Tag Archive: picture

Hellooo. It’s me….

Brittan, Emma and I cuddling

Me, Emma, and Brittan cuddling on the air mattress while we were all at Christmas in Nashville. (Pic courtesy of Brittan.)

Hello and welcome to the return of Alora’s blogging.

It’s only been two months since I posted. Although, a lot has happened in the world that you probably already know about and if you don’t this blog isn’t for news anyway. Well, sometimes I share important news-related things, but this is not one of those times. This blog is going to be a what’s on my mind / how I’ve been doing blog through and through.

First up, happy holidays. I had a wonderful family Christmas will the nuclear fam and the gf. It is the first Christmas I’ve ever had with pretty much all my favorite people in one place. (Not including my extended family. I love you all too.) It was a small Christmas, but I really enjoyed it. It was really wonderful to be able to interact with my parents and siblings and also Emma (the gf). The fam has only had a little bit of time to get to know Emma in the past, so I think this weekend was good for all of them even if it was more than a little stressful at times.

Brittan, Emma, and I drove up to Nashville on Thursday and then back again on Monday, so it was four and a half days of seven people in a two bedroom apartment. The spirit of Christmas kept things fun though. I had fun anyway. I got to cuddle all my peoples and we hung out and watched some movies and played some games. I cuddled my puppy. It was a solid weekend of family fun and insanity.

This week is a three day work week because we had Monday off and also Friday off, for New Year’s Eve. Most of the office is out on PTO, so it is just a handful of us in this week and the work itself has been quite slow. You’d think there would be less distractions with fewer people, but actually it just means the people here have less reason to be quiet. It’s been kinda great though. I really do love all the people in my office and working with them is just a blast.

On a grander scale of things, since my last blog, I have attempted NaNoWriMo, gotten a car, spent Thanksgiving in Virginia Beach with Emma’s family, and seriously, seriously considered getting a dog. I’ve also missed writing these blogs and just itching to put more words out to the internet. I think I’m going to spend some time this week to put together a set of actionable New Year’s resolutions that I can potentionally succeed at relatively easily. You can bet that one of them will be to blog more. (I also want to make this blog better on the backend, but we’ll see if that happens.)

In actual news, Carrie Fisher died yesterday and I am quiet sad about it. I wasn’t going to mention it because it’s not actually a part of my life, but I want this blog to be more useful to future me, when looking back at who I was at the tail end of 2016. So this is me, sad about celebrity death for a woman I never will meet, but who positively affected my life in many ways. She definitely will continue to affect my life, especially after I get around to purchasing and reading her book. That’s another thing I want to do in 2016: read more books.

Final tidbit I shall leave you with is that I have been listening to John and Hank Green’s podcast, Dear Hank and John, recently and I quite enjoy it. I seriously recommend you check it out. I also watched a wonderful video by Rowan Ellis earlier today about ethical consumerism and how to continue the push for that when it comes to human slavery as well as animal testing. It’s only ten minutes long, and you should really take the time to watch it. She put together a wonderfully compelling and informative video. I just found her channel today and I’m very excited to check out what else she has and will post.

Alright, I will stop rambling for now. Thank you for reading, share this around if you want and please comment below with your favorite christmas gift from this year!

Till next week,

-Alora

19 Things in 19 Years

My friends and I at me and Brittan's 5th birthday party.

Hello friends,

Today is my birthday! Many years ago I had a birthday party with cupcakes, specifically baked for smooshing into my friends faces. That’s what happened in the picture. It was definitely, the best birthday party, I’ve ever had.

I, along with my twin sister Brittan, turned 19 today. I thought it would be fun to follow the trend and make a list article of nineteen things I’ve learned in the years leading up to this moment.

  1. It’s okay to not be friends with people that are making you unhappy or you don’t like hanging out with. You are not required to be friends with everyone.
  2. Never get your hair thinned. It only makes the frizzing worse.
  3. It’s okay to change your mind about something even if you were very adamant about your original opinion.
  4. Reading a book will make you feel better.
  5. There is actually a way to clip your toenails without giving yourself ingrown nails.
  6. I am not good at cleaning up after myself.
  7. High heels are amazing.
  8. Apparently, my boobs are not done growing yet.
  9. There is no reason not to take a risk when it comes to hairstyles because it always grows back.
  10. Everyone around including your siblings, parents, friends and extended family are all their own person living their own life that is just as complex and important as yours.
  11. Wolves are some of the coolest animals in the world.
  12. All of your opinions are colored by you privileges and experiences.
  13. Living alone is difficult, but doable. So long as you go outside almost every day.
  14. Onsies never go out of style.
  15. You don’t really need that random trinket from when you were seven that has little to no significance.
  16. You can write fifty thousand words in a month while working full time (Still not sure how I managed this for Camp NaNoWriMo 2013).
  17. Good content should be determined by how proud you are of it, not how many clicks it gets.
  18. The newest Vlogbrothers video may be long or heavy, but it’s still worth a watch.
  19. Journaling usually makes you feel better, especially if you can keep up with it for an extended period of time.

Some important life lessons. Some silly facts about me. All of it adds up to me: a person who is has now been on this world for 19 years. How wild is that?

Until next time,

– Alora

Learning How to Juggle Life

Hey guys,

If you did not know season one of Supergirl was recently added on Netflix. I’ve watched a couple episodes of it so far. I’m currently on episode seven which means I recently watched the one where Kara watches Cat Grant’s son: “How Does She Do It?” (episode 5). All of them are amazing, but this one in particular has a theme that really stuck with me. At the end of the episode, Kara asks Cat Grant, her wonderful #GirlBoss who has it all, how she does it, how she maintains her life. To which she responds “How do you juggle it all? You learn. That’s how.”

Since hearing that, that idea has been rolling around my head, pounding on my skull and all around clambering for me to think about it. Learning how to juggle it all: the career I want to have, the family I’d like to have eventually, posting here, posting on my YouTube channel, maintaining a social life, devoting plenty of time to my girlfriend. I have been in Atlanta for nearly three months now and if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s how to live here. I’m figuring out how to juggle this ball. I’ve got a schedule worked out. I pay my bills and rent on time every month. I keep my fridge stocked well enough that I don’t starve. I’m writing, reading, posting videos, and blogs. All while still working from 8:30 to 5:30 everyday.

Up until quite recently I was very sad because I felt like I couldn’t lead the life I wanted to lead. I even wrote a blog post detailing the kind of schedule I would like to have and now I have that schedule. I’m learning how to juggle my life. I’ve got work handled. Now I’m adding back in writing after not regularly writing for three weeks. I’m handling my YouTube videos and I still make time to call my family.

It’s okay if I drop the ball every now and then on one of these things because I’m still learning how to juggle them all. That’s what Cat Grant has taught me. Well with those words anyways. I’m kind of in love with her. She’s a boss.

This realization may seem small, but it’s more than a little life changing for me. It lets off the pressure. I don’t have to be perfect all the time in what I’m trying to do because I’m still learning how to do it. TV, guys, it has a huge impact.

In related news, Supergirl is amazing and you should go watch it.

That’s all from me this week. 😀

Lots of love,

– Alora

Top 4 Book Series About Dragons

Hello everyone

Today I am sharing my top four series with dragons in them. There is always a different way to imagine dragons and write about them and these books all do it quite differently and I love all of them

1. The Last Dragon Chronicles

all seven book covers from http://zookiesnotepad.blogspot.com/

The Last Dragon Chronicles is a seven book series of middle grade books by Chris D’Lacey. I was given the first two by my aunt when I was in second grade and the last one came out when I was in 8th grade so I pretty much grew up on these and I love them to death. The first book is title The Fire Within and it sets up what becomes one of the most elaborate and intricate worlds I have ever experienced. These books are set in contemporary New England, but there is a twist. The main character, David, rents a room from a woman named Liz who sells clay dragons, some of these dragons also come alive. The whole series is fantastic and exciting. It explores new types of dragonlore and creates an entirely new rich universe. Also, in book two, polar bears become a big part of the story and the series starts to address climate change. The first few books are definitely middle grade, but the series’ complexity increases with each book, culminating in the immensely complex finale.

2. The Inheritance Cycle

The Inheritance Cycle Covers from https://brownbooks.org/2012/09/09/the-inheritance-cycle/

A very good argument could be made for The Inheritance Cycle to be number one instead of number two and to that I say, please ignore my numbering system because all of these books are ranked the same in my heart. The Inheritance Cycle by Christoper Paoloni is another series I grew up on. These books are definitely at least YA, bordering on adult fantasy. They are written in a very high register and resemble Lord of the Rings in their epic quality. The first book, Eragon, begins the story of my favorite farm boy and the unimaginable heights he will reach. I don’t want to say too much and spoil anything for those of you that haven’t read it, but if you haven’t please go read it now. The books are thick, but totally worth it. As it true of all the books/series on this list, the dragons in this universe are wildly different from anything else I’ve read. They have an intricacy that is portrayed so well and so elegantly. Please read these books and then come back and we can talk about them in the comments because they are amazing.

3. Seraphina & Shadow Scale

Seraphina and Shadow scale covers from https://splteenmachine.com/2015/10/16/seraphina-and-shadow-scale-by-rachel-hartman/

Seraphina and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman make up the most refreshing fantasy couplet I’ve ever seen. Her imagining of dragons is yet again completely unique and much more science fiction than the first book would lead you to believe. These two books blend fantasy, a contemporary style and science fiction seamlessly. Not to mention that Rachel Hartman’s writing style is one of my all time favorite. She is amazing. These two books came out over the last five years. I’ve reviewed both of them more in depth previously on this blog: Shadow Scale review, Seraphina review. They are great. Please go read them.

4. The Rain Wilds Chronicles

Rain wilds Chronicles covers from http://dragonsheroesandwizards.blogspot.com/2014/04/fantasy-series-review-rain-wilds-chronicles-by-robin-hobb.html

I don’t know if you still believe me when I say fresh perspective on dragons, but Robin Hobb’s Rain Wilds Chronicles has a fresh perspective on dragons. Her universe is full of backstory and she has other series that exist in this same universe, but at different times. It’s amazing. This series has a fantastic cast of strong female characters from varying backgrounds. It also combines some more contemporary style with the traditional fantasy style like Seraphina but past the dragons, the similarities stop there. Hobb’s writing style is entirely different from Hartman’s and this series confronts the challenges of societal interactions between humans and humans and humans and dragons and dragons and dragons. It’s got all the permutations and it handles all of them so well. These books also confront resource allocation and sustainability, but it’s really subtle. Everything in these books are so subtle. Hobb blends the world together so well.

What are you favorite dragon books? Please tell me. I need more dragon books to read.

In the meantime, if you’ve read any of these books let me know and we can chat about how awesome they are.

Until next time,

-Alora

P.S. I got my pictures from the following: The Last Dragon Chronicles, The Inheritance Cycle, Seraphina and Shadow Scale, The Rain Wilds Chronicles.

September 2016 Bullet Journal Update

The front of my bullet journal.

Hello friends.

Many months ago now, I started my first bullet journal because a number of YouTubers I follow were doing it. So far it has been one of the best things I’ve done just because everyone else was doing it.

I started my bullet journal back in June and posted an introductory blog about it. Now, it is three months later and I am still going strong. I don’t write it in everyday, but I do use it most days. I usually use it most during the week to keep track of what I need to do when I get home from work and then I don’t use it so much on the weekends.

Structure wise, I am using a monthly calendar and a monthly log as well as my future log and index. I also recently started to use a weekly log that tracks all the tasks I want to do in a given week. Then, of course, I have my daily entries. Most of my daily entries consist of To Do’s and less logging what I did that day. Although, my To Do’s are usually pretty consistent with what I did that day. Just fill in any gaps with Netflix and/or YouTube and that’s what a typical weekday evening looks like.

A weekly log I made.

However, I’ve been meaning to start adding more depth to my daily logs, so I’ve started including updates on my writing. My friend Kellie Sheridan posted a video last year about her writing journal. Basically you report your writing progress and status to your journal. It helps keep you motivated to write, so that you have something to report back to your journal. I’ve decided to work this into my bullet journal and it’s working quite well. I’ve only been doing it for a few days, but I already love it. I’ve got a lot of writing I need to get done this month if I want to stay on schedule and so far this is helping keep me motivated.

Today's daily vlog with my writing entries.

As for looks, my bullet journal is in plain black pen of varying degrees of fanciness depending on what is closest. Although I have decked it out in some stickers and I recently added Beth Revis’ signature to one page. That’s in silver sharpie. I bought a new journal last weekend that I’m planning on using for 2017. I got it from Freddie and Co, and I’m excited to use it next year.

That’s about it for my current bullet journal process. If you have any questions let me know in the comments and please feel free to talk about your bullet journal process or just chat in general. I love getting comments.

Until next time

Beth's signature in my journal

-Alora

Office Kickball of AWESOME

Picture of me about to catch the ball

Hello friends!!!

So last Friday, we had an office event! A bunch of us went to the park and played kickball for like three hours. It was great and so much fun to get to know the people in my office better. Interactions outside of the office with office people was super fun. It also helped that my team crushed the other team. Though, to be honest, I would be happy either way. I love playing random sports. And kickball is great because it’s like baseball, but it requires less skill. And, if you don’t know, I love baseball. It’s my favorite sport. As a kid, A League of Their Own was my favorite movie. I still adore it.

Anyways, onto some play by play. So, I spent most of the game guarding second which I don’t mind because it’s not super high pressure for getting anyone out or anything. Though, it did get a little boring because I barely got to touch the ball. But, at one point, I was being charged by the runner as she raced to second and I totally caught the ball while on base, like right before she got there. It was amazing.

Towards the end of the game, I kicked the ball and then was racing to first. The other team didn’t catch the ball outright, but they got a hold of it pretty quickly. I was already off balance and worried about them throwing it to first before I got there, so I totally slid right into first. It was amazing. The only slide in the whole game and all I did was scrape my knee a little. Well besides getting covered in sand. After that I made it to second, but then I got pegged with the ball on the way to third. I would’ve stayed on second, but I had to go. It was super lame because the ball was right over by third.

A few kicks in a row, it was immediately caught, so I got out. Both of those kicks were also the third out, which I was super frustrated by, but then. The third kick after those two, I hit the pitcher in the face with the ball, so he almost caught it. Thankfully he didn’t and I made it on base.

I also got to run across home plate at least once. I feel like I scored a second time, but I’m not positive. One inning, my team practically doubled our score with two outs. I scored that inning and I ran people home a bunch of other times. Like we got the two outs and then scored a bunch before getting the third. We totally wrecked the other team. We had three times the points of them. It was great.

Kickball was so much fun. We had pizza. I got heckle people in good spirits which was fun. The only unfun part was getting home.

I don’t have a car, so I bike everywhere. That day, I biked to work, home from work, to the park, and home from the park. I also played kickball for three hours. Needless to say, I was very sore the next day. Everything hurt.

I am very excited for the next office event. I think I heard from someone it was going to be ultimate frisbee? We’ll see. Either way, it will probably be awesome!

Until next time my dudes!

-Alora

Thank you very much to Scott Kelley for the photos.

picture of me kicking the ball

Decorations.

Panorama picture of my art wall

Hello my good friends.

Today we are going to talk about decorations. I have lived in my apartment for almost a month now, but it is only recently starting to feel like home. One of the reasons why is because I finally hung up my decorations. Now, this may not be true for everyone, but for me, I need decorations. My room in my parents house and at college was always chock full of stuff and well decorated. I do not leave patches of wall lying around. I put things on them!

I have some paintings. Nothing framed because that’s expensive. But I do have watercolor paintings of mine that I did during watercolor class a few years back. I have hung my favorites of those up. I also have some paintings that Brittan did which I’ve hung up and I have some other paintings as well. I really like my paintings because they soften the sharp lines and bright colors of my posters, since most of them are watercolors.

I have been collecting posters since forever. I have about ten which may not sound like a lot, but they can fill up an apartment nicely. My posters are where most of my nerdy attributes are plastered. I have a Star Trek poster that I just got from Mom and Dad. I also have a Doctor Who one, a Minecraft one, Jurassic World, etc. You get the picture. I have lots of nerdy posters.

The biggest piece of my decorations is my art wall. This consists of art prints, postcards, colored pages, a piece of embroidery. Anything that is art, that it smallish, and I can hang up goes on the art wall. My current art wall set up is above/behind my desk. It is the picture at the top of this blog. I am very proud of this art wall set up and looking at it makes me so happy. All of the art that my friends have done and postcards from my trip to London are quite inspiring to look at.

The last section of my decor is just miscellaneous stuff. I have some plaques and medals. I have a pennant from school. By far the best thing in this category is my key chains. I have been collecting key chains from the places I go since elementary school, I think. I have traveled a lot, so there are a lot of them. For years my key chains were all on a single lanyard hung on the wall. You couldn’t really see any of them or look at them, but they were all together and hung up. Junior year, I finally improved this system and hung my key chains on a length of embroidery floss. Now, they all hang spread out over the big windows in my family room.

If you ask any of my friends, they will all agree that I am very materialistic. I like my things. One of my things that I like is my decorations. After I hung up my posters and paintings and art wall and key chains, my apartment finally felt like mine and not just some place holding my things where I slept at night. Moving out is really weird. Sometimes I really enjoy the privacy and the quiet. Other times those same things are just lonely and sad. Putting up all of my decorations has decreased the lonely and sad parts of moving out. This is my home now. This apartment is where I live with my things and my family and friends come to visit or I can visit them.

It’s weird to think about having a home where my parents and siblings don’t live, but I am slowly accepting it as my apartment feels more and more like my own.

That’s all for this week!

If you want to see more of me, I will be posting a video on my YouTube channel tomorrow and Brittan and I have revived WogsVlogs. She is doing VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August) while she travels Europe.

Thanks for reading. 😀

Much love,

-Alora

Two Weeks as an Adult!

Me with the bacon I made the other morning.

Hello friends,

I have been gone for a good while because I don’t have internet in my new apartment. For those who do not know, I have officially moved out of my parents house and into the real world. I am working at a real job and using my degree to boot. I have relocated out of Tennessee and into Atlanta which is an adventure unto itself.

I have been at my new job for almost two weeks now and I am really enjoying my job. I get to do the nitty gritty of data analysis like data clean-up and copy and pasting stuff from Excel, while also doing the cool stuff. The setup at work is extremely complicated, so I haven’t been able to much of the fancy stuff yet. However, I am working my way towards that and all of the other analysts are wonderful. The whole team at the office is very nice and lovely and it is a great place to work.

Since I just started, I do have some downtime while at work. At first this was boring, but now I have found a project to fill my time. I am using my free time at work to learn Python and then apply it to Jupyter Notebook in the automation of some of the stuff we do in Excel. It is going well so far. I have a lot to learn in Python which is slowing down my automation, but I am excited about the possibilities.

My commute to work is probably the best commute I will ever have. I don’t have to drive and I don’t have to worry about public transport. I bike into work everyday. It is tiresome and my legs can’t quite make the whole trek without walking up that last hill, but I am getting there. It is hot in the south, but I have been blessed with cooler mornings and evenings so far. I’ve only been rained on once. Although, that was on my first day, on my way home, but it was fun. The path I bike to work, isn’t just sidewalks or roads. It is an actual bike path that goes past my work, but the other direction goes all the way to Stone Mountain. I bike past a sign everyday on my way home that reminds me that it is only 16 miles further to Stone Mountain. 😛

In other news, I have been doing a lot of reading. Without internet, I mostly come home and read. So far, I have read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Host, and Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman which was just fantastic. Expect to see some more book reviews coming soon. I also am keeping up with my writing, so expect more posts on that.

Remember last summer? That’s basically the kind of content that will continue. Except I won’t be starting school in the fall, so I won’t have that to distract me from posting. We might actually end up with a long-term schedule of blog posts. We’ll see.

I will see you again soon.

Be safe.

-Alora

Let’s Talk About Orlando.

Gif with many different pride flags
Gif from sammiieus

We need to talk

If you haven’t heard, this past Sunday, 49 people were killed at a club in Orlando, Florida. Many others were injured. Do you know why those 49 people were murdered? Because they were at an LGBT bar called Pulse. This shooting marks the largest mass shooting in US history and it was a hate crime against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and every other non-straight or cisgender person. Also, the shooting occurred during Latin night at the club, so the crime has racial tones as well. It was a horrendous tragedy.

We cannot let their murders go unavenged. Forty-nine people died.

Forty-nine.

That is unacceptable.

The following is a poem I wrote after I found out about this tragedy. Below that is a list of links. The links are direct links to more information, action centers, and some videos. The most important thing to do in the wake of this tragedy is to mourn.

Then, we must make sure it never happens again. With discriminatory laws in many states and low gun regulation, we have a long way to go, but we can make it.

Enjoy my poem.

How do you even begin to honor the dead?
How do you honor a life cut short by useless violence?
I cannot understand.
I am too angry.
Too sad.
Too long have we been oppressed and attacked.
We must fight.
I will fight.
Because without equality,
There is nothing.
Without equality,
There will never be peace.

Links:

Thank you for reading. Stay safe and please help out. Comment below if you want to talk. I am here for you, if you need me. We can mourn together.

With so much love,

-Alora

So, I graduated from college.

My friends and I walking down the steps by our old dorm in our graduation robes.

Hey guys,

I’ve been busy the past couple weeks with graduation and then coming home. But I am here today and that is what counts. I am currently supposed to be job hunting, but I figured while I was being productive, I’d write a blog post. Graduation was super fun. Well, in the fact that I got my diploma. The ceremony itself was way too religious, cold, mildly rainy, and equipped with the worst commencement speaker I have ever heard.

The poor woman tried to cram every bit of advice she had ever heard into one speech while also trying to sell us her hand-painted wine glasses. At one point she tried to make a joke about Mary Baldwin women having nice legs and it really flopped. Nobody laughed. I felt a little bad for her. After her speech she was walking around talking to people and I don’t think she realized how much she messed up. If she did, she did a wonderful job of hiding it. None of my friends or family liked her speech. It was painful to listen to.

Brittan and I both in our graduation robes. Together at MBC.

When her speech finally ended, everyone got their diplomas. Mary Baldwin is a pretty small school, so we don’t have any fancy tech for getting everyone in order. Instead we have class marshals. One of which was me. I got to sit at the front of the line instead of at the back with the rest of the W’s, but I also got to help the graduates get their diplomas. While the dean called everyone’s names I checked with the next person in line to see if they were in the right order and then had to nod to the dean if someone was absent at which point she would add in absentia after their name. It was a tad nervewracking, but mainly, I was just cold. I spent a good portion of the 200-some graduates shivering as I directed them. It wasn’t bad though because I got to hug my friends before they got their diplomas and I didn’t have to sit and wait at the end of the ceremony because the class marshals walk out first. Also, I got to wear a gold epaulet on my shoulder to signify my office. It went well with my Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honors society cords and my Lavender graduation pin. I also got to wear a gold tassel because I was a Global Honors Scholar.

The graduation ceremony was long, but at the end I got to walk across the terrace and get my roll of paper from Dr. Fox. (We picked up our diplomas elsewhere.) This being right after the dean called my name with the highest Latin GPA honors. I really enjoyed all of commencement weekend. It was nice to be honored by the college I’ve been attending for four years. I worked hard and they honored me nicely. Also, unlike other schools, MBC has a bunch of different events to honor different subsets of graduates. I went to Lavender Graduation, the VWIL Change of Command Parade, and the PEG Reception. It was fun.

The squad pushing Brittan away because she left us.

I’m really going to miss Mary Baldwin. For all its faults, I really enjoyed my time there and all of the friends that I made. I look forward to the next chapter, but I’m going to miss the last one. I’ve been feeling down these past couple of weeks since graduation. Moving on from a four year chapter of your life is hard, but I’m moving on to bigger and better things. I got this. 😀

Squad pose

I hope you all are doing well.

Much love,

-Alora