Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hiatus...

Here's a little update for everyone. Degrees of Life will be taking a Hiatus until Sunday, October 30th, 2011. These next 2 weeks we will have no new posts. We are trying to figure out some things and a new schedule and to replace a girl or two.

So, if you'd like to join our team. Go to the page tab that says JOIN US.

Sunday, October 30, 2011 will be the the theme Cities.

Sorry for the inconvenience to all of you!

We love you!

xo
Stephanie

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Holy Cow

I love to read. Lately I've been getting more into memoirs. Some Girls by Jill Lauren I just finished and I am now reading Holy Cow by Sarah Mac Donald. Both books involve girls going abroad and their misadventures. Jill Lauren's books is by far a more interesting read, but I'll keep an open mind about Mac Donald. Augusten Boroughs and Diablo Cody also have great memoirs.

But by far my favorite authors in fiction are Lisa See and Wally Lamb. I think they both manage to portray their narrative females convincingly.  See's books I'm sentimental for because they often are about friendship and how important it is. Her heroines go through many hardships, but their bond is what keeps them strong through to the conclusion.  Lamb surprised me, I'll admit. Never have I read a book, written by a man, that made such a convincing female character- narrative-wise, as he does. My favorite books by him are She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True. Both are fantastic reads! IKTMIT is 900 or so pages, but I couldn't put it down!

I just started a GoodReads account. I think this is the right link to mine My list isn't complete yet, but if you have an account- lemme know! I'm always looking for new books. C:

Side note: anyone doing anything for Halloween?

<3 Tiff


Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's England Baby

I know we usually have a theme we follow every week, but this week I absolutely have to write about the good ol' UK! I've been living here for a little less than a month and it has already been the most amazing experience of my life.

Plymouth, England- Lighthouse by The Sound

I'm spending the year abroad here in Plymouth- one of the most southern bits of England located right next to The Sound. Actually, the first group of settlers aboard the Mayflower launched from Plymouth! It is the 14th largest city in England and is rich with culture, scenery and historical and modern sites alike. 

I'm studying Media Arts at the university here and I couldn't be more in love with my course. I get credit for making pinhole cameras, taking pictures, making silly videos, writing stories and having craft time! I have already learned so much in the span of a few short weeks and I can't wait to see what is in store for me the rest of this year...

Rolland Levinsky Building- University of Plymouth

I never realized what terrible stereotypes are placed on Americans until I came here until one day in class a girl asked me if my life is really like 90210. I'm not saying that people here hate or even dislike Americans...on the contrary! For the most part they really like America and (some) Americans as a whole. We are described as "fun, loud, sometimes rude, extremely opinionated, and a little naive." I don't think that is a bad or wholly untrue way to sum us up, do you? 

Is This How Americans View The World?

Unfortunately coming here made me realize just how uneducated I actually am about the world. The one bad thing about the American education system is that it tends to focus primarily on the US and the US alone. What about the rest of the world, though?! I have learned so much about geography, world beliefs and politics, stereotypes, wars, and the view of America since coming here. Let me just say: It has been an eyeopening experience. 

Well, that's just a little bit of background on my visit/experience here so far. Next time I will tell some exciting stories and show a little of my photography that I've been working on whilst here! Enclosed below is a picture of myself and some of the members of a club I joined here at the Uni! Can you spot me??

Plymouth Windrider's Club- "Colours" Night!


xoxo Mel




Monday, October 10, 2011

Authors

I decided to write about Authors this week. Now when I first saw this as a possible theme I immediately thought to write about one of my favorite authors. When today finally came, I didn't know how to pick my favorite author because I have so many favorites. So, instead of talking about a specific author... I decided to write about different authors and what it's like being an author (not that I am a published author, other than this site, but I do write and would like to have my stuff published).

For starters, I recently join this amazing site: Book Blogs and let me tell you, I have met quite a few fellow bloggers and it's only my fourth day there. However, there is an actual story to tell you. I became friends with this girl, Emlyn. She is having this blog tour that I will be participating in. It includes a whole lot, but what I will be doing is featuring all of it on my new blog where I write book reviews and so much more. I think this is an amazing idea. It not only promotes her self-published novel but it also lets her get to know awesome people and let her fans/readers get to know her more. I'm definitely recommending this as a must for fellow writers/authors to do this for your own works of art.

Secondly, ever since I started this new blog ("Little Red Reads"). I have a deeper love for writing. This is a whole new world for me (yes, a disney reference, haha) in the aspect of writing reviews and having contests and gaining other writers/authors as friends. It makes me want to write and finish my writings (and my collab book) even more!

I know this is short, but there's a lot of information here and I do have to get ready for work. However, there is one more thing I'd like to touch base on... Tracey and I have been having some trouble with this site and some of the members that participate on this site. We have been thinking that maybe we have to take a VERY short hiatus and get this blog up and running better and smoother. Also, we are still taking in applications for new members, GO HERE for what to do.

Hope you all have a wonderful week
xoxo
stephanie

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time, time, time... have you got any?

It's sorta funny. The shortness of this blog is related to the fact that this week I have been entirely too busy. Well not that bad, but more than usual. I have had a lot of occasions come up last minute. It's one of those things where you really think you have a lot more time to do things that you really don't have time for. But the last few days I feel like time has been blooming out of nowhere. I felt as though I was going to have no time to do anything. But really I was able to fit in a lot more than I thought I would. It seems as of late...it is always the opposite of what I think.

Sorry this is so short. I have an incredible need to go to sleep right now because I have a super long weekend! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Passionate about this topic

In my ideal world everyone would be so fortunate to lose their virginity with someone they have passion for. It's a moment everyone will remember, it's one of the many "firsts" people have. Sex is a taboo topic for many, which I respect. My best friend spat out her drink over a lunch meet-up when I told her about my previous retail occupation, which I talk a bit about later.

Passion is important. I don't think passion is a synonym for lust.  Passion, to me, means to have a deep love for something or someone.  But first hearing 'passion' and 'virginity' the two seems so distant. Virginity gets a bad rap, and it shouldn't.  Too many people rush into having sex. Which is their choice. But it saddens me when boys and girls out there feel pressured to lose their virginity to 'fit in', only to regret the decision. If you feel ready or unready- trust your gut and don't succumb to peer pressure because no one lives your live but yourself.

I realize that not everyone is comfortable talking about passion in terms of sexual activity. My old job involved the sale of "adult novelties" and it was actually a joy to help people find that passion again. They still had love for their partners, but the spark dimming. And apparently it's common enough to base a whole industry around to enhance and rekindle that type of passion. Just like how I feel that virginity should not be shamed, I don't feel like people acting on their sexuality-related passions should feel shamed.

Hope everyone enjoys the holiday weekend!

<3 Tiff

PS. Nikita is amazing! Love that show!<3

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Passion Doesn't Have to Be Sexy (Asian Americans in Television)

Here are some things I will talk about today:
  • The Glee episode "Asian F" 
  • Asian Americans in television and film 
  • Disney 
Here are some things I won't be talking about (extensively anyway):
  • virginity 
  • sex
First off, I'm just not comfortable talking about sex.  I firmly believe that nobody is fully, completely, and totally comfortable talking about sex.  There is a taboo about it and I am 100% under its control.  I don't like talking about anyone's virginity or sex or anything related to genitalia for that matter unless you have a yeast infection and need me to go pick up your medication or something.  Okay.  End of that matter.  Just not comfortable.  End of story.

I do, however, love to talk about my passions.  I am never happier than when I'm watching a television show I like or introducing a television show to someone and watching them laugh or become interested, and then all of a sudden I'm improving their life.  Like just today I was watching Angel (Buffy spin-off) and our guests lingered for about 10 minutes just watching it because it was so engaging.  I was so pleased.  I love TV.  I love movies.  I love when TV and movies feature Asian Americans.  I even cut Glee some slack because it has Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.), and I watch it every week even though it constantly breaks me heart.  I am so passionate about TV that I let Glee break my heart weekly with the way it portrays Asian Americans.  TV breaks my heart a little but at the same time mends it weekly with some progress and set backs in terms of Asian Americans.  That's my thing.  That's my passion. 

I was so happy when Nikita renewed.  You should all watch it so it gets renewed again.  Girl power!
Spoiler alert.  This week's episode of Glee called "Asian F" would lead you to believe that the episode would focus solely on Mike Chang's conflict with his parents.  Success at Harvard or dancing, being an artist? Mike's very Chinese American parents (well his dad anyway) want him to give up dancing and the glee club so that he can focus on his grades so he can get into Harvard.  Ohnoes he got an A- THAT'S A FAILING GRADE.  It was so stereotypical and insufferable, I was so embarrassed.  Then after a few minutes of Mike Chang Footloose-ing it out in a dance studio room his mom came in and said everything was going to be peachy.  I think Mike Chang's exciting "background story" lasted 10 minutes out of a 42 minute episode.  I was so disappointed. 

But it's not all bad.  Glee just has its cocky head up its butt right now.  Blaine (Darren Criss) and Coach Beiste are really the only consistently good elements, but I firmly believe that anything remotely good automatically makes the viewing worth it.  And oft times just one Asian American character on a tv show is enough to make me loyal to it.  Take Pretty Little Liars for instance.  So many people make fun of me for watching it, but did you know that one of the main characters who was supposed to be this red-headed wasp lesbian (who didn't need to be white in the tv show) is actually this gorgeous Filipina-Canadian? Progress. 

Filipina-Canadian Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars
So here's a list of TV shows I feel everyone should watch for the Asian-descent/ Asian American characters, mostly because I hope that this will boost viewership and prevent the eeky studios from cancelling them.  :3
  • Nikita (lead character Nikita played by gorgeous Maggie Q) 
  • Terra Nova (British Sri-Lankan actress Shelley Conn plays Elizabeth Shannon)
  • Pretty Little Liars (Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields) 
  • Community (Danny Pudi as Abed, Ken Jeong as SeƱor Chang) 
  • Modern Family (you should watch this amazing show anyway, but the gay couple's Asian daughter Lily is adorable, AND she's growing up) 
Is it really sad that I was imagining that list to be longer? Anyway, that's what I'm passionate about--that's what my life revolves around.  I love TV, and I love being Asian American, and I hope one day I'll make an impact on the film industry where it will treat Asian Americans nicer (see: basically all of Hollywood history where Asian American actors were discriminated against, but if you want to look at the one film that screws them all, check out the travesty that is The Last Airbender).  I could write a whole, beefy post about what I find wrong with The Last Airbender

Anyway, it's 4 in the morning.  Bed time for me.  Tata!~
xoxo
- Nerd Girl

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

(The Loss of) My Virginity and Other Views on the Matter of Sex


I remember virginity being a HUGE deal to me throughout middle and high school. I was pressured by my family, teachers and the community to remain chaste... In high school we even had to sign "ATM" (abstinence 'til marriage) cards in our sex ed classes. We were told it was optional but, c'mon...


Due to all the nonsense I was told, I ended up feeling extremely closed minded about sex and intimacy as a whole. I thought it was dirty and I looked down on others who were starting their sexual journeys simply because that is what I was taught. Looking back now, I feel terrible for the pretentious and puritanical way in which I acted towards my peers who were just doing what is only natural. 


Needless to say, I did lose my V card eventually. Luckily, I lost it to someone I really cared (and still care) about. Although, let me just say now: PLANNING on losing your virginity is a big NO NO. Although we were definitely in love at the time and had been dating for years, the fact that we planned when and where to lose our virginities completely took the spark out of it and made the whole night absolute rubbish! And also, choosing to lose your virginity on Valentine's day is, well, a liiiiiittle over done. 


Well, after the big loss of my V card on that fateful V day, my horizons sure have broadened! I definitely don't think sex is bad or wrong or immoral any more. Now that doesn't mean I'm going to have sex with every Jim, Jack and John that walks through my door; in fact I don't ever plan on having sex with someone I don't really care about, but sex is an extremely personal thing- everyone has their own view on it. Some people may have sex with hundreds of people in their lifetime and some might only have sex with one, but either way it's an individual decision that people need to learn to respect. 


xoxo Mel

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Little Update & A Little Passion/Virginity

THE UPDATE:: Okay, so most of you have noticed that we haven't had very many postings as of lately. Most of it is due to schooling. Unfortunately, Vicki will no longer be writing with us because it's too much for her at this time. So we will be looking for at least 1 more girl (depending on if we hear from everyone else). For now, I will be taking over on Mondays. Also, we'd love to have some Guest Bloggers! It's 16 weeks into this and we have only had 1 person send in a post and hers is being featured on our Guest Bloggers Blog at http://dolguestposts.blogspot.com/ It's simple to do. All you have to do is pick out one of the themes that we have done (or the current one) and email us at degrees.of.life.blog@gmail.com Include your posting (and any pictures if you want them), your name, and if you have a blog give us the link so we can feature you! Also, I made a vlog for it and here it is::
Okay and that's enough, now for my post! =]

passion flower
Passion and Virginity. The two sometimes collide, if you're lucky. For me, losing my v-card had no passion or romance in it whatsoever. I literally lost it in the back of a car in a church parking lot. I know, I'm going to hell. As much as I would have liked to have my first time be some magical moment, I'm almost glad that it wasn't. By not having it be magical and passionate and romantic, it gave me the sense that it's overrated. Now, I'm not saying that it's not fun, because it is. But now, I only want to give that part of me to someone I truly care about and who cares about me just as much or more. Now, I do believe that you shouldn't partake in that act without having feelings for each other. I do think that it is a very intimate act and it should be done with people that care for you. And yes, I am going to tell my kids to wait until they actually care for someone rather than getting into the back seat of a car with a guy who is a total "Barney Stinson pre-Robin." Because I do think that it is important.

 Passion isn't always about sex. It could be about things that you are passionate about. Now, as most of you know that my biggest passion is writing. It makes me happy and it's therapeutic. I not only write in this blog, but I have a personal blog ( EdenKaye ) but I also have a writer's journal blog ( A Red Head Writer's Journal ). I do not update every day, but I am getting better. I also write stories. Currently I have about 20 unfinished stories that I would like to finish and maybe hopefully get published. I am also collaborating on a book with Tracey (yes, the very Tracey that is also on here =] ). Tracey and I have a blast when we are writing our book. I'm also trying to get on the Newspaper at school. Writing is just an all around great thing.

Anyways, I know this is a short post from me. But I have a lot of homework to go do.
Much love to all of you!
xoxo
Stephanie

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beauty spill into passion and passion into...

It's funny. I used to think passion was always involved in losing one's virginity. See I grew up hanging out with a group of people that believed fully that we would save ourselves for marriage unless we got in a very passionate situation and let it go. Oddly enough, that is not at all what happened for me.

I do believe the experience of losing your virginity is a different experience for everyone.

Mine wasn't so romantic or passionate. Over the years my beliefs and opinions on these things changed quite dramatically. This is not to say that I no longer believe in God- because I do. But I got to a place where I really didn't care about my virginity in the least bit. So, a drunken night out with friends ended in the loss of my it to someone I didn't know all that well.  I am not upset about it really. But I do wish I had a better story that didn't make me sound like someone that would sleep with anything that breathes.

As much as it may sound bad, I wouldn't take it back either. Ever experience has it's purpose. I feel every person that has been in my life has been their for a reason and is still/isn't still in it for a reason as well. I don't judge others for the ways that their virginity no longer existed because I know that even though I am very sexual, I'm also not a slutty person at all.

I can see the importance in saving that sort of thing for someone that means a lot to you instead of someone you barely know. It's interesting how it doesn't really bother me I made that "mistake." I guess I just feel as though maybe someday if I have a daughter of my own... I can be completely honest with her about the topic.

Although passion has been involved in the rest of my sexual experiences. I don't know if that is saying too much, but I will leave it at that. I have been told several times that I am an extremely passionate person, and I am. I believe I have said more than once now that I feel everything pretty deeply.

I feel as though my personality is quite quirky. That being said, I can be passionate about any one feeling I have at any time. I can go gun-ho happy about something as meaningless as a sports game to something as important and life changing as a wedding day. Passion is something that runs through my veins.

Like I say last week, I see beauty in a lot of things even a simple song that I am listening to. I believe that when I say I feel my heart beating to it that has a ton to do with the level of passion I have for the things I do, people I love, and things I am interested in.

Most people have those things that just get them going, it just gets them so excited. You see a smile spreading across their face or they actually start jumping up and down. Passion runs so many places just as beauty does. It just takes different forms depending on the different person.


beauty

Beauty can be defined in many ways.  "Beauty" or "Beautiful" is not only used to describe physical aesthetics. A person's character or attitude can also be viewed as beautiful by many. Sometimes beauty is inexplicable.

In my Philosophy of Beauty course we discussed this ad nauseum. Many of us can watch a sunset, ooh & ahh at it, and many would say "that is beautiful". But why?  We, as humans, are attracted to beauty and we attach meaning to beauty. Thus attaching a value to beauty. And if an artwork is perceived as beautiful, then by default the artwork has value.

Or we can just live life and stop analyzing the details of why we enjoy sunsets. Silly professor (Interesting course though)! Sometimes people think too much and forget to accept the joy the simple things in daily life can bring. Watch the sun rise and set, dance in the rain, have a snow ball fight during the first snowfall of the year. You'll meet people who's character will touch you, changing your life forever. You don't have to travel to Paris or go to a museum for beauty (though I support travel and art), it's right here. It's in the people you surround yourself with, it's in you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Beauty Is Everywhere; So Stop And Smell The Roses



     Beauty is everywhere in the world. And beauty means something different to everyone. To me, I find beauty in a multitude of things. Life is full of beauty; a lot of it could be superficial like the kids from 'Toddlers and Tiaras.' However, to me, I find more beauty in natural things. Beauty is everywhere, you just have to look for it.
    
     Since it is now fall, my favorite season, you can walk down the street and probably find thousands of things that are beautiful in just five minutes. I know I do. I will walk down my street and I could get entranced by the clouds moving in the sky. The bright colored leaves falling off the trees. Animals singing their tunes. The cool breeze whoosh past me. A hummingbird zipping by. Beauty, to me, is entrancing. It's not this superficial idea that society has made us believe (or try to believe).
     Nature is a very beautiful thing in my eyes. Even the natural disasters that Mother Nature throws our way are beautiful. Scary, yes, but also beautiful. Same with any kind of natural storm. I guess that's what makes me different. I think that storms are prettier than the sun. I prefer cloudy days as to sunny days. I like night rather than day. My mom calls me a vampire for it.
     Speaking of vampires. Vampires are known to be beautiful. They entrance you. Mermaids. Fairies. Mythical creatures who have beauty.

     My absolutely favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn, I feel was very beautiful. She wasn't perfect. She was quirky. She had her faults. But that's what made her beautiful. She had flaws, so she wasn't perfect (nobody is and the sooner people realize that, the better off and more beautiful they will be). She was kind and kept other people in her mind.

     Beauty is not hard to find, you just have to open your eyes and look. Most of the time pretty is on the outside of people and beauty is in the inside. I fully believe in that. I also believe that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder (Plato).

     The next time you walk down the street, stop and smell the roses. Embrace the beauty that nature is giving you and it will make you a bit happier; it always does for me.


xoxo,
Stephanie