Kinda, Sort of Break / 2021 Art Dump

Hey, I usually take a break when Our Thoughts Precisely posts the break announcement, but I think I'll be away a little longer. I'll be around, but not posting (except for post that were prescheduled). Anyway, art dump in coming! Also, thanks for reading and enjoy your holidays.

Sweet Dream Afro

Spring Showers and Flowers | Mermaid Dress

Strawberry Girl + Adjusted version

Random Sketch | Sketch Inspired by Let Me Call You Sweetheart (Mary Higgins Clark)

My Favorite Looks from Valentino's FW21 Show

Halloween 2021 | Halloween Art on Our Thoughts Precisely Part 1 / Part 2

Holidays 2021 | Doodle About to Sit/Party Girl

End of the Year (EOY) Round Up 1 Melanie Main & Melanie Halloween
*(I'll post the other parts later. *Edit they're below.)

Strawberry Girl and (lack of) Mermaid Gown EOY 2

EOY Spring Showers and Flowers

You can catch my time-lapses over on AdriArting 

Book Review: The Way To Go by Kate Ascher

The front cover of The Way to Go by Kate Ashcer
Title: The Way To Go: Moving by Sea, Land and Air
Author: Kate Ascher
Illustrators: Vic Kulihn, Design Language, David Preiss, Ken Batelman, Jason Lee, Aaron Ashley, Michael Fornalski, Jim Kopp, and James Provost
Source/Format: Purchased; Hardcover
ISBN: 9781594204685
More Details: 
Publisher/ Release date: The Penguin Press; Mar 20 2014

Goodreads        Barnes & Noble        Book Depository        Penguin

Synopsis From Goodreads:
In our digital age, it’s easy to forget that almost everything we enjoy about modern life depends on motion. We ride in cars and on buses and trains to work; enjoy food shipped over oceans; fly high in the sky to any point on the planet. Over the last century, the world has come to rely on its ability to move just about anywhere effortlessly. But what prompted this transformation? What inventions allowed it to happen? And how do the vehicles and systems that keep us in motion today—airports, trains, cars, and satellites—really work?

Read more on Goodreads

What I thought:

The Way To Go by Kate Ascher covers the three main ways humans travel. It’s as the subtitle puts it, Moving by Land, Sea and Air. It’s not a deep dive into every topic. Instead, it shortly delves into finer details that we may not think about (like how train tracks are laid, or maintenance of ships in a dry dock). I liked that it’s a nice general over view of travel.

I mainly picked up the Way To Go as some leisure reading. I did feel there were a couple of parts that got repetitive; especially since certain areas naturally overlap. They were often named in one paragraph, and then further explained in another nearby, or on a different page with a closely related topic.  With that being said, I did enjoy it a lot. There were illustrations on every page. And, like many books I’ve read, technical terms are given a definition. Definitions of which could be found in the text that accompanied illustrations and photographs. Next, I love how the chapters are broken down into specific areas. For example within Sea is Life at Sea, Navigation, and Closer to Shore. This brings me to my next favorite. A single topic or closely related ones within the sections were contained in one page and/or a two page spread. 

The Way To Go is not an end all, definite, or technical book. And, I think it does what Ascher set out to do well. So, overall I enjoyed it a lot. I recommend checking it out if it sounds interesting to you, or if you want to simply discover the broad details of traveling.

4/5 thread cones

Thanks for reading!

ARC Review: Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell

Title: Her Honor: My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It
Author: LaDoris Hazzard Cordell
Source/Format: Celadon Books; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Release date: Celadon Book; Oct 26, 2021

Goodreads     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository     Celadon

Synopsis From Goodreads:
In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts.
Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible.
Read the rest on Goodreads.

What I Thought:
I wasn’t ready for the rollercoaster when I started Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, a retired California Superior Court Judge.

Her Honor Details the various cases that Cordell has presided over, and issues as well as people she’s faced in and out of court. And in some ways, how it shaped her perspective. Something I enjoyed is how she took the time to explain the history of many terms and procedures. All of which were typically sandwiched between the cases that it related back to in each chapter. Since this was the majority of the book, the introduction, served its purpose well. It mainly went into how she became a judge, what was enticing about it, and some of her background. This let the rest of the book get on and do its thing. As the synopsis states, it does “shine a light on all areas of the legal system…” Especially the countless difficult decisions that she and other judges had to make concerning heavy topics and/or complex situations.

Overall I enjoyed Her Honor, and I recommend checking it out if your looking for a nonfiction court book that's very informative.

I received this book from Celadon Books for this review.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Clash of Steel by C.B Lee

Title: Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix
Author: C.B. Lee
Source/Format: BookishFirst and Macmillan; Hardcover
More Details: YA; Remixed Classic
Publisher/ Release date: Feiwel and Friends; Sep 7, 2021

Goodreads        Barnes & Noble        Book Depository        Macmillan

Synopsis From Goodreads:
Two intrepid girls hunt for a legendary treasure on the deadly high seas in this YA remix of the classic adventure novel Treasure Island.

1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Dragon Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more. Xiang has grown up with stories about the Dragon Fleet and its ruthless leader, a woman known only as the Dragon Queen, all her life. Xiang desperately wants to set sail and explore—mainly to find her father, a presumed dead crew member of the Dragon Fleet. Her only memento of him is a pendant she always wears, a simple but plain piece of gold jewelry.
(Read the rest on Goodreads.)

What I Thought:

I had previously read, reviewed, and liked Treasure Island (that review is here). So, I did not wait to spend my points on BookishFirst when I read the preview of Clash of Steel.  

There are hallmarks of it being a Treasure Island retelling, but Clash of Steel is its own story. The prologue sucked me in as the reader meets a young Anh and the tale of the legendary Zheng Yi Sao and her Dragon Fleet. This, along with the first few chapters set the backdrop of the rest of the story. Like Treasure Island, the relationships between characters are shown before getting off to the adventure at sea. There is somewhat of a juxtaposition between Xiang and Anh –not only as characters, but also in terms of their lives and families. For example, Xiang vies for her mother’s attention and approval with attempts of formality. Whereas both Anh and her mother, Captain Hoa, have a more familial air between each other and the crew of the Huyen Vu. A familial air that becomes especially clear after Xiang hangs around Anh more. There are many other relationship portrayals that I’d want to get into, but no spoilers from me.  There were some things that I hadn’t predicted, and others that I had. Nonetheless, the end still got me very emotional. The pacing was perfect, and I found it to be a page turner.

Over all, Clash of Steel was an exciting read that I had to peel out of my hands. I recommend it if you like Treasure Island and are looking for a YA retelling.

I received this book from BookishFirst and Macmillan for this review.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)

Front cover of The Shadows by Jaqueline West
Title: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)
Author: Jacqueline West
Illustrator: Poly Bernatene
Source/Format: Bought; Paperback
Publisher/ Release date: Dial Books for Young Readers; Jun 9, 2010

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there's something odd about the place--not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own. Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets--and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.
(Read the rest on Goodreads)

What I Thought:

I was looking through some books I have and decided that I wanted to reread them, or finish their series. Right now that series is The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West. I’m pretty sure I read Spellbound before The Shadows, but it doesn’t matter because I’m starting over. 

With writing that kept me on the edge of my seat, The Shadows follows Olive as her parents move into a creepy stone house. A house that came furnished with many secrets and creepy paintings. As I said, this is my second time reading it and I wondered if I still liked it. Actually, it read just as exciting, and creepy as the first time. With the way I wanted to discuss it, it would have been spoiler heavy. So I’ll keep it abstract. I think what I loved most back then was Olive’s curiosity and interaction with her environment. She steadily built confidence to deal with fears and situations that I think some readers, especially middle grade, can relate to.  Even when I first read it, I could tell where it was going with a few particular characters, but there were many things I didn’t see coming. And the end was definitely one of them. I sometimes wondered how Olive was going to get out of her predicament. By the time I was done, I knew I needed the second one.

Over all I really enjoyed rereading The Shadows. If you’re looking for a creepy middle grade, maybe give The Books of Elsewhere series a try.

4 out of 5 thread cones (rating)

Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Picture of my copy of Mary Higgins Clark's Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Off white background, red and green text, and a rose.
Title: Let Me Call You Sweetheat
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Source/Format: Bought; Hardback
Publisher/ Release date: Simon & Schuster; May 8, 1995

Goodreads      Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kerry McGrath is a dedicated prosecutor and a devoted mother. When her daughter's face is cut in a car accident, Kerry is relieved that the plastic surgeon who treats her is the eminent Dr. Charles Smith. Then Kerry notices something bizarre. Two of Smith's patients bear an uncanny resemblance to Suzanne Reardon, a young woman killed eleven years earlier. Why would Dr. Smith create look-alikes of a murder victim? A chilling tale of obsession by America's reigning queen of suspense. (read on Goodreads)

What I Thought:

I previously read, but did not review, Remember Me by the late Mary Higgins Clark. I enjoyed it so much that I strolled around the house picking out whatever else was available. I settled on Let Me Call You Sweetheart. It’s pretty much about how Kerry McGrath cannot stop asking questions after seeing two women on two different days with the same face. A face that just happens to be that of a murder victim. The synopsis had me hooked.

I was definitely on edge the entire book. I think it’s because the main character’s obsession with getting answers. I was right along with her every page, and then some. Of course, in Clark fashion, there are multiple points of view from a range of characters. Although Kerry’s was the main POV, it leaves the reader at least two steps ahead of her. No matter how many notes I took I was not ready for the twist. For the most part, I was wrong, to which I am grateful for. I did have a couple of good guesses though. However, the revelation read quicker than I was expecting it to. And although integral to the story, I did not care for some of the POVs.

All and all, as much as I had my qualms, I enjoyed every bit of Let Me Call You Sweetheart. I recommend checking it out. Especially, if it seems interesting, or you’re looking to read something suspenseful.

Rating: 4 out of 5 cone threads

Thanks for reading!

ARC Review: Twice as Hard

Photo of the cover of Twice as Hard
Title: Twice As Hard: Navigating Black Stereotypes and Creating Space for Success
Author: Opeyemi Sofoluke & Raphael Sofoluke
Source/Format: Bookish First and DK Publishing; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Release date: DK; Jun 15, 2021

Goodreads        Barnes & Noble        Book Depository

Synopsis From Goodreads:
An inspirational book about what it means to be Black in the working world, with practical steps on how to overcome prejudice to find success
This book is an exercise in building your network. We've spoken to over 40 successful business people to help you gain from their advice and create space for your own personal growth. Twice As Hard is an exploration of Black identity in the working world and a blueprint for success. You will learn what obstacles limit opportunity for Black professional progress, how to understand and overcome racial stereotypes, be productive, find purpose, and ultimately thrive in business.
(Read the rest on Goodreads)

What I Thought:

Twice as Hard by Opeyemi Sofoluke & Raphael Sofoluke is a mixture of statistics, advice, and interviews. It also goes into some details about the experiences that people have as Black professionals. Besides advice, it is definitely much food for thought.
I barely read the synopsis, so I went into this initially thinking it was going to be mostly interviews. But, as I mentioned above, it was a mixture –which I loved. It had a lot of personal anecdotes and quotes from the interviewees. Plus, there wasn’t much paraphrasing, essentially letting the contributors add their own voices. But that’s not all. Each chapter delves into various situations using statistics, the authors’ own experiences, and the interviews to back it up. Situations like draining experiences and feeling unwelcome in certain spaces, especially in corporate ones. However, at every turn there was a piece of positive, uplifting, and encouraging advice to get through. Finally, I absolutely loved that the last chapter is full of advice from everyone, and the reflective questions at the end of all the chapters (except the final).

Over all, I enjoyed Twice as Hard and the advice that comes with it. I recommend checking it out if it seems interesting to you.

I received this book from Bookish First and DK for this review.

Thanks for reading!

The Speedpaint: Arting Part 2

This is the second part in my Arting posts. Today I’m going to talk about what I painted on my first speedpaint. You can read Arting Part 1 HERE.

Shirt close up backShirt close up front

As I said in part 1, I wanted to start a Spring. I need a sort of logo and I had an idea of what I wanted. I ended up with a decent amount of sketches, but I settled one (I still want to illustrate the other ones). Since I settled on Sweet Dream Afro (that can be found here) there were many elements I wanted to include. First and foremost, I wanted to make fashion like piece. The hair had to be natural, so I went with loose twist outs. And finally I wanted a dream element, the sleeping kind by the way. In this case I opted for closed eyes and a dream journal. This is a personal touch because I have been keeping a dream journal since 2013. I may talk about how I got into dream journaling eventually.

Front view of the actual shirt, which is lighter.Front view of the actual shirt, which is lighter.
Spring mockup on a pink shirt

In previous iterations (and this one) I had trouble with the clothes. What color, shape; and a skirt or pants? Speaking of color, I originally imagined more pastel colors. However, I started considering darker options for the clothes when I decided to use a darker hair color. I settled on what you see now. I found other combinations I liked. So, similar to what I said above, I may do another piece with this same character. You can see the final art below, and how it came out from Spring above vs mock up. This is the first and last time I’m using that triangle as of right now. I have something else I'm designing.

All and all, the time was around 7+ hours. However, it may be way longer because the files for the sketching and line art got corrupted… Yay! 

Thanks for reading and watching. My YouTube is AdriArting.

Trying Something New (Arting Part 1)

I’ve been drawing much more recently. And I wanted to do a Teespring (now Spring). And then I realized that I never posted much of my art online. I settled on doing what I thought I’d never do –starting a YouTube. It was the last thing on my mind, but here I am. This is part 1 of Arting. I’m making it up as I go. Before I start, I think it should be said that I am not abandoning blogging. Nope, I’ll probably blog more about my adventures in art and my thought process. I’m also going to be adding a page as a sort of gallery; plus, I’m thinking of revamping my Instagram to include both my art and reviews. Today’s post is mostly rambling. The speedpaint will be in part 2.

I’m mainly doing digital speedpaints and it’ll be that way for a long time. I have always been drawing since I could remember. Watching art videos just came along naturally. Eventually, I got my Wacom Bamboo Fun, which was bundled with Corel Painter Essentials 4 and Photoshop Elements 8. That’s when I started watching digital speedpaints to try to learn the software. Also back then, I got Manga Studio Debut 4. (And you can imagine how mad young me was when I found out the cover art was done in Photoshop. I can’t recall, but I’m pretty sure Manga Studio itself had more abilities than Debut. Nonetheless, here’s a fun fact, Manga Studio is now Clip Studio Paint. Okay, back to the topic at hand.) Watching, re-watching, and editing my first video felt somewhat nostalgic to be honest. 

I had a couple of programs to get started. Like AMD Radeon ReLive to screen record and Blender to edit it. That combination was fun until I nearly killed my computer. Recording was constantly crashing my graphics card. I’m surprised I even got as many clips as I did. Especially since the files for the sketching and line art got corrupted. I’m really disappointed because I was happy with them too. I sped everything up in Blender from 7+ hours to 6 minutes. Now, to be fair, Blender is more for modeling and other things, not video editing. But my rendering time ended up being around 4 hours. I let that go over night, but I knew it was too much. So, I then tried to use Kdenlive. I love the layout and user interface a lot. But it wasn’t what I needed. I chopped up the second video I’m worked by a lot. As it turns out, you can’t CTRL + A (select all) and speed up clips nor connect them to do so. To have to manually select each clip to apply speed changes was not efficient. 

I tried so many open source programs. I’m currently taking a chance with Olive 0.1 since it's unsupported. I can’t merge clips, but the speed can be adjusted all at once. I still have to manually slide clips back together, but the render time wasn't too bad. About an hour for 23 minutes Back to the first video, I took the already rendered video and added the final image in Kdenlive. This ended up rendering in 36 minutes. I can’t wait to post it. Anyway, rambling over. Thanks for reading.

Artist’s Loft Necessities Acrylic Review

10 small tubes of Artist's Loft Necessities Acrylic laid on top of the gift set case
Today, I'm reviewing the Acrylic that came out of the 126 Gift Art Set by Artist’s Loft Necessities. (There are only ten tubes in the case. Unlike the set of 12, it doesn’t come with yellow ochre and raw umber).

I received the set in 2019. Over time, I have slowly used various things out of it. It wasn’t until recently that I used the acrylic. While my mom was trying to paint a glass ornament, I was trying it out on the paper that came with it. I immediately noticed how thin and transparent it brushed on. The paint dried horribly on the ornament and she ended up coving it with some of the other acrylics we have. Somehow, I managed to get something decent with my first painting (not pictured). Despite my first impression I wanted to try again. The next two painting are on Artist’s Loft Watercolor Pad (you can find that here). 

3/4 head after I painted over with other acrylics
After I painted over with
other acrylics
3/4 head original with Artist's Loft
Original with Artist's Loft
The first thing I dislike is that these don’t act like any acrylic I’m used to using. As I said above, it’s transparent. And no matter how much paint I picked up on the brush, it always painted thin. I even tried using a damp brush. On my second painting, it streaked badly (left). It became streakier when I tried to build up color. I even let it dry some before applying more color. Still, more streaks. I gave up and lazily filled in the hair. I wasn’t finishing it with these paints anyway.

Two models

Almost 3/4 head

Not everything was bad. With the next paintings, I changed the way I thought about the paints. Maybe like… a watercolor-acrylic? I started adding a lot of water to them, more than I would to reactivate watercolor. Additionally, I cut down on how many colors I mixed to get my skin tone from four to two. (Honestly, I have no idea if this really affected its performance. But, it did save on paint.)  

I was able to layer the paint a bit better with it watered down. I also controlled the streaking some by doing the wet on wet technique. Despite being hard to layer and my gripe with streakiness, this turned out to be fine for how I paint hair. So that’s somewhat a plus. 

For an attempt at fair comparison I did one more painting. The left side is Liquitex Basics. I used quinacridone magenta and titanium white. The right is Artist’s Loft Necessities. I used crimson red and titanium white. I did this for texture and opacity rather than color.

At the top of the paper is a thick and diluted swatch. I messed up the first swatch (top) for the Artist’s Loft because I accidently added more paint when I was trying to only do one swipe. So I did a smaller one under it. I went back to the paper that came with the set and it is more textured. I’m not sure exactly what type of paper it is. In the end, the Artist loft acrylic fared better but I still like Liquitex Basics (seems creamier). However, I enjoyed using it more on this paper. I struggled less with layering and getting some opacity. 

Pink and red mannequin upper close-up
Pink and red mannequin fullPink and red mannequin lower close-up

Overall, it was difficult to work with and didn’t behave how I expected it to.  Especially on smooth paper, glass, or primed canvas. But, still, I don’t think this is the worst paint ever. It would have ended up with a 2 1/2 if it wasn’t for me using heavily textured or porous surfaces –like salt dough and cold porcelain (a topic for another post). Who knows, maybe you’ll like it more than I did. 

My Pros and Cons


  • Doesn’t dry fast when thick on the pallet
  • Dries somewhat quick on paper
  • Fine if you don’t mind thin paint


  • I somewhat like it for painting hair
  • Works fine on heavily textured or porous surfaces


  • Transparent and thin
  • Hard to layer, and sometimes waiting until mostly dry to get some layering
  • Streaks easily
  • Overall difficult to work with
  • Small tubes

Thanks for reading.