and didn’t have the energy to answer the door. This year, I’m determined to keep inviting in prosperity by clearing out anything that doesn’t serve me currently or reflect the life that I’m creating. This starts with eliminating unnecessary physical items but extends to intangible things, too, like obligating myself to tasks or activities that don’t bring me delight, or that take up more time than I can afford to waste.

I found a few resources that I think will help me with this. I found two ebooks which are FREE as of today, along with a podcast, that are great for helping to set yourself up for prosperity. First, this book by James Goi, Jr. promises to explain the, “Ten Metaphysical Secrets of Manifesting Money: Spiritual Insights into Attaining Prosperity, Riches, Abundance, Wealth, and Affluence”.

Next, part of being inviting is being gracious and grateful. “A Pocketful of Thank You: 9 key areas to bring joy, harmony, health, wealth & happiness into your life” by Maria McMahon should give me more tips for how to invite in prosperity in all areas of my life by learning to be more mindfully thankful.

Finally, one of my favorite vloggers and podcasters, Francesca Amber, posted a podcast about how to use feng shui principles for abundance (available on Amazon Music and Apple Podcasts). I love how easy it is to implement little practices and actions to invite more abundance into our worlds!

Do you all have any tips for inviting in more abundance? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

reading list

Books Read in October 2021

Hi everyone! I’m so excited that I made great strides toward my monthly reading goal, and I’m still on my way to hitting my annual reading goal well before the end of the year. Here are the books that I read in October:

One of the books I read, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Thomas C. Hinkle, How to Eat: A Cure for “Nerves”

Melanie O’Hara Salyers and Susi Galloway, The Traveling Tea Ladies Death in Dixie

Admiral William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear

Jamie Fleming-Dixon, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Cassie Parks, Retired at 32 (not available for sale)

I initially intended to read more than 10 books this month, and I was well on my way at the beginning of the month. However, I actually put in major efforts toward my October writing plan, so I simply didn’t have enough time to read, write, edit, publish, and maintain my offline life. I still count it as a WIN that I got to read 6 books this month, and, while I’ll be throwing most of my energy into NaNoWriMo, I aim to read more than 10 books during the month of November. I’m also considering doing a review on one or two of the books that I read in October, but we’ll see: I don’t want to overextend myself!

Do you have any reading or writing goals for the remainder of the year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

writing

Writers Wednesdays – I Met My Publishing Goal!

Happy Writers Wednesday! It’s official: I met my publishing goal for 2021!

*insert happy dance here*

I added two more of my children’s books to my current series. I’m still keeping the majority of my focus on creating books that educate children on Asian countries, but – considering that I will eventually be finished writing about all of the Asian countries – I’ve started branching out into writing books on European and African countries. The two latest books that I’ve published are Let’s Go To South Korea and Let’s Go To Portugal.

It was a little more challenging to write these books, but not because there was an issue with the content. These books – in particular, the Portugal one – were more difficult to write because I like to use royalty-free photographs for my books, and finding relevant free photos taken in South Korea and Portugal was HARD! So I’m thrilled that these two are behind me, and I don’t have to think about having to find pictures for those two countries again.

I anticipate my next book will be an African country, then I’ll follow with another Asian book, then another European book, an African book, and just keep that rotation until I am ready to branch out into South America. I’ll work in Australia at some point, just so that I can cover the entire globe.

I’m so happy to share with you all that I’ve published FIVE books this year! I’m looking forward to publishing even more children’s books, but also publishing a couple of my works-in-progress that I’ve had on my desk for quite some time. It’ll be nice to see those labors of love FINALLY out in the world and making the impact that I intend for them to make.

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with me! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

*This post has affiliate links.

reading list

Books Read in July 2021

Happy Monday! Today, I’m doing a quick rundown of all of the books I read in July 2021. This month, I didn’t have as much free time, so I had to listen to audiobooks instead of trying to read paperbacks and ebooks. I still met my goal of 10 books for the month, so I’m please. Here’s what I read:

Wayne Dyer, Manifest Your Destiny

Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

Wayne Dyer, Everyday Wisdom

Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia, Ikigai

Neville Goddard, The Feeling is the Secret

Neville Goddard, At Your Command

Henry Harrison Brown, Dollars Want Me

Annie Rix Militz, Prosperity Through the Knowledge and Power of the Mind

Elizabeth Towne, Just How to Wake the Solar Plexus

Mark Twain, Luck

Most of the books I read were related to mindset, abundance, and law of attraction. I find that it is very easy to listen to these sorts of books, since they feel very encouraging while providing instruction. In August, I’m intending to read far more physical and electronic books, though I’ll still probably have one or two audiobooks on my roster.

Per my current count, I’ve read 34 books this year. However, the springtime was considerably busier so I wasn’t able to read as much. In light of this fact, I’m confident I’ll still meet my goal for the year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and feeling hopeful!

reading list

Books Read in June 2021

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Y’all. Y’ALL. I FINALLY read ten books in one month! That was my initial goal, but I fell short every month. It feels good to hit my target. Here are the books I read this past month:

Dr Joseph Murphy, How to Attract Money (YouTube audiobook)

W. D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich (YouTube audiobook)

Neville Goddard, Prayer: The Art of Believing (YouTube audiobook)

Florence Scovel Shinn, The Power of the Spoken Word (YouTube audiobook)

Dr. Joseph Murphy, Riches Are Your Right (YouTube audiobook)

Robert Collier, Be Rich! (YouTube audiobook)

Aromatherapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Get Started with Essential Oils by Jessica Thompson

Wicca Herbal Magic: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Wiccan Herbal Magic (with Magical Oils, Baths, Teas and Spells) by Sophia Silvervine

Wicca Magic: Your Complete Guide to Wicca Herbal Magic and Wicca Spells That Will Fulfill Your Life by Vivienne Grant

The Hidden Power of Herbs: A Basic Guide to Herbal Magick  by Holy Santo

If you noticed the last few books I mentioned, you’re probably wondering,

Girl, are you a witch/Wiccan?

No, I’m not. But, I’m an aspiring medicine woman (AKA herbalist). In my experience, no one has a better grasp of the multifaceted power of herbs than people who use them in their spiritual practices. Beyond the instruction related to herbs, I didn’t focus on the other information (though there were a few passages here and there that I found useful).

The majority of my reading focused on upleveling my mindset and remembering the power of creating the world I want through intention, powerful affirmations and afformations, and believing that I deserve to live my best life. Believe it or not, I still have to work on my mindset as regards entitlement. I logically know that I deserve a wonderful life, but I’m still unpacking the programming that many of us have received when it comes to having financial abundance.

So many of us have been running a script in our minds, both denouncing “too much” money while simultaneously longing for MORE money to live more comfortably. It’s not impossible to have lots of money yet feel undeserving, but those emotions make it difficult to be comfortable with abundance. For that reason, I’m continuing to work on my mindset and increase my comfort level with the amount of money I want in my reality.

Have you all read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

*this post contains affiliate links*

reading list

Book Review: Double Your Business

I’ve mentioned Cassie Parks in previous posts. She is one of my favorite law of attraction (LOA) coaches, and her simple, practical approach to crafting your dream life is refreshing. In a world full of coaches that make LOA complicated and inaccessible, it’s wonderful to have someone that breaks away from the pack and does it her own way. So, in my quest to learn more ways to create a stronger, more lucrative business, I turned to Cassie’s book, Double Your Business.

The full title of the book is, Double Your Business: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Double Your Profits Without Doubling Your Hours So You Can Actually Enjoy Your Life. But, as you can see, I’ll be using the abbreviated title. In this book, Cassie reveals her step-by-step strategy for increasing your revenue without requiring additional time or extraordinary effort. Her approach involves using clear intentions and embracing your future lifestyle in order to align with your desired reality.

What I appreciate about this book is that it doesn’t give you a quick fix for business growth. As Cassie explains, “quick” strategies are rarely effective over the long term. We have to dive in the day-to-day reality of the lifestyle we desire in order to co-create our best lives. The exercises are easy to follow, Cassie’s writing style is engaging, and, if you follow her advice, you will absolutely double your business without having to work harder or increase your hours.

Additionally, I can see how this would support my goals for 2021. Cassie is careful to avoid the word “goal”, as it implies something very limited, as opposed to an “intention”, which is far broader and more flexible. I love that her approach is so much more wholistic/holistic than some LOA coaches. Instead of focusing on something finite (like a singular goal), she expands your focus so that you can design a business that easily accomplishes all of the goals that you desire to achieve.

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you have it, or would consider buying it, let me know in the comments. Talk to you all soon!

*This post contains affiliate links

reading list

Books Read in March 2021

Happy Tuesday! I posted this yesterday, before it was completed. So today, I’m finally completing this post.

This year, one of my goals is to read 100+ books. For March, I did way better than I did in January and February! That’s really remarkable, considering the fact that I actually took on extra activities during this month (coursework, increased working hours, etc.,).

Want to know my secret for reading more books? It’s easy: audiobooks! I’m pressing play and doing tasks (like folding clothes and beauty treatments) while I listen. Here are the books that I read:

Anne Barone, Chic and Slim

Anne Barone, Chic and Slim Encore

Florence Scovel Shinn, Your Word is Your Wand

Florence Scovel Shinn, The Game of Life and How to Play It

Florence Scovel Shinn, The Secret Door to Success

Annette Larkins – Journey to Health 1

Annette Larkins – Journey to Health 2

So this month, I read 7 books. Not too bad for someone that’s busier than ever LOL! I’m already done with one book for the month of April, and it’s still the first week. It’s looking like I’ll be able to knock out at least 8 more books this month.

That’s today’s brief post! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow, and I’ll have more details about what’s been happening lately. Talk ot you all soon!

(This post contains affiliate links.)