American Panda

F is for Friday [3/23]

6:20 PM

It has been a ride this semester let me tell you. I came back to school thinking that it would be a chill, not-relaxing-but-not-crazy last semester. A nice note to end on.

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My friends, it has been crazy, and this month was no exception. So this Friday is kind of a catch-up day for me. This morning I had work (👉 student worker 👈), after work I dropped my laptop off at a repair shop so they could finish installing a piece that I've been waiting for for a few weeks, and then I came home to my apartment and started cleaning and airing out because BOY does it need it. And it was finally nice weather! (It was snowy only a couple days ago. Tennessee is a mess.)

Then I took a nap because, I mean, is an explanation ever necessary for a nap? No, but it's because I was exhausted and couldn't focus on doing any homework. 😂

That brings me to the point of this post which is a weekly meme, F is for Friday, hosted by Nomadic Worlds. I needed to decompress a little bit more before I tried to write an essay so this meme seemed like a great way to do that. Aaand Nomad is one of my best blogger friends, so I'm here for THAT PROMO WOOP.

How to participate in the meme:

1. Credit the creator of this tag (Nomadic Worlds 😉 ) and link back.
2. Answer the four questions to the best of your ability.
3. Most important of all, enjoy yourself!


F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)
I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.
F – Favorite quote of the week/day
F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.

Let's go!!

F - Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn't have to be your current read)

Image result for american panda cover

I have been dying to read this book ever since I found out about it, sometime either near the end of 2017 or January 2018. It has so much going for it: an adorable cover, a POC main character, A TAIWANESE main character to be exact, and it's set in college. All of those things are things that don't exist enough in YA, so I am going to snap this up as soon as I feel like I can afford it. I literally have this book on all of my existing wish lists

I - Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend

Image result for these shallow graves book     Image result for exile for dreamers kathleen baldwin book

If I have time, I'll definitely be picking up These Shallow Graves, which I'm in the process of slooowly reading, or Exile for Dreamers, the second book in the Stranje House series. They're both set in similar eras. I think. Don't quote me on that though. 

F- Favorite quote of the week/day

So, I have two things, and neither of them are book-related. Sorry. 😂 

I'm following Nomad's lead for the first thing, which a quote from a Japanese BTS (*chants* BTS BTS) song called Don't Leave Me. It's just so UGH so good and passionate, and it's about saving someone whom they love. Those are always the most powerful love songs to me. The ones where those two people are the only ones who can save each other:

"I'm here now, in the gap between your past and future
That gets deeper the more time flows.
I start running. Don't leave me. Now believe.
You are my heartbeat. No ending. 
No matter how heavy the rain will fall, 
No matter how much the darkness hides me.
I'll go straight to save you 
Because you're not alone."

Note: I hope these lyrics are accurate because every place I went for translations was a little bit different from the one before it, so I just tried to get the general meaning from meshing those translations together and using the pieces from each one that made the most sense and most impact in English.

My second quote is this tweet that made me laugh so hard this week, and I'm not even sure why okay it's just so funny to me.

F-Five things you're happy or grateful for this week


1. I'm grateful that this week is over! Haha, but real talk. Friday arriving feels great.

2. I'm happy that my laptop finally finished getting repaired. The delay was not in anyway the fault of the repair shop--it was just because the part had to be shipped in from far away, BUT nevertheless it is great to not have to worry about laptop pieces falling off as I use it. 😉

3. I got book mail this week, which always cheers me up. I managed to find two books that I've been wanting for a while through the #booksforsale #booksfortrade hashtags on Twitter. You'd never think it, but Twitter is actually a great place to buy books if you're willing to be patient and just keep an eye out.

4. THAI FOOD. Bless. So thankful that the city I'm going to school in has a Thai restaurant. I crave one of their noodle dishes all. the. time. This week I indulged myself, and it was heavenly.

5. The amazing internship that I'm doing right now. It is really easy to find internships that aren't great, as I was reminded of this week when I talked to one of my design classmates who is not loving her internship and professor-boss. And which I experienced myself back in sophomore year. That makes me appreciate my current job and bosses that much more. I just got back great feedback on a project with a fast turnaround this week too, so that helps!


If you'd like to do this meme, just follow the link I have at the beginning of this post. 10/10 won't regret.

book review

BOOK REVIEW // The Bone Witch

12:10 PM


The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. 
But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for 

necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized 
in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that 
can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to 

train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts 
all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her 
elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. 
And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. 
Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten 
the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival 
of those she loves.

The Bone Witch has been a highly anticipated read for me for a while, and despite it coming out last spring and despite me having an ARC before that >.>, I was only able to get to it recently. When I first read about it, I couldn't really tell if it was set in a modern world or fantasy world so there was a lot of intrigue happening. (It's a fantasy world, for those of you who don't know.)

It's a YA novel about a girl named Tea (pronounced tay-uh, yeah...that was hard for my brain to wrap itself around too) who is the most dreaded kind of witch that exists in her world—a bone witch. She discovers this when she accidentally raises her brother from his grave.

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The premise was very cool, with the bone monsters with gems in their chests, the different kinds of asha (the most powerful witches...I think), the magical rituals, and the training in areas like fighting, dance, and instruments. But, I felt that the rest of the story didn't live up to the initial excitement. Let me tell you why. *drumroll*

I spent a lot of the time trying to decide whether the timeline, hopping back and forth from the past to the present and back, disorientated me or intrigued me. While it kind of did both, the disorientation won out. Think of it as having a line with one moving piece at each end. Each piece takes a turn moving a spot forward, until they meet in the middle. That's how The Bone Witch worked. It also took the fun out of figuring out the ending because the book already gave you the beginning and the ending and just left the middle to be discovered.

That leads me to my next point. Is it bad that the only reason I want to read the second book is because I am dead curious (pun not intended) about the ending, which dropped an unexplained bomb about a person that I liked and who was pretty mysterious. I think it says a lot that that is the only thing that might make me ready book two.

There were not a lot of things happening in this book.

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There was way to much description for me. There were so many names, geographies, histories...the list could go on and on. It was an information overload that left my brain crying, because if I haven't mentioned it enough, names and such are not my strongest area. There was too much description and inner monologue, as opposed to interesting dialogue and good pacing. There wasn't a whole lot of action. There might have been a little war, but for the majority of the book Tea wasn't anywhere near the fighting. It was a weird isolation from the main events moving the book's plot.

And where was the training? Yeah, Tea trained at running errands and being a maid for a LONG time for the grouchy head of her asha house. And we learn what she eats and how the head lady picks her nose. For how important the book's description makes Tea's training sound, there is little of her actual asha training that we get to see. Loads of filler. Again, where is the war?? I WAS PROMISED WAR.

However, I did like the world building and the originality of the creatures. It was a very new fantasy world, and I only wish that the action had lived up to that part.

The heartsglass!

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Those were so beautiful to visualize and read about, especially when Tea learned about diagnosing a person or reading their thoughts through the colors. The concept of losing your heart, etc. and the importance of the heartsglass in relationships was fascinating. 👌👌 

It was also really interesting to read a story from the point of view of someone who I wasn't always sure was good. There's a very gray moral area in character that the author explores, and I appreciated that. 

If you are someone who loves slower paced books and the luxurious small details of fantasy books (very luxurious), then you might like this one.

my rating:
(it was okay)

Disclaimer: I received a free eARC of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.


When Will I Ever Get Better at Painting?? 🎨

6:42 PM

There's this common insecurity in art (and life probably, at least in my case) that "perfection" is so unattainable that people just don't try to attain anything because they're so scared that their art won't live up to their expectations.

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I am very guilty of this. That's one of the reasons I'm thankful for art school, because it forces me to overcome this with very real consequences if I don't. *cough* grades, yes I'm a nerd *cough*

More recently I've become a little more okay with not being perfect, with letting the paint lie where it accidentally splats, and with not obsessing over the tiniest detail in a design spread.

Just a little though. It's a hard fight, and all I can say is that I win it more often than I used to. 😂

While looking through some of my old art pictures on Facebook and some of my paintings from Painting 1 (what probably will be my last required, graded paintings), I thought it'd be cool to compare some of my first paintings to some of my most recent ones. That way I preserve memories (and pain) and show other aspiring artists that no one starts out perfect. Disclaimer: I'm still definitely not perfect. 

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And that's not the point. Perfection and realism is not the point. The point is to express yourself and the world through your eyes and with your unique style. The point is to create, because if you didn't you might possibly go crazy.

That being said, it is totally okay to take breaks from art. Yes, a person usually gravitates towards doing what they love in their free time, but if you need a break, you need a break. It's fine. I've taken breaks, for weeks sometimes months, from doing any kind of art that I usually do at school, or any art period. And that's cool. 👌

Fall 2014, first semester of college
The above painting was for Two Dimensional Design. It's mixed media (meaning, I didn't only use one material or medium): acrylic paints, ink pens, and glitter/sparkly glue. The topic for this project was "song representation." I chose Do Life Big by Jamie Grace (below).

Spring 2015

This was for Intro to Design (my second Digital Design class). It's a digital painting, minus the text, but was built from tracing an image.

Fall 2015

Another digital painting. I think that the subject was totally open for us students, so I painted this scene out of one of my WIP storyworlds.

Fall 2015

More digital painting yayy. I painted these for a poster I was using, but I ended up not using them.

Fall 2016

Guess what?? DIGITAL PAINTING. 😂😂 This is the Scarlet Witch, which I did for a portrait painting project. (I didn't paint the flames by hand, though, which you can tell if you pay attention to the repetition, etc. especially in the flames on the left.)

Spring 2017 #1

Spring 2017 #2
These were two acrylic paintings that I did for an honors class called The Human Body and Visual Art. They are based off the concept of presenting anatomy with artistic reinterpretation. Meaning, fairytales. The first one is a hybrid of Jack and the Beanstalk and a kidney. The second one is a hybrid of Rapunzel and her tower and the esophagus + voice box + etc. area. They were so fun to create!

Fall 2017 #1

I took a Painting I class last semester, thus the onslaught of more non-digital paintings. I also thought it might be cool to see how I progressed, and you can progress, and got better just within the span of a few months with constant work. For this painting, we were supposed to copy a classical piece, mostly for the purpose of learning how to work with colors better but also for going through the process of painting without the added strain of deciding composition, etc. I chose Robert de Niro, Sr. by Elaine de Kooning (the seriously underrated wife of Willem de Kooning, whom you probably have heard more about).

Image result for willem de kooning
Willem made this. Woman V. And other unsettling, derogatory paintings of women, imho.

Fall 2017 #2

Assignment: To paint a container and tell a story with it. It was also an exercise to prepare us for more serious painting assignments. This box tells the story of me, and my life. See if you can figure it out. 😉 Oh! By the way, all these paintings from fall 2017 were created with oil paints. Which I hadn't really touched before this class.

Fall 2017 #3

Self-portrait, in the style of Rosie the Riveter, but re-made for my purposes and for a more modern take. This one is painted on a canvas that I made myself, with help from the professor of course, but most of the grunt work was done by moi and that makes me so proud. You can work from a mirror or a picture for a self-portrait. I chose to work from a picture so I could focus better and not have to worry about making the exact same pose and expression, especially since I chose a harder pose. THAT FACE ANGLE. *cries for days*

Fall 2017 #4
This was our last project, guided by the requirement of lots of textures. I seriously regretted everything when I was painting those five million leaves omg. But, it's turned out to be my favorite out of the class by far. I think I was finally falling into a more established rhythm of style and brush strokes and colors. 

BUT KEEP IN MIND as the whole purpose of this blog post--I didn't start out this way. Not by a long shot. This is after three years of being an college art student. The point is, change will come but it's not instant, so don't be too disappointed by what you see now, because if you keep going, it will change. 

P.S. There's More

Keep in mind, I also painted this during Fall 2017.

And had to redo the hydrangea flowers.

You definitely got this.

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