Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spices and Herbs and Cloves, Oh My!

I love anything herbal, and I will talk about how to make herbal tea in the springtime. But for now, I am trying to stay healthy and prevent illness this school year.

They say your freshman year is your most important year of high school, even though colleges don't care much for it. I'm trying to have perfect attendance, up until Fine Arts. Especially since Math and Chinese are stupid. Even my English grade isn't good. I'm not failing any classes, but I wanted a 4.0 and I don't think it's gonna happen.

I noticed that my performance goes up whenever I have herbs in my system. Natural plants are also a great way to spice up your diet, lower blood pressure, lose weight, and much more!

WHY WE LOVE IT: What I love about this spice is that it can be used in both sweet and salty food, deserts, entrees and all. Popcorn, apples, bread, tea, hot chocolate--- you name it. From drinks to puddings to solids, cinnamon's got it all. But did you know it can help fight stress? Or strengthen your immune system? Lower your blood sugar? It's great.

HOWEVER: Pregnant women should avoid Cassia cinnamon. I'm guessing it can make you miscarry because it carries some toxins that can damage your kidney and liver. Cinnamon can also cause thinning of the blood, so if you are a Hemophiliac like my friend is, this will affect how your blood clots.


WHY WE LOVE IT: If you have stomachaches, diarrhea, or nausea, you will love this flower, too. It is great for treating menstrual cramps---and who doesn't love that---and sleep disorders caused by the commonly disliked PMS. Chamomile can also relieve you of gas! Going somewhere fancy? Drink some chamomile tea before you leave. It's also great on restless children and helps them calm down, mothers. Plus, your kids won't mind the taste.

HOWEVER: Chamomile can have a harmful effect on those taking blood-thinners, and can cause hemorrhage if you have a disease like that. Don't drink too much of it, it is like a drug after awhile and there will be puke. The plant has huge amounts of botulism, and babies might die if they have it. Give it to children ages five and up, I say. But medical people say above six months is alright as well.

WHY WE LOVE IT: This is a well-known sweet Italian seasoning. It is also THE most popular herb in America. I, personally, use basil when I make my not-so-world-famous salsa. It's probs my favorite herb as well. You can use it in marinara, soups (especially vegetable soup--- yeah baby), and my favorite--- PIZZA right after removing it from the oven. Aside from taste, you can clear up your skin with it, stop yo stress, make your PMS feel a little less like hell and a little more like heaven, detoxify your liver, and more.

HOWEVER: In some people, basil can cause low blood sugar. It also contains estragole, a chemical that can increase your risk of getting liver cancer. And don't use basil oil, for the same reason.


WHY WE LOVE IT: It adds a great amount of flavor to steak, potatoes, salads, etc. It is also very strong. Also helps with vaginal infections. It relaxes blood vessels and helps with blood flow-- probably good for pregnant women during labor. A garlic-rich diet can help protect you form cancer.

HOWEVER: Too much garlic can cause indigestion, but most of us are thinking about the odor it causes. We all have a garlic story. I had to sit next to someone on a plane for two hours who had eaten garlic, and it was rather painful. Not even uncomfortable. Just painful. For the both of us. To help with that, fennel seeds neutralize the smell.


WHY WE LOVE IT: Everyone loves lavender. I love the smell, the color, the taste. Everything about it. At homecoming this year I want to wear a lotion or perfume scented like it. I will at my prom, graduation, and wedding as well. And at my funeral, my corpse will be wearing lavender. If it were up to me, my name would be Lavender. Okay, that's a little much. I used to wear lavender lotion on my face when I was sick and it would clear me up. You can use it to fight dandruff, and face it, we all get flakes every once in awhile. Can stop bloating and improve digestion health. It might make you sleepy. Can calm itchy skin. And it tastes yummy for desert!

HOWEVER: When taken by mouth, lavender cna cause constipation. If you are a boy and haven't reached puberty, don't put it on your skin. It cna disrupt the hormones in your body. Some boys have grown boobs as a result. Stay on the safe side. Can also slow down the central nervous system.


WHY WE LOVE IT: It is great on sore throats, especially with some honey and hot cocoa. It is analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, and even more. Can cure migraines. It is an antioxidant. Can protect agianst prostate cancer, it looks like (I'm looking at this website that is literally typing out the periodic table... what? Haven't taken chemistry yet...). It keeps skin pure.

HOWEVER: Peppermint may cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you are pregnant (or plan to become pregnant, like they say ont he medical commercials), avoide this herb as it can make you miscarry according to some Chinese people. The herb can interact with Neoral, Sandimmune, etc.


WHY WE LOVE IT: Rosemary is a beautiful name, but that's not all! It cna soothe your muscle and safeguard your summer food. You cna make an herbal tea out of this as well, and maybe I'll try it and talk about it in a later post. This is great on your scalp, too. Use it to prep your steaks and burgers to mkae them a lot less carcinogenic, by up to 92 percent. Put it in your marinade. Smell some of this to prep for the next college exam, SAT, or simply just learn a few new words for Spanish class (I would say learning characters in Chinese, but then I remember most students don't take Chinese) as it helps with memory skills. It can help your muscles relax, so gymnasts, use this. Other sports too, but gymnastics directly relates to me, so.

HOWEVER: Prego girls, this might kill yo baby, too. We don't want no miscarriages, do we? And if you have epilepsy or other seizure disorders, this can make the seizures much worse.
Well, I'm off to bed, y'all. Sorry I haven't been posting much... I will write on here as often as humanly possible.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What am I Thinking of?

My Autumn Playlist

I'm sick and I have nothing better to do than type. Like, really. I'm pulling an all-nighter for writing because I know it'll be my last one for a long, long time. Just to show how much I love you guys. My small but faithful readers.

I've been listening to a lot of music lately and just finsished writing and composing a song. It's called "Forever is Never." I don't know why I picked that title. It's about God's everlasting love and how it never changes, ends, fails ("Yesterday/You are the same/Even if forever is/Never/You'll never leave/And forever/You are my own for eternity/You're here with me"). It's about taking your chances now ("I know/Tomorrow isn't a certainty") and not waiting. It isn't like Radiohead, Taylor Swift, Athlete, or Edens Edge. But it's a start.

So, wanna know what's on my iPod an dYouTube at the moment?

  1. "Superhuman Touch" by Athlete. It's like, pop. It's like, rock. It's the closest to mainstream indie music can get. So, if you generally listen to mainstream but want to try out indie music, this is a start.
  2. "With You I Never Lose" by Athlete. "I'm not letting go just yet. But everything is telling me to...With you, I never lose. With you, I never lose. Oh oh oh. With you, I never lose. With you, I never lose..."
  3. "Lay Your Head" by Athlete. People don't even notice how often I recite the lyrics to this song. At twenty-five to ten a.m., I'm in math class. So whenever it's 9:35, and someone asks me what time it is, I'm like, "Twenty-five to ten... another day begins..." This is also what I sing to myself when I'm not really done with my homework but I've worked too hard already and need to just take the F in replace for some sleep.
  4. "Fresh Pair of Eyes" by Brooke Waggoner. Go to Rainymood.Com and you've got a romantic, sad evening alone.
  5. "Desire" by Deas Vail. I've always loved this song (I pre-ordered the album it was on months and months in advance). The harmonies are killing it, so imagine how hard it was for me to cover it solo. "I don't know what love is... Don't wanna be afraid... the truth is that I don't know to be honest... Come back the way You came..."
  6. "Do You Hear What I hear?" by Deas Vail. Yes, I'm listening to Christmas music. So what? These guys make me wanna hear it all year long.
  7. "Undone" by FFH. It's not bubblegum K-LOVE music, that's why I love this song. "No spoonful of sugar could make it sweet. The cancer inside, stealing my sleep. Night after night it keeps haunting me. The secrets I keep are tearing me up inside, I try to hide them and I wonder why... I wonder why I'm still running when I know there's no escaping."
  8. "Missing" by For KING & COUNTRY. Australia's response to Coldplay.
  9. "Crave" by For KING & COUNTRY. Such an awkward song for me... "Hope sleeps without me. Her sweet dreams surround me..." I know it wasn't meant in that way, but still...
  10. I'm still jamming to "Over My Head" by the Fray. Don't even worry about it.
  11. "Follow Your Heart" by The Good Mad. "Follow, follow, follow your hea-a-art... set the lights just how you want to, write the lines but know they'll find you..." This song has some killer percussion, violin, bass and guitar leads. The Good Mad has saved country music. And the person playing killer violin an dfemale vocals? She plays Laurel Mercer in "The Lying Game." Favorite show, favorite band, alright.
  12. "Wait" by Group1Crew. "HEY!"
  13. "The Fighter" by the Gym Class Heroes. Huge profanity warning.
  14. "Happily Ever After" by He Is We. "Oh, happily ever after. Wouldn't you know, wouldn't you know? Oh, skip to the ending. Who'd like to know? I'd like to know! Author of the moment, can you tell me, do I end up, do I end up happy?"
  15. "Echo" by Jason Walker. "I just wanna feel alive and get to see your face again."
  16. "Moving Mountains" by Jeff Deyo. This guy is gonna be at the Ohio Youth Convention this year, along with almost-mainstream band Anthem Lights (a kid from my church actually went on to be apart of that band--- specifically, Joey. Joey Stamper, the piano guy).
  17. "We Are" by Kari Jobe. I just really love this...
  18. "Love Came Down" by Kari Jobe. "When my heart is filled with hope, every promise comes my way... staying desperate for You, God, staying humbled..."
  19. "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry. Do. not. laugh. 'Tis the only Katy Perry song I like.
  20. "Wonderwall" by Landon Austin and Chad Sugg. "I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now."
  21. "Begin Again" by Measure. "You're no calendar, you're no concrete plan."
  22. "I am the Doctor" by Murray Gold. So tired... I can't do this anymore... I cna't breathe...
  23. "Alive (Mary Magdalene)" by Natalie Grant. "Who could speak an dsend the demons back from where they came with just one Name?"
  24. "Home" by Phillip Phillips. I think just about every American and beyond knows this song. "I'm gonna make this place your home. ho-o-o-o-o-o-ome. ho-o-o-o-ome..."
  25. "Shake Shake Shake" by Bronze Radio Return. Makes me think of the BBC show "Copper." Long live British shows that are set in New York and indie music...
  26. "As Long as You Love Me" covered by Landon Austin and Alex Goot. I know, I know. I'm pretty much obligated to like Anthem Lights' version. But this one is amazing.
  27. "Wizards" by Chad Sugg. "It's love, I know 'cause I can tell..."
  28. "Last Supper" by Edens Edge. "Look at the couple in the corner booth. Looks a lot like me and you."
  29. "Amen" by Edens Edge. This song is pure beauty--- someone give me an amen! "Can I get a 'Thank God hallelujah?'"
  30. "Too Good to be True." Edens Edge. I first heard this and was like, "oh oh oh, Oh my my!"
  31. "Finally the Truth" by Wesley Blaylock of Deas Vail and Hannah Blaylock of Edens Edge.
  32. "Shake Shake" by Chad Sugg.
  33. "My Oldest Friend" by Andrew Belle. Such beauty and sadness and pain in this song.
  34. "Ride" by Cary Brothers. Excuu me, sir. Who is playing guitar in this???!!!!
  35. "Breathe" by He Is We. "You know, I fake it oh so well..."
  36. "Say When" by the Fray. I somehow imagine one of my guy friends singing this--- Isaac's voice goes well with my friend's. It's kinda creepy.
  37. "Wires" by Athlete.
  38. "Cosmic Love" by Florence and the Machine.
  39. "Get Up" by Barcelona. This song keeps me going on...
  40. "Goodbye With Hello" by Megan and Liz. "Oh, but baby this is where I lied..."
  41. "Bottle Rocket" by Chad Sugg.
  42. "Feels so Real" by Edens Edge.
  43. "Barricade" by Maddi Jane. Yes, it's pop. But whatevs.
  44. "My Heart is Broken" by Evanescence.
Woo, that's it and it is 1:18a.m. Bedtime for this sick kid.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Phantom Beam of Light

It's funny
A beam of light can hold a thousand memories
Of pain, of love, of hate
Of every emotion in between
But the most captivating thing is how haunted it is.
Three thousand lives.
Same fate.
September 11, 2001.
We say we'll never forget
And how can we?
But still it's funny,
And funny things aren't always humourous,
But what's so amazing
Is that
Three thousand lives
Were taken that day
And a phantom beam of light
Is all it takes
To remember.

My Pillow Friend

You may have heard the phrase, "every girl needs a guy friend." While that is true, a more descriptive way of saying this is that everyone needs a pillow friend.

What is a pillow friend, exactly? Well first of all, it is definitely not what you're probably thinking of. What do you do with a pillow when you're angry or sad? Cry into it until you fall asleep? Scream? Cuddle? That is what a pillow friend is. Someone you can be emotional with, talk to, hug, be crazy with, and not need to have any romantic interest in.

I have a pillow friend. He's a sophomore at my school. Hilarious, outgoing, crazy. I don't like him romantically at all and I don't think I ever will. He's someone I can talk to about anything and not worry about any awkwardness. You know, just say what I wanna say without worrying it'll be taken offensively or something. Plus, he gives the best hugs (no, my friend Sarah does...). So I can feel like crying and voila! Happy again. And awkward conversations... we always have awkward conversations. They're not even awkward anymore.

What's the use of this? Nothing, really. I just wanted to write about something other than Twelve Angry Men, the evolution of headphones, Greek art, womens' suffrage (I'm writing a womens' suffrage version of Green Day's "Time of Your Life"), and Chinese characters. I hate high school sooo much... grades actually matter now.

So I can't write on here often anymore, which I hate. And because I can't blog, readership is extremely low--- I haven't gotten a new follower in almost a year, even with the help of a Facebook fan page.

And I decided I might switch majors... before I even start it. Three years early. I love journalism, that's why I blog, but my English teacher made me write a news article and... uh... I don't like it. Then again, I just hate that class.

But yeah. As you can tell, I need a hug from my pillow friend right now. So, your homework is to get a pillow friend. They're so much fun to be around.

Can't wait to talk to mine!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This Day, Eleven Years Ago

Jeez, y'all. I am REALLY sorry about my failure to acknowledge---or really even remember---the attacks of the 9/11 attacks on Washington, D.C. and New York City (and somewhat somewhere in Pennsylvania). Every year I'm supposed to write a short story, a poem, and post lyrics to a song and change my template. Thanks to stupid high school and the terrorist attacks taking place during the school year--- not that they should have taken place at all, I couldn't do all that this year.

So let's take a moment to remember the lives lost on that day of September 11th, 2001.

A sophomore I sit next to in Chinese I asked me (most of us in that class are freshmen) if any of us even remembered the events of that day. Most of the kids did--- they were at preschool and were happy because they were let out early for a reason they did not yet understand, and one kid was even stuck in India.

It makes me think. One of the kids that has clear memory of that day is younger than I am. So it makes me wonder, how come I don't remember ANYTHING about that day?

Maybe it's because I don't really remember anything clearly before 2002. Or because I lived in Utah and nothing happens there. But the Base my family was stationed at was a really major base, so that doesn't make the most sense. Maybe because my mom says I was still asleep when the attacks happened and taking a nap for the majority of the day. Or because my mom didn't really watch the news that day (and my dad, well, he was working into the night that day). Or because it didn't affect me personally.

Or did it?

There is someone I knew of, someone. I remember my dad talking about him. I don't remember if his name was on the Vietnam Wall or some kind of 9/11 memorial. But does that affect ME?

Not really. That affects my dad, not me.

And it's funny, I have a killer memory. I can remember things said up to nine years ago, and you wouldn't even remember anything about that day. It's the little things, too. Looking out at the Layton (somewhat near Salt Lake City) sunset at age three, making foil Olympic torches for the Salt Lake Olympics when they were held about thirty minutes from my house, when the movers were putting my then-bunk bed into my room when I moved to Ohio in 2003, asking for a M&M when I met my first Ohio friend. I remember all this, but how could I not remember something as major as that?

I'll never know why. What if something really did happen that day that I'm simply choosing not to remember? What if I've remembered all along but I'm just not paying attention? What it's something that I have yet to truly understand?

I think that's it. The third one. It seems like with every image, every video, every story. I'm learning something more and more about that event and it's leading up to something I've forgotten...

But what have I forgotten? They said that 9.11.01 will never be forgotten, but for me, it already has been...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer Ain't Over Yet!

Nothing tastes better than a nice, warm glass of half-and-half lemonade and berry tea. But as the days grow colder and shorter, all of our summer traditions have to be put on hold once again. School may be back in and homework is taking over, but HOLD ON!

Summer's not over yet! The autumn solstice does come along for at least a week. So, it's time to do some of those summer things while you still can! One of those summer things? Sun tea!

I was reading Our Goodwin Journey, and I saw a post on how to make classic summer sun tea. My reaction was, "Well, what's so special about tea that I left outside? Can't I just heat some up in the microwave or on the stove?"

Yes, you can just put a cup of tea in the microwave or heat up a pot on the stove. But trust me, making sun tea is not something you'll regret. It can be healthier, it tastes crisper, it's already warm, and no sugar added (unless you want to add some to your drink). What could possibly be better? Trust me, you'll taste the difference.

However, there is one hazard that comes along with this. Lukewarm water can carry some kind of amoeba that long story short can make you sick. Simply heat up the water in the microwave for about three minutes so it will boil and then use it, and you're fine.

So, let's get started!

You will need about five tea bags for a big jar and three for a small one, making eight if you'll be making both (which I highly recommend). I used Lipton tea here, but today (this is an older photo) I used one bag of berry tea along with it. So, that being said, don't be afraid to use some interesting flavors along with it!
Lemon juice is what will make it taste like half-and-half lemonade and tea (especially when you add sugar to your glass or pitcher). It also gives that crisp, strong taste.
Make sure you boil in the microwave (or stove, if you have time to waste) five cups of water, approximately. That will give you the amount of sterilized water you need, or distilled, or whatever you call it.
You need an outdoors. Which, shouldn't be too hard to find. Your yard must be on Earth for the right result. So, sorry if you live on Gallifrey. But if you have enough money for a computer, most likely you have enough money for a house. And even without one, you've probably been outside before. You're going to need the outdoors to make sun tea, hence the word 'sun.'
Leave your tea outside for about four to five hours, preferably from 10 am. to 3p.m. or 12p.m. to 4p.m. And voila! You have nice, warm sun tea/lemonade! Pour it over some ice or, if you desire, sugar. And htere you go, it's summer all over again!

I think I might post a different recipe for tea every season. A cinnamon kind in autumn, a cold-fighting one in winter, an herbal one in spring. What do you think?

Drink it up, before "winter comes and summer forgets me."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Face it and Embrace it: You're Different!

You're different. You're weird. You're unique. No one is like you and you're like no one. You're different. Special. How do you feel about that?

Do you feel insulted? Like you have a place in this world? Like there's something wrong with you? Do you not know how you feel at all?

I'll tell you how I used to feel about that. I'm one special kid, let me tell you. The kind that gets all worked up over something completely nerdy (like Doctor Who or the Olympics or Narnia), is completely peevish over things like chipped nail polish and people writing with pencils and using chalkboards, will show up in an unpredictable outfit--- matchy-matchy sometimes, all over the place another day (and people are all like, "what are you wearing?" Listen up, buddy: Last I checked, you didn't own a Coach bag, or even a pair of heels, so who are you to talk about my outfit?" Yeah, I'm quite peeved). I'm all for art, music and gymnastics, not football, math and high school drama.

I didn't like being different because I was constantly being criticised for it.

People, stop pulling the "stupid" card! We are all unique. I've been called stupid by classmates, teammates, etc. I used to believe it in like, elementary school. At  my current school, people, I think, don't really think that of me. But still. They assume I'll fail the math test (speaking of which, I probably did fail today's Algebra test). They'll say "I bet even Hope knows that!" I used to just laugh along as if it didn't hurt, but guys, it does. No, I am not the best at math--- my only goal is just to pass it so I can graduate on time. But the problem isn't always others. Sometimes, it's you. Do YOU think you're stupid because of something small? Get over it.

Okay, come on. we can't all be Asian. We can't all be muscular or thin. We can't all be tall or short. We can't all look like McKayla Maroney or Aliya Mustafina or those Tumblr models. Ladies, do you expect freshman boys to look like Calvin Klein models? Hopefully not, else you need to snap to reality. I used to have a problem with this. I have to literally GAIN weight to fit into homecoming dresses. I have a pair of cutoffs that I've had since I was eight (and they're still comfy!). Undereye circles. Smaller bust. I look terrible in a leotard. Never picture ready. NEVER. I never liked being 5'8". But then I realized: Many girls would KILL to be my height and maybe they could model, too. Many girls would kill to have my lack of ability to gain weight. No one looks good in a leo, unless your name is McKayla Maroney or Sam Peszek. And who cares about cup size? Seventh grade boys? GET OVER IT. Stop wasting time hating your body and chasing things you'll never have, because you'll never know who sees those "flaws" as perfection.

Stop chasing those who will never chase after you!
I definitely have a problem with this. Just like any other teenage girl. You meet a guy or he's been your friend forever and it just connects. I think he's the one. Long story short, he's not, your heart gets broken, you cry, the world ends. Though I'm not saying don't fall in love, I'm saying that there can be someone out there that notices your differences.. and actually likes them. And you don't notice them because you're too busy noticing someone who will never notice you. So keep your eyes open.

Realize that you can't be---or do---everything.
I was watching the latest episode of "Switched At Birth," and a guy was talking to Daphne, a deaf girl who got a job in his kitchen without him knowing of her disability, and he told her something like this: "You've probably grown up being told that you can be anything you set your mind to. Well I'm going to be honest. You can't.  I can't be a jockey, I'm too tall. My sister can't be a singer on Broadway, she doesn't sing too well. We're all made differently."

That is what really got me writing this post. We all have a different purpose. You can't be everything. And while nothing is impossible with God, there might be a different purpose for your life than becoming an Olympic gymnast and famous musician. You were born for this.

Born for what, exactly?

Born to be different. Stop fitting in and stand out. You are different for a reason. If you find yourself best at music, maybe you should be a sound technician, worship leader, or composer or teacher. If you think engineering is your thing, maybe you could create some things. If you love to write, start a blog or write a book, maybe some songs. You're different. Do something about it.

And if they judge you? They can screw it. Because you wanna know what they're trying to hide?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Artists who NEED to Collaborate!

Some musicians just make me fangirl. They inspire me to become a better musician, to keep chasing my dreams, to one day become successful (take note of this: "successful" doesn't have to mean "famous!").

Great musicians need great friends. Great friends make great collabs. I'm actually thinking about forming a folk band this year with some of my school friends!

So, here are some artists that NEED to meet up and make some songs together.

1. The Secret Sisters and Eden's Edge
Would you believe how big these two "unknown" bands have gotten? The Secret Sisters are on The Hunger Games album. Eden's Edge is pretty much mainstream. I found out about Eden's Edge through Deas Vail (the lead singer, Hannah Blaylock, is the sister of Deas Vail's lead singer, Wesley Blaylock) but it should have been the other way around! Still, there is some serious talent running in the Blaylock genes. Imagine these two country/folk bands together. Just imagine.   2. The Good Mad and Eden's Edge
Listen to "Follow Your Heart" and then listen to "Too Good to be True" again. I think THIS would be a SERIOUSLY EPIC collab. Maybe just because these are my absolute favorite country bands. 3. The Musical Dorks and Megan and Liz
I don't know why I want them to collaborate. But I do. 4. Measure and Death Cab for Cutie
I am seriously obsessed with "Begin Again" and these two bands' piano rock indie styles (even though neither are very indie anymore!) would just be beautiful together. So come on... why not? 5. Athlete and Coldplay
These bands are both British, creative, amazing, and have got me fangirling every time I hear another one of their amazing songs. Coldplay's new album makes me dance. Their older stuff reaches into my soul, same with Athlete. 6. Kari Jobe and Katie Costello
These two girls sound like angels. 7. Yael Naim and Chad Sugg
I love this world-y feel both songs have. You know, the kind of music that brings you home no matter where you are. 8. Taylor Swift, Hannah Blaylock (Eden's Edge), Wesley Blaylock (Deas Vail)
These three artists. Together. Oh, yes.