Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dear 2015


Dear 2015,

In case you weren't sure, 2014 was a good year for me. It was. I'm absolutely certainly positive it was.

Here's a list of things that made it awesome:

-I went to Korea.
-I started a new book and finished the first draft.
-I got baptized.
-I blogged.
-I discovered YouTube.
-I made videos.
-I worked at the Snack Shack and made money.
-I started a club.

It was pretty awesome.

Now I'm hoping you can top that list. Each year, I want you, Rachel/Rcubed, to do something more magnificent, something better, something awesomer. I want you to shoot for the stars and to have no regrets.

The Main Thing I'd like you to do in 2015 is:
-Finish your edits by March.
-Query.
-GET AN AGENT.

That's all I want you to do. Also, a blog revamping, a YouTube channel, a Twitter, and a driver's license (you'll be turning 16, after all) might also be in order. Also, a job. (A real one. Try the Habit.) But first--AGENT. (Also, try not to crash into any cars.)

Dear Rcubed of 2015, please don't do anything crazy. Or stupid. You do have a tendency to lean that way, you know. 

Also, please do well on your SAT. You may be taking the SAT in 2016 (I have no idea), but I hope you do okay on it. And do morning Elite! Not afternoon! All your friends will be in morning Elite! Okay?

Also, PRACTICE. TENNIS. I don't care if you don't feel like it, practice. You will be team captain of varsity!

You will!

And read. Read your study Bible. I just started Jeremiah; try to finish it, okay? Also, it'd be wonderful if you finally finish Psalms.

Stay with God.


Last but not least...don't drink or do drugs (not that I think you're going to) and TELL ME HOW PITCH PERFECT 2 was.  (I didn't think the trailer was very magnetic.) And Avengers 2. And Kingsman. And Girl Meets World Season 2. How did Pinocchio end?! How did Keeper of the Lost Cities end?!

Anyway...I hope you're doing well. Say hi to yourself for me.

Love,
2014.




Monday, December 29, 2014

OHMYWORD 2015????!!!!!! + Response to "Dear 2014" :-)

Now that Christmas is over and we're all putting away our Christmas ornaments and trying to get off our addictions to Pentatonix's That's Christmas To Me album, LET US MOVE FORWARD TO 2015!!!!!!

OH MY DEAR. Can you believe it's almost 2015?! Can you? Can you? Can you?

I can't!

For those of you who have been with me for a while now (like, a year), remember this letter? VVVV

Dear Rcubed of 2014-

This is your past self of 2013.  Today is December 31st, 2013.  The end of 2013.

In case you're wondering what I'm writing about, see this post.

We're on the same page now?  (Pun not intended)  Okay, great!

2013 was a really good year.  I started high school, began the long process O.K.A.  (Otherwise Known As) Snow in July, began wearing makeup, and read dozens of books.  I became more confident and started to not care about what others thought of me.

What's 2014 like?  What kinds of people are you hanging out with?  Have you gotten into trouble?  Are you still pursuing God?  Did you stick out public high school for sophomore year?  What's the tennis season looking like--junior varsity or just plain old varsity?  Did you muster up the courage to apply for a position on the newspaper?  Maybe try out for chorus?

Are you still planning on becoming a writer?  I hope so.  I really enjoy it.  How's Snow in July coming along?  Are you getting it published?  Please do so.  I really believe in it.

And then the other projects.  How did TRAPPED go?  Did you finally make an Instagram for Rcubed?  Did you beg Dad for a Twitter account, which you've wanted before you wanted Instagram?

And about Entertaining Reads.  Is it still up and running?  How did Maudley Manor go over?  

And what's going on with your siblings?  Parents?  Grandparents?  Aunts/uncles/nonexistent-existent cousins?  Any new fish and/or pets?  Have you read any good new books?

Did you become a better person, a better writer?  I hope so.


I hope you do because it's, like, the most sentimental thing ever. Haha.

Anyway, I thought I'd do a response to "Dear 2014," because the most sentimental thing ever deserves an appropriate response, right?

Yeah. It does.

(My responses are in bold.)

Dear Rcubed of 2014-

This is your past self of 2013. Oh hi. Yeah. Hello.  Today is December 31st, 2013.  Nice to know. The end of 2013. Yes, I'm rather aware that December 31st is the end of 2013. Thanks for reminding me, though!

In case you're wondering what I'm writing about, see this post. Okay, okay, yeah.

We're on the same page now?  (Pun not intended)  Okay, great!

I'm the same as ever. Always making assumptions.

2013 was a really good year.  I started high school, began the long process O.K.A.  (Otherwise Known As) Snow in July, began wearing makeup, and read dozens of books.  I became more confident and started to not care about what others thought of me. Good for you!

What's 2014 like? ummm...kind of the same? What kinds of people are you hanging out with?  Kool people. Have you gotten into trouble?  Sort of, but not sent-to-the-principal's-office kind of trouble. Are you still pursuing God?  Yes, I got baptized this year! Yay! Did you stick out public high school for sophomore year?  Yes. What's the tennis season looking like--junior varsity or just plain old varsity? Well, I just finished up my second season of JV, but next year I'll probably be on varsity! Did you muster up the courage to apply for a position on the newspaper?  I didn't have to apply--the teacher already knew me, so she let me have a spot! Maybe try out for chorus? Hehehe...no, not yet.

Are you still planning on becoming a writer?  I hope so.  I really enjoy it.  Hehe, yes. How's Snow in July coming along?  Are you getting it published?  Please do so.  I really believe in it. Unfortunately, I shelved it. Sorry. Maybe some other day.

And then the other projects.  How did TRAPPED go?  Okay, but my/your brothers said that it wasn't as good as the Kuehl Kids. Did you finally make an Instagram for Rcubed?  No. Did you beg Dad for a Twitter account, which you've wanted before you wanted Instagram? Yeah, but he said no. I'm working for a YouTube first, though.

And about Entertaining Reads.  Is it still up and running? No. I dropped out of it :-(  How did Maudley Manor go over?  We shelved it as well. It just wasn't working.

And what's going on with your siblings?  Parents?  Grandparents? Nothing much, really. [One of my brothers] is playing a lot of tennis. Aunts/uncles/nonexistent-existent cousins?  Any cousins I have are still nonexistent. Any new fish and/or pets?  No, we probably won't have any for a while. Maybe when we're all out of the house and my little sister has her way and gets a puppy, but probably not. Have you read any good new books? EVERBLAZE. WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT. THE MAYA DAVIS SERIES. THE REASON FOR GOD. 

Did you become a better person, a better writer?  I hope so. I hope so, too.


YAY!

That was fun.

Anyway, I'm planning on writing a "Dear 2015," but I'll be posting that on December 31st. 

Anyway, thanks for reading this! So excited we'll begin another year on our journey!

P.S. This was a scheduled post.







Tuesday, December 23, 2014

HOW TO BE SOCIAL || MUSINGS FROM AN INTROVERT

There are some people who run on other people's energy.

You know who that person is. Maybe they're the bright and cheerful neighbor who's always walking over to say hello. Or maybe she's the popular girl at school, the one everyone loves to be around. (And, let's face it, you do too. When you actually feel like being around people.) Or maybe it's your mom. Or Dad. Or brother. Or sister. Or grandma. Or half-cousin-twice-removed (I don't know).


The point is, there's always someone in your life who's the bubbly extrovert, the one who loves people. 


And then there are people like you and me. The people who, two hours into the party, suddenly feel like they want to go home and watch Disney Channel and eat popcorn by themselves. (Speaking of which, I haven't watched Disney Channel in a long time. Hmmm.) 


And that in itself is fine. Watching Disney Channel? Applause. Eating popcorn? Yay!


But there are certain points in our lives when we have to face the music. Not everything is going to go our way. We can't be antisocial all the time. So whether you're stuck at a party for five hours, or at a sleepover with friends, you can use these tips! (Because heaven knows we all need that.)





  • Remind yourself that being social isn't for you, it's for them. Many times, don't want to talk to people. But you know what? I can't just think about what I want to do all the time. I have to think about the other person. Maybe they're sitting in a corner, looking left out of all of the Christmas festivities. And yes, I've resisted my conscience many, many times and haven't gone over to talk to that person--but the point is, I should. I'm not going to talk to them for my sake. I'm talking to them for their sake, because I care about them and want them to have a good time. 


What if they're an introvert? you say. What if they actually want to be left alone? Chances are, they'll appreciate you coming over and taking the time to talk to them. And it might even be good for them, too. (See? It's a win-win situation! You both learn how to be social! Yay!)

  • You don't even have to talk. You can just listen. Once you get a conversation started, they may just want to talk, talk, talk, talk. You only have to listen and prod them into talking some more! Yay! They'll be happy and pleased that someone is coming over to listen to them yak all day long. And you'll be pleased that, except for the occasional "mmhmm" and "yeah," you don't have to actively participate.
  • If you want to talk, talk about something that's interesting for both you and the other person. Find a common bond. For example, say both of you like the Hunger Games. Go over and fangirl your heart out! Analyze the implications of Mockingjay: Part One! Make up ship names! I'm told that fangirls do that already online; now just make the transfer and use your vocal cords to fangirl. It's as simple as that.
Except it's never really that simple. Trust me, I know. I've had long battles of should-I-no-I-won't-yes-I-should-though. 

And really, this advice is all very good, but it's only your action that's going to make you more social. Ask God to help you be social, because withdrawing from the crowd, many times, can be a form of pride and lack of love. (Everyone needs to rest, but you should only rest so much!)

And yes, I'm guilty. So many times I haven't followed this advice. So really, this post is less for you and more for me. It's a reminder that if Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I can walk over and talk to that person who's sucking on a lollipop. (I've got no idea where I got that lollipop part; it just came to me. Maybe I should go get a lollipop right now...)

GO! I BID THEE! BE SOCIAL!








Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Went to Olvera Street!

On Thursday, my Spanish 2 class took a field trip to Olvera Street, which is a cultural street in a city I live near. (Apparently it was the first street ever there. Pretty awesome; I was walking on a piece of history!)




It was pretty kool--our teacher handed us a worksheet and sent us off to explore on our own, which was kind of awesome. No lectures, no sitting in a classroom--just us exploring Olvera Street by ourselves!


NO MATH!!! YAY!!




For some reason our bus had seatbelts, which confused me, because I thought that the point of buses was not to have seatbelts. (Isn't it?) But then I heard that by 2015 or 2016, all schoolbuses are going to have seatbelts.

Wut?!?!?

(I guess I'd rather be alive with a seatbelt than dead without one.) And besides, I'm graduating in 2017. I won't suffer long under this seatbelt-laden regime :-)



We had to fill out a worksheet by going to all the local landmarks.


We heah!


They'd set up a Nativity scene in a pavilion out front. 


Heading there!

We walked up and down the street, and then we went to this churro place that is known for its fresh, hot, filled-or-regular churros.


IT WAS DELICIOUS.

I ordered a caramel-filled churro, because, well, CARAMEL.  It was coated in sugar and it was hot and doughy and ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.


Then we walked around some.





These are ^^ INSANELY CREEPY.



The place wasn't crowded except for our field trip and a couple other schools'. 

It also wasn't really what I'd expected. It was a little less cultural, a little more touristy. We were told to speak Spanish to the vendors (to practice), but they approached us first and their English was the same level as mine. And considering A) I have a blog and call myself a writer, and B) my only language is English...

...well, we didn't speak much Spanish there.

I bought something for my little sister (but shhhhh don't tell her) and wrapped it in the Happy Birthday paper. (It's her birthday soon, so I'll just tell her it's for both Christmas and her birthday.)

Then we went to eat lunch at a cafe.




TACOS: beef, tomato, avocado, and onion rolled into two warm tortillas, with this incredible buttery rice and a cucumber on the side. It was really, really good--salty and hot and creamy (the avocado part) and just basically like heaven in your mouth.


Then we went walking some more.

Some of the vendors had little underground spaces that were PACKED with stuff. PACKED PACKED PACKED. It was kind of insane, the amount of stuff they put in there. How did they keep track of all that?!

The experience was interesting. I guess I don't really like cultural places where they try to sell you stuff at every corner, because I feel like it detracts from the value of the place. At the same time, though, it was kool. We got to go in this little house that was the FIRST HOUSE EVER and it felt like pioneer days. We also went into a very icon-oriented Catholic church that was incredibly quiet but kinda kool at the same time.

It was, however, a little sad to see how the kids at my school reacted to it. Some of them went on a different street and bought Starbucks.

Now, there's nothing wrong with buying Starbucks. I like Starbucks. I've posted several pictures of my various frappuccinos on this blog and Instagram. However, I'm not a fan of buying Starbucks A) when you're on a field trip to Olvera Street and you can get caramel-filled churros, and B) when there's a Starbucks across the street from school. What's the point of going to Olvera Street, then, if you get Starbucks, the very same Starbucks that you can get from the coffee shop across the street? (No joke. You can walk to Starbucks from my high school. Most high schoolers don't even get that.)

So anyway, I was a *little* annoyed at that. 

Then I read Les Miserables and played tennis, went home, studied, went to Chipotle, and studied some more.


I had a lot of Spanish food on Thursday.

But that's totally not a problem. I could eat caramel-filled churros all day long.













Sunday, December 14, 2014

HOW TO TURN YOUR BEDROOM INTO A WINTER WONDERLAND (sort of.)

My wall is literally plastered with blue tape right now.

And the Christmas lights have fallen down like, 10 times. They used to have some design and/or neatness, but now they're just kind of stuck up wherever doing their own thing. I'm far too wise to argue with them.

ANYWAY...

I turned my bedroom into a "winter wonderland" this weekend!

With the Christmas lights fermenting in my closet and begging me to take them out, I was like, Why not pretend I know how to hang them up and turn my room into a Christmas Extravaganza?

YAAAAY!!!

(Obviously I had no idea what I was in for...)



THE LIGHTS
What I Used:
-Christmas lights on a string
-Blue tape
-A swivel chair 

What I Should Have Used:
-Christmas lights on a string
-Thumbtacks
-Every chair EXCEPT a swivel chair!

What I Did:
I had three strings of Christmas lights, and I hung them up around my bookshelves and above my bed and over my desk using blue tape. A lot of blue tape, because the tape doesn't stick very well to the wall. (I know the point of blue tape is so they won't take the paint off the walls, but wouldn't it be okay to just make them a little more sticky?) 






I think there's more blue tape than Christmas light on my walls right now.

And like I said, they're falling down, mostly because gravity apparently hates me and poisons the mind of the blue tape and so both of them hate me and honestly, it's a losing battle.

I considered using thumbtacks, but A) I didn't want to poke a whole lot of holes in my wall and get into trouble, and B) I didn't want to run out of them. (I have a limited supply of thumbtacks.)

It was funny, though, because my main reason for not using thumbtacks was because I wasn't sure my parents would let me use them. After I'd set everything up, my mom walked in and she was like, "Hmmm...why didn't you just use thumbtacks?"

Yaaaay.

I also probably shouldn't be around sharp objects too often.

Dude, and the swivel chair. I only have a swivel office chair in my room, and obviously I was too lazy/didn't think to grab another one, so I hung up my lights using a chair that twisted around. It was a whole lotta fun, I tell you, but it didn't make for very productive work.

THE REALLY COMFY SANTA'S SLEIGH

I have a thing with pillows. I hate to sleep with them under my head, but I like hugging them, snuggling them, putting them on my lap--and right now I'm typing with one on top of my feet and another against my stomach.

So I was like, why not make my bed super comfy? So I piled it high with pillows and two blankets and my special blankey (yes, I still sleep with one...it's in tatters...#unashamed) and it was fantabulous. It was like sleeping on a cloud. Yes.

THE SNOWFLAKES

You know how those work. You, like, fold the papers and cut them and it turns into "snowflakes." I only made 3. I'm still not quite sure how I ever thought they were "fun" to make. I mean, you're folding and cutting paper. Can't get more boring than that.



THE "ICICLES"
What I Used:
-Yarn
-Blue tape
-A swivel chair

What I Should Have Used:
NOTHING. I SHOULD NEVER HAVE DONE THIS DIY.

What I Did:
I wanted to create a "curtain" of "icicles" near my doorway, so basically I cut a bunch of string and hung it down from the ceiling. Again, I used blue tape. (Ugh.) Again, I stood on a swivel chair.




Personally, I believe it was an entire waste of time, even more of a waste of time than making snowflakes. I cut string. (To be fair, I was listening to Pentatonix, but I was still cutting string too.) Then I stood on a swivel chair (again). And now it kind of looks skimpy, because I only used just enough string to look kool. It doesn't look phenomenal, but I don't even want to make it look phenomenal because...you know how much time that would be?

Don't do it.

So yes. This was HOW TO TURN YOUR BEDROOM INTO A WINTER WONDERLAND. (Sort of.) Because everyone knows that the best DIYs are the ones you do yourself, fail at, and get to laugh at yourself on your blog.

It was rather therapeutic, though. It even makes you feel productive!

And the lights look pretty...if you ignore the blue tape.