February 27, 2013

Fashion Spotlight

So today, I'm working on my world history project (fashion in the 1900s) and I'm Googling pictures of different styles.  I was at the point where I was searching for vintage cocktail dresses, and I find this dress:

Pretty, right?  But my guess is you're thinking, Where is Emma going with this?
Well, I see the dress and it automatically reminds me of one a friend wore to a party last fall.  I went on Facebook to check, and I was right!  Kate wore a dress very similar to the one above, and neither of us even realized she was emulating the style of a 1950s-1960s cocktail dress.

Here's Kate's dress, so you can compare:

Different sashes, and the skirts fall differently, but there's definitely a similarity in the halter neck style and the overall look is reminiscent of the vintage cocktail dress.


Woo, controversial post time!

I am going to start by saying that by no means am I an expert on socialism and Communism.   However, as someone who loves history and is interested in politics, I think I've observed and learned enough to form a strong opinion on socialist governments.  Therefore, this post is going to be about why such a system is wrong.  I am also going to use my world history textbook as a reference (World History and Cultures in Christian Perspective: published by A Beka Book, second edition).

As my book defines it, Communism is a form of socialism which advocates the violent overthrow of existing governments with the goal of changing society and ultimately perfecting mankind.  Communism always results in a totalitarian dictatorship that dominates the person, property, and thought of its citizens by means of force and terror.
Socialism is pretty much the same, except it uses legislation, regulation, and taxation instead of violence and revolution.

Just stop and take that in for a minute.

The United States isn't a Communist state, but it's going down a socialist path.  Our rights are slowly being taken away (i.e. new gun control laws that are defying the Second Amendment), and I'm not going to even get started on taxation.

Communism was formulated by Karl Marx, a man who wanted to eliminate the upper middle classes, "their" religions (that is, Judaism and Christianity), and their private property.  I am not upper middle class, but to terminate my religion and my private property would infuriate me to pieces.  Marx was also violent opponent of capitalism, the economical system that has helped America for many years.  He favored socialism, which he used to create Communism.

Let's move onto the tenets of Communism.

  1. Private property and inheritance rights are abolished.
  2. Wealth is redistributed through heavy, progressive income taxes.
  3. There is a central state bank to control all credit and to manipulate the nation's currency.
  4. The government controls all means of communication and transportation.
  5. The government owns all means of production (factories, farms, mines, power plants, etc.) and all natural resources.
  6. Unemployment is abolished through social welfare programs.
  7. The population is redistributed from cities to rural areas and vice versa.
  8. State-sponsored and state-supported education is mandatory.
That is a lot of information and it's all very heavy.  But now I have to add more.

Communism is based upon a denial of all that is true and good (no God, no family ties, no individuality, no incentive, and no hope).  That's what I was talking about a few posts ago.  Communists despise the family unit.  Why?  Strong families are important to the freedom and well-being of any society.  There's no incentive to work when you work for the state and not for yourself and your family.  There's no incentive to produce and save for the future.  One will only want to "get by."  As for no individuality, as a creative person, that steams my clams.  Writers, artists, composers...anyone artistic would have to conform to Communist principles.  There's no free will of creativity.

Oh, yes, and let me just mention that Karl Marx was a personal failure.  He never did a honest day's work in his life, even though he was "the champion of the working man." Excuse me while I go laugh.  Not to mention his family (his wife and six children) had to live in a tiny, damp, dirty London apartment while Marx did nothing but sit in a library and try to "solve" the world's problems.  He spent their money on travel, alcohol, and tobacco.  Three of the Marx children died in infancy, and two of the three who lived to adulthood committed suicide.  Doesn't sound like Marx's system helped his poor family out at all.

Now, I think it's best to address most of Communism's tenets, one by one.  The following numbers correspond to the list above.

1. You own nothing.  Sounds great to me.  How about you? (Note that I'm being sarcastic.) I want to own a house some day, maybe a good piece of land.  Private property is one incentive to save for the future.
2. Once again, nothing to work for.  If everyone has to stay at the same level of wealth, there's no way to improve your life.  There are always going to be poor people and rich people until Jesus returns.  It's just a fact of life.  It's what we do with our money that's important.  One can be rich.  It's evidence of your success on this Earth.  But don't be greedy.  Support charities, help the poor, and don't forget to tithe 10% of your income.
3. Manipulating the nation's currency.  Manipulating implies bad things.  Didn't America try to have a federally-run bank back in the 1800s?  Wasn't it a big flop?  Smaller, more local banks are often more successful.
4. That's happening in Communist China right now.  There are certain websites that citizens of China are not allowed to visit.  I'm sure movies, the TV, books, and newspapers are censored.  And who's to say phones aren't bugged?  Anyone who says anything against the government in a Communist nation is automatically an enemy.
5. This goes hand-in-hand with work incentive.  Small business and private businesses are critical to a capitalist society.  They build a booming economy, and if you dream to open a business but can't, then that's a loss of creativity and hope.
6. Modern America.  That's all I have to say.  Or not.  Look at all the social welfare programs we have and how high the unemployment rate is.  If people get free stuff, they don't want to work.  I understand that some people want to have a job and search hard to find one, but they can't get hired in this economy.  But there's still a vast number of people in America who would rather depend on welfare than work.  Someday, I'm going to have a job.  I don't want to support lazy people who like Obama's free hand-outs.
7. Yeah, there's not much to say about this, except how would you like to be relocated against your will?  It can't be fun.
8. I can't see what would go wrong with this!  Oh, wait.  There's a lot.  Lenin's main reason when he imposed state-supported education was to raise a generation of loyal Communists by drilling Communist principles into their minds (capitalism and religion are evil; socialism is good).  Schools today are kind of the same.  If you attended public school from kindergarten to high school graduation without anything else factoring in (home life and religion), you'd probably graduate with a very liberal, atheistic worldview.  Think about the bias textbooks present.  All authors are biased one way or another.  I am, too.  Unfortunately, there's no way to be neutral.  But still, textbooks present evolution and ideas along those lines as the correct way to believe.  That's partially why I'm homeschooled.  My parents wanted me to be raised with a conservative Christian worldview.  And I like that worldview.

Who's read The Hunger Games?  If you have, take a moment to consider Panem's government and Panem in general.  The vast majority of the population is poor and starving.  The government is strict and controlling and could be compared to Communism. Hmm...

On that happy note, I'm signing off.  But let me say this: Communism, c'est deplorable. (It is deplorable, it is sad.)  Nothing good can come from a socialist or Communist country.  I'll stick with a capitalist democratic republic, thank you very much.

February 25, 2013

2013 Academy Awards Red Carpet

About twelve hours ago, the Oscars were running over as usual.  As I watched the ceremony, I was busy collecting pictures of the best dressed.  I've compiled a list of 12 stars with 13 different looks that I deem the best.  There were a lot of fails on the red carpet, but I'm still trying to burn the images of Kristen Stewart and Fan Bingbing from my mind, so we're going to ignore those.

Let's start, shall we?

Best-Dressed of the Night

Norah Jones in Tadeshi Shoji
Absolutely stunning.  She's a jazz singer who performed last night (great voice, too), and the Art Deco look of this dress is parfait for a jazz singer.

Runner-up for Best Dressed

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zuhair Murad
I'll admit this may just be because I love gold and sparkly dresses (thanks, Taylor Swift) but Catherine truly looks stunning.

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta
A ballgown must be two things: dramatic and awesome.  Amy's dress is both of those things.  This is a much better color for her than her Golden Globes dress, to boot.

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive
Jessica said she was influenced by old Hollywood glamour, and did she ever bring it!  I love the intricate pattern on the dress, and it's a surprisingly good color for her.  Plus it's a good compliment to the red carpet.

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen
I have practically no words to describe how beautiful she looks.  Except that she looks beautiful.

Jennifer Garner in Gucci
She and Taylor Swift should have a purple party because they both look fabulous in plum and eggplant.  I also like Jennifer's hair and jewelry.

Quvenzhane Wallis in Armani Junior
She's the youngest Best Actress nominee ever.  Crazy, huh?  She's adorable and dressed just like a 9-year-old at a big event should.  Beautiful dress and her signature doggy purse is dressed in a tutu and tiara.  Points for that.

Rashida Jones in Vivienne Westwood at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party
It sparkles.  It has a draped neckline.  She looks awesome.  That is all.

Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan
Ah, much better than that mess of a look at the Golden Globes.  Her whole look is practically making me drool.  I want that dress.  Except it would probably look terrible on me, haha.

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta (again) at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Amy Adams in so awesome, she made it into this list twice.  This is a bad picture but one awesome dress.  It reminds me of the 1920s and '30s and a bit of the Delphos style dress that Mariano Fortuny created.

Jennifer Hudson in Roberto Cavalli
Ooh, yes, a beautiful dress.  Oh, great, I just rhymed.  Jennifer just needs different shoes.  Not loving the color of those.

Now these last two are a bit sub-par, but with a few changes, I think they would garner A+'s.

Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille
I love every bit of this dress except for that giant bow on her hip and that basically ruins the whole thing.  Oh, yeah, and she needs brighter lipstick.  Maybe a deep maroon or burgundy, or red.

Gloria Reuben in ???
She's officially invited to Jennifer Garner and Taylor Swift's pleasant purple party.  I'm just not sure how I feel about her hair, or the two different shades of purple.  Stick with the darker one, my dear.

And that's it!  Another Academy Awards has come and gone.  Do you agree with my top 13?  Did you have other favorites?  Who tops your best dressed list?  Sound off in the comments!

February 20, 2013

A Moment to Go Down in History

Let this date be forever remembered!  On February 20, 2013 at 10:30 PM (Central Standard Time), I officially finished the first draft of my NaNo book.  I'm really proud with how it's turned out so far, and the next step is editing.  Thankfully, I don't have to completely self-edit because I have a writer as one of my best friends, and I've asked her to help me out. She'll give me feedback on content and help me catch grammatical, spelling, and continuity errors.  I'm super excited about finishing it.  It's ended up at 50,186 words so far, and that's smack in the middle of the right length for a young adult novel (40,000-60,000 words).

If you pray, please keep the editing process in your prayers. :) I'd like it to go smoothly and quickly and to help my novel to become even better.  You can also start praying that I'll be able to find an agent soon-ish.

Now I'm off to start my English paper (finally decided on a topic) and to get some sleep.  I've got a busy day tomorrow. Bonne nuit! (Good night.)

February 19, 2013

Why I Love Being Homeschooled

This morning, so far, I have done two algebra lessons and worked on my world history project (the history of fashion in the 1900s). Yesterday, I finished my world history assignments for the week and got two more algebra lessons done, along with reading Act III of Hamlet. There's just something I love about my school schedule and how I can get so much done in so little time (yesterday, I did less because I was at my grandparents' for half of the day).
When I was in public and private schools, I would often end up sitting around and waiting for my classmates to finish because I was done so quickly. Now, when I finish my work easily, I have more time to write and read and enjoy being a kid while I'm still young. I'm not saying hard work is bad because it's not. Hard work produces a good work ethic which makes one a better human being all around.

Let's take a moment to compare and contrast the Jamestown colony and Soviet Russia (and modern America). In Jamestown, the men were often unmotivated until a law was instilled that they could not eat until they'd worked. People will work to support themselves unless someone else is giving them free stuff (hi, President Obama). In Soviet Russia, everyone worked for the common good of the country and production was low. Yet, when a man works to support just his family (wife and a couple of kids), the production is often higher (not always, but most of the time). Why? Because family should be more important than a country where you're working to support people who don't do as much as you.

We recently had a discussion in my history class where this scenario was created. I was a doctor (something that made me laugh since most people who know me well cannot picture me as a doctor), and the only guy in the class (I'll call him S) was a truck driver. Both of us were paid the same amount of money, even though I was a doctor who saved lives and S just carted cargo. I also worked more hours. S got in a car accident, and it was my job to save his life. My response: "Why should I, when I earn the same amount of money as a truck driver, and I'll get paid whether he lives or not?" (S wasn't too happy about my decision. xD)

Anyways, back to my original topic because I've hopped down a VERY long bunny trail. A good work ethic comes from hard work, and I do work hard, even if it doesn't sound like I do a lot of school. But I love homeschooling because I can go from doing algebra to fashion design. How many people can say that? :)

Now I'm off to get back to work. I need to try and figure out what I should do for my topic for my English paper.

February 10, 2013

Reader Appreciation Award

Woo, another award!  This one is courtesy of Hilda, so thank you to her. :)

1) Link back to the person who nominated you. Done.
2) Attach the icon to your site. To be done shortly.
3) Answer the attached questions. Below.
4) Nominate six bloggers who you feel deserve this award, and notify them of their nomination.  Well this'll be fun...

1: What is your favorite color?
Purple.  Or gray.  Or teal.  Or chocolate brown.  Or all four.

2: What is your favorite animal?
Probably cats.

3: What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? 
Coke, specifically cherry Coke.

4: What is your favorite number?
13 and 74.

5: What is your favorite day of the week?

6: What is your favorite flower?
White roses.

7: What is your passion?
God, writing, and reading.

8: Do you watch television?

9: Who is your favorite author?
Jane Austen
Heather Vogel Frederick
Shannon Hale
Ally Carter
Melanie Dickerson
Maud Hart Lovelace
Robin Jones Gunn

10: Do you like 80′s movies?
Not particularly.

11: How do you like your eggs?

12: When did you discover blogging?
About a year and a half ago.  I mean, I knew of it before then, but that's when I started blogging.

13: Why do you like to blog?
I feel like it's a great way to prepare to be a writer, and I like sharing my thoughts with random people.

2) Gabby
6) Grace

February 8, 2013

The Homeschooling Reality

I'm using this post to clear up some myths about homeschooling, based on questions I get in public.

1) Do you actually do school, or is homeschooling just an excuse to play hooky?
Oh, I do schoolwork.  I'm taking a tough algebra II class at our co-op that could certainly prove this.  I spend less of my day doing schoolwork than the average public school student, but that's only because I can finish more quickly.

2) I bet you get all A's since your mom grades your stuff.
My mom doesn't grade all my assignments.  I have teachers at the co-op who grade about 75% of my assignments and tests.  As for the all A's...I have good grades because I'm a good student, but I have a pop quiz from Shakespeare, a couple of algebra II tests, and some Old Testament Survey assignments that prove I don't get all A's.

3) I'll bet your only friends are your siblings.
I'm an only child, so that automatically cancels out that possibility...

4) Well then, I'll bet you have no friends.
I have friends.  Not many, but I do have friends.  I don't need tons of people to hang out with, just people that who are true friends.  And then I know lots of people through my co-op.

5) You're probably some weird religious freak. That's why you're homeschooled.
Um, I'm homeschooled only partially for religious reasons.  And not all homeschoolers are religious.  I am, but that's always been a part of my life, even when I went to public and private schools.

6) What do you do for gym class?  Run around in your backyard?
Nope.  Last year, I did a fitness course through Switched on Schoolhouse, and now we have a Wii Fit, so I use that.  I'm not a very athletic person (and I'm quite uncoordinated), so sports are out of the question.

7) What grade are you in?  Do you even know the answer to that?
Yes, I know what grade I'm in.  I'm not going to say for privacy purposes, though. ;)

8) Why do you dress so fashionably, if you're a homeschooler?
Why thank you for that indirect compliment!  Maybe I dress fashionably because that's my style and homeschoolers know how to be fashionably cool?  We're not all nerds, you know.

9) Why don't you go to regular school?
Because, my parents and I feel I wouldn't get the best education possible at a public school.  With homeschooling, we can tailor my education to my needs (emphasis on English and history classes and just the science and math courses I need to graduate and get into college).

10) You must be really sheltered.
Well, yeah, I have less exposure to bad language, drugs, and inappropriate stuff, but I'm not sheltered.  I know what the real world is like.  I'm interested in news and the political realm (not as a career, though).  I know that bad things can happen.  But as I grow older, my parents expect me to make good choices and choose appropriate music, books, TV shows, movies, etc.  And I kinda wish I was more sheltered, so I could miss out on things like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Twilight, and more.

11) Homeschoolers are really shy and antisocial.
Welp.  I don't help that stereotype any... yeah, I'm shy, but I can also be outgoing and vivacious and crazy.  I'm just shy around strangers and people I don't know so well.  I've been like that since elementary school.  And, no, I'm actually not antisocial.  Maybe occasionally, but I do like to hang out with friends and go places, like the mall, and Starbucks, and the library (just to name three).

12) You have no life.
And you base this claim on what?  The fact that I'm a homeschooler?  I go to a co-op.  This co-op has events that I go to.  I have friends.  We hang out.  I blog.  I go to church and volunteer in the Mothers Of PreSchoolers nursery on Thursdays.  I have a math study group.  I can go shopping or to a movie or bake or whatever pretty much whenever I want.  Whereas people who attend public and private schools are stuck in classrooms for about 8 hours and then go home and do homework for several more hours.

13) How awesome is it to do school in your pajamas?
Okay, this is one myth that is completely true.  It is very awesome to do school in my PJs.  I can wake up at, say, 8 AM, grab my laptop, and write an English paper, all from the comfort of my bed.  Pajamas=comfort.  The more comfortable I am, the better I can focus.

Lastly, watch this awesome video by BlimeyCow.  It is 100% true.

February 6, 2013

Four Exciting Moments

Throughout my life, I've had several exciting moments.  But as a writer and book lover here are four that stand out to me.

1) When Heather Vogel Frederick replied to my e-mail.  First of all, it's cool to have one of your favorite authors reply to an e-mail.  Secondly, she let me know that the MDBC series wasn't ending with five books, that she was writing a sixth.  That made for a very happy Emma.

2) When Heather Vogel Frederick commented on my blog (I posted about it here: http://bookworm716.blogspot.com/2011/11/oh-my-mdbc.html).  This coupled with the last exciting moment created an over-the-moon Emma.

3) Yesterday, Shannon Hale Tweeted that she was going to be MIA on Twitter for awhile, so she had a Q&A session, and someone asked if she was starting a new project.  Shannon said a super secret one, and she was currently wearing a trench coat and fedora.  I decided to ask what color trench and fedora.  She replied to my Tweet and said "A nice inconspicuous purple."  One of my favorite authors has replied to me on Twitter. O_O

4) Today, Ally Carter, author of the awesome Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series, replied to my Twitter question (I asked what her favorite classic novel is).  She said Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Not only did she reply to my Tweet, but those are my two favorite classic novels.

And now this very happy, excited Emma is going to channel this energy to write a ton in her novel.