Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Month in Photos: November 2016

Hey everyone! I know I did two photo posts this month, but that was about two specific events that I wanted to share about. I haven't been updating frequently, and I really want to share what I have been doing. For 2017 I am planning to get myself organized and post on a schedule, but until then I am going to post a lot in December, and for now I am going to show you all what I forgot to share.

 I am in AP drawing this year, so this is the fourth of twenty four pieces that I will have to create this year. I am currently on piece six (so I am not even 25% done, but I have faith that I will). If you can't tell, this is a drawing I did of a pipe in my school.

 As seen in my photo post on Union Square, this is a poster from the NYC Love Rally/ Peaceful Protest.

This was the Empire State Building the weekend of Veteran's Day.

 This is the post-it note wall that now complete covers Union Square, and it's filled with peaceful and inspiring messages (with the exception of a few).

 This is the fifth of the twenty four pieces I will be doing this year in my drawing class.

 This year I am the events coordinator of my school's feminism club (we call it W.O.W i.e Women in Our World). Our club got to host a summit in which we had 15 speakers come including people like Sara Horowitz, Abigail Disney, and many other inspiring women in the fields of business, theater, medical, politics, and more. We hosted a photo booth for the day, so all 85 of our participants could take pictures with out props. It was such a great experience, and I can't wait to plan it again for the second annual summit in 2017.

 I went to a concert on November 19 at Webster Hall for a group called Wet, this is a picture of Demotaped, who was one of the opening performances.

 The group is made up of three people, and their fan base is relatively small. Webster Hall had about 400 people in the room, so it was quite intimate. It was a very tame concert, and the music was wonderful. They have songs called All in Vain, You're the Best, and Don't Wanna Be Your Girl.

 The lead singer, Kelly, sang by herself for the encore. She also gave a small speech about how she was so happy to perform at Webster Hall, and it warmed my heart. People's dreams do come true.

This was what the outside of Webster Hall looked like on November 19.

 The weather in New York is very unpredictable. This was a selfie of me that I took during gym class in forty degree weather. I brought out my scarf, and Kate Spade ear muffs (that I absolutely adore them). My teacher told me that my ear muffs look like little furry animals, but I think they're really fun (and I got them for $55 cheaper than the original price because they were on sale).

 I spent Thanksgiving in New Jersey with my cousins, and this is one of the only pictures I have from it. I even posted it to instagram: @chriistinamariie

 This is the Oculus at the World Trade Center, and it's newly built and has a ton of stores to shop at it. I bought some Christmas presents there :)

 On November 26, I visited my grandmother in Orient, Long Island and she treated us to a very fancy dinner. Since I am a blogger, I just had  to take photos of all my food and of a view.

 If you ever find yourself in North Fork, Long Island I recommend this restaurant because it's in an old house, and they change the menu based off the season.

 The truffle mac & cheese was truly a thing of beauty, haha.

 This was my first time trying tapioca, and I think it's something I would have again.

Last but not least, this is my dog Bosco, and he loves this bed so much that he'll spend all day on it if he could.

Question: What did you do this month?

                                                              Christina Madeleine

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Review: Angela's Ashes

Hey everyone! I hope all you Americans had a great Thanksgiving, and if you're not American that you have had a lovely thirteen days since my last post. As I said in my last book review, I am doing the Goodreads reading challenge, and I just finished book 26 of the 30 I want to read. It took me about three weeks to read my latest book because I have had just so much homework, and I have been very busy. The book I just finished was called Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy — exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling — does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

My Thoughts:

I don't know if I would have picked this book out if I was just wondering through the bookshelves of a library because I usually go for fictional books. It's a very subconscious thing I do, but I almost always end up reading fiction, even if it's historical fiction. Both my parents read Angela's Ashes some time ago, so they recommended the book to me.

After having the book in my locker for about a month, I finally started reading it. You shouldn't go into this book expecting a super happy ending because the main character, Frank, has a rough life that gets way worse before it gets better. His family is in poverty, his father is an alcoholic, the mother doesn't have a job for the longest time because she takes care of the kids, and just his whole life is filled with struggle. For about 17 years of his life (from age 2-19 when the book takes place), the McCourts live in Limerick, the holiest city in Ireland. Since the book is written in Frank's point of view, there is much talk about nuns, brothers, priests, and how just about everything is a sin.

This book is a tough read because it's very far from my own life, so it took me awhile to remove myself from the present to fully absorb the book. I did, in fact, enjoy the book because there is a comedic spin to sad story. The book is a memoir, and Frank writes the way he thought when he was three years old, all the way to nineteen. The ending of the book is inspiring because it reminds me of how hard people worked to come to America in the 1940s and 1950s. The book contains a lot of vulgarity, especially from adults towards children, but that was what happened during that time period because of the whole children should be seen and not heard.

I do recommend this book for people who want a challenge, and also want to read the memoir of a child that grew up in poverty-stricken home. This book is very depressing, but it is and was the reality of many people in the world.

Some Favorite Quotes:

“He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. It is your house of treasure and no one in the world can interfere with it. If you won the Irish Sweepstakes and bought a house that needed furniture would you fill it with bits and pieces of rubbish? Your mind is your house and if you fill it with rubbish from the cinemas it will rot in your head. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” 

“I know that big people don't like questions from children. They can ask all the questions they like, How's school? Are you a good boy? Did you say your prayers? but if you ask them did they say their prayers you might be hit on the head.”

Questions: Have you read this book? What books are you currently reading/ recommend?

                                                            Christina Madeleine


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Love Trumps Hate

Hey everyone, in the wake of the president election in the United States, I want to share with all of you my feelings on the latest events. This was the first time that I have paid attention to politics. I always used to say how I identify as an independent, and I don't really care about the two main parties. This year my views have changed an incredible amount due to fact that I needed to educate myself on politics to understand this election. Although there were four candidates (equal numbers of men and women!!), the media and the people of America focused on the Democratic (nominee Hillary Clinton) and Republican (nominee Donald Trump).  The thing with this election is that both candidates were on complete different ends of the spectrum. We had Hillary Clinton, who had the same values as our current President, but also was a women (could have been our first woman president), and was more for equality for all Americans. She, obviously, had many flaws such as Benghazi (I learned all about it from VlogBrothers), and the email scandal. Many people also didn't like her, not because she was a woman (although some people do believe females can't be president but that's different), but because she didn't bring much change in the country from what we have now. Donald Trump, our now president-elect, was on the opposite side of the spectrum because he was a conservative Republican. He changed history because he is one of the only people ever to run for office in America (and is the only one to win) with no previous political position. The big problem with his campaign is that he used xenophobia, racism, homophobia, sexism, and more to get people to vote for him. The election was between two very hated people with two very strong, and opposite views. 

Now that Donald Trump is the president-elect, now more than ever people have to have their voices heard. His presidency gives many people throughout the country the idea that they are able to openly show their hatred towards a race, religion, etc and that it is perfectly okay. It is never okay to show hate towards a group of people because the actions of a few.

On November 11, 2016 I was able to stand among hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Washington Square Park in New York City. This was a peaceful protest against Trump. There were people of all genders, ethnicities, nationalities, sexualities, races, and religions talking about loving each other and fighting the hate in the world. This protest was meant not to be violent because nothing ever good comes from that.

I strongly believe in an America where all people will be treated equal. I can't let a leader have the interest of only one group of people (white, heterosexual, well off ) in his head. By protesting yesterday I was able to use the 1st Amendment (Freedom of Expression) to fight for my rights. My president-elect does not believe in abortion. I, personally, would not have an abortion, but because of my own personal choice I would never tell other people they can't do that. Planned Parenthood is an amazing foundation that does cancer screenings, gives out birth control, and does abortions for people in need of it. Yesterday, I protested Trump for women everywhere to be able to safely have control over their bodies.

Every person that I talked to at the protest is an amazing person. I was surrounded by people from 15 to 75, and they all wanted peace in the United States. These were not people who wanted to bring more violence because they have seen what hatred does. Hatred spreads like wildfire, and it's very hard in a short period of time to turn things around. I was not scared of a single person at this protest because I knew we had the same beliefs about human rights no matter what our financial status, race, religion, or sexuality was. I plan to fight for the rights of everyone for as long as I need to for everyone to be heard. I will not accept the xenophobia. I will not accept the racism. I will not accept the sexism. I will not accept the homophobia.  I will not accept the hate.

My friends and I walked from Washington Square Park to Grand Central Station with our sign. We walked up 6th ave with all the people on the way to the Trump Tower. All the protests shut down a whole avenue, and there were police everywhere making sure nothing violent happened. It was so empowering to scream at the top of my lungs for all the people across the country who are being oppressed. There were people videotaping, high-fiving, and taking photos of us. This was one of the best things I have ever done. I had such an adrenaline rush, and all I wanted to do on the subway home is scream "I HAVE A VOICE." My friends and I high-fived each other and did a group hug because we protested for something we fought for something we believed in. When we were walking the streets it was so encouraging to hear people go, "I love your sign", "keep going girls, "yeah! f#@& trump", and "I support you guys 100%." So many people smiled at us, or honked there trucks at us to show support. New York was magical on that night. The city takes on a feeling like no other.


Bernie Sanders said, "To the degree that Donald Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve he lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environmental policies, we will vigorously oppose him."

I will never ask for my president to fail because I want to see my country succeed and become a place for all people. I am, obviously, not happy with the election out come, but I have a voice for a reason. My job, and the job of all people, is to get your voice to be heard. If this means that I will be marching through Manhattan a few times a month to protest a law, idea, or proposal so be it. I was surrounded by so much love at this protest. Love will always triumph over hate.

I leave you all with this. No matter who you are, always fight for what you believe in. Never let people tell you that you don't matter.

Until next time,

Christina Madeleine



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