A Work In Progress by Connor Franta [book review]

“I refuse to live a life of regret. I refuse to hope things will get better in the future when I have complete control over making them the best possible right here and now. We have one life – and none of us knows how long our life will be or what will become of it. The possibilities are infinite.”

a work in progress by connor franta review

Connor Franta has written more than just a memoir; it’s an open and honest conversation where he does all the talking and the reader does all the listening.

In the book’s 212 pages we learn more about Connor’s upbringing and schooling prior to his YouTube career.  Instead of writing long, exhausting chapters from each stage of his childhood, Connor shares moments in time that were important in shaping the person he came out to be.  He talks about his journey in finding his identity, his issues with body image and even delves into the fears and anxieties he has overcome and currently fighting.

The stories Connor has chosen to tell are not for the sake of telling them.  Though we learn more about what kind of person Connor was growing up, we also get to learn from the experiences he shares with his audience.  In his conversational tone, he is able to encourage and inspire readers throughout the length of the book in hopes of helping others get over their own fears and to live life in the now, rather than ‘when this point in my life is over.’

There is one chapter in particular I really enjoyed, which is titled, ‘The Fault in Our Scars.’  Connor begins this chapter by telling us of how he got the scar/bump on his forehead one night when he fell out of bed and hit his head on the dresser.  To the recent day he despises the scar, feeling as though people are constantly judging him for it, only to find that many of his fans either don’t notice it or think it’s cute.  From this chapter Connor explains how our scars, whether they are visible or not, make us unique.

What is most enjoyable about this book is that Connor’s writing style is real and you can feel his personality in each word.  It seems as though he was speaking the words instead of writing them, or as though this is just a written YouTube video.  Although he is generally having a one-sided conversation with the reader, he tends to have a few side conversations with himself as his thoughts are poured out on each page.  And alongside his words are pictures from his past and ones Connor has taken himself, which only add to the pleasure of reading this book.

If you’re looking for inspiration in any aspect of your life, I highly suggest reading A Work In Progress.  

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What’s Up Wednesday // 4.29.2015

Since I really enjoyed this last week,  today I will once again be linking up with Shannon from The Hallway, Katie from Chalk It Up and Ashley from American Honey for What’s Up Wednesday!

So, here’s what I’ve been up to!

What I loved about the past week // I really enjoyed helping out my friend with his two video projects – one for our class and another was just his personal project.  Also, my copy of Connor Franta’s debut memoir came in and I’ve been reading it!

What I’m looking forward to // Still looking forward to graduation – and the fact that tomorrow is the last day of class lectures.

What my latest obsession is // Listening to podcasts.

What I’ve been daydreaming about // What it’s going to be like not ever having to write a paper for school again.

What I’m craving // Still craving that frozen yogurt.

What I’m watching // I’ve been watching Wizards of Waverly Place.  No idea why, but I just felt nostalgic and decided to start watching some episodes.

What I’m listening to // still listening to The College Info Geek and How Did You Get Into That? podcasts, and my newest addition – the DIY Video Guy podcast.

What I’m doing this weekend // This weekend I’ll be celebrating my birthday.  I have to renew my license for the first time Saturday, and I’ll probably go see my dad.  Sunday, my actual birthday, I will be finishing the filming for my class project and spending the day out doing birthday things.

What else is new // Nothing other than slight anxiety attacks whenever I think about this being the last week of school… ever.

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The Art of Writing Fan-Fiction

Let me start off by saying, writing fan-fiction is not a waste of time.

But more on that later.

the art of writing fanfiction

Fan-fiction (commonly known as fanfics) is yet another genre of writing that obviously falls under the ‘fiction’ category.  For those of you who live under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain what fan-fiction is.

noun

1.  fiction written by fans of a TV series, movie, etc., using existing characters and situations to develop new plots.

via dictionary.com

You know that feeling when a television series ends or you finished reading a really great book and you want more?  That’s what fan-fiction is for.  It gives you the story beyond the story – the look into the ‘happily ever after’ of your beloved characters.

So how did fan-fiction become to be?

The first known works of what we call fan-fiction was dated back in the 1740s, when a series of unauthorized sequels to a popular novel, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, were published.  These ‘sequels’ expanded on the character’s life after the book ended, but since these works were not written or authorized by the original author, they are considered to be fan-fiction.

The word fan-fiction did not come into play until 1939, when it was supposedly first used in print.  Overall, fan-fiction itself did not gain much popularity until the Star Trek series came out in the 1960s and fans within the Star Trek fandom published fan-fiction in the ‘fanzine’ known as Spockanalia.

The writing of fan-fiction really took off when fanfiction.net was launched in 1998.  As a free site, fans of any and every fandom can come together to write, share and read fan-fiction.  And a fun fact, the top fandom with a whopping 712,000 stories is the infamous Harry Potter series, whereas the second-in-line fandom, Naruto, holds only 381,000 stories.

Why write or read fan-fiction?

Well, why do you watch TV shows or read books?  For entertainment!

Reading fan-fiction is just the same as reading a book in most cases, since most fan-fictions are multi-chapter.  However, there are a ton of one-shots – which are essentially short stories revolving around one or two characters at a given time.

For some, writing might not seem like entertainment, but when it comes to fan-fiction, it pretty much is because those who are writing control the stories of their favorite characters.  It’s using your own imagination and what isn’t fun about that?

Writing fan-fiction also builds up your writing skills, just as blogging does.  While blogging might have more benefits down the line, I can’t say that writing fan-fiction hasn’t been beneficial.  When I first got into writing fan-fiction, it was on a forum for a Nickelodeon show I watched faithfully in my teens.  On that forum, I have met some great people who today are still some of my close friends.  And, of course, my writing in the fictional genre has improved immensely over the years – I actually cringe at my very first fanfics.

Are there any rules for writing fan-fiction?

Just write – that’s pretty much the only “rule” I can say there is.

Of course, there are certain guidelines or fan preferences, as I like to call them.

Fan Preferences in Fan-Fiction
  • Original Characters (OCs) – Original characters can be a great spin in fan-fiction, but try not to add in too many new characters.  Two or three can be fine in most cases.  After that, it just gets confusing.
  • Out-of-Character (OOC) – Sometimes when we write our favorite characters from a show, we tend to give our own spin to the personalities they portray on the page or screen.  Everyone tends to act a little different than normal at times, but like the OCs, try not to make the canon characters too different from their original personalities.  After all, that’s why we fell in love with these characters in the first place.
  • Crossing Over – Crossover stories between two shows or books can be great at times, but not-so great other times.  Of course, execution is key, but it also helps when the fandoms at least somewhat relate to each other.  Because really, who would read a crossover between Glee and Star Wars?  I’m a fan of both and I wouldn’t.  Some worlds just cannot be mixed together, even in fan-fiction.
  • Venturing from Canon Couples – I won’t lie, you can get into trouble for venturing from the canon couple of a show, but thankfully in my experience I’ve never had anyone get angry at me for doing this.  I think as long as the story had a good plot and is written well, you can get away with not pairing the canon couple.
  • Line Spacing – This just goes with the art of writing in general… please, please please use proper line spacing and formatting when writing fan-fiction.  I know this isn’t a work you’re getting a grade on or getting paid for, but I will tell you the truth right now… more often than not when a reader comes across a story written in a large, 700-word paragraph, they will leave your story and move on to the next one.
  • Plan/Write ahead of time – I know when the idea for a fanfic hits you, you just want to write it and share it as soon as you can, but fight this urge.  When an idea comes, plan it out (unless it’s for a one-shot).  I can’t tell you how many times I just dove into writing a story and to this day, is still not finished.  Life happens and sometimes ideas just fade out, so you stop writing.  Take the time to plan out the story and write a few chapters in advance, so if you get stuck, you can still update while you are brainstorming.

As I said before, the only real “rule” to fan-fiction is just to write it.  These are just some suggestions to anyone interested in writing fan-fiction because it makes the experience better for both writer and reader.  That way, everyone in the fandom is happy.

Fan-fiction might be a weird concept to the outsiders, but hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it.

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The Friday Five: Blogger Love v.14

Okay, so remember how I said we had warmer weather last week and spring had finally arrived?  Well, winter is trying to rear its ugly head back into New England.  It wasn’t freezing out, thank God, but there were snow flurries flying about yesterday.  Just, no.

I saw my cardiologist on Monday for my biannual check up and the tests they did at the hospital were good.  I had to wear a Holter monitor for 24-hours (if you didn’t see on Twitter) and I swear those things are getting smaller!  I don’t know when I’ll find out those results, but I know from past experience that if I don’t hear back from them, then they didn’t find anything unusual.

Now, without further ado… let’s get on with this week’s Friday Five!

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  1. Advice to College Seniors by Carly of The College Prepster.  Very good advice here in case anyone is in the same boat as I am and is graduating in less than a month.  Thanks Carly!
  2. Why You Should Start A Blog In College by Jessica of The Blogging Brew.  Much like one of my favorite posts from College Info Geek, Jessica shares her reasons why it’s smart to start a blog in college.
  3. Dear Students, Cut Your Teachers Some Slack by Katie of Chalk It Up to Better Luck.  Kids really don’t give teachers much respect these days, and it’s not the teacher’s fault.  Teachers do what they can, but the students have some responsibility as well.  I have major respect for those who can stand to teach… especially those who teach the little ones.
  4. Why You Should Keep a One Sentence a Day Journal by Sheryl of How to Make a Life.  If you want to write a journal, but can’t seem to stay consistent or just don’t know how to, Sheryl provides a good way to get started.
  5. The Cat’s Out Of the Bag! by Holly J. of Page by Page.  I love personal stories and I really enjoyed reading Holly’s story of trying to keep a special secret from most of her friends.
All the Joys - Blogger Love

So there’s my five favorite posts of the week and I think y’all should go and give them a look.

As always,  don’t forget to check out the host of Blogger Love, Meagan on All The Joys and give her some blogger love as well!

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What’s Up Wednesday // 4.22.2015

I really don’t like not having a post ready for the day, but on the other hand, I like trying new linkups with other bloggers.  So today I will be linking up with Shannon from The Hallway, Katie from Chalk It Up and Ashley from American Honey for What’s Up Wednesday!

What I loved about the past week // The amazing weather we had!  We actually hit 80º over the weekend and let me tell you, it felt awesome to wear shorts again!

What I’m looking forward to // I’m looking forward to graduation and my graduation party (now that I finally decided to have one).

What my latest obsession is // Searching for good podcasts to listen to.  So, you know, if anyone has any good suggestions, send them to me!

What I’ve been daydreaming about // Moving to a new state.  While I’m not sure if that is going to happen this year or not, it’s still nice to think about the adventure of a new place.

What I’m craving // Ice cream and frozen yogurt.

What I’m watching // I recently finishing watching the new Netflix pickup of Inspector Gadget out of curiosity, and now I’m catching up on Young & Hungry.

What I’m listening to // The College Info Geek and How Did You Get Into That? podcasts.

What I’m doing this weekend // This weekend I will be filming part of my video for my documentary class and I’ll be helping one of my friends film his project for the same class.

What else is new // Less than two weeks until my birthday and less than a month until graduation!  Oh, and my favorite member of the early 2000s boy band Dream Street is 30 today.

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Inspector Gadget (2015) [TV show review]

Go gadget, go!

The theme song of my childhood, well, one of them anyway.

inspector gadget review 2015

Inspector Gadget is no stranger to any child of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  The original cartoon that first aired in 1983 is probably the first incarnation of the series that comes to mind, and it’s theme song is quite catchy.  Followed by the live-action films, which weren’t all that bad in my opinion, and now on Netflix – the 2015 CGI series!

So at first I thought this was just a reincarnation of the original 80s Inspector Gadget cartoon – where the creators just remade the original episodes for a new generation – however, it’s not.  The new Inspector Gadget series is a continuation of the original and the first sign is that Penny, Gadget’s niece, is five years older and is now a trainee of HQ.

In the first episode we are also introduced to a new character, Talon, who [spoiler alert, even though it’s obvious in the first 5 seconds of the show] is the nephew of Dr. Claw, and immediately becomes a love interest for Penny.  The romance is actually a cute twist to the new gadget series, and adds some comic relief in the episodes where you can clearly see the two like each other, but of course will not admit it.

The show itself is just as corny as I remember it – where Gadget is a bumbling fool who gets the credit for foiling Dr. Claw’s plans when in reality we know it was Penny and Brain who really solved the case.  The only real difference is that the technology used in the show is much, much more advanced than in the original series, but then again, this the 2015 version people.

And when I say their technology is more advanced, I mean everyone but Gadget’s.  His still seem to malfunction.

I guess the only real complaint I have about the 2015 series is that the theme song is totally different. Sure, it starts the same with the siren and flashing light, but the music is not the catchy tune we all know and loved from the original.  And, I will admit, watching this series in CGI-animation is a little weird at first, but I’m getting used to it after 5 episodes.

So, is the new series worth checking out?  I’d say so, as long as you’re a hardcore Inspector Gadget fan and can get used to the new animation.

If you check it out, let me know what you think!

Also, which live-action film was better, the first or second?

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The Friday Five: Blogger Love v.13

So a quick look into my week – it was the total opposite of last week!  Last week was just miserable, especially Thursday, but this week was much, much better!  Both days at my internship went smoothly, both my classes on Tuesday were enjoyable and on top of that, it hit 70º multiple times this week!

Spring is here baby!

Oh, and I can’t forget that I read some good blog posts this week.  So let’s get on with those.

blogger love - the friday five

 

  1. healthy snack ideas by Nelle of simply love.  We all say we want to eat healthier – well, next time you reach for that bag of chips, think again and get something healthy to snack on instead.
  2. How to create an intro profile picture for your blog by Anne of Love the Here and Now.  Okay, so I’m guilty of not having my name on the sidebar… but I do have a picture there and a little about me.  But I might be changing the mini ‘about me’ part soon.
  3. More Blogging Rules That Annoy Me by Christina of Route Bliss.  Preach girl, preach!  I really love that she covered about “having the same handle for all social media accounts” as well as “having to be on all social media.”  I’m sorry, but I just can’t get into Google+ and I love my @tabbyisnotacat handles for my accounts.
  4. 3 Ways to Use Social Media Productively by Megan of Tipsy Writer.  While we’re on the subject of social media… here are some good ways to use it more productively rather than passively.
  5. How would you change the past 5 years? by Maff of Tea Tomorrow.  A good question and something that is definitely worth blogging about.  I know I have my share of things I’d change from the past 5 years if I could.
All the Joys - Blogger Love

So there’s my five favorite posts of the week and I think y’all should go and give them a look.

As always,  don’t forget to check out the host of Blogger Love, Meagan on All The Joys and give her some blogger love as well!

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Why You Should Check Out College Info Geek… Even If You’re Not In College!

Last year I came across one of the most useful blogs that has helped me immensely in school, blogging and just life in general – College Info Geek.

college info geek post

If you’ve never heard of College Info Geek, you are missing out!  College Info Geek is run by Thomas Frank, who started the blog just after his freshman year of college as a place to share tips to get the most out of college based on his college experience.  He covers a variety of college-related topics that include ways to get better grades, land great jobs and internships, productivity hacks and even some tips for getting out of that college debt!

Despite the name, College Info Geek is not just for college students.  Though I have found some of these tips great for my college career, the tips and tricks I’ve learned from Thomas have definitely applied more to my personal life, especially the productivity hacks.

Now I suppose I could give you a list of reasons why you should check out College Info Geek, but instead, I’ll let you check out a few of my favorite articles of Thomas’ that have really helped me in the six months I have been following his blog.

Articles to Check Out on College Info Geek

And if the articles aren’t doing it for you, Thomas also records videos for YouTube as well as podcasts  that are packed full of great tips for college and life hacks.  I personally love listening to the podcast while I walk.

So whether you’re in college, high school or out in the real world, I’m fairly certain College Info Geek is a blog you’ll enjoy and learn from.

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Just Live

“Age is nothing but a number…”

A saying we have all heard and probably used at one point in our lives, yet we always make a huge deal of growing older.  It’s understandable we don’t want to be old and wrinkled and not have done anything with our lives, but at the same time we don’t want to spend so much time worrying about the future that we let our youth pass by.

It’s a point that Suli Breaks gets across in his newest video – “Why I Never Want to Grow Up.”

It might sound childish at first, but take a mere 3 minutes of your life and listen to the man.

It’s not that he doesn’t want to be an adult, it’s that he doesn’t want to let age define him, and I wholeheartedly agree.  With my 24th birthday right around the corner I think a lot about how I’m just graduating college while some of my high school classmates are already married and having kids.  But that’s not something I should worry about.  There’s no rule that says we have to graduate college at 22 and be married by 25.

“Age is nothing, but a number.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It’s not a timer, indicator, or reference point.”

Some of us spend our lives making sure we’re “on track” and comparing our lives to those around us, and it’s a waste.  Do what you love, and just live.

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Blog Tour

Boy, do I wish I was going on a real blog tour.  Except I have no idea how a blog tour would work.  I mean, it’s not like my blog is a book so there’s nothing to autograph… unless I go around autographing people’s computers.  That’d be interesting.

Someday…

Anyway, I’d like to thank PastelTessa for inviting me to this blog tour.  I have to say when I first saw her notification I was intrigued and I’m happy to participate.

Let’s get on with the rules because what’s a blog tour without rules?

The Rules – Pass the tour on up to four other bloggers.  Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post.  Answer four questions about your creative process that lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do. Compose a one-time post on a specific Monday (date given by your nominator).

1.) What I’m working on at the moment?

I’m actually working on some videos for my internship; there’s quite a lot of them.  I’m also brainstorming some post ideas to write up sometime this week.

2.) How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Well, for one, it’s from my perspective… no one else can do that.  I don’t really think I have a specific genre anyway.

3.) How does my writing and creative process work?

I like to write from my experiences – sometimes it’s just to share an interesting story of something that happened to me or something I hope will benefit those who read my blog.  I also like to take one day a week, Friday, to share some interesting posts of other bloggers I enjoy reading.

4.) Why do I write and create what do I do?

Writing has been something I’ve always loved to do and I’ve always wanted to keep a journal of sorts, somehow that turned into a blog.  I suppose it’s a good way to document my journey through life and see how I grow over time, both as a person and a writer.  There’s really no other reason for doing this other than that I just love to do it.

I’d like to invite 99+ Sly Thoughts, Tales of a Triplet, Girl in Glasses and Faraday’s Candle to this blog tour.  If any of you decide to join, it doesn’t have to be a Monday when you post – just be sure to share your link with me so I can see your responses!

 

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The Friday Five: Blogger Love v.12

All I have to say is thank God it’s Friday.  The week started off okay, but it slowly went downward to the point where I spilled boiling hot coffee on my hand… so I can honestly say I did not enjoy yesterday at all.  I hate saying that because I know people have it much worse, but sometimes you just have to be happy the week is over.

Plus, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure with my mom.

fridayfive 12

  1. Digital Hacks by Carly at The College Prepster.  A few hacks to make our digital lives easier.  I am loving the hack for using emojis when I’m tweeting from my computer!  Thanks Carly!
  2. 10 Things I Will Never Blog About by Cassie at Sage the Blog.  I have to say I agree with quite a few of these.  There are just some topics that are too personal to blog about so I can honestly say that there are some things I wouldn’t blog about either.
  3. The Missing Emojis by Helene in Between.  A nice little rant about how, even though Apple has updated their emojis with iOS 8.3 to get some multicultural diversity going on, we still don’t have Harry Potter, Star Wars, or taco emojis.  Get it together Apple!
  4. 8 Reasons Why You Should Be A 20-Something With A Blog by Jennifer of Young & Twenty.  If you ever get doubts about writing a blog, Jennifer gives some great reasons why you should keep up with it.
  5. Things I Wish I Learned In College by Brittany of Grace in Grey.  Or in high school for that matter.  There are plenty of things that they just don’t teach you in school (but they really should).
All the Joys - Blogger Love

So there’s my five favorite posts of the week and I think y’all should go and give them a look.

As always,  don’t forget to check out the host of Blogger Love, Meagan on All The Joys and give her some blogger love as well!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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I Applaud You, Sir

Easter Sunday was a day that Christians everywhere acknowledged the day that 2,000 or so years ago Jesus Christ rose from the grave to conquer death so that we may have eternal life so long as we believe in Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior.

Naturally, there are going to be people that protest against Christians celebrating this day because somehow, we’re “forcing our faith” on them.  However, I’d just like to remind the naysayers that first of all, Easter is originally a Christian holiday – it’s not our fault that someone at some point decided to make it about a bunny bringing kids treats in eggs – and secondly, at least for those of us in America, the first amendment states we have freedom of religion.  Therefore, we are allowed to freely celebrate and observe our religious holidays without anyone telling us we cannot do so (despite how much the government wants to take God out of our country).

Okay, my rant is over… moving on.

On Easter Sunday the prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron gave a message to his citizens talking about Easter and how the UK is a Christian country.  Before he gave this message to his people, President Obama had advised him not to talk about the role of Christianity in his country.

If I may, and I will because it’s my blog, I just have one beef with Obama telling Mr. Cameron that he should not talk about this topic when he addressed his country which is that Obama is not the prime minster of the United Kingdom, David Cameron is.  I believe that the prime minister should be able to give any message he wants to his country.

I applaud Mr. Cameron not only for his video wishing his country a happy Easter and touching on Christianity, but also for not letting President Obama suppress his voice.

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Owl Ring Bargain

owl ring bargain

It’s story time friends.

Around this time last year I went to the mall with no reason other than I was bored and wanted to walk around to window shop.  It’s not hard to go to the mall often since it is literally right down the street from my school… I find this both a good and bad thing.

Though I usually enter the mall though JCPenney, if I ever decide to look around in there, it’s right before I leave.  So after I had done my rounds to the other stores, I made the rare decision to look around the jewelry section and that’s when I came across this owl ring.  I thought it was the most adorable ring I ever laid eyes on and what was very surprising to me was that there was one in my size!

I started to get this heaviness in my heart when I realized, oh, this ring is probably too expensive for me to buy.  I mean, it’s an owl ring.  I felt like it was placed there specifically for me to buy.

Well, guess who’s lucky day it was?

Not seeing a price on the ring box I looked up at the sign on the ring display table and saw that all the rings were 70% off.  I figured the ring couldn’t be so expensive that I wouldn’t be able to afford whatever the sale price was (and I had some money left on my gift card), so I went up to the register to buy it.  When the cashier rung it up and swiped my remained $6 balance on the gift card, the ring ended up costing me… $1.97!

One dollar and ninety-seven cents!

Without a doubt my owl ring is one of my top favorite accessories just because I have a great sale-story to tell with it.

What kind of great bargains have you gotten in the past?

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