Puedo Hacer Algo Mejor

Puedo Hacer Algo Mejor

Antes de que lean sobre el libro más reciente que leí o que vean mi último tutorial de maquillaje, siento que es necesario hablar sobre lo que está pasando recientemente en Estados Unidos, que no es más que la continuación de la opresión sistémica (y por eso histórica) contra las personas negras. El asunto es este, yo soy colombiana, y si bien soy fiel creyente de que se pueden apoyar varias causas al tiempo, tengo que reconocer que Colombia es un país racista, donde la violencia y la brutalidad policial muchas veces ni siquiera son noticias porque muchas personas la han normalizado, o porque la población afectada es pobre, campesina, o de grupos históricamente oprimidos. Quiero en esta publicación compartir recursos para que mis lectores hispanohablantes se informen, no solamente de lo que pasa “por allá,” sino de lo que pasa acá, cerquita, a la vuelta de la esquina.

Yo soy blanca, soy latina, soy judía. No es mi lugar hablar en nombre de la población negra (o afro, como se identifica en Colombia), pero me corresponde como una aliada, como una educadora, y como alguien con más de 400 seguidores en esta plataforma, decirles que que nos eduquemos, que leamos autores negros, que sigamos personas negras, que los apoyemos y los apoyemos abiertamente. Yo continuaré haciendo estas cosas. Esto no es un asunto de no ser racista, es un asunto de ser anti-racista, y ahora más que nunca el silencio significa estar del lado de los opresores.

Abajo compartiré links de maneras en las que pueden apoyar a la población afrocolombiana. Por favor, en los comentarios, compartan algunos que consideren útiles. Estaré actualizando esta publicación en la medida en que consiga más información. Sobra decir que pueden dejar de seguirme si esto los “incomoda.”

Para leer

Para seguir

Para apoyar:

Para ver (en Netflix)

Yes Please!

Yes Please!

 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I am super happy to be reading novels that focus on LGBTQ* topics again. I guess re-inventing my TBR list worked because I am now back to reading more of what I like instead of what I feel that I have to read.

A book I really enjoyed and I think you will too is One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. I read this between March 25th and March 28th, 2019 and gave it a four-star rating.

Like I said, there’s LGBTQ* representation, but this is not the only reason why I thought this book was awesome. The main character is Armenian-American, and I had not seen that in any YA novel I’d read. This is a novel about identity and understanding what makes you who you are. I love that it’s beyond the typical “coming out” story that some YA authors serve us. I also appreciate that nothing extraordinary happens, it’s just a novel about life, but those are the books I prefer.

I also have good news related to this book. There’s a sequel coming up, so we’ll get more of Alek and Ethan. I requested it on NetGalley, and I hope to get it. If not, it might take me a while to read and review this book, but if I remember to do so, I will.

What sequel are you very excited about? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

I Can Do Better

I Can Do Better

Haz click aquí para leer esta publicación en español.

Before you read about the most recent book I read or look at my latest makeup tutorial, I feel like it is necessary to make a statement regarding what has been recently happening in the United States, which is none other than the continuation of systemic (thus historical) oppression against Black people.

I am white, I am a Latina, I am a Jew. It is not my place to speak on behalf of Black people, but it is my place as an ally, as an educator, and as someone with 400+ followers in this platform to tell you to get educated, to read Black authors, to follow Black people, to support them and to be vocal about your support. I am and will continue to be doing these things. If you can’t or don’t feel like protesting, donate, get informed. This is not a matter of not being racist, this is a matter of being anti-racist, and now more than ever, silence is compliance towards the oppressors.

I will share links below of ways you can help, and please, in the comments below, share any that you deem useful. I will be updating this post as I get more information. I followed the first link and donated to Communities Against Police Brutality. Needless to say, you can unfollow if this makes you feel “uncomfortable.”

Donate

Read

Read Audibly

Follow

Support:

Watch (on Netflix)

2019 Pride Makeup

2019 Pride Makeup

Hello, happy Monday and happy Pride month! If you know me, then you know I don’t really follow social rules or cues when it comes to my makeup. I do whatever I want whenever I want. That being said, there are some special dates when I go literally all out (pun intended) and create these extravagant, whimsical makeup looks. For a while now, I have put a lot of thought on my makeup for Pride, even if I don’t go out for the parades. Just wearing the makeup is an experience in and of itself. These are the steps I followed to achieve the look:

 

 

  1. Primer
  2. Concealer
  3. Stick contour
  4. Foundation
  5. Powder
  6. Eyebrows
  7. From the Proceed With Caution palette: Warning (outer corner) and Caution (Inner corner)
  8. From the Good Sport palette: Sista (lower lash line)
  9. From the Tetris Block Party palette: Line Clear (lower lash line)
  10. From the Wanderlust palette: Sea Salt (center of the lid)
  11. Purple pencil eyeliner
  12. Mascara
  13. Powder contour
  14. Bronzer
  15. Red blush
  16. Red highlighter
  17. Blue liquid lipstick (half of the mouth)
  18. Green liquid lipstick (half of the mouth)

Have you seen any Pride makeup looks this year? Share them with me in the comments. I need inspiration for 2020.

Happy Monday!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

 

 

NetGalley Reads: The Anti-Virginity Pact

NetGalley Reads: The Anti-Virginity Pact

NetGalley

Hello and happy Friday. I promised you a rant, so here you have it. I don’t know if you know Katie Wismer, a BookTuber. Her channel is called KatesBookDate. I found out about her novel, The Anti-Virginity Pact, through her channel and I was obviously drawn to it. Sadly, yes, it was a huge disappointment and I’m here to tell you why. I requested this book via NetGalley and I thought I had no chance to get it, so I’m thankful to them, the publisher, and the author.

I read this book between May 21st and May 26th, 2020, and gave it one star. Before the actual novel starts, there is a page with content warnings, and I appreciated that. I hadn’t seen that in a book before. That being said, it’s pretty much the only thing I can say I liked about the book. If you’re curious, this is what the author listed as content warnings: bullying, religion, sexual assault, animal abuse, substance abuse, anxiety, and trauma. That’s the exact list, but there’s more I’ll discuss later. Personally, I don’t like reading about three of the items listed (I’ll let you guess which), so I knew the book and I weren’t off to a great start. That doesn’t mean I was predisposed, but the title does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

When I give a book one star it is because I have found something structurally wrong with it, and since this is the case, I won’t go super deep into minor details. I want to say, however, that the writing style was not for me. I hate sentence fragments and this had a lot of them, especially towards the beginning. I also didn’t like how everything had an explanation like the author was telling us that she hadn’t left any plotholes, that her story was developing exactly how she had planned and that everything made sense. That is not life, and I’m no writer, but I don’t think that’s what writing is about, either.

The whole book is dark, because, well, duh. I mean, judging solely by the title and the list of content warnings you’d assume that’s going to be the tone, but besides that, it was all pseudo-deep and I don’t like that. I like simple language and I think that it can have as much effect as big words and metaphors and hyperbole can. Also, the main character is supposed to be eighteen years old, but she sounds way older. I am twenty-six and I don’t even sound like that. At times, reading this felt like I was back at university in my American Literature of the 20’s class in which everyone would say the biggest words they knew to try and impress the teacher. Well, reading this I was not impressed, I was annoyed.

Now let’s talk about the structural issues that I found. The title is pretty self-explanatory, right? The main character writes and signs this pact with her best friend that by the end of their senior year they’ll lose their virginity (not to one another, although that would’ve made the book way more interesting) and obviously everything goes to shit. There is no way to read this book without thinking about one’s own views, experiences, and lack thereof, is it? From a somewhat young age, I stopped considering having sex for the first time as “losing my virginity.” I rarely talk about the concept of virginity. To me, having sex was something that would happen if/when I was ready and with a person I trusted. Again, these are my views and this is my experience, but I think that for someone young, who has questions, who doesn’t have a clear idea, a book like this might be misleading.

I did not go to school in the United States. I went to a Catholic school for women in Colombia. Did this shape my whole view of sex? Probably. I never felt pressured to have sex because it was part of the things I was supposed to do in high school. I did talk about it with my friends, but in general, not about when we would each have sex for the first time. I know there’s a pressure and I know that there are cultural differences, but those might have prevented me from clicking more with the story.

Like I mentioned, the plot of the book is, this girl signs a pact that states she and her best friend will lose their virginity before graduating high school and everything that can go wrong goes wrong. My question reading this book was, what was the purpose? What did the author want to accomplish by writing this? It wasn’t really helpful for young readers that might struggle with the pressure others put on their sex lives or the choices they want to make. It wasn’t really sex-positive. I think it was more of a cautionary tale against having sex while you’re a teenager…which, seriously? Don’t have sex because you’ll get pregnant and die? I mean, I guess that is a valid purpose, but had I known it was, I wouldn’t have requested this book.

I had serious issues with Meredith, the main character. I know that I’ve said the story was not relatable to me, but Meredith read exactly like people I know and don’t like. She was the kind of person who would look down on everyone and think she was better than them whole simultaneously being jealous of them and wanting to be like them. I’m not saying the other people at school weren’t shitty as well, but that didn’t excuse her attitude.

Meredith has anxiety and she takes medication for it. This is how her character was portrayed and I’m going to tread carefully because I don’t want to say something that invalidates anyone’s struggles or experiences. As a person who has been diagnosed with anxiety and as a person who has read and felt represented in other books, I don’t think that anxiety was being portrayed accurately. I say this, and again, I am talking from my experience, because the main character describes her anxiety as something that comes and goes. I think she confuses being anxious with having anxiety, which I guess is a mistake people who don’t have anxiety can make. I’m not assuming that the author does not have anxiety, but I think she did not portray it accurately.

Let me elaborate more on the inaccurate portrayal of anxiety. Meredith starts seeing this guy, Sam, and when she’s with him it’s like she’s cured or something. She even says things like “I should feel this way, but because he’s here I don’t.” Honey, that’s not how anxiety works. Yes, the person you’re into makes you feel nice and cute, but the thoughts that anxiety provokes are always there. Anxiety is a constant. Yes, there are triggers and yes, there are flares, and also, yes, there are ways to soothe it, but it does not come and go that way, at least not for me. The idea that a romantic interest can make anxiety go away or whatever is not new and even authors like Sophie Kinsella in Finding Audrey (which I adore) explore it in a very interesting way.

Another problem I had was the use of ableist language, with words like “crippling” or “you’d have to be blind not to see this.” This book will be published in 2020. The author can do so much better. I mean, those comments did nothing at all for the plot, so it could have been fine without them.

Meredith is a white, straight, able-bodied, cisgender woman. She belongs to a Christian middle-class family. She has been diagnosed with anxiety, but other than that and being an atheist in a family of believers, she really doesn’t have any problems, or does she? She mentions that she feels forced by her family to participate and believe and whatever. I am not a Christian or a Catholic. I do not practice any religion, but I think it is valid that some people feel restricted by their families because of their faith, especially since Meredith’s dad is a pastor. What I didn’t get is the fact that she was never vocal about this up until she was confronted by her parents about something else.

Remember when I said that Meredith and her best friend signed the pact? Well, the best friend, Harper, decides that she will have sex for the first time with…her teacher. No. I’m going to talk from the perspective of a person who had crushes on teachers at school and a teacher, okay? Look, it’s no secret that teenagers are hormonal and yes, developing a crush on a teacher is not uncommon or unheard of. What was honestly cringe-worthy was the way in which the whole “relationship” was portrayed. I’m using quotation marks because, and hear me out here, people have crushes on their teachers all the time, but most times they amount to nothing because they are pathetic and illegal.

Now, let me talk as a teacher. Teachers are used to being misrepresented, misunderstood, and all the “miss” anything you want, both in real life and in fiction. It makes sense in books in a way because many authors do not have the experience of teaching students within the age range of their characters, and so they rely on what they think or what they remember from their own high school experience. The teacher Harper wanted to sleep with? He was a guy in his mid-twenties, minding his own business, who probably was kind of attractive and tried his best not to gag every time a sixteen-year-old would try and “flirt” with him. He did not engage in whatever Harper thought she was doing, and yet the way Meredith depicted him was like this pathetic loser who rejected her best friend.  They even say something along the lines of “he earns a crappy salary.” Yes, we do. That is a fact. He’s not a teenager who broke up with you via text message; he is an adult who doesn’t even consider being in a relationship with you because, among many other important reasons, he likes his job and wants to keep it.

Oh yes, the trigger warnings that were not listed. There are a few homophobic comments and a subplot regarding homophobia. Additionally, judging by the way the characters act when it comes to food, I could sense disordered eating. There is no specific mention of an eating disorder, but I noticed that the main character rarely ate, and when she did it was too little. There were also many mentions of her not being able to eat or leaving her food untouched.

That’s it for today’s rant. I am finishing this post as I listen to my boss giving us instructions for the end of the year and I can’t wait to hang up and play Sims. Do you have any book recommendations that accurately portray the topics I found problematic in this novel? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

May 2020 Thankful Thursday Week 4

May 2020 Thankful Thursday Week 4

Copy of Copy of THROWBACK THURSDAYHello and happy Thursday. How’s life? I’m back from spending a week at my mom’s house and I can’t wait for this school year to be over because. well, just because. I don’t know what I was thinking two years ago, but thankfully, I have a trusty old notebook that might so let’s go back in the past and see what 2018 Camila was thinking.

May 28th, 2018: Watching Full House again makes me happy. 

I don’t know why I said “again,” but I imagine I took a break from binge-watching it and then went back to it. I thought the show was kind of stupid but it was funny and I enjoyed it for that. I don’t really think anybody was watching it for the story. That last episode, though…

Do you prefer Full House of Fuller House? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Thursday!

Love, Miss Camila

Oh Wow

Oh Wow

Hello and happy Wednesday. Have you been missing my in-depth reviews of books that are more like four-paragraph essays? Good, because I’ve been missing writing them. I’m also back and at least the two reviews you’re getting this week will satisfy your need to read me gush (in this case) and rant (on Friday) about books. Make sure you’re comfy and that you have a drink and a snack because I have a post-it full of notes for you about none other than Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Let’s get started, shall we? 

I read this between May 15th and May 24th, 2020 and gave it four stars. For the sake of accuracy, it’s more like 4.5, but I always round down on Goodreads. This was simply amazing. It was like reading an action movie and I was totally into it. I had heard other book reviewers talking about this so I kind of knew what it was about, which I probably would’ve preferred not to, but I wasn’t spoiled or anything like that. Even though I have many thoughts and opinions, I’m going to try to be very vague so that you can go into this book, if you choose to read it, which you should, with as little information as possible. 

To give you a general idea of the vibe, I’ll say that at first it reminded me of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, which is a book I read last year and that totally destroyed me. When I say I was reminded of the vibe, I don’t mean the plot or the unique elements of each story, but I mean more in terms of genre. It is no secret to anyone that I am not a sci-fi reader, right? But I do enjoy books that have some sci-fi elements or that tend to be speculative. I like to read about a world like ours in which the reader, along with the main character, learns about this new thing. In More Happy Than Not it was this memory-altering treatment, and for a moment I thought that Dark Matter would go down that same route, but it didn’t. 

Dark Matter is way more sci-fi heavy than More Happy Than Not, but not in a way that went over my head or that confused me or made me want to wish I were smarter. I even appreciated the fact that there was stuff the main character didn’t know or couldn’t figure out. Oh, right. Without going too much into the plot, Dark Matter is about how there are infinite alternate universes in which the versions of ourselves live as a result of the choices we did not make. I’m making it confusing, but I tell you, it’s not. Blake Crouch was way better at explaining that than I was. 

Even though it took me so long to read this book because I was sort of in a reading slump at the time, every time I sat down I had to at least read an hour-long chapter. I am overcoming my fear of long chapters and now I’m starting to prefer them, but besides that, the author had an amazing ability of make each chapter seem like a short story. I swear, they could stand on their own. I had never read something like that, and it made me keep going. If you like Black Mirror, each chapter in this book is like watching an episode of the show, only way better. 

You know I’m a sucker for happy, closed endings, and I knew that I would most likely wouldn’t get one in this book. This isn’t a happy book at all. But I also knew that even if I didn’t get everything wrapped in a little bow, it would totally make sense. I’m not going to lie, I got a bit of a book hangover and I think I will still wonder about the characters for a while. And yes, I cried towards the end. 

Have you read anything by Blake Crouch? Should I? Let me know in the comments. 

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila