On Being Overwhelmed

Hello there. I’ve been meaning to post for over a week, reviewing a novel I recently read, but as you can tell, that hasn’t happened. 

Today I feel like I need to get some things out of my system. I didn’t know if I really wanted to share this with the world (I still don’t, honestly), but I know there are others out there who feel exactly like I do at this very moment. 

I am overwhelmed. And it’s not the busyness that is overwhelming; I love being busy. It’s what I’m busy doing that is draining me completely. Some days, like today, I don’t feel like doing anything. I can’t find the joy in things I love some days, and that includes writing and playing the piano. Most weekdays, I dread getting out of bed because as a type A personality I hate feeling like I’m wasting time and that is exactly what a lot of my activities feel like: wasted time. 

I’ve mentioned my distaste for school before. It’s only grown. Because no matter what people say to me, I feel like the hours I spend on it are wasted. I could be doing so many other things, better things that will be of more use to me in the future. I won’t use geometry (and someone, please wipe it off the face of the earth), I won’t go into any STEM fields so I really don’t need chemistry, and I’ve already established my political views so government (or at least so much of it) isn’t necessary. It’s school that overwhelms me.

It’s not that I hate it. In fact, the only subject I truly detest is math. It’s just that, on top of the things I do that make me feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile, I have to spend the majority of my day on school. So in that sense, I do hate it. 

It’s just frustrating, really, to have a million things you feel like you should be doing, but you can’t because you’re forced to do other things. And there’s a couple verses in Ephesians (5:15-16) that talk about making the best use of the time. And, at least for me, school is not the best use of the time. 

There’s also chores, piano, books to write, my job, and other things. I don’t mind chores; I’d take them over school because at least it feels like I’m doing something worth my time. And my job is amazing; the girls I babysit are awesome and I love them so much.

The play I was recently in had testimonies from Hell. It was a Christian production, and I can’t put into words how powerful it was, especially as a cast member. But one of these “Hell testimonies” is from a woman who was so busy she didn’t have time for Jesus. Oh, it’s relatable. Since hearing the testimony, I’ve started trying to make God a part of everything I do, no matter how busy. I do my best to pray throughout the day and to read Scripture each morning. But the way this testimony is delivered, as the woman lists everything she had to do in a way that sounds like she is drowning… I know what that feels like. Some days I do feel like I’m drowning. But unlike the woman in the play, I have Jesus. 

So I guess the whole reason I’m writing this is to get things off my chest, and to be thankful that I’ve got God, because He is amazing and He whispers “you can do this” when I need it. 

This is also why I haven’t posted this past week. I’ve felt more overwhelmed than usual, and just haven’t been able to get on here and blog. 

Thank you for reading this. And it would mean the world to me if you’d say a little prayer for me sometime. 🙂 And know that I’ll pray for you, too.

-Clara

Effie Trinket Makeup Tutorial

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Hello, my darling Tributes!

Yesterday was my annual end-of-season cross-country banquet and costume run, and I dressed as Effie Trinket (no surprise there). I went for an outfit inspired by her Mockingjay Part One costume because a) I had the stuff to do it and b) it was easier to run in. My makeup, however, was Capitol Effie: lots of glitter, pink eye makeup, and crazy eyelashes.

As Halloween approaches, I thought I’d share with you how I achieved my Effie-esque makeup in case you’re planning on being everyone’s favorite Capitol escort this Halloween!

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You know what could use a revolution? That hair. 

To start, I wanted to make my face a bit paler, so I combined my regular foundation  with the white cream makeup you can find in almost any Halloween makeup kit. I mixed the two products together on a paper plate and then applied it using a makeup sponge. I also put some on my lips.

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After foundation.

I used a little bit of translucent powder (mine is Maybelline) to set the foundation. I didn’t really use blush for this look; instead I took some pink cream makeup from that Halloween makeup kit I mentioned earlier and, using a sponge, applied it to my cheekbones. Over top of it I dusted some of Rue 21’s shade “Showtime” from the Bare Nudes palette. Then I used the glitter gel from the Halloween kit over my cheeks.

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You can kinda see the pink shimmer on my cheeks.

Next, I did my eyebrows. Effie’s brows are very pale, so I took the old mascara wand I use as an eyebrow brush and rolled it in the leftover cream foundation mixture, then brushed it through my brows. I had to blend it in with my fingers to keep it from being clumpy, then brushed my brows again and put a little glitter gel on them.

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I think I made them a little paler post-picture, but you get the idea.

Now for the eyes… I have this dollar-store palette of crazy colors. As a matter of fact, most of what I used on my eyes came from the dollar store.

I took a cream-colored shimmery shadow and put it all over my lid; it came from Maybelline’s The Blushed Nudes palette (I love that palette so much; it was about $10 at Walmart and works for every makeup occasion). Then, taking the aforementioned dollar-store palette (pretty sure the brand is L.A. Colors), I took the hot pink shadow and put some on my outer corner, then took the purple shade from the same palette and put it out towards my temple. In the center of my eye, I took the lipstick I ended up using on my lips (a very, very bright pearlescent pink from the dollar store as well; I believe the brand is Wet’n’Wild) and put a little on my lid and blended it in. In my inner corner I used a shimmery white color from the most recent Clinique Bonus Time palette; I don’t know if it’s still available, but any light shimmery shade will work.

Taking a sponge, my mom came behind me and blended that purple shadow into a point, then I put a little more glitter gel on it, being careful not to get it too close to my eyes.

Swipe on some mascara.

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Finished eye makeup.

I finished with some false eyelashes from Walmart, from the Halloween department, and then using the lash glue I attached a rhinestone as a beauty mark. For my lips, I used a bright pearlescent pink, blotted it, and then put some shimmery light pink eyeshadow over it.

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Finished makeup!

That’s it! Finish with your costume, and you’re ready to go as Effie Trinket!

Who are you planning to dress up as this Halloween? 

-Clara

NaNoWriMo is Less than a Month Away…

So I am back from one of the craziest weeks of my life… If you’ve ever done theater, you understand the insanity that is tech week and a three-show weekend. But everything went well and we had a good crowd for every performance.

But anyway…

How is it already NaNo prep season?

If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Essentially, you try to write a novel in a month. Only I’m cheating a little this year because I’ve already started my project.

I’m still able to do the blessed Young Writers Program and set my own word count goal, so no 50,000 word-counts for me. Not in a single insane month. One day, perhaps, when I’m no longer trying to release books in November.

This will be my third year of NaNoWriMo. The first year, I had a 30,000 word count goal and I reached it on November 29th. That book is Captain Guinevere, and the sequel should *hopefully* be out in late November, but no guarantees. The second year I didn’t hit my word count goal at all because killing beloved characters induces terrible writer’s block for months on end. No lies; that is the reason the sequel to the aforementioned novel is still not even fully edited.

So. NaNoWriMo 2017. What am I going to write? Well, I’m not going to write the third book of the Gwendolyn Trilogy. I will eventually, of course, but book 2 has really exhausted me and Gwen and I need some distance. It’s not that I’m not excited about it, as a matter of fact I’m very excited about it (emotional drama! Yay!), but I really need to take a break from those characters. No matter how beloved they are to me. Especially Aldric. He is my love and I just want to give him a hug. I’m planning to start book three around late December/early January.

Instead, I’m going to work on this idea I’ve been formulating for a couple months. I’ve already got close to 6,000 words and have set my word count goal for at least 20,000 more in November. It’ll be no where close to done by the end of the month, but it’ll be well on its way.

I haven’t titled it yet, but it’s kinda The Wrath and the Dawn meets Falling Kingdoms. But more Wrath and the Dawn than anything. I need to write a synopsis, but I’m still figuring out major plot points.

Essentially, it concerns a prince (I’d planned for him to be dark and brooding à la Magnus Damora, but he’s more like a Russian version of Khalid) and a princess (she’s from an Arab style country) and of course I forced them to marry each other. I love arranged marriage stories, if you haven’t noticed. So the prince, Nikolai, has a curse that needs to be broken (how that’s gonna happen I don’t know yet) and then there’s some political intrigue and romance. Lots of romance.

It’s rather loose right now, but I have a feeling as I flesh out the characters some more things will start to fall into place. But it’s a very fun project so far and I love writing it.

So as NaNoWriMo begins, I’m hoping to do weekly updates on the project and share some aesthetics/mood boards and maybe a playlist for the book if I feel up to making one. If you have anything you want to know about my writing projects, please let me know!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it before? Let’s talk!

-Clara

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Spoiler Free)

To put it simply: this is the creepiest book I’ve ever read. But I loved it. 

And to put it not-so-simply:

I’m not much of a mystery reader, and I really don’t know why. Because I always enjoy them (even when I want to make sure all the lights are on and glance over my shoulder every five seconds), and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None was no exception. It was very creepy. Much creepier than her other novel I read, Murder on the Orient Express (that I also enjoyed). 

For a bit of a summary: 

10 people are lured to a mysterious island, and one by one they begin to die, counting down and following a nursery rhyme.

Honestly, the nursery rhyme is what made it scary. I know that original fairy tales and the like really aren’t kid friendly, but all the same, the whole thing about the soldier boys and all the deaths that really followed the thing… Yeah. It was just scary. 

It was a very well done novel and I couldn’t guess who was the murderer. But I felt really stupid when Agatha revealed it. As is often the case with me and mysteries. Have you read And Then There Were None? Do you like mysteries? Tell me your favorite mystery story in the comments!

Also: in case there are no posts from me next week, I am in a play and it will be tech week so my schedule will be even more hectic than usual. So if you don’t hear from me, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the Earth. 🙂 

-Clara