Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nanowrimo 2014

You have 30 days to pump out 50,000 words. Go!

     Thankfully the truth about Nanowrimo isn’t so terrifying. When participating there are some general guidelines to follow that help accomplishing the 50,000 word goal so much more attainable.
     General guidelines include:

          --1--Before November begins = novel planning time. Use this time to get your idea, characters, and world sketched out. There are some methods available out in the web that can help you. My favorite is the Snowflake method. (Snowflake Method)I also try to know all the details possible about my characters. Jody Hedlund provides great advice about developing characters here: (Jody Hedlund Character Chart)

          --2--You’re not allowed to actually begin writing bits of the story before November 1st. If you do, then it can’t technically count towards your goal. (but it can count to personal goals!) 

          --3--The Nanowrimo webpage has loads of useful bits of information, communities, forums, etc. for your use. The website is a valuable asset. Use it to it’s full potential!

          --4--Find writing partners through Nanowrimo webpage or among those you already know. It’s easier to accomplish your goals if you’re not the only one working towards it. Chat through problems in your writing, have word count races, or get inspiration from each other. 

          --5--Turn off your inner editor unless it helps you produce more words. Your goal is to produce writing, not squabble about wording. Don’t delete anything! If you do you’re working against yourself and the goal of participating in Nanowrimo. (Which is to write 50,000 words.) You won’t get there if you’re always cutting out words or scenes along the way instead of actually writing new materials.

     Bernard Cornwell said that story is the most important thing to a novel. I completely agree. Get your story written. You can always add or cut or change things later. Write until your story, the purpose of your writing, is finished and then you can fill it out later on.
My friend Sarah and I are participating in Nanowrimo this year. We’ve tried writing a few times before and have reached various levels of completeness. We’ve created a system where we’ll have Skype chats on the weekends to help trouble shoot and during the week we’ll have a couple 10 minute talks for encouragement/ word count exchanges. I really hope that we can all reach our word count goals! Have you ever tried doing Nanowrimo? Any methods you like using?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Preparing for the GRE Test

          This year I’ve finally settled down into my goals of attending graduate school. During the last two years I’ve been living in the wind while getting teaching experience abroad. I decided to come to South Korea in order to boost my resume for Graduate school but love for my job, community, and support abroad made the choice to return home nearly impossible.

          Then, in the middle of summer I met my friend Anthony who was also very academic in nature. We spent days talking about mutual scholarly interests and it was as if the dam gates burst open. I realised that I spent the last few years burying my dreams and the gap of pursuing my goal had been draining me without even realising it. 

          Here I am. Taking the first steps back towards my dream of being a historian. The first step is passing the GRE!

          I bought the 2014 GRE prep book and when I open
ed the pages I realised how much of my ability has fallen into disuse. So, is there an easy way to get that scholarly knowledge back? Not really. The good news is that it is easier to remember things than learn it without previous knowledge, but it isn’t easy. These are the methods I’m using to prepare:

  1. Sign up for the Kaplan website that you get access to when purchasing a GRE book.

          This helps a lot because the website has a ton of free resources available with the purchase of the book. I use the website to take sample tests on various topics and it has helped a lot.

  1. Study, study, study!

          This is a bit obvious, but set a study schedule where you study at least one hour every day. What I do is that I study for 20 minutes, take a five minute break, and then do another 20 minute interval until my 60 minutes of studying time is complete.

  1. Read professional articles or books related to your field of study.

          Nothing helps more than immersing yourself back into the topic you plan on devoting graduate school for. Reading these will refresh your academic skills and knowledge about scholarly language (which is really helpful in the majority of the GRE test). Plus, it helps you know that you’re still interested in the topic you plan on pursuing. 

          Meanwhile, while you’re studying for the GRE there are other things you should be aware of. Time goes by quickly. While you’re studying you should find the people who will write reference letters for you. This is just as important or even more so that passing the GRE. If you have solid, academic references from professors or university workers that gives the graduate school a solid and well rounded view of your academic ability then you are more likely to be accepted. Also, although not impossible, I’d suggest never doing what I did. Yes take time and live life to find out what you want to do, but don’t completely abandon your academic interests just because you’ve finished your bachelor’s. 

         I hope this helped those of you hoping to pass the GRE! If you have any questions or your own tips for studying feel free to leave a comment below and let me know. Good luck on the test! 

October Book Haul

          Last Sunday I posted a youtube video about my October Book Haul. I bought six books that I talk about and give my initial impression of. Make sure to check it out and subscribe for more videos. I post new videos every Sunday! 

          Here is the link to the video:

October Book Haul

          Thanks so much for checking it out! <3

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Seaside Vacation

          I don't get the chance to go on many vacations, but when I do go somewhere I love going in order to meet up with long-lost friends! During the last year of being abroad so many of my friends have bounced between locations. Some people stayed in Korea for years while others only stayed for a few months. My close friend, Sarah, stayed for 1.5 years before going back to her home to finish school. Recently, she returned to Korea for a 6 week internship and I had a great reason to travel to the lovely city Busan to visit her!

          We had a few schedule mishaps before we could finally meet up in the big city and in that spare time I found a few lovely cafes and restaurants to spend my time in between beach visits.

          The first evening I found this great Hand Drip cafe with great chocolate brownies that are flaky on the outside and just the right level of gooey on the inside. Mmmm! The lattes are great because there isn't an overload of sugar but it's so well made that the foam keeps the perfect form even while drinking it. The caramel latte and yummy brownie were a perfect mix!

          I had a morning free while Sarah was busy doing internship stuff, so I decided to check out the fish market. In my town there isn't much fresh fish and I love a good fish fry. These people were so kind to me. Even though I only ordered a small serving they gave me a lot of extra tender fish to eat. I couldn't finish it all, but I gave it my best shot!

          They even gave me some yummy side dishes and made sure they were refilled as often as possible and checked back with me to make sure I liked everything. She even brought me some free roasted sweet potatoes as a desert.

          Such lovely people and food!

          Finally, in the afternoon Sarah and I were finally able to meet up after a 1.5 days of schedule conflicts and location confusion problems. We went to a shopping center, caught a movie, ate McDonald's because her friend's obsession with McD's, but I don't like fast food so we had to get another something delicious to eat.

          Sooo we ended up going to another cafe that served the best Japanese style parfaits. This one is a strawberry, vanilla, and cookie one. It was on the platter long enough to take pictures and then it seemed to disappear into our bellies.

I hope you all enjoy this post! It's primarily about food, but so many of my photos involved Sarah and she requested not to have her photo on here. Thus, this became a food post. I hope everyone enjoyed the read. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think! What do you enjoy doing on vacation?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Special Sunday: New Youtube Video

Hello everyone!

I just want to come on here very quickly and tell you all that I have officially begun my youtube channel: Leah Kulia. Today I posted a video about my Autumn favorites including beauty products, stationary, and books.

Here is a link to the video for your enjoyment.

Autumn Favorites: Leah Kulia

Make sure to check it out and subscribe for future videos.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn Healthy Snacks

          The seasons are changing and it’s time to start enjoying some of the festive Autumn foods!

          Unfortunately, my new apartment is a tiny studio place with a tiny kitchen space so I can’t make many things at home. But there are still loads of simple and healthy snacks to be made with a small cooking space. 

          Below are some easy foods to make that will fill you up without weighing your day down.
          The first is my unique recipe for dumplings. I bought some simple pre-made dumpling wrappers and let them come to room temperature in the package. Then, in a small pan I boiled bakchoi and a container of fresh picked mushrooms. After about 3 minutes boiling I drained them and added tofu and spices along with a tablespoon of sesame oil. I cooked that for several minutes, let it cool, and drained out all the excess liquid. 

          Then, I filled the wrappers, sealed, and steamed them. Topping it off with a drizzle of sesame oil and sesame seeds. It’s delicious!  

          The snack I love in Autumn is a combination of mixed nuts and dried fruits. In this picture I have prunes, cranberries, bananas, pistachios, peanuts, and a few others. The salad is made simple greens, with walnuts, peanuts, and cranberries. Add a couple kimbap slices and it’s a full meal by its own or a great snack to share with friends!

          Greek yogurt with granola and cranberries, homemade salmon dip with crackers, and some water and there is a perfect meal fit for Autumn. 

           I hope you enjoyed it. Are there any things you enjoy eating during this season? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life in the style of Leah Kulia is pretty simple. 

1. Make time to know yourself. 

          Follow what you like doing and see where it takes you! For me, it unexpectedly lead me to Youtube, teaching, and art school. By doing all this stuff, I realised my original plan of being a historian is still the path for me, but if I ignored my interest in other things I might have always resented not trying something new! Good thing I listened to my instinct. I wasted a bit of time taking the round-about way, but it was for a good purpose. 

2. Be healthy but don’t stress about it. 

          Listen to your body. It’ll tell you all the stuff you need to know, but also be conscious of what you eat/do. Exercise a few times a week and be active doing something at least once a day (both mentally and physically). 

3. Set a goal in your life and do something everyday to achieve it. 

          A friend gave me this advice and it honestly helps from dropping into emotional lows. Working towards something you want makes time feel much more worthwhile. 

     There are always times when I don’t follow all of these, but I do my best to stay healthy and happy! What do you like doing to stay healthy? Any tricks you use?

     Thanks for reading!