I Made My Own Desktop

Simple Crystal Rainmeter Skin

About four years ago, I used a program called Rainmeter. The program is a manager for add-ons that accessorize desktops. It allows users to fully customize their computer desktop to their liking.

Users can easily download other users add-ons through places like DeviantArt and Reddit. Or they can code their own plugins and create an entirely personalized one-of-a-kind desktop.

Most people share their creations and submit their skin, which is the entire desktop, to the sub-Reddit and the individual plugins to Deviant Art. Four years ago, I did not realize its potential and saw it as a handicap slowing down my computer.

Now that I have a computer with a solid state drive, Rainmeter is a lot easier to run. So I started using it again. I love it so much I change my skin almost every week, but for the first time I have made my own skin. I used a lot of other people’s plugins, but I still had to do my own coding.

I customized things like font size, colors, and positioning, and  I also made my own basic plugin after reading several guides to learn how to do this. The skin is pretty simple and I posted an image with a guide on Reddit.

Now that I am more familiar with the programming of the plugins, I know I can make better ones, and I most certainly will. Instead of asking for help now, I can give the help to the “noobs”, like the mid-level skin makers did for me.

Even though my skin will probably never be the most popular skin, it’s nice to know that my contributions have added to the giant pool of creativity that is the Rainmeter sub-Reddit.

My Summer in Paraguay

This past summer I went to Paraguay for seven weeks as part of a program called Amigos de las Americas. After a one week training period in Houston, TX, I flew for 16 hours to the country’s capital, Asunción.

From there I met with all 50 of the volunteers, who were from all over the U.S. We then went through a more in-depth training, got our partners, and left for our communities.









My partner Elizabeth and I were in a community called Costa San Blas, in the Department (kind of like a state) of Paraguarí. It was a beautiful, rural community, with roughly 800 people. We lived with our host family, which consisted of a mom, dad, two sisters and two brothers. Normally, only the mom and the sisters were around.

The community is living in poverty, but we were lucky enough to have running water and other appliances. We had a shower (though no hot water) and even had a washing machine! Surprisingly, we also had a T.V. and huge speakers, almost as tall as me.

A big part of their culture is music and dancing, so they would constantly be blaring their favorite songs and dancing as much as possible. It was so cool to experience.

As Amigos volunteers, Elizabeth and I were required to implement a project in the community, work with our partner agency, SENASA, to provide latrines to those in need, and hold camps for the younger kids at the school.

It was a busy summer!

The seniors at the school were building a playground for the younger grades to play on, and we adopted their project as ours. The kids still did all aspects that they planned – our job was to fundraise and buy paint to add some color to the playground.

We fundraised by holding a soccer tournament in the field behind our house. With the help of the senior girls, we made empanadas which we sold, along with other food and drinks at the games.









Teams were charged, and the losers bought beer for the winners. With the money we made, we went out and bought paint!

For the latrines, we went around the community and met families in need, who we then taught how to construct the facility. Elizabeth and I helped distribute the materials, and the latrines were built!

Out of all our duties, the camps were my favorite. Held at the school while it was in session and behind our house over break, we worked with children from grades K-6 for two hours each day. We would play game after game, including duck-duck-goose, and games just from their community.

I loved spending time with the kids, and getting to know them all. They always looked forward to the camps, and it was the cutest thing ever.

At home, Elizabeth and I mainly hung out with our host sisters, Leila, 11 and Rocio, 6. Feisty but adorable, they would take us around the community, showing us every nook and cranny, and introducing us to different community members. Back at the house we would also play cards – I must have played at least 100 games of UNO.








I know I made an impact this summer, and that’s an awesome feeling to have. I have a sense of accomplishment that I couldn’t achieve in any other way.

The fact that I built relationships with so many people, all in a different language and living so differently than what I’m used to, is pretty incredible to me.

I may not have changed the world, but I think I’ve impacted the lives of a few. And I’ve had an experience unlike any other, which I think is amazing within itself.


The feeling hits you like a bus.

The feeling is like an elephant on your chest.

The feeling inside of your stomach.

The feeling is like the shivers.

The feeling is a civil war.

The feeling is like a virus creeping around your body.

The feeling leaves your brain like mush.

The feeling is like a constant struggle for the upper hand.

The feeling isn’t normal.

The feeling is like a tornado, bringing havoc to your body.

The feeling, for me, never goes away.

The feeling of anxiety, of constant nervousness.

The extra fear is a constant.

Every day is a perilous journey.

From sunrise to sunset.

Constant worrying.

Worrying about school, grades, boyfriends, friends, family, everything.

There is no escape of this feeling.

Constant fear of the future and present and past.

Not just big things, but every, minute spec of life like a challenge to the brain.

It’s not temporary.

It’s not an emotion.

It’s not “just anxiety.”

It’s not okay.

It’s not fine.

It’s there.

It’s my constant state of being.

It’s how I live.

It’s how I was born.

It’s my mental illness.

It’s my little pain in my head, chest, or stomach.

It’s my forever.

It’s not part of me, it is me.

Why I Love Art

I love art. 

Ever since I was a small child I’ve been going to museums.  At first I hated them, I mean what kid wants to stand silently looking at art for hours, but now I really appreciate it. 

I have favorite artists now, and with research you find the things these artists have gone through. I see pieces of myself in a lot of my favorite artists.

Credit to Twitter

Van Gogh has always been my favorite, his use of colors and textures are like no other and never cease to amaze me. My favorite of his paintings is his self-portrait. You can see so much of his inner turmoil in his china blue eyes.

Credit to Wikipedia

Andy Warhol is amazing.  He was so unique in his time.  He was an idol during his prime.  His art makes you think, its bright colors reel you in and you just can’t stop looking at them.

Credit to Pursuit Inc

The New America

Photo Credit: http://blog.collinsflags.com

It’s 2015 and all the good values in Americans are dead. This generation is disrespectful, uninformed, more interested in what’s trending, and drinking overpriced coffee, than finding success in life. There was a time where Americans took pride in their work, when they respected the President, and families talked about their day at meals.

What happened to the hard-working American? The ones that took pride in their work and came home each day satisfied and tired? Nowadays everyone complains about their work; they think being a barista is a career, and that their life’s so hard.

60% of United States citizens don’t graduate college. If anyone from that 60% says life is hard, they are full of crap. They do less than the 40%, and they complain just as much. How hard can their job be?

If anyone comes home from work not tired, they did it wrong. This is America, what was once the best nation in the world. What happened to this generation? How did one generation completely ruin all American values? I am ashamed to be a part of the worst generation in American history. What happened to the good old American ideal that we could always do better?

The lazy baristas and interns aren’t just bad employees; they are just plain disrespectful. Everywhere I go, I will see at least one kid being extremely disrespectful. There’s a difference between teenage trouble making and pure disrespect.

The disrespect is  rudeness, like knocking stuff down and not picking it up because it’s not their job. It’s okay to not agree, but to disrespect publicly is wrong. Everyone from my generation, including me, does this. I’m not proud when I do it, but it’s just something everyone does now.

This is the generation of social media where we can say anything without repercussions. Free speech is great, but what no one understands anymore is just because it can be said, it doesn’t mean it should be. I would classify myself as a Republican, but I don’t trash talk Obama.

In fact, I think Obama has done a damn good job. Obama is a great example to show what’s wrong with the nation. When I say that, I don’t mean the government; I mean the people in it. What is wrong with people who think it’s okay to question whether Obama was born in the states?

What happened that made it okay for the media to falsely state Obama’s plans? The biggest incident was post Sandy Hook, when the news was telling everyone Obama is taking their guns away. But in reality, he has done more for gun nuts than against.

I’m not saying it’s the parents of this generation to blame. It’s the biased news that is viewed by everyone, manipulating the public. It is the uninformed social media users spreading non-factual crap that makes the government look like a joke. What makes this country so bad? It’s the people who say the country is bad, but don’t realize that they are the ones who need to change it. They are the ones who make America bad.

I hope that someday people once again look up to the President with the highest level of respect, even those that don’t agree. The people make the country, not the government. It’s the whole damn reason the government was designed the way it was.

Having a Conversation

A boy thought he was good at persuading for his age.

He almost always succeeded to change his friends’ disagreeing opinions, so he had been satisfied with his persuasion skills.

However, as time went by, he could see people not changing their opinions in his favor although he still had good reasonings.

Looking back and thinking carefully, he could figure out why.

He was not actually persuading them.

He succeeded to change their opinions but failed to change their minds.

The people could feel him being indifferent to their opinions.

He would only listen to their opinions to find the holes in them, to prove their errors.

He talked to them on the premise that his thoughts were right.

He was not having a conversation with them. He was giving them lectures and forcing his ideas into them, which no one asked for.

PC: http://sourcefed.com/how-do-you-argue/

In your life, you are the main character. You’re the protagonist, the hero, the heroine. However, you are just a passerby in others’ lives.

Whether an opinion is right or not depends on what perspective we see it from. An absolute idea in history can be the most ridiculous thing in the future; someone might not like what I like; a homeless person can be happy while a girl thinks him to be unhappy.

No one can guarantee the future, and not one opinion is absolutely right. Therefore, the point of conversations lies on sharing different ideas.

So, why even bother to talk to people if you know that you will not consider their ideas as an option and only emphasize your idea again and again?

In fact, you are bothering them.


The Gender Pay Gap

You’ve heard the rumors about feminists, the “Man-Haters”.

But the worst is when anti-feminists begin to discredit real issues, for example, the pay gap.

According to the US Census Bureau women earn 78-cents to the white mans dollar, and this is just white women. It becomes less and less through the races.

In case you are having issues visualizing this, take a look at this data provided by salary research company pay scale.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 3.22.29 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-20 at 3.22.53 PM

Let’s look at how this works out in some other cases.


This chart comes from the research organization AAUW.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 8.06.57 PM

This is a graph from the US Bureau of Labor.

At this point you may think, “yeah, but like, women take maternity leave and don’t get into as many high paying industries.”

Even if all of these factors were taken away, women would still only make between 93-95% of what men would, according to CONSAD’s analysis. Sexism at its finest, folks.

So yeah, unless us “man haters” control the government and world-renowned research organizations, it’s a pretty real thing.


Hello Adele

This week Adele was a Phoenix.

photo credit: gettyimages.com

She came up from the ashes and built herself up again.

In 2012, Adele left the world of music and took an almost 4 year hiatus to focus on herself.

She took time to have her stranded voice rebuild and for her to build a family.

This week she has brought her name back into the tabloids, by revealing that she is going to release a new album, named “25” and she released a single from that same album called “Hello.”

The music video for “Hello” already has 11 million views and counting in the first day.

photo credit: rollingstone.com

I was walking by a group of people talking about Adele’s all-mighty comeback and they said something that struck me, “I thought that she was going to be skinny when she finally came back.”

Adele is amazingly talented and even though she isn’t the media’s picture of beauty doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be celebrated

So take a listen to “Hello,” and you will hear how she has perfectly encompassed the emotions that so many of us have experience.

Live by Curiosity, Not Fear

Photo Credit: mymarketingdiary.wordpress.com

Friday October 23rd my parents and I made the relatively strenuous drive at 8:30 at night to Redlands University to see my brother at his college Homecoming.

To be honest, I couldn’t care less about football. In fact, I chatted the whole time and not about the plays being made on the field.

But, on Saturday, the day of the largely anticipated game (admittedly, not by me), I went to see something truly unforgettable.

A few hours before the game, Redlands hosted a guest speaker and that speaker was Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.

I read the book a few years ago and loved it, so I was looking forward to her speech. The main idea of Gilbert’s speech was her desire to live a creative life, her journey to attaining that life, and to encourage others into also living this life.

First of all, she was very clear: to live a creative life, you must follow curiosity rather than fear, and the two are closely intertwined.

This deeply resonated with me, as I am the type of person who thinks of every bad side to a situation and lets those (usually improbable) reasons sway me from not doing something.

Gilbert was inspiring, intuitive, and an amazing speaker. The speech was definitely worth having to watch a football game afterward, though I did leave at halftime.

How can I focus on anything but grades?

Don’t focus so much on your grades.”

Teachers have said this over and over again since I started high school.

They constantly tell me to not focus on the end result, but to focus on the material, to develop an interest and study it out of enjoyment, not because I want to get a passing grade.

I don’t understand that at all. Why am I being told not to care so much about my grades or to not study only because I want a good grade, when in reality everything comes down to “intelligence” being perceived from a grade.

Photo Credit: http://rootsofaction.com

They say that the grade you get isn’t the important part, so why do we get grades at all?

For a teacher to tell me to calm down and relax and not concentrate or obsess so much over what my grade will be, is hands down the most frustrating thing a teacher can ever say.

Photo Credit: http://cdn.quotesgram.com/

It is simple, if teachers don’t want me to focus so much on the grade, then don’t “reward or punish” with a grade.