Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Favorites - 2016: I ALMOST DIED

Quick Review: This month started off with a bang. Literally. This fourth of July was really fun, and hazardous. I almost died when a Roman candle fell over, and I had to run for my life or I WOULD HAVE BEEN BURNED TO A CRISP duck out of the way. My eyebrows were almost singed off. My eyebrows, guys! If they were gone, I wouldn't be able to say "#eyebrowsonfleek." ironically anymore. Though I suppose if I had none, that would make it even better... We returned from our camping trip that consisted of bungee jumping, alpine slides, and some really intense fiber-glass burns. I acquired an apocalypse-sized bunch of Twizzlers and was more than happy to devour all of them IN ONE BITE sort of. And *deep breath* the highlight of my month: I GOT A LAPTOP. After years of using an old desktop computer that was on the last breath of it's life, I have my very own, portable laptop. PORTABLE. Do you even know how much I love saying that? I went blueberry picking and stuffed my face the entire time. I completed Camp NaNo and completed the third draft of my novel. I had a lot of fun researching missing persons cases for said novel. I felt like a detective.
That's me 100%

Stars Above: I was excited for this book the moment that I knew it existed. It was just so darn adorable! Especially (spoiler: highlight for text) Scarlett's wedding. I was laughing my head off and acting like an idiot the entire time. I'm pretty sure my family thought that I should be committed to an insane asylum, which they're still deciding whether or not a straitjacket is necessary. I mean, you talk to a squirrel one time, and they think you're loony. 

Whisper to Me: Whisper to Me was one that I was hesitant about. 
  1. The synopsis made it sound like a cheesy summer romance.
  2. The cover made it look like a cheesy summer romance book.
  3. The idea of schizophrenia-like situations have always made me uncomfortable mainly because hearing voices that aren't there is one of my greatest fears.
But this book really surprised me. It was sweet and genuine and really made you fall in love with the characters. To be honest, I was up until 2:30 reading that book when I was trying to get to bed by 11:00 (sorry, Mom). BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT.

These Shallow Graves: I just finished this one a moment ago so EXCUSE ME IF I RANT, but this book was a treasure. It was so refreshing to see a girl in 1890 New York who didn't have a modern attitude like so many heroines have that are set in period novels. They always display modern qualities and a "no I won't wear that corset even though it's all I've grown up around, and I wouldn't think twice about it in the real world because I'M IN THE TIME WHERE CORSETS ARE PERFECTLY NORMAL" attitude. Yet Jo was marvelous. She was smart, inquisitive, and a revolutionary character without breaking the 1890s setting. This book was adorable as well, for "forbidden romance" is an age old pageturner, no matter how cliche. The mystery was complex and twisty without leading the reader astray. The answer was always just within grasp, which is also a great incentive to keep those pages turning. 

Recently, I have been realizing just how much I love music. It is a rare day that I don't listen to, play, or dance to music. It's something that I live on. I love discovering new music that inspires me and compels me to do something. Music makes everything more exciting and fun. I've been drinking in every type of music that I can get my hands on. It's no surprise that I found more than one song to obsess over. 
I Lived by OneRepublic: After hearing this song, I became extremely inspired. It's a great message and, like I said, really inspiring, not to mention: Love the melody.

Ophelia by the Lumineers: This is just such a fun song to dance around to in the kitchen. Whenever this comes on my Pandora, I can't help but grab the nearest human and force them to join in on my awkward dancing.

I would have to say Jo from These Shallow Graves is my favorite character this month. I related to her very strongly. We both look up to Nellie Bly, SPEAKING OF WHICH, Nellie Bly used to be my role model for life. When I was a young tadpole trying to discover what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, Nellie Bly was part of my decision. I had read about her at the young age of 6 or 7, and I was just coming out of my tap dancing phase, so I was looking for a new obsession. Nellie Bly was everything that I wanted to be, everything that I still want to be. She inspires me greatly. 

...This went from Jo to Nellie Bly. Oh well.

What were we talking about?

Blog Posts
Because I've been wanting to say this for a while, but until now, I haven't had the time/inspiration. 

Because hilarity and #sorelateable 

Some Thoughts on Writing Honestly by To the Barricade!
Because every writer needs to have some self-searching and learn how to take their most honest self and bring it forth to the page. And let me tell you, it is hard.

My Little Fear by The Art of Extraordinary 

Satisfied Sundays: Weakness by Acoustic Erin
Because it's really refreshing to be reminded of this. 

I am proud to say that my favorite food this month was salad. I made a normal salad with avocado oil, garlic, and salt and it was delicious! It tasted amazing, made me feel really energized, and I'm being healthy so it's a win, win. I am officially a health nut now. 

This month I discovered the beauty of Almond Milk. I began adding it to all the tea I had, and it make everything magic.

TV Show

I started this TV show on a whim with my brother. I wasn't terribly impressed at first, but then something magical happened. There was a line that drew me in and had me in tears. "This must be the work of the gnomes." BUT IT WAS SO SERIOUS. To be honest, my brother and I started this show as a joke, laughing at the lines, acting, and awkward behavior of the characters, though now I must admit that I am quite invested. I'm still more than happy to laugh at it, even when it's not meant to be funny. I adore it now, and I am dying for Season 2. There are some quite familiar faces that apparently couldn't get a better job, but it's fun to see them just the same. Even if some of the boys are desperately in need of a haircut. 
I can't quite pick the movie, for I saw so many good ones, though I narrowed it down to my top 3! It's quite a feat on my part, for I loved so many this month. 

The Martian: I had read the book and was looking forward to watching the movie. It was the perfect mix of comedy and drama and action and visuals. Then again, I did watch it at 1:00 in the morning, so I might not be remembering it all that well. Though I do remember going to bed thinking about how marvelous a movie it was. 

Alice Through the Looking Glass: There are definitely some things that I liked better about the first, and there were some things that I wished would change, but no matter how much I clicked my heels three times, it wouldn't change! Imagine that. It was quite a fun movie, and it had a bit more substance and heart to it than I felt the first did. There was one character that I wanted to see more of! 

This was truly the clearest photo I could find of him, and his back is basically to the camera. He was great (also, throwback to Eragon, because he was Eragon). 

Breakfast at Tiffany's: I've seen this movie before, but I'm still in love with it. Something about it captures one's attention. It's a leisurely movie that kind of feels like a vacation. Also, I feel super fancy when I watch it. So that's a plus. 

Well, that's it for this month's monster post. Points to you if you stayed to the end. You get the prize of a sense of accomplishment. Doesn't that feel great?


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Blessing in Disguise

Though my many years of writing, I have become a professional at least somewhat acquainted with things that have to vaguely do with writing. I have learned a lot, and recently I have discovered that I have had one major thing missing.
I am afraid to change my novel.
How lame is that? Here I am: trying to find my voice, my writing style, and trying to hone my skills, but I am afraid to change anything. 
Last month/the month before/I don't remember because I am basically Dory, I lost about 1/3 of the edited part of the novel I'm working on right now. I was crying, and I was so upset because I felt like it was taking FOREVER. I tried to tell myself (and I quote),
"I know that this could be a blessing in disguise, and I'm probably going to end up being happy that this happened, but this is THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME RIGHT NOW." - A sneak peek at the private journal of some weird freak who writes in her journal every day. #suchanerd

Guess what? I am happy that I lost all of that editing, no matter how awful it felt. I realized that even though I have "edited" my first draft, I barely changed anything other than A LOT of grammatical errors. I found that when I was re-editing the last third, I wasn't as afraid to cut whole scenes and rewrite them. I've been able to feel proud of my work because I know that when I read it, it feels right. I'm sure that I will change it even more because this is only my third draft, but I've never felt proud of my novel before. And to be honest, it feels great.

I've cut some of my favorite scenes, and I haven't had barely more than a second thought to it because I know that something better can replace it. I'm really excited to see how much more will change as I slowly become a writing prodigy. Because that will for sure happen. Definitely.

Do you write? What are some things you've learned?
(and for all my non-writing peeps: What is the most embarrassing thing you've written in your journal?You can share it, I promise. The internet isn't forever. ;) 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

"In my heart, I want spiderwebs."

The world around us is going faster than ever before. It's also promising more money, adventure, and a "successful" life. There are appointments to get to, schedules to stick to, and time to use as wisely as we can, running from moment to moment without a second thought to the time that is passing. Do we even see the world around us and appreciate all that it is? Do we even take a moment to marvel in the creations that God has left for our enjoyment?

For most of my life, I have been driven by the desire to get all that I can done, to accomplish everything on my list, but recently, I have learned that happiness doesn't lie in checking everything off of my To-do list, it lies in something much smaller. 

Taking time out of my day to enjoy things that I would never have never noticed before -- a ray of sun across a blooming flower, a colorful bird, a forest teeming with life -- has given me a new perspective on things. When we slow down, when we quiet our minds and look at God's small creations, we can see just how big He truly is. Not to mention, scientists say that the less stress is in your life, the longer you'll live. It's so much easier to be close to God when we don't have other things pushing in on our thoughts that, in that moment, are His alone. He made us to be curious, to want to look outside and appreciate His handiwork. 

I have found that the more I allow myself to go outside and be with God amongst the simple beauty of His masterpiece, the happier I am. I choose spiderwebs and a forest over a computer and a To-do list. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Underrated Characters: Hawkeye

"Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Widow: the main Avengers. Am I forgetting one? Oh yeah, what's-his-name. Robin Hood. The guy with the arrows. Black Widow's friend."

That was literally a conversation I had with someone, basically word for word. My friend was left struggling for "Robin Hood's" name until I supplied it. He is the forgotten Avenger.

People argue that Hawkeye shouldn't be part of the Avengers because all he does is shoot a bow and arrow. People also argue that he is the best Avenger. People argue that Hawkeye doesn't matter. People argue that Godzilla was a historical movie. I figured that I would add my voice to the noise and arguments. I'm important, too!

I believe that Hawkeye brings so much more to the table than people realized.

For one, he is able to compare stories with the best of them. Thor is an alien, Iron Man has emotional and boundary issues, the Hulk is...the Hulk, Captain America can never truly feel at home in this strange America (and he's dealing with other major things), and Black Widow has such a history that I don't even know where to begin, but Hawkeye? He ran away from an orphanage after both his parents died, and HE JOINED THE CIRCUS! #goals
Despite all of that, Hawkeye has a family, a life, a grounded set of morals that have been tested but not shaped by war and trauma.

I'm also 90% sure he's in a boyband. 
In the comics, we see Hawkeye first introduced as a criminal, aiding in stealing from Iron Man. But then we see that Hawkeye is a darling cupcake who saves Jarvis and his mother from muggers.

Hawkeye is kind of like the cool baby sitter who watches the kids, but is also their friend. In Age of Ultron, he clearly felt very responsible for them all. Even his wife could see that they desperately needed him. 

His relationship with Scarlet Witch/Wanda is positively adorable. He comes off as a father figure, protective and cautious for her wellbeing.  He really does have insane skill, and I believe that without him, the Avengers would be very different. They wouldn't fall apart, but they wouldn't be as good. I doubt that without Black Widow or Thor the Avengers would fall apart, but they wouldn't be as good, because they both bring something imperative to the team. And I believe that goes for Hawkeye as well. 

This post was less "coherent and well formed argument about Hawkeye's importance to the team" and more of a "I JUST REALLY LOVE HIM, OKAY?"


Friday, July 15, 2016

PEOPLE CAN READ WHATEVER THEY WANT: An Eloquent Post By Me (You're Welcome)

About the was late. 'Nuff said.

I used to pride myself in being a book purist. I was sure that if a book didn't have:
- a strong plot
- good characters
- a sparkling quality that made it stand out
- a premise that I deemed "good enough"

then it wasn't worth anyone's time. And I would let people know that. Being a writer and a very opinionated person, I would make sure that I knew what book others were reading, and I would either suggest a better one, or make it seem that they could keep reading it only because I thought it was okay.
I was a reading monster. (and not the good kind)

tumblr_noa00amyD31u5gaxgo1_500.gif (500×211)

It got to the point where my sister was hiding the books that she read from me. People would tell me the title of their book sheepishly, waiting for me to ridicule it. I judged every single book that I came across without even reading the synopsis. Granted, I still do that, but I keep any bad judgements to myself. I have learned a valuable lesson.
People can read whatever they want, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Books are like food, and music, and art. Each book will mean something different to each person, and each person will like different types of books. 
(Beth, love, don't be upset with what I'm about to say because I mean no offense!)
My sister is not a big reader, which I find crazy. She wants to be, but books don't seem to grab her. She likes the formulaic books. The teen-cliche-finds-love-one-summer-at-her-estranged-aunt's-beach-house. The Little Miss Perfect who can do anything! books. I find those books utterly annoying. In my mind, they are like cotton candy: all fluff and bad for you. 

But then I realized that COTTON CANDY IS AMAZING. Just because I don't like it, that doesn't mean that others can't love it just as much as I love, say, chocolate. Everyone's taste is going to be different. I have gotten to the point where I am more than happy to hear that someone is reading a "cotton candy" book. I myself have read a couple of those cotton candy books, and I have decided that they are not for me. 

If someone enjoys a book, or a TV show, or anything then no-one should get to make them feel silly or stupid for liking it. 
And that's all I have to say about that. *nods*

What is the dumbest book you have read? Do you like "cotton candy" books? Do you even like reading? (If no: why are you reading this blog?)


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Simple Questions Tag

Hello my peeps! Y'all know me, I love being tagged. SO GUESS WHAT HAPPENED. I was tagged. :) The blogging gods have smiled upon me and blessed me with wonderful bloggy people who tag me. Can I give them all chocolate? Yes, that is what I will do. Thank you so much to Ivy Miranda for tagging me!

Quick Question: As you can see (or maybe not see if you're an alien humanoid with no eyes), I have changed my background and header again. Thoughts, comments, life revelations? What do you think?

what nationality are you?

'Merican and proud.

what's your favourite animal?

How much time do you have?
Red Panda:
It's so adorably fierce! 
White Tigers:
Can I have one?
I've always had such an attachment to gorillas.
Do I have to even give a reason?
what's your favourite food?

This question literally makes me panic because I cannot pick and there is so much good food that I want to eat right now.

who's your favourite author?

   It's strange, my favorite book in no way influences my favorite author. I keep authors and books separate. I would say that my favorite author is Maggie Stiefvater or Shannon Messenger.

do you have pets? if so, what kind of pet?

I have a darling west highland white terrier. He is adorable but entirely useless for anything other than exactly that.

how old are you?(you can just be very vague)

I am an age.
    I am at least over 3 and under 92.

do you have a big family? (cousins, uncles, and aunts included)

   No larger than ordinary, but I suppose my family is definately not small. :) 

what is/are your favourite soundtrack(s)?

 I love a million soundtracks and I have been able to narrow it down to five. 

what's your favourite disney movie? (only animated or drawn)

The sad thing is, I am never truly able to pick, but for the sake of consistency, I will say Treasure Planet. Or Beauty and the Beast. Or Tangled. Or The Princess and the Frog. Or all of them.

when is your birthday?

October, baby. 

And that brings us to the end of this tag. Thank you again Ivy Miranda for tagging me. T'was a pleasure. 


Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Top 3 Sherlock Seasons

I'm just kidding about the title. Let's be honest, we're all mad about the fact that we don't have more than 3 to choose from. Today I'm going to be talking about my top 3 Sherlock episodes. I haven't had enough Sherlock in my life recently. Spoilers from season 1,2, and 3 of Sherlock. If you haven't seen all of Sherlock and plan to, do not read this post.
1: The Great Game

This episode was so good, man. I can't even describe how much I enjoyed it. Not only was the mystery one that I really enjoyed*, but there was also a certain psychopath.  

*I love the classic bomb-strapped-to-someone's-chest-someone-else-telling-them-what-to-say-life-hanging-in-balance mysteries. 

OH STOOOP. He's so wonderful!! I really like psychopaths in stories. I would like to clarify that I like psychopaths only because they make stories so much more interesting, not because I am one. Jim Moriarty is a treasure. 
2: The Reichenbach Fall

I'm sorry. I know this episode was heartbreaking. I cried just as much as the next person*, but this episode wasn't just heartbreaking. It was touching, funny, sad, confusing**, and it made me question what I knew. Stories that can not only evoke emotion, but evoke so many all in less than two hours is something that I love. 

* If not more, because let's be honest, I was a crying bundle of blankets and emotions. My parents didn't know what was wrong until I managed to blubber "...Sherlock...he was his friend."
** I almost believed that Sherlock was a fraud myself. I was ashamed.

3: The Sign of Three
This episode was The threat wasn't to Mary, John, or Sherlock, so I could breath easy. Every moment of that episode was fantastic. Mary is a doll. She is so perfect for John.
Can these two get any cuter? I didn't think so.
John speaks the TRUTH
Yeah, that's getting a bit scary now.
The Sign of Three was wonderful. Not to mention...BABY WATSON. I practically screamed when I heard him "mistakenly" say "The three of you."
The afterparty was quite sad indeed. I feel like most people have been in that situation at some point, which makes it even more sad, because we remember what it felt like to not belong. BUT MOLLY SAW HIM. SHE ALWAYS SEES HIM. 


Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Get-To-Know-Me Tag

I've come across a tag that looks fun, so clearly I'm going to do it like the blogging outlaw I am.

vital stats
Name: Evangeline Yackel. Some are under the impression that I am Laura Yackel, but I just use my mother's account because I am too lazy to change it to my own by now. 
Nicknames: Ev, Gert, Banjo, Vanvan, and Hobbit Friend.
Birthday: October 19th.
Place of Birth: Good ol' Washington.
Star Sign: Um *googles my sign* Libra?
Occupation: Writer. Granted, I am not being paid for this, but it's still my occupation right now. 

Hair color: I am a natural blonde, but not like a pretty golden-blonde. It's more of a dishwater blonde. I plan on dying my hair brunette, blue (again), and then red.
Hair length: It's just past my shoulder, and I hope to cut it soon.
Eye color: Blue! 
Best feature: winning wit and personal charm? 
Braces: Nope.
Piercings: Nada. I've never understood the appeal of having one's ears pierced, but hey, each to their own.
Tattoo: Maybe one day, but today is not that day.
Righty or Lefty: Righty! 


Best friend: The first best friend that I can remember was Emma. We were nicknamed the "trouble twins". Though I do have vague memories of a kid named Ocean when I was toddler.
Award: Nothing that I can think of.
Sport: I've never actually played an official sport, but I've played many a backyard baseball game.
Real holiday: Halloween. Since I'm an October baby, Halloween is the closest. Though the first holiday I remember is Christmas.

*I am the most indecisive person ever, so I will give a couple options that come to mind first.
Film: Why would you ask this? Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil WarMighty Joe Young, Secondhand Lions, and Disney. Everything Disney.
TV Show: UHH *panics* Agent Carter, Arrow, Sherlock, Doctor WhoWhen Calls the Heart, Merlin, OUAT, and BBC Robin Hood.
Color: Blue forever.
Song: So many. The Waiting by Jamie Grace. Saturn by Sleeping At Last. Actually, like, every Sleeping At Last song. How is all their music so beautiful and perfect? Fight Song by Rachel Platten. Standing By by Pentatonix. Oceans by Hillsong United. The entire Smoke+Mirrors by Imagine Dragons.
Restaurant: I don't think it's technically a restaurant, but there is this place called Gyro Delight that has the best food. Seriously. Or Panda Express. I don't go to a lot of restaurants. 
Shop: Barnes&Noble or Powell's Bookstore in Portland (it's a bookstore with four floors that has a map. A MAP!)
Books: Not cool, bro. I can't  decide! All the books on my bookshelf.
Shoes: Combat boots. Mainly because I hate tying laces, (I'm just really lazy like that) so zip-up combat boots are a gift from heaven.  

Feeling: Happy, productive, kind of tired.
Single or taken: Taken. Sorry to anyone who wants to date me, but I am most definitely taken by the fictional guys I'm with.   
Eating: Always. Oh, you meant what am I eating right now? Banana ice cream that is not actually ice cream. It's pretty much just frozen bananas put through a food processor. It's not nearly as sad as it sounds, I promise. I get to add chocolate chips and everything! 
Thinking about: All the editing I need to do.
Watching: When Calls the Heart.
Wearing: My pajama pants, a tank top, and a GIANT grey sweater that is my happy place.

*Do you mean the giant swirling vortex of doom?
Want children: Unsure. We'll see what God has in store for me.
Want to be married: Yeah! What girl doesn't? What girl hasn't thought about how she'll meet her husband? ...because I have most definitely never done that. Ever. *whistles nervously* 
Careers in mind: *takes deep breath* Writer, teacher, journalist, actor, and missionary. Wish me luck.
Where you want to live: Everywhere. If I could, I would travel the world, rarely settling down in one place. But realistically, Washington. #1. This state has everything, desert, rainforest, beach, it's perfect. #2. All my friends and family are here. #3. I could never leave my wonderful rainy state.
Though I do want to travel as much as possible.

do you believe in
God: Absolutely, without a doubt.
Miracles:Once again: absolutely. 
Love at first sight: Hm, no. I wish I could because the idea of it is quite lovely, but I don't believe that someone can truly fall in love in one glance. I believe in attraction-at-first-sight, but not love. 
Ghosts: I believe in the supernatural world around us i.e. demons, angels, but not like, haunt your attic, unfinished business ghosts.
Aliens: No, and I have biblical proof/logic that backs me up. 
Soul mates: Of course, I believe that God designs two people to be soul mates, and that from the moment we open our eyes, God already has our entire life planned out, along with who we marry and what we do with our life. Whether or not we listen to Him and follow that plan is a different story. 
Heaven: Yep.
Hell: Well, the two kinda go hand-in-hand.
Kissing on the first date: I do not believe in kissing until you are married.  That is such a special, sacred thing that shouldn't be shared with anyone else other than your soulmate.
Yourself: I don't believe in myself. I believe in God's ability to make my life something great. I believe in God's will for me. Me on my own will fail. I will never reach my full potential or do all that I want to do on my own.
Final Exams According To "Parks And Recreation"