Books and Beverages

Books and Beverages (#17)

At the time of my writing this, I’ve read eight books since my last Books and Beverages post. So it would seem as though I have been too busy reading to actually sit down and write my thoughts about what I’ve read. However, eight books seems a little daunting for me to write all at once so this post will contain only four. The remaining four will appear in #18 next week.

Books

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

25667918This was a really short read, but it packed a lot into a small package and its message is certainly relevant in this political climate. Binti is the first of her people, the Himba, to be accepted into the galaxy’s most prestigious university, Oomza Univeristy. Going there means that she will have to leave her family, culture, and everything she’s ever known behind. But on her way there, the ship carrying her and other students is attacked by an alien race called the Meduse, who hold a grudge against the university. Binti must learn to get along with the Meduse in order to make it to the university alive.

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

26596236This takes place after the events in The Heroes of Olympus series. Zeus has punished Apollo for his role in the near-destruction of the world and the disappearance of the Oracle of Delphi. Apollo finds himself as a mortal teenage boy without a shred of his godly powers or good looks. A young demi god named Meg finds him and claims his service. Together, they go to Camp Half-Blood to figure out how to restore the Oracle of Delphi. Apollo soon finds out that the disappearance of the Oracle is part of an even worse problem, and Meg may be able to help him fix it. I’d recommend this book if you like anything by Rick Riordan and if you’re into Greek mythology.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

18112981This is one of those books that’s hard to read before you see the movie. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the movie follows the book pretty closely. A wealthy old man who’s fond of dinosaurs decides to open an amusement park featuring real dinosaurs brought back via genetic engineering. The park is about to open, and he calls in a mathematician and two archaeologists to critique the park. He also invites his grandchildren because the target audience of this park is children. They’ve taken precautions to ensure the dinosaurs can’t breed or survive off the island where the park is located. But they can’t plan for everything. All hell breaks loose when the park’s power shuts off and the dinosaurs are no longer contained by the electric fences. If you like dinosaurs, the movie, or suspense, then this is the book for you!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

16793Wall is a town named for its large wall separating it from Faerie. Every nine years, the town opens the gate in the wall for a festival where all manner of creatures from Faerie come to sell their goods and services. When young Tristran Thorne spots a star fall beyond the wall, he promises to retrieve it to win the heart of Victoria, the most beautiful girl in Wall. Tristran soon finds out that nothing is what he expected in Faerie, not even a fallen star. And fallen stars are coveted by more than just him. This is another pretty quick read and a coming-of-age story that I enjoyed.

Beverages

Berry Prickly Pear Frappuccino

Starbucks keeps coming out with new Frappuccinos and I keep trying them and getting disappointed. It seems I haven’t learned, or perhaps I’m just very hopeful that the next one will actually be good. Anyway, I tried the new berry prickly pear one and frankly, it just tasted like milk blended with ice and some fruity swirl added in there to give it some flavor, but not enough. If there was a better milk to fruit ratio, it’d have been much better, but then I suppose that would make it a smoothie.

Cranberry Orange Juice

When my roommate moved out, she left behind a can of orange juice concentrate and a partially used bottle of cranberry juice. So I made a fruit juice combination with them and it turned out great. It’s a good way to get your daily dose of vitamins and sugar! Or if you’re not into vitamins, you can turn it into a Madras cocktail by adding vodka. Or turn it into a punch by adding more sugar some Sprite or 7UP!

 

 

Jewelry

The Etsy Test

 

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Swarovski Pearl Bar Necklaces

 

Since I opened my first shop on Etsy in 2014, I’ve been trying to figure out what the “secret” is. The secret to making sales and keep them coming in. After three and a half years I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there is no secret trick that will magically make my shop take off over night. There is only hard work.

Etsy is a huge marketplace for handmade and vintage goods and craft supplies. As of December 31, 2016, there were 1.7 million active sellers vying for the business of 26.6 million buyers, according to their annual report. As of July 2017, there are over 45 million items for sale on Etsy, nearly 9 million of them in the jewelry category alone.

Competition on Etsy is fierce, and if you are not actively making your shop stand out from the nearly 2 million others, you will be lost in the noise. But making your shop stand out is easier said than done and will no doubt require lots of hard work.

I came up with the Etsy Test to see just what a little elbow grease will do for my shop. I’ve made a plan to steadily add items to my shop through October before the holiday shopping really begins. And while I’m doing that, I’ll be updating my current listings from their photos to the titles, tags, and descriptions. I haven’t devised one yet, but I’m also planning on making some sort of promo campaign, most likely on Instagram and Facebook. But I think I’ll focus on that after I get 100 items in my shop in October.

I’ll be monitoring my shop’s progress and I’ll be posting updates on this blog for anyone interested. To be somewhat scientific with this test, we need to compare it to how my shop was before. I’ll be comparing July-October of this year to the first half of 2017 and November and December to the same months in 2016 to account for the holiday shopping season.

The first half of 2017, I sold only three items. I had roughly 30-60 items in my shop and had an average of about 75 visits and 120 views per month. During the 2016 holiday season (November and December), I sold five items, had about 220 visits and 380 views in total during the two months. I don’t remember exactly how many items were in my shop, but it was probably somewhere around 40-50 if I had to guess.

I’m curious to see how drastic the change will be, but I suspect it will not be that drastic. After all, 100 items will represent only about 0.001% of the jewelry market on Etsy. May the odds be ever in my favor.