End of the Year: Summer of Opportunities

While doing this blog throughout the year, I learned a lot about the traveling aspect of my life and the number of many places I have been to. Ironically, I have not done much traveling this year except for some day trips or weekend excursions. However, my posts have been recollections of all of the places I have been to. Until I started this blog, I never realized how many  fascinating places I have visited and the nostalgia I have for some of these places. But this journey has allowed me to come to the realization that traveling is limitless.

Traveling is really the opportunity to explore other cultures, other people, and find a place besides home that you love. Traveling is a learning experience and creates so many memories. It is about having fun, but it requires some curiosity and willingness to go out of your comfort zone. Be willing to try new foods and customs, even if it is uncharacteristic of you. The world is vast; there are many more places besides the beach. I know that I still have so many more places to visit, but I will always return to the places I love. The journey is never complete, and this summer is just beginning to blossom.

 

 

 

End of the Year!

Just a couple of hours left until summer! Although I will not be posting the next few months, I will continue to stay globally aware and up to date on current events and trends. It is important to stay involved and to be an active global citizen. In addition, I will be doing some work with the Global Youth Leadership Initiative again this summer, so it is essential that I stay informed!

I hope you have become more globally aware and interested in foreign affairs from my blog posts this year. One day, our generation will be the ones making the decisions that influence these issues, so it is important for us to pay attention. Thank you for taking the time to read my writing, I appreciate it!

Senior Photos!

A lot of juniors will be taking their senior photos this summer, but many don’t know what to wear!

Remember not to wear too much makeup, and wear nice, simple, and clean outfits to look photogenic.

1

Try a solid color summer dress with heels! Heels can make you appear to be taller in your photos. Don’t add too much accessories, but a balance of them can be good!

2

The overall look you want to go for is simple. I would wear some flattering jeans with a simple white top and heels!

Try to avoid patterns because the design will distract the eyes from your beautiful face!
Go for simple and solid colors that make you look appealing! And lastly, have fun!

-Fashion Femme

End of the Year

We did it! Another year of school: done. For me, it was a pretty busy and music-filled year. I went to many concerts, including Deck the Hall Ball, Walk the Moon, Jukebox the Ghost, and Lights. I played music with friends, wrote songs, started a solo project band (me and a drummer), went to a recording studio, played my first gig with both of my bands, and had my first paid gig. I also launched a Facebook page for my music and put up YouTube videos throughout the year. I discovered many new bands and expanded my music taste, spending a good share of my money on vinyl, CDs, band t-shirts, concert tickets, and band posters. This summer, I hope to completely immerse myself in music! Some of my summer music plans include:
Concerts:
Capitol Hill Block Party
Bumbershoot
1077 Summer Camp (maybe?)

Other:
Young Songwriters Lab at the Neptune Theatre
Play gigs with my drummer
Film a music video

Well, I guess this is it for the year. I’ve enjoyed writing this blog because it basically has served as an outlet for all of my enthusiasm and freaking out about music. I hope everyone has a wonderful summer – and make sure to keep the music alive 🙂

Bumbershoot

Summer Book Recomendations

Because summer is here I thought it would be fun to recommend a few books that are good for summer.

If you’re in for a romance, Along for the Ride by Sara Dessen is a good choice. It follows he summer of a girl who is living in a new town. It is a quick read and just a feel good book. So check it out!

If you want something a little more action based try Shadow and Bone. It is about a fantasy world where some people are able to manipulate the elements. It is interesting and well written, so you really cannot go wrong with this book.

Happy Summer!

http://i2.wp.com/d.gr-assets.com/books/1339533695l/10194157.jpg?w=584

Whidbey Island

Continuing on with my last post about the islands of Washington, another beautiful island worth visiting is Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is situated in the northern region of the Puget Sound and is not too far off from the mainland by ferry. What makes Whidbey Island appealing are the history and the natural beauty.

Whidbey Island offers many activities for visitors despite the small towns and farms. Whidbey Island is truly a great place for nature lovers and has opportunities for boating, hiking, fishing, biking, sightseeing, and more. One place to visit is the Deception Pass Bridge, and people can either drive across the bridge or walk across to enjoy the stunning view. There are also many beaches on the island including one nicknamed Mussel Beach and the one below Deception Pass Bridge. Travelers can also go on self-guided tours of historical sites at the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. These are only a few examples of the myriad of activities on Whidbey Island that would sure make a wonderful trip.

Above: Deception Pass Bridge

South Africa Prays for Hospitalized Mandela

Nelson Mandela is currently approaching his sixth night in the Pretoria Mediclinic Heart Hospital in the capital of South Africa.

Mandela has been battling a severe lung infection. The people of South Africa have demonstrated massive support for their former leader, and the current president Jacob Zuma has ensured them that he is receiving the best possible care.

While Mandela appears to be making a recovery, he is still nowhere near ready to leave the hospital. However, South African citizens have shown a surprising amount of nationalism and loyalty the last week, prompting many to compare President Zuma with Mandela. This will play a large factor in the approaching presidential elections.

San Juan Islands

Washington definitely has its share of majestic landscape, and those who want to go on an island getaway without traveling far from this state should consider visiting the San Juan Islands. Located on the northern edge of Washington nearby British Columbia, the San Juan Islands are truely beautiful, mellow, and calm. The San Juan Islands is actually a collective name for the islands in the region; the four main islands include Orcas Island, Lopez Island, San Juan Island, and Shaw Island.

Orcas Island, known as “the emerald isle,” is truely for the nature lover. This island offers opportunities for kayaking, whale watching, and hiking and biking at Moran State Park. Orcas Island is also a desired location for scenic driving, due to the curving roads and mesmerizing landscape. For those who prefer biking, Lopez Island is the most ideal island out of the four. Lopez Island is also great for hiking, bird watching- especially for bald eagles,- and kayaking. Also, be sure to stop by Lopez Village for commerical needs, since this part of town offers great selections of restaurants and shops. San Juan Island itself is the one that many people fall in love with because of its blend of rural farmland and the quaint town of Friday Harbor. Friday Harbor is popular for its historical connections and opportunities for easy walking and browsing. Last but not least, there is Shaw Island, which is the smallest of the four islands but nevertheless just as charming. Shaw Island is a great destination for a day trip and famed for its sandy beaches.

The San Juan Islands are really beautiful places in Washington and worth the visit if the opportunity arises. The beauty of the landscapes combined with the tranquility of the towns can not be passed. Even without high temperatures and the scorching sun, the San Juan Islands are still perfect for an island getaway.

British Songstresses of YouTube

So, I have a thing for British singer/songwriters. Orla Gartland, Lauren Aquilina, Kate Mcgill, Gabrielle Aplin, and Natalie Holmes are all young YouTubers of similar music styles that I enjoy. These girls and their fans seem to make up a whole YouTube community. The girls all post covers and original songs on the website, and many of them are advancing in their musical careers. It’s exciting to see these girls get more and more opportunities in the music world, releasing new music and going on tours. Orla Gartland and Lauren Aquilina are both graduating from high school this year and are going to pursue careers in music afterwards. This is something I really enjoy seeing, as it inspires me personally to continue pursuing music if other girls my age can do it.

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

With summer just a few days away, strawberry shortcake sounds better and better. Here is a gluten free recipe I’m dying to try.

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping
  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Whisk the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together in a bowl; set aside. Grease a baking sheet, or cover with a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Beat the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Drop onto the prepared baking sheet into 8 equal portions.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on the bottoms, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove, and cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
  4. Once cool, slice each shortcake in half, and place each bottom half onto a dessert plate. Evenly divide the sliced strawberries onto each shortcake, and dollop with the whipped topping. Place the shortcake tops on to serve.

Bye-Bye Book Blog!

So this is the last blog post of the year! Crazy, it has gone by so fast!

Today I am going to talk about my favorite blog posts I wrote this year in no particular order.

From my reviews I really likes reviewing Paper owns by John Green.  I recently re-read his book to my little sister and it was just as amazing as the first time.

http://www.ihsjournalism.com/?p=526

I also loved writing my Bob Dylan series. Bu my favorite post was about It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue because not only was it an amazing song, bu i inspired some awesome creative writing.

http://www.ihsjournalism.com/?p=526

But I think my over all favorite post was the one about vampires and zombies. It was a good rant and I had fun writing an outline for a book.

http://i2.wp.com/moviewriternyu.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/zombies2.jpg?resize=584%2C438

 

3 (8) Strikes and You’re Out!

8 reasons why the new drone policy is just “meh”

Last week President Obama announced restrictions on U.S. drone strikes. He touted the rules—“written policy standards and procedures that formalize and strengthen the Administration’s rigorous process” for authorizing targeted killings—in a policy statement, a speech, and a background briefing by senior administration officials.

This week a Taliban leader was killed with a drone strike in Pakistan, and a White House press secretary Jay Carney is said to not admit what’s happened. The strike exposes loopholes in the new policy. Here is a list:

1. Transparency. In his speech, Obama pledged a new transparency about the drone program. He stated his policy statement as a commitment to share information with the public so citizens can make informed judgments and hold the Executive Branch accountable. But on Wednesday, when reporters asked about the reported strike on Taliban leader Wali ur-Rehman, Carney refused to confirm it. The transparency pledge, Carney explained, applies only to the administration’s “standards” for authorizing strikes, not to “the details of every counterterrorism operation.” That’s like reciting your marital vows when your spouse asks where you were last night.

2. Associated forces. “Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaida and its associated forces,” Obama declared in his speech. The appended clause—and associated forces—covers  Rehman, other Taliban operatives, and God knows who else. We don’t believe in guilt by association. But we do believe in execution by association.

3. Punishment. “Lethal force will not be proposed or pursued as punishment,” says the policy statement. However, targeting decisions “will be informed by a broad analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in plots threatening U.S. persons.” That’s not much of a distinction. When reporters asked about the strike in Pakistan, Carney noted that Rehman was “wanted in connection to the murder of seven American citizens on Dec. 30, 2009, at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan.”

4. Feasible capture. This is an old loophole, but the policy statement broadens it. “The policy of the United States is not to use lethal force when it is feasible to capture a terrorist suspect,” says the statement. Then the caveat: “Capture operations are conducted only against suspects who may lawfully be captured or otherwise taken into custody by the United States and only when the operation can be conducted in accordance with all applicable law and consistent with our obligations to other sovereign states.” 

 5. Preference. The policy statement asserts a “Preference for Capture.” Obama, in his speech, reaffirmed that “our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute.” In the background briefing, administration officials assured reporters that the U.S. has a preference to administer strikes through the military rather than the CIA, as well as a “preference for working with partners and strengthening their capacity to take action against terrorist networks.” To illustrate this point, the officials cited the administration’s collaborative approach “in Pakistan, where the Pakistanis have taken action against extremists.” So what did we do when we found Rehman, knowing that Pakistani security forces wanted to kill him? Did we hand off the job to them? No, we did it ourselves. Deferring to local governments is just a “preference.”

6. War theater. All the principles outlined in the policy statement and the speech—imminent threat, feasible capture, external oversight, avoiding civilian casualties—are reserved for strikes outside areas of active hostilities. So when reporters asked about Rehman, Carney explained that in “the Afghan war theater … we will continue to take strikes against high-value al-Qaida targets but also against forces that are massing to support attacks on coalition forces.” Never mind that the Rehman strike was in Pakistan: That, too, is part of the Afghan theater. However, Obama pledged in his speech that “by the end of 2014, we will no longer have the same need for force protection, and the progress we’ve made against core al-Qaida will reduce the need for unmanned strikes.” They’ll still be using drones there, just less.

7. Demilitarized CIA. In the background briefing, administration officials said the new policy acknowledges “that the United States military is the appropriate agency to use force outside of active warzones, given their traditional role and given the transparency [that] can be associated with actions by the United States military.” So in places where we aren’t at war, we’ll administer drone strikes through our war department. And in places where we are at war, we’ll administer drone strikes through our intelligence agency. The policy is absurd, but it allows the administration to pretend that we didn’t kill Rehman, since that would be disclosure of an intelligence operation.

8. “Reservation of Authority.” That’s the all-purpose exception Obama inserted at the end of his policy statement. It says the rules outlined in the statement “do not limit the President’s authority to take action in extraordinary circumstances when doing so is both lawful and necessary to protect the United States or its allies.” That last bit—or its allies—makes the rules open to suspension, at the president’s choosing, anywhere in the world. The policy is the appearance of constraint, without the reality.

-Libertarianliaisons


Summer Travel Bucketlist

Summer is approaching so quickly right now, and I can almost taste. And it has never been a better time to go on the trip of a lifetime, go somewhere new, or go on a spontaneous trip. I am pretty sure that most of us during our lifetime have had the desire to just get into the car and drive. No matter where, there are so many places to go during the summer, even for a one day trip.

And here are the top places to go in the United States for summer 2013 (although in no particular order)…

Portland, Oregon

San Diego

Denver

Alaska

Boston

San Francisco

Portland, Maine

Chicago

Santa Fe

Charleston

And… Seattle!

The options are limitless during the summer, so seize the opportunity to go on the most amazing traveling adventures. Be sure to visit both popular tourist destinations and some that are a little off the beaten path. Don’t be afraid to not have a plan for one day in a new place and take as much time as needed to fully absorb the place. Make everyday a new adventure and happy traveling!

 

 

My Last and All Time Favorites

Blogging this year has been a lot more fun than I would have thought. Being able to share my views on something that I am very passionate about is truly eye opening.

For my last post I figured I would leave you with some of my all time favorite movies and reasons why. Here is my top 10 in no particular order.

1. Sixteen Candles

A classic John Hughes movie, it is fun to watch at any age. Comparing our teenagers to teens in the 80s is so much fun.

2. Freedom Writers

Never have I felt more connected to a movie before. It is a true story that inspires people of all kinds and reminds us to not judge people based on where they come from.

3. Mean Girls

One of the best comedies of my generation, it has so many quotable lines. If you have not seen it, get to it!

4. 500 Days of Summer

The indie feel makes this movie so unique. I always have loved it and always will.

5. The Notebook

A class love story. Watch it alone, with a lot of tissues, and nobody to document how ugly you look when you cry.

6. Goodwill Hunting

I had a major Boston obsession after watching this movie. It truly does not get better than real life best friends acting together in an incredible movie.

7. The Town

My Boston obsession continues! Bank robbery and romance? What a combination!

8. Clueless

I love the 90s. It is charming and sweet and will bring happiness to all who watch it!

9. We Bought a Zoo

The cutest movie of all time. The girl in it reminds me of a young Drew Barrymore and that is quite the compliment for a five year old.

10. Across the Universe

I love the Beatles songs and the story line. It is historically acurate.

HAPPY WATCHING!!

Sixteen Candles