Friday, August 22, 2014

All By Myself...

I am a new college student. It's overwhelming just THINKING about it! In fact, everything about college, including orientation week, is overwhelming and exhausting. I just moved into my dorm yesterday morning, and my mom went back to Houston a couple of hours ago. 

Moving-in and everything that followed hasn't been as terrifying as I thought it would be, but now that my mom has left, it's really sunk in that I'm here alone. ALL BY MYSELF. And that is terrifying. I'm panicking - I haven't made that many friends while my roommate has already made a ton. Does that mean I'll be a friendless loser for the next four years? Highly unlikely, although it does seem like it at the moment.

I'm not an overly talkative or social person. Being an introvert, I hate small talk, and superficial is the best word to describe my peers' conversations. 

I just feel so...alone. Like there is nobody and no one I can go to for help or just to talk to a peer. I don't know what to do. 

I know college is a clean slate, a place to reinvent myself. If I'm holding demons from the past, then how I am I supposed to take advantage of that? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Fault In Our Air Travel

Just yesterday I arrived back in the states after a month and a half away in Europe. The trip was long, boring, exhausting, and touched with sadness (I found out about Robin Williams' death when I checked my phone during my layover in North Carolina). 

Anyways, the travel time was more than 24 hours. First, 4.5 hours by bus from my town in the north of Spain to Madrid. 3 hours of waiting until the flight left, and then a nearly 10 hour flight to Charlotte. Next, a 4 hour layover in Charlotte, actually 5.5 since my flight was delayed, and then a 2 hour flight. 

Let's start here. If you ever plan on going to Madrid, don't go on U.S. Airways and don't go through Charlotte. 

You'd think, that with the money spent on airplane tickets, US Airways would at least provide a personal TV for each seat, right? Nope! No individual TVs, just one big screen at the front of the main cabin and one in the middle. What's even worse is that one of the movies they put on was the Muppets' Movie. Really? This meant that I had to spend over $15 downloading rented movies on iTunes so I wouldn't bore myself to death on the plane. It's nearly impossible for me to sleep on airplanes, buses, cars, etc. The only way I might be able to sleep is if I rest my head on the tray table, and I rarely get to do that since EVERYBODY leans their seat back. HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU SLEEP??? It only goes down a bit, it won't make a big difference in your sleep quality! The food on the plane is terrible, so I don't eat, and then I starve, and whatever I eat, I can't go to the restroom - I just can't. So I get bad constipation cramps (sorry if that's TMI). 

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. A small airport in North Carolina. At first, I didn't know why the plane ticket from Houston-Charlotte-Madrid was one of the cheapest available. After going through Charlotte, I got an idea of why that is. You see, small international airport and lots of planes = lots of people in a small airport. Customs was a nightmare - completely disorganized - one person to direct lots of tired, confused people to several different lines. And not enough space to hold all the planes. So lots of planes are usually delayed so as to make room and then, since there's like one takeoff runway, it's another 30-45 minutes to takeoff because planes have to take turns. 

Not to mention the fact that each time I get on a plane the experience I have a less and less pleasurable experience. The smell in the plane makes me gag, seats are squeezed together so the airlines can make more money - I mean, a good majority of America's population is obese or getting there and those people couldn't fit in one of those seats. So they either got to pay for two seats just to fit them (which may be about the same price of 1 first class seat, depending on the flight), pay for a first class seat or just not travel. You don't travel comfortably in those seats with barely enough leg room - which decreases if someone puts back their seat. Seats on trains and buses are infinitely more comfortable than plane seats and you pay significantly less for those tickets. The food is awful. Our airlines need major improvement - to be less greedy to start. I'm just glad I don't have to travel on a plane until at least next summer. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How to Piss Off An Introvert 101

I would definitely consider myself an introvert, even though I enjoy acting - there's just something magical about stepping into someone else's shoes and escaping your own reality for a little while. Anyway, I'm losing my track here.

There are so many things people (especially extroverted people) do and say to me that really bug me. Let the ranting begin:

1) Being stuck with a very social person who DOESN'T STOP TALKING. My mother is one of these people, so is my cousin. I'll go to a bar with my cousin and I'll still be there three hours later after everyone else left because my cousin is talking to so and so and won't stop. I don't mind going out to have drinks with a group of people - just not for three hours straight, because I can't handle so many side conversations at once and not knowing how to jump in. For example, today I went to have a drink with my cousin and some friends. My cousin is my ride home, so I'm stuck with her. Many times my friends said they were going home to dinner. She asked them to wait a little until she finished her soda. They stayed. Ten minutes later. She asks again for them to stay. Eventually, they leave when she still hasn't finished her drink because words have been spilling out of her mouth nonstop. An hour passes: half of her glass is still full, and she takes a sip every ten minutes. She's so engrossed in her conversation about something superficial and uninteresting that she neglects her drink, and her poor younger cousin who is freezing her butt off in a chair outside - yes, it's cold where I am now - while she talks about her job with some coworkers (who are my friends, too). I can't stand it. I can talk for hours about a topic I like - science, current events, anything with a speck of intellectuality - but not gossip and other stupid stuff.

2) People thinking I'm stuck up just because I don't talk much in a conversation. I'm listening, and processing what I'm hearing. It doesn't mean I'm judging them.

3) Being judged by people as "not knowing how to have fun." My perception of fun is often different from the typical "fun" for teenagers. I like to watch a movie, read a book, play puzzles and brain-stimulating games. Most of my teenage friends don't read for fun, and don't understand how I could enjoy it. On the other hand, I don't particularly enjoy their idea of fun: parties where I have to either dance with other people, socialize or watch friends get drunk and embarrass themselves. It's not my thing, but it doesn't mean I don't know what fun is.

4) Being labeled as "shy and quiet" or worse, "antisocial." Yes, shy and quiet is a characteristic of introverts, but in a group setting, shy and quiet often has a negative connotation. I am very social when I'm with a small group of 3-4 friends, but I often get overwhelmed when in groups of 10+ people, especially around people I don't know. And "antisocial" pisses me off even more. Just because I don't talk much doesn't mean I'm antisocial.

5) Asking me to make phone calls. I will reject phone calls from friends even, and having to call someone I don't know paralyzes me. Nobody understands it, but I would rather talk to someone face-to-face than over the phone.

6) "You need to get out more!" "Be talkative!" "Go to the party - it'll be good for you!" Enough said.

7) "Why don't you smile more? You look angry all the time." I smile a lot, I wave and say hi to people I know when I see them. My mother tells me that my neutral face makes me look as if I'm pissed off. I'm not. It's just the way my face is. Get over it.

8) Finding the opportune moment to speak, but then get interrupted by an extrovert. Most of the time, I'm just looking for the best moment, when there's a quiet pause in conversation, to talk. My voice often gets drowned out by the chatty, loud people. While the extroverts blurt out whatever "ingenious" thought that comes to mind, introverts think before they speak, and only share what's important or appropriate.

This Buzzfeed will help you step into the shoes of an introvert: Problems Only Introverts Will Understand

There are a multitude of other things people say to me that piss me off. A lot of people don't get that introversion is a personality trait. It's the way we are. And although sometimes I wish I could be more outgoing and just enjoy the things most people seem to enjoy, there are so many bonus points for being an introvert.

Introverts vs. Extroverts Benefits:
- We are more creative and have a richer imagination than extroverts do. We spend a lot of time with ourselves and of course, in our own minds, in our own personal worlds.
- We are more observant of our surroundings.
- We process more information than extroverts do - that's why we get so overwhelmed in large group settings.
- We have a greater amount of focus.
- Extroverts talk, introverts listen. We make better leaders because listening is the first step toward empathy - a quality leadership trait.

We live in a social world. Humans gravitate towards other humans. While introverts need to work on some social skills, extroverts need to learn the value of quiet and self-awareness. Introverts and extroverts need to meet each other halfway; being understanding and accepting of one another for who we are as individuals.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling

Hey guys! - I've decided not to keep going with my Pandora list, mostly because I have a lot of charms, and it takes a while to make one of those posts. 

I just finished a book last night, The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen. I was first interested in reading the book when I read online that Emma Watson would be producing the film version and would star as the protagonist, Queen Kelsea Glynn (Raleigh). Although the book was marketed as a combination of the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, I didn't see it that way, but the book was still an interesting read. I got the book on my Nook, so it was not long, only 340 pages or so. 

The novel starts with a 19-year-old Princess Kelsea Raleigh being escorted from the little cottage she was hidden in with Barty and Carlin, by her late mother's Queen's Guard. Kelsea is described as a plain girl with green eyes, a bit on the chubby side. 19 is the age of coronation in the Tearling, a poor kingdom with little resources, and now it is time to ascend her deceased mother, Queen Elyssa Raleigh's, throne, which is occupied by her uncle, the Regent, Thomas Raleigh. In truth, though, her uncle is merely a puppet of the neighboring kingdom, Mortmesne's, monarch, the sorceress Red Queen. Her uncle has been hunting her down and hires the Caden, a group of skilled assassins, to kill her, determined to not have her crowned. She finds out many things about her kingdom along the journey to the Keep, in New London, the truth about her mother and her kingdom and many other important things were hidden from her by her adopted parents. She meets and gets to know several people along the way, including Lazarus (the Mace), the most renowned and effective Queen's Guard, and the Fetch, a mysterious and frightening master of thieves that appears to want the best for the Tearling and its people and deeply detests her uncle. From the very beginning, it is obvious that Kelsea is very different from her mother, who was vain and weak. She makes it to the Keep alive and deposes her uncle and is made Queen, but the job is definitely not easy. I won't say more, you'll just have to read for yourself! 

The book has several points of view, including the Red Queen of Mortmesne, who is unnerved by Kelsea Raleigh, her uncle, Thomas Raleigh, Javel, a Gate Guard of the Keep, Father Tyler, a priest who crowns Kelsea, and the Fetch. 

Many things are left unanswered in this book. I wanted to know more, like the identity of Kelsea's father, the Red Queen's background (and her real name), the Fetch's background and also, his real name. I had a feeling that he was Kelsea's biological father, but that would be weird, especially since Kelsea develops an unhealthy crush on him. I also wanted to know about Queen Elyssa's fate. Kelsea definitely isn't the most interesting character in the book. For me, The Red Queen and the Fetch were much more fascinating. 

The book has its faults, that I can't argue with. Some things don't add up or just don't make sense, especially regarding the history of the Tearling. I hope the author clears this up in the next books in the series. The Tearling seems to exist in the same world as America and Europe, as William Tear and his people sailed there, but did this land mass just suddenly pop out of the ocean or what? A lot of things are confusing in the book. Nevertheless, the book was a decent book to read by the pool over the last few days. 
Kelsea Raleigh, Queen of the Tearling

Also, just a warning: I honestly expected this book to be like Harry Potter in the sense of its innocence. But this book has its share of gore and profanity and does make many references to sex and rape. I would compare the violence to that in Game of Thrones instead of the Hunger Games. Definitely a step up for Emma Watson, huh? From wands and broomsticks to beheadings and romance that's more mature than Hermione and Ron's love story was...

I'd give the book 3.5/5 stars. I'm hoping that Emma Watson will make the film much better than the book. Otherwise, I don't see why she signed on for this series after Harry Potter. I don't know how they're going to portray Kelsea in the film, because Kelsea is not quite ugly and doesn't have any sophisticated, regal features, and Emma is gorgeous. Is Emma a bit too beautiful to play ordinary Kelsea? Judge for yourselves.

 Positive Review: Book Review by USA Today: 'Tearling' Combines Future and Past to Great Effect

More Negative Review: 'Queen of the Tearling' presents interesting characters, jarring anachronisms
NY Post: Emma Watson set to star in, produce 'The Queen of the Tealing'

The next book I will read is The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan. I'll write a review when I finish! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pandora #2

I'm going to diverge a bit from my list of Pandora charms that I have. There are a couple of extremely rare Pandora charms I love, but anytime I find them, they exceed $500, sometimes even over $1,000 and I definitely do not have the money for that. I'd love to get my hands on each of them! 
Indsamling Gold Feather charm

1) Indsamling Gold Feather Charm - This is a charity charm that Denmark companies and Pandora released to benefit children in Africa. Released in early 2012, this charm fetches a pretty penny as it was only released in Denmark. Perlen was willing to ship out of the country, but it was a limited edition charm. It would be a wonderful addition to my gold charms bracelet! 

2) Royal True Love Charm - Released in 2008 to commemorate the wedding of Prince Joachim of Denmark to Marie Cavalier. This charm has two enamel red hearts with gold crowns, and on the back is their wedding date, 24/5 2008. There is a general version of this charm that is widely available, but it doesn't have the engraved wedding date. 

Royal True Love charm
Royal Denmark Cathedral Charm

3) Royal Denmark Cathedral Charm - Another charm that celebrates a royal wedding, between Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson. The charm is the shape of a church, and has a gold crown on the bottom and their wedding date, 14/5 2004. This charm is extremely rare, as only 1,000 were made. 

Pandora Cruise Charm 2013
4) Any of the Pandora Cruise Charm - One of my vows is to attend the Pandora cruise getaway, but until then, I have to simply covet the exclusive charms. Pandora makes as many charms as there are guests, so that could be less than 200! 

There are other charms I want, like the Staff Charm, but these are the top ones. 

Images credited to Charms Addict.

Pandora #1

I have A LOT of Pandora charms. It's an obsession, bordering on unhealthy. I've been buying the more rare and hard-to-find charms, which yanks more money out of my pockets. 

Anyway, I'm going to list my favorite charms, from first to last. I have a lot, so bear with me. 

The Christ Charm
1) The Christ Charm - A dainty little golden heart - made exclusively for Christ Jeweler's in Germany, and only 1,000 were made. I scooped this charm up on eBay for $250, and whenever one does become available on eBay, it goes for over $400. I got a deal on this one. 

2) The Star Dangle Charm - A little gold star that dangles. It's retired now, but is still kind of easy to find. I was expecting the star to be bigger, but I'm glad it's not. 

3) The "P" Charm - A charm in a global shape that has lots of P's on it, some in gold. My name starts with a P, get the picture. 
Black Friday 2013 - Let it Snow

4) Let it Snow Charm - The 2013 Black Friday charm. I bought this one on Black Friday, and stocks were depleted at my Pandora concept store quickly. It's sparkly, the only sparkly charm I have from Pandora. The charm has sparkly snowflakes on it, and '2013' is engraved. It's very pretty. 

Black Friday 2011 - Midnight Hearts
5) Midnight Heart Charm - The 2011 Black Friday charm. I bought this one on eBay. It has three black enamel hearts and one gold heart with 2011 on it. 

6) The Bear Charm - This one was a Mother's Day 2013 charm, I think. It's still widely available, but I think it's just adorable. It's a silver bear that carries a gold heart. 

7) Star Charm - This is the most expensive non-retired charm I've bought, for $150. I got it for the free bracelet promo a couple of months ago. It doesn't have as much gold as I expected for such an expensive charm, but it's a nice charm. 

8) I Love to Travel Charm - This is an exclusive charm that can only be bought on certain airlines. I got mine on eBay though. It's a suitcase, with one side being I Love to Travel (Love is a red heart on the suitcase) and on the back is the continents. It's the perfect charm for my travel bracelet. 

9) Vintage Heart - This Mother's Day 2014 charm is really nice. It's an openworks heart with a smaller gold heart inside. 

10) Tree of Life Charm - A circular charm with silver and gold leaves on it. I fell in love with it and had to get it. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Anatomy of Injustice

I know that based on my blog entries, it doesn't look like I could possibly be a college student, but it's true. My university assigned a reading assignment to the incoming freshmen, to get us accustomed to the school's academic honesty policy. We have to read this book, and then come up with a research question and make an annotated bibliography. 

I was dreading this assignment, to be honest. Reading books hasn't been my main hobby lately - movies kind of took the #1 spot - and it's rare that I finish a book I start reading. However, once I picked up "Anatomy of Injustice" by Raymond Bonner, I was completely hooked. I was genuinely surprised that any academic institution assigned me an INTERESTING book to read.  

The novel is an in-depth analysis into America's justice system - or rather, the many, many faults in our justice system, particularly in capital punishment cases. The book reads like a gripping novel, with cases sprinkled throughout the novel to make a point about an issue. The story revolves around a murder case in the 1980's, a mentally-challenged man thrown into prison for the crime, and a young lawyer's utter determination to prove his innocence. 

In January 1982, a wealthy widow, elderly Dorothy Ely Edwards, was found brutally murdered in her home, which was located in a racist majority-white community in South Carolina. Quickly, the police found the perpetrator, a 23 year old poor, mentally challenged, but incredibly polite, kind and quiet black man who worked for Mrs. Edwards from time to time, Edward Lee Elmore. This arrest warrant was based on a fingerprint of his on her doorknob, and her checkbook - he had done a job for her recently and she had paid via check. Represented by incompetent lawyers - one a drunk, the other racist, against a determined, charismatic, dramatic prosecutor, he was convicted for the crime only 40-some days after his arrest. Soon, the mainly-white jury decided on a death sentence for him. He had two more trials, both a repeat of the first, before Texas-born lawyer Diana Holt looked at Elmore's case, 11 years later. Coming from a troubled past of her own, she was fascinated with capital punishment cases. The more she studied his case, the more her resolve strengthened to help him. She was sure that he was innocent, that somebody else the woman knew committed the crime. As she fought against the state for a new trial, a fair trial, she uncovered shocking acts by the local police and the South Carolina Law Enforcement division, including hiding evidence that would indicate Elmore's innocence, planting and testing knowingly false evidence that would keep Elmore on death row, encouraging an cellmate of Elmore's to testify against Elmore, that if he did so they would "take care of him." For these reasons, among others, Elmore was imprisoned, constantly awaiting execution.

I won't tell you how this story ends, that you'll have to find out for yourself. At moments in the book I literally cried at the injustice dealt out to Elmore and other inmates on Death Row. I was angry, so angry at the human manipulation in the American justice system. The book can turn a staunch supporter of the death penalty to an opponent, if they have even a bit of compassion, empathy, and aren't racist or total rednecks, of course. I highly recommend this book to anybody, even those who don't think they would like to read a crime book. 

Get this book online using the links! 
- Barnes & Noble -
- Amazon -

It's summer now, the perfect time to grab a good book, like this one, and lay out in the sun. Happy reading! :) 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cheyenne Martin #3

Oh, I forgot to mention that Ivy Slade and Cheyenne Martin were once best friends, before Cheyenne chose to join Billings and Ivy refused. Now they are staunch rivals. And while Cheyenne is not as manipulative as Noelle was, she can still be very mean and tends to act like she is superior to everybody else.

3) Meaghan Jette Martin

Tell me what you think: Who would be the best Cheyenne Martin?

Cheyenne Martin #2

2) Blake Lively - Serena van der Woodsen 

Cheyenne Martin, The Successor

Cheyenne Martin is a Billings girl largely unmentioned in the first arc of the series, but becomes more important in the second arc of the series. When Noelle, the leader of Billings leaves, Cheyenne soon takes her place, as Kiran and Taylor, two of the most popular girls in Billings, are gone, too. Cheyenne has blonde hair and blue eyes, and wears clothes that match. Sometimes it looks like she tries too hard at making her outfit perfect. She likes the color pink.

When tragedy befalls Cheyenne, Reed becomes the president of Billings.

Several actresses' looks remind me of Cheyenne. Blake Lively and Taylor Momsen from Gossip Girl for example. I also thought of Meaghan Jette Martin. I'll post pictures of all three and let you guys choose who looks the best for the part of Cheyenne.

1) Taylor Momsen - Jenny Humphrey

I actually thought that Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf would make a good Noelle Lange. She's my second choice for the part.