Browse the Garden

Monday, December 30, 2013

For the new year . . .

Courage- to follow my dreams
                to believe in myself
                to try new things
                to listen to my heart

Forgiveness- to accept my mistakes
                     to accept my faults
                     to put the past behind me

Success- to find a door to my dream
                to set realistic goals 
                to understand the steps I have to take
                to create my own path

Confidence- to know what I can do
                    to understand my talents
                    to take pride in my accomplishments
                    to be who I want to be

Patience- to understand that things change
                to recognize an opportunity 
                to accept the ways of the world
                to be sastisfied with the present moment

Love- to trust my heart
          to understand what I want
          to recognise my weaknesses
          to praise my strengths

My goals are simple:
             Never give up on my dream
             Live in the present
             Focus on things one step at a time
             Be more confident
             Listen to my heart
             Learn to let go
             Be grateful for what I have
             Enjoy things while I can
             Stay true to who I am
             Keep moving forward

A Thousand Years: Kang Chi and Yeo Wool

Because this was too beautiful to not share.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Stumbling is part of the dance

So I went to a swing dance lesson tonight, and I learned more than swing dancing steps. 
As I watched the dancers, and did my own dancing, I learned that stumbling can be beautiful. You laugh and then you keep going, each step with more confidence. 
So, naturally I was nervous, telling every guy that asked me to dance that I was really new, and I would probably make a lot of mistakes. 
One of those guys said something that stood out to me. He said, "If you're having fun, do your mistakes really matter?" 
I think I paused, probably making yet another mistake, but this time I thought about it. I thought about all the mistakes I learned from. All the times I told myself that I had failed. All the crazy thoughts that echo in my head throughout the day, and I realized that even when I made a mistake, it didn't hold me back. One mistake could be my downfall or it could be one step closer to my goal. It could even be a stumble, but if I smile and laugh, will I regret that fall? 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Time

It's time!
To go after that dream. 
To take a vacation. 
To start listening to the heart
without ignoring the head. 
It's time!
To believe you can accomplish
To make mistakes
and learn from them.
To start dancing.
To start living. 
To ask, "Why not now?"
To be the best 
at what you know you can be.
It's time!
Go for that dream!
Believe in that goal!
Be a bright light
instead of a shadow.
Be a story
instead of a blank page.
It's time to listen and
time to scream!
Time to dare
and live your dream!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saving Mr Banks: A movie review

Before I start this review, and I'm keeping it spoiler free for a reason, I want to explain the perspective that I viewed it in. 
I'm a writer aspiring to be an author. If there is one thing I know about movies and books, once an author sells their story, they can ultimately sell their soul. This was Missis Travers' worry throughout the movie, and I can relate to that feeling. 
Writers create stories, because something in their life drives them to do so. It could be anything, from a memory to a dream.  Sometimes these stories become emotional treasures and authors hold them very dear. Missis Travers was no different when it came to her story Mary Poppins. She had an emotional tie to this story, and she made many choices based on this emotional tie. Walt Disney also had an emotional tie to this story, but it was a different one. The process of making the film was much more than writing a script or rehearsing songs. It was a journey into the hearts of the creators, and the moments that they held dear. Watching Walt Disney and P. L. Travers butt heads over this creation was very entertaining. But at the same time it was charming, and to be completely Disney, magical. This film was a beautiful story behind two stories: the original novel of Mary Poppins and the Disney film. The inspiration behind these two tales is complicated, but in the end, it inspired two creators to view life differently. 
I recommend this film, not only to Disney fans, but to everyone. Anyone inspired by a dream. Anyone with a childhood and anyone who knows that life is more complex than a spoonful of sugar. 
I even recommend this movie to people who hate Disney. Believe me, P. L. Travers was not a Disney fan. This movie is less about Disney and more about the amazing journey to create a story. 
Above all, my favorite quote from the film sums this up nicely: “That’s what story tellers do.  We restore order to imagination.  We bring hope.” -Walt Disney

Holiday Reflections

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays, and when I look back on my life, it's the holiday that I remember most out of my past years. 
My family had a tradition to go on a sixteen to seventeen hour road trip to go see our family in Louisiana. Sometimes the road trip was nice, and other times we drove each other crazy, but I loved being on the road, listening to everyone's favorite music, sharing jokes, and telling stories. I also loved the anticipation to get to my aunt's house and enjoy the weekend with shopping, the traditional movie and the big Christmas dinner. 
Over the years, these traditions changed. 
At the Disney World college program, my room mates and I pitched in together for a big christmas tree, and bought each other presents and ornaments. We all had to work on Christmas Day, but after work we met up and watched the Disney Holiday fireworks. I'll never forget that day. 
At UNC, we divied up the Christmas shopping, and sat around the Christmas tree opening presents from each other while baking cookies and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. 
I remember Christmas at my Uncle Huey's house, surrounded by Barbies and Comics, deep into a philosophical discusion about the makings of religion. I remember the fancy dinners we had in the secret  dinning room through the library at my Grandfather's house, just talking about how nice it was to see everyone, and trying new fancy foods.
The Christmas snow at my Grandmother's house with my cousins building snowmen on top of their cars is a funny memory where the winner had to grab the biggest shovel to knock it down before they could drive back home. 
I remember attending the Christmas mass with my aunt and cousins, standing in a church I hadn't visted since we moved to Colorado. 
Over the years, some traditions have changed. We haven't done the big family road trip in a while, but we still buy a new ornament every year, and put Dad's origami ornaments on the tree. We still buy christmas gifts from the King Soopers tree and have fun shopping for nice toys and clothes to give to the families that can't afford a fancy christmas. 

Some my favorite traditions that have carried on over the years are:

Receiving gifts from my favorite fictional characters. (Gandalf gave me the Evenstar necklace when I was in High School) 
Buying a new christmas ornament every year
Sleeping in on Christmas Morning
Giving the dogs their christmas gift. (Haley would always just stick her nose in the bag and try to get the treats at the bottom. Dingo just rips the tissue paper and goes for the gold)
Having Christmas breakfast, and watching Christmas films with the family. 

What are your holiday traditions? Do you have some favorite holiday memories over the years?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Follow that dream. 
Surround yourself with people
who support your dream. 
Never tell yourself that you shouldn't dream.
Act on that dream.
Get rid of doubt.
Face your fear. 
Stop worrying about the future. 
Focus on here and now,
Don't let anyone talk your dream down. 
Don't let anyone tell you that you won't make it. 
You are the only one who can make your dreams a reality. 
Make your dream a fixed point, 
and then make decisions based on that dream. 
Set your priorities. 
Set realitic goals. 
Respect yourself enough 
to accept your obstacles. 
Allow yourself the time
to focus on what makes you happy. 
Focus on that dream. 
Take steps toward that dream
and you will be there before you know it. 

And until you reach your dream,
allow yourself to enjoy the journey;
the ups and downs,
the tears and laughter,
the steps forward,
and the steps back
are just moments 
in the saga of your life. 

Never forget your dream.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Today Jane Austen is remembered as a classic story teller, and rightfully so! Her stories are still  recognized today, and they have inspired many modern storytellers. Without Pride and Prejudice, we wouldn't have The Lizzie Bennet Diares. And without Emma, there would be no Emma Approved. 

In honor of Jane Austen, these are my favorite stories and characters. 

1. Persuasion: This is my favorite Jane Austen novel. It is a story about hope in spite of regret. Anne's journey from living under the shadow of expectations to discovering what she truly wants has inspired me to do the same. Captain Wentworth himself is charming, and his letter to Anne is the moment I remember most from the story. 

2. Emma: Despite many people not liking this character, I admire Emma's confidence. She does have faults, but she doesn't let her mistakes keep her from moving forward. Her obsession with matchmaking is a reflection of her desire to be useful. Mr Knightley is her confidante, and he is never afraid to point out when Emma is wrong. Mr Knightly is actually my favorite Austen hero. He is awkward and shows his concern for Emma by teasing her, and his lectures are based on his care for Emma. 

3. Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet is such an amazing character. She is smart, brave, honest and follows her heart. Her story is entertaining. She won't settle, and she is determined to help her sister find happiness. Her fault is judging others, and once she meets Darcy, a new game comes into play. Both Elizabeth and Darcy view the world by judging others and believing that they are better than them. Their faults are challenged when they meet, because they mirror each other. This is what makes Pride and Prejudice such a charming story. Both Elizabeth and Darcy grow once they learn to look past their judgements and give people a chance. 

4.Northanger Abbey: Catherine is the ultimate daydreamer in Austenland. Her love of gothic novels and excitement causes her to lose sight of reality. I can relate to this. Being lost in a story, and wanting something exciting to happen I often have my head in the clouds. Mr. Tilney is also a silly person, and the siliest of Austen's heroes. His charm and happy go lucky attitude really compliments Catherine's romantization of the real world. The novel is charming because not only is it a satire, but it is also a great lesson not to let your imagination remove you from reality completely. 

Jane Austen's stories are wonderful commentaries on social life, the process of growing up and the ability to listen to your heart. 

Here are my favorite adaptions: 

BBC Pride and Prejudice
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Bride and Prejudice
Persuasion (1998)
BBC Emma
Emma Approved
Northanger Abbey (2007)

Which of Jane Austen's stories speak to you?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A movie review

Before I begin: This is a SPOILER filled review. There is no other way for me to write it. Trust me. 

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is and always will be one of my favorite novels. I have fond memories of my Dad reading the book to me when I was seven. I also read the book again in High School, and as a school project in College, where we went into the psychology of the story. So naturally, I hold this story dear to my heart, and worry when liberties are taken from the director. I knew long before the first movie trailer that Legolas would be involved. I also knew that they would create a female elf, and we would finally see Smaug after being teased at the end of the first movies. 

Here are my praises:

Smaug! A dragon so amazing, terrifying and clever that when I first pictured him in my head, I envisioned a giant, regal beast covered in red scales with treasure stuck between them. He was even better than I had pictured him in the film, and when he finally breathed fire, I was blown away. I know Smaug didn't talk much in the novel, but Benedict Cumberpatch had such a presence to the voice, that I can't imagine Smaug any other way. The conversation between Smaug and Bilbo was such an incredible scene in the film. 

Bilbo. He was more of a hero, which I was worried they weren't going to stick to. In the novel, the spider fight scene is iconic. It's when Bilbo names his sword, rescues the dwarves and discovers that he can be a hero. I was worried Legolas would steal the show, but I was glad that Bilbo had taken care of most of the spiders before Legolas showed up. He has grown as a character, and it really shows after the spider scene in the film. 

Gandalf. He's always an amazing character! I liked his coversation with Bilbo before he leaves to go after the necromancer. He points out that Bilbo is not the same Hobbit he once was. As usual, Gandalf's battle scenes are epic. 

Tauriel. I really enjoyed her part to play in the story. She is strong, and the actress did a great job not being too gung-ho and overdoing the female warrior. And yes, haters may hate, but I loved the crush Kili had on her, and their converstaions were so sweet, especially talking about the stars. There was great chemistry between the actors, and the dialogue, which would have been cheesy in any other film, was perfect for them. 

Kili. Did I mention that he's my favorite dwarf? He has been since the first movie. I loved the extra character development for him, and his obvious crush on Tauriel was so sweet. The actor has a great balance between serious Kili, and goofy Kili. He's able to preserve the character from the novel, and add another layer to the character from the film. 

Bard and his family. I loved the way we were introduced to him, giving him more of a back story and the pressure he feels being his father's son. The only thing strange about his character was that he wasn't a warrior, which he was in the book. 

The last light of Durin's Day. Absolutely perfect! It showed how much Bilbo had changed, determined not to give up after all they had overcome. It was wonderfully done, and just as silly as I remember from the book.

Now for the negative: 

Beorn. I was really disappointed with our introduction to him. It was so quick, and confusing for those who haven't read the book. I wasn't happy with Beorn's appearence either. The bear form was fine, but the man looked really weird and more werewolf than werebear. 

The Spiders. Okay, this is nothing personal. I'm arachnophobic. The spiders didn't look bad at all, in fact they were downright creepy. Mission accomplished! I was glad that they talked though. They did in the book. (There's a possiblity I closed my eyes during most of the spider scenes lol)

The chase scene in the mines. This was an entertaining scene and fairly intense, but it seemed strange compared to the scene where Smaug attacks them on the mountain. The village sees this, and that's when Bard decides that he might have to follow his father's legacy and try to defeat Smaug. But they couldn't see the fire from inside the mines. (It would make an amazing 3D ride though. Seriously!)

Not necessarily a complaint, but some of Gandalf's scenes were a little awkward in pacing. They were still epic, but as a script writer, I couldn't help thinking that I would have placed one scene earlier and one scene later. But to be fair, it's hard to balance these events because they weren't written in the Hobbit, but explained later, which changes the tone of the book, and creates the anticipation for The Lord of the Rings. 

One sort of silly complaint that I share with my dad is when they turned the lights back on as Smaug headed for the village. It ruined the climax of the scene :( 
But Smaug's dialogue at the end, and the song "I see fire" following it was amazing! 

I give The Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug 4 of 5 golden rings. (lame pun I know) 
It was an amazing adventure with many wonderful surprises and the best dragon film will ever know. 
I recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and fantasy films, people who have read and love the novel and anyone who wants to learn how to face their fears and become the hero of their own story. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Good Vibes

The door is open beneath an arch of iron. My friend and I walk in, and the first thing I notice is gold. Small gold framed pictures, fancy statues and fancy plates adorn the walls. The place has a fancy but cozy atmosphere.The bar is on the left, and a gentleman in a sharp black suit welcomes us while filling a beer glass. We walk around the corner and see the grand piano, covered in books of sheet music and the woman singing and creating music with her finger tips. We pick a table, and I look around, noticing that my friend and I are the youngest. I stare at the crystal chandelier above our table and watch the piano player sing with gusto. 
As I listen, I can't help imagining my grandma Laura's house, the one with a secret library that we dined in one Christimas. Everything around me felt like something she would like. The tall Christmas tree with blue and purple ribbons. The large tiled mosiac above the grand piano, even the chandelier. At first glance it is a little intimidating, but once I ordered a glass of wine, I settled in. 
My friend and I started the night with two duets, which welcomed a warm applause. New people walked in. A few characters who sang with confidence stayed near the piano and sung a few songs. A group of people around our age grabbed a table by the stairway and sung a few funny songs. One man showed up with saxophone and played a duet with the pianist. And my friend sung "At last" with the saxophone accompaning, which blended into an amazing performance. 
It was one of the moments that you know you won't forget. The music, people and the laid back but ritzy feel of it all. A step back in time, before smart phones, even television. 
It finally felt a little closer to Christmas.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Don't sweat the small stuff

What does "Don't sweat the small stuff" mean?

While I worked at Disney World we had a saying: "Don't let one guest ruin the magic for everyone else." 
In other words: don't allow one customer to get under your skin and make you bitter, irritable and angry for the rest of the day. 
No one is perfect, and it's difficult to avoid letting someone get under your skin, but it is worth it in the long run. 
One way to think about this is to look at the sucessful people in the world. The writers who were turned down by many publishers until their story became a sucess. The actors who went to audition after audition, hearing harsh crictism and being told they wouldn't break into acting until they recieve an oscar. 
The truth is that if those people had sweated the small stuff, let that director's doubt get to their head, gave up on publishers after the tenth try, and allowed one small event to determine the course of their future, they wouldn't be successful. And this is how easily the way you think determines the way you live. 
I speak through personal experience, because I have let many events in my life effect the course of my future. I have allowed bad memories, harsh remarks and at times true fear decide my fate. And now I regret those decisions. Some decisions I didn't even realize I made. 
Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't let the meanest customer ruin your day. Don't let failed auditions, rejections and harsh remarks effect who you are and what you want to do. 
Don't give life the ability to control you. Instead, create your own path, despite the obstacles you will face. 
Don't let a family or friend feud ruin a vacation. Don't give the nay sayers any reason to be right about you. Don't beat yourself up over mistakes, accidents and over all failures. 
Worrying is a waste of time and energy. Dwelling on the past is pointless. 

Life is a series of moments, and we choose which moments to focus on. To focus on the negative is a waste of time. To focus on the positive is a step forward. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Ideal Bookshelf

So Tattered Cover sells this book called My Ideal Bookshelf by Thessaly La Force, and I came across it yesterday.

This is a coffee table book where well known authors, designers, movie producers, poets, doctors, and so on select the books that represent who they are. It's a cool assignment, and this is how it works:

"Select a small shelf of books that represent you - the books that have changed your life, that have made you who you are today, your favorite favorites." 

So this is my book shelf: 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L'engle
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
StarDust by Neil Gaiman
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
Best-Loved Folktales of the World by Joanna Cole
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Dune by Frank Herbert
Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw 
A Walk to Remember by Nicolas Sparks
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mattimeo by Brian Jacques
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'engle
Beastly by Alex Flinn

What's on your bookshelf? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sounds of Hope and Light: A Hopurai fanmix on 8tracks

I made this fanmix after learning what happens in Lightning Returns. 
Some of the songs could be spoilerish for those who haven't seen/ played Lightning Returns. 
I'm also open to suggestions. 
If you have recommendations for Hoperai songs, please share them :)

Listen to the fanmix here: 

Music tracks : in chronological order

"Save the Hero" by Beyonce
- This song is Lightning's theme song. She's so focused on saving the world, and even though she would never admit it, she probably wondered who would save her. 

"The Gapra Whitewood" from the FFXIII soundtrack
- This music represents the moment that Lightning first started to believe in Hope, and she listens to his troubles. I chose the piano track for a softer tone.

"Wait for you" by Artist VS Poet
- This song is Hope's frustration on trying to get closer to Lightning. Throughout the first game he deals with her coldness by asking questions, and his admiration of Lightning is obvious. 

"State of Grace" by Taylor Swift
- This song seems to be Lightning's thoughts after meeting Hope, and the adventure they go on. She never saw him coming.

"My Hands" by Leona Lewis
- This song is pretty straight foward. It plays at the end of FFXIII when Hope and Lightning are standing next to eachother, smiling at their success to save Coccoon.

"The Garden of Everything" by Maaya Sakamoto
- This song is Hope's theme song in FFXIII 2. He's always searching for Lightning, and truly believes that he will find her. 

"Save Me" by Nicki Minaj
- This song is Lightning's theme throughout FFXIII 2. She's constantly battling Caius and she seeks out help. 

"Anywhere but Here" by Safteysuit
- Hope would rather be anywhere but where he is. He wants to find Lightning, and bring the team together again. He tells Serah in the second game that he's lonely. He misses Light. 

"Madness" by Muse
- When Hope becomes a pawn of Bhunivelse, he goes through torture after torture, and the only thing that kept him alive was thinking of Lightning.

"Not Alone" by Red
- Lightning is back, and Hope wants to be there for her, just glad to be with her again. No matter what, he will help her.

"Only One" by Alex Band
- Hope has realized that he only has so much time to live. He must make his time with Lightning something special. Regardless of the roles they have to play, Lightning and Hope can accomplish anything. 

"Lifeline" by Imogen Heap
- Lightning is grateful to have Hope as her partner again. With him there, she can feel a little more human. Hope is her lifeline.

"Up in the Stars" by Swimming With Dolphins
- Hope will be wherever Light is, even after the final battle. 

"Closing In" by Imogen Heap
- This song fits the epilogue, when Lightning steps off the train, she's on her way to Hope. Where they can live a happy life together, free from the Gods. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The best fan song ever! An ATLA love song ^_^

I came across this song by accident, and now it is one of my favorite fansongs along with "Final Fantasy is an RPG" :)

The original post is here: 

This girl has talent! 

Character Problems

It happens. You're writing a story and then the character goes out of control. You lose track of where they are in the story. They no longer want to walk the path you intended fof them. Sometimes this can be a blessing in disguise, but other times, it becomes a writer's block. 

I've been having trouble with this lately, so I decided to find some tips to get me back on track. 
Here's what I've found:

1. Observe your favorite characters from other stories. 

         Chances are that their goals, wishes and characteristics speak to you in some way. Are they          complex? What do you like about them. Is there a story you see behind the scenes? Sometimes reading or watching a favorite story can help you continue writing your story. 

2. Write from that character's point of view. 

        If you're writing in any other point of view than the character's, it's difficult to see things as they see them. What do they want? Who are they? Do they have goals? Sometimes tapping into a character's head can help you understand why they have gone of course in your story. 

3. Interview your character/ Make a character profile

        It may seem silly, but what's their favorite color? What's their deepest fear? What do they want?Some of these questions may bring the answer you need to move forward with your story. It may not seem important to you as the writer, but the details of a character matter to them and help them stand out from any other character in your story. 

4. Make a collage/playlist for your character

        This is a great way to discover your character's emotions. What would inspire your character? What would they be interested in? Find out what makes your character special or important. Why should the audience care about them?

5. Reread what your character has done or said

       Do they say what they mean? Does their dialogue reflect who they are? Do their actions portray the type of person they want to be? What makes them human? Relatable? Empathetic? Do they change from chapter one to chapter 20? Are they consistant and "in character"? 

6. Put yourself in the character's shoes

       What would you do in their situation? Would they act the same way or different? Pretend you are the character and the story is actually happening to you. Wohat goes through your head? Your heart? Would you accept the role your character has? Would you choose a different role? Why?

Hopefully these tips will help anyone who (like me) is stuck with character problems. The important thing is to never give up on your character, sometimes they know the story more than you do.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Starlight Playlist

Sometimes music helps you write when you're stuck with writer's block. I decided to make a playlist of my own to reflect the thoughts of my characters and the over all atmosphere of the story. Some songs come from my main characters, and others reflect the tone of the story and the thoughts of secondary characters.
What songs do you listen to when you write? Have you found songs that fit your characters, story or plot?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lightning Farron Polyvore set

Due to my excitement over the near release of Lightning Returns, I decided to do a Polyvore set for Light, and I'll probably make a Hope Estheim set next. 
I added the lightning bolt earrings for obvious reasons, but the set is actually based off her new look in Lightning Returns, with the exception of the red cape from the first game. The leather arm band is one of her trademarks, and I wanted to include a picture of her from the first game, to reflect the human she once was. 
View the entire set here: 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Daily Writer's Obstacles

Sometimes the best way to deal with an obstacle is to identify it. I haven't been writing much lately, so I thought I would list the distractions and come up with tips to help me focus on writing more. I know I'm not alone with organizing my time. 
Feel free to offer any other tips.

Here are my current obstacles:

Shopping- the number one distraction that destroys my focus. Especially when sales are beckoning.

Facebook- a great way to pass the hours without even noticing. The latest updates are always ready and waiting for you to read about friends and family.

Tumblr- does this one even need an explanation? So many distractions, from random rants to fan made playlists, videos and over all obsessions with fandom.

Pinterest- you don't even notice the hours as they fly by. New boards to create, new pins to pin, and those great craft ideas you wish you could actually do.

Naps- especially after a long day, sometimes writing time becomes nap time

Life- every now and then life gets in the way. Chores, activities, tv shows, paperwork, and even dentist appointments.

So how do you get by these obstacles? Here are a few tips:

1. Carry a notebook and pen/pencil with you always. Great ideas will come to you when you least expect it.
2. Live for awhile. Yes writing is important, but if you don't allow yourself to have fun, your stories won't be fun. 
3. Hang out with other writers. It's great to bounce ideas around, relate to common writing issues and go over writing tips with people in the same boat as you. 
4. Devote some time to inspiration. Take a walk. Go on a mini adventure. Go somewhere new, or try new things to broaden your horizons. 
5. Think about/ write/ read your story before going to sleep. Sometimes dreams can help you solve problems, and what better problem to fix than a story problem?

It's important to prioritize, But life isn't just about writing. If you can, organize your distractions and keep writing. Good luck! 

(I'll do my best to follow these tips as well.)
What helps you write?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Tree of Aura

The tree was beautiful.
Its glow shone as a beacon in darkness.
The light in the dark.
The hope in despair.
Made of moonlight
it stands at the edge of shadow.
In a forest of emptiness
the tree grants sanctuary to wanderers.
Comfort for the lost.
Life for the dead.
A celestial shield
from fear, emptiness and evil.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving. It's a day to be grateful for what you have, and appreciate what life has given you. 

First, I'm thankful for my family. Their support, and all the lessons they have helped me learn in life. I'm grateful that they put up with me on bad days and spend time with me on good days. 

Second, I'm thankful for my friends, all over the world, close to home and online. I'm grateful for the fun we have, the counsel they give and the lessons I've learned from them. 

Third, I'm grateful for my job. To work with wonderful people, be surrounded by books and meet many different authors.

Fourth, I'm thankful for my education, the ability to have one, and the piece of paper I earned. The perspectives of my teachers, and fellow classmates have taught me a lot about writing, reading and yes, even math. 

Fifth, I'm grateful for music. The ability to sing, listen and be moved by songs and instrumentals alike.  

Sixth, I'm grateful for stories. The amazing authors behind them, and the creative perspective they offer to the world. 

Seventh, I'm grateful for memories. Good memories of happy times, goofy jokes and ridiculous giggles. 

Eighth, I'm grateful for the sky. The sunset, the stars and the amazing astronomical events we can witness on Earth.

Ninth, I'm grateful for the past. It has made me what I've become, and helped me learn how to be a better person. 

Tenth, I'm grateful for dreams. Having purpose, plans and goals because of them. 

So there's all the deep stuff. Here are little things I'm grateful for:

Chai tea
Rainy days
Teddy bears
Nail Polish
Cherry Blossoms
Lotus flowers
Fuzzy socks
Apple Cider
Fruits Basket
Dew drops

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Frozen: A movie review: spoiler free

When I first saw the trailer for Frozen, I was very confused. It showed a snow man and a reindeer, and didn't explain anything. At the time I knew that rumors of a Snow Queen based Disney movie were going around, so I knew that this trailer was advertising that movie. The trailer was misleading. 

Finally they released a trailer about the story, and I was intrigued. The story was epic and the characters were charming. So I began to count down the days.
First: the music is amazing! The first song gave me chills, and the lyrics brought back the Disney magic of the 90s Renaissance movies. 
Second: the art is gorgeous. It's almost like a painting in some scenes. It reflected the beauty of Norway, from what I've seen of it at Epcot and in pictures. 
Third: the story is phenomenal. Its complexity adds to its charm. The serious and lighthearted scenes complement each other, and the story is refreshing and original. 

I recommend this movie to everyone. It has a great story and a playful spirit. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lightning Returns demo review (Japanese Demo)

So, I will fully admit that I know very little of what is going on in the demo. I can pick up a few phrases from my College Japanese class. But the game looks incredible so far. Lighting is collecting souls, and with Hope's help she is trying to discover the reason behind the chaos that has enveloped the world, changing everything with no notice. 
Snow is now treated like a god, with a palace where he allows people to have fun on their final days. From the very beginning, you learn that Light is gathering souls to save them, and transfer them to the new world before the end of this world. 
The opening sequence begins by introducing Luxerion, the first province you go through. Light is in the middle of a mission: to bring Snow to his senses. Before she can talk with snow, chaos intervenes and a mysterious girl named Lumina appears. It seems that Lumina is causing the chaos, and she summons the mysterious beasts that Lightning has to battle. Some look like Anubis, while others are creepy floating plants. 
Throughout the whole demo Hope talks to you through an intercom, giving you clues and helpful tips on what to do next. I enjoyed listening to Hope and Light banter back and forth while she's trying to track Snow down. It keeps the game fun, and less serious, considering Light's role to be sort of the grim reaper. 
Game play itself is similar to Final Fantasy XIII, but the battle system is very different. You fight alone, and can change abilities in order to do a steady amount of damage. It was a little difficult to get used to at first, but after a few battles, it's easier to strategize and knock out your enemies. Just like the first two games, you have a certain amount of attack points, and once they are out, you have to change abilities to do any more damage. You can also use a preemptive strike to lower enemies' HP. 

As for the rest of the game's elements, the graphics were amazing, as usual, and the story is very intriguing. I feel sorry for Snow because he's become very jaded since Serah's death, but I am glad Hope has a major role in the game because he's my favorite character besides Lightning. 

All in all, this was a fun demo, and I look forward to the actual US release of the game in February.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Choices and Courage

Choices are unavoidable in life. Even when you decide not to do anything, you are making a choice. It took awhile for me to learn this. But the thing is, when you avoid a decision, it becomes bigger until it drives you crazy. The choice hovers, undecided, especially if it is a choice that involves something you want to do. But if you choose to act against what you feel, you will pay for it. Regret will follow you, and create a new type of conflict. 
So choices are something that are unavoidable in life. And when you must make a big choice, you reach a kind of turning point in your life. Where to go? What to do? Suddenly your actions become much more powerful to you. 
Sure little things, like what to have for breakfast or what to wear to work, won't make too much of a difference. But other choices: career, friends and relationships will affect who you will become and how you will view others in your life. 
These choices, in a way, define who you are. How you talk to people, and how you treat people will reflect you and your perspective. 
So, the point of this post? Choices are tough, but they are tough for a reason. Obstacles don't define you, but the way you react to them will impact your life. 
So you may make choices that you don't even realize how they impact your life. 
For me, it was fear. I was afraid. I'm still afraid. But I no longer want to feel trapped by that fear. To constantly worry about obstacles far into my future. To be afraid can be useful, but if you let fear define your choices, can you truly be honest with yourself?
So choices are important, and some choices are scary, but courage is extremely important, and honesty even more so. 
Maybe courage is the ability to understand fear. To recognize when and why you are scared. But if you let fear define your choices, you won't have the ability to change or control some important parts of your life. So I choose to use my fear. To not let fear control my actions, and to enjoy life the best I can. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

About Time: A movie review

I wanted to see this film since I saw the trailer. It didn't look like your typical chick flick, and it seemed to be a deep story about life. I wasn't disappointed.

We follow Tim, who narrates the story and watch him make mistakes over and over again. Some of these mistakes he can fix, but others are permanently etched in time, and they are best left forgotten. Once Tim's father tells him about the family secret, the ability to go back in time, he advises Tim to use this gift for something important. Tim decides that the most important thing is to find love. But along his journey, Tim comes across other reasons to use this gift, and learns valuable lessons with each decision he makes. He grows up, and faces more complex problems, some with no solution but to walk away. With each rewind, he steps through life and sees ordinary events in a different way. 

About Time is a beautiful film about life, and those little moments we take for granted. Those worries that eat away our time and energy can get in the way of the unforgettable details . It's about moments that we wish would last forever. It's about days we don't want to live again. It's the amazing, complex and unpredictable pattern of life, and how happiness is something we make through the little things in our day. 

I recommend this profound, wonderful film to people in their twenties and on. Especially my generation, where we worry about what we haven't yet achieved. Life may not be perfect, but we can make life worth living by appreciating what we have, spending time with those we love and doing all we can. 
This film delivers a heartfelt message without being cheesy and cliche. It takes moments we all recognize in our lives and puts them in perspective. 

My favorite quote from the movie:

"We're all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride." - Tim
                                                 About Time

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Heartsong: Best day of my life by American Authors


I had a dream so big and loud
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
Wo-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh x2
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
Wo-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh x2

I'm never gonna look back
Woah, never gonna give it up
No, please dont wake me now

This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ife
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ife

I howled at the moon with friends
And then the sun came crashing in
Wo-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh x2
But all the possibilities
No limits just epiphanies
Wo-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh x2

I'm never gonna look back
Woah, never gonna give it up
No, just dont wake me now

This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ife
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ife

I hear it calling outside my window
I feel it in my soul (soul)
The stars were burning so bright
The sun was out 'til midnight
I say we lose control (control)

This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ife
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ife
This is gonna be, this is gonna be, this is gonna be
The best day of my life
Everything is looking up, everybody up now
This is gonna be the best day of my li-ife
My li-i-i-i-i-ife

Friday, November 22, 2013

Writing Prompt 60: Creating Art

Prompt: Is creating "beautiful art" more important than the process of creating?

I've heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I believe that art should be genuine. The process of art is more important than art trying too hard to be beautiful. 

Art itself, especially in writing is a process, and this process is unpredictable and can only be improved over time and with practice. If a writer doesn't go through the process of creating, learn from their mistakes and view their work objectivity as a rough draft, the story won't have an opportunity to grow.  
Criticism, for example, is very important. It may not stroke your ego, but it will help you step back and view your story as a work in progress instead of a final product. Another part of the writing process is brainstorming, outlining and of course writing daily. 
Many obstacles can get in the way of this. Writer's block is the main obstacle, and in some cases it can only be conquered by putting the work away for awhile. Some writer's take a walk, go shopping or even take a nap before picking up the story again. 
If you try to force your work to be great, it won't be genuine, and in some cases, your audience will be able to see right through you.
Some of the best advice from writers: don't write about anything you don't care about. It will come through in your writing. In fact, it will be obvious, and you won't have a single excuse when it's time for people to review it. 
If you don't care about your work, how can it be beautiful? And if you don't go through the process and brush up on your writing skills, how much does your writing mean to you? 
This is true for any artist. How many famous artists paint over their canvas works? How many song writers throw away songs? You'd be surprised to know that every artist you admire cannot just create perfect art in one try. They fail, and try again, and sometimes fail again. But through their process of failure, they get a new idea, or start writing a different song, painting a different picture and end up surprising themselves. 
Art, like life, is a process. And if the artist does not dedicate time, thought and a bit of their soul into their work, it won't be the best it can be. 
Creating art is more important than making your art beautiful. Everyone had different ideas and standards for beauty, and you can't please everyone. Art is something you create for yourself to share your dreams with the world. If you don't polish your dreams, work to improve them and view your art as a process, it will be difficult for anyone to see your art as beautiful. Never expect your art to be perfect, but do expect it to be the best you can make it.