The mystery and intrigue that is Elixir by Hilary Duff

WARNING: This post may have a vague description of what happened in the novel so if you don’t want to be spoiled in even the least bit, then don’t proceed to reading until the last word.

So the other day I decided to download an eReader for my Samsung GT-I5503 so I could read some Java-related eBooks without being distracted by being on the Internet. I downloaded the Aldiko Book Reader from the Android market. I tried it out with the free eBook (White Fang by Jack London) that came with it and then hoarded some Java related eBooks from the Internet.

After a while, I decided to download a few eBooks I don’t usually see in any of the bookstores that I go to like Charlotte Bronte’s The Professor, other Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan mystery novels and the ever so controversial Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Then I remembered Hilary Duff’s first novel, Elixir and checked to see if there was a free copy available on the eBook directory I was browsing. And it was there and downloaded it without hesitation.

Elixir by Hilary Duff with Elise AllenI first found out about the novel when my family and I was at SM Mall of Asia’s National Bookstore. I was somewhere around the Young Adults section when I saw a stack of featured purple books at the middle with a huge purple poster and that’s when I first saw the cover of the book. I was dazed to see the author of the book–it was Hilary Duff and for a moment I doubted if it was the Hilary Duff who played Lizzie McGuire. I doubted if it was really her at first thinking it just might be someone else with the same name. But I checked it out on Wikipedia and sure enough, it was really her.

I haven’t thought about in a while but I’ve heard that it has become a New York Times best seller and has gained good ratings from critiques. I was intrigued but not really intrigued enough to actually buy myself a copy since I wouldn’t want to regret asking my parents to buy me a copy if I didn’t really liked in in the end.

But lately (especially now that the Harry Potter series has seemed to come into a close), I realized how much I haven’t really delved into the world of Young Adult novels. It was always Harry Potter, romantic novels by Nicholas Sparks, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austen, and William Shakespeare with me. And the only other Young Adult novel or series I’ve loved other than Harry Potter was Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I felt drawn to pick up anything that was Young Adult.

Just last month I picked up the last boxed set of LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries at National Bookstore Glorietta 5. I didn’t really want to get into the whole vampire fandom but the TV Series is a guilty pleasure and I wanted to try out the books, which until now I have yet to read since I wanted to finish Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

So to get back to Elixir: I was having a hard time to sleep the other night that I decided to read Elixir a bit. I wasn’t that drawn to it at the beginning. The main character, Clea, to me felt superficial, not that that was her personality but because I felt I couldn’t relate to her in any way. I mean, it’s not exactly everyday you get to meet someone who partied in Paris with just her friend even before she turned eighteen. She was rich and popular, something that I did not see in the main characters of the novels I’ve read. But it wasn’t exactly boring and the writing style was not bad, even. (Note: I tried to read Twilight but I couldn’t stand reading past the first paragraph.) I guess, the hanging mystery of what exactly happened to Clea’s father was what kept me reading at first.

But then the mystery got better and my curiosity heightened when it came to the part where she sorted through the photos she took while she and her friend, Rayna, were in Europe. The questions that circled my mind were, “Who was this man? How was he connected to Clea in any  way?” I wanted to read more but then I reached  a part where it got a bit creepy that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I couldn’t continue to read it anymore. Not in the dark. I was actually freaked out. Still mystified, but freaked out. It actually took me a while to make myself fall asleep after that but I did.

I continued reading it last night and I fought my own fears of probably seeing a pair of eyeballs staring right at me through the dark crevice of the closet door or outside the window. And once the eerie feeling subsided, I read on through the night.

I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know more and to know more I had to read. It was really something that would leave such a mystery and intrigue that made me read the next chapter and the next chapter until the very last. And even when I finished it (at three o’clock in the morning), it still left me hanging. Not hanging with disappointed but hanging with suspense! I mean, wow! I never imagined Hilary could write something like that or perhaps I expected less from her especially since it was her first novel but until now I am just amazed by how she delivered the suspense until the very last word.

So now, I’m taking away all my doubts. For sure, I’d by myself a physical copy of the book this time and I would definitely grab a copy of its sequel, Devoted, when it hits the bookstores later this year! I suggest you go read this book if you’re up for a mysterious teen romance, and no, it’s not vampires. But it is something paranormal. 😉

Cheers to Hilary Duff and Elise Allen! 🙂

30 Day Challenge Reboot

I never really thought that I’d be having a hard time doing the 30 day challenge I started last June 28th. At first, yes, I had doubts about my character, wondering if I could do the same routine for 30 days but after a week, I felt motivated and I really wanted to push through with what I started. But there was one thing I didn’t consider when I started the 30 day challenge—my period.

Obviously, I’m a girl and I’m already on my early twenties so yeah, I get my period every month. And the thing is, during the first day of my menstruation, I often feel dizzy that I’d rather just lie down in bed and not do anything.

So last last Friday (July 8) was the first day of my menstruation, and boy, when I woke up I felt like I was going to have a fever. I really felt sick that the moment I was roused from sleep that I asked myself if I should still go my job interview that day. I felt so sick (probably because I also had cough and colds) that I didn’t get to do the routine that day, but I still went to the interview because I really didn’t want to blow my chance.

My period lasted for about more than a week; yesterday was my last (could you believe that? If you’re a guy, believe me, you’re lucky you don’t bleed every month.) and I haven’t been doing the routine since. But today when I woke up, I said to myself, “What the heck, I will do it all over again and go back to square one because I need this, because for once in my life I want to keep a healthy routine for myself. I don’t care if I go back to zero. I just need to finish this thing.”

So I decided on a 30 day challenge reboot and today’s Day 1 once again. I just finished for the day and this is what I looked like after the whole routine:

30 Day Challenge Reboot Day 1

The top I’m wearing is not really a half top but I folded it up before starting the routine because I wanted to see if I had the right form in all of the exercises.

I actually thought that I’d be feeling muscle pains once I finished because I stopped doing the routine for more than a week, but I was wrong! I don’t feel body pain all over! 😀 I even did all but one exercise in the whole routine perfectly! I feel some sense of achievement knowing that I have stronger arms now than I had before. So now my main goal is to have a slimmer tummy once I finish the 30 days once again. I also hope to perfect the hardest exercise or form in the routine. I’m actually quite excited about finishing this because I already have a new 30 day challenge in mind once I finish his! Wish me luck! 🙂

On a sidenote, I have added Google +1 buttons on every blog post in this website so if you liked any of my posts or would like others to read it, simply click the +1 button. It would totally be great if you did! I’m planning to add other sharing buttons for Facebook and Twitter as well once I get to clean up the codes of my CMS.

If you’ve read this post, well then, thank you! 🙂

Giving it a Last Kick: Operation Smile Fundraiser Promotion

Operation Smile Fundraiser

It’s already July 1st! Be part of a good cause and donate to our Operation Smile fundraiser!

Our goal is to raise money so we could help children with cleft lip and palate and other facial deformities receive free operation. For every $240 we help give a child a beautiful smile to show. We still have a couple of hours until July 2nd and every dollar counts!

Donating to the fundraiser will also get you a chance to win a Chuck Cast Signed poster and other Chuck related goodies thanks to Zachary Levi, The Nerd Machine, and ZacharyLeviFan.com.

For more information about the fundraiser and how you could help or donate, click here.

New 30 Day Challenge: Bellydance for the Arms and Abs

BELLYDANCE Fitness for Beginners

I know, I know. It kind of sounds weird to say that I started bellydancing, especially when you imagine that general picture of bellydancing women showing their belly (whether they have flat tummies or not) with some gold ornaments dangling on the shawl or scarf (I don’t know what they’re called) wrapped around their hips while shaking them, so to clear it up, it’s not that weird! And according to the cover or description of the work out video, it’s a good work out for beginners.

I decided to do this because I failed at my first 30 Day Challenge and because I wanted to do something that would not only be challenging but would benefit me as well.

But why a workout? If you’ve known me for years, I’ve always been skinny especially when I started going to school as a child. The elders would always comment on my frame and ask if I even eat the right amount of food so I’d get a little bit thicker. It has always been like that for years and I thought I’d never get thicker than I usually am. But I was wrong, obviously.

I never thought I could actually gain a significant amount of weight. The only hope I thought I’d have was to wait until I get pregnant and give birth (because that was the case for my mom.) But during my last semester in college, I spent most days up until 1 – 5 in the morning because I was busy doing our Special Problem or other school work and sometimes I’d stay up late waiting for Chris to go online on Facebook (fangirl much?). More often than not, when my brain is busy working, my tummy goes a-grumblin’ so the main solution for that is to eat whatever food I have within my reach. Sometimes I eat crackers but when I don’t have crackers within my reach, I settle for the mini Cadbury strawberry yogurt bars from the fridge. I’ve been told that during the wee hours of the night, it’s not advisable to eat (especially if you don’t want to gain too much weight) since our metabolism slows down. But I needed to satisfy my cravings for me to be able to work probably. I couldn’t drink coffee because too caffeine makes me palpitate and so I ate to keep myself up. And now here I am.

At first, it was kind of flattering to hear from the elders that I’m not skinny anymore. I’ve grown tired of hearing the comment, “Bakit and payat payat mo? (Why are you so skinny?)“, constantly. But lately I’ve been noticing how some of my jeans feel much tighter around my bum and my thighs and some of my shirts’s sleeves feel tight around my arms. I also don’t feel wearing most of my casual clothes in public anymore because I’m conscious about noticing how my tummy bulges after meals or when I sit down. There are even times when I’m really full after eating that I’d look like I’m pregnant (not exaggerating here because even my dad noticed. lol).

I lacked physical activities over the past few months that I feel my body’s not functioning as well as it used to. Before, I could ride the bike around our street for 10 to 20 times before I’d feel breathless but now after I’ve done 5 rounds, I’d already feel tired. A doctor even told me that the possible reason for my feeling out of breath last year was because I lacked the proper exercise and I’ve been putting off actually doing physical activities so it’s just more than right for me to do this now and don’t laugh because I picked bellydancing as my workout program.

My mom has tried this program before and I in fact saw some improvement in her physique. I hope that after 30 days of faithfully doing this program, I would not have flabby arms, thighs, and tummy anymore and at the same time, my bodily functions and strength would improve.

I started the 30 day challenge today and it was terrible. During the first part of the work out, it was hard for me to keep my arms up. It was even harder to lift my upper body up during the floor exercises. Hopefully, when the 30th day comes, I can go through the routine perfectly without failing at any of the exercises. I’m actually quite excited about it! 😀

Here’s to fitness and health! 🙂

PS: I’d post a before and after photo on the 30th day of the challenge. Let’s see if the program worked out for me.

Coding Progress and the Operation Smile Fundraiser

As I have posted on Twitter and Facebook, the basic codes that I needed for posting new blog entries and editing the existing ones are done. I used an open source javascript WYSIWYG editor called TinyMCE and as you can see with this post (I am using the editor as I type this), it works just fine. It even has some built in emoticons! I won’t be posting a screenshot of my dashboard yet since it’s still pretty chaotic and I’m still thinking of a good layout for it but I will once I get things going the way I want them to. 😉

I’ve also done the comment box on each post so you can now post a comment on any of my posts if ever you feel like saying something. Each comment is moderated after submission so if you submitted a comment on any of the posts, you won’t be seeing your comment until I approve it. If I found your comment offensive, I most likely won’t approve it. I moderate the comments through my dashboard as well.

I am planning on making CMS’s for the other pages here on the website and once I wrap the blog and comments CMS codes up, I’ll start working on the one for the podcasts and then the projects page. I would like to manage the contents of all the pages without having to do some hardcoding every time so I hope to get things working soon.

The current progress of my work is making me quite excited with this website! 😀 I’d have to admit that this is actually the first time I’ve done something this special for myself and I’m loving every inch of the excitement it gives me!

On a sidenote, actor Zachary Levi is an ambassador for Operation Smile and he has teamed up with The Nerd Machine and Zachary Levi Fan for a fundraiser for Operation Smile. Operation Smile   is a charitable organization that provides free surgeries for children around the world with cleft lipt, cleft palate, and other facial deformities.

OS Fundraiser Banner

I’ve been helping with promoting the fundraiser since June 1st that’s why it is a featured link on my website right now. Our goal is to reach $3000 by July 1st. So far we have raised $1328.86 and it would really mean a lot to us if we reach or surpass our goal by July 1st.

If you donate to the fundraiser, you might get a chance to win a Chuck Cast signed poster (yep, a lot of autographs from the Chuck Cast 😉 ) and other Chuck-related items! The fundraiser is organized by Hayley Stirling of ZacharyLeviFan.com. For more information about the fundraiser, click here.

Chuck Cast Signed Poster