Hello perfect vision! (Getting my first contact lenses)

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After years of harboring a fear of touching my eyeballs, I finally decided that it was time for me to try wearing contacts.  I’ve had glasses for almost 20 years now and I’ve always been curious about contacts, but the thought of placing a piece of glass directly on my cornea made me shudder. I’ve been told that it was painless and once you get used to it, you won’t even realize that it’s there – but there’s still the issue of having to touch my eyeball to put it on and take it out. I’ve always imagined myself trying out contacts and having to go to the hospital to get them removed because I’d be too scared to pinch them out myself. The thought of anything touching my eyes bothers me so much that I can’t even put eye drops on properly. I need to use at least 3 drops in each eye because 80% of it runs down my face. And although I’ve conquered my fear of applying eyeliner and mascara on myself (who knew vanity could be such a great motivator) I still can’t handle other people putting eye makeup on me. I would flinch and turn away whenever a hand (that’s not mine) comes close to my eyeball. I’ve been scolded several times by makeup artists at events because it’s so hard for me to keep my eyes open while they line my waterline or do anything with my lashes.

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New blog layout : Adelle

After two years, I decided to update my blog layout again.  I really liked my old one, but the space allotted for the actual text was way too small.  I never noticed it before when I was using my Sony Vaio laptop, but ever since I upgraded to my Dell laptop (which has a much larger screen and resolution), you can really see how much space is being wasted:

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Notice how most of the screen is occupied by just my background.  The space where the blog entry actually goes is only about a quarter of the width of the screen (since I have a sidebar).

But like I said, I didn’t have that issue when I was using my old laptop.  I posted this screencap back in November 2013 when I first started using my old blog layout:
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This is what my blog looked like when I was using my old laptop. The text occupied most of the screen and the background was only there to add some color to the site.

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My Diamond Princess Experience

Our family went on a cruise around Japan and Korea last month, and it was so amazing that I had to make an entry about it right away. I’ll be posting detailed entries about each day we spent there, but this is just a quick summary of our experience on the ship.  I did something similar for when we went on the Golden Princess last year (read blog entry HERE).  We had such a magical time back then that my parents immediately booked another cruise with them again last October.  Unfortunately, Ezra and I couldn’t come with them because of classes, so they booked another one this May for the entire family.  Both the Golden Princess and Diamond Princess are owned by Princess Cruises, so there were a lot of similarities between the two.

Our cruise started in Yokohama, at the Osanbashi Pier

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Ezra and I were so excited to be going on another Princess Cruise.  This year, Princess is celebrating its 50th anniversary, yay!

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Since we already had our luggage tags prepared, we just headed over to the luggage drop off counter and left our bags there.  After this we sat down and waited for the ship to start boarding.

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Bags at the pier waiting to be delivered to the guests’ rooms

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Ezra and I were assigned to stateroom C724, which was the room my parents had when we went on our Alaskan Cruise – though that was a different ship of course.  But still, we thought it was a funny coincidence.

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Our room looked pretty much identical to the one we had last year.

Since this was our second cruise with them, Princess upgraded us to gold card status :)

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(The blue card at the bottom is from last year’s cruise)

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We also found this “Welcome Back” card in our room

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Aren’t they sweet?  Since we are now repeat passengers, we were invited to the Captain’s Circle Membership Event

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It’s a simple event with cocktails and a raffle draw.  The ship’s captain thanked everyone for choosing Princess Cruises again.  They also gave recognition to people on board that have spent the most days with them.  The winning couple spent over 1000 days at sea already!  I can’t imagine how they did that.  That’s over 3 years of cruising!  So far Ezra and I have a total of 15 days with Princess.  We’ve got a looooong way to go.

This year, my parents got a room with a balcony, so we hung out there a few times during our stay

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This trip was meant to celebrate my parent’s 31st wedding anniversary, as well as Ezra’s birthday.  When you book your cruise, they ask you if there are any special events they should be aware of, so they can prepare a special gift for you.  You can specify the date you want that event celebrated, in case you are celebrating late or early.  In our case, my parents chose to celebrate their anniversary 4 days late, and Ezra celebrated her birthday exactly 1 month later.

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The wonderful crew at the Sta. Fe dining hall presented my parents with a cake on their “anniversary”

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And gave them this card

Ezra also received a card in our room on the morning of her “birthday”

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As well as a cake and birthday song during dinner (again from the Sta. Fe crew)

The staff also decorates your stateroom door with balloons on your special day.  This is what ours looked like since my parents’s room and our room were facing each other:
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(Ezra and I decided to wear matching dresses for her “birthday”)

Our cruise consisted of 4 shore excursions and 2 sea days.  We maximized our sea days (as well as our nights on the ship) by participating in various events and watching shows at the Atrium or Princess Theater.

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On our first sea day, the ship organized a $1000 treasure hunt.  To participate, you had to go to different areas of the ship and have your card stamped before dropping it off at the Atrium for a chance to win.

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Books Read in 2014

In this post I have compiled all the books I read in 2014. This took a while to put together because I’m terrible at summarizing and rating books.

Roomies (Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando) – A story about two girls who was assigned to be roomates in college and how they got to know each other through email.  I couldn’t relate to them that much since I never had the dorm experience, but it was still a nice read. 3.5 out of 5 stars

If You Find Me (Emily Murdoch) – About two girls who grew up in the woods after their mother hid them there.  Their father eventually found them and brought them back to civilization where they struggled to adapt to regular society. 3 out of 5 stars

Some Girls Are (Courtney Summers) – Highschool life and drama. A popular girl loses her popularity and had to turn to the people she used to bully for comfort. 3 out of 5 stars

Falling for the Ghost of You (Nicole Christie) – Generic story of a playboy and an innocent girl who try to fight the odds. 2.8 out of 5 stars

Split (Swati Avasthi) – A story about domestic violence and how two brothers manage to escape their abusive father.  4.3 out of 5 stars

Cruel Beauty (Rosamund Hodge) – Goodreads describes it as “Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast” so I had high hopes for this.  Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped.  I skipped a lot of parts that confused me. 2.6 out of 5 stars.

Better off Friends (Elizabeth Eulberg) – Macallan and Levi became friends instantly when Levi transferred to her school. Everyone knows they should be together, but they’re too scared to ruin their friendship.  A light and fluffy read.  I enjoyed this a lot. 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Favorite Mistake (Chelsea M. Cameron) – This had a high rating on Goodreads but it was just another generic college romance story. 2 out of 5 stars

Wonder (R.J. Palacio) – This is one of my favorite books for 2014.  It took me a while to get through it because it’s not the typical love stories I like to read, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down.  It’s about a little boy with a disfigured face, and how he touches the lives of people around him.  It was such a heartwarming story and it made me cry more times than I could count. I wrote a short review which you can read HERE. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Making Faces (Amy Harmon) – This is a story about a girl who was in love with the town’s resident pretty boy, but things changed when he left and returned with a different face than what people remembered.  I abandoned this book halfway through – not because it was horrible, but simply because I didn’t enjoy it that much and I didn’t want to waste my time on it.  I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Me Before You (Jojo Moyes) – Lou Clark gets a job taking care of Will Traynor, a cynical paraplegic who lost his desire to live.  It took me a while to get through the first part of this book because it dealt with some heavy issues, but once I reached the halfway point I just couldn’t put it down.  Like Wonder, this book made me shed so many tears.  I had to lock myself in my room to finish the last few chapters in peace, and by the time I came out my eyes were puffy and swollen.  I give this 4.7 out of 5 stars.

We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) – This book was pretty popular on Goodreads and I see it a lot in the Bestsellers section of National Bookstore.  I wasn’t as impressed with it though.  I was bored for the majority of the story and only started to enjoy it towards the end. There was too much mystery and I felt confused for the most part.  Although I gotta say, the last part of the book was pretty interesting.  3.5 out of 5 stars

Playing for Keeps (R.L. Mathewson ) – The ratings for this book on Goodreads is incredibly high, so I was shocked to discover that this book read like a poorly written fanfic.  It was funny, fluffy and (in some parts) ridiculous.  I couldn’t believe that the characters in the story were adults because they behaved like children most of the time.  1.5 out of 5 stars.

Like Gravity (Julie Johnson) – I remember reading this book, but I couldn’t remember what it was about until I read the reviews from other people.  I guess that’s a clear sign of how unmemorable this was.  Considering how much I love NA romance, this didn’t do it for me at all. 1.5 out of 5 stars.

There is No Light in Darkness (Claire Contreras) – Another book that I remember reading but can’t recall the story unless I read  other people’s reviews. But I do remember that this ended on a cliffhanger and I didn’t even bother looking up the next book in the series because I didn’t really care about the story that much.  1.4 out of 5 stars.

Almost Home (Joan Bauer) – I normally really enjoy pre-teen stories because they’re light and fun to read, but this one dealt with some serious issues.  I think the main reason I picked this book up was because of the cute dog on the cover. It’s not something I enjoyed, but I do admire Sugar for her strength and wisdom. 3 out of 5 stars

Divergent Series (Veronica Roth) – I think most people have seen the movie by now and are familiar with the story.  I LOVED the first book (and the movie adaptation).  The idea of the 4 factions and the choosing ceremony was awesome.  I’ve been wondering what faction I’ll be in and I’m guessing it would either be Erudite or Amity.  I give the first book a definite 5 out of 5 stars. But the 2nd and 3rd book wasn’t that great. I give both 3 out of 5 stars.

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Looking back on 2014

I’m finally posting this.  As some of you may know, I write a wrap up entry every year here on my blog.  I do it so I can look back on the important and memorable events which took place in those 12 months.  Here’s my entry for 2014.  Some of the items on my list are linked to blog entries I posted previously.  I’m still catching up on blogging so some of the later events don’t have entries yet.

January

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March

  • My highschool friends, Eugene and Cherry, were visiting the Philippines at the time and I was able to have dinner with them :D
  • IMSP held the first IMSP All Stars Concert to celebrate our 30th foundation day. I’m not much of a dancer but I had a lot of fun performing with the people I work with.

 

April

  • My first two thesis advisees successfully defended their work and passed, yay :D
  • Celebrated April’s birthday by having lunch at Baan Thai
  • Celebrated Ezra and Kurt’s birthday
  • Went to California for the summer.  Kurt took us to Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and Little Tokyo on our first weekend there

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May

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Awesome 2014 – SKDR Films Compilation

I’m still working on my 2014 wrap up blog entry (it’s almost finished, I promise), so for now here’s an awesome video that Kurt made for his YouTube channel. I’m present for most of it so I told him that this could serve as my 2014 highlight video as well.

Thanks for including lots of clips of me in your compilation video Kurt!  I look forward to shooting more videos and creating more memories in 2015! :D

Book Review : Black Lies

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I don’t really know if this counts as a review or not because it’s going to be really short.  I’m swamped with deadlines but I just had to tell everyone about this book.  It’s *that* amazing. This is one of those stories that I will remember for a long, long time.

It will be difficult to write this entry without giving out any spoilers, but I promise there won’t be any.  Instead of trying to summarize the story and risk giving anything away, here’s the actual blurb from Goodreads, just so you have an idea what the book is about:

Brant: Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years. Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee: Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails. If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

Honestly, I was very apprehensive after reading the blurb because I don’t condone cheating.  I have no idea why some people find it romantic or thrilling, I just think its despicable. I hate it so much that I’ve actually abandoned books before because the main character was so unfaithful.  But this popped up in my recommendations on Goodreads, and it had incredibly high ratings so I wanted to at least give it a chance before dismissing it.  Words can’t express how glad I am that I did.

This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster.  It was beautifully written and the author did an amazing job telling the story while unraveling its secrets layer by layer.  The characters she created were all incredible too.  I loved Brant.  He was sweet, caring, intelligent, refined, and rich as hell.  I’m talking Tony Stark/Bruce Wayne kind of rich.  Hell, he gave his girlfriend 3 cars as a present and booked a 30 thousand plane ride home just because she wasn’t feeling well.  I don’t think there was a moment in the story when I didn’t love him. With that, you would expect me to despise Lee, the “other guy”.  To be honest, I did hate him for a while, when he first showed up.  How dare he walk in and ruin the beautiful relationship between Brant and Layana.  But, as the story progressed, I grew to love him too.  He was the complete opposite of Brant – rough, crude and a little selfish, but something about him draws you in.  And then there’s Layana, the heroine.  You will love her and you will hate her. You will question her and you may think that she’s the absolute worst.  Personally, I think she’s amazing.  I suggest that you keep an open mind when you read this book.  There were moments when I doubted Layana’s love for Brant and Lee.  After all, why would she do something that would obviously cause them so much pain.  But as the story progressed, I realized how deep her love was for Brant and Lee, and how much pain she was willing to go through for both of them.  I don’t know what I would have done if I was placed her situation.  She is definitely one of my favorite characters of all time.

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