Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Random Thoughts #1

Currently, I'm sprawled out on my bed reading posts I've never published, and writing strangely deep paragraphs about life. Every draft I've written has never made it to the real world because it has no meaning. It has no spark, no passion put into it. That's why I haven't been blogging recently. I had no ideas or motivation to write something worth reading. Maybe it's because I've just finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but there's something inside of me that's clicked. Recently I've felt like breaking out of my shell. It's like I've been holding myself back for so long now. Everyone knows that feeling. But I want to do something about it. I want to gain that confidence back. So 2016 marks the year where I will actually work on having a proper blog. No random posts with months in between. It's my challenge. Gosh, that does sound cheesy, doesn't it? 

So, in the spirit of Fangirl's Cather, I decided to write something. Yes it's quite strange, but hey, this is a post of random thoughts, right? Anything can be thought of.

I sat there on my grandparent’s lived-in couch, sandwiched between my aunt and my mom, just taking in my obnoxious, talkative family. We’ve all grown up so much. It seems like just yesterday I, the youngest of the bunch, was sitting on the floor playing Goblet with my oldest cousin. Now he has a baby of his own and I’m no longer a youngster. There’s always a group of relatives focusing on my newest cousin. Currently, it’s my aunt, grandma, and cousin-in-law, watching as the toddler stumbles and teases us with her new toys, all the while screaming shouts of laughter. So much has changed so quickly and I didn’t realize it until now. That’s life though, it truly does pass in the blink of an eye. I move my attention to my left. My aunt is rehashing her trip to Israel that she took with my favorite college. My mom's, dad's, and cousin’s attention is solely focused on her. I’m only half-listening; my thoughts have become preoccupied with college. The ex-youngest is now weighing her options, caught between the almost-perfect, the affordable and comforting, and the just-out-of-reach. It’s a constant battlefield in my brain. At times there is a clear winner, but then one of the others makes a comeback- a valiant effort to defeat the additional contenders. But those are thoughts for another day. Now it’s time to celebrate Christmas. My eyes drift to my brother and my second youngest cousin; they’re desperately trying to work the new-and-improved View Master. It’s no use. They’ve been at it for what seems like hours. McDonald’s Happy meals immediately pop into my head. Memories of pre-packaged toys and stuffed animals come flooding back. Polly Pockets, the Jungle Book 2, princess figurines, you name it, my brother and I probably had it. Drinks. Happy meals came with drinks, didn’t they? A question that once seemed trivial now seems impossible to answer. The rest of the family- my dad, uncle, and grandpa- are occupied with their drinks. Grandpa sips on the coffee that never leaves his hands- now it’s like blood in his veins, an addicting drug. I don’t remember the last time I saw him when he didn’t have a mug of the liquid attached to his palm. My dad and uncle are having small glasses of a minty melted-ice-cream-looking rum drink. It’s on the rocks, apparently that’s the way to have it (or so my dad tells me). They are dissecting the football team’s latest loss- today’s loss, it's still fresh in their minds. The running joke would be the miniscule string of game highlights the local sports networks will play. Then there’s me. Sitting, thinking, listening, observing. My normal habits. As much as I like being surrounded my outgoing, outspoken people, I have yet to find my voice. It’s buried somewhere deep inside my muscles and bones. Where do I fit into this family? This life? I’d sure like to know.

Au Revoir!

"Don't think about what can happen in a month. Don't think about what can happen in a year. Focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Huge Reading Wrap Up and Reviews

Hey guys! I realize that I have probably been a disgrace in the blogger world because there has been a large (quite large) hiatus (about 4 months). I wasn't feeling like myself and honestly I needed to put my well being and school ahead of this. It may be a while until another post is up... I'm planning on editing posts that have been written (somewhat) but not put up. Well, on with the reviews!

1. The Duff by Kody Keplinger - 4/5
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I saw the movie first, and there were practically no spoilers because the book and movie are very different. There was a friends-with-benefits relationship going on with Bianca, the main character, and Wesley, the super hot jock guy which I was not expecting. It definitely makes you think about "Duffs" and it's a quick, fun read to squeeze in during a torture- er, school- break.

2. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry - 3/5
This book has been on my TBR- kid you not- since second grade. After reading it, I think that it is an okay book, I had high hopes for it, but it just wasn't for me. Kira is a strong girl, but it just wasn't what I was expecting. This one makes you think about the government since it's set in a dystopian society and about morals and humanity.

3. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - 4/5
This is a fun, quick read about Georgia Nicholson's life. She is a teenager from England and all her boy and family drama. I wouldn't say it's amazing, but it is entertaining!

4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - 5/5
Well, this book made me start to enjoy mythology (which is a hard feat)! I love that it is modern, but has the gods and monsters from the olden days. Even if you don't like mythology, this is such a great book that it is a must read! (Also don't judge the book by it's movie!)

5. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins - 5/5
Oh my gosh, I was hooked with the first word! Southern belle gone, well, ninja! There is romance, suspense, magic, and practically everything else! Harper, the protagonist, is the typical popular girl with a somewhat messed up family life who is next in line for homecoming queen, but then the school's janitor kisses her in the girl's bathroom (sketchy, right?) and she finds herself protecting the last person she would ever dream of!
6. Homemakers by Brit Morin - 4/5
Okay, I know this has horrible ratings on Goodreads, but I thought it was pretty good! It has pretty basic things like how to hard boil an egg and how to set a table the fancy way, but, I mean, I don't know how to do that and I'm willing to bet most teenagers don't either!

7. Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams - 5/5
Yes, yes, yes! Awesome book!!! Sophie has worked at her family's Italian restaurant all her life, and now she is on a teen cooking competition (very Masterchef Junior-esque). She is sent to Napa, California to compete for an internship at a culinary school and may or may not win the heart of a young French man. I wonder if she saw Hallie Parker when she was there?

8. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - 4/5
This is different from the movie, but it is a good different. I like that it is relatable (shopping problem, anyone?) and Becky Bloomwood is so funny! It gives good financial advice in a sneaky way, too!

9. The Spiderwick Chronicles series (#1-5) by Holly Black - 3/5
This series was okay considering it was a children's series. I would recommend it for younger people because each book is only about 100 pages or so. A good story, although because they are so short, get the whole series from the library or a half-priced book store because each book is a quick read.

10. The Looking Glass Wars (#1) by Frank Beddor - 4/5
This was pretty good! It is an Alice in Wonderland novel, but don't worry, it's not the Disney version! Alice is the narrator and her imagination is all powerful. I don't think I will continue with the series because it wasn't my cup of tea, but if you are a fantasy person you will love this!

11. On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison - 3/5
The second book in the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series definitely wan't as good as the first. But, no doubt, it was still entertaining! I can't even imagine having a friend like Georgia; it would be so strange, yet so fun!

12. Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes - 5/5 (read the review here)

13. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks - 3/5
No. Just no. This was so slow and boring. The movie, now the movie was good, but the book, not so much. I just could not relate to any of the characters and they were all so lovey dovey and it was just kind of weird.

14. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell - 3/5
This book. Oh this book! It was quite boring at parts and I could not get through it at a good pace. The movie is so much better, to be honest. If you like cooking (specifically French cooking) or are a Julia Child fangirl, this book is for you! But if you aren't, I suggest you look for a different novel to fill your book void.

15. Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth - 5/5
No words. Read it if you are a Divergent fangirl! This follows Four (obviously) through his choosing ceremony and Dauntless life. It's a peek into his personal life and thoughts which is awesome!

16. The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine - 4/5
This was pretty good! It's about a good girl who starts hanging out with a bad(ish) guy while they are working at a wedding business. I probably wouldn't reach for it again, but if you want a typical YA romance novel, read this! You won't be disappointed!

17. Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn - 5/5
What a great summer read! This is the second book in a series that follows Gemma as she and her ex best friend Hallie try to get revenge on each other. It's light hearted and funny and perfect for any time you need a fun book.

18. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall - 5/5
This book is one that is a classic (or at least should be)! It's about 4 sisters and an amazing summer at this picturesque cottage. Such great imagery and descriptions. It really makes you want to go there. Honestly, I'd love to see this as a film, but I'd also hate it because there is no way an adaptation could do it justice! If you want a quick read that brings you back to your childhood, please please please read this!!!

19. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall - 5/5
The girls are now older and boy, are they getting into some messes! Skye and Jane swap homework assignments, Rosalind is in a romantic kerfuffle, and Batty is busy with Hound and the new neighbor boy. Even Mr. Penderwick has some surprises!

20. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall - 5/5
The girls have grown up again (gosh, will they stop doing that!?!), and are now taking a trip without Mr. Penderwick and Rosalind. It's a bumpy ride

21. The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall - 5/5
Oh man, Rosalind's in college, Skye and Jane are in high school, and the book is basically centered around Batty. It was hard to get into at first because all the characters are so grown up since there was such a huge time jump, but it ended up being so darn good! Now I only have to wait four years until the last book (*crying inside*).

22. The Heir by Kiera Cass - 5/5
I know there has been a lot of hatred towards the main character, Eadlyn, but I actually liked her! I know she was very spoiled and angry, but I think that it is just a side effect of being a princess and a teenager and knowing all the horrible things going on in the kingdom and trying to figure out how to stop it. I really liked that Eadlyn wanted to be queen without a husband. It's almost like a Princess Diaries thing again! Honestly if any one of us were in her position, we would feel and act like Eadlyn.

23. My Almost Epic Summer by Adele Griffin - 4/5
For a book picked off of the cover, this ended up being pretty good! A little weird at parts, but overall a nice summer read. The main character is babysitting and ends up becoming aquatinted with a couple older kids who kind of bully her in some ways.

24. Just One Night by Gayle Forman - 3/5
Okay, this was good, but not outstanding. Yes it was cute and yes it was a good ending, but, I don't know, it was an end to a series that was just "ehhh" for me.

25. Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers - 4/5
Oh my gosh. Once I got past the disappointment of this only being a short story, I rekindled my love of this series. The first book, This is Not a Test, literally gave me chills. This installment follows two of the characters as they try to find civilization in a world overrun by zombies. So good, so good.

26. When Irish Guys Are Smiling by Suzanne Supplee - 3/5
Disappointing is one word to describe this. I honestly had high hopes for this because, come on, who doesn't picture Niall Horan when reading the title?! Plus it's set in Ireland! But I just couldn't get into it. Maybe the rest of the series is better?

27. The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard - 4/5
I loved the Pretty Little Liars series and was sad to see it end, but this has definitely replaced it! Although it does seem to be similar to the PLL plot, if you like it, read the second book because it has a huge plot twist and is nothing like PLL!

28. Something Real by Heather Demetrios - 5/5
This was so good. It's about Bonnie™ who has spent her life growing up on a reality show about her family. After 3 years of having a normal life, she is once again thrown into the spotlight. It's interesting to see how reality TV affects children and teenagers even if this book is fiction.

29. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan - 5/5
Too good to put into words! Mythology is my friend now! And Percy, oh Percy, he is quite sassy!

30. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan - 4/5
Very good, very good. Sad ending though!

31. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan - 4/5
Wow, this one definitely brought me back to my mythology days in English class! It's so interesting that some mortals can see through the mist! Can you? (*cue mysterious music*)

32. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - 5/5 - What an epic conclusion to the Percy Jackson series! The huge fight, oh the fight! Soooooo good!!! Kronos was defeated and all is right! There are no words to describe the amazement felt from this book. On to the Heroes of Olympus!

33. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling - 3/5 - Boy, I had high hopes for this book because I loved the Three Brothers tale that was in HP and the Deathly Hallows, but it was slightly disappointing. I enjoyed the stories because they had a good message and were incredibly creative, but I disliked the format. I feel like there could have been a few more stories (there were only 5 or 6) or there should have been 10 or 15, maybe even 20, stories without Dumbledore's comments.

34. The Good Girls by Sara Shepard - 4/5 - Plot twist alert! I thought this would end up being like the Pretty Little Liars series, and in a way it was- until the twist. If you are debating whether or not to continue on with this series after reading The Perfectionists, continue! The OMG moment makes it all worth while! (Plus it's a quick read!)

Okay, I have read a lot more books than this, but without being insane and having this be a mile long post, it just wasn't possible to add any. Also, don't kill me because I've said "fun" and "quick" so much... argh! Descriptive words, must find new descriptive words!

Anyways, I hope you've enjoyed this book wrap up! Leave a comment below if you have read any of these or have any recommendation!

Au Revoir!

"The unexpected is usually what brings the unbelievable" -mkr

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Review: Lemonade Mouth

Hey guys! Today I'm reviewing Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes for you! If you watched Disney channel when you were younger, you probably saw Lemonade Mouth with the detention kids turned rock stars. But I am here to tell you, this book is definitely not the same as the movie. It is more young adult than child.

The book starts off with Wen, Charlie, Mo, Olivia, and Stella finding themselves in detention on the same fateful day for various reasons (for example, Mo is caught making out in the trees and Wen has a not-so-Disney-esque guy problem in front of his class). None of them immediately click and make a fabulous show tune like in the movie- they actually start by signing/playing to the beat of a commercial. The music teacher, Mrs. Reznik, encourages them to become a band and none are particularly enthralled with the idea. Stella eventually turns their frowns upside down, they give the band a go, and sign up to play at the Halloween Party, much against the competing band's wishes. When Lemonade Mouth comes onto the stage, the crowd is in for a strangely amazing blend of ukulele (Stella), vocals (Olivia), trumpet (Wen), drums (Charlie), and bass (Mo). Everyone falls in love with their music and Lemonade Mouth is instantly famous around town. Now, now, obviously I'm not going to give away the rest, but I will say that, as in every book, the characters have difficulties at home, with each other, and with their classmates. At one point Lemonade Mouth calls it quits. Is it fate or coincidence that this band seems destined to take over the world (or at least the radio)?

Okay. Lemonade Mouth was awesome. Seriously! If you liked the movie please give this a try! The way it was written seemed so, I don't know, fluid. Each chapter had multiple points of view so I felt like I was being told the story by each of the characters. The best parts were when the music was described. It's really hard to explain, but I could practically hear the music! I was also pleasantly surprised by the characters. They were quite different from the movie, which I was not expecting. Olivia is incredibly shy and scared (and a little strange) and she has contact with her father throughout the book. Mo wasn't all that different, so I won't really comment on her. Stella had a stranger home life and she definitely rebelled more than in the movie. The largest change for Wen was that he had a crush on his father's girlfriend, which made things infinitely more complicated for him. Charlie was the most different because he had his dead twin's voice in his head. Eventually he overcame it and the voice stopped, but it acted as his alter ego almost. The part I loved the most was that the wimpy freshmen came together and changed the way people acted at school. Although it is a tad cliché, the message was there and it was definitely well written!
A 5/5 stars!

What did you guys think? Have you read Lemonade Mouth or seen the movie?

Have a great weekend!

Au Revoir!

"How could you ever feel comfortable if no matter where you went you felt like you belonged someplace else?" - Lemonade Mouth

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: The Sisterhood Everlasting

 Hey guys! Long time, no see! Today I have a book review of The Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. Enjoy!


The Sisterhood Everlasting, the last installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, was about the girls (Bridget, Carmen, Lena, and Tibby) around 10 years after the previous book; each is doing their own thing, barely having time to contact one another. Carmen is an actress in NYC, Lena is teaching at RISD, Bridget is over in California, and Tibby, who has practically cut herself off from the others, is in Australia. Eventually, the girls get letters from Tibby saying that she bought tickets for them to go to Greece. Of course, they are overjoyed, but when they arrive, Tibby is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, they find that Tibby has passed on while in Greece (she drowned, but later they find out she was suffering from Huntington's Chorea) which leaves them shocked and sad about what has occurred. All the girls are depressed and they don't really have any idea what to do with their life. Each one goes through some growing up, many love interests, and eventually finds their path.

All good things have to come to an end, huh? Well, this was quite the end.
Honestly, this book was a little depressing. It was hard to see Bridget, Lena, and Carmen be so lost without Tibby. It was hard not to feel so attached to them. And it was hard not to feel like I was going through the whole thing with them. Throughout the entire book I had the awful feeling in my chest- the one you get when you're reading or watching something really sad but you can't cry over it. 
Unfortunately I had read major MAJOR spoilers about Tibby so when I got to the part where she died I was prepared. 

There are a few things I need to get off my chest:
Lena FINALLY got together with Kostos. (woohoo!)
Carmen FINALLY broke up with that idiot Jones. (yes!)
Bridget FINALLY settled down with Eric. (goodness me!)
And Tibby? There are really no words to describe how good of a friend she was and how sad her death was!

Overall, this was a great last book. Quite sad, but still great. If you are a crier, grab some tissues, my friends. At first it was hard to read because it just felt so grown up and mature, but as I read on, it really made sense that Ann Brashares (the author) wrote it this way. The girls are all older and they have real, grown up problems, rather than the fun, in-the-moment whims of the other novels. In addition, it was really a thought provoking book due to the death of Tibby and the things the girls went through. It made me really appreciate my life right now, and it made me want to do something more with my life, not just live to live (so cliché, I know). The only thing that I really have a complaint about is the characters. I just couldn't relate to them! Maybe it's because I'm not 29 and I haven't experienced a loss like that before, but throughout the book it blew my mind that they weren't doing what they wanted to do and that they were just so lost!

Have you read the Sisterhood series? Did you like the ending? Comment below!

Hope you liked this! School's almost done now (one day left!) so there will be many more book reviews and cool things coming. My family is traveling to Kaui soon, so I will have pictures, places we went, and everything else!

Au Revoir!

"And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." - C. S. Lewis

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Story Time: A Trio of Driving Stories

Recently I've had some unfortunate driving incidents so I thought I would share some of my more memorable experiences with you guys. If you feel like you've made some stupid mistakes on the road, you are not alone.

The Life Flashes Before My Eyes Moment
About a week ago, I was about to take a left turn out of my neighborhood and onto a country road (45 mph), when I almost caused a major accident. There was a car behind me and that always makes me a little on edge, like I shouldn't be waiting for a long time to take my turn. There were two cars coming from the right, both of which I let pass. There were also a couple cars coming from the left. I thought I had enough time to take my turn before the car came, but apparently I didn't. I was pulling out and, boy, was that car comin' fast. It slammed on its breaks and honked its horn and, thankfully, I completed my turn, but if I had hesitated for just one more second, crash!!!! Needless to say, I was in shock the entire morning, continuously thanking God for keeping me safe, and wondering what would have happened if the crash had actually happened. Moral of the story: be safe, not sorry and if you are on a county road, do not take turns when cars are coming. 

The Stoplight Mishap 
This one happened on the drive home from school on the same day as the traumatizing experience relayed above. I was driving home (obviously) and I guess I wasn't paying very much attention. I could have sworn the light was red so I slowed down and stopped. Then I got lost in thought, as one does at stoplights, and I couldn't think of why the guy in the car on the perpendicular road was stopped. Suddenly, I heard a horn, I snapped out of it and resized that the light was in fact green! To make it worse there was a really long line of cars behind me! 

The Slippery Slope: A Theatrical Performance on Ice
Ahhh, one of the first experiences sliding on ice. Not so good times! Well, it was a dark and snowy night when a teenage girl (me) was driving to volunteer at her high school. I was almost to school when I noticed a line of cars slowing down by the railroad tracks. Not an uncommon occurrence. Only this time everyone stopped-- there had been an accident not twenty feet past the tracks. Of course, I slammed on my breaks when I found that everyone was stopping. And you know that little dip by railroad tracks leading up to them? Yeah, I was at the little dip part which didn't help for slowing down. I literally saw my life flash before my eyes as my car slowly skidded across the ice towards the back of the car in front of me. Thankfully, I stopped inches away from the car and narrowly avoided an accident!

I hope you guys enjoyed this! It's a little different, I've never shared stories like these on the Internet! I whole heartedly apologize for not posting for such a long time. Junior year is a beast, but just over a month left and then a normal posting schedule! Book reviews and summer things galore! Woohoo! Just a heads up, I will not be posting until after May 15th or so because I need to focus on school and tests. And for all you Bloglovin people out there, hello! and thanks for the over 260 followers!

Do you guys have any memorable driving incidents? What was the first time driving like for you?
Let me know in the comments!

Au Revoir!

"What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?" - John Green 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Conquering the ACT (Including Writing)

Hey everyone! Today I have some ACT tips! I would say I'm qualified to talk about this now, seeing that I've taken the ACT and received a pretty decent score. Throughout my experience of studying and taking a prep class, I have picked up a few tricks that I think would be helpful for you guys!

The first is to buy or borrow a prep book. I would recommend the Kaplan book or the Princeton Review book. I have the 2010 edition of the Kaplan one, and I'm really liking it so far. It goes through each section of the test (Reading, Science, Math, English and Writing) and give tips to help you get the best score. There are  6 practice tests in my edition. The book also includes a CD with more practice tests, but I'm not sure how good they are because my CD doesn't work! In addition, the tips are just as good as the tests. Some tips didn't work for me personally, but, who knows, they could work for you!

My next tip is to take an ACT prep class. In my town, there is one the week before each ACT. It is actually super helpful. I learned how to manage my time, which helped a lot. I will talk about what I learned for each section later. And just to prove that it's worth the time, I'll say that I did way better on the test than I ever thought I would and I did improve a ton from how I did on the practice tests.

Now, if you're anything like me, that math section is pretty daunting. If you still have time before your test, specifically if you're a freshman or sophomore reading this, I would recommend taking the full year of Algebra II and taking trigonometry before the test. There are a decent amount of trig and algebra problems and you will have an even better chance of knowing the answer if you get those classes out of the way as soon as possible. 

Practice, practice, practice! I was so nervous for the ACT that I probably took way too many online practice tests! I actually found some great (free!) apps that are useful. One is the Kaplan app, I didn't actually use this one, but because it's by the book people I'm guessing it's good and there are some practice tests and a diagnostic test to help you keep track of your improvement. The other, which I highly recommend, is play2prep. It gives you a diagnostic test and as you "train" it increases or decreases your overall score based on how you did. Honestly, I'm not sure how accurate the score is, but I do think it helped me. 

Here are my tips for the sections. There aren't a ton for reading and science because it's hard to give a lot of tips since it's different every time. 

-Have an eye (and ear) for grammar mistakes. Be the grammar police! Does the verb tense make
 sense? Does the verb agree with the subject? Is the information relevant? 
-If there's an omit answer, most of the time it's that (or so my teacher tells me). A lot of the time, the
 ACT people add information that may seem right, but overall it doesn't add anything to the story. Use
 caution when choosing it and be sure to look at the other answers.
-Don't choose the wordy answers. Just like the previous tip, the ACT usually try's to trick you by
 putting having answers or sentences in the reading with too many words. They want to make it seem
 like the more words a sentence has, the more intellectual and correct it is. So be careful and read
 each answer, but if you're in a pinch, choose the one with the least words.
-Look for redundancy. Many times there are phrases they sound right, but, when taking a closer look,
 are completely redundant. From what I've gathered from the books, I believe these are usually in the
 form of "should this part be omitted?" although I'm not positive. 

-Know your formulas! Area, circumference, distance, and all the rest! The quadratic formula may be
 used a few times. Also look up arithmetic and geometric sequences which allow you to predict what
 number will come next when only given a few numbers. 
-Be sure to remember the trig functions. My teacher uses SOH CAH TOA (sine- opposite over
 hypotenuse; cosine- adjacent over hypotenuse; tangent- opposite over adjacent)
-Review, review, review! I like looking at my old notes from geometry, algebra 2 and trig. 
-Do not spend too much time on a problem. Guess, circle it (in the booklet), and come back. Getting
 hung up on  questions is a great way to waste valuable time. A guess is better than no answer! 
-Get a graphing calculator. These really help. I've very minimally needed to use mine, but I did
 sometimes. It also may make you feel more confident knowing that you have so many little program
 type things on it. Just be sure to get an approved one!
-Be sure to bring an extra calculator because you do not want yours to run out of batteries in the
 middle of the test!

-Actually read the passage! You may think that this is a waste of time, but I find that I spend more
 time searching for answers if I haven't read the text. 
-That said, do not spend too much time reading. You will waste a ton of time if you do. 
-Underline important things. While you're reading, underline people, main ideas, and really anything
 that you think is important. This really does help; last time I took the ACT I barely had to look back
 at the passage because I read and underlined!
-Do not be overwhelmed. There's a lot of reading, but take it one question at a time. Make your best
 guess and come back to it if you need to. 
-If you know you are better at one type of passage than another, do that one first because it's a good
 way to make sure you get the most correct. 

-There are 3 types of passages: all reading (read this through before answering questions), all graphs
 (skip right to the questions), and a mix of graphs and reading (read this through).
-For graphs, I suggest reading the x axis and the y axis to get a feel for what it's about. 
-Do not panic if you come to a topic  that you know nothing about. Be sure to stay calm and
 understand it the best you can. Usually you understand it a lot better than you think you do!

-First things first, you need 5 paragraphs (introduction, 2 body paragraphs, a counter argument, and a
 conclusion) and a good thesis. 
-When you get the test, read the question, think of your stance, and make an outline. When I make
 my outline, I write the thesis, the points of the body paragraphs and the examples, and the topic of
 the counter argument and an example. Don't write anything about the intro or conclusion because
 that wastes time. 
-Introduction: write 3-4 sentences introducing the topic and taking your stance. Place the thesis at the
-Body paragraphs (2): introduction your point, give an example, tell why the example relates to your
 stance (relate to thesis), conclude. Use transitions between paragraphs. 
-Counterarguement: state why others oppose your stance, say why they are wrong, use an example to
 prove your point, say why it proves your point, conclude. Use transitions. 
-Conclusion: transtion, state overall point, kind of sum up what you wrote about, restate thesis (in a
 different way, do not copy it word for word), strong conclusion
-Once you are done, check it over. Look for legibility, spelling, and words that could possibly be
 changed to be stronger. 

One last thing: be sure you have everything you need. This includes your ID, ACT ticket, multiple number 2 pencils, an approved calculator or two, and a snack if you need it. (This might not be all, I believe that everything you need should be on the ticket)

Some parting words: 
-I strongly suggest not comparing scores. It could make you or the other people upset. 
-There will always be someone who got a better score than you (unless you got a 36, kudos to you if
 you did!). Don't put yourself down if you didn't do as well as others. What matters is that you did the
 best that you could do. 
-Follow your normal routine. Don't do anything special because it could throw you (or your stomach)
-If you receive a nice score and decide to retake the test, do not be overconfident. For my second time
 I was and I actually thought the test was easy. My score begged to differ.
-Try not to sit by your friends. This could make you more nervous. 
-Get to the school early, especially if you don't know where the room is.
-Sign up early!

I really hope these helped! It's quite long, but I think there are some pretty good tips in here! Do you have any tips? How was your experience with the ACT? 

Au revoir!

"If you know you can do better... do better"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Book Review: Just One Day

Hey guys! So today I am reviewing Just One Day by Gayle Forman!

This book follows Allyson as she and her best friend Melanie embark on trip around Europe after graduation. When they are in Stratford-upon-Avon, Allyson meets Willem, a traveler and an actor in a Shakespeare group who invites her and Melanie to come watch his performance. They do and the next day the tour ends and the friends take a train to London to meet Melanie's cousin (or friend, I can't remember which). On the train Allyson finds Willem and the two have an instant connection. He asks Lulu (his nickname for her) if she wants to go to Paris with him for the day because she wasn't able to on the tour. She takes a risk and says something she wouldn't have even thought about saying before: yes. After an eventful day in Paris, a heartbroken Allyson leaves for London to find Melanie, but everything is different. Why did Willem do that to her? This begins the rebellion of Allyson. Everyone expected her to be the perfect student, but what she realizes, with the help of a few failed classes, is that she is doing what everyone wants her to do- not what makes her happy. Allyson goes on a self discovery journey with her new friend Dee and decides to find Willem in Europe and clear up what happened once and for all. 

Sorry for being so ambiguous at some parts, it's hard not to give away what happened! 

***contains spoilers*** 

I had high hopes for Just One Day. I'd thought it would be kind of like a Meant to Be type book (if you haven't read that yet, get on it. It's by Lauren Morrill) with the girl falling in love with the guy she didn't expect to like. Unfortunately, it was not. I absolutely loved the concept of it though. It started off really well with the European tour and Paris, but once Allyson went back to college, she became such a slacker. I just couldn't believe that one day could change her life so much. Maybe it's because I haven't had any experience with love, but I don't understand how one guy that she just met, no less, could leave her so distraught. Anyways, I do really identify with Allyson. I love how she grew throughout the story and really followed her heart and did what she wanted even if her parents didn't support her. It was interesting to see how she went from being such a good girl to being so rebellious. This part really resonated with me, and probably most teenagers, because at this point in my life I'm trying to decide what I want to do and if what I want to do is actually what I want to do, just like Allyson, if that makes any sense. I especially loved the last third or so when she went back to Europe to find Willem. You could really tell that she had grown up because she was taking so many risks and going to all these different countries where she didn't speak the language. That part was really inspiring. 

Overall, I did like it. If you are tired of romance novels, this probably isn't for you, but if you aren't, heck, add it to your list! I am definitely looking forward to reading Just One Year and the ebook (I cannot for the life of me remember the name!).

Well, hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading! I apologize for not keeping my promise and posting more frequently... I've had a ton of homework and, honestly, my grades aren't up to par at the moment (*ahem* english), I'll try my hardest though! 

Au Revoir!

"Sometimes the best way to find out what you're supposed to do is by doing the thing you're not supposed to do." -Gayle Forman, Just One Day

Monday, January 19, 2015

Motivational Quote Monday

Time for a little inspiration for your week!

In honor of MLK Day ...

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." -English Proverb

""Never judge someone by the opinion of another."

"Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens."

"Always find time for things that make you feel happy to be alive."

"The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can."

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." - Harriet Beecher Stowe

Have a fantastic week and good luck with whatever comes your way!

Au Revoir!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Liebster Award #2

Hey everyone! I Today I have a Liebster Award! This will be my second time participating, if you want to see my first post click here. I put off doing this for a while, but I've been nominated by a couple of people so I figured I'd better step up my game and answer the questions! Since I've been nominated twice, I'll be doing all the questions from each time, so this could get quite long! I'd love to thank Dress Dynamic and miss applecrumbles blog for nominating me! You guys should go check them out they have AMAZING blogs!!! Well, on with the questions!

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
Answer the questions given by the nominator
Nominate 11 other bloggers (who have less than 200 followers) and link them
Notify all the bloggers you nominated
Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer

Dress Dynamic questions: 

1. What is your fashion inspiration?
Okay so I'm not super sure what this is asking because I'm not up on my fashion lingo, but if it's a fashion inspiration who's a person it would be Taylor Swift because I absolutely love how she's so vintage yet modern. If it's a style kind of thing I love simple, classic, and preppy things and practically anything from anthropologie (at least I do when I stalk their website). 

2. What was your favorite personal look of 2014?
My favorite personal look of 2014 was what I wore for Christmas Eve mass. I had on a plum dress with a cool texture, a longish black cardigan (the kind without the buttons), black tights, and a pair of black Chelsea boots. 

3. Why do you want to blog?
I want to blog because I think it's a different way to express yourself and you can share your thoughts with everyone! I am also really inspired by other bloggers because they seem like they have so much fun with it!

4. Who is your favorite designer?
I honestly don't have a favorite designer. I kind of like Elie Saab's dresses, but really I have no idea. 

5. Which is your favorite season?
My favorite season is fall because it's cold enough to wear cute jackets and warm sweaters but you don't have to bundle up quite yet. I also love the colors of the leaves when they change and the crunch of the leaves when you walk on them. And of course the apple pies and everything like that!

6. Pick a few words that describe your style.
Simple, classy, comfy, and unique. 

7. What is your biggest fashion love right now?
I am really in love with plaid right now. Even though I don't own that much I am always seeing plaid things on Asos and Ruche and Modcloth. I especially love plaid scarves and skirts!

8. What is your favorite color?
Purple :)

9. What is your favorite store?
That's a hard one because I have stores I shop at and stores I stalk online. As far as shopping, I really like Macy's. And as far as stores I stalk, I love Anthropologie although I wish it wasn't so expensive!

10. What is your favorite shoe style?
I am so in love with Chelsea boots right now because they look so sleek and they seriously go with everything! 

11. Pick a few words to describe yourself.
I would say I'm nerdy, quiet until you know me (I am getting more outgoing though), and ambitious. 

Miss applecrumbles blog questions: 

1. What is your favorite memory from 2014?
I cannot for the life of me pick a favorite moment so I will pick a few. I really loved when I did my two favorite papers: one research paper on the Rwandan genocide and a persuasive paper and speech on why seaworld should get rid of their orca exhibit. Then I also loved when I joined crew for the fall play because I made so many new friends, found out I really loved doing backstage stuff, and became a lot more confident and happy. 

2. Where would your dream holiday destination be?
My dream holiday destination would be Paris or London, 'nuff said. 

3. What do you hope do do this year?
I hope to achieve some personal goals of mine in school, at home, and for me as a person. That sounds so cliche but it's true! 

4. If you could take only one thing with you from a house fire what would it be?
Excluding my family and my dog, I would probably take my journals (or at least my most recent one) because I always feel better once I've written stuff down that's bothering me. It's also interesting to see how far you've come from when you wrote it! 

5. What made you happy today?
I guess I was happy when I was with my friends or right now while I'm writing this! I actually had a pretty bad day. Trigonometry end of semester exams are torturous. 

6. Why did you want to start blogging?
I wanted to start blogging because I had started reading blogs a couple of years ago and it had always intrigued me. I actually started this blog in 2013, but I decided to start posting in June because I was like, hey, you want to do this so you should do it!

7. Do you have a favorite film?
Pride and Prejudice (2005 version) hands down. I also really like the 100 foot Journey. 

8. Is there any celebrity that inspires you?
Emma Watson definitely inspires me. Aside from playing Hermione in Harry Potter, I love how she's gone to college, done so well in school, become an ambassador and used her fame for good things. She got me on the feminist bandwagon too!

9. What is the best blog post you have written?
I'm really proud of my How to Survive Classes with No Friends post. It's near and dear to my heart and I hope it helped someone!

10. Have you ever done something that terrifies you to accomplish a life goal?
I know this will sound stupid and I seem like I keep talking about it, but I started off taking AP biology without having any friends in it. I've actually made some new friends because of it and it's really pushed me out of my comfort zone. There was even an overnight trip which was terrible and fun at the same time!

11. If you could go anywhere, with anyone or do anything tomorrow what would it be?
I think I would take a random person from my school on a trip to Europe with me. I am determined to have a Meant to Be experience! Haha (go read that book, it's by Lauren Morrill)! But if I had to be practical I would take my family to Europe! 
My questions:

1. What is one thing you want to do before you die?
2. What's your favorite book?
3. What was the best thing about 2014?
4. Describe your wildest dream. 
5. What is the one beauty product you cannot live without?
6. What's your biggest fear?
7. If you could go to the future or the past which would you choose and where would you go, why?
8. Do you have a signature scent? If so, what is it?
9. What is one thing you wish you could pull off (fashion/beauty related)? 
10. Who is your celebrity role model?
11. Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?

I also nominate you! If you want to, answer these questions and follow the rules! 

I hope you guys enjoyed this! Sorry it's so long, but I felt like I had to do them all! 
Have a good week and I'll should have a post up on Saturday!!! I'm going to try to be good about posting consistently! I'll be on top of things this year!

Au revoir!

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Review: The 5th Wave

Hey guys! I finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey recently so I figured I would review it for you! I loved this book so much and it was probably one of my favorite books of the year!

The book follows Cassie as she survives an alien invasion and the first four waves the aliens send down to the humans. The first wave was "lights out", the second was "surf's up", the third "pestilence", and the fourth "silencer" (I took that from the book by the way... I'm not that creative with naming/describing things). As she, her father, and her brother, Sammy, try to live through the tough times after losing their mother (or wife in the dad's case) in the third wave, they stumble upon a camp where they meet fellow survivors. Eventually, Cassie meets Evan Walker and goes on a journey with him. Meanwhile, the book also follows Ben Parish (Cassie's crush who doesn't know she exists) and Sammy as they end up in the same camp when Sammy leaves Cassie and their dad. Ben is sort of like a mentor for Sammy and always takes care of him. In an interesting turn of events which I cannot talk about without many spoilers, all of them meet and chaos ensues. The book rotates between different points of view: Cassie, Sammy, Ben, and Evan.

The 5th Wave started off slow, I'm not going to lie. But then at the end of the first section it picked up and was amazing! I had to restrain myself from reading too much at one time because I wanted it to last! I felt like I could really relate to Cassie because she was just a normal, seemingly boring teenager. You could really put yourself in her position and think about what you would do in certain situations and how you would handle everything going on. It had the perfect amount of suspense and it even had a little romance thrown in there. I normally don't gravitate toward science fiction books, but this one was great because it wasn't so out there that it was like you were learning about a whole other world. Towards the middle/end of the book, everything keeps you guessing and you cannot put down the book! Summed up in 3 words The 5th Wave is suspenseful, incredible, and thought-provoking.

So apparently there is going to be a movie!!! From what I've read online, it will star Chloë Grace Moretz. She's going to be the perfect Cassie! Ahhh! Can't wait for 2016! There is also a second book called The Infinite Sea which I cannot wait to get my hands on!

This book really got me thinking about how our world today would cope with such events. Who would survive? How would we live without wifi? What would happen?!? Questions that will hopefully always remain unanswered!

You can buy it here from Barnes and Noble.

Have you read this book? I'd love to know!!!

And lastly, a parting thought from the back of the book...

Au Revoir!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Motivational Quote Monday: New Year's Edition

It's 2015!!! Woo hoo!!! This is your motivation to keep your resolutions! It's almost a day late, but better late than never right? Here are 15 quotes for 2015! 

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants" - Coco Chanel

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try"

"Always remember to fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose"

"Face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility" -Thomas S. Monson

"Be thankful for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow"

"In my moments of doubt, I've told myself firmly: If not me, who? If not now, when?" -Emma Watson

"Feel the fear and do it anyway"

"You may not always end up where you thought you were going, but you will always end up where you are meant to be"

"It is in herself she will find the strength she needs" -Tyler Knott Gregson

"Stop saying I wish and start saying I will"

"You may think the grass is greener on the other side. But if you take time to water your own grass, it would be just as green" -Henry Ford

"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will" -Karim Seddiki

"Once you've accepted your flaws no one can use them against you"

"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try" -Seth Godin

"Do you want to be happy? Let go of what's gone, be grateful for what remains and look forward to what is coming"

Have a great start to the year, stay positive, and have fun! 2015 will be awesome!

Au Revoir!