Sunday, April 27, 2014

Randomness- 5 Healthy Recipes to Try This Summer!

So my school gave us a little packet with healthy recipes to make. And so I thought to share them with you guys. Just let me know if you have trouble seeing the pictures, and I'll type it out. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sharing Thursdays! 4/24/14

Blog Posts from around the Web

Shout out to Jelsa Mepsey
So my awesome friend, Jelsa, is getting published by Winslet Press, and she recently just officially got onto their author page. So I'm sharing that here and her blog, on which you should check her out.

Music to Tune into/Multi-Media

Wesbites To Take a Peek At

  • Hogwarts Is Here- There is now a site where (for Free) you can take classes like you would at Harry Potter's Hogwarts and a whole bunch of other stuff. Now I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan, but this is still pretty cool. I might be tempted to do this during my four-month long summer break. 
  • Storybird- So this site seems to have more kids in mind, but the concept is still pretty neat. Its a site where you can create stories using art or write stories inspired by art or whatever. It basically combines art and writing and lets you share it. 
  • Sound Drown- Ever wondered what a coffee shop, on fire, in the rain sounds like? Well with Sound Drown you can listen to that or any combination of a variety of sounds. This website is a nice tool when you need to drown out the sound around you and music just isn't what you need. 

Web Articles to Take a Look At

  • Movie based on OneDirection Fanfic- Yep, you read that right. There is now a movie that's going to be based off of a fanfiction between Harry Styles of One Direction and a made up "Tessa". The story, featured on Wattpad, is aptly named "After" and the following two books creatively named, "After 2" and "After 3". Besides the legal implications of someone making a movie off of a fanfiction, the ties between this and Fifty Shades of Grey (which is actually a fanfiction based off of Twilight), and the fact that there are millions of people obsessed with a band so much so that this is popular on Wattpad, fan fictions and other legalities that goes with it is something I want to make a post about.
  • Beth Revis on Wattpad- This isn't so much an article, but I decided to throw it in anyways. Beth Revis and other popular YA authors are now on Wattpad! Kinda cool, right?
  • A couple of posts about "genre fiction" vs "literary fiction" here and here
  • Another couple of posts about science fiction (and one of them relates to the whole "genre" vs "literary" debate. You can check them out here and here
  • This post is about YA historical fiction books to check out. 

Blog Posts Coming Up!
So here are some blog posts I've got planned. 
  • Book Review on "Dreams of Gods and Monsters" by Laini Taylor. 
  • Book Review on "Reached" by Ally Condie. 
  • Post about fanfictions and Kindle Worlds. 
  • BookTracks- A website where you can add soundtracks to books.
  • Kindle Singles
  • How to Use Pinterest for Writers
  • My take on "genre" vs "literary" fiction. 
  • And lots, lots more!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Research isn't Just for Students!

The following post I also wrote and posted on Inkwell, but I am recycling it and sharing it on here too. 

Credit: Link
So no matter what genre you write in, you’re probably going to have to do some research at some point in time. If you’re like me, you’ll be fine with this because its exciting. If not, well not so much. But some times even when you know what subject you’re researching, it might be hard to know where to start. So tonight, I’m going to give you my suggestions for how to conduct good research.
Step 1- Know what you’re looking for.
You can start with a broad topic, like The Roaring Twenties, or make it specific like, what kinds of food did people eat back then? The more specific you are, the easier/harder it will be to find information. But if I’m researching a time period, I’ll start with broad things.
Step 2: Gather your resources
Once you’ve decided on your topic, now its time to start gathering your materials. The best place to start right off the bat is Google because that’s fairly simple.
Rule of warning: Remember that when you’re looking for sites for information, you have to keep in mind that there might be a ton of sites out there with a bunch of different information. One of the things here is that some of that information may not always be true. I have two ways of checking information, 1) Does the site list references? And are those references valid sources and are they dated? 2) Can this information be found on other sites. If you can find generally the same information on at least two or three other sites, you know that its probably true. Even better, see if you can find it in a book. (Although if you’re writing a fiction novel, your facts don’t always have to be strictly true. Because you’re writing fiction and you can sometimes get away will little things as long as its not too big).
Once you’ve found your internet references, its a good idea to bookmark all those files in a separate folder or two so that you’ll be able to find them again.
After you’ve found your internet resources, make sure to check out your local library or bookstore. Books are generally the best places to look for information that’s true. And don’t be afraid to check out kids’ books too. Sometimes those may be helpful although you might look a bit silly reading them. Other good resources to check out are magazines, TV shows, movies, documentaries, and journals (not like personal journals but academic ones).
Make sure to keep track of all the things you’ve used to find your information in because those might come in handy if you need to rent them again or something. Sometimes I give my list of resources to friends who might be resourcing the same things.
Step 3- Organize your resources and make notes
Say you’re researching the 1920s again and you need to know exactly where to find something or there’s something in a specific book you need. If you’re looking at your internet resources, make sure to organize them. For example I’ve been studying this era for a novel and under my bookmarks I have specific folders for sites related to “Flappers”, “Model T Ford”, “Speakeasies”, “Prohibition”, etc.
If you want to make notes, keep a stack of notecards near you and write down the quote you want and then remember to source the item you got this information from. If you can’t remember how to do something like the MLA from high school, there’s plenty of sites that will show you how or even do it for you. Doing something like the MLA may not seem all that important, especially if you’re writing fiction, but its a good habit to get into. Not only will this help you keep track of your information, but you can’t be accused of stealing that quote or anything.
And remember basic note taking tips like, you don’t have to write everything down and summarizing is useful.
Step 4- How do you know when you have enough?
This is a good question, one that I’ve often struggled with myself. I’m one of those people who will research a subject until I’m sick of it and ready to die. But from that I’ve learned that there’s ways to know.
A good way to know is that you can just start with the basics. Because you can always go back and research more later. But most of the time we just need a couple things to get us started and informed.
Also, research as you go. You don’t need to know everything before you begin writing because you don’t know what you’ll encounter as you write. Or what will come up. Research what you need and leave it as that if you’re afraid of over researching.
Also keep in mind that you won’t use everything you’ll learn. Sometimes not only that, but if your story is still good without knowing what exactly people ate in the 1920s and how long they cooked it, you don’t need to research that. Its not needed! Don’t go through the trouble of putting something into your story just for the sake of putting it there, cause that’s unnecessary.
Step 5- Don’t be afraid of creating. 
If you can’t find something you’re looking for, keep in mind that the information you want may not be known or even accessible to you. And if you are determined to add something that you can’t find, add that something anyways. Its okay to expand on a topic even if you’re not exactly right. (Mostly though if you’re writing fiction.)
If you can’t find say what was the most popular hair color back in the 1920s, its okay to put in that lots of people like blonds or red-heads. After all, you’re writing fiction, not a non-fiction book. You don’t always have to have all the facts out there.
Main Points to Take Away
  • Don’t limit yourself to just one resource! There’s a ton of information out there on any subject. Don’t just look on the internet or in books, try other types of media too. Like movies and magazines.
  • Its a good idea to double check that your facts are true. Even if you’re writing fiction. While it may not be the most important thing, it’d be horrible if you got something wrong and everyone knew it but you, after you’ve been published. Because then its kinda hard to go back and change it.
  • Don’t steal! Make sure to give credit to where you found your information. Even if you’re going to be the only person to know.
  • Keep organized. This way, its very to find information when you need it.
  • Keep notes! Also makes it easier to find information!
  • Use what you need as you need it.
  • Try to have fun!
So, do you enjoy researching? Why or why not? What is some of the most interesting things you’ve come across before?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Take a Book; Leave a Book: Little Free Libraries

(Credit Given to this Website)
And yes my Birdies, that is a tardis...
Have you ever wished there was a place where you could just exchange books, without even ever having to find friends and family or even needing to leave your neighborhood? Well, see there's this thing called Little Free Libraries that allows you do to just that!

What is Little Free Libraries?
These are boxes placed in communities, buildings, neighbors, etc, where anyone can drop off books and take books for free. You can have them officially registered on the website and you can check out to see if there's any near you by using the map.

History of LFL.
 In 2009, Todd Bol and Rick Brooks started the project after Bol created a little home for free books in his yard. His neighbors loved it and it grew from there. 
(Taken from their website)
They were inspired by many different ideas:
  • Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries around the turn of the 19th to 20th century.
  • The heroic achievements of Miss Lutie Stearns, a librarian who brought books to nearly 1400 locations in Wisconsin through “traveling little libraries” between 1895 and 1914.
  • “Take a book, leave a book” collections in coffee shops and public spaces.
  • Neighborhood kiosks, TimeBanking and community gift-sharing networks
  • Grassroots empowerment movements in Sri Lanka, India and other countries worldwide.
 Their Mission
  • To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
  • To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
 Benefits of having one (according to the website).
  • People meet more neighbors and passers-by than they have in years.
  • They often spend time getting to know people as well as books.
  • They value the free-wheeling exchange of books, especially because they are often surprised by the variety and quality of the collections.
  • They like giving as much as –or perhaps even more than—taking books. • Little Free Libraries are likely to have a positive influence on community quality of life and social capital.
  • Small, local business owners report that Little Free Libraries help them attract and keep customers.
  • Realtors have said that Libraries (big and small) have influenced potential homebuyers to decide to settle on one neighborhood rather than another.
  • The vast majority of public and school librarians fully support the concept and role of Little Free Libraries as outreach and inreach tools for library success.
  • Children, youth and adults of all ages and backgrounds can share in the give and take. People of widely diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds participate in this grassroots effort.
Extra Stuff about it
Its doesn't cost much to start your own little library and if you can't make your own, you can also buy an already made little library. There's a "get involved" page if you find yourself wanting to make your own or want to start one in your community. My own tiny little hometown recently got one and it's pretty cute. I haven't been able to use it yet since I've been at school since they started it, but I plan to use it this summer while I'm home. I'll take a picture too and update it to this post.

Anyways, so I really like the idea of having a place to exchange books. I like getting new books and giving away books I don't particularly find myself wanting. I'm not sure how much my community will really get into meeting each other more because of it, but we're a pretty small town so you can just walk outside your house and see everyone within a few minutes. And everyone knows everyone else who lives in the town, so we're pretty tight knit, I guess you could say.

But who doesn't like free books? Its also a great way to promote reading, which I think is very important. Studies have shown numerous benefits to people who read a lot.

So go find a book to read. And leave a book for someone to read.

Or go find your own Free Little Library.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review- Requiem by Lauren Oliver

(From Goodreads) They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.
Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing.
Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.
Ever since I read Delirium, I was impressed by the series. I thought that the premise was really cool and that there was great potential for this to not only be a great series by itself, but it could really delve into some deeper topics that are meaningful to today's teens. In the first book, it was a fairly good book and I really liked it. I liked the ending of it because I thought that it was a good cliffhanger. In the second book, I found myself pleasantly surprised not only with the turn the story took, but with the ending as well. The ending was better then the last one and left a lot of questions and ways that Lauren Oliver could have done the third book.

But what I found left me disappointed. I thought that in the second book, Lauren Oliver had done some very good characterization and growth, the plot was good and it set up for the third book well. I'm trying not to give away too much here in this review, but for the sake of, if you haven't read the series yet or the second book don't continue reading past this point (although studies have shown that spoilers actually don't ruin books and movies as much as they assume).

Anyways, so onto my spoilers and review.  I thought that having Lena fall in love with Julian in the second book was a nice change from past books I've read. I was thinking maybe there wouldn't a love triangle in this story (because Lena thinks that Alex might be dead and doesn't know what happens to him after she escaped and he was shot). But nope! Alex shows up right at the last moment and instead of confessing his undying love to her, he basically tells Julian that Lena isn't to be trusted and there's just this moment of complete hatred and anger you can feel seething off the page from him.

So here I was thinking while waiting to get this book, "What does he mean? Why does he hate her so much now? Is there going to be a love triangle?" I saw lots of potential for Lena to grow here with this new development. In fact, I saw lots of ways for Oliver to help set her book apart from other YA books. But instead, there's this constant struggle throughout the story if Lena should stay with Julian or not. But at first Lena is convinced that Alex hates her, but as much as she doesn't want to admit it, she's still in love with him. In fact, she still loves him more then Julian.

Throughout this book, I felt that Alex and Julian didn't really have a point to being there. That they were kinda there just to create some tension. Julian had no real major character growth, in fact, I can't really say I saw any at all. Maybe that he learned to understand what it was like to choose love and to grow into a more assertive, leadership position among the rebels? But then, all he did was just gain a little of their respect. Lena, I felt, was unfair to him throughout the story. She knows she doesn't love him as much, and yet, is always going on about how much she loves him and then the next moment, how much she still loved Alex. She was using Julian it seemed like just because he was there and she had to have someone if not Alex.

One of the interesting things about this story I will say, is that Oliver decided to add in Hana's point of view. I enjoyed seeing what it was like to be cured and I enjoyed seeing the development of Hana's character despite her cure. But besides that, I also didn't see a huge point to her point of view. We learned a couple of key facts from her that raised some very important questions, but those questions were never answered. If Fred (her to be husband who's now I guess, leading the Cured world) is helping the rebels, or allowing them to rebel...why exactly? Do the rebels figure this out at all? Does, in the end, he in fact, die? He's suppose to die actually, but the author never really goes on to give any kind of closure to this part. Hana's point of view left me with more questions then it did answers.

I liked this book, but unfortunately, I was left with too many questions and concerns to have really enjoyed this book like I wanted to. I was hoping maybe Oliver would go on to address first loves, moving on from those loves, can true love really exist, can you really love two people at once, and so on, so forth. I was hoping maybe she could have used the characters in a bigger way. And besides the "open" ending that left me with way too many questions and ends that were never tied up, I felt that half the time, the characters either were there just because and they didn't really have a grand point to being there, or they were really underdeveloped.

For example, we never really learn all too much about Lena's mother. But when Lena discovers her in the forest, sent by the resistance to help them, Lena gets a little bit of closure from this. But there was little development of her mother. We do learn some about her feelings and how much she loves Lena and so on, so forth, but besides being there just to give Lena a little closure about her mother and help Lena figure out a note Alex left her, I didn't see much point to her being there. And yes, I do think that minor characters (her mother could maybe even be called a major character) should be developed like our major characters should be.

 (I will say though, that I was at least glad her mother did appear, despite that I thought it wasn't necessary to the story, because at least Lena does have a parent partly present in the story. In most YA books, I feel I see way too many books where the parents are never present at all. In a way, this is understandable, we can't have our protagonists doing what they can with their parents there 24/7. But also, I feel this happens all too much with teens running off on an adventure without so much of a thought to their parents who will most likely notice something has happened here.Or their parents die or whatever. I'll blog about this later.)

Overall, my main problem with this story is that the ending is too open. I'm all for open endings if that's what your story needs. But if you can tie up as many loose ends as possible, you should. There's a point between leaving enough room that your readers can question what exactly happened yet leaving them satisfied to wonder- and leaving too much to question.  Lauren Oliver made a video of herself explaining why she ended the story like how she did.

And the other problem is that the characters really bugged me and I just didn't see as much development and usefulness of character I would have liked to see. If the characters all have a meaningful part to the story in that maybe it doesn't allow them much growth and development, then I can understand that. Some characters don't need to grow within the context of the story. But all your characters should be meaningful to the story, and if anything, meaningful to the growth of the protagonist(s).

Overall, I give this story 3 stars and a sigh and shrug.

Anyways, you can check out Requiem here on Goodreads, or find Lauren Oliver here at her websiteon Tumblron Twitterat her blog, or if those aren't enough links for you, here on Amazon.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Funny And Cool Packaging Pictures from Pinterest

Here's a whole bunch of either funny, cool, or weird packaging I'd thought I'd share. As a design student, I've been pinning a whole bunch of inspirational pictures to my Pinterest Design Board

Pinterest Link

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Pinterest Link
Found on Pinterest, linked back to here


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