Monday, January 26, 2015

A Thing That Happened

I had a panic attack today. It was the first major one that I've had at school (I think), but I had a somewhat easier time dealing with it than previous moderate to major attacks. I believe it was another triggered panic attack as opposed to one that happened out of the blue, because this morning there were just a lot of things going wrong. The anxiety started in first period, when I realized that I had forgotten my water bottle. Then I pulled out my computer and realized that it was only on 17% battery. This was all on top of a few other little things happened lately, that all accumulated into a panic attack as I was walking from first to second period. By this time, I knew that I would probably have one of those panic attacks that runs its course until it burns out, so I asked the teacher if I could go to a quiet place to deal with it privately. I tried the library, but there was no one there, so I went to my art teacher's room. Luckily, she had a prep period so the room was calm and quiet. The panic attack happened (I don't know how to describe it because I've never seen myself have one from a third person point of view, all I can remember is that I cried a lot and it was hard to breathe) but I was able to control my breathing successfully to where I was no longer panicking after just a few minutes.

The Tuesday counselor and I had sat down together a week or so ago and looked through the DSM-5 to figure out what I have exactly, and settled on the conclusion that I definitely no longer have depression (yay!) and between generalized anxiety or panic attacks it was probably the latter. With panic attacks, it's different because I only get very anxious when I'm stressed and potentially anticipating a panic attack, rather than feeling anxious all the time, as with an anxiety disorder. For me, the symptoms are typically difficulty breathing (I literally have to completely stop doing whatever I'm doing and just focus on breathing in order to get it back in control), dizziness, nausea, and increased heart rate (I measured it once and it was up at 120 BPM).

Another contributing factor (possibly) to my panic attacks is my hypersensitivity. Like most other mental health things, it's not official because my parents refuse to take me to see a psychiatrist and get a diagnostic, but I meet most if not all of the symptoms. I feel things differently, more intensely, not only in hearing and smells, etc. but also with processing feelings. Little things can bring me to the highest of highs and lowest of lows, all within minutes of each other. Sometimes it is amazing to live life so vividly, but other times that same stimulation makes me so overwhelmed that it can trigger a panic attack. With these triggered panic attacks, I might think about everything all at once, or I just stop thinking. My brain enters fight-or-flight mode and all I can focus on is getting somewhere safe and once I'm there to consciously control my breathing.

I hate to skip class like today but I will use all the resources and help I can get for the time being because I need to prevent it from developing into a full blown panic disorder, where I'm always afraid of the next attack (as a result of feeling like I have no way of dealing with it) or where I develop agoraphobia or avoidance issues in an attempt to not have panic attacks. I'm working on managing it, and I know what steps to take even when I don't have my coping mechanisms like candles and glitter jars. I think I'm doing pretty well and on the right path so far.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Musings

I’m a person that gets bored pretty easily. I’ll start working on something, leave it halfway done, start something new, repeat, and then get overwhelmed by all the projects that I need to finish. Blog posts are no different. I have so many drafts that I don't even know what to do with. Most if not all are unfinished, or I'm just dissatisfied with they way they are because they are too short or too awkward to post. I can't just publish them, but I don't want to delete them and lose them forever either, so to be honest, it might not be a bad idea to simply throw them all together in one post and hit publish without a second thought. So here they are, in all their incomplete ignominy. More incoherent thoughts after the break as well.

»Human Contact

Sometimes I will go through an entire day devoid of human touch.

Today is one of those days, a day where I have simply existed in wherever I was and did not make contact with a single other human being. Luckily, I'm an introvert, so I'm perfectly okay with it. For others, this might be a situation that could drive them insane, literally.

»Two Sides of a Coin

I believe I'm a moderate. Generally I also believe that moderates need to speak out more. However, it's hard to argue for something when you don't believe in one or the other. Bi-partisanship in Congress is a huge issue at the moment and as a result no one is getting anything done. Why? The solution is rarely just one side or the other. Think about it like a coin. There are two sides of a coin, but a coin isn't worth anything if it only has one side. Both are equally important and only have power and value when working together.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

#obsessed – My Favorite Shows

For the first time in a long time, I've finished all my homework before the weekend. I have been more productive lately, but I also have slightly less work so it's quite a change and I'm still trying to get used to it. I don't know how to use all that free time and I feel stressed from not being stressed because I feel like I have to do something. I guess I could be working more on speech and debate and working ahead for other things, but I want to learn how to enjoy the free time while I can.

Today I remembered my shows and it was oh-so amazing to catch up. I don't have a lot of shows, but I tend to go for quality over quantity. I was crying laughing by the end of it and I can't wait for the next episodes to come out, so I thought I'd share the shows that I'm #obsessed with.

»Modern Family
Modern Family is right in my alley. It has my sense of implicit humor, with extremely fast paced witty jokes, clever lines, and dramatic irony in every scene. Season 6 episode 11 (The Day We Almost Died) is the most amazing thing I've watched ever. It's a work of art with how well they put it together. Even if you've never watched the show, I highly recommend you watch that episode.

»The Middle
The Middle is a severely underrated show that is just as good or even better than Modern Family. It deserves so much credit for the serving of truth and honest raw life in every episode. Again, the dramatic irony and implicit humor gets me every time. Understanding some of the jokes does require some backstory, so I'd start from the beginning if you plan on binging this one.

»Marvel's Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.EL.D.
I know I've already written about Agent Carter and I've probably written about Agents of S.H.I.EL.D. but they satisfy my inner "nerd" fangirl and secret agent without breaking the bank, which I always appreciate. I love all the characters, even Beardy McTraitorson, and the suspense keeps me on my toes. It's very well written, and I love both seasons despite the negative reviews for season one. It's a show that is best bingewatched, so it flows together like a movie instead of moving slowly week by week. There are only 1.5 seasons out so far so you can definitely watch it in one weekend.

There are so many shows that I want to watch but have not had the time to yet, such as Avatar (both ATLA and LOK), Orange is the New Black, Once Upon a Time, Galavant, and Parks and Rec just to name a few. I'll definitely have time senior summer, so I plan to use that time to catch up on all these, and more. If you have any shows that you recommend let me know!

There are also quite a few movies I want to watch. I have a whole list of them on my Wunderlist, a productivity app that I am also #obsessed with. It's available on Macs (I don't know about PC) and it is so useful for keeping everything in order and accounted for. I'm slowly but surely checking movies off my list, so that gives me something to do in case I have free time again. ◊

Friday, January 23, 2015


One thing that I've always wanted to do is to dye my hair. I've seen so many dyed hair styles at my school and I'm always so jealous when I see that shiny reddish glint in the light. Blonde ombre and red seem to be the most popular colors at the moment. I want to go with something a little different (albeit quite common across social media) but also my favorite color – a bright, strong, electric purple. For example:

My preferred look would be the full head dye, all purple, but with the amount of hair I have, that would be extremely time consuming, not to mention insanely expensive. I might just settle for some purple streaks, like this style, but it's just not as flashy or memorable as the full purple dye:

I've also considered doing an ombre purple, but ombres are hard to execute well, as it tends to look chunky if it's not blended well (at least to me it does). However, today I found this hair style with a white ombre that looks really cool. Also, if I ever get bored of it, I can dye the ends of it myself in any color.

For all my dye-headed friends, what are your recommendations on dying hair? I know for sure that I plan to get it professionally done once I decide to do it, but if you have any hair tips at all, please do share. And for those who have not yet dyed, do you plan on doing so in the future? ◊

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Realize How Terribly Boring I Am (Identity Part 2)

It's so easy to get caught up in the fantastical fantasy of fictional worlds. I can imagine myself as a demigod completing quests, a Shadowhunter killing demons, or a witch or wizard vanquishing the Dark Arts. It's a wonderful little escape, a whole 'nother universe inside my brain, waiting for me at all times to drift to. To be honest, they're almost simply another facet of reality, with the level of absorption that I typically experience.

Eventually I realize that I am not the main character. I am not even one of the pieces of collateral damage. I'm of the population that doesn't even get a specific mention, part of the collective "not specials."

I am not a demigod. I am not a Shadowhunter. I am not a witch.

I am a mere mortal. A Mundane. A Muggle.

And it's horrible.

To be boring is to be mundane and uninteresting – humdrum, dull, boring, tedious, monotonous, tiresome, wearisome, unexciting, uneventful, unvarying, repetitive, repetitious, routine, ordinary, everyday, day-to-day, commonplace – or any other unremarkable word.

There was a time when I felt so awkward, so weird, so unfitting, that my dearest wish in the world was to be normal and fit in. Now, I wish for the opposite, to be unabashedly myself and stand out amongst the crowd, as someone recognizable with particular interests and quirks. Instead, all I am left with is this horrible boringness.

I suppose everyone is unique, but I don't have a unique unique-ness. I have your standard, run-of-the-mill uniqueness. People as unique as I am are one in a million, meaning there are at least eight thousand people like me in this world. More than enough to fill the entire underclassmen population of a prestigious private university. It's not enough to be this unique.

At least, this is how I experience it. I suppose I'm just used to it. However, that doesn't stop me from simply feeling deeply unsatisfied with who I am as a person right now. It's not all bad, because life is about continual self improvement and whatnot; it's just the way it is. But perhaps I can view it as a fresh clean empty slate to start anew upon. I can decide who I am or want to be, and continuously work towards that idea. I want to start doing more things. It's just a question of what and how. And that's where I'm stuck. ◊

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I cannot contain my excitement over how awesome this is. I'm supposed to be sticking to my sleep schedule and going to bed at 10:30pm, but seriously, I can't even.

First of all, look at this dress:

A girl in my grade wore it last year to Junior Prom and it was absolutely stunning. Everyone was talking about it and how she looked like an A-list movie star. It retails for over $600, which is way out of my budget, but I can dream. Luckily, now I don't have to. Because I can rent it for $90.




It's through a website called "Rent the Runway," which, as the name implies, allows you to rent designer dresses for a fraction of the price. I had heard of it years ago, but never gave it much thought. Of course, they don't have every dress under the sun, but there are so many options. You can rent a dress that retails for over $1000 for a mere $70. It sounds too good to be true, and there must be some drawback, which I haven't investigated yet, but I am seriously considering renting a dress this year. I'm only going to need one wear out of it anyway, so why not?

But seriously, this is incredible. Instead of paying $160 for a meh dress I'm only going to wear once (like I did last year), I'd much rather rent a quality dress for cheaper. I'm going to be addicted to this site, looking through all of the dresses. I've already seen so many that I like.

They've also got a beta version thing going on which allows subscribers to rent three dresses for any amount of time for $49/month and swap them out at any time. That sounds pretty awesome, because I could have rented multiple dresses with the money it cost to buy one dress.

What are your thoughts on this? I can't be the only one super excited about all the possibilities :P ◊

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Moratorium (Identity Part 1)

I think I'm having an identity crisis again.

The problem mostly arises from having too many emails. As of now, I have at least six that I use or plan to use regularly. That number rises to at least ten if you count all of the old obsolete emails that I made for a specific purpose and no longer need anymore. In total, I have too many emails to count. Presently, I can think of at least four for blogging, two for spam, one for college, two normal use emails, and two work emails. I want to get rid of a few so I'm down to a manageable level again (one for work, one for school, one for personal, and one for spam) but most if not all of these emails are still attached to some other purpose. I can't get rid of my college email yet because of ongoing college application stuff, one of the spam emails is something that I still use for Google Drive, and some teachers still contact me through one of the old regular use emails. I don't know what to do.

I honestly just want to be able to close them cold turkey and have a fresh new start.

Moratorium is one of four stages of identity crisis proposed by James Marcia beginning in the 1960's. In order, the stages are foreclosure, identity diffusion, moratorium, and identity achievement. Both the Wikipedia and pages on this subject give a condensed but thorough explanation of the topic, which will probably be more understandable if you read it yourself than if I paraphrase it here. Essentially, moratorium is the "status of a person who is actively involved in exploring different identities, but has not made a commitment." I think this fits pretty accurately to where I am now, because there is the person that I "am" and the person that I want to be, and it's hard for me to reconcile the two. I wish I could just leave the old identity behind, like (beware cheesy simile) a butterfly leaving its old husk of a chrysalis, but I'm still tied to it by my present situation and the people I know.

I suppose it would be eventually possible to leave vacation responses on all the old emails directing them to the new emails, but that wouldn't explain the change of identity. And even still, just today, I made a new email under my old name. Perhaps it is possible to maintain two identities, but I just want to closure of being able to snip all those threads holding me back at the moment (or so I feel). I want more out of life, and I don't feel like I'm getting that out of who I am now.

Usually when I write about things here, I get an idea of how I'm going to move forward, but I'm still feeling just as lost as I was at the beginning of this. I might implement a few of those changes, but I still don't know how I'm going to resolve it in the grand scheme of things. Maybe if I just wait it out, the answers will come to me, but I just want to do something about it. I don't know. ◊

UPDATE: I've consolidated most of my emails and it already feels a lot better! It took quite a chunk of time, in which I just went through all my accounts and set up vacation responses or updated the login information, but I think it's well worth it. Phew!

#obsessed: Be Okay – Oh Honey

For the first time in a long time, I realize that I'm pretty happy again.

After over a year of anxiety, depression, and many other things (one could even make an argument for PTSD after literally a lifetime of some of the things that happened), I think I'm in "remission." I feel at peace, happy, even hopeful. I've had periods like this before, but they've only lasted a week or two, so hopefully this one will last for a while. This one feels different though. Even after an incident I recover fairly quickly. I feel unrelentingly optimistic, and freedom is right on the horizon. It's a nice thought.

Quite a while ago, Isabelle showed me this song. It was nice and cheerful, but not very memorable. Then it hit the mainstream, even being featured in a Chili's commercial (Isabelle was not happy about that), and I looked it up again. It's more applicable to my life right now, and I love the lyrics and tune.
"I'm wide awake, so what's the point of dreaming when your life is great?
Celebrate the feeling, celebrate the feeling,
Can't complain about much these days, I believe we'll be okay."
In case this doesn't last a long time, hopefully I can remember to take the good days as they come, and leave the bad days as they go. ◊

Monday, January 19, 2015

URL Switching Update

URL switching is a lot harder than I remember. Actually, the URL switching itself wasn't too bad, but I've been moving everything to a new email account, so I've had to update all the social media accounts to match. I've also created a new Chrome user to keep all of my accounts separate, so I've been trying to consolidate that with the other things. I got frustrated at the Chrome theme because I wanted the other purple one, but now it's a paid theme, so I considered modifying my old account to use that theme, but that would be too complicated. The one I'm using now is okay, but it's a bit plain. Luckily, I've been super productive all day and I've finished my homework, so I get to focus on this singlemindedly for a while.

After a few hours, I'm done! Here are all the updated social media accounts:

[Facebook is being a duck and not letting me make a custom URL until the page gets to 25 likes.]
[Google+ is even more of a butt, and has tons of regulations on a custom URL. Will update soon.]
»Bloglovin' Profile:
»Bloglovin' Page:

I also had to move my TeenVogue and LuckyMag accounts, which are basically community contribution sites. They have the same content as what I post here, but if you're interested:


I also wanted to join another community called HerCampus, but they have a very intense application process, which I do not have all the qualifications for yet, so maybe some other time.

I'll be testing these out over the next couple of days to make sure that they work, and if you happen upon a link that doesn't let me know?

Now, keeping all of these accounts updated is another story, but that's an ongoing process. We'll see. ◊

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Focus: Mindful Body Wellness

This year I want to be pretty.

Let me preface this by saying that I do not have body dysmorphic disorder as far as I know of. I'm actually quite happy with who I am at the moment – intellectually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Of course, some of things are still a little bit shaky, but I'm generally a lot more stable in those aspects than I was, say, a month or half a year ago. But I want to make some changes. Life is always about moving forward and making positive changes. Maybe it is because I'm a little insecure on the inside, but who isn't? And I say, "I want to be pretty," more as a "putting conscientious effort into my appearance" way than a "I'm ugly right now" kind of way. If that makes any sense.

Anyhow, I've been thinking about this, and sure, inner beauty is great and all, but I totally want to be one of those "yoga on the beach at sunset" people. It must be so great to have the time for that, but since I don't have that luxury, I'll start small, maybe just by putting more effort into my my outwards appearance. It's not only about makeup and clothing, but actually treating myself right, physically or health-wise. Sure, body positivity and loving who you are is great, but you're really not loving yourself if you're leaving your body to rot with a crappy lifestyle. That's my own concern about the body positivity movement, that its message can be skewed or misconstrued towards loving yourself as you are no matter what instead of encouraging people to take care of themselves and work towards better health.

This is an idea that has been consistently at the back of my mind for a while, but today, I rediscovered Inthefrow, who basically has my dream life as far as I can tell. She has purple hair, works as a blogger, lives in London, and models on the side. At first I thought, "Wow, she is so lucky that she gets to live off of her looks," but then I read that she has a Ph.D. on her about page, and my life kind of felt like crap again, but it was also strangely motivating. There's nothing that says I can't work towards that lifestyle. Once I have the full freedom and independence to live my life, I'll have so many more options, but there are still plenty of things that I can do now.

For me, that consists of three things: skin care, eating right, and exercise. I'd like to invest in some more beauty products and do reviews on them as I go. Most of these will probably be skin care products, like washes, face masks, and toners etc, as my combination skin annoys me to no end. I thought about doing a "Makeup Monday" type thing, similar to "Food Friday" but I wouldn't be consistent enough for that. Then again I haven't been keeping up with Food Friday either, mostly because the food stuff happens on the weekend, so then I have to wait a week to post about food on Friday, and then I forget.

With food, I have no authority over my family's shopping habits at the moment, but when I do, I am totally down for the salad and avocado and carrot stick type of food thing (I hesitate to say the word "diet" because that implies a short term phase). No, it's not that I want to torture myself by forcing myself to be vegetarian (trust me, I've tried). It works for some people, but definitely not for me. However, I genuinely enjoy the taste of fresh, healthy food. It makes me feel good on the inside, and I'm always in a better mood after a salad. As for exercise, I don't have the time to do anything extreme. I've even decided to stop swimming for the school as speech and art are taking up more of my day. But I do want to be toned and healthy so I have more energy throughout the day.

Simply put, I want to have more control over my life, so for the time being, I will pursue endeavors that I do have control over, such as my personal health and appearance. I wanna be like Kanye. I'll be the King of me always. Do what I want and have it my way. All day, like Kanye-eah, yeah, yeah.

Or so goes the second song by the Chainsmokers (artists behind the [in]famous #SELFIE). On their Soundcloud, they say that, "This song is about doing you, living life how you want to live it and not giving a f*ck what anyone else thinks," and I think that sounds about right. I want to own my life. Do things my way. I've been terrified by what other people think of me for too long, and I've suffocated in the process. And this time, it won't be a sudden 180˚. It's going to take time. I'm going to take small steps. But I think it's going to be worth it.

So I want to be pretty. Depending on how you interpret that, it could be a good or bad thing. But I'm going to treat myself right, because I have been through a lot of crap, and I need that support from myself. I am allowed to pamper myself, even be a little bit vain, perhaps. I am allowed to love who I am, and I'm allowed to change who I am so I can love myself better. And that's my goal for this year.

(Warning: don't be offput by the SELFIE stuff going on at the beginning. It's a good song. I promise.)  ◊

Marvel's Agent Carter: Live Reactions

An amazing thing happened last week: Diana and Isabelle both started watching Marvel's Agents of Shield! Diana bingedwatched all of it when she was sick, and Isabelle is steadily catching up. You have no idea how exciting this is to me! I love Marvel.

If you haven't watched, you should. MAOS is pure amazingness and a feels rollercoaster that will destroy you and fulfill all your fangirling needs at the same time. You might have a reaction like this.

That's ok. The cure for MAOSitis is to watch everything again, and then to jump headfirst into the Marvel Universe reading everything you can about everything. I'll be honest, some of the things that happen on the show can be quite confusing and not as awesome if you don't understand the references, such as [SPOILER ALERT]  Inhumans and terrigenesis.

It's the Sunday after the James Logan Invite, which I went in expos for. It's a three day weekend, so I get to lounge around for a day before having the day off tomorrow to do homework. To be honest, I wasn't fully prepared for the tournament, as I had just changed the conclusion of my speech and probably could have made a few more posters. I did break to quarterfinals, but the competition was top notch, so I didn't break to semis. Luckily, that means I get to stay in today and watch TV shows. And as you may have noticed from the title of this post, I have decided upon Marvel's Agent Carter.

I've already watched all of MAOS and since it's on hiatus, Agent Carter seemed like the natural choice to go forward with. I've heard generally good reviews about it, and Diana says that Agent Carter is an awesome badass, which I'll take her word for it. I've decided to do a live reaction (to be honest, for god knows why) and I will be typing out my reactions here instead of spamming Diana through iMessage (which I'm sure she will appreciate). Unfortunately, the ABC pause button is broken, so I can't pause and unpause to resume watching. I'll try to update during commercials, or when I simply can not even (you know what that means). Reactions shown after the break for your own protection.

You can watch Marvel's Agents of Carter here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Clary J. Simmons

Clarisse Jennifer Simmons. AKA Clary J. Simmons.

To be clear, this is a pseudonym – for now. I’ve always wanted to create an alter ego, or at least an online persona, in order to be more comfortable with myself in public and on the internet. This marks the start of a new chapter in my life. Coincidentally, it's also my 100th post on this blog! Names have power. My real name is associated with certain things that unequivocally have contributed to who I am as a person, giving me strength from the lessons that I've learned, but it also comes with a lot of damage. A new name gives me a place in my mind to put that away, while still letting me pick and choose which aspects of myself I still want to keep.

A lot of effort went in to choosing this name. For one, originality was a huge factor. I needed something unique, something that wasn't already taken everywhere on social media. Another factor was how it looked in cursive, because I love cursive writing. Some of my favorite cursive letters are "J," "F," "Y," and "S," so it needed to include all of those letters. But it also needed to be meaningful to me. Here I'll attempt to explain why I choose those three particular names to represent my identity. It's a lot more complicated and took a lot of time, but hopefully these summaries make sense.

Clary is short for Clarisse. I decided on this variant for no particular reason, except that I was originally going to use Clarice, but on the speech and debate judging spreadsheet there was a parent already named "Clarice Simmons" (the worst coincidence) so I didn't want to use it anymore.

Clarisse is French, meaning bright, shining, gentle. I guess it sounds nice, but I don't know if it describes me as a person right now. Hopefully, effervescence is something I can eventually achieve. Clarice has Latin and Greek origins. Apparently it means "famous" which I would not mind.

I also drew a lot of inspiration from literature and media. Clarisse McClellan from Fahrenheit 451, my favorite book, is a dreamer. She's different, in a good way, and is a catalyst in the story. She's very introspective and asks questions and thinks about things in life. She is considered anti-social because she isn't like the rest of the community. Clarisse La Rue from the Percy Jackson series is a fighter. She's incredibly stubborn, a trait which I strongly identify with, and value in a way. Clarissa Fray from the Mortal Instruments series is an artist, with the gift of clarity and intuition. A more obscure reference is Clarice Ferguson, also known as Blink, from the Marvel universe. Her backstory is intensely complicated and tragic, so I won't delve into too much detail, but to me, she represents magic, change, growth, choosing good, and resilience. Also, she has the power to make portals, and she's purple, so what's not to like?

Jennifer is a name adapted from "Guinevere" from Arthurian legend. I've always loved Greek mythology, but Greek names are too complicated, so I settled for Arthurian legend, another set of stories I find interest in. Jennifer is also Celtic for white wave. I wanted something related to water, and I like the Celtic reference, so it fit quite well. I've shortened it to just the "J" because I'm not a huge fan of the way "Jennifer" sounds.

Simmons is in reference to Jemma Simmons from Marvel's Agents of Shield. She is a scientist, specifically a biochemist, and is incredibly intelligent and kind. From her, I take a name that represents the the erudite portion of me. Also, a vague reference from Fahrenheit 451 is Dr. Simmons, of unknown first name, who is a book professor from UCLA. He is among the outcasts that memorizes books to protect him from society. I believe he specializes in a Greek text, portions of Marcus Aurelius, which ties back in to my interest in Greek mythology.

Hopefully that makes some sense. I think my reasoning for the name is through and well thought out, to the point of having too much thought put into it.

I'm still working on setting up all my social media accounts and making everything uniform. I'll also need to create a logo-ish thing, and I had the crazy idea of creating an alter ego for this alter ego. That's going to be interesting. On this blog, from now on, I want to focus more on lifestyle – style, travel, food, music, college life, studying, etc. It's going to be a happy place, a testament to who I want to be, but I'll also keep it real with the actual going on's of life. I'm also planning to start a Youtube channel, coming May 2015, so keep on the lookout for that. I'll probably explain more later, but this post is getting long, so I'm going to end it. ◊

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Confidence vs. Arrogance


Wheeeeeeee!! All I've been doing for the last two hours is blogging. In my pyjamas. In a clean room. On a clean bed. Not worrying about homework. This. Is. The. Life.

Ok fine, this is procrastinating. But I've been telling myself that I deserve/need it because my sleep schedule has been so messed up because of speech and debate. It's a slow and steady recovery, and at least blogging is somewhat productive.

Sunday was League II speech. I was entered in expos. I had just finished the final draft of my speech on the Wednesday before (Jan. 7) and had worked on the posters and memorization Thursday through Saturday. Essentially, I finished the whole thing in four days, which is absolutely ridiculous. On Saturday I had a coaching with Sandra*. It was a trainwreck, but that was expected. My first expos coachings had always been with her, and they had all been trainwrecks. But she wasn't in a good mood and went to talk to Mrs. Dasher* and I thought, "Oh god, I am fosho going to be dropped." Luckily, I wasn't, but I had some serious work to do. I went home, plunked down, and worked like a madwoman (I essentially am on on the daily, but even more so when I'm focused).

On Sunday, I woke up at five. I was aching all over from being hunched over on the ground working on posters, and I was terrified of messing up at the tournament. But all of a sudden, something changed. I stared at the ceiling and said to myself, "You worked hard for this. You wrote the speech. You memorized it. You made the posters. You did this all in four days. That is incredible. You can do this," and more, essentially giving myself a fifteen minute pep talk. I also listened to Britney Spear's "Work Bitch" which was strangely motivating. You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? You want a Maserati? You better work bitch!

In extemp, it is necessary to be arrogant. Arrogance is thinking that you are better than everyone else.
You do have to believe that you are better than everyone else, because it's a solitary event, so doing so helps keep your morale up and confidence high. But arrogance is nothing without a strong foundation of confidence. Neither is necessarily a bad thing, but different situations require different outlooks.

The rest of the morning was a blur as I got ready and carpooled to the tournament. I tried going over my speech in the car and at the tournament, but I felt at ease. Confidence is a state of being in which you know you can do it. You worked for it. You put in the effort. Why wouldn't you be prepared? You are sure in your own abilities. That is confidence.

I started out shaky. A poster was out of order, so in my first round, I skipped an entire paragraph. No worries, change it around and do better next round. Next round however, the prop attached to the previous poster was gone, so I didn't use it. No worries, fix it. The third round, everything went well.

I actually didn't find out myself that I had broken. Another freshman told me. It felt like a dream. After all, even though I'm a senior, that was only my second time breaking at a League tournament.

I went 4-1-2-446, and I couldn't be happier. Though I didn't get a wildcard, I did place a respectable tenth place, and didn't rank dead last in my final round. I know I spoke the best that I could, and there wasn't anything else at the time that I could have done better. I was up against some of the very best, people who had been preparing for months. I did just as well, if not better, than half the people in that round, with four days of intense work. If that's possible, anything else is too.

The wildcards were also based on which round one ended up in for double-finals. The seventh place card (from Leland) had the same prelims ranks as me, but since she was in the (unanimously declared) easier round, she had higher rankings compared to everyone else in her round. That could have been me, but that wasn't, and I'm not mad about it. I just have to work harder so I am number one no matter what. And I know what to do. ◊

*name changed

Alternative Sleep Schedule Experiment


It's second semester senior year, and contrary to the heavy case of senioritis I had expected, I'm finding that I'm even more focused and meticulous than ever. I think managing to achieve straight A's first semester was a huge part of it (even though it only raised my GPA a measly 0.02 points). I don't know why, but I'm taking seven classes as a senior, including AP Biology and Journalism. Speech and debate is also picking up again, and there is so much end of the year senior miscellaneous crap to deal with.

I've decided not to do swimming this year because with seven classes and other extracurriculars it's just all too much. I need to focus on my health again, especially sleep. I've only ever pulled one all-nighter, and I'd like to never have to do that again. However, some nights I'd only get about three hours of sleep (rarely, but it happens). As I thought about it, a lot of time was wasted on nothingness.
Homework should only take about three hours per night, at a conservative estimate. With speech and journalism, it's more like five hours a night, but I try to do as much work as possible at school too. For the sake of simplicity, I decided to base my planning on three hours of homework per night and 7.5 hours of sleep (5 sleep cycles). My counselor recommended getting nine hours, but I don't think that will be really necessary. I'm pretty much done growing.

The point is, I've been trying to rearrange my sleep schedule so I am more alert and well-rested when it matters (at school and doing homework) and spending time on productive resting (naps) instead of procrastination. I came up with this plan:
I was originally going to try it out for a week, but from the beginning, it didn't work too well. I couldn't nap for two sleep cycles and woke up automatically after one. Showering and dinner took time in homework (ideally I'd eat dinner at 6pm and shower in the morning, but with the other people in the family, that's not possible). I ended up working until 1:30am and was not able to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Also, there is the issue of special events and sometimes having a social life. This schedule is too rigid and demands perfect adherence or else it doesn't work.

I then modified it slightly to only have one sleep cycle nap in the afternoons, but I didn't like the imbalance of the sleep cycles with 4:1. Logically, this one probably works best, so I might try it in the future, but I don't think I'd be able to keep up with it now.
At the same time, I'm determined not to go back to the first sleep schedule, so it looks like a more structured version of it is going to come into play. There will be a twenty minute nap right after I get home from school, which hopefully will give me the rest I need to stay focused on homework later so I can have go to bed and wake up earlier and be fully awake when I go to school.

Hopefully this one will work out, and sometime in the future I'll do an update on results. ◊

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#obsessed: Orinoco Flow – Celtic Woman


I haven't posted in a bit because I have been insanely busy with everything. I'm still busy with a whole bunch of miscellaneous items, so I'll go in depth in another post soon, but for now, I just wanted to share this song/video. Now you may be thinking, "Carol, since when were you into Irish vocal ensembles?" and to be honest, I don't know. For some reason, random Irish songs have just mesmerized me through the years, and there are still a few that I've heard and have not yet figured out what they are yet.

The thing is, I had heard this song way back when I was a little kid, and I don't even remember how long ago. I just have a vague memory of looking at the TV and seeing a whole sea of people, and something along the lines of "from Celi to Bali" and "sail away, sail away, sail away." I knew it had something to do with "Celtic Woman," and for years, I believed that to be the song name, or the name of a show or musical, with this song as one of its features. Just recently, when I looked up an approximation of the lyrics and "Celtic Woman" did I find out that it's this song, and this particular performance is probably the one I had seen on TV. So I went and looked it up on Spotify and it's been on loop for days. Enjoy! ◊

UPDATE: The other Irish song I had heard was Bill Whelan's "Reel Around the Sun" from Riverdance, a song that Jason Brown skated to in the 2014 Figure Skating Championships. He won a spot on the US Olympic Team with this routine. Here's the video.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Camera Unboxing and Review: Canon ELPH-350


I don't think anyone will see this, because it's been retropublished by scheduling, which basically means I published it in the past (so it's actually Jan. 14 today, but I'm putting it under Jan. 7 on the blog roll).

I finally got a proper camera! I got this as a Christmas present under the current situation (I don't know how else to describe it without being explicit, and it's not something I think I want to remember, but whatever), had to charge the battery for the camera to work, so this is more like a really quick re-unboxing just to show what's in the box and the specs and stuff. All pictures unless otherwise noted are taken by the Samsung Galaxy 1 camera phone that I have been using for all of my pictures so far (notice how it doesn't have the best focusing, especially on text).

Click on pictures to enlarge view.

»Inside the box: camera (it's purple!), battery, charger, wrist cord, forms

»Items with front and back views edited together

»The box does not come with an SD card, so you will need to buy your own.

»With the wrist cord attached:

»Side by side comparison of a photo taken by Samsung Galaxy 1 on left vs the ELPH-350 on right.

Overall, it seems to be a solid camera that can record video. The digital display on the back is quite lackluster and pixelly, but the pictures still turn out pretty well. A quick flip through the menu shows that it is very customizable, with different modes and fine adjustment of settings. I plan on using it to take more pictures for the blog, as it's much easier to directly use the SD card by plugging it into my computer than to extract pictures from my phone by downloading it from Dropbox. Pictures also take up a lot of space, so I can clear out some room on my phone now too. ◊

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Sonia!


Happy Birthday Friend!

I don't know if/when you'll see this but since I'm off Facebook, I still wanted to say "Hi" personally.

Wow, I don't even know where to begin. You are simply an incredible person, as an artist, student, flautist, tall person, baker, cat lover, journo editor, make-up and hair stylist, ex-swimmer, and friend. You have an unforgettable sense of humor (the bathroom) and impeccable taste in food (slutty brownies all the way). You've been a constant personal support, a rock in my life, this last year amidst all the crap and terrifying breakdowns. Thank you so much. You rock. You are so so amazing, and I feel so fortunate to know you.

We don't have any pictures together ( D: we'll have to fix that!) but here's a picture of Larry for you :)

Hope you're having a wonderful break and will have a wonderful rest of the year! Here's to many more a bake-fest in the future! I hope all your wishes come true <3

Much love,
Carol ◊

Yet Another Blog Redesign


I was so very terrified going into the last one (Stanford) but I managed to do it. I was shaking and on the verge of tears afterwards, but that's ok, it was over by then. It's out of my hands now, and all I can do is hope that the last four years of my life will be deemed worthy enough to garner acceptance into a school, any school. I've convinced myself that even if I only get into a safety UC, I'll be ok. Less stress is more time for hobbies (aka blogging) so I'm going to be happy wherever I end up.

Speaking of hobbies, you may or may not have noticed that the design of this blog is completely different (though I don't know how you could have possibly missed it)! Yup, instead of going to sleep like a normal, sane person, I decided to reward myself for finishing college apps with a free for all blog redesign. I had only intended to change the fonts, but got distracted and changed the theme (hence the cute little ribbon for the tabs), which forced me to redo all of my previous customizations as well, but now it's even better than before! I was able to explore more and add a few new customizations as well. I honestly love working with CSS, because I somehow understand it intuitively, so it's both a challenge and a learning experience to navigate myself. The blog is definitely way more girly than it was before, and I'm still not sure if I like it yet, especially the color scheme. I know for sure that I love that shade of purple, but I don't know if it's a good idea for a blog. We'll see.

As it is almost 3:00AM now, I did not get to do all of the customizations I wanted to. I need to upload a new sidebar picture so it's the proper size, and I'm considering creating a headbar picture to use instead of regular words (because they're glitchy when they load).

AND REMINDER: THIS BLOG WILL BE CHANGING URLs ON JANUARY 15, 2015. THE NEW URL WILL BE I'll keep posting this reminder at the top of all my new blog posts from now until then.

Let me know in the comments what you think! If you have any questions about fonts or CSS or anything else on his blog, I will be glad to answer them :) Hope you've all been having a wonderful 2015 so far! ◊