Look to the Stars

Look to the Stars

I’m all for mini vacations and for last-minute plans that turn into adventures. Living in Southern California is already really cool, but there is so much to do and it is fun discovering it all. So my sister and I decided to rent out a hotel out closer to Los Angeles and just call it a vacation. We were basically winging it but it was worth it because so many adventures came out of it.

My friend recruited my sister and I to go to the Observatory in Los Angeles to help one of his friends propose to his girlfriend. It was pretty scary because we couldn’t mess up or be too obvious, plus we had to guard the spot from other people, which was so hard! But we made it happen and it was the sweetest thing to witness.

So I’m a sucker for city lights, you can seriously put me up on a hill at night and I’ll just be happy looking out to the city.

Such a breath-taking view. I honestly could just stay there all night looking out and it would be perfect. This is the LA I love.

But of course all good nights come to an end and we ended up at Citadel, one of the coolest places to shop and also where our hotel was at, and we just roamed around and ate frozen yogurt before ending up at our room and then deciding to go out again.

So the main thing we were planning to do was to go to the Santa Monica Pier. Now for all you SoCal natives, this is whatever, but I have never gone. Yeah, pretty weird considering I was born and raised in California, so I had to visit.

It was such a cool place and thankfully when we were there it was pretty chill and not crowded. I love the ocean and hearing the crash of the waves was lovely. It’s one of those places that you can just go when you have a few hours to spare and just relax.

This whole little trip just made me realize how much more I want to live in LA and in a few years it may happen, depending how life goes.

P.S. I also made a video at Santa Monica so please watch (:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9QnEPVbs7Y&w=560&h=315]

It was all great and I’m all for adventures. But for now these memories remain and will definitely help me get through the week!

 

Act Like You Know

Act Like You Know

One of my goals this year is to get out of my normal rut and do more adventurous things. Not to mention, I moved to a new city last February and still have not discovered anything around so it’s helpful to see what cool spots are available.

So I made a day of it!

The day started with my sister, mom, sister-in-law, and my 5 year old niece who just wanted to play around. There’s a park near my house called Fairmount Park and they kept telling me it was a beautiful place, and it sure was. There’s a big pond with lots of ducks, which was scary since they could attack! But still, there was so many beautiful trees and bridges and I fell in love with the place.

We walked all around and basically everything was insta-worthy, even the playground, which my niece only wanted to play, was super cool and had actual chair swings. It’s one of those places that you could just go for a walk and think and look at all the beauty. Definitely a gem in this city and did not expect it!

Fun fact: I’m kind of obsessed with my sneakers now!

Dropping nuggets of wisdom on my niece

There was even a small pier! This honestly became one of my favorite shots.

Totally fell in love!

Now for all you Southern California natives, I sound like a complete noob when I tell them I have never been to the Mission Inn. It’s a hotel and every holiday season they have a spectacular festival of lights, which everyone flocks to. We actually got there before the lights went down, which was okay because I was not about to get crushed by crowds. It’s a beautiful and historic place and it was a maze.

But my favorite part was low-key going into hidden places. We had to act like we knew what was happening and just pretend we knew what we were doing. It was thrilling yet terrifying. It was great! Not to mention, we accidentally ran into a wedding! I’m not stealth so I’m definitely great at this adventure thing.

Never ending stairs

Part of the church there

Mission Inn

After that we looked through the shops around and they had some of the cutest boutiques and I’m a sucker for brick, old town buildings so I just marveled. I truthfully never expected anything that pretty and awesome where I lived so it all came as a nice surprise. It’s also great to get out of doing and visiting the same places and actually discovering something that you never expected. Life is meant to be adventurous!

Always Thankful

Always Thankful

Since being Thanksgiving week, I thought I’d make a post talking about what I’m thankful for, obligatory and late.

It’s honestly been a great year and there’s a lot to be thankful for. Thanksgiving also happens to be my favorite holiday, so I expect everyone to go all out with me because besides the food and yummyness, there’s a great thing about a holiday meant to give thanks.

I’m thankful for my family, who is always there for me and can honestly give me the truth, even if it hurts. We will always
be family no matter what. Friends, of course, who can deal with my crazy mood swings and still love me. Shout out to all the coffee dates and study sessions.

I’m thankful for the opportunities presented to me because I’m still at a great university on a scholarship and I get to learn what I love. Even if I hate writing papers, it will get me somewhere.

I was going to say I was thankful for my MacBook and iPad and then I realized how lame that sounds. I’m not grateful for the material things but I am thankful that they help me achieve what I need to do and it has definitely facilitated blogging and homework. So technically, I am thankful for my sister who saw my struggles and got these things for me!

I’m thankful for music, as weird as that sounds, it’s my favorite escape and may all the awesome music speak for the words we can’t say. But I’m also grateful for the silence because I learn a lot more about myself in those times.

I’m thankful for all my readers! Thanks for sticking around on my writing journey and as I still figure out my writing niche. Thanks for reading, it means a lot.

I’m thankful for the hard moments because they make me appreciate the good times even more. Although at the moment I just want to cry myself to sleep, when more hard times come I just laugh because I now know what to do.

Finally, I’m thankful for God because I mess up a lot, yet He still blesses me and always forgives me and that is true love. He is great and powerful but He loves tenderly like a father and His mercy is the greatest thing to be thankful for.

Sounds like a cliche list but it’s honestly the base of what to be thankful for. There’s probably a lot more and I’m forgetting right now, so I’m just thankful for everything and everyone! So what are you thankful for? There is always something to appreciate!

 The sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; His love endures forever. • Jeremiah 33:11

“Legend” ends with “Champion” Book Review

“Legend” ends with “Champion” Book Review

He is a legend. She is a prodigy. Who will be champion?

I recently just read the Legend trilogy series and when I finished the second book, Prodigy, I realized that the final book came out this November. Longest few days of my life and I didn’t get it the day it came out, my sister had to get it for me the day after. Legend became one of my favorite dystopian book trilogies I have read, Matched by Allie Condie is right behind though. I love the writing of it and it is not predictable so you never know where things will lead. Coming off from the ending of Allegiant, by Veronica Roth, I was completely terrified to end Champion because since it is my favorite book, I would’ve just been bedridden for days out of grief.

Of course, this will contain spoilers and I will also try to briefly explain the first two books to refresh everyone’s minds on where Champion picks up. Basically, I have a lot of feels and I also want a lot of you to start reading it because they are such great books!

So here we go!

Legend is about a teen, criminal named Day who is being followed by the Republic but all he wants to do is keep his family safe. June is the teen prodigy of the Republic and will give her life for her country. Day is framed with the death of June’s brother. She ends up joining the hunt to find him but when she interacts with him, she realizes he’s not the bad guy, and yes they fall in love.

Champion begins after June and Day start living their new regular lives in the Republic. The Colonies, however, are still warring against the Republic, causing June to ask Day for something risky, which he will refuse. The war gets worse and soon each country is at the grasp of the other and June and Day are in the middle of it.

That was seriously the briefest summary but I knew if I kept going I would give it away.

Like I said above, I love the Legend trilogy because it is so unpredictable. The beginning of Champion was basically all the necessities to set the storyline. I liked that Marie Lu did not push a love triangle between Day, June, and Anden, even though the feelings were there. The book is not focused on the lovey dovey, it’s focused on change. By the 2/3 half of the book is when everything unleashes. As I was reading, I could not contain all my emotions, I just wanted to scream or run somewhere, it was intense. Marie Lu definitely knows how to write in a climax scene and showing basically the end of the world they knew and the panic of running out of things to do.

You definitely see Day and June in such a vulnerable form and stripped away from their guards but you also see Anden come into his own and step into the role of Elector and take the Republic and make it strong again.

The war gets to you so much. I think it’s because I can imagine myself as June while reading, I mean can I audition for the movie now? But seriously, you feel the pressure and the intensity of the final battle and just this overwhelming feeling comes and you don’t know what will happen.

And of course, the end. This will be a HUGE spoiler, so read on with your own discretion.

At the end of Prodigy, we learned about Day’s health and throughout Champion it was a big focus because it started to weaken him. After the battles, Day was shot by _________ (won’t give away that much, haha, big plot twist!) The doctors had to operate on him, and also tried to fix his brain while they were at it. Months go by and he is okay! BUT, he lost his short-term memory, meaning he does not remember June. So heartbreaking! This also goes back to one of June’s thoughts in the book which is that she forever feels like she will remind Day of his family’s death. P.S. This realization comes out after such a sweet moment they share!

June let’s him go. It was the hardest thing to read but it showed how much she truly loved him and she just wanted him to be happy. They move on, Day never knowing June. He moves to Antarctica with his brother Eden and live a great life. The end wraps up 10 years later on June’s birthday. Being 27, it also went full circle to the start of Legend and her connection with her brother since he died at 27. The twist comes when the news announces that Eden is interviewing for a job at Batalla and she realizes that Day is back.

THIS IS WHEN I CRY. P.S. STILL SPOILERS.

June sees Eden and Day walking down the street she is walking. While Eden recognizes her, Day does not and she walks passed them like strangers. But she ends up hearing footsteps behind her and it’s Day. After she keeps denying that they know each other, she sees he still has the paper clip ring she made him and once Day pieces some parts of his memories, he knows that it was her that is missing. Of course, he still can’t recall her but he feels the connection. The last two sentences were part of Day’s wish when he said goodbye to June at the end of Prodigy.

“Hi,” he says. “I’m Daniel.”

“Hi,” I reply. “I’m June.”

After I tried to hold in my tears, I had such mixed feelings about the ending. But after much thought it was perfect. Yes, it hurts to not immediately have a “happily ever after” and see Day and June together right away, but it shows that life isn’t always perfect but at least that Day and June’s connection is much deeper that even memory loss and 10 years in between, they always find themselves together. It was a beautiful ending.

Random thoughts:

– Antarctica seems like a great place to live.

– It’s interesting to imagine how our modern world is so different and advance and the powers shift.

– I love that June kept in touch with Tess and Pascao even if Day was not around.

So that is all my feelings. If you have read the book, let me know what you thought! If you haven’t read Legend, I suggest you do, they are such great books! Marie Lu did such a great job keeping the consistency over the three books and wrapped it up nicely without leaving too many unanswered questions. The love story was perfect as a standalone plot and I was happy that it wasn’t a main focus in the intense scenes of the Republic and the Colonies. I can definitely say this is my top favorite trilogy and for the time being, nothing will surpass it.

“There will never be another like you. You realize that, don’t you?”