Monday, 29 September 2014

Geekie Chic Turns One!

Guess what, dear readers?

It has been exactly a year since Geekie Chic's first post on 29th September 2013!!!! A whole year! Twelve months! 52 weeks! 365 days!!!

And it makes me very happy to say that this blog has changed my life. This blog has been an outlet for me to express my feelings, to fangirl about everything I love, and to talk about the things that matter to me. Without this blog, I don't know where or what I would be. 

It's hard to believe that in just one short year, this blog has crossed 24,000 views; I now have 18 followers on Google Friend connect and another 154 Geeks on Facebook.
I've written 85 posts over the past year. I know it isn't a very huge number, and I do know that I haven't been posting on the blog very often lately, but I'd still like to count it as a major achievement.

I've got the most views on my reviews of Vellvette/Fab Bag, the beauty subscription bags, but I don't think those are the best posts I've written. Quantity and quality don't always go hand-in-hand.

I'd like to mention a few posts that I feel very proud about. They may not have the most number of views or comments, but they focus on issues that I find very important.
If you've been a regular follower of the blog, let me know in the comments which posts you liked the best. :)

As for reviews... here are the best movies I've seen and the best books I've read over the past year...

... And here are some that I wish I could forget about...

As for the beauty blog posts, which are actually few in number, I don't have any personal favourites. They are what they are.

One thing I love is that this blog has brought out my inner fangirl. Earlier, I didn't have anyone to fangirl with. Now, I can just make a post about it on the Facebook page.

Plus, I don't enjoy talking about myself that much. It's easier for other people to get to know me through this blog.
I actually became better friends with one of my classmates in college because of this blog! That's how we both realised we were in almost all the same fandoms.
And I've remained in touch with my schoolmates because of this blog. It lets them know what's going on in my life.
The internet and the blogosphere make communication so much easier!

The first year of Geekie Chic has brought so many wonderful things - and people - into my life. I wonder what the next year, and the ones after that, will bring.

Here's to hoping for the best. Have a wonderful day, Geeks! :)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

How to 'Look Your Best'

Hello, darling Geeks!

About a month ago, one of my favourite YouTubers posted a video talking about looking your best. Here's the video, for those of you who are interested.

Maybe I misinterpreted her, but from my understanding of the video, I could gather a few things: that looking your best is absolutely essential, that you need to be all dolled up to look your best, and that you have to do these things because you're a part of society and you have to play by the rules.

I disagree.

I hate the fact that we're becoming so obsessed with our looks. Yes, everyone enjoys looking at beauty. Looking at beautiful things makes me happy.
But my version of beauty is probably different from yours. My version of 'looking your best' is definitely different from Mimi's version.

According to me, looking your best doesn't mean you have to change your appearance because society wants you to. It's about dressing the way you want to - the way that makes you happy. Can you really look your best if you're not comfortable in your own clothes?

One point that Mimi made in the video is that we're all wearing costumes, living in our own movie. She said, "What costume do you want to wear? The costume of an extra, or the costume of the main hero?"
My question is... how can you be an extra in your own life? Why do you need to be 'dressed up' to be the main hero?

Being a hero has absolutely nothing to do with looks. Being a hero has to do with being a good person, being kind, being brave, making other people happy.... your actions and choices make you a hero, not your 'costume'.

And yes, it's important to respect yourself, as Mimi said. And I agree, it's important to eat healthy and be active and take care of your body.
But there are also other ways to earn the respect of others - through your personality!

It's true that first impressions matter. And most first impressions are gathered by your appearance, because that's what people notice first. But does that really mean you have to get out of your comfort zone to dress for others?

I don't know what people think of me when they see me for the first time. Maybe some of them think I'm average. Some may think I'm beautiful. Some might think I'm not trying hard enough, or that I'm antisocial or that I'm a Geek. Some people might not even notice me!

But that's okay, because even then, I'm being myself. And that, I believe, is how you look your best.

I could definitely look more atractive if I blow-dried my hair or hid my dark circles or wore cute heels every day. And yes, that would definitely make people want to approach me more. But it wouldn't make me more comfortable. I may have the time for it, but I don't have the willingness to do those things all the time.

If you're comfortable doing those things, go for it! You should always, always, always do the things that make you happy. Happiness is the most important part of life.

You know what makes me happy? When I wear fandom clothing, or an outfit that has sentimental value, or a pair of earrings or an accessory that has a fond memory attached to it. Maybe it doesn't make my eyes pop and maybe it makes me look shorter - but it reminds me of the amazing things and people in my life. And that's what will make me look my best.

And maybe getting all dressy is how Mimi looks her best. And maybe she does it only for herself, as she claims in the video. But that isn't true for all of us, is it?

Don't ever do something because others want you to do it. Don't change your appearance so more people will hang out with you! Don't blow-dry your hair straight so people will 'respect' you!

Do it because you want to do it. You can do all those things as much as you want, only if you want to do it for yourself! Your comfort and happiness is more important than a stranger's approval.

I know a lot of people think first impressions are everything. And sometimes they are - like in a job interview. But even then, the interviewer would pay more attention to your body language and your confidence - not what shoes you're wearing or what hair gel you're using.

So do whatever is in your power to become a self-satisfied person. That's what will help you look and feel your best.

What about you? What do you do to look your best? And what are your opinions about Mimi's video, if you've seen it? What do you think she wanted to say?
Let me know in the comments. I love discussions with my Geeks! :D

Bye for now. :)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

'Four: A Divergent Collection' by Veronica Roth: A Book Review

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened 'Four', he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

Hasn't it been a while since my last book review? More than two weeks!!

Anyway, I finally got around to reading the Divergent short stories from Four's perspective. It makes for a nice, quick read - I started and finished it today - because these stories are set in a time much before the events of Allegiant and Insurgent, so all it did was remind me how much I loved the first book in the series. 

There are four stories in this book (whoa, I just realised why!) plus three additional Divergent scenes from Four's perspective. 
The first one, The Transfer, is about his Choosing Ceremony. The Initiate is self-explanatory. The Son takes place after his initiation but before the first novel, and the final story, The Traitor, talks about Four's life after he meets Tris. 

Unlike in Allegiant, Veronica Roth does a good job writing from Four's perspective. Personally, I always liked Four better than Tris, so I really enjoyed getting some in-depth back story about the guy.
A few secondary characters are also seen - Eric, Max, Zeke, Shauna and Tori are prominent characters - but apart from the first two, none of them make a lasting impact. 

I didn't like The Son as much as the other three stories because it focused on a storyline related to Insurgent that I was never fond of. The Transfer and The Initiate were very exciting, and seeing Tris through Four's eyes (without bringing up bad memories of Allegiant) was refreshing. 

The three bonus scenes were all Tris-centric, probably targeted towards the FourTris fangirls. While I don't consider myself one of them, I do appreciate romance!

There are some great quotes hidden in this collection. Here are some that I took a fancy to:

Dead people can be our heroes because they can't disappoint us later; they only improve over time, as we forget more and more about them.

One thing I know: For helping me forget how awful the world is, I prefer her to alcohol. 

In that moment I'm able to accept the inevitability of how I feel, though not with joy. I need to talk to someone. I need to trust someone. And for whatever reason, I know, I know it's her.
I'll have to start by telling her my name.

The hurts from my last day with my father are healed now, but I want to remember where they were; I want to remember what I escaped for as long as I live.

To conclude, this book doesn't offer anything new to the Divergent universe. Sure, there are a few minor things here and there that haven't been disclosed before, but this collection is only a companion to the trilogy. It's not a spinoff, prequel or a sequel.

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for Four: A Divergent Collection.  
This book strengthened my allegiance to the Divergent trilogy, and it almost made me forget how bad the final book was.
I think this book is a must-read for all fans of the trilogy. From action to humour to romance, this one's got it all!

What did you think of Four's stories? Let the comment box know.

Bye! :)

PS: If you haven't already, be sure to 'like' my Facebook page. I post daily updates, trailers, fandom pictures... lots of cool stuff, in short. And I'm only one 'like' away from 150! :D

Monday, 8 September 2014

I Love Coursera + Some Online Courses I'm Taking

Howdy, internet!

Today I'd like to talk about one of my favourite websites: Coursera! Coursera is an amazing company that provides education in the form of online classes and courses, taught by professors from top universities. And best of all... it's free!

I'm the sort of person who's interested in personal growth. And I believe that personal growth comes from new experiences and learning.
And Coursera gives me the chance to learn as much as I want to!

Here are some courses that I've taken or am going to take in the near future.

1) Presumed Innocent? The Social Science of Wrongful Conviction:

Oh, how much I loved this course! This course talks about the many loopholes in the American justice system, and examines the issue of wrongful conviction using a social scientific outlook.
It was only by chance that I opted for this course. I was bored, and I felt like learning something about criminal law, and this was the only relevant course at that point of time.
But boy, am I glad that I clicked the 'Join for free' button.
Before taking this course, I had no idea that so many people are convicted or even executed for crimes they did not commit, and that too for the silliest reasons!
I now feel so strongly about this topic. There are people that spend more than half of their lives in jail for something they didn't even do! Sometimes they even get killed for someone else's mistake! Can you imagine the trauma these people go through? Not to mention the social stigma after they get exonerated!

This course has made me realise that I could never be a lawyer... but at the same time, it has made me really interested in the justice system.

I took this course not just for learning, but for the certificate as well. Grading is currently in progress - I hope I did well enough to get a distinction!

2) Social Psychology:

I love psychology so, so much. And this course has made me love it even more. Full of interesting facts, subtle humour, mind-boggling puzzles and very, very difficult assignments... Social Psychology is one hell of a ride!
I have learnt so much about my fellow human beings in the past few months, all thanks to this course and its amazing instructor.
A lot of renowned psychologists have shared their resources with us, which means amazing video lectures and interesting psychology books to read! I've heard that Social Psychology is actually Coursera's most popular course, and I don't doubt it for even a second.

I'm not taking this course for the certificate, so I haven't done all the assignments. They're very tricky, and I honestly don't have enough time to juggle college and all my courses. So this course is purely for fun.

3) Introduction to Forensic Science:

Growing up, I used to watch a lot of CID. And my favourite part in any CID episode (other than "Daya, darwaza todo!") was when they would go into the forensic lab to analyse evidence. The same goes for when I play Women's Murder Club on my laptop - the forensic aspect is the best part of those games.
So when I heard about this course, I immediately decided to pursue it. It only started a month ago, but I've learnt so much about DNA, decay, blood spatter and time of death. This course is exciting and educational at the same time - which is what learning should always be.

Again, I'm not doing this course for the certificate. Partly because it probably won't have any utility in my career, because... well, in theory, I enjoy learning about blood. In real life? That stuff makes me sick.
But it is a lot of fun to imagine that one day I could help an ongoing investigation and then become a detective. You never know what life has in store for you, right?

4) Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade (Fundamental English Writing):

This one hasn't started yet. It's a very basic course, and it's going to focus on grammar, editing and (of course) writing. I think I'm probably an intermediate writer, but I feel like it would be good for me to go back to the basics and see if I've missed out on anything that a good writer should know.

I will be taking this course for the certificate. I hope that works out well!

5) An Introduction to Marketing:

This course starts in a month.
I did a marketing project in school and I really enjoyed the process. I'm going to have an option between Marketing and Finance in my final year of college. Currently, I'm leaning towards Marketing based on my understanding of the subject. But I have no idea what a college-level course would be like, and whether I have an aptitude for it or not.
Taking this course would be like a test run. If I enjoy learning about marketing, and if I'm good at it, that decision at the beginning of third year would become much easier. And I'll do better in class, too!

I probably will take this course for the certificate. I'm not sure, though. By the time this one starts, Social Psychology would have ended, but I'd still have Forensic Science, English Writing, and my college courses to do. Depending on my workload, I'll decide later.

I'm glad my sister introduced me to Coursera. It's given me so many opportunities to learn subjects that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to learn. I could never study Forensic Science in an actual college, because I didn't study Science in my last two years of high school.
And I don't think there are any colleges in India that would let me take such diversified classes - psychology, writing, law, science, marketing... online education is so flexible!

There are no boundaries to learning, Geeks!
Check out this website and let me know what you think of online education. Which courses would you pick, and what are you planning to study in college? The comment box awaits you.

Happy learning! Bye!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

'If I Stay' Movie Review

Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.  (IMDB)

A few months ago, I reviewed a young adult novel about choices, life and death. Well, today I'm going to review its film adaptation.

If I Stay released in India a few weeks after the international release, so all the critics had already voiced their opinions. And they didn't like this movie at all.
So, as I munched on my popcorn in the practically empty theatre, waiting for the advertisements to end, I figured that the next two hours weren't going to be anything special.

And I was right.

If I Stay is a story that claims to hit you right in the feels, but that actually doesn't happen. The book didn't appeal to me at all, although I did enjoy reading the sequel. So obviously, I didn't like the story of this movie that much, either.
But a few things in this movie are different, and I'm glad. There were a few instances where I - and the four other people in the theatre - laughed, a few where we smiled at Adam and Mia's love story (they actually have a decent, fleshed-out love life in this movie, unlike its paper counterpart), and one or two scenes where I felt a little bit sad about the events in Not-A-Ghost-Yet Mia's life.

I liked the way Mia's family was portrayed. They brought a lot of humour into the story. I also liked Mia's friendship with her friend Kim.
Chloƫ Grace Moretz was a good Mia, her parents were cast just right, but I feel like a different actor should have played Adam. I don't know... he just didn't fit the part very well. In general, the acting was fine.

If I Stay's concept focuses primarily on the back story, so this movie was full of flashbacks. One thing I didn't like was that the movie kept switching from past to present without any warning, so a non-book reader could get confused very easily.

The music was great - from the background score to the cello music to the few songs Adam sings - I loved them all. I was, however, hoping to find the cello theme that is used in the trailer. That piece of music is just phenomenal, but it wasn't featured in the movie at all. That was actually one of the reasons I was looking forward to watching this film...

One thing that surprised me was that although If I Stay is rated PG-13 in the US, it's rated A in India. And I didn't understand why. There's no actual explicit content. A few kisses, an implied sex scene, and a couple shown together in bed. Nothing that you don't see in a Bollywood movie.
I really don't understand the Indian censor board. Is it because the characters are supposed to be teenagers? Is that the reason?

At the end of the day, although I wasn't bored during the movie, I wasn't particularly interested, either. This movie and this story simply did not resonate with me. On my way home from the theatre, I thought about how I would react in a similar situation - whether I would stay or not - but ten minutes later, all I was thinking about was the popcorn.

I'm going to go with 2.5 stars out of 5 for If I Stay - the same rating for both the movie and the book. I can't tell you which one I prefer - they were both mediocre in their own way.

I do hope they make a sequel, because Where She Went, the second book in the series, was much, much better.

Here's the trailer for If I Stay. If you know the source of the cello music played at the beginning, please let me know. Also let me know what you thought of the book or the movie, or even the trailer!

Have a good day or night, folks. Bye-bye!