25 August 2015

Currently

Mailboxes - Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Reading: A postcard my friend sent me from when she visited her boyfriend's family in Kentucky! (Or as she called it, Corn-tucky.) I love receiving actual mail. And educational postcards bring out the geek in me.


Writing: A letter back to my friend of course! I've also been listening to some neat podcasts as of late and jotting down some notes of anything I find interesting or that might make a good topic for an upcoming blog post.


Listening to: Rdio. It's a streaming music station that I like so much better than Pandora. I recommend it to everyone I talk to about music!


Thinking: About barely anything because I keep drifting in and out of sleep. It's time for my power nap. Or my essential nap. I mean, whatever you want to call it.


Smelling: My lavender & lemon candle from Candelles. It's subtle, which is surprising considering almost every lavender candle I've purchased in my life has been a little sharp.


Wishing: I felt better from surgery! I am still sore which I think is a little unusual, but my body is unusual so what's new, really?


Hoping: That this whole Bachelor in Paradise "text blackmail" shenanigans becomes resolved soon. C'mon!


Wearing: Lounge shorts and a blood donation t-shirt from my high school days. I'm never fancy anymore unless I'm going to the doctor, it seems.


Loving: That I had a great weekend with my brother and sister-in-law! Even though I looked horrible in every single photo that was taken of me, it didn't even matter because I was so happy. Sibling love, y'all.


Wanting: A Starbucks frappe, some of my grandma's quiche, and a RuPaul's Drag Race marathon.


Needing: A massage. I wouldn't be able to stand it because of how sore I am, but my back is hollering right now.


Feeling: Oddly enough, if you wave away the grumpiness just a bit, I do feel happy. I'm starting to get back to my old self.


Clicking:
Transitional beauty products
What a "great day" means to a person with chronic illness
The best dressed girls on TV
Lemon berry basil mojito 

20 August 2015

Book Review: The Mind's Eye (SYNSK #1) by K.C. Finn

kc
*If this review is a bit jumbled, it's because I'm still recovering from my surgery and am on pain pills. That is all*
Goodreads description (x):  
At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.
As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time.

My rating: 4 out of 5 hoots  

rating book owls hoots 4 four hoots

I think we all know by now of my interest in war books--especially when it comes to anything related to WWII.

K.C. Finn's The Mind's Eye does a great job of going back and forth between both being a war story and focusing on the life of a young girl and her personal (fictional) story.

I didn't know how well I would become immersed in a young adult book considering I hadn't read one in a while, but overall, I really enjoyed myself and the book apart from a few hiccups here and there. 

Kit, the main character of the story, has both a disability (juvenile arthritis), and psychic powers. So it's no surprise that I fell in love with her right away. I mean, someone I can finally relate to AND who has some cool ass attributes? Sign me up!

I definitely sympathized with Kit and how much pain she was constantly in. I easily felt anger towards her doctor, Bickerstaff. How he treated her with such disdain took me back to memories of doctors of my past. UGH!
Kit's feelings of being a huge burden on everyone because of her disability was like a smack in the face for me. Whether you have a physical or mental disability, you know what it's like to be helpless and feel like you're being a burden--even if you're really not. It's a struggle and I completely understood Kit's emotions. The author did a great job of describing what the main character was going through.

As for Kit's psychic powers, they definitely took over the story, which was nice because then the book didn't focus mainly on Kit's disability. Being able to see through the eyes of Kit's..."target"...was interesting and I was surprised that I never became confused when Kit was in the head of someone else. Everything was written in a way that was easily understood.

Some of the minor characters--even if you didn't get in their heads from Kit's perspective--were easy to care about. This isn't always something a writer achieves, and I really appreciated that with Finn. Sometimes I don't even feel for the main character in a story! But I remembered and had feelings for almost every single character in this book.

Speaking of characters...
I enjoyed the romance between the two main characters. But I also didn't. 
It was just overplayed a bit. You knew what was going to happen, basically, and I didn't like that. I wish there had been more ZING to what they experienced, although what they went through together at the beginning was definitely exciting! The rest of the book had a lot of great twists and turns; it was a bit disappointing to see the romantic sub-plot go a bit flat.

It's no secret that I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disorder.
Or...chronic Lyme disease.
So when I read that the author, K.C. Finn,  had  M.E./CFS, it struck a chord with me and made the book even more special. I realized Finn could lend a piece of herself towards the main character. Yes, Kit had a severe disability in the book, and yes it plays a major part, and yes it is discussed heavily. But that's not the part she plays. She's not just the token disabled kid. She's so much more, and I love that.

(I did have a weird feeling about the ending, but that's neither here nor there in this review.)

So, cheers! Praise, praise, praise! Go read, read, read!
(BTW, the Kindle edition is free on Amazon so.....)

10 August 2015

Macabre Monday: The Loved Ones

the loved ones title 

I truly haven't watched many Australian films. 
I've watched even less Australian horror films. But the one that has stuck with me the most has been The Loved Ones (2009). 

What's happening in this movie is the main character Brent--whose name is really only briefly heard by the way--makes the mistake of (politely) turning down a quiet girl named Lola to the school dance. Apparently this sort of rejection isn't new to Lola, which is unveiled to Brent after a series of events take place allowing him to realize just how crazy quiet ole Lola--and her papa--really are.


poor brent the loved ones


It is pretty gory. I'm used to gory; I invite gory. But the torture scenes still got to me. However, it was well-made and not some B-movie made just for the torture scenes. There was emotion involved. There was character development. And so, so much more. There are definitely parts were I cringed and then I cringed even harder. There were parts where I gasped, and parts I didn't even see coming. I love me some twists and turns!

The transformation that we see in Lola--from meek, shy school girl into this insane, crazed "Princess" takes the cake, and is also extremely well-acted. Brent also goes from considering whether or not he wants to keep on living to fighting for his life. What a turn of events.

Lola Stone was such an interesting character, though. She's both innocent and evil at the same time. For instance, you get to see her handmade scrapbook, and her bright pink dress and glittery makeup that radiates how girly she is. But then there is a scene where she twists off the top of a bottle of salt and throws it onto a wound of Brent's--pure nastiness.

gif lola stone crazy the loved ones


There's also the soundtrack that added to the atmosphere of the movie. There were not many songs included, but the ones that were had a great effect. The song "Not Pretty Enough" by Kasey Chambers is bittersweet. Innocent sounding...but creepy considering what's going on in the environment. I heard it later on after watching the film and it gave me absolute chills. It's also an easy song to get stuck in your head so...be prepared for that.

One scene that really stuck out to me is where they are all sitting down for supper. It is SO MUCH like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I love that though! Way to go, director Sean Byrne for putting that subconsciously in our heads.

tcm homage the loved ones supper

The only real thing I disliked about this movie was the ending.
It just kind of...floated off on its merry way. I didn't want a typical cliche kind of ending, either, but something stable would have been nice.

The Loved Ones seems like an underrated movie to me. I have watched it several times now since it came out and it still gives me goosebumps. Because of that, you should definitely check it out!

09 August 2015

Playlist: "Musical Garden"


Flowers and Mountains


It seems like the summer has flown by. In fact, I realized I hadn't posted a playlist since April! 
No awesome summer playlist? Well.......even though this may not be what you or even I had in mind, these are the tunes I've had circling around in my head for the past couple weeks or days or so.

Enjoy them whether you're tanning out by the pool
or just
blogging and keeping cool. 



XOV is completely new to me--and I'm beginning to think I've really stumbled upon something special here. Not only have I found a song in particular that I've become fond of, but I've become astonished at the life and background of XOV (a.k.a. Damian Ardestani) as well. You should definitely read about it after checking out this song.






This is one of those songs you can listen to in all its glory or you can play it in the background and be fine with that too. I personally love listening to songs of this type while I write in my diary or maybe fool around with some light poetry.





With such sweet vocals, a whole lot of soul, and that hand-clapping that I live for, this one has been on loop for weeks now. Who cares about being alone when you've got this song for company?!





You know I love a good cover of a song...
...Especially a Spice Girls cover!





Say you'll be there for my next post! ;)

05 August 2015

Wordful Wednesday//Tech Me to Your Leader

You have no idea how many times I've run across something lately covering the debate between whether or not technology is "good or bad" pertaining to many different aspects. Most of these articles, podcasts, whatever, coming to a rather inconclusive decision on the certain component at hand.


What still intrigues me is the idea that technology is crossing some huge line whenever it comes to our social lives. There are people--mainly the old timey folks, let's just say it--who believe technology is "taking over." There are also the younger generations who feel that technology has led to great advances and is really just a better way of doing most things.
I can understand the frustrations of those people who came up with the inconclusive results just mentioned because there really are great points to be made for both sides.
However, I am going to be pretty biased considering I am a person with a chronic illness and technology--mainly the Internet--is like my sidekick. So yeah, I'm pretty much PRO-TECHNOLOGY, yo.


I have noticed just recently (although it's definitely not a recent habit!) that I'm on my phone dilly-dallying way too much. More than I think is healthy. And I'm sure that's true for the majority of us. It's mainly me checking social networking sites over and over again, too. I'm not even checking them because I'm just so extra popular and have just so overwhelmingly many notifications to check--nope. It's just a nonsensical habit. So I'm definitely trying to put my phone out of reach more frequently so I can bump that habit. BUT, it's also kind of important for me to have my phone nearby in case I need my doctor or my mother. If I feel a seizure coming on, I can usually send my mom a blank text and she knows what that means. That's kind of like her bat signal, so she can come help me out. Without my phone, I wouldn't be able to get her attention.



Then you have the days. Those days... Many, many, many--ok, most days--when I just lie or prop up in bed. That's what I do and basically all I can do whether it's from fatigue or pain or recuperation from a seizure or all of the above. So watching TV or reading an e-book or, yep, going online, are what I have to keep me company. You can understand that if you've had a snotty cold or the flu or something else temporary, right? It's the same with a chronic illness.
How comforting is it to be in your own bed with a bowl of Mom's homemade soup curled up in front of Netflix? Well it's also comforting for me to do as little as possible while my body works to restore itself and just...manage. Hence one reason I'm almost always on the Internet. Being online is amazing, too, because you can do anything from listen to a podcast on how corsets are made to watch a funny video of goats fainting to read blogs (yay!). But the Internet can also be a perfect way to waste time. So if I had a responsibility looming over my head, sometimes I just want to go back to my comfort zone and watch those adorable goats fainting or browse Amazon for some shoes I'll never buy. And that's no good, is it? I do crave more responsibilities though, small ones, so maybe if I had more of those...


I will admit I don't have much of a social life. If I did have more of one, I think I'd be more apt to have more motivation to spend time offline and to have more inspiration for the things I want to achieve. However, the Internet is also a great way to find a social life in its own way. I have discovered great sources of support systems online and have made friends who also have Lyme disease or some other chronic illness. A few I have been friends with for years! If not for the Internet, I would not have been able to vent to these friends, to laugh along with these friends, or to meet such strong, compassionate people. And that's extremely special.


Because I also have an anxiety disorder, the miracles of the Internet are becoming more and more helpful and awesome to me! Going into a crowded area is a challenge for me. Sometimes even talking on the phone is a big deal. But wait--there's e-mail, that's something I can get away with quite often. We can have live chats or IM or even if I'm feeling it, Skype! And now...wait for it...online food delivery! I can't even list all the other cool things you can do on your phone now. But seriously, anything that boosts my social interactions while not spiking my anxiety through the roof, works for me!


There seems to be a common saying now (from guess who?) about how all the young ones seem to have their noses stuck in their phones or their faces behind a screen or something like that. But if they had the same technology at their age, how would you think they'd be reacting to technology then? Probably embracing it like we are today. I just cannot stand it when people are constantly talking about "the good ole days before technology" yet they are watching TV, while they're on their phone, while their partner is on an e-reader. GET IT?


I love camping and getting away from (most) technology for a while. Because I'm on the Internet almost every single day, it's nice to try to enjoy life without my daily source of news, entertainment, socialization, etc. for a week or so. At the same time, I enjoy my technology and know I couldn't give it up completely.


This doesn't make me lazy, this doesn't make me addicted to the Internet, and this doesn't mean that I'm completely sheltered indoors and that if I go outside I will immediately burn down into ashes and die (I camp, remember?!)
But it does mean I'm sick and limited with what I can do right now. Especially at the moment as I'm seeing some symptoms increase more and more. So that may mean I'll be seeing more Internet usage...who knows?


*Also, I have nothing against the elderly, I swear!


So
What are your thoughts? Are you stashing your phone away as we speak (maybe you don't even own one)? Or are you too busy texting to even read this question?