Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Happy Place

For me, the phrase "happy place" has never been about an actual place. I don't have one particular place that I want to be in order to cheer up unless you count my room, but at least half of that has to do with wanting to be alone. (I realize being alone may sound strange to some when they think about happy places, but I've always been the epitome of an introvert.)

What's far more important to me when it comes to a happy place is that I have a book or my computer with me. Mostly for the same reasons, believe it or not. I want to read. That's my happy place. Sometimes writing, but while that makes me happy, if I'm in major need of cheering up, anything I try to write will turn out darker. It ends up making me wallow instead of actually making me happy most times. Books make me take on whatever emotion is in them, so as long as I have a happy book, I'm good.

The biggest reason why I say my computer is that reading fanfiction is a big happy place for me. Sometimes I prefer it over books when I'm sad because I know who the characters are already and I have a good idea what to expect. Plus, it's pretty easy to tell the fluff from the angst when it comes to fanfiction, so I know for sure what I'm getting myself into ahead of time. Sometimes that's particularly nice when I'm upset.

Tumblr and Twitter and whatnot can also help cheer me up at times. Especially Tumblr or Twitter on good days, but the mood of those depends on what I'm seeing in my timeline/dashboard. If I start seeing negative stuff, then cheering up isn't going to happen, and it's back to reading for me. For that reason, I tend to start off there but migrate to reading when I seriously need to cheer up.

What about you guys? What is/are your happy place(s)?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More On Resolutions

I talked about my list of future resolutions earlier this month. In that post I mentioned that, while the list wasn't entirely languages, it mostly was. I had a few other things down that I wanted to learn, but it wasn't much by any means when you took in the sheer number of languages I had written down.

Well, I've been adding a lot more things that aren't languages recently. It's almost funny how many things I've thought to add over the last couple of weeks. I don't know what it is, but my brain just seems to have exploded with things I want to learn. These are, of course, things that tend to take a while to get the hang of. Hence the idea of learning them as resolutions.

As I said in my past resolution post, it will definitely take me a while to get to all of these things. Because if I try to tackle them all at once, I won't make any sort of progress. Knowing me, I'll keep adding things faster than I can learn them, so the list will never actually end.

I'm starting to wonder if I should double up instead of going at it one at a time though. Now that less of the list is languages, I've started thinking about doing one language and one other thing at a time. I'm not sure, since that would still take up quite a bit of time. Unsurprisingly, learning a new language takes up plenty of time all on its own.

I guess we'll see. As it stands now, I'm still working on Japanese, and I think I'm going to start working on Spanish in the next month or so. Since I was taking Spanish classes that are now over, I really want to start working on it on my own before I lose everything I learned. I think I can handle working on two languages at once. (Honestly, I'll have to keep adding to the languages anyway because there will never be a time where I don't have to practice with every language that I've been learning in order to keep my skills at the same level.)

For now, I'm just going to focus on the two languages, but I'm considering the other aspects of the list and what I should be doing with them. We'll see I suppose.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: A Bone to Pick by Mark Bittman

ISBN: 0804186545
Published: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Pam Krauss Books
Read from May 22nd to 24th, 2015
Synopsis from publisher:
Since his New York Times op-ed column debuted in 2011, Mark Bittman has emerged as one of our most impassioned and opinionated observers of the food landscape. The Times’ only dedicated opinion columnist covering the food beat, Bittman routinely makes readers think twice about how the food we eat is produced, distributed, and cooked, and shines a bright light on the profound impact that diet—both good and bad—can have on our health and that of the planet.
In A Bone to Pick, Mark’s most memorable and thought-provoking columns are compiled into a single volume for the first time. As abundant and safe as the American food supply appears to be, the state of our health reveals the presence of staggering deficiencies in both the system that produces food and the forces that regulate it. Bittman leaves no issue unexamined; agricultural practices, government legislation, fad diets, and corporate greed all come under scrutiny and show that the issues governing what ends up in our market basket and on our tables are both complex and often deliberately confusing. Unabashedly opinionated and invariably thought provoking, Bittman’s columns have helped readers decipher arcane policy, unpack scientific studies, and deflate affronts to common sense when it comes to determining what “eating well” truly means. As urgent as the situation is, Mark contends that we can be optimistic about the future of our food and its impact on our health, as slow-food movements, better school-lunch programs, and even “healthy fast food” become part of the norm.
At once inspiring, enraging, and enlightening, A Bone to Pick is an essential resource for every reader eager to understand not only the complexities inherent in the American food system, but also the many opportunities that exist to improve it.


A Bone to Pick is a collection of articles that Bittman has written for the New York Times over the years about all of the different things wrong with the food system in America. It covers a wide range of issues within the food system from the idea of the level of "foodness" of processed foods to the amount of meat Americans consume on average. It talks both about the diets of the average American and the current state of agriculture. It feels like very little is left out over the course of the book.

I greatly enjoyed A Bone to Pick. The various issues addressed in the book are issues that I've increasingly paid attention to over the years, and I consider them very important things to discuss. The role big business plays in influencing the government produced nutrition guidelines is one such issue that I see as extremely important for people to think about, and I often feel like those nutrition guidelines are wrongly viewed as unbiased even by Americans who stop to consider lobbying's influence when it comes to other issues.

The one nit-picky thing I have to say about the book is that it feels repetitive at times. This books is, after all, a collection of articles that were published over a number of years. Because of that, each article stands on its own and wasn't originally written to be read in book form with many of the other articles. This was particularly obvious because I read the book in a span of just a few days. Certain information began to feel very repetitive as I had to read more or less the same thing over and over. On one hand, it served to drill certain points into my head, and the ones that were repeatedly mentioned were typically what I would label the most important ones. On the other hand, it could get a bit tiring at times.

I don't think that one thing is necessarily a bad side. It makes the book a great option for reading slowly and piece by piece. While I didn't read it that way, that is probably how I would recommend others handle it. That is also a good idea because it gives you time to digest what is in each article, and considering the amount of information in the book, that time could be very valuable.

This is one of those books that I would like to recommend to everyone, although I know that, in reality, only certain people are likely to pick it up and actually read it. It has some really great information that is good for everyone to know considering, as the book points out several times, everyone in the world has a relationship with food.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Life Post: A Weekend Spent With Books

This weekend has felt strange for a reason that I can't really pinpoint. I think it's that I spent so much of it reading. I managed to read two books from start to finish from Friday until earlier today. I can't remember the last time I did that. It was awesome, but it's left me feeling kind of out of it. It's like I was disconnected from everything, especially today, and now I have to get back into it. It's like the first day back at school or something like that.

I've managed to get myself up to only four books behind on my reading challenge. Considering I've been reading quite a bit lately, it's kind of amazing to me that I'm still behind at all, but hopefully I'll catch up completely soon.

I also took a break from writing this weekend, but my mind is definitely on the two one-shots I have sitting on my computer. They're both almost completely finished. The only editing left is really going through one last time to try to pick up on any grammar mistakes or typos that I can find. I really want to get to that this weekend. Both of them are between 15,000 and 20,000 words each (if I'm remembering correctly), so I highly doubt I'll get both of them up this week. I think at least one of them being posted is reasonable though.

So, that will probably be a lot of my week as well as writing a few other smaller things that I want to do. And also reading in order to continue trying to catch up to everything. Oh, I also need to finish up the scrapbook page for Summer. It would be finished if I wasn't having trouble getting pictures printed, but I should be able to sort that out this week too. Let's hope at least.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Taking Pictures

I always want to be one of those people who is really into photography and is taking pictures of everything. I love the idea of having pictures of stuff, but then, when I'm in the moment, taking pictures feels like such a hassle that I never do it. Sometimes I film stuff, but my shyness prevents that a lot. And sometimes filming really makes me feel like I'm missing out on something just to film it, which is probably a big reason the pictures never happen either.

But I look at absolutely gorgeous photos other people take, and I really want to do that. To be fair, I look at paintings and drawing and stuff and want to be able to do all of that too. I think I just assume photography would be easier. Not easier to be excellent as, obviously, but easier to at least make terrible attempts at.

I really want to practice drawing more in the future. I should really try to take more pictures too. That doesn't mean buying an expensive camera (at least not in the foreseeable future), but I have a digital camera that I could at least start messing around with. When I bought it, I bought it mainly for filming, but since my last camera had been video only, I told myself that now I would for sure take pictures too. That hasn't happened, and I want to change that. I could do with having at least a few more things documented because I have almost no pictures of my own as it is. I know I'm in friends' and family's pictures sometimes, but it would be nice to actually have pictures of my own. For a variety of reasons.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Life Post: Time with a Friend

It's been four days since my last life post, and much of those four days have been spent writing. I've been posting both A Crappy Little Piece of Forever and Move On and Recover since I last posted. I'm also finishing up an article today and a one-shot fanfiction that will be posted as soon as I've finished editing it. Exciting stuff.

I have two more one-shots that I've been working on recently. One I actually began months ago, and then I sat it aside for a while because I wasn't sure if that one was going to wind up online for various reasons. I just wasn't sure if I was happy enough with it or if anyone would care to read it. I pulled it back out again and edited it some though, and I liked it more than I remembered from originally writing it. Now I plan for it to be online, but I think I'm going to wait to finish working on it until after I've finished both of the other one-shots.

Aside from writing, I got to spend the day with my friend Ji on Thursday. It had been ages since we both go to school in different cities, and she doesn't live in my hometown anymore either. She's only a half an hour away when I'm home. That's the same distance that most stores are from my hometown, yet all the friends I have living in the two cities that are half an hour (or an hour if you have to make it to the opposite side of Evansville) are surprisingly hard to see. Just that short distance seems to make it much more difficult to make plans.

We ate lunch at a Japanese restaurant, and Ji got me to try sashimi for the first time. I'd been wanting to try it forever, but I always chickened out. We bought it though, and Ji kept reminding me that it was expensive, so I better eat it. And I did. It's not something I would eat every day, but I did like it. Plus, we had a ton of other delicious food, including chicken teriyaki, a California roll, and shrimp tempura. It was all so good.

After that we went to Barnes and Noble for a while and sat around and read and talked even more. It was such a nice time, and she got to ride in a car with me driving for the first time. I think I only managed to freak her out once or twice. That's an accomplishment.

I uploaded a video about Jocelyn being cast in Shadowhunters the other day for anyone interested. I also talked a bit about the Magnus and Valentine castings since I'd ended up writing a blog post about that instead of a video.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 246-250

Apparently it's been three weeks since my last Naruto review. It doesn't feel like it's been that long because it seems like I've been watching it a lot lately, but it makes sense considering that was right before finals and all. Hopefully now that it's summer break I'll have more time to watch it and will post reviews more often.

Anyway, I really loved these episodes. I said this in the last review, but it just feels so good to be past the filler that seemed to be never ending for a while. These five episodes were extremely good in my opinion.

A lot of it was Naruto talking to his mom or the memory of his mom or whatever you want to call her. I loved that so much. It got me emotional. The first episodes especially where he sees her had me crying all over the place. I loved the bit about how Naruto's mom and Naruto's dad both wanted to be hokage. that's a nice touch that really connects Naruto back to them. Of course, Naruto's mom being the previous jinchuriki connects them together more than anything, and I loved that too. Naruto being able to connect with his mom over being treated similarly as kids is fantastic to me.

There was also a bit at the end of episode 246 where Naruto is literally rocking back and forth out of happiness while talking to his mom. That bit killed me. Seriously killed me. I loved that small detail so extremely much. I don't even think I can express how much I loved that one little detail.

I just also love that Naruto got more story from his parents. The bit with Naruto learning to control the Nine Tails was cool and important too, but Naruto talking to his mom and getting her story was what made these episodes for me.

I may have also freaked out when baby Sasuke came out of nowhere, and then the comments about how they needed to be friends. And then baby Naruto too. I loved all of that.

Watching Naruto's parents die was obviously extremely sad, and I was in tears the entire time Kushina was giving her list of advice for Naruto. And then Naruto responded to it later on by saying he would do the things he didn't already do. I could hardly handle it.

I also loved Naruto's line about having one friend that "I'm not getting along with right now" in reference to Sasuke. The "right now" part was a reminder that he hasn't given up on Sasuke, and he was also still including Sasuke in his friends. I liked that bit.

I'm a little sad to see the episodes with Kushina end because they were really nice to see, but I'm also excited to see what happens next, especially since Kisame has finally reappeared and revealed that he was spying the entire time.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer

ISBN: 0316043125
Published: April 12th, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Read from May 16th to 18th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fans of the #1 New York Times bestselling Twilight Saga will treasure this definitive official guide!
This must-have hardcover edition-the only official guide-is the definitive encyclopedic reference to the Twilight Saga and provides readers with everything they need to further explore the unforgettable world Stephenie Meyer created in Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. This comprehensive handbook-essential for every Twilight Saga fan-is full-color throughout with nearly 100 gorgeous illustrations and photographs and with exclusive new material, character profiles, genealogical charts, maps, extensive cross-references, and much more.


Obviously, this is a book that is meant only for die-hard Twilight fans. No one else is going to get anything from this book. However, I think it's great for fans. I waited so long to actually pick this up that I'd already managed to gather all the new information in it from the Internet, but that's not a fault of the book itself of course.

I think it's worth picking up for anyone who is a big enough fan of the book, and it's a handy resource to have on hand if you need to look up different facts of the Twilight universe.

The one aspect of the book that I would have rather not have had was the summary of key plot points of each chapter of each book. I get that it could help fans pinpoint where whatever they are looking for is in the book so that they can then go find it, but it wasn't a part of the book I was really interested in having. (I say that even though I could see myself using it at some point in the future.)

I also wish that the FAQ section had been longer and included more questions. I feel like there was plenty more they could have added.

I think what I liked the most was the interview with Stephenie Meyer at the beginning. I enjoyed reading that, and I liked the less formal style of it.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is a big enough fan of Twilight that they probably already have the book.

Life Post: Writing Update and Reading

My weekend went pretty great. I start posting my Twilight fanfiction like I said I was going to. I have two chapters up right now, and I think it's the best response I've ever gotten to a story at this point. I'm not sure if that'll keep up for the entire thing, but we'll see what happens. I still also need to post a new chapter of Move On and Recover since it's been three weeks.

Other than that, I took a break from writing for the weekend, and today I'm going to start editing another fanfiction. I'm also excited about this one, although not quite on the level of the Twilight one if I'm being honest. That's primarily because the Twilight fanfic had been percolating in my head for years.

I did, however, post a video over the weekend. It is my review for the Reign season two finale. I also read an entire book in three days, which feels amazing after how slow my reading progress has been this year. I spent so much of my weekend reading either that book or fanfiction. I feel like I hardly did anything else, but it was so nice because I never do that anymore. I really, really enjoyed it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Top 3 Favorite Movie Series

I don't talk about movies often, and that's mostly because I don't watch them all that much. I tend to watch TV series more than anything else because I like being able to come back to the same characters over and over. That's probably why some of my favorite movies are also series. I decided to list my top three favorite series. (Of course, this means these aren't necessarily my favorite movies period as I do have favorites that aren't series.)

Harry Potter. This one is probably obvious. The movies will never be as good as the books, but I
still love them. Maybe that's for nostalgia or love of the books more than the movies themselves. I'll never know. I've been watching them since I was eight, so they've just ingrained themselves into my life. Harry Potter tends to be my go to way of cheering myself up when nothing else is working, and typically, I don't feel like reading in those situations. That makes the movies very convenient. Harry Potter tops just about every list ever for me.

Star Wars. This includes the new trilogy by the way. I legitimately enjoy those movies even though I know they're largely considered bad. It's not like I don't see what everyone is talking about, but I still have fun watching all six of the movies, and I'm beyond excited for the new ones.

Pirate of the Caribbean. I know that many people tend to like the first Pirates movie and then not like the ones after that. I do. I think that's largely because of what I said earlier about liking to come back to the same characters, even if a lot of the Pirates cast has changed from the first movie. I still think they're a lot of fun and enjoy them.

There were several others that almost wound up on the list, and it was hard to cut it off at three. I told myself I was going to stop there though, so I'll refrain myself. I feel like people who follow me on Tumblr especially are aware of what those are anyway since I reblog stuff from them pretty frequently.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Book Review: Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim

ISBN: 0307720659
Published: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Crown
Read from May 9th to 15th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il's reign

Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has accepted a job teaching English. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them to write, all under the watchful eye of the regime.
Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn't share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.
Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls "soldiers and slaves." 


I managed to absolutely fall in love with this book, which feels wrong to say when the subject matter is not at all something to love. Suki Kim spent a summer and a fall semester teaching English to a group of young men who are the sons of North Korea's elite. The glimpse the book provided of what it is like to be even an elite member of North Korean society was fascinating and really mind-blowing at times. It really shows how controlled and restricted everything there is, and that is definitely something extremely interesting in the book.

However, the book also manages to be unexpectedly heart-warming. The boys that Suki Kim are teaching are really humanized in this book, and I cried at the end when she had to leave knowing that they would continue to live in such a horrible place. These are the same kids who are mostly destined to be the elites of North Korea once their fathers die, but it's hard to think about that when you are seeing them in such a human light.


There was a bit at the end of the book where the students become fascinated by Harry Potter and desperately want to watch it even when the Christian missionaries at the school are fighting against it because they believe it to be evil. It's ironic when they're in such a restricted place as North Korea that it's the outsiders (who have been feeling the strain of censorship for months) who ultimately end up keeping many of the students from seeing the movie.

As a massive Harry Potter fan myself, it was such an experience to read about these North Korean boy's own fascination with it. Suki Kim ends up telling them about the entire phenomenon outside of just the books and movies, and the boys seem just as fascinated with something that has captivated the whole world as with the story itself. To me, it felt like they realized they were missing out on something huge and desperately wanted to experience it too. That was something I really felt because of my own experiences with Harry Potter, and it really did help me feel a connection to them.


I would highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone. As I mentioned, I was in tears at the end of it. It really touches you. Not only is it an amazing glimpse into life in North Korea, it also helps show that the people who live there, even the elites, really are people, but it explores the mindset of the people there and how the population is kept under control. I honestly want everyone I've ever met to read this book, and it's been a long time since I could say that about a book.

I received this book for review from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Shadowhunters Casting: Valentine and Magnus

The Mortal Instruments is being turned into a TV show for ABC Family, and the cast has been announced over the past couple of weeks. I've been filming videos about my reactions to the past announcements. Valentine and Magnus were both announced today, and I really want to talk about both announcements. I've had a massive headache all day today though, so a video is just not going to happen. I decided to write a blog post instead.

Valentine was announced first, so I'll start with him. Alan Van Sprang has been cast as Valentine. He played King Henry on Reign, which makes him the only actor on the show that I've actually seen act. Luckily, I highly approve of this. Henry and Valentine are actually quite similar, and I thought he did an excellent job as Henry. I can see him doing just as well with Valentine, and I am so, so excited for it. I never would have thought about him beforehand, but now I'm completely convinced that he's the best decision they possibly could have made.

Then Harry Shum Jr. was announced as playing Magnus. He was on Glee, and I've heard of his name before, but I didn't actually watch Glee. I've seen bits and pieces of Glee here and there, but it's mostly earlier episodes. I saw extremely little of the later seasons, and I don't really remember seeing any with him in it. It's completely possible I did and just haven't remembered. Most of the time I wasn't really paying attention whenever Glee was on while I was in the room.

That means I can't really say anything about him from an acting standpoint like I can Alan. All I really know is that he's very attractive, so there's that. I think the fact that he was also on such a well-known show as Glee is a positive even though it was completely different than what Shadowhunters will be (if they stay at all like the books at least).

I talked about in the my last reaction video that I kind of wanted to do another video after I'd had a chance to see each of the actors act in something, and I think I still want to do that. (In fact, I think I want to do it more now that I did a blog post for Magnus and Valentine instead of a video.) I still have yet to see any of them act except Alan, and I really want to see them in something before the show comes out. I'm going to try and figure out what I can watch (Harry should be easy because I'll just use Glee), and I'll try to make a video of my initial reactions to seeing them actually work. Hopefully I'll do that soon unless I really struggle to find stuff to watch for some of them.

Life Post: Shopping With My Mom

Today has not been the greatest day. I've been trying to get rid of a massive headache since I woke up this morning. To be fair, I didn't make it that easy on myself by going shopping with my mom. We weren't gone that long, only a few hours, but it really made my head hurt worse.

The two of us went to T.J. Maxx so my mom could look for some clothes, and then we went to Target to get some stuff. My mom was mainly focused on getting storage containers and stuff. After moving both my sister and me out of our dorm/apartment within a few days of each other, my mom has decided we both need more containers to help transport things to and from school, so she got some stuff. I picked out a container specifically for me that has a map of London on the outside. It's pretty cool. I think I'm going to use it for my books when I'm at school because I struggled with where to conveniently put them over this past year.

I also bought some picture paper because I need to print off some pictures and some base coat nail polish because my old base coat came open in my suitcase and dried all over everything. That was fun.

In really exciting news, I finished writing the Twilight fanfiction that I've been working on. I'm going to post the first chapter tomorrow, and I'm really excited about it. I'm also nervous, but I hope that it'll get some sort of positive response, even if it's only one review.

Over on Youtube, I did a tag video about the impact Harry Potter has had on my life. I also posted on my writing blog for the first time in quite a while, and that was about how transient college feels.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: The Amber Project by J.N. Chaney

Published: April 12th, 2015
Publisher: self-published
Read from May 6th to 13th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.
Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous. 


I really enjoyed this book. The story was extremely interesting and well executed, and I thought the writing itself in this book was just really great.

The plot of this story was something I'd never seen done before with a gas having destroyed the earth and forced the survivors underground. I enjoyed the fact that there were some dystopian elements in the government of the world (and the book is considered dystopian), but it didn't feel as heavy on the dystopian as other books I've read. It felt more relatable and like something one could easily see happening. Readers are also quite close to the leaders of the government, and I thought that was incredibly interesting and unique.

The children started off younger than I expected in the beginning, and that was a bit surprising. There are a lot of time skips though, so they are older for the majority of the book. I actually had a bit of trouble keeping up with the time skips. It was surprisingly hard to keep the years straight when they're larger numbers than you're used to. Because of that, I'm not actually sure what age the kids are exactly at the end of the book. I more or less had to guess based on how they acted.

The characters were probably my favorite part though. I particularly enjoyed the adult characters and the friendship between Terry, John, and Mei.

While I really liked the book, I do still have some questions after reading about how the world operates. The biggest one for me why exactly the society in the book decided to get rid of marriage and go about having kids through contracts. It's never really talked about, but I feel like that sort of thing has to come from a huge societal shift in thinking. At the very least, there had to be some sort of practical thought to it, but it's never really mentioned. They don't seem to have marriage at all or to actually even date so much as just meet in private, although I do wonder if that is different for the people in the slums. We never really get to see those people, and I'm also not entirely clear how many women are chosen to be mothers versus how many aren't.

This is the first in a series though, so it's completely plausible that questions like that will be answered in the future. The ending of the book was surprising yet not surprising at the same time when I really think about it. I think it's leading up to a really interesting sequel, and I look forward to reading it in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult science fiction or dystopian.

I received this book for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

Life Post: Just Continuing Along

I'm not entirely sure why I'm writing one of these only a day after the last one when just about nothing has changed. I'm still doing the same thing as last time. I think part of it is just that I can finally make times for things like this that has become a huge motivator.

I finished one of the two books that I've been reading, and it was really good. Be expecting a review of it here later today. It probably won't be up that much later than this post actually.

Now I'm hoping that I can finish the other one soon. I'm really enjoying reading it, but I also want to move on to the huge stack of other books that I have waiting for me.

Writing wise, everything is the same as always. I've just been making progress on the Twilight fanfiction and the article.

The season finale of Reign is tonight. I really, really hope it's good because that show has been so hit or miss with me lately, and I really want the finale to be a hit. It should be interesting to review at any rate, so that'll be sure to happen soon.

Now, I'm going to go write that book review, so I can get it up as well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Life Post:How Can Summer Break Be Boring?

I love summer break. I feel so relaxed, yet the exact right sort of busy at the same time. I'll never understand people who say they get bored over summer break. I have so much to do, and I know that I'll still have plenty to do when school starts back. Yes, a lot of that "to do" stuff is writing as much as I can and reading as many of the books I have sitting around as I can, but it's still stuff to do. I don't get how people don't have stuff like that to occupy them all summer. There's plenty I need to do that I don't have time for during the school year!

Right now I'm reading two awesome books, and I have so much time to spend reading them each day. It's amazing, and it's reminding me why reading is so much fun. That's easy to forget when I'm bogged down with school reading 24/7, even if I'm reading a book that I do actually like.

I've been reading more fanfiction than I had time for during the semester too, but I haven't been focusing on that nearly as much as the books I'm reading.

I also started watching the TV show The Red Road today. I've only watched one episode, but I really liked it. It's not like most of the stuff I typically watched, but I'm really into it only one show in. I've been meaning to watch it forever, but hadn't gotten around to it. Only the first season is on Netflix, and it's only six episodes long. I should breeze through that in no time since it's summer break.

Writing wise, I've mainly been working on two different things. The first is the Twilight fanfiction that I've been working on for several months now. I've been actually writing it for several months at least. This fanfiction really goes back to 2009 when I first started thinking about it, and I'm really happy that I can say I'm going to have it completely ready to post in the next several days. It's been such a long time coming, and I really am so excited to have it posted. Luckily, I'm prouder of this than anything I've written in the past. I tend to be prouder and prouder of each thing I write though, which is probably a positive sign.

The other thing I've really been focusing on is an article. I've only been working on it for a few days, but it's become a rather lengthy article. I'm staying pretty mum about that now just because it's still at a point where I don't want to talk much about it. I'll probably bring it up in the future though because it'll be online at some point.

That's pretty much been the last several days for me along with blogging and spending an entire day waiting for a Youtube video to upload. That video was about Alec and Luke getting cast in the ABC Family Shadowhuntesr show if you're interested. I also posted a video from my phone yesterday that was kind of a summary of the craziness that was the end of last week.

No More Dining Hall Food

I spend a lot of my time at school being annoyed at the dining hall food. I've talked about this more than enough in the past, but my school's dining hall really does some strange things with food. It's rare to find something that I don't have to really force myself to eat.

Because of that, I always really look forward to being home again in order to eat decently again. Then, I get home, and come lunch time, I'm scouring the cabinets and fridge for food. The first couple of days it's fine, but then I start burning out on whatever is there. It might actually be worse than at school. I'm eating more or less the same food for lunch as I would cook in my dorm, but it seems more monotonous at home because I've felt like there was more potential or something for decent food.

Dinner times are better because my family tends to have actual meals at least half of the time, and I am so thankful for those meals. That food never tastes quite as good as it does in the first couple of weeks of being home from school.

Even when I'm rummaging in the cabinets and thinking that nothing sounds good, I really need to remind myself to think back to school when I have to force down some rather gross stuff for meals. That helps make it seem like a much better option.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Life Post: Meeting Sarah Dessen

I haven't written a life post since the beginning of finals week, and I honestly can't believe I'm even getting to it now.

This past week was crazy. Obviously, there was finals. Then I moved out of my dorm on Thursday and drove several hours home. On Saturday, I went back up to Indianapolis where I went to a Sarah Dessen signing (which was absolutely amazing, I'll get to it in a second) and also helped my sister move out of her apartment and then drove home the same day. Today my allergies really hit me. They're always worse when I'm at home, and the weather change is making it even more worse. Overall, I just feel really out of it and kind of miserable if I'm being entirely honest. I haven't felt this bad physical in such a long time. I've been lucky to not get sick in more than a year, and even though I know this is only allergies, this is the worst I've experienced in quite a while.

Anyway, in between all of the driving and moving, I got to meet Sarah Dessen at a signing, and it was awesome. It was so amazing to see her in person and get to hear her talk. Amazingly, I was able to actually get out what I wanted to say to her when I saw her unlike the time I completely froze upon meeting Little Mix. I got the first book I ever bought of hers (and the first YA book I ever owned) signed as well as my favorite of her books and her new book. My sister was there too and had a nice exchange about how the editor of the book had the same name as her. It was awesome. I even have visual proof that it happened.

I'm really happy to have had the experience. It was fantastic and made having to drive to Indy and back just two days after I already did so worth it. (Because helping my sister move out was not a fun experience, let me tell you.)

Today was pretty much me trying to recuperate from yesterday but actually just feeling sicker. Here's hoping that I wake up feeling infinitely better tomorrow. It's doubtful, but I'll hope.

And I almost forgot, but I did post a video about the Clary casting for Shadowhunters. It was just about the only thing I had the time to do online this past week.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Reign Review: Season 2 Episode 21: "The Siege"

Before I get to talking about the episode, I just want to throw it out there that I'm absolutely exhausted as I write this. I've had a long two days, and tomorrow I'll be in the car for more than six hours (after only just driving home from school yesterday). Basically, I can't make any guarantees that my brain is fully functioning right now, so I'm sorry if any part of this review doesn't make sense. I'm in one of those states where I'm not entirely sure if anyone knows what I'm saying.

Oh, lord. This episode. Okay. Where do I even begin? Last episode was much better for me compared to normal, but I'm not so sure about this episode. For the first time ever Reign made me cry. I'm not sure what that means at this point. As I've already established, my brain is not in its fully functioning state right now, so I'm not entirely sure how much of the crying was from Reign and how much of the crying was from exhaustion. Either way, I was crying badly enough that I had to take my glasses off and calm myself down for a bit after watching the episode.

I don't know if I liked it or hated it. I know I hated what happened, but when it comes to the actual story and if I'm happy with where they took things, I just don't know. I don't know how to feel about anything this show is doing anymore. I feel like I'm annoyed with so many of the characters, and after this episode, I can't figure out if I'm supposed to be frustrated with the characters or if I'm supposed to be supporting what they're doing.

Because, guys, so many people screwed up in this episode. Some of them are more at fault than others. Bash, for instance, I feel sorry for. I have no idea what that woman was doing, but I can't blame him for trusting her. I never suspected that there was anything wrong with her, and I've been pretty suspicious of just about every other character on Reign at some point. That's one aspect of this episode that I'm not sure if I liked or disliked them doing it. That was completely out of left field, and it's not like this episode needed more surprises. So much was already happening.

That's another thing. There was just so much that my brain is overloading trying to decide where to go with this.

Let's go to Leith and Claude since they quite possibly that the simplest storyline in this episode. There are slight hints at some romantic possibilities with them, and I said before I was worried about that. It would be so much more meaningful to me if they were just friends. That goes beyond me wanting Leith with Claude. Claude just needs a friend more than anything right now. I'm not excited at any possibility of them being more.

The creepy guy Claude glimpsed in the passage way has me freaked out too. I don't like that sort of stuff, and it has me really scared for the next episode. That might be kind of ridiculous considering everything else going on, but I'm just really dreading the return of the creepy shadows guy.

Conde has really gotten into the whole coup thing. I hate him just as much as ever. I really don't think I have more to say about him. I've always hated him. I still hate him. I hope he dies in the finale. Is that harsh? Probably. At this point there's really no choice but for either Francis or him to die, and I wouldn't be sad to see Conde off the show.

General guy who Kenna liked and whose name I should really remember by now but don't also proved to go the way I assumed he would. True that he was being blackmailed with his son and did help Francis in the end. I admire that more than I thought I would admire anything about him. Still, I fully expected him to betray someone somehow. I'm getting hints from this episode that Kenna and Bash are going to try to patch up their relationship because their attempts at finding new people seem to be failing after this episode.

As for whatever binding ritual that woman was doing, I have no idea what it was she was trying to accomplish, but it looks freaky and I'm not terrified of her. I don't see how that can be wrapped up in one more episode with everything else going on. I'm wondering if that's a storyline that will spill over into next season.

Catherine was the best part of this episode. She was back to being my favorite character again. Yes, making Narcisse eat his own horse was gross, and nothing Catherine did in this episode was justified. It was actually downright crazy and messed up. That's what makes Catherine my favorite character though, and I feel like she'd lost that recently. I liked seeing this. There's something interesting about how she's trying to be strong but showing her insecurities in the process.

There's also the fact that I still can't figure out Narcisse. Does he love Catherine? Does he love Lola? Does he love both? He seemed genuine with Lola in this episode, and I really think he cares for her at this point. (But I still strongly disapprove, and the picture thing was despicable either way. Please don't let them ever be together.) But when it comes to Narcisse and Catherine's relationship, I can't figure out what Narcisse's exact emotions are. I don't know what's faked and what's real.

Can I briefly ask where Francis' younger siblings are? They were in season one, and in this episode, Catherine briefly mentions them being safely abroad. Nice excuse for why they're never around, although I'm fairly positive that there have been references to them being other places in the castle before unless I'm remembering incorrectly. Where exactly did they get shipped off to and why? I can't see Catherine entrusting her youngest children off to other people 24/7 unless there was a coup, but it sounded like they were gone before that. Like I said, it's an excuse, but I'm not sure how well I believe it.

Okay. The last thing is also by far the biggest. Mary tells Conde that she's pregnant with his child. I hadn't given this possibility any thought mostly because I know that historical Mary didn't have a baby with Conde. Of course, Francis didn't really have his son either, but as the show has very well established, Mary having a baby has much bigger consequences despite how unfair that is.

I have no idea where this is going. I can't see her actually having a baby. I don't know if there really is no baby or if something will happen to the baby. I don't want another miscarriage considering that's already been used, but at the same time, there are sure to be plenty of opportunities for trauma that could lead to a miscarriage in the next episode.

Mary's confession is what made me cry. As I said before, I'm not entirely sure what was the biggest fuel behind the tears, but at least part of it was me being angry at Mary for her confession (although I don't think I would have cried if I were less tired). I was obviously in a bit of an emotional state at the time. Thinking on it now, I'd love to see Mary betray Conde. She definitely seemed to be on Francis' side earlier in the episode, and I'm struggling to see her betray him now. I think that was at least part of the reason for my strong reaction. I just can't see her siding with Conde after what happened. I really can't.

I have my fingers crossed that she won't betray Francis. If she does, then I really have no idea where the show is going to go next season.

This episode was definitely crazy, and I'm assuming the finale will be exactly the same if not worse. I don't think I'm going to know how I feel about this episode really until I see the finale. I'm really hoping I like how they decide to finish the season though. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review: Activate Your Brain by Scott G. Halford

ISBN: 1626341974
Published: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Read from April 16th to May 5th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Push your brain to full power, for success at the office and at home
Would you like more control over your life and your work?
Would you like greater stamina as you carry out your daily tasks?
How about more significance and meaning as you move forward in your career?
Scott Halford shows us how we can all find these things if we simply understand how to activate the full potential of the brain. This incredible organ is still full of mystery, but we know enough to harness its power better than ever before. We just have to recognize how the brain works, and understand the actions we can take to help it perform at its best.
Combining research, anecdote, and inspiration, Activate Your Brain shows you how small steps toward better brain function and management can eventually lead to success on a whole new level. Each chapter offers “Activations”—exercises that help optimize your brain function to . . .
•    increase your focus,
•    build self-confidence and willpower,
•    manage distractions,
•    reduce negative stress,
•    collaborate effectively with others,
•    and much more.
In the end, Activate Your Brain is an indispensable collection of practical things you need to know about your wonderful brain—which, when fully harnessed, can give you more of the fulfilled life you seek. 


I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've become very interested in the brain recently, and that was what drew me towards this book. It is written for people who work in business, which I clearly don't, but I still think I got something out of it. A lot of the advice is useful to pretty much anyone even if it may have to be adapted in some ways.

What surprised me was how much of it I was already doing. I contribute that at least partially to already having taken a neuroscience class. That same class meant that I knew a good portion of the material in this book already, but that honestly didn't bother me. I think this type of information is great and stuff that everyone should know. It was also nice to have the activations that gave you something to immediately do with the information you are given. You don't have to figure out how you're supposed to implement the information for yourself.

I would highly recommend this book to business people. I might actually recommend it to others as well because this really is information that can benefit everyone in some way. I really enjoyed this book, and I thought it did a great job of outlining practical information and how to use it in your own life.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Setting My Resolutions

I started a list a few months ago of "resolutions." These aren't necessarily new year's resolutions. They're just things I want to learn, and there's too many to accomplish all at once. Instead, I wrote them all down, so I'll have the list there once I finish one thing and want to go onto the next. This is most definitely long term because nothing on their will happen quickly.

The vast majority of things on the list are languages I want to learn. I'd already started teaching myself Japanese when I wrote the list, and I'd had a mental idea of what other languages I want to learn. Honestly, I want to learn every language, but I have to be realistic and pick and choose which ones are coming next and whatnot. Now I have my biggest priorities written down.

The list isn't entirely languages. I do have other things on there too, such as getting better at drawing, but that's only a few of the things. And how much I want to focus on developing that skill really depends on my mood on any given day. I'm not sure when I'll choose to focus on that rather than a language.

I think the biggest thing I want to learn that isn't a language is html (and then lead into other skills from there), but that is a sort of language as well.

As of right now, I think I'm going to start trying a new thing off the list every six months or so, and this would be added onto what I'm already learning. So, now I'm focusing on Japanese. Sometime this summer, I'd start on Spanish, since I've finished my classes in it now, and doing it on my own is the only way I'll continue to learn it. I'll still be learning Japanese, of course. I'll probably have an extremely small (in comparison to all of the words that go into a language) vocabulary in Japanese when I start Spanish, but I don't think I'll have a problem differentiating them in my mind. I've already been doing it as I've been studying Spanish in school, after all. They're not similar languages.

This exact list has kind of been a long time coming, since I've had a smaller mental one for a while, and I did originally start trying to teach myself Japanese two years ago. (It's actually really embarrassing what my progress has been like after that long of a period of time, but I did switch up my method much more recently into something that has been going way better.)

Here's to hoping I stick to this. I think I will, since I've pretty much been sticking to it for months already with studying Japanese. Just the progress I've made with Japanese has me confident that I'll keep it up with other languages. The non-language parts of the list might be more of a toss up. We'll see if I ever actually do those.

Putting this all down here and publicly just gives me more accountability. Now I have to do it or everyone will know that I failed. I've read enough about motivation to know that's extremely important, and that's probably a lot of the fuel behind this post if I'm being honest.

What about you guys? What sorts of things do you want to learn?

Life Post: It's Finals Week

Finals week is finally here. This has what the past weeks and insane work load has been building up to, and it feels strange to know that it'll be summer break in just a few days.

I have three finals that consist of actual tests, and I've taken one of them, Spanish, so far. It didn't go as well as it could have. At least in my mind. I thought I had as good of a grasp on the information as I could possibly get, but on the test, they gave us vocab we had to use. Well, I didn't recognize a good portion of it, and I still don't think we ever got that vocab, which has me confused. I'm just hoping my attempts were good enough because I really struggled over that test.

To be honest, that entire class has been a struggle. I don't want to get into all the negative details here on the blog, but that class just wasn't really working for anyone involved in it. I'm not really sure what went wrong initially, but things got steadily worse as the semester went on. I'm glad it's in the past now.

Anyway, I have one more final today. I'm feeling much more confident about it, although it is kind of a bummer that it's so late in the day. It doesn't finish until nearly eight at night, and my brain is struggling to function at full capacity by then. I'm glad I feel really good about that material because I imagine anything I had trouble with would be really bad at that set time.

I'm so close to being done with the semester though, and I'm pretty excited about that. Once this semester is over, I'll be two-thirds of the way done with college. That's crazy to me.

The last thing I want to mention is that I've been really good about posting Youtube videos over the past week. I did the Extraordinary Means tag a few days ago were I talk about the lengths I would go to for certain bookish things. I also did my April wrap-up and May TBR on the books I read in April and what I hope to read in May. And have I talked here at all about how the Mortal Instruments is being turned into a TV show for ABC Family? I'm not sure that I have. I did talk about the casting so far in a video though. We have Jace, Simon, and Isabelle, and some people were really angry that the Simon and Isabelle actors are POCs. I talked about that. It's looking like we might get Clary next, and I really want to keep talking about the casting either in videos or here as it happens, so expect to see more of that.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Supernatural Review: Second Half of Season Five

It's been two months since I reviewed the first half of season five, and I'm honestly surprised it's only been that long. It feels like a ton more time has passed since I last wrote one of these. This review will probably be a lot like that with me listing different things and probably only briefly mentioning them.

Since it's been two months since I watch the earlier ones out of these episodes, I can't remember them all that well. My notes bring some stuff back, but not that well. I really am thinking about splitting these reviews into smaller chunks. Maybe four per season? That might be good.

Anyway, the first episode that I'm reviewing in this group was one where a group of kids are doing witchcraft and have no idea what they're actually getting into. I don't remember anything to really say about this episode other than the fact that those kids were so stupid that the episode was actually irritating to watch.

I think the rest of this season was heavily focused on the apocalypse for the most part, and I think those episodes were pretty great. I liked that we got another episode of Sam and Dean in the past with their parents, although it's a bittersweet thing.

Adam was extremely irritating to me whenever he showed up.

Gabriel being Loki was interesting to me, but the idea that Gabriel actually wanted to side with humanity was strange to me after what we'd seen of him in the past. It was hard to believe.

I honestly feel like the end of this season would have been a great way to end the series completely, especially if the bit with Sam at the very end hadn't been there. It felt very final and like an ending, although I realize that tons of people would be angry with an ending like that. I think I actually would have liked it.

It's not the ending though, so that doesn't really matter. I'm a bit worried about watching beyond this point because I've heard so many terrible things, but unsurprisingly, I'm going to anyway. So, I guess we'll see what comes next.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Reign Review: Season 2 Episode 20: "Fugitive"

I liked this episode better than the last couple episodes. For whatever that's worth. That doesn't mean I'm not really annoyed with where they've taken the story. It's just that when I take into consideration that they've done what they've done, this past episode was easier to watch than others have been. I wasn't tempted to rip my hair out, but maybe that's because I've just become used to it by now.

We'll start off with Narcisse. I think I say every single review that I don't know what to think about him and Lola or him and Catherine. This episode seemed to strongly hint that he really does have feelings for Lola. I want him as far from Lola as possible. Him passing around a naked drawing of Lola was most definitely a shout out to the modern day celebrity nude photo leaks that happen. I wouldn't be surprised if they were referencing the big one recently in particular. I think that helped me like the episode because they're dealing with something that happens in modern day in a clever way considering the time period of the show.

However, Lola better have nothing to do with Narcisse ever again. I was against a relationship between them before, but if she gets with him after that, I will be so angry. I don't care how sorry he is. The fact that he did it shows how horrible of a person he is, and I cannot get behind them as a couple at all. Not that I could before.

I also know that Catherine is my favorite character, but I'm angry that she encouraged him to do it. It's interesting that they seem to be delving into her insecurities about relationships or whatever, but that doesn't make up for it. I also don't like whatever is going on between her and Narcisse either. When they're just scheming together and whatnot they can have some awesome scenes, but I just want Narcisse away from any sort of romance ever.

Conde might be attempting to overthrow Francis. I'm not really worried about him actually overthrowing Francis. There's a historical event that this is referencing, although I'm not incredibly well informed about it. All I know is that Reign is definitely taking liberties with it, and while I'm happy this seems to be wrapping up the love triangle story line, I wish they could have done this without the love triangle in the first place. There could have been so many different ways to lead to this that would have made for a better story.

Just please, please let that be other with forever. If Conde dies at the end of the season I would actually be happy. I'm not even kidding. I just want it to end.

The scene with Bash and Mary shows that even the characters are aware of the love triangle thing already having been done. Will they not do it again then? I swear, I tend to stick to things to the very end for loyalty's sake, but if Reign does another love triangle that involves Mary and Francis I very well might be done with it.

Greer and Leith... I should have known that them being the only happy couple left wouldn't last long. Like the drawing thing, this story line does have the modern parallel of women working for themselves because they enjoy it and that whole idea, and I appreciate the fact that Reign is tackling that. For that reason, I'm willing to see where this story line goes without getting angry about this particular story. I think this has a lot of potential, and I can easily see Greer and Leith working things out (wishful thinking? maybe).

I do admire Greer for realizing that she enjoys the independence that having her own income and not relying on others affords her, and I also admire the fact that she wanted to keep that. It's not that she doesn't love Leith but that she's realized that she's strong enough to take care of herself, and I love that. That might have been my favorite part of the episode, which is shocking considering how much I ship Greer and Leith.

Kenna, meanwhile, moved forward with that general guy. Maybe I should start remembering his name since he's clearly sticking around. I still don't like the guy. Something about him just seems off to me. It's kind of the same feeling I get from Narcisse. It's made it basically impossible to get behind the idea of him and Kenna.

In other brighter news though, I really like where the show seems to be taking Claude's character. There was some great character development in this episode. We've already gotten a pretty good idea of what her insecurities are, but they were really laid out there now. I've grown to really like her character, which I assumed might happen, and I'm excited to see how she continues to develop. I really want her to develop some close real relationships, and I loved seeing her give the earrings to Leith.

While Leith being one of the first legitimate friendships she makes would be nice to me, I'm just really hoping they dont' go with a romance. Leith and Greer breaking things off could easily lead to that I think, but that wouldn't be as poignant as a friendship between them in my opinion. I think Claude needs a real friend more than she needs real romance right now, although the second can obviously come in the future. I don't want friendship to be overlooked here though, and I'm worried that it easily could be.

Here's hoping that the finale continues to get better than the rest of the season. I have high hopes that are maybe a bit premature. We'll see what happens.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Life Post: Preparing for Finals

Today's academic honors day at my school, which basically means we get a day off of classes specifically to study for classes. Unsurprisingly, I've been using the day to study, work on the one "project" I have left of the semester, but also do get some reading done and to watch the newest episode of Reign. (I liked the Reign episode better than last week's by the way, but I'll talk more about that in my review tomorrow.)

It feels like a Saturday, of course, instead of a Friday, so I imagine all week next week will continue to feel stranger and stranger as my schedule is all different. I'm excited for finals though just because it means that summer break comes afterward. I'm most excited to get this proposal written and check that off my list. I've never written a proposal before, and I'm basically going off of what Google searches have told me to do. Fingers crossed that it's decent.

I'm a bit nervous about finals. Spanish in particular has me worried, but I keep reminding myself that I'll remember the material much better if I just stay confident that I do know it. With Spanish especially, I do a really good job remembering when it's low stakes, but on tests I blank under the pressure and can't recall anything (vocab especially). That's not good when our entire final is essay. That isn't a problem I usually have with tests, but I think I've just come to expect myself to be terrible at Spanish after my high school experience. It's not a good mindset, but it's difficult to break out of it.

What's difficult to focus on when finals are happening yet is also important is packing to move out of the dorm. A week or so ago I packed maybe a third of my clothes up in a burst of motivation, but other than that I haven't done anything. I'm currently in the mindset where I have no idea where to start even though I know things will go smoothly (mostly at least) once I actually start packing. I need to do that this weekend in order to get a good chunk of it over with before we're actually in the midst of finals.

For the most part, I think that will be the majority of my weekend. As it probably should be the weekend before finals.