June Favorites

Hey guys! June has officially ended and we are breezing our way into July. It means that a lot of people, usually YouTubers, are creating lists of their favorites this past month. I love these monthly favorites because they explore new possibilities and pass on great ideas that range from beauty, to books, to shows! It’s like getting some really good advice or a new doorway to trying something new. So I wanted to share with you my monthly favorites in the hopes that you might find something new as well!

Favorite #1 – grav3yardgirl (YouTube)

I discovered Bunny when I was watching CutiePieMarzia’s video about a clothes swap they did as a way to recycle/reuse. (Click here for the video) I don’t know what compelled me to watch her but I did and I was quite hypnotized by her confidence and loud personality. Bunny does videos concerning beauty products and general life stuff. Her quirky attitude and optimism is absolutely addicting. I mean, who else does awkward videos of themselves on a mission in WalMart? Seriously haha. I love how honest and genuine she is. It’s definitely a spotlight in my day whenever I see her pop up in my subscriptions. If you want to try her out, visit her here. Her videos include first impressions of products, monthly favorites, unboxing videos, hauls, and vlogs.

Favorite #2 – A custom-made conditioner

There was a time when I dyed my hair some pretty bright colors. Being a dark brown, I had to bleach it out. Finally, I went to color that was close enough to mine once I was done with crazy hair colors. That was in March and I really didn’t want to recolor it. I just wanted to grow it out. But it started to dry out – especially come summer. It was killing me to rub my hands through it and the ends were completely bone dry. I realized I needed a little pick-me-up. So, based on my basic knowledge of natural methods, I took my conditioner (Suave) and combined it with honey and a little bit of olive oil. I heated it very briefly because it gets hot very fast. Then I leave it in my hair while I’m showering. This could go two ways. Depending on how much oil you put in it, you might have to wash it afterwards. I know my hair can be generally greasy so I add about 1-2 tablespoons. That way, I don’t have to wash it afterwards. Honey is humanity’s best friend – it heals everything, both internally and externally. Olive oil is known for it’s hair-saving properties. So if you have dry hair or trying to save it from previous chemical-warfare, experiment with these two ingredients to get the right match for your hair.

Favorite #3 – Town House Pita (Crackers)

Pita cracker, smoked gouda, pepperoni = looovvveeee

A post shared by Kyra Halls (@kickakyra) on

These are my newest addiction when it comes to food. For some reason, they are incredibly filling and satisfying with each triangle cracker. It almost doesn’t feel like cracker with its unique texture and crunch. When I first tried it out, I paired it with pepperoni and smoked gouda cheese. The cheese didn’t overpower the particular taste of the cracker and the pepperoni added what every delicious sausage does to a cracker. They definitely seem most variable with cheese but I’m sure there are so many different things they can go with. Right now, they are my go-to snack food whenever I need something satiable and delicious. I’ve had the Italian Cheese and Herb and Sea Salt. Although I do prefer the Sea Salt, both are equally amazing.

Favorite #4 – Facebook’s Rainbow Filter

With the passing of same-sex marriage, Facebook immediately released a rainbow filter you can add to your profile picture. It allows the community and its supporting members to celebrate and stand up while standing together. It still continues to make me smile whenever I see someone’s picture turn rainbow. If there ever was a way to let someone know you support, Facebook has given us a simple tool to do that. They made the filter flawless and followed true to the colors of the Pride flag. I applaud Facebook for being progressive and allowing the community and supporters to come together.

Favorite #5 – Attack on Titan (Anime)

Attack on Titan has become a global sensation. With a unique story line and intriguing art, I was sucked in. With steep cliff-hangers and an ever-expanding, complex plot, it was able to really set itself apart from anything I have ever seen in storytelling. Originally a manga, it blossomed into an anime series. It starts out with the story of humanity against these giant humanoid creatures known as Titans. They have an insatiable lust for human blood, even though they have no need for food. To protect humankind, people built three giant walls. One day, this all changes when a particular unique Titan destroys one of the walls, allowing the creatures to flood the first wall. The day this happens, Eren, a young preteen, has his whole world destroyed. With a blood lust for the destruction of Titans, Eren and his friends, Armin and Mikasa, become soldiers in a quickly corrupted system doused with secrets. Secrets that involve Eren’s humanity and the Titans themselves. Although you cannot find an English-dubbed version on Netflix, the voices are unique to characters. This is a series that might suit you if you enjoy complicated yet intriguing stories that explore humanity and the fight for knowledge. I just finished the first season and I highly recommend it.

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The Twelve Houses Novels by Sharon Shinn

Alas, the deepest sadness in a reader’s life is when they not only finish a book, but finish the series.

Right now, I’ve finished the Twelve Houses series by Sharon Shinn. The delightful fantasy books came to me in my grandma’s hand. I was craving for something different than the usual, young adult, romance novels or sci-fi Utopians. The ache for a magical world pushed me to my beloved grandparents’ collection. Taking up almost two walls in one study, placed alphabetically in handmade bookcases, were these vast, thick-spine and stout books that coveted the fantasy world. My grandparents read them in abundance – there was never a moment they didn’t have one of them in their pockets. Upon relaying my desire, my grandma pulled a couple books and went into great detail into each series. I’m not sure why, but the Twelve Houses novels always caught my eye in her study. Maybe it was the unique cover or title. I sure didn’t realize what it might’ve held.

Among other not-so-memorable stories, when I finally read Mystic and Rider, it had me spellbound. After the previous books, I wasn’t too convinced this style was my ideal. I’m not talking about the genre, fantasy, but rather they way they had written it. It was usually the same cliche characters with long passages describing the scenery. I wasn’t all too convinced much about this next series.

It starts off pretty much with formidable individuals intimidating an innkeeper who indentured, what the book refers to, as a mystic. A mystic is someone that has some sort of magical power that ranges from ship-shifting to lighting things on fire. Unfortunately, these unfortunate fellows are outcasts in the land of Gillengaria.

The main individual of this particular book is Senneth, a powerful fire-wielding mystic who serves the king. Her mission in this branch of the plotline is to discover if civil unrest exists in the land. She is accompanied by the king’s Riders, who have sworn their loyalty to the king and have extreme combat skills. They hold misgivings, as most of the people do, about this mystic woman. They are also accompanied by the ship-shifting, and noble-born Serramara Kirra Danalustrous and her loyal, mystic, childhood friend, Donnal. All in service to the king, they bound out across the kingdom, weary of each other. Through dangerous perils and misadventures, they come to discover not only about the bigger plotline but face what’s in themselves.

Each book except for the last, (there’s four), can stand on its own as it explores most of the individual character’s lives and adventures. In the last book, they all come together to finally face the dark unrest that plagued their land.

Sharon Shinn is an incredible writer. I almost teared up knowing that it was the last of the Twelve Houses novels. She has a splendid way of creating gaping secrets that are not too easy to see, and tying loose ends that would never make you second guess her decisions. It was never a bore moment for me in this series and I was quite astonished when I went to mark the next chapter and saw it was my last.

Shinn has created this world that almost seems tangible and characters so honorable that you wish you could meet them. I have never been so immersed in a world as I was in this series. Every heartache she described, every heart-racing combat, every stolen, explainable joy was as rich as chocolate. I don’t know about you, but this woman deserves an award. Rarely have I seen someone write so potently as Shinn does. I wish I could use my words like she does.

If you have an unwavering taste for a new series or a world oozing with magic, I sincerely beg you to try this out. The books may seem slightly thick but they do go by fast. By the end, you will wish they hadn’t.

Check out her website: Sharon Shinn

A Story of a Sympathizer

  All my life, I have encountered people and their stories that shed a light on my ever-expanding knowledge of humanity. By no means, I’m an expert but I continue to value this knowledge that have shaped my acts and words. Some would say I was a sympathizer- and it’s not always said in the nicest way possible.

It has raised the question: what’s wrong with having some sort of empathy for people I was not raised with culturally, religiously, or even in the same country?

I find at every turn some sort of menacing hate and a complete disregard for another human being – mostly on social media where people are comfortable going to extremes.

I mean, it’s so appealing to say what they truly think every day that they hide from everyday society. I find these thoughts are mostly inspired by misunderstood events or the fact that they are not educated at all.

Growing up in a pretty diverse family, (being half-Hispanic and the other Caucasian), I have been exposed to the many facets of people. The other glimmering sides of humanity I have learned from personal experience or books such as A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan by Nelofer Pazira or Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I don’t know how anyone can blame the civilization of the middle east when you experience their excruciating circumstances through dictatorship and America’s grudge through the eyes of someone who lived it everyday. Or hold resentment towards China whose past has been one tale of being destroyed from the inside out and the countries that took advantage of their weakened state.

Unfortunately, with the school system not expanding much on places like Asia or the middle east in their lectures, many people go their whole lives without having an inkling of outside of their country. Some are not even knowlegable about their own nation. A great example of the lack of education would be a young woman who, upon hearing news of the Charleston Church shootings, expressed on Twitter her racist thoughts. Posting stuff like, “Don’t complain about being a minority and say whites are a problem when your ancestors chose to come here knowing they would be a minority.” Not sure what she was taught in school when it came to slavery.

So let’s go back to my original question: what’s wrong for feeling for another human being? This is how I see people who are different than me. In the end, they are of the same species who live on the same planet. It’s not like I can get away from them unless I was an astronaut. They may speak a different language or live a life that completely runs perpendicular to mine. But that’s what makes us so unique is that we can share upon these unique experiences that we would have never had in our grand paths of life. Why does fear have to be the first response to something that is contrasting to us?

So call me a sympathizer – a traitor to my country, a hippie. To me, at least I can find solace in the fact that I care or have some level of humanity left to try and understand someone else. It’s okay to respect another human being. For those who experience the same disgust, I hope that you continue your love for humanity. In a world where it’s an insult to be different, I hope you celebrate it because no one else will. We should be able to sound our love for diversity and make it profound in our lives. Keep trying to understand because, in the end, we would hope someone would see us the same way.