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Friday, December 26, 2014

Journey to New Zealand - Tomorrow

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAAAAASS! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday -- I know I did. ;)  Now, I'm super pressed for time, but I knew I had to write a post before I left...  FOR NEW ZEALAND.

Yeah, I know. I know. I can't believe it's happening either. And up until a week ago, I wasn't even sure it was going to happen. Then, after much prayer on all our parts, my dad gave us the "ok," and things started falling into place.

I still can't believe it, and probably won't until we land in Auckland and are greeted with the beauty that can only belong to New Zealand. ^_^

The one thing that has me kinda depressed is the fact that I've caught a cold... Perfect timing, right? -_- Though it hasn't been too terrible (as far as the flu goes), it has been an annoyance and a general pain in the neck. So prayers for my health to be returned would be so, so appreciated. :)

Back to le journey... 10 days in all. It will be a group of 3: my dad, my oldest sister Alissa, and myself. We're heading out tomorrow, getting back the 7th of January. We'll be taking a one-day stop in Hawaii, where we'll stay with a family friend and recover from a bit of jet lag, before heading out from Honolulu to Auckland to begin our New Zealand journey!!!

Below is my "map itinerary" that I created to get my ideas organized. As you can see, we're just doing the North Island, and the general gist of the trip is driving from Auckland to Wellington, and back to Auckland to catch a flight back home -- seeing many awesome sights along the way. :D



What am I most excited about...?

HOBBITON. I've dreamed of visiting this corner of the Shire ever since I saw the Lord of the Rings, 3 years ago. It then became my "life long dream," but the life long-ness got cut short by me visiting it IN A FEW DAYS. Needless to say, I've been having alot of trouble even-ing lately...

There's so many other places that I'm so excited to visit and share with you, but I'm out of time, and must get some sleep before our 5 am wake up call tomorrow.

When I get back (or possibly during the trip; it just depends on our internet availability), you will be hearing all about my journey. PLUS my grandparents helped me buy an awesome new camera for Christmas (a Nikon L830, because you wanted to know ;D) so the pictures will definitely be something to look forward to. :D

And finally, namárië, my friends, and I can not wait to catch up with you again very soon!!!


P.S. Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

4 Perfectly Quick Hairstyles for Christmas


[Now, just bear with me here. This is my first "hair tutorial" kinda thing, so it's far from perfect, I'm not completely happy with how it turned out, aaaand I didn't even take as much time as I should have on it. ;) But it was rather fun cooking it up, and I hope you have fun reading it. :)]

Here follows four of my absolute favorite hairstyles, which are just right for Christmas. They're all easy, quick, and keep your hair under control for when you're helping with Christmas dinner, tearing open gifts, playing with your little cousins, etc. ;)

I hope you love them, and let me know in the comments if you're thinking of doing one for Christmas! :)


This one is a no-brainer. Not only does it looks absolutely adorable, but, BONUS: you can do it the night before, sleep on it, and then take it out whenever you're ready to release your fabulous, no-heat curls!

You will need: One hair elastic, and one sock with the toe cut off, rolled up into a donut shape.

Directions: Put your hair into a high ponytail. Using your sock bun thingy, put all your hair through the hole in the center. Then, starting at the bottom, roll your hair up around the sock, tucking any loose ends into the center as you go to make sure everything stays tidy. This may take a few tries to get perfect, so don't worry if it doesn't look too great at first. Just try again!



I absolutely fail at clever names, but this hairstyle is really just what the title would indicate. ;)

BONUS: This looks amazing with those awesome sock bun curls you created in your sleep!

You will need: 2 bobby pins.

Directions: Section off most of your top hair, and smooth it into one wide piece. Then secure it all at the back of your head with the two bobby pins.



Don't be intimidated by this one if you've never fishtailed your hair before -- it's quite straightforward and easy to get the hang of.

BONUS: This one looks so much more complicated than it actually is, so it'll look like you took forever on your hair, when in actuality, you took less than 5 minutes!

You will need: One normal hair elastic + one small elastic.

Directions: Put your hair into a low side ponytail -- either side works. Take a piece from the back of the pony and bring it around to the left front. Hold that piece there while you take another piece from the back, and bring it across the first piece over to the right side. Hold that there, grab another piece from the back and bring it across the previous piece to the opposite side. Continue this process as far as you want, then tie it off with your small hair elastic.



This one is perfect for those of us with side bangs, as it will keep them away and out of your face.

BONUS: Also the perfect hairstyle to use some of those pretty bobby pins we all have stuffed in our "hair drawer" that we never get to use!

You will need: Two bobby pins.

Directions: Grab a small amount of hair on one side of your part, at the front of your hairline, right down to the front of the ear. Adjust the hair as necessary, then twist it once: away from your face and back. Flatten the twist, then secure upwards with a bobby pin from just behind the top of your ear. Repeat on the other side, and you're done!

~          ~          ~

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Well, the Battle of the Five Armies premiere was last night, and now the final Middle-earth chapter is complete.

It started with joy and ended in tears (and maybe a little laughter over Kili and Tauriel).

We set off from home, after a little hobbit feast that featured lembas bread, Smaug's gold, elven arrow fruit skewers, and BotFA-themed sugar cookies, homemade by my older sister Crystal and I that afternoon -- she was the baker and assistant-designer, and I was the designer and decorator. ;)


Sting, hobbit door, the Lonely Mountain, the One Ring, the eye of Sauron, and (my favorite) Smaug [the adorable]. ;D
One picture before we head off, in all our costumed glory. A ranger, elf of Rivendel, Arwen, battle Tauriel, a hobbit girl, movie Tauriel, and Gandalf the grey/white. ;)
We decided to stop by Walmart to get pics, be stared at, and kill some time. xD
Elves are very picky about their yogurt.
Gandalf wanders the aisles of wally world...
I explain, Amber dances, Crystal laughs...
"Cuties." (See what we did there? ;))
Gandalf and the elves show off their 3D-glasses swag.
But we elves can be very serious, too. ;)
Me and my 2 older sisters. ;) Funny thing as well: it features the costumes that I made for the 3 Hobbit films. Alissa, with much coaxing, donned my first Tauriel costume, Crystal wears Arwen's blood red dress, and, of course, I'm wearing my "battle Tauriel" design. ;)
And after a bit more goofing off, we were able to go get our seats in the theater, sit through 30 minutes of trailers (*eye roll*), and then watch the final Middle-earth movie of our time.

I'll just be honest -- I *sobbed* through the last 45 minutes; and you know a movie is good if it can make you cry that hard.

SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, you'll want to skip the next 2 paragraphs...

While the beginning and middle and the "big battle" were wonderful and exciting and straight up awesome, the end is what really stands out. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking and everything it should have been. Peter Jackson did this final chapter of Middle-earth justice.

I felt Thorin and Kili's pain as they watched their brother and nephew brutally murdered before their very eyes. I cried with Tauriel as Kili lay dead in her arms. My heart hurt with Bilbo as Thorin spoke with him for the final time. I wept as Bilbo said farewell to the dwarves at the doors of Erebor. And when he journeyed back home to Bag-end, and as he began to "pick up the threads of an old life," I could feel the heaviness the adventure had laid on our dear Bilbo's heart.

And then "The Last Goodbye" played, and that was when I realized: it's over. We went "there and back again" with so many wonderful characters, and now it is time to bid Middle-earth a very fond farewell -- but really, it will always live on.

~          ~          ~

"To these memories I will hold.
With your blessing I will go,
To turn at last to paths that lead home.
And though where the road then takes me,
I cannot tell.
We came all this way,
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

[Battle] Tauriel Cosplay - The Final Update

Ahhhh major nostalgia coming on right now... 1 year ago I wrote "the final update" for my first Tauriel cosplay (her "archer" costume). And now here I am, writing the final update for my Tauriel inspired costume.

P.S. I'm really sick of how fast time flies. :P

Anyway. Here we go with this final update about the making of battle Tauriel! :)

Two changes occurred over the past week since my last post. One big one concerning the pop tab chainmail that I made a while back, and one small one of the waist cincher. ;)

After deciding that I didn't like the chainmail made into shoulder armor (I'm so wishy-washy, I know.. xD), my brilliant sister Danielle told me to turn them into bracers. I then told her that the backs of the pop tabs snag really bad on the fabric... to which she replied, "Why don't you just put them on upside down?"

Like I said, brilliant. They look really great with the dress and the cincher... they finish off the look quite nicely. AND it makes the whole cosplay reminiscent of Tauriel's spider dress! (You know, dress/waist cincher/bracers and all;) So I thought that was rather cool how that worked out. :)

Changed to bracers...


The second thing is about the waist cincher... it was really just a fitting issue; it didn't pull in my waist at all, making me look straight, kinda...? Anyway, it was really bothering me, and 2 very simple seams fixed it! So now it looks *so* much better, and I've got an actual waist now. Hah. XD

Welp, I'm gonna have to cut this short now; busy-ness has abounded for moi and I can't find much time to write... but I wanted to check in one last time before The Battle of the Five Armies with the final touches on my costume, so I hope you've enjoyed that. ;)

And, what are your plans for seeing le movie??? (Or, maybe you're not even planning on seeing it... *booooo*) Tell meh in the comments because I love to hear about my peeps. :) :)

Finally... JUST 3 DAYS UNTIL THE COUNTDOWN COMPLETES. Or 2 days, if you're going the night before (like me hehe)... or if you don't live in good ol 'Murica, then a completely different amount of time... but you know what I'm getting at. ;D

Bonus: Elfie. Featuring elf hairstyle and latex elf ears. ;D

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

[Battle] Tauriel Cosplay - Waist Cincher and How I Made It

So, that project I showed you guys' in last week's post and video... well, I finished it today, and am I so excited to show you how it turned out. :D

But I'd like to show you how I made it first.

So. This was my first time making a corset -- more specifically, working with boning.

It's kinda funny: on each of the three costumes I've made for Hobbit premieres, I've done at least one thing that I hadn't before. On my version of Arwen's blood red dress for An Unexpected Journey, I used a sewing pattern and worked with grommets for the first time. Then, I got to work with upholstery leather for the first time on Tauriel for Desolation of Smaug. And now, with battle Tauriel, I've been able to try out my corsetry skills! ;)

Just one of the many reasons why I love cosplay -- you're always learning and gaining new skills! I mean, if I didn't cosplay... I don't think I'd ever have decided to try make a corset... o.O ;D

Done with the little rabbit trail, now on to the details of the making-of:

I started out by getting the fabric in the mail, and really really not liking it. I was wanting a more metallic silver, like the brightness of my pop-tab chainmail. So I was kinda bummed, because I love the pattern of the fabric, and the different ways the pattern catches the light.

So, I sat on it for a few days (not literally), to think over it some more.

I then decided to go ahead and make a mock-up out of it, and if I ended up liking it for the real thing, then cool. If not, I've got a mock up. So, it was a win-win situation, and I began to brain storm, cut, and pin the monstrosity together.

At this point my oldest sister Alissa saw it, and remarked on how gorgeous the fabric was. It was actually already starting to grow on my, and I grudgingly liked how it looked against the dark blue of the dress part of the costume. And so, hearing this from Alissa whose opinion I of course respect, ;) I decide to use the fabric for real, and make this mock up actually be the real thing.


So then I sewed everything up, and, after over coming a few hiccups in the process, I was ready to figure out the boning aspect. I had seen an idea on Pinterest a while back to use heavy duty zip ties in place of boning for DIY corsets, and recalled this from my memory now as I went down to my dad's garage/work shop to see if he happened to have any.

Sure enough, and to my great delight, he did! Stuffed on an old shelf was a bag of super long, *very* heavy duty zip ties. Just what I needed! :)

All trimmed down to the correct sizes and ready to go!
Next up was sewing the channels for the "boning" to slide into. I had seen *another* idea on Pinterest when I was doing a bit of research on making the corset, that you could use the seam allowance of the seams for the boning channels. Simply fold them over to one side, sew it up, and slide your boning in. This idea was border-line brilliant, and saved me a lot of hassle.


So, after ironing the seam allowances down to one side, I pinned and sewed the channels, which were 10 in all, and then slid the zip ties in. This was probably my favorite part of the whole process, because at this point it kind of hit me: you're really making a corset, Beth! ;)

Next was just hemming the edges (which ended up being harder then I had originally thought). I was thinking of doing bias tape, but I decided it'd just be simpler to hem it.

The final thing to do was put the grommets in for the back lacing. I sewed an interfaced lining for where they would go to give the fabric a bit more strength. No, I didn't line the whole corset (do I ever line my costumes..? Uhm no... xD), but the fabric is nice and thick, and I'm only using the corset as a costume piece, so it just wasn't necessary.


And after putting these in, tick tick tick tick BOOM my medieval/elven waist cincher/corset was done! ;) Unless I find some ways to improve it within the next week... ;D



Which also means... I am now 100% ready for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies premiere!!!

8 days left in the countdown...

PS - The final post on the making-of Battle Tauriel will be up within the week! Hint: it's concerning my pop-tab chainmail. Time has altered my ideas for it... and this altered product look so much better than my original idea with the full costume. :D Until then!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

[Battle] Tauriel Cosplay - More Fabric?!

Yes, guys, I know. There has been like absolutely zero cosplay happenings on my blog this past month, and I apologize for that. College plans kind of became the priority for me. ;D

However! This post will rectify that very sad deficit -- because, costume progress posts are just fun. :D

Fabric. That's what came in le mail last Monday (yeah, you've probably noticed by now that I do a lot of my shopping online... xD). And it's for my Battle Tauriel costume. Who wants to see???


And - aren't I adorable - I even made a little video while I was doing a bit of sewing with it... ;)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

10 Things I'm Grateful For (Blog Tag)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the very sweet Evie from Me, Myself and I tagged me for the Grateful Blogger Tag! Thanks so much, deary! I absolutely love getting tagged for this kind of things. :D


Now, I'm gonna cheat a little bit from the actual rules for this because I'm a bit pressed for time right now, just sneaking in a bit of internet-time between the Thanksgiving festivities. ;) But you can find the "official" rules in Evie's post.

But regardless, here's 10 things that I am grateful (thankful!) for this Thanksgiving Day. :)

First, the serious.

1. Jesus, who is the reason I have so much to be thankful for.
2. My dad, mom, and three sisters, who tolerate of all my crazy shenanigans. ;)
3. My friends, who are always there for me when I need a laugh, a hug, or a listening ear.
4. Every single person who reads this little blog of mine. You give me so much joy. :)
5. The year 2014, and the fact I'm still alive to enjoy it... xD

And now, the not-so-serious... ;)

6. The internet. Specifically Pinterest, Blogger, and Facebook... xD
7. Thrift stores -- because I've got a lot of things from second-hand shops that I adore. ;D
8. Fall fashion... I just really love boots. And coats. And scarves. And sweaters. And...
9. My sewing machine and the fact that it still works. I couldn't cosplay without you! XD
10. Unicorn smiles:

Ehehehehhehe... @Karis. XD
The End. ;)

So, like I said, I'm going to cheat and not make a list of tagged bloggers -- I'll instead say whoever is reading this post is tagged! Yes, I, Beth, An Elven Princess, tag YOU for the Grateful Blogger Tag. I'm serious! Go, go write! *shoos you away*

In closing, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving -- and if you don't live in a place where November 27th is Thanksgiving Day, then... I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! ;D

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Adventure at College for a Weekend - Day 3

My recap of the final day at CFAW has arrived. Btw...

"A blog post is never late. Nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it means to."

*that's my excuse for why this post is like kinda late -- BUT IT'S NOT* ;D

CFAW Ends: Saturday, November 8th

10:30 AM - Hey, it's Saturday. I can sleep in if I want. ;D (You've probably noticed by now that I'm a major night owl, and not a morning person at all... :P)

2:00 PM - I hang out at the hotel room and catch up on all the internet happenings, etc., while my mom and dad go to a student-led tour of Liberty's campus. My dad decides to take the quick bus ride over to Thomas Jefferson's summer home to take a tour of it, which left my mom and I to go grab a late lunch together.

2:50 PM - My mom and I go pick up my dad in our rental car, and head over to Liberty's equestrian center to check it out!
Every stable has to have their resident barn cat. ;)
This wasn't on the official CFAW schedule or anything, but since today is pretty much a free day we just decide to drive over and see what it's like -- because, I love horses, and if there's any possibility for riding at Liberty, I obviously need to check it out. ;D

First of all, the facilities are gorgeous! Big outdoor arena, which they have plans to turn into an indoor, and two barns: their older stable has 8 stalls and houses the horses that Liberty owns for the equestrian team to ride and to give lessons to Liberty students on. The new barn they just built has 18 stalls, and houses their boarding horses (owned by students). And, as you can see, acres and acres of rolling pastures for all their horses! ^_^

The actual equestrian team is away at a competition today, so we end up chatting with the stable hands a bit, who give us some great info concerning the whole setup.

In the end... I'm totally trying out for the English team (they have both english and western teams), even if the chances are slim that I could make it. ;D And, hey, if that fails, then there's always riding lessons, which are free for students! They're still getting that program up and running, but maybe by the time I'm at Liberty they'll have it all set up. :)

4:20 PM - After the equestrian center visit, we decide to drive up to Liberty's SnowFlex facility! It's basically a snow-less ski, snowboard, and tubing center, and is the first of it's kind on the East Coast. So, this is pretty cool. ;)

Unfortunately, I stupidly wore the wrong shoes for snowboarding (sometimes fashion is just not functional), which I was *dying* to try, so I settle to try tubing instead . Which was extremely exhilarating (read: scary at first but fun once I got used to it. ;D).

Btw - that picture to the left is me about to go down the "beginner" slope, and the one to the left of that is the "advanced" slope. I went down the "easy" one (which was still quite scary to a girl who has a fairly substantial fear of heights and roller coasters..) 4 times I believe, each time being progressively more fun as I got used to the scariness (don't laugh, please xD), and then I told myself I was going to go down the much longer and higher advanced slope. So I did. And it wasn't so bad. Because I just had to say I did it. ;D

6:15 PM - After tubing, my parentals and I head back down to campus and my mom decides she wants to see the end of the football game which had started at 3:30. And it was still going. #imdefinitelynotasportsfan #everythingtakestoolong ;D Soooo we drop her off...

6:35 PM - Aaaand now my dad and I go have dinner together. We get to have a really great convo discussing Liberty and what I'm thinking about it all, which is good.

7:50 PM - My mom meets us at the cafeteria, and we all drive back to the hotel to re-pack our bags and get some sleep before flying back home the following day. :)

~     ~     ~

My time at Liberty University's CFAW was absolutely incredible. If I had the chance do it all over again, I would in a heart beat. Even if I don't end up going to Liberty, I'm so glad I got the chance to visit it and have such an awesome experience there.

And one last thing... ya'll asked what I'm thinking about Liberty. Do I want to attend? Will I attend? The short answer is - it's all in God's hands right now. :) I want to go, I want to go so badly. It seems like such a perfect choice for me. There's still several hurdles that need to be jumped before I get the green light to go, though, so I'm waiting on Him for the ultimate decision. He could close this door - or He could open it in an incredible way.

In the end, wherever I go to college, God will have put me there, and that's all that matters. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Inferiority, Envy, and Perseverance in What You Love

Hey there.

What do you love? Writing stories, cheering people up, getting a good grade in school, baking cookies, building furniture, making your hair look perfect, sewing costumes... everyone has something that they like to do, and that they're good at.

But guess what? We humans are imperfect beings, and one of our many natural downfalls is our tendency of comparison to others. That's where a major inhibitor of the enjoyment of our talents comes from. It's quite simple, and usually comes in these two forms:

Inferiority and Envy. These two are evil little things that nag your soul and make you feel ill.

I get that depressing, hurtful, grey feeling of inferiority as a slight weight that I can't quite explain, near the right side of my brain, just kind of hanging there... pulling me down lower and lower until I make it cease.

Envy, on the other hand, feels more like a bit of helium trapped in the top of my skull, pulling me up uncomfortably and making me feel as if I'm unnaturally looking downwards with irritation, pride, and disgust.

Needless to say, these feelings are not pleasant. Both are hurtful, though in different ways. Different personalities will be more susceptible to one or the other, but I think most people experience a bit of both when encountering someone who, you believe, is better at your skill than you are.

Now, let me tell this to you straight:

There's always going to be some one who is better than you - whether in abilities, looks, knowledge, or what-have-you, and there's also always going to be some one lesser than you. But do not forget this: neither of these are the qualifier of your skill.

Consider a little story...

A child steps up to a huge grand piano at a recital. Before sliding onto the piano bench, she takes a quick and bashful bow and stands on tip-toe to shuffle her sheet music onto the music stand. She then takes a few seconds to adjust herself on the bench, her tiny feet swinging in mid air above the floor. She begins to play her simple song. The mastering of this piece took her weeks and weeks of hard work, with countless hours of practice and lessons, all of which are culminating to this moment - her moment in the spotlight. She plays with all their heart, obviously enjoying every moment and taking innocent pride in her work. She plays the piece well, though it is not (to more skilled musicians) difficult, impressive, or showy. We, the audience, know we are not witnessing "Beethoven's 5th Symphony," but we still enjoy the music, smile at the sincerity in her skill, and clap loudly when she finishes.

The qualifier of your skill is not how good or bad you are compared to others.

The qualifier of your skill is how you do your skill. Your attitude, your commitment, your desire to accell at it - that is the only thing that matters.

Will the God who made the universe say to you, "You use the gift I gave you well, my child." Will you bring joy to His heart by how you use your skill? Will people who observe your gift be inspired to use their own gifts better?

Because, ultimately, who are you pleasing? Man? Hah. The best they can give you is 15 minutes of fame.

But on the other hand... what if your only aim was to please God?

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Adventure at College For a Weekend - Day 2

You've read Day 1 of my CFAW adventures at Liberty University... and now here's the rundown of Day 2! This was my favorite day of the weekend. I knew my way fairly well around campus, and I had gotten used to "college" life a bit. ;) Also, this day held some awesome experiences, that I'm so excited to share with you. :)

[Edit: Sooo this would have been completed yesterday, but I kinda got stuck watching the behind-the-scenes videos from the Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition... so... yeah. xD]

CFAW Continues: Friday, November 7th

7:00 AM - Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a whole lot of sleep. One of my CFAW room mates has to get up earlier than I do, so I was woken up by her alarm and now I can't get back to sleep. xD

7:35 AM - I give up trying to fall back asleep, and decide to just get up and get myself ready for the day.

8:30 AM - Sarah (the friend-of-a-friend I'm staying with) and I walk down to the bus stop. Yes, the campus is that big, that you have to take a bus to get to class. O_O So, after taking the bus to the Green Hall, we both head to our respective classes. I'm going to Intro to Cinema, which should be quite interesting. :D

9:40 AM - CINE 101 is over, and it was great!! The class was mostly spent looking at artwork (as in paintings and such) -- but before you're completely turned off by how boring that sounds, let me tell you it was so much more intriguing than you would think. The professor was using the paintings as an illustration of how people can experience emotions through art -- and, just like paintings, movies can (even more so) lend emotions to the viewer. Really interesting concept, and it was a neat exercise.

10:00 AM - I [stupidly] decide to walk to Convocation from Green Hall, and arrive at the huge auditorium 5 minutes late as a result... though it was a lovely walk! ;) (Like I said, this campus is huge.) So, now I get to figure out the logistics of finding my parentals so I can sit with them... and after doing so, I can now enjoy Convocation! It starts out with great music by another student band, just like last night's CFAW welcome rally, and then a renowned pastor shared a message with us, and then more singing. 'Twas great. :)

11:30 AM - After my parents talked with another visiting CFAW student, we head over to the dining hall (once again) to have lunch and talk about our experiences with Liberty so far.

12:45 PM - I was going to sit in on another class, Introduction to Screenwriting, but we arrive to the class room late, so my parents and I decide to just go transfer my things from the dorm to their hotel, where I'll be staying the rest of the weekend -- mostly due to the fact that I wasn't able to get quite as much sleep as I wanted last night in the dorms, and it's really just more convenient for everyone involved. I'm glad I stayed in the dorms at least one night, though, so I could have that experience. ;)

4:05 PM - After some "chill time," I felt a bit more rejuvenated and ready to go to the admissions session for the school of communication, from which we broke up into our different communication departments - me, to the Cinematic Arts! This was one of my favorite parts of the weekend... because, yes, that is a Red Epic camera and yes, I did touch it (hah!). And if I go into Liberty's film school, I'LL BE ABLE TO OPERATE IT. *SQUEELS.* Yep, that huge grin is 100% real. ;D ;D

To the geeks out there: This is a Scarlet cam, and worth about $25,000 (with all the extra equipment, such as LCD monitors and lenses). This is Liberty's least expensive camera, actually -- their most expensive is the Red Dragon. $50,000. Yes. Just let that sink in. The same cameras used on The Hobbit trilogy. *cries*

We also got to check out their professional sound mixing room, color editing room, editing lab with tons of super-fast computers with video editing programs, sound recording room, their green screen room... and I think there might have been one more, but I can't remember... Let me just say, all their film facilities were super impressive, and, from what they told us, top of the line. I was basically in awe during the whole tour. ;)

6:00 PM - Dinner in the cafeteria. Delish, as usual. ;D


8:00 PM - Our final event of the day, a super fun Britt Nicole and For King And Country concert in the Vines Center! Like I said, so much fun, and it ended up being really encouraging, spiritually. I'm forever in awe of how God can use anything for His purposes, even a crazy-loud concert (which of course is half the fun! ;)).


10:40 PM - Back to our hotel room, definitely feeling the business of the past two days, and ready for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow is my last day at Liberty and CFAW! It should be less busy than the past two, which will be good. I am so not used to this much activity, on this much lack of sleep... ;D

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Adventure at College For a Weekend - Day 1

Hey all!

So, you read my last post, in which I talked about my college plans, and how I was going to College for a Weekend (CFAW) at Liberty University this past weekend (6th to 9th).

Well, I'm currently chilling out during the first free time I've had since Wednesday, the night before we made the journey to Virginia and Liberty. (Edit: I started writing this post then, but now I'm back home, curled up on my bed with my laptop, after watching the second half of The Desolation of Smaug: Extended Edition (!!!!!), and enjoying some Owl City for my background music.)

This has been one of the most exciting, busy, and learning-filled weekend of my entire life -- and it's not over yet! And you know, even if I don't end up going to Liberty, I'm so happy I went to CFAW. It was such an incredible experience, and I'm so thankful God made it happen.

This post will be a recap from memory of Day 1 of the weekend (Thursday) -- Day 2 and 3 will follow soon! :)

Also, just to let you know... this is long. Sorry 'bout that. It's kind of serving as a journal entry as well as a blog post. Still, I hope you enjoy reading serious details of my first day of CFAW. ;D

CFAW Begins: Thursday, November 6th

4:00 AM - There is only one good reason to wake up this early, and that is for travelling purposes. The following hour consists of making myself presentable, shoving down a quick breakfast, and finishing all those last details of packing that I somehow always forget the first time I pack my bags.

5:15 AM - We're out the door and on the road to the airport. *Cue all the things that I forgot to bring to come to mind.* ;)

7:00 AM - After check-in, security, and boarding, we're on the first flight that will bring us to the much-larger-than-our-own Atlanta airport.

9:10 AM - A brisk walk across the airport terminals brought us to the continuation of our journey - our next and final flight, to Roanoke, VA!

11:05 AM - We've disembarked from the plane to Roanoke, picked up the bag we checked, and gotten our rental car (a black Nissan Sentra, which was quite nice ;D), and started the last leg of our journey to our final destination -- Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA!

11:30 AM - The hour-long drive to Lynchburg is absolutely gorgeous. The landscapes are beautiful, and they're only made better by the amazing Fall colors and perfect weather!

12:00 PM - Arrived in Lynchburg, and have navigated across Liberty's huge campus to find the building where I'll be sitting in on a film class, "CINE 202: Intro to Motion Picture Directing" - which is the fancy name for "Directing." ;D The cool thing about this was that the friend-of-a-friend who I'm staying with in the dorms recommended me to visit it, even though it wasn't on the official CFAW schedule as it's before the 3:00 PM start time. So it's a neat opportunity that most CFAW students wouldn't get to have!

1:15 PM - The directing class is over, and it was amazing!! I got to watch as the students did an exercise in directing, where two of them were actors and one was the director. The whole class participated in creating the characters, scene, and background story (I even threw something in that the professor liked.. xD)

After the student "director" tried her hand at the scene, and did pretty well honestly, the professor re-directed it himself, changing and adding little things here and there, which completely brought the scene to life. It was so neat to see how much good directing can make or break a scene!

After this, the class broke up into sets of 3 students, and practiced the same sort of thing in each group, with an assigned scene. And then, finally, when the class was over, I got to talk with the professor a bit, which was really neat. He was a really cool guy, super smart and talented, and definitely loved Christ.

First experience at Liberty = awesome!!

2:00 PM - We (me + mes parents) check into their hotel to drop off luggage and such. This is also when I WATCH THE NEW/2ND/FINAL HOBBIT: BOTFA TRAILER WHICH WAS SO AWESOME I JUST CAN'T CAN'T CANNOOOOT EVEN AAGDKLFJDSKLJFDKSLFJKDLS:JFDKSL: okay back to business. xD

2:30 PM - Next up is CFAW check-in, which is seriously crazy due to the number of people here. I heard there are somewhere around 2,000 other CFAWers here. Luckily, we're early, so check in isn't nearly as busy as it gets later.

3:30 PM - Time to get settled in the dorm. The room is apartment-style, with three bedrooms off one large living/dining room and kitchen. I'm the first of the three CFAW girls that are staying here, and no one else is here currently. Which is a little odd, and kind of confusing for me, as I don't know exactly how I should set up my sleeping arrangements and such. So, I place all my things, save my backpack, in a corner and head back to the car to get to our next activity.

4:00 PM - After texting my hostess friend-of-friend, she suggests we come over to where she's putting in a few required work hours at, "the vault," which is where the film department keeps all their equipment. Needless to say, I'm completely down for this. Film equipment?? Yes puhhhlease!!!

4:10 PM - I meet my host, Sarah, and she's super sweet. After chatting for a bit, she offers to give us a little impromptu tour of the vault - which is INCREDIBLE!!! The best are the literally shelves and shelves of Red cameras and all their accessories... *swoon* ;D

I also meet another professor, who seems seriously awesome, and Sarah's film group from classes, with whom she makes their weekly film assignments for class.

So, this is another really neat opportunity that your average CFAWer wouldn't be able to have! I'm so glad God worked it out for this to happen; such an awesome experience.

6:00 PM - Now we're off to the dining hall. This is going to sound a little strange, but Liberty's cafeteria is amazing. xD

Here's the kicker: they have about 15 "stations," each with different types of food, from a salad bar to coffee-and-smoothie station. One of them is especially for people like me who are on crazy healthy diets and such. Aside from the occasional rice or quinoa that they serve, I can eat that station's food with no resulting pain or problems! Pretty awesome, right? I thought it was kinda a God thing. :) So, my parents and I have a lovely dinner, the best cafeteria food *I've* ever had.. ;)

6:50 PM - Heading up to the top floor of Liberty's football stadium club thing, we get to walk around an expo-style event where all the different departments at Liberty have tables at, where you can chat with professors and other representatives of the different departments. Of course, I spend most of the time at the Cinematic Arts table. ;)

My mom and I talked quite a bit with one guy in particular who I haven't met before, whos specialty is audio. The convo we have is quite interesting, and he gives us a lot more info about their film program and himself. So, it's neat to get to know one of the professors some more. :)

9:35 PM - The "Welcome Rally" for CFAW peeps is just ending at the Vines Center, Liberty's humongous (like, I'm talkin' 10,000 seat) auditorium, where they have their thrice-weekly Convocation meetings (basically chapel) for students, and where they host concerts and also basketball games I think. It was quite exciting! They had one of their student bands do some great worship music, and then we got a more detailed introduction to Liberty's academic, spiritual, social, and athletic opportunities.

9:50 PM - Back to the dorms! This time, all the girls living in the dorm apartment thing are here, so I get to say hello and chat a bit with them. There's a total of seven girls staying in the quad, but two of them are staying off campus for the weekend. There's also two other CFAW girls who are staying with us, which I mentioned before. We three are camping out in the living area with our air mattresses and sleeping bags.

12:30 AM - I'm exhausted from waking up at 4:00 AM this morning, so after getting ready for sleep and having my personal devotions, I close my eyes and drift off to sleep... classes, Convocation, admissions sessions, and more await me the next day! :D

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Let's Discuss My College Plans

Isn't it weird when your future is in "flux"?  "Some things are fixed, some things are in flux." ~The Doctor  Like, whatever I decide now will change the rest of my life. (oh yes don't I sound so philosophical.)
See... what I thought was a set-in-stone plan that didn't have any kinks in it or any different possibilities, is now set in something more like jello.

hi future.
Yeah, I'm talking about college... :P

So, basically, I've got 2 main options right now. One is in the town where I live, which my two older sisters went to. It's a really great school - small, Christian, and 5 minutes from my house. I'm in the process of taking my second dual-enrolled class online there (General Psychology)... and both classes were/are really good.

This was my original plan - just go there. Simple, easy, and no stress what-so-ever.

The only problem was that their film department isn't the absolute best, though it is still good (oh, and yeah, that's what I'm planning on majoring in - Cinematic Arts.)

Then comes along another school... is it safe to put the name here? Maybe. I'll go ahead and say. Liberty University.

There's a big chance you've at least heard of this huge Christian school... and if you haven't, the basic rundown is that is has about 13k students, a 70 acre campus (which includes a riding stable, ice skating rink, skii/snowboard/tubing slope, and a whole lot of other awesome stuff), and last, but not least, an awesome film department.

So, that's the school that threw a monkey wrench into my future... considering my parents are threatening [very seriously] that if I go there, they'll move the whole family there as well. Which has it's own set of pluses and minuses, which I won't make y'all read...

And so... I'm going to visit Liberty next weekend for their Fall CFAW (college for a weekend) event. I'll stay in the dorm, eat in the cafeteria (which is going to be a pain in the neck, considering my crazy SCD diet), go to classes (on Friday), etc etc etc.

Overall, I'm really excited - but I'm also super nervous... but luckily this insanely awesome dude named Jesus is going to be right there with me the whole time, so I don't have to be freaked out. ;)

You'll probably hear from me sometime after next weekend, and I'll let you all know how it goes. :)

And hey, while you're thinking about it, would you mind saying a prayer for me? About the whole college thing? That God will guide my steps as I make these decisions, and that I'll be able to hear his voice clearly. Thanks so much guys - it means so much to me. :)

~Beth

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chocolate! (A Book Tag)

Uggggghhhh.

I have... five posts in my blog drafts folder waiting to be completed. They're all about 1/4 of the way finished, and I have to take pictures to finish all of them. Which is just not happening.

Sooooo instead, I'm doing a blog tag, which I was nominated for by Aspen over at Texas Rebel Girl, and Sarah from Sarah'Sword! Thanks, girls, for the nominations! Because I really did not feel like finishing those other posts right now... though I do need to... eventually. ;)


Well, shall we get started then? *smile*

Dark Chocolate (a book that covers a dark topic):

Uhh... I really don't read many of that sort of thing... but I'll go with... oh! I know. The Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. It's all about the end times, as described in the book of Revelation. Very intense, and tough subject, but really great. I'm only just finishing up the 2nd book, but I'm really excited to read the rest.

White Chocolate (a light and humorous read)

This one is definitely The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (duh). Yes, yes, it does get sad nearing the end, but it's such a fun, super easy, and definitely humorous read. ;)

Milk Chocolate (a book with a lot of hype that you're dying to read)

Ooh oh oh! The Giver by Lois Lowry. I've heard some great things about the movie based on it that just released, so I want to read the book first so I can see le movie. ;)

Caramel-filled Chocolate (a book that makes you feel all gooey inside)

Ehehe. There are many many many... ;D First that comes to mind would be The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson. Lotsa lovely goo-ey-ness. ;)

Wafer-less Kit-Kat (a book that surprised you):

First of all, I've never heard of a wafer-less Kit-Kat, so..? Or maybe that's because it would be surprising to eat a Kit-Kat only to find out it doesn't have wafers? Idk. Anyway... xD 

One that surprised me was DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul. From the cover and first few chapters, I was totally not expecting the awesome book it turned out to be -- seriously, one of the best I've read in a while. Really fun fantasy story, and very Tolkien-esque. ;)

Snickers (a book you're going nuts about)

Anomaly by Krista McGee!! Set in a dystopian world with genetically modified humans who don't have emotions, this book was incredible. It sounds cliche, but it totally isn't. I'm dying to read the next two books in the trilogy.

Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows (a book you turn to for comfort)

The Bible!!! No, I'm serious, man. There is no other book in the world that can give such complete peace as God's Word. ^_^

A Box of Chocolates (a series you feel has something for everyone)

This is super easy -- The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (including it's prequel, The Hobbit). I've heard sooo many people say how they read at least The Hobbit in school, and it was their absolute favorite book ever -- then they got older and decided to read LOTR, only to love that even more. 

Honestly, you can't get much better than Middle-earth. ;) 

That was so much fun -- thanks again for the nominations, girls!! :) 

And here are my nominees!









And, of course, any one else who would like to do the tag! Even if you want to do it in the comment section here, go for it! Because I literally hate to leave people out... it makes me sad. ;) 

Welp, hope you enjoyed this fun little post, and hopefully I'll get those 5 drafts finished sometime soon... ;) 

~Beth

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Maturation is a Process

Let's just say...

I've seen myself mature the most over the past 2 years than during any other period in my life.

And yes, I'm glad of this... but of course, in some ways I'm not... though I'll leave the nostalgic, I-don't-want-to-grow-up post for another time. ;)

Anyway.

This maturation has not only been physical, mental, social... but also spiritual.

Up until I was halfway through my 14th year of life, I hadn't ever really felt a real connection with God. I wanted to, I really did -- but I just... wasn't. Church was boring, just a time to see my friends, as was youth group, my devotions were a total of 5 minutes, in which I read a chapter of the Bible, sometimes writing down the reference, and occasionally writing down something I thought was interesting about it.

Let me tell you... I have too many pages in my bible notebook full of one-line entries.

Now, moving ahead in my timeline, I began to grow.

Somewhere along the line, something began to change. I don't think I could stick my finger on any big turning point, or radical transformation, but instead, it was gradual. So gradual that I didn't know the difference until it was upon me.

Like a bud finally beginning to bloom, opening it's petals towards the Son, I was finally beginning the meaningful life of a Christian that I had always yearned for.

You know how God's always saying that if we seek Him, we'll find Him? (Jer. 29:13, Matt. 7:7)

IT'S TRUE.

I was seeking. God had already found me, but my eyes weren't fully opened yet. Then, through His Holy Spirit working in me, through the process of maturation, I began to see...

My relationship with Jesus began to mean something more than just going to church, reading the Bible, having Christian friends... it meant interacting with Christ on a daily basis, through prayer, reading His word, and searching for His will in everything (or at least trying to...!)

I began to see new meaning in the songs I loved to sing in church (mascara smears after worship, anyone?). God began to teach and speak to me directly - from His word, in my personal quiet times, and also from other things that I would read, see, or that would simply pop into my head (that is the absolute best!), and I began praying more (which is an area I still struggle in).

I also began to lean on Him for strength in school work, projects (yes, cosplay!) health issues, my safety, the list goes on and on, encompassing every aspect of my life.

So... why did I write this?

I think because I wanted to let anyone who hasn't felt they've "clicked" with God yet, that that's okay. Maturation is a process, and it won't happen all at once. All we can do is continue to seek God with our whole being, and ask Him to reveal Himself to us.

Guys... He has promised that those who seek WILL find. Claim that promise, because it is yours to claim.

He will lead -- all you must do is follow.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Music Spotlight: "Wonders"

Time for a music spotlight, featuring... The Piano Guys' new album, Wonders!



The Piano Guys are just awesome.  In case you haven't heard of them before, the perfect description comes from their Facebook page:

"What do you get when you mix up a marketing genius that does video, a studio engineer that writes music, a pianist that had a successful solo career, and a cellist that does pretty much everything? The Piano Guys: a miraculous meeting of “guys” with the same intrinsic purpose – to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world through music videos."


I found them over on YouTube about 2 years ago, from their (gorgeous) Lord of the Rings arrangement.  After that, I was in love! ;)



About the music on their latest album... it's even better than their past two albums!  There's two songs featuring vocals, while the rest are instrumental -- making it perfect study music.

So, there's my brief rundown of The Piano Guys and Wonders!  Let meh know in le comments what your favorite song(s) are off the album, and if you had heard of these musicians before! :)


Here's my favorites...

3 - Ants Marching / Ode to Joy
4 - Fathers' Eyes
7 - Batman Evolution
8 - Don't You Worry Child (feat. Shweta Subram)
11 - Because of You

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ugly Knit Shirt Refashion

Firstly -- you must forgive me for going all M.I.A. on ya'll for 10 days. It wasn't intentional, I promise! ;)

In that time, I've been up to quite a lot. And the refashion in this post is one of them!


I haven't done one of these in much too long, and I've had this shirt hanging around for a while - a very out-of-fashion, ribbed knit, long sleeved shirt. A hand-me-down from one of my older sisters. ;)

Here's where we begin:


Yes, it is wearable as it is, but it could be much much better. The big thing was those sleeves... so awkward. The fit wasn't the greatest either.

I first picked out what I did like about it: the color, and the cute lace lining the collar. Other than that... meh. So, time to get to work!


I decided to make the sleeves 3/4 length:


Sewing!


Sleeve hem completed:


Then I took it in about a 1/2 inch along each side, including the armhole (which were a tad large) and the upper part of the sleeve.




Aaaaand finished! :D


P.S. Apologies for this post being kinda quick. Lotsa business going on, and not enough time to blog. :p I've got several cosplay posts in the draft folder (as usual, right xD) - but for now, here's a little tease... :D