Friday, May 16, 2014

The Liebester Award

Thank you to Abby J Reed for my Liebster Award nomination! It is my first blog award and I was flattered I was one of the bloggers she thought to nominate.

I had seen this badge and ones like it around some blogs but didn't really know what it was about. Basically fellow bloggers nominate others to help spread the word about different blogs and show a little appreciation.

Here are the conditions that have to be met to officially accept the award:
  • Link back to the blog that nominated you.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs that have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer questions posted by you from your nominator.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Contact your nominees and let them know you've nominated them.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal

A Webcomic Review


Read it here.
The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal: by E. K. Weaver
Genre: Slice of Life/Yaoi (kind of) [I use manga genres]
Pages: 500 [Completed]
Format: Internet Web Comic/Print in 3 Volumes 

Summary (from official website):
In the span of a single day, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his conservative parents, promptly gets disowned, goes on a bender... and wakes up the next morning to find TJ, a lanky, dreadlocked vagrant, frying eggs and singing Paul Simon in his kitchen.

TJ claims that the two have made a drunken pact to drive all the way from Berkeley to Providence. As it happens, Amal promised his sister he'd be there for her graduation from Brown University. And TJ, well... TJ has his own reasons.

The agreement is simple: Amal does the driving; TJ pays the way - but a 3500 mile journey leaves plenty of time for things to get complicated.  

LittleCely Rating:

   Loved it! (3 Smileys [max number of loved it]

Funny (1 smiley out of 3)

Saucy (1 smiley out of 3)

So I haven't finished my book for the week, I've had movers at my place for two days now (apartment is empty!) aaaand it's my birthday today, so I decided to write a review about a recently completed webcomic that I love. It finished yesterday and I spent a few hours re-reading the masterpiece that I have been following every Tuesday for the past 2 to 3 years.

My Thoughts:

TJ and Amal started updating way back in 2009 I believe but I didn't discover its awesomeness until a few years after that. It is a comic that is ultimately meant to be read in one sitting but that didn't keep me from waiting patiently for every update each week.

I call it a slice of life genre because that is what it is. There are no fantastical elements or action packed scenes. It is very, less than epic but at the same time a great and engaging read.

The dynamics between the main characters is amazing to watch and while it does have some NSFW pages here and there, those don't overpower or drive the story. Basically what I'm saying is you don't read the comic for the sex although it is a nice bonus. It progresses naturally and it's believable in the same way the characters are. TJ is hilarious and Amal's reactions are always giggle worthy, they compliment each other well and are well rounded three dimensional characters.

The character development is great. While TJ and Amal are the only characters we really get to know you can tell that every other character we come in contact with, even if it's just for a few panels, the author/artist new who they were before putting them on paper. I respect that kind of storytelling.

The drawing style was great as well, it was slightly sketch like but very well done and only included color for a few pages, mainly three nature scenes. I loved how Weaver could dedicate a whole page to four to five panels of just slight posture change. There were subtle changes that she would use to show a change of expression or simple movement of the hand. Small changes that said so much about what the character was feeling or wanted to do. That I think was my favorite part about this webcomic. When subtlelty is used right it's magic. And this comic was full of magic.

Would I recommend this comic? If you are not offended by homosexual love and people and you don't mind the male anatomy (it's only in a few pages really), then YES! I absolutely recommend this comic, not only for the story and the characters but for the art. That is how you tell a story with pictures! When I can I would really like to buy the printed version of the comic as well. It really is a keeper. Thank you E.K. for creating such a wonderful story.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

George Clooney's Hair

My First Attempt at Drawing Hair

George Clooney's Hair which I now Hate!
Drawing hair is hard!! 

But then again I say that about every feature that has to be drawn for a portrait. Hair however is like drawing giant eyebrows though. It isn't as satisfying as drawing eyes or lips for and trying to draw the hairs just right can be down right tedious. However, it's a craft that I love to hate and don't really hate.

Outlining form and starting to fill it out.

 I think that if I hadn't been as busy as I have been I would have enjoyed the process a bit more. Drawing realistic portraits takes time and it can be like a form of meditation. You can get lost in it.

Drawn by LittleCely

But if you're distracted by the time you can and will get frustrated very quickly. Especially when you have to watch out for white hairs!!!

Finished hair drawing by LittleCely

In the end it came out looking pretty good for my first attempt. For my first portrait I will take more time on hair to make it look as realistic as possible.

Who would you like to see a drawing of?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Write Club - Join the Fun!

Write Club 2014

While exploring the blogosphere the other day I came across DL Hammons' blog who has been hosting a different kind of writing contest, called Write Club, for the past couple of years. 

Write Club is a contest where 500 word writing samples duke it out in various rounds until only one is left standing: the winner.

I had never heard of this before and was so happy that I came across it just in time for the submission period. Anybody and everybody is free to submit a sample in any genre for the chance to be chosen as one of the 32 participants of Write Club. Once the 32 have been picked, each week there will be two bouts of randomly paired samples fighting for the votes of the Write Club readers (you vote by commenting and joining the write club linky). The sample with the most votes goes on to the next stage of the competition and is that much closer to Write Club glory!

The rules are fun because while you are encouraged to spread the word about Write Club, you are also discouraged from promoting your own sample if you submitted one. It is an anonymous competition focused on writing skill and not popularity.

So here I am spreading the word and still deciding if I should submit something or not (gotta think up a cool pen name...). If you're interested in checking it out click here for the official rules and more detailed info.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

ROW80 Check-In

About ROW80
Last week I decided to start the ROW80 Writing Challenge. A goal setting blog hop that takes place every Sunday and Wednesday. My first week wasn't all together perfect but I did well all things considered.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Divergent - A Book Review

Source Goodreads

Divergent: by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA Dystopian Sci-Fi
Pages: 487
Format: Paperback

Summary (from Goodreads):
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

 LittleCely Rating:

"Liked it" smiley (1)

"Um..." smiley (1)

My Thoughts

First book down on my Blogger Summer Reading list! Woohoo! And my first time trying a personally formatted review post. Let me know what you think about it in the comments. =D

Anyway on to the review. For those looking for a more traditional rating system I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads but would have preferred being able to give it 3.5.

Overall I enjoyed the story after suspending disbelief about the overall premise. I didn't question too much the fact that society would decide to divide the population into five factions. I went with it pretty easily and decided that it had been in place for over a hundred years and thus the majority of the population could be conditioned to live in such a fashion.

Our protagonist Beatrice or Tris as she later calls herself, is likable enough. There were moments I felt she was a bit too "damsel in distress" but later I accepted it. She was brave when she needed to be and I've read female leads whose badassness is dialed up to 10 for the majority of the story and that gets old fast. In the end it really is more realistic that she would need help from time to time instead of being able to handle everything on her own all the time.

The evolution of the friendships and the romantic subplot advanced at a pace I was comfortable with and enjoyed. It didn't take away from the overall story and I became fond the main characters and hated the ones that were meant to be hated.

The writing style was typical YA; first person from Tris' point of view. It was easy to read and engaging throughout the story, nothing too fancy or overly simplistic.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. It's one of the better YA books I've read lately and I liked it well enough to read the sequel.

Have you read Divergent? What did you think? If you haven't read it, would you?

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rounding Off Lips

I have pink hair now!!!

I meant to put up this post yesterday but I spent countless hours in a salon getting my hair cut and fabulousized! So you get it today.

Lips Drawn by Me. Framed by someone else.
During the A to Z Challenge I was able to use two of the letters ("L" and "N") to show a little bit of what I am currently learning. Which is drawing photorealistic portraits.

Back in "L" I shared my first ever lips (finished just in time for the post), and today I'd like to share the lips I've done since then.

Lips by LittleCely
These lips took some time to do due to the contrasts I had to include. These lips are obviously wearing lipstick or some kind of gloss and I really had to show that.

Lips by LittleCely

And the final lips I had to draw. Difficult in their own right, these don't have lipstick or gloss. My mother tells me they are Angelina Jolie's lips but I can't really tell.

So those are the lips. I am now on to practicing hair before actually starting my first portrait. I might come back to drawing lips though since I still have a few reference pictures of lips that look like they would be really fun to draw. I'll call it my lip collection!

Oh and if you would like to see more of my drawings as they happen, follow me on my Instagram (@littlecely), Tumblr (thelittlecely) or Twitter (@cely27).
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Suicide Shop

A Movie Review

The other day as I was flipping through channels with the guide menu on (where I can read the name of the movie and a short summary), I stopped at The Suicide Shop because it sounded a bit morbid and what I saw on my screen was animation. 

Now I love me a good animation and this intrigued me: a story about a family who owns a suicide shop in a city where the majority of the population are chronically depressed. So depressed that suicide is an everyday thing. It is so frequent that they have to make it illegal for suicides to take place in public places. So if you kill yourself on a public street or a park, you are fined (well your relatives are).

The plot in this particular movie however has to do with the family's youngest son who is born happy. He is always smiling, wishes people good day and simply loves life. Which according to his parents is bad for business. 

Now the movie I saw on TV was already started and it was in French with no subtitles (I get weird channels here). My French unfortunately is not good enough to understand everything that they were saying but I got the gist of some things (Yay! My intensive year of French back in the day).

I then proceed to find the movie on the Internet to watch it again, with subtitles and from the beginning. If there was a way for me to rent it here in Tehran I would but my options are limited so I had to go the downloading route.

My thoughts

It is a trippy movie and a bit morbid don't get me wrong, but I was strangely fascinated by it. The animation style was interesting and engaging and the music wasn't half bad. Did I mention it's a musical? It's a musical!

This movie however is NOT intended for young children. There are a few scenes which are questionable even by adult standards. In one scene the dad who can't stand the happiness of the son  convinces him that smoking is good for you and gives him a cigarette. His friends (who are also unusually happy) take his cigarettes away because they are bad for his health and tell him he's been tricked.

The story was a little weird but ultimately I kinda liked it. It was weird enough to work (strange scenes aside). The ending was sweet and the message overall was I guess a good one.


Do I recommend this movie? Yes, if you want to watch something different and you enjoy the occasional animation made for adults. If you do watch it do so without children. The Suicide Shop is a movie more for those who are not easily offended by dark humor and can see the comedy and/or seriousness beneath it.

Oh and interesting fact: the movie is based on a book. One which I've decided to add to my to be read list.

Are you a fan of dark humor? Would this be the kind of movie you would watch? Tell me what you think.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

A to Z Reflections

A New Appreciation for Blogging

Finally my reflections post on the awesome Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! This was my first year participating and I'm very glad that I did. I gained a few new followers and began following new and interesting blogs myself. That is probably the best part of the challenge, the networking that it creates. I know that I will continue to follow many of the blogs and bloggers I discovered throughout the month.

It was also a great exercise to blog everyday (except Sundays) for a month. It puts your writing and creative muscles to the test. 

I joined the challenge only a few days before it began so many of my posts were written the same day or one day in advance at the most. I did however, try to make a list of what my topics would be about in advance. This helped a lot although a few ended up being switched up in the end and others I had to come up with the day of (X, W and Y are prime examples).

Because of this chaos I wrote without a theme which I didn't really mind. I would love to do the challenge again next year though, and might toy with a theme then. It will probably help with the timing of my posts as well as allowing me to comment and visit more blogs than I did this time around. By scheduling more posts in advance I would be able to dedicate more time to visiting and commenting.

I did managed to post every letter, some just in the nick of time and only once did I have to make a make-up post (With Q) so I can't say that this year was a "perfect" run but I do feel I did pretty well.

I enjoyed many of the themes other bloggers came up with like writing about books you hate (Finley) or English words with Arabic origins (The Word Trance), Hungarian weirdness (Mop Dog) and drabbles, the drabbles were great(Colin and LG). There were more of course but I won't mention them all here.

One of the things that peeved me a bit was the way comments are handled differently in blogger and wordpress. If you have a wordpress account (which I do), it makes checking up on comments on other blogs so much easier. Whenever you go on a wordpress blog there is a bar with a notification that let's you know when someone has replied to your comment. It then allows you to add another reply easily without leaving the current wordpress blog you are visiting. 

With blogger you have to check the box for notifications for new comments on different posts. Which is fine normally but when doing the challenge I found that my e-mail would be filled with different comment notifications from various posts on different blogs not just replying to my comments but all comments being made. It got to the point where I decided to simply not check the box to be notified by e-mail and only rarely followed up for replies manually.

This however is a Blogger/Blogspot thing and not much can be done by the A to Z team which did a great job overall. All in all the challenge was fun and I would definitely do it again.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

ROW80 Goals
Site here

I noticed during the A to Z Blogging Challenge what I've known all along. I tend to be more disciplined when I am held accountable in some fashion. So when I read about ROW80 over on Celine Jeanjean's Blog I knew I had to be a part of it.

ROW80: A Round of Words in 80 Days, is a different kind of writing challenge. You set your own goals (as long as they are measurable) within a time frame of 80 days. The challenge is held four times a year and they are currently on round 2.

This round started back in April 7th but you are free to join whenever you please. All you have to do is link your goals post to their website on one of the check-in days; Sunday or Wednesday. Once that's done you use the subsequent check-in days to update others on your progress.

What really caught my attention about this challenge is that it is very flexible. You are free to update or tweak your goals as you go along. And there are those who don't limit their goal setting to just writing. I thought this was great and decided to give it a go.

Writing Goals

So lately my creative writing has come to a stand still so I thought that for this first week I would concentrate on word vomiting (Celine used this term and I really liked it). Simply writing. Writing for an hour a day, seven days a week.

I sometimes get stuck on thinking about structure or research for too long and push writing back a bit. It takes me a bit to get into the flow of writing but once I'm there I love it. So this week is about simply getting into that zone.

Reading Goals

I've added a page to my blog dedicated to the Book Blogger Summer Reading Program hosted on Katie's Book Blog. From now until the beginning of September I've set myself the goal of reading 17 books. This translates to a book a week.

After finishing each book I will write a review post here on my blog.

Blogging Goals

A blog post four times a week at least. If I have more to write about great! But I want four to be the limit. This includes but is not limited to a drawing post, a book review, at least one ROW80 update and flash friday (flash fiction meme).

Personal Goals

Exercise: I've stopped for almost a month now and I'm afraid my mini muscles will disappear. It also does wonders for keeping my depression at bay so starting tomorrow I start up the Insanity Program again. This time however I will focus on just finishing the first month. If at the end of the month I feel like continuing I will. If not I will do some other form of exercise.

Drawing: I have drawing class twice a week and I should really stop procrastinating my work for the day before the lesson so I want to draw 2 hours a day. Why does drawing get more time than writing? The style I draw in demands at least that to be taken seriously.

WaniKani: WaniKani is a website where you can practice Japanese characters called kanji. I've been slacking on my kanji lately and I need to visit this site at least once a day. I'm currently on level 8 and would like to be completing level 9 by the end of June.


Okay so those are my goals. They are doable I just need the accountability factor to keep me going. Whoo let's get to it then shall we?

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