Tag Archive: siblings

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

September Writing Update: I’M SO BEHIND!

Me about to start a writing session a couple weeks ago.

Hello friends!

Remember how I excitedly posted this blog a while back about my timeline for Ahlam? Well that time line proposed a finished first draft by October 1st and I haven’t written in a solid week. Yikes.

I was doing really well and then this last week, I’ve just gotten real sad. I’ve been focusing on feeding myself and keeping my apartment livable, while also trying to keep myself from getting too sad to go to work. Those things are going well. I washed my sheets tonight. I’ve been eating in my bed a lot, so that was long overdue. Also, this weekend, I’m going to the grocery store to stock up on healthy options. I’ve eaten way too much candy and crap this week because I’m running low / am out of yummy healthy food. I’ve mainly been subsisting on noodles and peanut butter, besides the candy.

I went home last weekend though! I spent four days (Thursday through Sunday) back in Nashville chilling with the fam. It was amazing. This weekend, I’ve made plans to go thrift shopping with Mimi and we’re going to go to Ikea and pick out a couch for my apartment. I’m dying without one. Basically, I’m slowly getting my life back on track after it crashed and burned emotionally for many, many days. That said, I am hoping to get back on track with my writing quickly and finish my draft by Mid-October. At the very least, I would like to finish my first draft by November, so I can do NaNoWriMo on a new project. I have never won real NaNoWriMo, only Camp NaNoWriMo. Also, the theme for this year is space and I need an excuse to buy myself space swag.

The writing itself, when I manage to do it, is getting a lot harder. I’ve passed the easy exposition, setting up the plot stuff and now I’m plowing into large emotion filled scenes and rising action. It’s been really difficult to write because Ahlam, herself is going through a lot. Her brother is missing, she’s at a new job, and she feels really isolated. In order to write the scenes well, I have to tap into angst of years past and / or imagine if my little brother suddenly ran away from home and we couldn’t find him. As you can imagine, that makes writing at a swift pace very difficult.

Nearly every scene is emotionally taxing and requires a lot more thought and time than the first 30 thousand words of the book. The scenes aren’t bad though. They take a long time to write, but I think this book is turning out really well. I know it’s a rough draft and I have a lot of changes and real research that I need to do before I can finish it. However, I am quite proud of it so far.

I’ve gotten back into the swing of my content creation this week. After no videos last week and only a blog, I’ve written this blog, posted my WogsVlogs video and already filmed my alorabora video for tomorrow. I just need to edit it. Things are back on the up an up, so I expect lots more writing in my future.

How are your writing / creative projects going? Hit any snags?

Talk to you soon,

-Alora

P.S. If you want updates on my writing, while I write, I always tweet about my writing sessions.

Weekend at the Beach!

Hallo,

Today is my last day at the beach and I probably won’t be back until next summer. We’re only spending the weekend here but I get to see my cousin that I hadn’t seen in three years and I get to hang out with my grandparents and aunt.

Brittan, Mom, Zara, Maxwell and I drove down on Thursday. It took about nine hours. We left around 6:30 in the morning and drove all day. Well, Mom and Brittan drove. I just slept and hung out in the passenger seat. SCore! It as a long drive and we skipped lunch because the McDonald’s we usually eat at on this drive was closed for construction and we’d passed all the Chick-fi-la’s. So lunch was forgone. We got here (the beach) around 4PM and Zara and I went to the beach together. We played for about an hour and half until a thunderstorm forced us to leave. Those clouds were scary. I didn’t get sunburned on Thursday, buy yesterday was a different story.

The troupe of us, nuclear family, aunt and cousin, grandparents and family friend went down to the beach around 11:30. I didn’t leave until five that evening. Needless to say, I did not put on enough sunscreen and now I am covered in red skin that really freaking hurts. My back is badly burned and I burned the tops of my thighs, my arms and my chest. I love the new swim suit Mom bought me and now it is imprinted on my skin in the form on white lines among the red. I look very sad and it hurts just to wear a shirt. Sadly, I can’t walk around shirtless and I am forced to wear this accursed tank top. We had lots of fun at the beach boogie boarding and digging a huge hole in the sand. It was great.

Today we are going to do something. I don’t know. I woke up at 7:15 and sat down to read before everyone else got up. I started The Martian by Andy Weir at the beach yesterday and I finished it this morning. I now have two book blogs I need to do. I’ll get to them at some point. I ate breakfast and now everyone is sitting around the TV watching old family YouTube videos.

I realize this blog is boring. Whatever. I’m still very tired from so much sun yesterday and my entire body hurts. I think I’ll start my review of I Am Not a Slut or I’ll hang out with my family. It’s a toss up. I may even start another book.

Try not to get sunburned.

-Alora

On All I Know Now by Carrie Fletcher

Picture of Me with the book minus the book jacket

Hello to all hopefuls and teenagers out there. (Other people can of course read this, but those are the people this book is aimed at.)

I just finished the UK version of All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing up Gracefully by the illustrious Carrie Hope Fletcher. It was an amazing read and I am so glad I picked it up when I was in London this past May. I have been a fan of Carrie and her videos for a while. I have been watching her grow and change since 2012 and I am so proud of her and the book she has written. Sadly, the US version does not come out until August, but you can preorder it here. The secondary title is a bit different as is the cover, but it should be just as good. Personally, I prefer the UK title and cover art, but that’s not the point of this blog post. Let’s talk about the actual content of the book.

Carrie is currently an actress in the West End production of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theater in London, and being a total nerd, she organized her book like a play would be organized. (Nerd is used here in the most loving way possible.) In the book, there are eight “acts” that have about five chapters each inside of them. The title of each act gives the reader an idea of what the chapters enclosed in it will be focused on. For example, “Act 5: People: Imagining Them Complexly” contains six chapters all about imagining the people around you complexly. It was one of my favorite sections of the book. The book even has it’s own intermission or interval right after Act 4. It’s a page that says “Interval” at the top and has a sketch Carrie did of her in her Eponine costume. I’ve read some books with really cool organizational themes and this is one of the best.

There are 51 chapters, including the last one where she answers questions submitted by her audience, the hopefuls. The topics of the chapters range from how to handle bullying to being nice to your parents despite the fact that you are an angry and confused teenager to when to have sex with your significant other to getting along with your friends while you’re all in school to a bunch of other stuff important teenage issues. As a watcher of her videos, a few of the chapters were a bit redundant because I had already watched her video on the topic, but I read them all anyways because every idea in the book deserves a second encounter. The book is all about being nice to strangers, your enemies, you friends and your family. It’s also about getting on with your life in the happiest way you can. It’s also about taking care of yourself in all aspects of your life. It’s about so many things that I really can’t condense them all into one or even three sentences.

As the eldest child in a family of four kids, I hope one day to be able to give such good advice to my younger siblings. Also, I willingly accepted Carrie as an older sister years ago. She is like an older best friend and I honestly wish I could share as much about my life with her as she just shared with me through this book. I feel our relationship is too one-sided, but I’m not sure how to repay her for creating such wonderful content on her YouTube channel and in her writing. I’ll figure out a way someday. Carrie thank you for such wonderful advice in this book and over the years through your videos. I look forward to every video you post and I have since I found your channel. I’ve actually been back and watched the majority, if not all, of your older videos as well.

All I Know Now was a great read. At 17 I’m reaching the end of my Teen Age, so I felt some of the advice on bullying was a bit late in coming, but that’s not Carrie’s fault. She has created a wonderful book that I recommend every teenager read at some point in their lives. Some of the British slang is a bit crazy, but Carrie, at 22, is able to offer advice and help on living through your teenage years without sounding like she is preaching. She is only a few years out of this crazy hormonal cry-fest that being a teenager can be, but she is still able to offer a refreshing perspective on how to survive it. When she was in school, she went through some really bad experiences and she was a moody teenager too. She shares her relevant stories whether they are happy or not because she sincerely wants to help us out. I’m really glad I read this book and I hope I can convince my little siblings to read it at some point.

Thank you so much Carrie for being a great big sister and offering as much advice as possible. I look forward to more great videos and potentially more books from you. I will read them all.

Have you read All I Know Now? What did you think of it? Have you watched any of Carrie’s videos? Let’s talk about how amazing her book is in the comments alright?

-Alora

I finally have my own Magic: The Gathering deck!

A game of Magic: The Gathering

Hello guys.

I’ve been trying to write a blog everyday, but, as is patently obvious, that hasn’t happened. My aunt is in town right now and she is staying with us and just making the whole house more distracting then ever. But I am glad she is here. I hadn’t seen her in forever and now I’ve been able to spend a few days with her. We (Britt, Mom, Jaime (the aunt), Maxwell, Zara and I) went to Target on Friday after Brittan and I got of off work. I got an awesome leather jacket that was on sale; a super cute sundress; three, dollar-section, fourth-of-July bowls; and the 2015 core Magic: The Gathering set. From that set and the 45 or so cards I already had, I’ve created four different decks which means all four kids can play Magic together. I made a deck that uses red and white mana with mostly flying creatures and like five or six different dragons. I also made a water and plains deck (blue and white) and a tri-color deck with black, red and blue mana. The tri-color deck is kind of a minotaur deck, but really I was just trying to eke another deck out of the cards I had, so that all four of us could play. The fourth deck was actually put together by Maxwell because he was the first kid I taught how to play (Brittan already knows how). He named his deck the Pirate Groots. It is a swamp and forest deck with an elemental in it whose art looks like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. He decided the swamp mana symbol looks like a pirate skull. Hence the name “Pirate Groot.” It’s a pretty good deck and he read and examined every card he put into his deck whereas I just grabbed cards that looked cool and shoved them together. In my defense, I have won every duel the two of us have played.

Yesterday morning, before Brittan and I went to work, we had some extra time, so I taught Zara how to play and we tried to knock out a four-person game in under an hour. This did not happen at all. Every single one of us still had 15 or more health. It was a slow going game, but it was fun to play with all my siblings. I learned how to play in 2013 and I won the 45 cards and 100 card sleeves that I started with in a Magic tournament that my gaming club on campus hosted. That’s also where I learned how to play.

I joined the club, Gamers’ Guild, because I wanted to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons. That was the first major role playing game I learned. I’ve since tried to convince my family to play, but it didn’t really stick. Unlike Dungeons and Dragons though, Magic: The Gathering is much simpler and Maxwell and Zara enjoy playing it much more. Also, since my freshman year of college I’ve convinced my family to buy new tabletop games and we play those a bunch too. We have Munchkin, Forbidden Island, Settlers of Catan and a bunch of others.

Gamers’ Guild and the YouTube channel Geek and Sundry were the big influences that have made me a fully fledged tabletop gamer. I’m not much of a video game nerd, but I do play them sometimes. I’ve really grown into the nerd community, especially since my freshman year of college. That was three years ago and I have become one of the biggest nerds to ever nerd. It’s great. I really love the different online communities built around a love of a specific thing. I started this post just wanting to fill people in about my new Magic decks, but I’ve managed to wax poetic about my ascent into nerdom. Figures.

Now, before I finish this post up I want to point out the widget on the right entitled “Currently…”. I created it to showcase the things I am currently doing. What I’m listening to, reading, writing, etc. If you have any ideas of what else to put in there let me know and I’ll add it. Right now the Currently Reading is a bit behind. I forgot to update the widget after I finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, and I want Seraphina by Rachel Hartman to receive as much screen time because it is an amazing book. That said, I finished it this morning and then went to Barnes and Noble to buy the sequel which I am excited to read after I finish All I Know Now by Carrie Fletcher. I bought it while I was in London this past May. It’s not actually out in the states yet, and I am looking forward to reading it.

I’m waiting to start the sequel to Seraphina because I’ve decided to read a fiction book and then read a non-fiction book. I’ve picked up this pattern for my super summer of reading because I have a lot of non-fiction books that have been on my shelf for years and I just haven’t read them yet due to fiction books that I’ve perceived as more interesting. I’m hoping this pattern will get me through a lot of them this summer though. Expect a lot more book reviews. My review of Seraphina should be out later tonight or tomorrow.

Until then, play more games.

-Alora

A Day Spent on Minecraft

pic of Maxwell, Brittan, and I playing Minecraft
Good day to you.
Today, I spent most of the day playing Minecraft with my siblings. We have a world that we all play on together and the goal is to beat the game this summer. We’ve made quite a bit of progress. We have a ton of diamonds, emeralds, iron, and other resources. We have a portal to the Nether and we have found a nether fortress. The “goal” of the game is to defeat the Wither and then defeat the Ender Dragon. We are pretty close to defeating the Wither. Well, to building the Wither. Also, we almost found the portal to the End where the Ender Dragon lives. We have a huge house with a barn for animals and a farm. It’s a fun world. The four of us have spent a lot of time on it: mining, farming and building. I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished. Though it is kind of what I did all day.
Minecraft is a fun game. It is a a simple sandbox game where you can build so much and it is really easy to play with family. I’m not quite sure what else to say. I don’t want to bore people and my day also wasn’t super productive.
Brittan and I did go out before we started playing. We went to the bank and then we went to Target! I got a fancy adventure watch. I can’t use my phone to tell the time while I’m working because it’s unprofessional and there isn’t a clock nearby, but I now have a watch and I can keep track of the time. It’ll help me tonight. Brittan and I are going in to work soon and we’re working until closing. It’s going to be rough.
I’m hoping to finish The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer tomorrow and then I’ll post a review of it here. I haven’t written anything besides this today. My goals are going to be harder to keep than I thought. Maybe I’ll have a chance to write after I get home from work, but I doubt it.

Have a good evening everyone.
-Alora
(The picture is of Brittan, Maxwell, and I playing Minecraft.)