free book

Who Wouldn’t Want a Free Book?

Apparently, there’s a lot of people and this made me sad. I had my second book meetup on April 30, 2017, at a church festival and I was in complete shock at how many people who didn’t want a free book. To make matters worse, not only did they not want a free book, they admitted that they don’t like to read. My heart sank because it was something I didn’t want to hear. I brought 300 books that day because I fully anticipated giving away most of them. At my last event, we were running low after 2 hours. At this event, we were there for 6 hours and only gave away 83 books. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a lot of books and many of the people who took the books were parents of small children (6 and under).

I asked everyone who walked past my booth if they wanted a free book and most of them politely declined. A lot of older people said they already had too many books at home, and even when I offered to take some off their hands they still declined. I’m sorry, but you can never have too many books. Before I had proper storage, I had piles of books all over my house. I never once felt that I had too many books. What surprised me the most were the teenagers who flat out ignored me and kept walking when I asked if they wanted a free book. I was always taught to politely say “no, thank you” if I didn’t want something. I understand some kids are shy, but manners are important.

I would say 99% of the people I interact with at these events are supportive of my mobile library, but believe it or not, I’ve had a few naysayers. Now several people have asked me why I’m doing this and my answer is simple: I love books, I love free stuff, and I love giving away free books. I just want to make sure that no one ever has an excuse to not be reading. I had one woman ask me the same question, and when I told her why, she said: “Well why don’t you just donate all these books to the women’s shelter?” To which I responded that I was attempting to bring the library to the community for all the people who couldn’t go to the library for whatever reason. She never once looked at any of the books I had, and I know you can’t make everyone happy but I just couldn’t understand how someone can take something so positive and make it negative. I had another woman ask me, “Well, what do you get out this?” in a very condescending tone to which I responded, “It warms my heart to see all these young kids get excited about reading. That’s all I care about.”

I understand where this lady is coming from. With the way the world is now, no one ever does things just be nice. They always have an ulterior motive. What that woman doesn’t realize is, not everyone does things for personal gain. In fact, I have nothing to gain from this. My great grandmother Mary Lou taught me the importance of kindness and giving and she would give a stranger the shirt off her back even if it’s all she had. To tell you the truth, I quit my job in November 2016 and have been unemployed ever since. I didn’t have much saved up. I only had $400 dollars to my name and I still buy books with money I could be using for food, clothes, and necessities. I do it because I want to share my love of books with the next generation. These kids don’t know what I have sacrificed to give away these books for free. So, when I say it saddens me that these kids don’t read, it truly does hurt me. I can’t give up, it just makes what I’m doing that much more important.

Check out my mobile library

texas library association conference

Texas Library Association Conference 2017 Review

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge nerd. I had been to other conferences before because my mom collects pens and I would go to all kinds of events and grab all the free pens for her. As many of you know, I’m studying to be a librarian and I run my own mobile library. Being able to go to this convention was a dream come true, and all I did was spend a couple of hours volunteering. It was my first time at such a large convention, so there were a couple things I missed out on, but I’m quick on my feet so I quickly adapted and learned a lot of inside information while I was there.

Now because I have a mobile library, I thought I didn’t have much use for the library furniture section of the convention, but it was cool and modern. It motivated me to push harder for grants so that I can expand my library to an actual building one day. There were a lot of publishing companies. which is great for an author like me. It really opened me up to a whole world I didn’t know anything about. There were things I had never even heard of before, and I felt so excited to be in the loop and privy to what is coming next for libraries. I absolutely love having things that you can’t buy in stores. I love being able to know what’s going to be cool before people even know about it. I was on Facebook before it became popular. I used Spotify before it was even launched. I used to buy clothes at a discounted rate for people that buy stuff to fill up their store inventory because I got free passes to the expo. If it’s free I’m getting it, because the only thing I love more than getting things for free, it’s giving stuff away for free. I went to this convention for free in exchange for volunteer hours and the best part is: a lot of conventions do this.

Now here’s a secret for you, the best days to go to a convention are the first day and the last day. If you can’t afford to go to the entire convention, I would recommend going on just those days. Here’s why: The best giveaways will be on the first and last day. You could seriously miss out on some awesome goodies by not going the first day. Although I regret not going the first day, I was able to get books signed by the author because I went on Thursday which was also Teacher Day. There were still plenty of goodies, but it was clear that there had been a lot more of them. You could instantly tell which booths were giving away goodies by the lines. The ladies there were very nice whenever you asked what the line was for. At some booths, you could only take one book, but the Penguin Random House booth let me take 6 free books. I would have gotten back in line, but one must make difficult choices when you’re just one person and you’re already struggling to carry 35 pounds of books. I needed a friend to help me out, but I did well for carrying everything myself.

The final total was 97 books. Some were galleys or a mock-up, some were advanced reading copies, and some were given away because the conference was over and they hadn’t been sold yet. I took everything they would give me like bookmarks, posters, pencils, pens, etc. I had a great idea to bring my dolly with me and it made it so much easier to carry everything home. I even got some valuable information from people who have been librarians for over 20 years. I had so much fun, and it made me wish I had a job of just going to conventions. I would love to be able to travel all over the country going to conventions and seeing what the future holds.

Overall, the Texas Library Association Conference was a success. It was fun, cool, and awesome in general, but I may have a biased opinion. It felt so good to be around people with similar interests who are not competing with me to get a job so they are willing to help me and guide me. It feels good to finally know what you want to do with your life.

If you want more information, check out my library page.

bullet journal monthly page

How My Bullet Journal Changed My Life

Before September 2016, I had never heard of a bullet journal. I was really struggling in my life and I started seeing stuff about bullet journals on Instagram. Right around that time, I think BuzzFeed posted an article about using it for mental health. I decided to check it out and soon I was joining Facebook groups and all my social media started to fill up with different kinds of content. After a couple of months, I started posting my own spreads and people seemed to like them.

A++++

I have always been a disorganized mess. My bullet journal helped me organize some of that mess. I was able to separate everything by categories so I knew what I needed to read or if I need to submit something online. It helped tremendously. Not only did I finish early sometimes, but because I started early I usually able to get the library copy for free which also helped me save money. I’ve always been pretty good in school, but at least I wasn’t writing papers a few hours before they are due anymore.

Time Management

My mother has been trying to get me to use a planner my entire life, and I finally decided that now was a good time to start listening to her. A Bullet Journal is like a planner, journal, organizer, and brain dump. It’s basically a paper version of your brain. If I thought it wouldn’t make me seem neurotic I would probably plan out every single minute of my life. But having reminders and seeing dates on a calendar helped that so that I wasn’t forgetting any events or assignments. I was actually able to sleep most nights, which was a nice change from the all-night paper writing sessions. One thing I learned from all my years of school is that you need to schedule fun. Even if your paper is due the next day when your body is telling you to relax you need to listen. I cannot stress this enough.

Self-Expression

I started writing down little details about my life because who knows, maybe one day someone in my family will dig up my old journals and be fascinated by my daily life. I doubt it, but it’s worth making note of what seems like small things in my journal on the off chance it becomes important. I keep a separate journal to get things off my chest because I am liable to write 20 pages easy and most of the journals I use do not have that many pages. I love writing in my journal because it allows me to be honest with myself. It allows me to deal with the thoughts in my head, clear them out, and start fresh. I think it has helped my mood swings as well, although some people would beg to differ.

Creativity

I’ve always been creative, but as of recently, I didn’t really have a medium to release my creativity. I started painting a few months ago, but I enjoy the doodles and coloring in the stamps. I just enjoy customizing my journal to look the way I want to, which is basically the whole point, and in my opinion the best part, of the bullet journal. I also use different colors for different things because literally, everything in my life is color coded. The bullet journal that I have now reminds me of the journal from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I love it so much. One day, I’m planning on getting a dotted journal to really serve my creativity because I don’t feel like I’m being as creative as I could be. I love using stamps in my journal, but I really wish I could draw my own stuff. I’m not that creative, but I try my best nonetheless.

My journal has been a good source of coping for me, and if you haven’t heard of it…you’ve been warned. Once you’re in, you are hooked for life. I don’t know what I do without my bullet journal and honestly, it’s a cheap $5 journal I got from Walmart but it’s a representation of my thoughts and who knows maybe one day, I’ll look back on these journals and see how much I’ve grown.

If you would like to get a fancier journal and you are good at drawing freehand, I would recommend getting the Leuchtturm1917. I haven’t used this product yet because I’m waiting to fill up my other journal before buying a new one, but this is the one I plan to get as soon as I’m done.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small percentage of your purchase if you click the link.

mobile library

I’m Bringing Back the Mobile Library

I have always loved going to the library as a kid (and as an adult) and I realize that not everyone has time in their busy schedules to go to the library. For those of us who are frugal, the library is an excellent resource for just about anything you can think of. I personally go to the library all the time. Even more so now that I volunteer there twice a week. As much as I loved going to the library, I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could set up a library at a park and thus, my Mobile Library was born. I started collecting books in January 2017 and had my first book Meetup on March 11, 2017, at Arnold Park on the South Side of San Antonio. We gave away 60 books that day.

Fast forward to April 8, 2017, where we hosted our Meetup at the Harlandale Cultural Arts Festival. We were able to give away 273 books in 2 hours. One girl even had 11 books that she wanted to check out. All the money we raised will go towards purchasing more books for the library which a majority of the books are purchased at city libraries so you are supporting them as well. Over the course of the last month, we have given away 382 books. I have to admit that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.

I am currently studying to be a librarian and I am in the process of applying for grants in order to expand my library. I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone has been supportive of my dream. When I get the chance to see a kid’s face when they get excited over books, it truly warms my heart. I’m also helping out college students by donating used textbooks because believe me, I know they aren’t cheap. I love my beautiful city and I want everyone to know how precious an education is in this new era.

If you would like more information, check out my library page.

yoga

3 Reasons Why I Should Have Started Yoga A Long Time Ago

I started doing Yoga/Qigong in early December 2016 because I lost a bet and I’m not ashamed to admit that. It was the best thing that ever happened to me in hindsight. If you know me, you’ll know I’ve got more issues than a magazine, but many of those issues have significantly decreased because I started doing these two things. My best friend who saw what a nervous wreck I was during my final exams last year suggested that I try going to Yoga and Qigong once a week. I agreed to go with him because I had always wanted to try Yoga, but I never made time for it. I have since learned the importance of taking care of my mind, body, and spirit.

3. I have increased my flexibility.

When I first started doing yoga, I started off very slow because of my back. I would do 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes before bed. I was already flexible to begin with, but I have since been able to do poses that I couldn’t when I first started. I also realized that many of the poses were things that I already knew how to do, I just never realized they were yoga poses. My initial flexibility helped me master many of the beginner poses and daily stretching helped open up my body.

2. It hasn’t helped me lose weight, but it helped me feel good about my body image.

Okay, maybe I did lose a few pounds, but it was not strictly doing yoga. It has helped me feel good about how my body looks, and that’s an important part of losing weight. It doesn’t matter what number is on the scale as long as you’re happy with how your body looks. It does help facilitate weight loss in the sense that it wakes up your body and gives you the energy to get things done. You definitely won’t lose 20 pounds doing yoga, but I would venture to say you might lose a pound or two by avoiding stress.

1. I rarely have panic or anxiety attacks.

I used to have panic and anxiety attacks on a daily basis. I used to have 4 panic attacks a day. As of 3 years ago, I would only get them maybe 4 or 5 times a month. But ever since December 24, 2016, I have only had 1 panic attack. Some people take for granted that their life is panic attack-free, but I am so grateful every day to have found a way to deal with something that has affected me for over 10 years now.

If you are in San Antonio and would like to attend a Qigong or Yoga class, please visit Gentle Wellness

quitting

3 Things I Learned After Quitting My Job

First, let me give you a little background information on my situation. I got my first job when I was 19, and I had just received my associate’s degree in Psychology. I have been told many, many times that I should have picked a degree that was more useful, but I can’t think of anything more useful than studying how people work and why they act the way they do. I know I’m not alone in this, but I am one of those college students who changed their major at least 5 times. I am the kind of person who is good at lots of things, but really great at nothing. Despite these many changes, I am not one to give up, leave without warning, or quit something because it was too hard.

I worked at a movie theater for 4 years, and I loved it. Well, I loved watched 117 free movies over the course of my stay. I did not, however, love the people who would yell, scream, bully me, and I even had several people throw things at me. I felt like a robot, and I wasn’t happy. Which brings us to the first thing I learned.

1. There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change, and no point being unhappy about things you can.

That’s a quote by Dan Harris. It just came to me a week before I quit. It was the last semester before I graduated college and I went to talk to my manager about working fewer hours because I wasn’t going to let a minimum wage job stop me from graduating. I spoke with them in early August about reducing my hours and they agreed to do so. However, that is not what happened. In fact, they moved me to a different department which made me very tired and I had no energy to do homework once I got home from school.

Again, I went to the managers to try to make it work. They agreed to help me, but ultimately that’s not what happened. They did move me back to my original position in the box office, but then they started scheduling me past my availability or keeping me longer than was necessary. My father, at the time, was beginning to get sick and I needed to take care of him. If given the choice to go back and change things, I would have quit sooner. Keep in mind that I had 3 English classes during this semester, so I would frequently have 2-3 papers plus 400 pages of reading due per week.

My dad graciously waited until after my graduation ceremony to go to the hospital because he didn’t want to miss my big moment. My dad ended up having surgery just two days later in December and I was able to be there to take care of him because I quit my job on Thanksgiving.

2. No matter what anyone else thinks, you deserve to be happy.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to be an artist or a writer, we all deserve to be happy with what we do. That may be the downfall of my generation, but at the very least we will die happy and fulfilled. We don’t want to work the rest of lives away, and if we are going to do that it should be something we love to do. Edgar Allen Poe has always been an inspiration to me. Without him, I wouldn’t be an English major. I would rather die poor and happy than to be rich and miserable.

My love of writing and reading and books, in general, has always made me happy, and as someone who has already published a book and plans to write more, I must say: I finally feel happy. Of course, I was writing while I had a job and that’s okay too. I may have even written a few poems while at work about how awful the customers were to me. I never truly stopping writing, but I was missing something.

3. Life goes on, and this too shall pass.

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Despite a number of people who told me I was a great writer, I couldn’t believe them. We are always our own worst critic. I’m a tough critic so it’s hard to please even myself sometimes as you can tell by the 20 rewrites I do for a simple letter to a friend. My decision to quit my job was not easy considering there was a lot at stake, but it was by far the best decision I ever made. It led me to my current passion which is the library. I have begun the process of applying to graduate school to be a librarian, and I started my own mobile library as a way to gain experience and give out the best gift a child can receive: a book.

24 things I want to accomplish before 2017 is over

1. Walk 1000 miles (I’m already at 453, so this won’t be too hard)
2. Fix my mom’s blog (she had a very successful run of 20,000 visitors when it was active)
3. Donate old clothes
4. Start my own library (Apparently you can start one out of the trunk of your car)
5. Finish “Daisy” (a short story I started 7 years ago and never finished)
6. Catch up on The Walking Dead Comic Books (Did I mention I only paid $0.91 for a $60 comic book?)
7. Buy a new laptop. (I know I just got one 2 years ago, and I have so many old laptops that my cats have their own but I want a new one)
8. Finish the Movie List (Finish writing it, that is. There’s no way, I’ll finish all 5,000+ films in a year. Then again…challenge accepted)
9. Organize and restock coupon stockpile (I haven’t couponed as heavily as I used to. Luckily my stockpile lasted me 2 years)
10. Save $2000 (not for any particular reason, I just want to bank some emergency money)
11. Get a library job. (Hopefully this will lead to my dream job)
12. Get accepted to graduate school (this is going to be hard, but rewarding)
13. Film a documentary (I have a few topics in mind already)
14. Become an archivist (Because I need to become a level 7 nerd to keep up)
15. Publish a hardcover/paperback book (I just like the way the book feels in my hand. I already published a book so this is just a continuation.
16. Clean my room
17. Learn to drive (I can’t promise I will get my license, but I’m going to try to conquer my fear)
18. Get black cowboy boots (Because my dad thinks I’m trying to dress like Slash all the time. I mean, he’s not wrong)
19. Buy adult clothes (Not like lingerie, I just don’t want people thinking I’m 16 anymore)
20. Buy dress shoes (For when my combat boots aren’t dressy enough)
21. Update camera software (there were some glitches I need to fix)
22. Fix my mom’s One Drive (it’s a long story)
23. Finish all the books that I said I read during the semester.
24. Complete my Tom Hanks Movie Collection

There you have it. The 24 things I want to do before I turn 24/December 31, 2017

panza

[Theater] The Panza Monologues (2016)

I was in a play called the Panza Monologues which was performed in the Texas A&M San Antonio Auditorium. That’s me in the baby blue scarf. I started off the play, so I was pretty nervous. I got so many compliments after the show that I might consider auditioning for other plays and short films. It’s been 7 years since the last time I was on stage, and I really did miss it. Even though I was nervous, it felt good to get back on stage and put myself out there. Not only that, I bonded with these girls over all the long rehearsals and all the hard work we all put in really showed in the performance.

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It meant a lot for me to do this play, not only because I wanted to be more social and more involved in extra curricular activities, I wanted to do something that made ME happy for once. I’m wearing a black feather boa so you know I had a good time. I have struggled with my cultural identity in the past and this really helped me realize how I fit into the Latinx community.

Doing this play has motivated me to start writing again and I have taken on the task of helping my mom with her genealogy and family history. As the years go on, I started to realize that if no one else was willing to do it that I would have to step up just like my mom did and do her best to try to keep our family as close as possible. I wanted to give a special thank you to Dr. Santos because without her encouragement and guidance I might have just buried my creative talents instead of putting them out there for the world to see.

Photo Credit: Anjela Alvarado

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beach

She’s Never Been To The Beach

When I saw this picture, I immediately thought of this memory I had with Janet and the Aquatic Science field trip when we were at the beach. We took a trip to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. Down the street from the aquarium, you could walk on the beach in the sand. I was standing there in the water, letting the water splash against me. Janet walks up behind me, quietly moving her toes around in the sand. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” She said with a sigh.

Being the sarcastic person that I am, I joked, “Back in my day, the beaches were a lot cleaner.” She frowned a little and looked away. “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been to the beach before.” I looked at her perhaps too astonished, because she looked away from me again after seeing my expression. “I’m sorry this beach has to be your only experience, this place is a dump compared to a lot of nicer beaches.” I bent down to pick up a really pretty seashell. “Here,” I said as I handed her the shell. “This will make your experience at the beach special.”

She looked at the shell in her hand, tossing it around. “I don’t get it. What makes this one so special?” I smiled a little to myself. I picked up another seashell. “You see this shell? It’s got a piece missing. Your shell is whole. No pieces missing, no chipped off edges. It’s perfect.” She looked at the shell again. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

We spent the rest of the day in the water, playing in the water. We ended up getting back on the bus soaking wet. We were the first Aquatic Science class at my high school and I enjoyed taking that class much better than I would have if I had taken Physics my senior year.

the visit

Movie Review for The Visit

I’m going to watch this movie later tonight but I wanted to write down my thoughts going into the movie. I will update this later on after the movie is over.
First, the only reason I’m watching this is because I watch almost every single Horror movie we get (I didn’t watch the Gallows but I heard I didn’t miss much) at the theatre. If I had to pay for this movie, I probably wouldn’t go but that’s only because they broke all the major horror movie trailers rules.

This movie is PG-13 which translates to loud teenagers who yell things at the screen during the entire movie. I’ve been to enough horror movie pre-shows that I would be willing to bet money this will happen.

The second rule they broke was putting “from the producers of the purge… And other non-scary jump scare movies.” It might as well say “from the producers who stole $10 from you last month with that awful horror movie are back to do it again”

The third rule they broke was boasting that the director is M. Night Shyamalan. Now, I’m not saying he’s a bad director I’m just saying he hasn’t put out a good horror film in the last 10-15 years (depending on who you ask; 15 years for me personally). He was responsible for After Earth and the live action version of Avatar: the Last Airbender. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad director. He has done good work, just not recently.

This movie will be showing in the RPX (why I have no clue) but even without seeing the movie, I would say don’t bother spending the extra money.

UPDATE: This movie was so painfully bad, I almost couldn’t watch it. The camera is shaky, and it looked like it was filmed by the actual kids in the movie. I want to say there were some redeeming parts to the movie, but I can’t even bring myself to say that much. Overall, I’m begging you not to watch this movie. I know I say this about every movie, but this movie is the definition of 45 minutes too long.

For more movies reviews, you can view my entire list of movies here.