<![CDATA[The Lily (Note) Pad - Blog]]>Sun, 31 Jan 2016 08:04:20 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[New Year, New Resolutions]]>Tue, 05 Jan 2016 23:10:46 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/new-year-new-resolutionsAs much as it hurts to say this, I haven't posted all year (get it?) but I'm hopefully going to be writing more regular posts as well as book reviews.

With 2016 having just passed, I've taken the opportunity of a fresh start to make some changes to my life. Not that how I was living was bad per say, but it just wasn't as healthy or as creative as I wanted my day to day life to be. So this year I've summarized my resolutions in three points. Be healthy, be creative and be happy.

The first one that instantly came to mind was definitely the "be healthy" point. Everyone tries this at the beginning of every new year and ultimately fails. I'm hoping this won't happen for me, because I've made a plan and this year I'm determined to make it happen. I've gotten into a bit of a slump with the start of high school, and all the sudden balancing school and friends and a good amount of sleep became more and more difficult until my own health wasn't first on my priorities. Of course I made sure to eat fruit everyday, and keep up personal hygiene and that kind of stuff, but my exercise and eating habits were unsatisfactory. I was eating far too many empty carbohydrates and not nearly enough fruit or vegetables, and I got in the habit of having carb based meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. This year I'm hoping to change this. I've done some research on healthy eating habits and was pleasantly surprised to find many healthy (and tasty) looking alternatives to my everyday snacks and carb monsters. Whether it was adding superfoods into my smoothies, or adding quinoa to my rice, already this year my family and I have both noticed a change in our diets, and a change in our usual staples at the grocery store. I know that this can be difficult to change habits set so in stone not only by your own behaviors, but my advertisements and media, but with the help of my family, we are gonna hopefully start a new year of healthy, REAL foods. Secondly, fitness. I don't look like I would be out of shape, but I feel like I am. Not like, "Oh I'm Fat" because I know I am not, but more like, "I wish my muscles were more defined." Over summers, I am usually very active because it is so easy to be outside and moving around, while in the winter and fall it is much more difficult. At first I was just trying to do random little exercises at home, on my own, just based off of the internet and social media, (we all know those fitness accounts). Though, the consistence and planning was terrible, and I found myself forgetting and then not keeping track and it turning into yet another failed attempt. Thankfully, my mom offered to help me out and help me find exercises I like to do, and how to do them to get desired results. Even though I thought I didn't want help with my at home fitness plan, it has been very beneficial in choosing what exercises to do and actually looking forward to my daily workouts and stretches in the comfort of my own home. I've just been working with standard things like sit ups, squats, wall sits, curl ups and more. Since I've been very motivated to work on my fitness, I have a feeling this is going to be a very prominent goal of this year.

Secondly, I'm determined to be creative. This refers mostly to reading, writing and art. I've always been a lover of reading, since I was young, but just now I'm having a sudden realization that with so much to read and all the obvious health benefits to reading everyday, I should be more consistent. Usually I read around 20 books a year, reading about an hour or two a week including books from school, and I've always felt unsatisfied with it. Knowing I could do more, this year my sister and I challenged ourselves to reading a total of 52 books, technically one per week. As of right now I am already 3 books into it and it's only the 5th of January! By following many book accounts on instagram and running a new one myself, it makes it much more motivating to read when you other people are encouraging you and everyone is doing it together and sharing their ideas. I figured this way I could get through my huge to be read pile, and expand my vocabulary and in turn become a better writer. Especially with the mix between modern and classic literature that I'm planning to read. Speaking of writing, I'm hoping to work on my writing skills by writing everyday. I'm determined this year to keep an everyday journal and keep up on my blog. This way I will be able to improve my writing for school, and have a good outlet/way to remember everyday things for later. Finally, art. I'm a lover of art for sure, and besides hoping to get to my cities art museum this year, I'm hoping to work on my own skills. I've found plenty of drawing exercises which is my favorite, in hopes that I will be able to improve steadily one step at a time. I'm hoping to practice my art through working on realistic drawings, different cartoon illustrations and also more technical/geometrical drawings. Hopefully through practice and persistence, I can accomplish all my creative goals for this year.

Finally, when I say, "be happy" I mean don't be stressed and don't worry about things that don't matter. This is a pretty short goal, and honestly through the completion of my other goals, I will be able to channel ideas better and work better with more focus so that I will not be so stressed anymore by school, which tends to be my primary stressor. Hopefully, I will be able to ease my stress this year and focus on enjoying everything and working on the things I love with the people I love. 

In conclusion, 2016 is going to be my year to be healthy, be creative and be happy, and with the help of my family and our knowledge I'm going to make sure that by the end of this year, I am proud with the fact that I have accomplished my personal goals. Hopefully writing this extremely wrong post will encourage me to stick with my goals and stay motivated. I hope everyone has a great new year and uses it as a time to change your life for the better!

-Lily ]]>
<![CDATA[The Lion King]]>Mon, 28 Dec 2015 00:11:03 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/the-lion-kingPicture
I was incredibly excited to find out Christmas day that my aunt and uncle were taking us to see The Lion King! And after seeing the show today, I know that feeling was right.

It had been at least a year or two since I had seen the original Disney animated movie version, and I was excited to be presented with the privilege of seeing it on the stage. I had heard only good things about the production leading up to it, so I had no doubt in my mind that it would be bad. What I didn't realize was that it wasn't just going to be good either, it was AMAZING. 

My favorite character has always been Simba, and probably always will be. His fun-loving and charming nature always made me love him, I couldn't help it! Seeing him come to life in this outstanding performance made him stand out even more. In the show, the first act is Simba as a young child. Of course, while the actor looked like a child, he had outstanding vocal chords of a professional adult singer/songwriter. They were strong and powerful and made us all sway in our seats while he sang about waiting to become king. The second act features Simba as a grown-up lion, played by an adult. Through their interpretations of the character, we saw Simba's full character development in a way I never had before. His adult self with strong, assured and confident, portrayed perfectly so that the difference was apparent between his child character and adult character. 

Secondly, the costumes. If you have seen this production before then you know exactly how enchanting the animal costumes are throughout the show. For costumes, the effect was referred to as the "double event", where the costume designer wanted the audience to be able to recognize the different animals whilst being able to see the humans behind the costumes, therefore delivering the message that this pertains to humans and humanity as well. All the actors had masks and body paint and props to help portray their animal without their costume actually being the animal. This way, we were better able to appreciate their work and just how the costumes were operated, which is something I was thankful to see as I am always very intrigued by how things work. And since the show can be so intimate at times, with the dancers right in the aisles next to you, you were able to get closer looks at the costumes, and just how much work went into creating each one. 

Finally, the scenery and the props. With a combination of lights, fabrics, and layers the stage was able to be transformed into Pride Rock and its surroundings effortlessly. Many of the props were not props at all, but humans, such as the plant dancers. The props they did include were incredibly intricate and detailed, including the masks, which reflected the characteristics of its animal and character. The lighting color changed as the mood of the story changed, making sure you were always in the right mood for the scene. It went from orange at the beginning, to gray in the middle when the kingdom was failing, to red at the end when Simba conquers Scar once and for all. The lighting stimulated your brain when you noticed the change in color, and it helped you predict what scene was going to occur and what kind of emotion they paired with it, whether it was happiness, anger or distress. Finally, they used many different layers on the stage to have the effects of stars in the background, hanging jungle leaves, and a reflection. With these layers of scenery, we felt as if the stage was more than just a backdrop with lights, but an artistic version of the real thing, the real jungle or the real watering hole. Overall, the scenery was filled to the brim with color and culture and sometimes filled to the brim with animals. 

I was stunned by the performance and the talent of not only the actors but of the whole costume/set design crew and music producers. It is a show that I would certainly go to see again, and one that I will never get sick of remembering.

Hakuna Matata! 


<![CDATA[The First Rule Of Fight Club Is That You Don't Talk About Fight Club.]]>Sat, 26 Dec 2015 20:51:15 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/the-first-rule-of-fight-club-is-that-you-dont-talk-about-fight-club"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time."
When I added this book to my Good Reads "To Read" list, this was not what I was expecting at all. What I was expecting was a short easy read about men who fought to feel powerful. This novel was not easy and defiently went above and beyond fighting. 

The Narrator, who is never named, begins the book with an average life. White collar job, apartment full of ikea furniture, and a laundry list of problems, beginning with his severe case of insomnia. The doctor wouldn't prescribe him medicine for it claiming no one ever died from it. Therefore, the narrator begins the journey with the sole purpose of finding a way he can get to sleep. 

He decides that the best way would be to join some support groups for various illnesses, cancers and more. This way he could be surrounded by people who were experiencing death, so that he could feel more greatful for living. He would cry with these people and grieve with these people, but what they didnt know was that he wasn't a patient. He was there because the only way he could get to sleep was through crying at these groups. But when a women named Marla shows up to a support group, she throws everything off because the narrator is embarassed to cry in front of her, because he can sense she is a faker as well. While afterwards they both agree not to rat each other out, the narrator realizes that these support groups will no longer be of help to him if he cannot cry in front of Marla. 

After not sleeping for a long period of time, the narrator just goes through his daily life in a zombie like fashion, hating himself, his job and his life. That is, until he runs into Tyler Durden, a free, charismatic person with a passion for soap making. When Tyler asks the narrator to punch him as hard as he could after having a couple drinks, the narrator hesitates, worried he will hurt his new friend. Tyler insists, and the narrator obliges, punching him hard in the side of the head. This unleashes a new feeling of satisfaction and invinsibility the narrator has never had, an even better feeling than he experienced at the support groups. This is the beginning of their new club, their fight club. 

This fight club has a simple set of rules: 
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If someone says "stop" or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight.
5th RULE: One fight at a time.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.

More and more guys participate every week, in basements accross the country as the idea expands. Men from professional jobs that want to feel something more than their everday lives. Men that want to feel like men. 

Though when the narrator begins to realize that he is no longer getting the powerful invincible feeling he used to get from fighting, Tyler invents a new step up from fight club. Project Mayhem. With divisions like miscommunication, mischief, and arson, men from all over the country take the step up from fight club to engage in this secret army led by Tyler to freeze society long enough for it to correct itself, so everyone can stop leading boring lives and start living. 

Sadly, I cannot say much more than that without spoiling the whole plot twist between Tyler and the narrator. Long story short I enjoyed this book much more than I originally thought and it made me realize why the movie is such a cult classic (which I still have yet to see). It's a bit confusing in the beginning, but I encourage you to keep reading past it because it was amazing once you get into it. The rules intrigued me and were the reason I originally picked out the book, and even though I've already broke the first and second rule writing this post, it was a good cause. This book was unique and unlike the usual reads. Also I am going to add it to my favorite books of 2015 post as soon as this post is up :) 


<![CDATA[My Recent Art Obsession]]>Sat, 19 Dec 2015 15:31:54 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/my-recent-art-obsession
So recently, I've found myself extremely in love with two certain kinds of art, and it has kind of taken over my whole pinterest feed... This is going to be a bit of a short post, but I wanted to put it out there. 

It may be because I'm a math/science oriented person when it comes to interests, and I'm hoping to go into some kind of design engineering, but lately, i can't get enough of any kind of art that is geometric or minimalist. Whether they are 3D decahedrons, or a 2D jumble of straight lines connecting at a common point, I still feel a strong interest in them because of their precison and aestheticly pleasing minimalist look. And while it may look easy, it is actually quite hard to do. I've been trying and the farthest I've gotten so far is doodling lots and lots of shapes in notebooks. Though I must say this method of doodling makes your doodles look organized and minimalist even if it is just scribbles on a paper, because they are organized together. Hopefully, I will get some more drawing done today!

Secondly, I'm loving the outlined art. Again it may be because of its simple look, and sometimes it's mystical look, but either way I'm obsessed. The first one in the group of pictures above is my favorite outline, because as soon as I saw it, it semi-reminded me of myself because of the hair, and from there on I've been looking at them all the time and attempting to draw them as well. Much harder than it looks. Fortunately, there are plenty of incredibly talented artists out there that create amazing work that I can look at! 

Basically, if the art is simple, geometric and minimalist I'm there! I'm hoping to replace two paintings in my room with pictures like these ones above, probably a really plain one, considering I just got a new white bed spread which is already making my room feel more clean-looking which I'm loving! Hopefully I'll make at least one more post before the new year with some resolutions, but just wanted to push this out there to see what other people's input was! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! 

<![CDATA[The Art Of Racing In The Rain]]>Mon, 14 Dec 2015 22:55:04 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/the-art-of-racing-in-the-rainPicture
{ This blog is honestly going to be kind of book, movie and experience based from now on. I have plenty to write on that, and plus it's like keeping a running record of all the things I've spent my time reading/watching/doing.  }

Anyway, I've been putting off reading this book for so long. It started a couple years ago when a friend of my mom's reccomended it to me, and I put it on my mental reading list, and soon it was lost in the midst of all my TBR books. (Relatable) But just a couple weeks ago, my friend Molly brought it back up again in conversation because it was one of her all time favorite books. Since we both love and have golden retrievers, she reccomended it to me, and as I was dropping her off, she ran out with her copy for me. Even with the book staring at me from my desk it took a while for me to pick it up. I was reading other books and I was also partly afraid I had vamped it up to much in my head. I was afraid that I had thought about it so much for so long with all it's amazing reviews and then when I would go to read it, it would be just your average book. Boy, was I wrong. 

Upon starting the novel I was absolutely hooked. It starts with a flash forward where we get a bit of a peek into what happens later. We find out the mom dies and the dog is going to be put to sleep. Of course, by starting the story like this, we knew all along that the mother's and dog's death was going to come at any moment, making the moments when they were happy and young just as sad as the sad scenes. It was similar to in the fault in our stars. After reading the book, the ending was a bit of a suprise so we weren't too sad during the actual book. But by the time the movie rolled around, we watched it with tears in our eyes the whole time because we knew that he was going to die by the end and this was going to be his last memory. 

We go through the dog's, Enzo's, life where he starts as a little puppy on a farm, all the way until he is adopted and taken home with Denny, the semiprofessional racecar driver, his specialty is racing in the rain. The book shows the progression of the relationship between a dog and his owner, and then their newfound family. But while everything was looking up, it all took a bit of a nosedive. Eve, Denny's wife, began to get sick, a mass in her brain that was later identified as a tumor was her downfall. And instead of staying at the hospital, she stayed with her parents, where adequate care could be given to her at all times. Soon, her parents insist Denny leave their daughter, Zoe, with them so she could be with Eve. Being kind and mindful of his wife's needs, he leaves Zoe to live with them with plenty of  visits. Though once Eve inevitably passes away, her parents show their true colors and sue for full custody of Zoe. Between criminal charges and custody court days, Denny is torn in many different directions for things that weren't his fault. But Enzo helps him stay positive. 

What keeps Enzo going with his growing age is the dream that at the end his soul will be reincarnated into a human. Somehow this is what really got me. His growing hope and innocence after everything he had experienced is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Especially the fact that he was holding onto this after watching it on a tv program. With hip displaysia, old age and grief, the book ends back where it started showing Enzo's final days. By the end I was in a stream of tears to say the least. I actually had to talk about the book with Emily before I was able to really calm myself down. I reccomend this book to anyone with a dog, because only then can you fully appreciate Garth Stein's masterpiece that is The Art Of Racing In The Rain.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hug my dog and cry. 


<![CDATA[Favorite Books of 2015]]>Mon, 14 Dec 2015 22:24:11 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/favorite-books-of-2015This year I haven't kept track of the books I've read, I didn't set a goal or have a specific list or anything. Despite that I still read some amazing books this year, and since the year is ending sooner rather than later, I thought I would make a list of some of my favorite reads this year! This was partially inspired by all of the book blogs and instagrams I've followed in the past year posting similar lists and pictures. This is in no particular order and includes novels from YA fiction to adult nonfiction. Let's begin! 
For sure one of my favorite books this year, E. Lockhart follows the life of a teenage girl named Cadence on her search to find out what happened on her family's island beneath their perfect facade. You can read the blog review here
Marco and Celia were raised from a young age to harness their magical powers in order to compete against each other in a mysterious competition. Little is known about it besides the venue, which is a magical circus. Read the full review here
Marie Lu creates a dystopian world based on the United States that results in a civil war between The Republic and The Colonies. Day is from the slums, and June is a Republic prodigy, and when she finds out Day, the boy who saved her life is also the boy who killed her brother, feelings are scrambled until they are forced to rely on each other in the midst of the terror in their country. 
(Detailed review coming soon for this one) A.J Jacobs is determined to be the healthiest man on earth, so month by month he tracks his progress through this hilarious novel as he moves from body part to body part improving his life one step at a time. Along with lots of laughs, there is a lot to be learned from this book as well, and it kept me interested till the very end of his two year experiment. Read the full review here. 
In the 21st century, there is a new type of kid on the block, and that is the Fangirl. Rainbow Rowell takes us into the life of Cather, or so her friends call her, who writes internet fan fiction for her favorite book series, despite the twists and turns in her new college lifestyle.  This novel was laugh out loud funny and made fangirls everywhere happy to be acknowledged. 
Hannah was the victim of bullying and rumors, and it got to the point where enough was enough. Before committing suicide, she left behind 13 tapes depicting the specific people in her life that caused her to do what she has done. Hannah starts by giving the box to the first person before committing, and from there they are passed on from person to person until everyone feels the guilt of what they have done to her. Having such a serious novel about bullying is something that we need more of to show just how serious of a crime it is. This book was incredible and made a lasting impression on me. 
To be completely honest, I have put off reading this book for quite a long time, but after reading it it deserves a spot. The Art Of Racing In The Rain is the story of a middle class family struggling between family illness and child custody lawsuit, as seen by the family's dog Enzo. It is heartbreaking to see what is going on behind the big brown eyes of a golden retriever when all he can do is wait and gesture while his family is torn apart. This book was the only one on the list that made me cry, as in bawling my eyes out. Because of my close attachment with my dog, this book was both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Definetly a favorite.
I highly reccomend all of these books, as all of them have stuck with me throughout the year and some of them for probably even longer. I can't wait for a new year full of reading new books, watching new movies and tons of new experiences! 

<![CDATA[Drop Dead Healthy]]>Sun, 06 Dec 2015 00:47:05 GMThttp://thelilynotepad.weebly.com/blog/drop-dead-healthyPicture
In our public library we have a section devoted to books to be used in book discussions through the library or park district. My friends and I tend to enjoy stopping in there and picking out books from there, because if they are going to be talked about through the library and park district, they must be pretty good. While at the library just last week with my mom and sister, I stopped in the the little crevice to pick up a new book. Along with some others, one caught my eye called ¨Drop Dead Healthy" by A.J. Jacobs. 

​Upon checking it out, I was reluctant to start it, since I generally don't enjoy nonfiction, especially nonfiction with the primary focus being vegetables, fruits and exercise. But I must say A.J. Jacobs pleasantly surprised me here. Not only did his book make me laugh until I felt the need to share it with my family and friends, but it taught me a lot about health and what's true versus what isn't along with inspiring me to take better care of my body since I only get one. 

Basically, A.J. takes a step back from his everyday life with his wife, Julie, and three kids, Lucas, Zane and Jasper, in order to go on a two year long mission to be the healthiest person alive. Each month he takes on a new sense or body part to research and improve, some of these improvements stick with him and he continues them on while he does learns about the new topic, but others can be so laugh out loud ridiculous that he can barely make it through the month, such as wearing a helmet while walking outside to prevent accidents. Within these two years he tries many new things like running a triathlon, doing a juice cleanse, literally running his errands, and going to a laughter club. 

Throughout the book, he attempts to see both side of every health debacle we know of such as super foods, plant based diets versus meat diets, and indoor versus outdoor exercise. It was incredibly interesting to hear the experiences he had trying both sides of common arguments and seeing which side actually produced results. 

Finally, at the end, he includes an index where he groups together all his findings into a hilarious synopsis for those who didn't have the time or patience to finish the entire book. There he includes his favorite quotes from the professionals he has met with and the basic collection of tips for regulars and obsessive people. 

As boring as this book may sound, I swear to you it was one of the best books I've read this year, I'm ready to check out A.J's other two books on his experiments on improving his mind and improving his soul. His writing is addictive and his humor will hit everyone's funny bones even if you are trying not to be happy while reading about health. I included some of my favorite quotes below if you are interested! This was kind of a short review considering there wasn't an in depth plot or intense characters, but none the less it was a great book! 


“The MRI has a repertoire of noises that resemble, in no particular order: a game-show buzzer for a wrong answer, urgent knocking, a modem from 1992, a grizzly-bear growl, and a man with a raspy voice shouting what sounds like "mother cooler!”

“I'm hungry enough that I started to salivate at the sight of lettuce. I repeat: lettuce.”

“On the other hand, if you're too delusionally optimistic, you'll be unbearable. You'll refuse to save money or make backup plans. You'll invade foreign countries and expect to be greeted as liberators. Like everything else in health, you need balance.”

“My immune system has always been overly welcoming of germs. It's far too polite, the biological equivalent of a southern hostess inviting y'all nice microbes to stay awhile and have some artichoke dip.”

“I figured the government wouldn't let poison flow from the taps. But in general, I'm too trusting of the government. I'm the polar opposite of the Tea Partiers. I have no problem with a nanny state. But in this case, the nanny state has been chatting on the cell phone and ignoring the baby as it plays with matches.”

“The dehydrator blows warm air on your food for hours, sometimes days. It reminds me of the temperature and intensity of dog's breath. So imagine a German shepherd exhaling on your fruit for a weekend.”

“Pain is annoying and unnecessary, like getting an e-mail in all caps. It's like a six-year-old who alerts you every fifteen seconds that he wants Hungry Hungry Hippos for his birthday. Yes, I understand. Message received.”

​"Just eat a goddamn vegetable."