Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Divergent - Book + Movie Review



I started reading this book on the plane to Las Vegas and finished it the after I got back. I really enjoyed it! I'm excited to start the next book, which I will start today. I wanted to write this first before I got into the next book. But yeah Divergent, let's talk about it!

Started: Oct 10, 2014 | Finished: Oct 18, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on April 25, 2011
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 487
Book Edition: Hardcover
No. of times read: 1
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis:
In Beatrice Prior's Dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves...or it might destroy her.
Rating: 4/5

My thoughts:

Disclaimer: I will be talking about events that happen in the book, so spoiler alert. You've been warned!

I really liked exploring this girl's world, and how their society works. Makes you wonder which faction you would get in your aptitude test and which you would choose. For Beatrice, she's born into the Abnegation faction, so we start off by seeing how the selfless live, and we see how Beatrice doesn't quite fit in unlike her parents and her brother. Come time for the aptitude test, and it shows that her tests are inconclusive, making her Divergent. She doesn't really know what that means, and so it's interesting to find out more about that as she does.

She chooses Dauntless, the brave, shocking everyone, even herself. I really loved the whole initation process. It was brutal at times, and it was really interesting at other times. I enjoyed seeing how Beatrice, now Tris, transformed throughout the book. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that! This was a really good book. One that I'd recommend!

Now it's time to read Insurgent, book 2 of the trilogy!

But before I go, I thought I'd do a quick review on what I thought of the movie for Divergent.

I ended up liking the movie, but I didn't love it! Alot of things weren't as I pictured, which is my own issue, but it's hard to adapt to change when what you had in your head isn't even close to what you saw on screen. But again, my own issue! What I didn't love about the movie mainly was how rushed everything felt. It just felt like they were trying to jam everything in, and not explain certain things further. For instance, the whole thing with Al. He wasn't featured enough in my opinion. His story wasn't explained properly, and so when this big thing happens with him in the movie, it doesn't have the same effect that it does in the book.

With that said, I still enjoyed the movie alot more than I thought I would. But as it is with these things, the book is always better!


Michelle

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pictures from Las Vegas!

So I really didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked, but here's what I can share!

My nails just after I got them done!!

Finishing up packing, and Zeus wanted to come with us!!


Airport pictures!! 

The amazing hotel/resort that we stayed at! We stayed in this building, on the third floor.
Our balcony.
A shot from our balcony.
Living room area.
Dining room area.
Kitchen.
Balcony.
Bathroom.
Mom and Julie's room. Look at that chair!! I want it so badly!
 Their bathroom. (hi me!)
The biggest bathtub I've ever been in!!
Mine and Tasha's room. Where I spent most of my time.

My closet! I loved it so much and wished I could have one just like it at home!
The pool area. Another place that I went almost everyday!
Finally, the big ferris wheel. Still taken while in the resort. 
 I have many more pics from Shania Twain's concert. I just picked these because this was the last song she performed which is my favourite Shania song, 'Man, I feel like a Woman'.
This picture came out really dark, so I tried to lighten it on iPhoto. That's why it looks so weird..


And that's basically it! I took a couple from Universal Studios, but they didn't turn out. They were mostly from The Simpsons part of the park anyways. I'm so obsessed with this resort that I would go back in a heartbeat just to spend a week there again.


Michelle

Monday, 27 October 2014

Return from Las Vegas!


Hey, hi! Let's have a little life update. As I've mentioned, I was going on vacation to Las Vegas. I left on Oct 10 and got home Oct 17. I would have blogged sooner, but I wanted to re-adjust to life and going back to work, and all that. I had originally planned it all out, how I was going to blog about the day before we left, and do a blog post a day about everything we did on each day (planned being the key word as it didn't happen!)

Like I mentioned in my Anxiety post, I started medication to help with my anxiety. The side effects really affected my vacation. But I still had a really great time, I just didn't do much! They gave me headaches, made me feel tired alot of the time, made me feel down and just not motivated to exert myself. It takes a few weeks to get into your system.

Anyways, I wanted to do a rundown of each day and what I did on here. If you're curious, read on. If not, that's okay. I just wanted to write it out for me, so I can look back at this post and remember. Also I'll be posting pictures of the amazing hotel (well it's not really a hotel, more a resort timeshare) tomorrow, along with whatever other pictures I took. I fear I might ramble a bit, so I don't want this post to get too long and cluttered, like it will if I add all the pictures as well.

Okay here we go!

Day before we left (Oct 9): This was prep day! I got my eyebrows done, did some last minute shopping. Got my nails done with Tasha! I use to get my nails done all the time in highschool, but then I starting working and had to stop (curse of working in food service). It was so nice to get them done again. I got UV gel nails and painted them mint green. After that, Tasha and I had Five Guys and then went to see The Maze Runner. Then finished up packing and watched The Hangover (classic! had to be done before Vegas).

Day 1 (Oct 10): This was mostly airport and flying day! I was really nervous about this day, it's what caused my anxiety to flare up really badly as I haven't been on a plane in 10 years. Luckily when the day arrived I was fine, and I'm 100% sure I have Tasha to thank for that! She kept me distracted and is always fun to be around. The flight was 5 hours!! When we got there, we had to go pick up a car for the week and that's where I crashed. As we waited, I sat down and just started to feel really out of it and started to get a really bad headache. Then we went to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries and McDonald's. By the time, we got to the hotel I was just hanging by a thread, so exhausted. I felt awful because Tasha wanted to go out and I felt like I was letting her down in a way. But luckily her boyfriend and his family was staying down there at the time, so it worked out. So yeah, I basically unpacked and fell asleep. Woke up around 4:30am to no-one being home, and started to have a panic attack because for some reason I thought they said they'd be home early and when they weren't, I panicked. But they got home about half an hour later, and by that time I was drained and went back to bed.

Day 2 (Oct 11): Woke up fairly early as Vegas is 3 hours behind than what I'm use to! My mom and I went for a walk around the hotel resort to check it all out (so nice!!). Then of course, we went to the pool and did some tanning and swimming. Then it was time to explore Vegas. My mom, Julie and I walked up the main strip, and checked out a bunch of casinos. Sidenote: I HATE gambling! It's not for me, at all. I did gambling once while I was there. Put in $20, lost $20 in less than 5 minutes, and that was that! But we ended up at Caesar's Palace which I needed to see because hello Hangover! It was so beautiful!! We picked up our Shania Twain tickets there and then headed back to the hotel. Had a little downtime, read my book (Divergent! Amazing!! More on that in future blog post). Then it was time to get dressed and ready to see Shania Twain. She's AMAZING!!!! I can't even begin! Just an amazing show! After that got back to the hotel, watched some TV with Tasha, read for a bit and then night night.

Day 3 (Oct 12): This was a difficult day for me! First, I got up and Tasha and I went down to the pool. After I was going to go out with her and her boyfriend to do some more exploring, but I happened to just check my facebook. I hadn't been online in 2 days at this point. I found out that my grandma had passed away on the day that I left for Vegas. That was really devastating to me because I love her so much! I have alot of fond memories with her. But I knew it was coming because she wasn't getting better this time. The only way to look at things like this is that she's not suffering anymore. But it's still hard! It's not really sunk in for me yet. I was stuck in Vegas when they had the funeral, so it still feels unreal to me. She was a strong woman, and an amazing grandmother. I miss her and love her with all my heart. So after I found out, I didn't really feel like going anywhere at that point so I ended up staying at the hotel, and just cried and eventually fell asleep. When I woke up, it was time to get ready because we had reservations at The Stratosphere. It was our last night with Tasha because she had to fly back early with her boyfriend because of school. The Stratosphere was gorgeous!! The food was amazing! I had a seafood pasta dish which was delicious. The view was incredible. Just really a lovely evening! After that, it was home with the TV. Ended up watching The Hunger Games, then read and fell asleep.

Day 4 (Oct 13): We got up super early this day because we drove to California to spend the day at Universal Studios. So we were up at 3:45am, and on the road. I basically woke up, got in the car and went back to sleep. We got to Universal, and right away went on the tour. I love that kind of stuff, so I was in my glory. Then we explored the park, saw almost all the shows, went on almost all the rides. We just didn't get to the Despicable Me stuff. We tried, but couldn't find where the ride actually was (lol at that point we were too tired to care). After that we went to check in to our hotel for the night, and it was the crappiest hotel ever!! I napped because I had a huge headache (again), then we ate, I read, and then we called an early night because we just wanted to sleep and get out of there!! So by 7:30pm, bedtime!

Day 5 (Oct 14): We woke up at 4am, packed the car and drove back to Vegas. We stopped at a Denny's along the way. We don't have them where I live. The closest one is in Niagara Falls. I loved it!! It was delicious! I just had the classic; eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and toast but there was so many different things I wanted to try!! It's why I wish so badly that we had one nearby. Anyways, once we got back to the beautiful and best hotel ever, we immediately went to the pool. Then I had a bath in the biggest bathtub I've ever been in (I took a picture of it, it was huge!). Then chilled and read. My mom, Julie and I went down to the games room after that and played some pool and air hockey. I started to feel really anxious, so after a few games, I went back to our room and watched some TV and fell asleep.

Day 6 (Oct 15): This day I didn't leave our place once, not even to go to the pool. It was my really down day. I just remember feeling really sad because it was the day of my grandma's funeral and I couldn't be there. So I mostly just stayed in my bed and napped alot, watched TV, and a couple of movies. In the evening, We're the Millers came on HBO and Julie and I love that movie so we watched it in the living room together. Then it was back to my room for more TV time and sleep.

Day 7 (Oct 16): Our last full day there! I woke up pretty early to go take some pictures to post on here. Then I went shopping! There was the biggest Forever 21 that I have ever seen there, so of course I needed to go. The place was huge, and I didn't know where to go and I didn't have that much time. I wasted too much time looking for a bag for my laptop because on the way down, Tasha had it in hers, and I didn't think about what to do when were going home. Anyways, I ended up back in just Forever 21 and found everything there. We all know how much I love Forever 21!! After that we went down to the pool for our final swim. Then it was back to my room for TV and reading time. I also packed my suitcase that night.

Day 8 (Oct 17): It was time to say goodbye to the hotel, and I was really sad because I think I was a little in love with the hotel to be honest! After that we had time to kill before going to the airport, so we hung out around the pool. Read a bit, and I put my legs in the pool one last time. Then it was off to the airport! Another super long flight. The drive home was stressful because it was dark and I had to help navigate. But we made it home around 2am! I hugged Zeus, and went straight to bed.

And that was it! That was my week. I really didn't do much but it was the best!! Despite being sad and also having to deal with medication side effects, I just relaxed and tried not to worry so much about everything! It was nice to get away and get to see places that you see in movies! For that I had a blast, and I would definitely go back...not gonna lie, mainly for the hotel!


Michelle

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Living with Anxiety.

(photo credit)

If you've noticed, I've subtly mentioned once or twice on this blog that I have anxiety. It's not easy to talk about, but since starting this blog it's something I feel like I need to talk about. If anything to help give you a better understanding of what anxiety disorder is and what happens when you have a panic attack. Whether you have it as well, or if you know someone who does, to give you a better understanding of what they're going through.

My History with Anxiety and Panic Attacks.

I've always felt very nervous and uncomfortable in group settings ever since my pre-teen days. It's something I always use to chalk up to being shy. While I very well may be shy, I also feel like this is where it all began. It's something that to this day, I haven't been able to overcome. It's known as Social Anxiety.
Social Anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and as a result, leads to avoidance.  
To get a good understanding of Social Anxiety, check out this post here.

I've been suffering with that for as long as I can remember, and it's only gotten worse the older I get. So much so that I suffer with panic attacks. My first panic attack happened when I was 14, and it's something you never forget. You can feel like you're dying! Especially when you have no clue what's happening to you.
I was in 8th grade, and I had said something I shouldn't have about my best friend at the time, and it resulted in all of friends hating me and being really mean to me. One particular lunch period and I remember people talking bad about me, acting as if I wasn't in the room, but they knew I could hear everything! Then someone put bits of I think paper in my hair, and I could hear everyone laughing at me. I just remember suddenly feeling like I couldn't breathe and I felt really dizzy. So of course I ran out of the room, which didn't help the situation, and I ran to the office. I remember hiding in the office supply closet. I had worked office aid once before, and luckily the girls who were doing at the time were really nice and didn't say anything that I know of because I did hear the people taunting me outside of the closet. I sat down on the floor, shaking uncontrollably and feeling like someone was sitting on my chest. It lasted about 10 minutes! I wasn't sure what happened, and because it didn't reoccur, I made the mistake of never telling anyone about what I went through because I was too afraid to tell my parents that I was being bullied in school. Mainly because at the time I felt like it was my fault for saying something I shouldn't have about my friend.

Since then I didn't have anymore of, what I at the time called, "incidents", until the 11th grade of highschool and from then on, it was so sporadic that I still kept it all to myself and stupidly didn't educate myself. Something I wish I had done! I advise anyone that if you feel like you have anxiety, please educate yourself on it and talk to your parents or a doctor about it. The sooner you know what you're dealing with, the sooner you can get a handle on how to help yourself in the event of a panic attack.

My stepmom, Julie, started to suffer from panic attacks a few years back, and it was the first time that I heard about that. The more I heard about what she went through, the more familiar everything sounded to me. But because it was something that I thought I already overcame, I again never said anything! Until a little over 3 years ago now, that it started up again! This time it was stress from work that triggered it, and it's only gotten progressively worse over the course of 3 years. Stress is a huge factor in anxiety. This time I finally said something, and slowly over time I became more and more open about it. The more I learned about anxiety disorders and panic attacks, and the more I realized it's something that is common for a lot of people, the more comfortable I felt. Because I didn't feel alone anymore in this!

As of right now, my biggest triggers are my workplace and driving! But as I write this, I'm days away from getting on a plane that is terrifying me! It's not the first time, I've been on a plane before. I don't remember the experience though, and I think because my anxiety is the worse it's ever been, it's making me that much more anxious. To the point where I needed to take my last few days off from work because I'm so anxious about flying, and then going to one of the places where I get triggered often, just made me feel worse. I set up a doctor's appointment, and I'm currently on medication for my anxiety. I'm uncertain about it, but I'm giving it a try to see if it helps. So we'll see!

What is a panic attack?

Without warning, you suddenly feel an intense amount of dread and fear. Your body goes through high adrenaline which cause your heart to beat faster than it should. Because your heart is beating so fast, you feel like you can't catch your breath. You feel a huge amount of pressure on your chest because of it, like as if someone was sitting on your chest. You feel dizzy, and shaky. You can feel very smothered and claustrophobic.  Sometimes you can feel nauseous while it's happening. It's because all of your senses are on overdrive. Afterwards, you feel so drained and exhausted because your body's not meant to handle that much all at once. It just takes so much out of you!

How can you help someone who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks?
Reassurance! For me personally, I feel like I'm burdening people when I'm feeling anxious or having a panic attack. Mainly since it happens at work, I feel like I'm making people's day harder because I need to step away for a little while or even have to leave work. I feel ten times worse because of how guilty I feel about making someone else's day worse due to me having to leave. Reassurance can go a long way! Saying things like "It's okay!".."Take your time!".."Do what you need to do!" would be music to my ears. Because it reassures me that you understand that I can't help what's happening to me, and that I need to take this time to myself to calm myself down, however long that takes.

MAJOR DON'T! Don't tell someone the following "Calm down, you'll be fine!".."It's (whatever I'm panicking about) not a big deal, just breathe"..or the worst, "Don't let it bother you so much! It's all in your mind!" All I hear when someone says things like that to me is "Get over it already!". Don't try to advise them on what they need to do. Just be there for them. Show your support that you understand that they can't help what's happening to them, and they can't control when it happens.

"It's okay! Take your time!" Trust me when I say, those words go a long way!

Take it from someone else's perspective.

Someone who helped me get a further understanding on anxiety and panic attacks is YouTuber Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella. I started watching her videos about a little over a year ago. So at the time I already had a pretty good understanding of my anxiety, but just hearing another person's perspective can help to learn more of what you may already know or more about what you may not have heard of yet.

She wrote a blog post all about panic attacks and anxiety, which I will link here for you. It's a really good post. One that I read through from time to time, to reassure me that I'm not alone in this.

But I'll also leave you with the two videos she's made on Anxiety, which is worth watching as she probably explains it all alot better than I ever could. Either watch them for yourself or for someone in your life that suffers with Anxiety if you want a better understanding than what I have wrote in this post.



I hope this helps give you an understanding about what I go through, what people with anxiety and panic attacks can go through. It's a horrible feeling! It's something that unfortunately stays with you for quite some time. Something I am trying very hard to overcome, but it's never easy to overcome something like this. 

Michelle

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Black sheer top with adorable Pixie pants

 
 

Top: Forever 21 | Pants: Old Navy | Shoes: Aldo (similar) | Sunnies: Forever 21(n/a)
Gold with Pearl white gem ring: Icing's (n/a)
Midi-ring: Icing's
Infinity ring: Icing's 
Necklace: gift from my mom | Bracelet: gift from my godmother

My friend Kylie is the reason I found out about these adorable Pixie pants that Old Navy is selling. Her blog is amazing, you should definitely go check it out!

PS. Super annoyed that I can't find that gold ring! It's my favourite thing right now, and I know it's new in the store! But I can't find it on the website at all :(


Michelle

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