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Check out my first ever public crochet process/tutorial video! I’ll be doing more of these over time. :) You can also get the text version of the pattern over at my Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/645261061/squid-amigurumi-crochet-pdf-download

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*this is especially important: these days on Tumblr there’s a wonderful atmosphere of being able to talk openly about your mental illness or your struggle. And that’s great! But there’s a difference between sharing in order to help yourself and other people and sharing just because you have no other coping mechanisms. As much as you’re able, try to work on developing a different outlet. People aren’t qualified to be your therapist because they’re nice to you a couple of times. Please remember that they have lives too, and their job is not to make you feel better or pity you, no matter how difficult your life is. 

And last but not least: 

But… 

I really don’t have a way to better this. 

Your interests are your own. I can’t advise anyone to change their interests to fit in with a certain group of people - that’s stupid, and actually quite damaging to your sense of self. 

Instead, I would recommend that, maybe if you feel like your topics of conversation are falling flat with this group of people, you move on to other, greener pastures. There are bound to be places where your ideas mesh better with an audience. 

And of course - try to be considerate about what you say and how you say it. 

Sometimes, what might seem like a harmless comment to you might be a very discomforting thought to another person. I recently had a conversation on a forum with a guy who was telling me that his headcanon was that Pearl (from SU) would soon get a male love interest who loved mechanics and weapons next, and that would be her best arc, because she would finally get a ‘healthy’ love interest. 

His intentions were good, but he was entirely unaware of how cringey this kind of thing was to a bunch of (probably queer) people, who have spent their entire lives being told that the only ‘good’ character development for them would be to get a ‘male love interest’. No one wanted to be the jerk to say “fuck off, we don’t want that to happen” but everyone was answering him in a flat way, trying to discourage the discussion further. Instead of picking up on the hint, he bulldozed on, thinking he was having a ‘lively conversation’ which was, in fact, in its late stages of death. 

I know I’ll probably get a few messages to this saying: What about people on the Autistic Spectrum? Sometimes, people can’t pick up social cues or ‘hints’. And if that’s the case, it’s incredibly difficult to understand why you’re not having any luck communicating despite your best efforts. 

I feel that on a person level, please believe me. I made this infograph for THAT VERY REASON. Because I WAS that awkward kid who didn’t pick up on hints well. In fact, I still have trouble talking to people. If any of you have had the misfortune of being my conversational partner, you’ll know that I tend to be overly blunt and come off as very unfriendly. It’s something that I, myself, am working on currently in order to grow into a better person. It’s a struggle in progress, but I am aiming towards the progress side, and I just wanted to help out others while I was at it. 

How to read a scientific article

Hey y’all! This post is aimed at people who are making the transition from textbook-based science classes to article-based science classes. Scientific journal articles are dense compared to textbooks and aren’t written with the intent to teach basic concepts but rather with the intent to expand scientific knowledge. It can often be very confusing to figure out what is going on. Here’s how I was taught to read them 10+ years ago and how I still approach them today. 

(I) After reading the title, start for real with the Results section. 

Why would you do this when you know the abstract will give you a basic overview of the study and the introduction will set the context? Because you want to be an active reader. You want to figure out what happened in this study in a way that makes sense to you rather than be able to parrot what the author’s say happened. This is the major difference between reading a textbook (where you need to regurgitate the information later) and reading an article (where you need to be able to intelligently discuss the content either in class or in writing). 

Look at the tables and figures first. Can you tell what the independent variables were? What the dependent variables are? What might the relationship between them be? What trends or patterns do you see? Depending on your style, it may be a good idea to mark up your document with this information or jot some notes down somewhere else. 

Now read the text part of the results. What parts of the figures are the authors choosing to highlight in the text? Are there any results buried in the text that you can’t connect to part of a figure?   

Now pause and think. What is the most important result of the study? Highlight where this appears in the text and figures. Remember that important doesn’t necessarily mean statistically significant! A good p-value doesn’t signify real-world meaning; you need to make that connection yourself. Take a moment in this step to notice what results still don’t make sense to you– no need to panic or write questions down yet because you haven’t read the rest of the paper. 

(II) Get the gist of the Methods. 

Chances are your professor did not assign you this reading with the intent to make you replicate the study. You don’t have to understand every sentence (or even most sentences!) of the methods unless you’re an advanced graduate student. You do have to be able to explain in layman’s terms what the researchers did. 

Particularly important questions to answer that can be found in the text include: What were the independent variables? What were the dependent variables? What variables were controlled for, either statistically or through researcher manipulation? What statistical methods were used to look for an association?  In health research, we use the acronym PECOT to deconstruct method’s sections.  

  • P = population– who was being studied? 
  • E = exposure– what variable were the researchers trying to determine the impact of? This might be an intervention (ie., a smoking cessation video) or something outside researchers’ control (ie., at least 5 years of daily smoking). 
  • C = comparison– who is the population of interest going to be compared to? This may be a formal control group (ie., smokers who were shown a video on handwashing) or something outside researchers’ control (ie., former smokers of a similar demographic background who haven’t had a cigarette in 5 years). 
  • O = outcome– what were the researchers looking for? This is also known as the independent variable. 
  • T = time– how long were participants/subjects tracked and when were measurements taken? 

(III) Read the Introduction. 

Now that you have a very good idea about the design and results of the study, you’ll be better able to understand the introduction of the study. The basic goal of an introduction in any scientific paper is to explain why the study happened. The background may give you some helpful context, or it may be redundant at this point. I typically don’t spend much time on the introduction except for the end where the study purpose/research question and hypotheses are usually written. Mark these in the text! You should already have a good idea of the study’s purpose from the methods and results. Here’s some questions you should answer internally or in your notes at this point: 

  1. Did the methods align with the purpose? 
  2. Did the results support the hypothesis? 
  3. What are the scientific implications of these results? 

(IV) Read whatever is at the end of the article: Discussion, Conclusion, Reflection, Limitations, Research Implications etc. 

It is very important that you save these sections for last because these sections are where researchers tell you what to think of the results. You need to be prepared to critically engage with their interpretation of the results by already having your own. That’s what the three questions above are about! Of course, the discussion was probably written by multiple advanced scientists and you are but a lowly student. That doesn’t mean you should accept their conclusions without seeing their logic. As you read the discussion, think about these questions: 

  1. Do the researchers think the results support the hypothesis? 
  2. How are the researchers interpreting the primary results? [Bonus: what other interpretations are there, and are they mentioned?]
  3. What do the researchers think the scientific implications of these results are?
  4. What limitations do the researchers acknowledge, and how could those limitations be impacting the results?

(V) Synthesize it. 

Try to boil down everything in the paper to just a few sentences that an 8th grader could understand. Whether you think through it internally or write it down is up to you. I usually print out my readings and write my synthesis on the blank back page using the following sentences starters: 

  • The researchers wanted to know whether… 
  • They found that… 
  • This means that… 

Taking the time to write the synthesis and any lingering questions you have can be really helpful if, like me, you do reading far in advance of class and need a quick refresher to glance at before class starts. It can also be helpful for paper writing or exam studying later. Consider revising your synthesis after you participate in the class discussion or hear your professor’s take on the article in lecture. Don’t rely on the abstract– that’s someone else’s synthesis, not yours.

— 

I hope this was helpful!! Don’t feel bad if this process is ridiculously time consuming. I have spent probably 3-4 hours on a 5-page study before. The goal of science writing is to be as concise as possible, which makes reading short articles more difficult than longer ones. I am a graduate student at a top American university, and I typically read 9-12 articles per week this deeply. If a professor assigns more than 4 research study articles per week for a regular course, make sure they explain what students are supposed to be getting out of each article so you can target your reading better. Chances are, you can skip some sections and focus on coming to class with clarifying questions rather than a firm understanding.

Happy reading!! 

@phd-one-day

How to Convincingly Write Romantic Scenes

I’ve seen a couple posts around talking about how much they hate writing romance and I’d like to extend my tips for doing so. Just to be clear, ‘romantic scene’ does not equal sex scene. Romance is a deep conversation by firelight, the first time your characters say I love you, it’s a touch of the hand, a lasting kiss, and yes… also sex. It’s whatever your characters see as romantic and you want to frame as such. So… let’s just jump into it.

With romance, you’re going to be focusing pretty heavily on the characters involved, but you can’t ignore their surroundings. So instead of breaking up the steamy goodness with descriptions of the park and the bench they’re sitting on, start the scene by setting the scene. Where are your characters? Write a solid few sentences of scene description. It gives the reader a sense of space to imagine whatever adorable or down-right-dirty things your characters are about to get up to. 

Originally posted by sweet-cider

Once you’ve set the scene, completely abandon it. Pretend like it’s not even there as you zero in on your characters. What are they thinking? How are they feeling in this moment? How are they interacting? Are they timid and shy? Passionate and direct? Is there a build up of emotion? Remember to use all five senses.

It’s important to deliberately choose words that coincide with the overall feel of the scene: Soft, sweet, and delicate evoke different feelings than rough, rich, and deep. Choose the words that are right for your characters in that moment.

Originally posted by peterpan-generation

Most romantic scenes are building up to a specific moment. Be it a sultry stare, a kiss, a long-awaited hug, or *ahem* whatever else. It can be good to tease the reader with what’s about to come. Mentioning a character’s pouty lips a few sentences before a kiss or strong arms before they’re drawn into them, describing their kiss as hungry or their stare as lustful before they fall into bed together. These are all good indicators that something’s about to go down. And it gets the reader excited for it.

And once that built up moment finally happens you’re probably going to want to describe every square inch of skin, every slight movement, every ragged breath, but WAIT! Now’s the time to reign it in. Leave something to the imagination. A paragraph-long description of a first kiss is too much. It takes the reader out of the moment. A couple of sentences should be enough to sufficiently describe what’s happening. 

And finally, remember that perfection isn’t romanctic. You know what’s romantic? Running your fingers through someone’s hair and accidentally getting caught in the strands. Then you spend a few seconds standing awkwardly close together as they help you untangle yourself and you look into one another’s eyes and share a quick, unsure peck on the lips before breaking apart with a smile. It’s real. It’s awkward. It stirs up those jitters in the pit of your stomach. That’s romantic. Let your romance be weird, you cowards!

Originally posted by perfectfeelings

Aaaaaand that’s it. If you guys want more, I wrote “How to Convincingly Write Battle Scenes” if you’d like to check that out! And if you STILL want more, let me know!

Back To School Witch Tips!

For all you witchy kids out there who are still in school:

📓 Coordinate the colors you wear for magical purposes (black for repelling negative energy {great for empaths, introverts, and witches prone to social anxiety or anxiety in general}, blue for communication and mental clarity, etc.

* in my personal experience, white is a very receptive color that absorbs the energy around you. That’s optimal for cleansing rituals or personal healing, but not for being at school while surrounded by a ton of chaotic stress energy. Avoid wearing too much white when possible if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing*

📓 Carry crystals suitable for protection against negative energy (including stress and drama coming from people around you), crystals for mental clarity and creativity, and crystals for grounding. Here are some that I like:

• Golden rutilated Quartz (aka Venus hair) (Gives you a boost of energy and protects against negative, stressful energy. Empowering and generally happy)

• Black tourmaline (the go-to for protecting against negative energy)

• Amethyst (a standard for empaths who are easily worn down by other people’s energy. Calming, cooling, and psychically protective)

• Citrine (very happy and positive, repels stress and gives you a creative boost)

• Angelite (very calming and cooling, great for anxiety and ESPECIALLY good to have if you’re giving a presentation)

• Red jasper (subtle but very grounding, makes you feel safe and centered)

📓 Pack a lunch full of foods with magical intention. Get into kitchen witchcraft and use herbs, spices, and symbols in your food to help you concentrate in class, feel calm and safe against stress, etc.

📓 When you get home, ALWAYS do a “cord-cutting” followed by a hot shower. Visualize the old energy going down the drain.


School was very stressful for me for multiple reasons, not least of which was the fact that I was an empath and an introvert with a lot of social anxiety. I hope these things help!

My Favorite Homemade Dry Spice Mixes

blah blah blah I was sad that so many store bought spice mixes featured gross things in them like ungodly amounts of processed sugars and unnecessary preservatives so I went out to find homemade spice mix recipes and these are now all staples in my diet. Why am I sharing them with you? No idea, but I am gonnnnnnna.


Buffalo Spice Mix

ingredients 

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 ¼ tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 4 tsp onion powder

directions

  1. combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk together.
  2. store in an airtight container like a mason jar

how to use

  • I generally mix a tablespoon or two per pound of meat (depending on how spicy you want this)
  • it also makes an AMAZING seasoning for homemade fries


Ranch Seasoning

ingredients

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • 3 tsp dill weed
  • 2 tsp dried chives
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 2 tsp black pepper

directions

  1. combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk together.
  2. store in an airtight container like a mason jar

how to use

  • about two tablespoons of this mixture = one packet of store bought ranch mix
  • add it to a mayonnaise of your choosing to make a DIY ranch dressing
  • I like to make air fryer hot wings with buffalo sauce and then toss the wings in this seasoning for a really lovely flavor
  • sprinkle it on everything, ranch tastes so good on everything, literally just add this to everything and make it ranch dressing flavored


Taco Seasoning

spoiler alert - this is a copy cat Taco Bell taco seasoning mix

ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • dash garlic powder

directions

  1. combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk together.
  2. store in an airtight container like a mason jar

how to use

  • add one tablespoon of spice mix for every one pound of taco meat you use. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the tablespoon of spice mix into the ground beef. Add the seasoned beef mixture and ½ cup of water in a skillet over medium heat. 
  • also very good on homemade french fries


Baharat Middle Eastern Blend

ingredients

  • 2 tsp smoky paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp cloves

directions

  1. combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk together.
  2. store in an airtight container like a mason jar

how to use

  • that is a good question. I am very recently branching out my spice pallet and trying on some new things. So far I have used this as a dry rub for chicken which has been phenomenal.
  • one tablespoon per one pound of ground beef for grilled smoky, spicy burgers


Everything Bagel Seasoning

listen, not all of us live near Trader Joe’s

ingredients

  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 3 tablespoons dried garlic flakes
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

directions

  1. combine all the spices in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk together.
  2. store in an airtight container like a mason jar

how to use

  • on top of homemade breads
  • added to breads with cream cheese
  • on top of your eggs
  • mixed into burgers
  • on top of avocado toast
  • basically anywhere you would normally use salt give that food an upgrade and use everything bagel mix instead
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Hey guys, so instead of a long drawn on post, I’ve made an easy to read version of how to begin studying Asian languages through pictures! Yay!!!! Everything is really straight forward and easy but let me know if you have any questions!

‘Glow Up’ Tips

It’s kind of long, but here is a list of tips/ideas I feel are most important to improve yourself/glo up this summer (or anytime for that matter). -Nat

  • Take up a new hobby/skill (such as)
    • Learn how to play an instrument
    • Learn a new language
    • Learn how to manage stress
    • Take a course (online or elsewhere) in something you’re interested in
  • Build better habits (like)
    • Skincare routine/Taking care of your skin in general
    • Self-care routine (Not necessarily face mask and bath bombs, it could be anything from clipping your fingernails to setting aside time to read or do yoga etc)
    • Working out/Exercising every day
  • Break bad habits (like)
    • Going to bed really late
    • Eating lots of ‘junk’ food/drinking sugary drinks
    • Cut down screen time
  • Read!
    • Self-help*, fiction, non-fiction, how-to books
      • *Sarah Knight’s The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k, Get Your Sh*t Together, and You Do You are at the top of my list along with You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Get a new look
    • Clean out your wardrobe and add new pieces
    • Get a haircut/look for new ways to style your hair
    • If you’re into makeup play around with different looks
    • Get a piercing or tattoo if it’s something you’ve been meaning to do
  • Hydrate!
    • Because we all knew it was coming. Summer can get extremely hot so fight off dehydration by keeping water at hand
  • Get a job/fix up your resume/start saving money
    • Easier said than done, I know, but @yournewapartment has tons of tips on job searching and all that other fun adult stuff (it’s my absolute favourite blog. I’m always learning new tips and tricks to win at life from it)
  • Get organised
    • Organise your spaces/belongings (bags, bedroom, apartment/house, storage, etc)
    • Invest in a planner/bullet journal/notebook to keep track of events and to-do’s (your phone works too but personally I prefer a physical copy)
  • Focus on your mental health
    • Work on ending toxic relationships (romantic, platonic, or familial)
      • Or work on not being the toxic part of a relationship
    • If you need professional/medical help to manage your mental health take the steps to do so
    • Let your main focus be on you and doing what’s best for you, not what negatives people have to say about you
    • Have some zero days where you don’t do anything besides focus on you/do the things you want to do
  • Get to know yourself/Do a self-assessment
    • Think about who you are and who you want to be
    • Think about your immediate goals and goals for the future
    • To both of those things ask yourself how are you going to achieve them/set SMART goals
    • Identify your likes and dislikes
    • Fight negative thoughts/learn to accept your flaws (it’s hard and you may fall back into that pattern of thinking every once in a while, but as long as you keep fighting you’ll start to see progress)
  • Make memories/Go on adventures
    • With your family, friends, by yourself etc
    • Often times we can get so caught up in our hustle that we forget to relax and have fun- therefore set aside time to do something relaxing/fun every week or two such as going to the mall, out to eat, or curling up at home with a good book/movie.

Just wanted to post here the piece number 08 in my “Tokyo at Night” series, especially that I made a Making-Of video for it.

This watercolor painting is again based on some reference photos I took while walking at night in the Kagurazaka, Waseda area of Tokyo probably going with Kana on a late errand or walk. I really liked how the tall building in the background looked like some kind of weird tower of unknown purpose contrasting with the dark building and car parking in the front. The lone, lit window also adds to the mysterious mood!

In this piece, I used an airbrush for the first time in this series, to get some additional depth and shadows. I’m showing more about this technique in the video below.

Technical details:

  • Paper: HOLBEIN Waterford natural 300g/m cotton paper
  • Sketch: Mitsu-bishi Hi-Uni pencil grade HB
  • Line: COPIC Multiliner SP 0.5mm
  • Colors: my main Schmincke set
  • An airbrush
How To Write Emotion

So you’ve got your characters, but you’re still attempting to figure out how to make sure they don’t come off as emotionless robots? You’ve come to the right place!

The best strategy I’ve found for making sure your characters don’t come across as completely apathetic without it breaking the veil of the story you’ve created is by telling the characters emotions without explicitly saying the emotion. Your readers are smart, I can promise you they’ll figure it out. 

Do NOT say things like; “He smiled happily.” 

If he’s smiling, the readers will know he’s probably happy. Your best bet would be to either leave it as “He smiled” or if you want to be more descriptive talk about how he’s feeling other than happy. Is pride welling in his chest? Are there butterflies in his stomach? Can he feel tears forming in the corners of his eyes? Those were very different types of situations that you just thought of, wasn’t it? It also paints a better picture than happy. On average, the more your reader can picture something, the better attached they can get to the story.

Examples;

His stomach dropped to somewhere beneath his toes, and he felt an instant urge to vomit. (Describes; Dread)

She dragged her feet the whole way, lips pressed into a fine line. (Describes; Reluctance)

They could not quite manage to stifle their yawn, wiping at their eyes languidly. (Describes; Tiredness)

He could feel his cheeks flush as he averted his eyes towards the floor, taking a sudden interest in his shoes. (Describes; Embarrassment)


The easiest way to write emotions is just to think about what you feel when those emotions come to you. If possible, attempt to trigger some of those emotions in yourself. Think about an embarrassing moment, or watch a cute dog video, or a sad movie. If you’re typically unphased by the emotion you’re attempting to write, try to ask a friend what they feel.

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180431 // Mornings are hard, but there are actions we can take to create that habit of waking up early and still be relaxed. No more oversleeping-rush, here are some tips to start your day put together. Good luck!

Here my other advices on self development. :)