The Mortal Instruments–A Book Review (with a little extra)

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Photo by the Bialons on Unsplash

It’s Christmas day, but as they say, writers never take a day off. So happy Bookworms day!

I’m the kind of girl who grew up burying myself every last book of the Harry Potter series until I made it to the final pages of the seventh—not only did my appreciation for an intensely and lovingly made series shoot sky high, my standards were also set pretty high for fantasy world building.

It’s not easy after all.

But alas, I found another series that isn’t quite on the same level, but simply in a different kind of category of fantasy world building. Yet, I started the first book back in middle school and here I am as a junior in college, still diligently awaiting the release of every new book so I can fall farther into the pages.

And it I’m going to keep talking about it, I guess I should introduce this series to you. So without further ado, here it is.


The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, and Dark Artifices—Cassandra Clare

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Photo by Max Felner on Unsplash

Now, notice I put three different series up here; even though she started with the Mortal Instruments, if you want to find the full appreciation for these books, you need to read the rest after you finish the first set. From the Mortal Instruments, Clare pulls important details about the characters and their families through to her next series of a different century, the Infernal Devices, and finally her most recent and modern series, The Dark Artifices. Every single one plays off the last, so I hope you’re ready to pay attention.

With six different books within the Mortal Instruments, each sets the elaborate and intense background for the rest of the books to come later. Here you meet the main characters you’ll see reappearing through the rest of the books, whether through family name or actual presence. Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, Simon, and Magnus all begin their journey here. But trust me, they don’t stop anytime soon.

There’s a reason a younger me fell in love with both Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs of the Infernal Devices. And don’t get me started on Tessa, she is quite the badass if I may say so myself.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Every one of these books is the kind that lets you get lost in another world of things that would never happen in this one—if you have a thing for fantasy and elaborate world building, this is a good place to start.

But I give a fair warning, if you start here, you probably won’t stop.

Now I give these books high regard because just like the Harry Potter Series, I always seem to come back to them when I’m looking for something to get lost in. That doesn’t mean they are without flaw.

First of all, these books are definitely not child friendly as there are quite a few sexual scenes that even if they leave most to the imagination, people will probably assume the same things. Also, if there is any religious sentiment against magic and the works, this series is a no go.

As a whole, the books also seem to get better as Clare kept writing them; though I remember feeling like six books for the Mortal Instruments was a little long, I still loved all of it despite the tedious attitude I took on to find out what happened next. Tapering down to three for the Infernal devices and The Dark Artifices (so far, I’m almost done with the 3rd book that came out on the 4th, so I don’t even know if this is the end yet) was probably a good idea.

Logically, if you haven’t read a lot of fantasy, it can be hard to get a good grasp on this kind of world when it involves warlocks and downworlders and angelic powers, etc. But if you can get into it and truly understand it all, it’s definitely something I think people who like fantasy would enjoy. As long as you don’t mind heavy emphasis on romantic drama in the process—it seems to be the backbone for most of these plots on some level or another.

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Overall, I have enjoyed these books over the years and I guess, maybe this wasn’t a regular Bookworms post considering I just went through three different series for you. But hey, it’s Christmas after all and from a bibliophile, this was my little extra gift to all of you.


So Merry Christmas everyone (who celebrates) and Happy holidays to each one of you and your loved ones.

Have a wonderful day.

Why Today, You Need To “Have a Day”

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

The holiday season is truly upon us with only a few days to Christmas, so I’ve spent the last week working and trying to catch up on sleep. If I take a look at my Fitbit, I’ve definitely succeeded on the sleep end of things but what about the holiday celebrating part?

Well, as a lot of us know by now, the holidays come with a whole lot of expectations. And expectations can be hard to meet sometimes, in the same way kids tend to get so excited about the holidays and the season because it means more gifts and less school. As I’ve gotten older, I haven’t really known what to see coming out of this season or what I really want out of it… Which kind of reminds me of something someone told me yesterday.

Instead of saying “have a good day,” let go of the expectations. It doesn’t have to be good, or beautiful or fun. Just have a day.

The more I look at my life and the way I live it, there are a whole lot of expectations on each of us. Playing sports, going to college, what it’ll be like to meet the parents, liking this kind of person or that one, having kids, etc. There is a lot mapped out for us before we even get a chance to choose the road we want to take and well, such expectations can get in the way.

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Photo by Letizia Bordoni on Unsplash

Because even if you expect yourself to be one way or another, sometimes it doesn’t work out. After all, you can’t fit a circle into a square hole—some things truly aren’t supposed to be the way you want them to.

Don’t expect them to be.

In the same way I took on my junior year, I looked at my first year as an English major and decided that the pieces would fall where they may. I could make Dean’s List, I could also fail all my classes. I could have a fantastic WOW with 16 incredible WOWies that I love (which is what happened), or half of them could have decided not to ever show up and hate me instead. Either way, I went into it all with my arms wide open to take whatever got sent to me and handle it from there.

As it turns out, sometimes that’s the only way to do things. Whether you’re a newbie or you’ve done it a million times, removing the expectations you have of something and taking it from where you are or what you can handle can alleviate the pressure of doing it right or well or however you expect it to go.

Just do it and figure it out as you go.

When it comes to the holidays, the only thing I’m expecting is to have another day. A day hopefully filled with people I love, lots of music, cheesy matching pajamas, and food I look forward to, but nonetheless these are all hopes of what will happen. I expect nothing. All I plan to do is show up and go from there.

If we spend so much time focused on the expectations, they don’t push us forward. All they do is hold us back. There’s a difference between giving yourself the chance to be prepared to meet your goals, and expecting things happen the way you want them to when there really is nothing stopping it all from changing directions. As my parents like to say, don’t count your chickens before they hatch—until something happens for certain, don’t expect it to.

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Photo by Rose Elena on Unsplash

So as we move into the holidays and only too soon, the new year, I wanted to share the reminder that I needed to let go of the status quo I want out of things and instead let them be as they are or find a way to change it myself.

Maybe it’ll make the season a little lighter for you. Happy Holidays everyone and I wish you and those you love all the best. See you Tuesday for Bookworms.

After a Quarter of Winging It…

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

After four term papers, three exams, two observational finals, and one project/presentation… My fall quarter is over. And let me just say, my junior year has already been quite the wild ride.

If you remember, I started the quarter off early here for Week of Welcome orientation program and I got to be a Cross Cultural Experience WOW leader for the first time. I got the privilege of having 16 Wowies (first years) to fill the week up with and I love every single one of them, truly they are incredible.

From there, the people just kept adding up in my life as I joined focus groups and picked up in PCE (Pilipino Cultural Exchange) so now I have two adings under me in my family. Those two also make up one highlight of my quarter. I also convinced Nick to join PCE and trust me when I say I’m pretty excited about it.

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Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

If you’ve been following me since last year, then you’ll remember that I also took part in PCW or Polycultural Weekend back in April right before the blackface incidents and I had two hostees— one of them did commit to Cal Poly and I love running into her on campus as one of the many people I care about here in SLO.

And on top of those, I submitted a piece to OWN (original women’s narratives) again that will be performed in the show but not by me, because I am also going to be a part of WOW again, but this time as a CCE Special Teams FAC leader. So that’s exciting… I have no idea what to expect or even if I can handle it, but that seems to be the theme of junior year so far.

Now, beyond the people I’ve added to my life, this has also been my first year starting off as an English major so I was in all english classes this quarter. I have never done so much reading that I didn’t actually want to do in my whole life. Remind me to never take all english classes again; even while some of it was really interesting and good for me, I’m so burnt out.

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Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash

Maybe that has to do with all the things I’ve been up to because I finally officially finished that novel and started on a new one, I’ve written more articles for Her Campus (check out the latest one here), my essay writing has improved at least a little, I decided on a technical and professional communications minor/certificate and a concentration in creative writing, I still work at the University Store and now I’m a tutor at the Writing center as well, I learned how to take the high road (reluctantly), and I’ve learned just a little more about myself along the way.

You could say that I’ve had a busy quarter. And well… Next quarter is going to be busier.

It’s college after all, probably not the best 4-6 years of our lives, but definitely one of the few times you can come home from a party to turn in a term paper at 1:30 in the morning or drive two minutes down the street to meet up with all your friends just to cook together.

So for now, I’m going to enjoy the fact that it’s my winter break and I can finally catch up on reading and writing what I want. And I’m not going to check my grades obsessively because there’s nothing I can do about it now. I’m just happy to have another crazy quarter under my belt and to see some time to sleep waiting for me these next three weeks.

Here’s to a beautiful Friday and I hope you’re all doing well. If anyone is still chugging through finals, check out that Her Campus like above, it’ll help you through it.

Good luck and I’ll see you next week. Have a great weekend.

Overwhelming– Poetry Place

patrick-fore-381200Two poems for you today, pay attention and see if the context is a little different than you think— you tell me.

But we all have certain things we run from, pieces of ourselves that are hard to separate from the rest; it can be quite the crisis of self that comes when we try. So here you go, for my finals week, here are two very dramatic poems that I kind of love. Especially the second one.

Let me know what you think.


One

tim-marshall-82948-unsplashIt’s exhausting, the way you follow me around

and believe in yourself when you take me down

to drown out all the noise that you put in my head

with words I don’t want to hear, your presence like lead.

It drowns me, suffocates me, while I lose all the love

that I believe can help fix me up; you just push and shove

your hands straight into my chest, the other wrapped around my throat

I can’t breathe a single breath, can’t even stay afloat

paul-wong-465234-unsplashbefore you take me over. It’s no longer a choice to make

I have no other options, only to let you in to take

every last bit of my sanity, I let you under my skin.

Because I’ve played this game, I’ve fought this battle

too many times, and every time

you win.

Two

I sat there watching as you crawled over my skin,

grinning as you gnawed your way through me

past my gritted teeth and screaming eyes, asking you not to.

I knew you wouldn’t listen.

I could feel it in my bones as you hollowed me out,

inch by inch I lost every space I called my own

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Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

to the shaking the hoping, the fading in my body.

While you drained that hope from the inside out,

my vision went blurry, the voices in my head

twisting the volume up and up and up

as high as it could go. The louder you got

the louder I needed to be, hands shut over my ears,

screaming against the cacophony of your voice;

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay

its—but it’s not okay.

I don’t like the way it feels when you make a home

out of me, make me shake and make me cry,

you make me question why I’m alive

so  I can’t answer when someone wants to know

if I’m okay; you take my tongue, you twist it up and

all I can ever seem to do

is let you.


See you Friday.

 

Self-Care: If We Don’t, Who Will?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

With a few exams under my belt already, we’ve got finals coming up next week and I have just the thing for you today. Because lately, I have to be honest in saying I haven’t been taking care of myself at all— I keep telling myself that I’ll sleep tomorrow, or I’ll eat after I finish this one assignment and well… Time just keeps going and I wear myself down even more.

So for the good of each of us, I have five ways for you to add to your self care toolbox today. Because you’re the number one advocate for you, the self-care starts with you. So let’s get started together.


Sleep

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

This will always be one of my biggest things to advocate for because, just like Snickers says you’re not you when you’re hungry, you’re also not you when you’re tired. Take it from someone who was in bed by 9:30 last night, sometimes you really just need the sleep. Whether you’re working or just trying to enjoy a day off, sleep is the first step to having a solid day of doing what you want to do without holding yourself back. Treat yourself to some zzz’s today, nap a little if you have to. Pay attention to your body and it’ll pay you back in feeling more ready for whatever comes next.

Get Out

Sometimes, it truly does help to just get out of the house and go outside. And no, I don’t mean the outside you’re in while you walk to class or go to work, I mean surround yourself by nature and walk in a park or go for a hike. If those aren’t an option, then find a coffee shop or some place to sit down and relax for at least thirty minutes without doing any work. And if you really can’t do that either, then change your surroundings even if all you do is clean your room or move to a new area. One way or another, get out of your current space for a bit. Your mind and your body will thank you.

Drink. A lot.

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Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

And I mean water, come on now. Hydration is incredibly important for your body to function properly, but on top of that, it helps you feel more balanced throughout your day. Not only does staying hydrated help your focus, sleep, and overall feeling, but it also helps to keep you from snacking throughout the day. If you’re like me, maybe you procrastinate with food, or even just snack when you’re stressed. Drinking more water can help you with that because sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need water. So grab a glass of water and treat your body well today.

Meditation

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Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

When I say meditation, I could mean it literally for some of you, especially if you’re into the headspace app. But if you’re not, this could also mean maybe meditating over a good book, or even better, a good meal. Just take a step back from whatever else is going on in your life and be present in the moment. Give your full attention to those around you, your work, your books, and even your shows. Just be there and be a little productively unproductive for a while. You probably need it.

Company

anthony-intraversato-455600-unsplash (1).jpgFor some people, self-care might look like studying and working until it’s all done and that’s one less thing to worry about. For other people, it might look like spending a little extra time around the people who matter to you. After all, they say misery loves company but in reality, all of us need a little extra love sometimes. Whether it’s the moral support or even just a fun time to get your mind to relax a little, you know yourself and your people the best. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.


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Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash

I know we’re all busy people with busy lives, but I hope that you can take some time to care for yourself today, you deserve that much. It’s a Friday after all, why not head into the weekend with a mind and body feeling rested and ready.

And hey, if you’ve got anything that works really well for you, feel free to tell me about it in the comments; I can always use more tips for my toolbox!

So happy Friday. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. See you Tuesday for Poetry Place.