The Wonders of Quotev

written by Angie Flores

With so many people using the internet daily, it is not uncommon to see multiple social media web pages, such as Facebook or Twitter, with millions of users logging in and constantly stating updated/connected with friends. But digging away from the commonly known social media sites, there is one peculiar page with a whole world of its own. Quotev, or formerly known as Quizzaz, is a webpage focused mainly on the creativity of thousands of users across the world. Containing a variety of stories, quizzes, groups and such, all done by regular people, Quotev can be considered an online paradise. Mostly popular among teenagers, Quotev is growing quickly.

While most pages like Wattpad and Miss Literati offer writing services, Quotev is a whole place of its own. It also offers the opportunity to speak with artists around the world. It is recognized that Quotev does not usually contain material known by the majority of teenagers nowadays. The page is a getaway to roam free for every fangirl/fanboy to happily be dedicated to their idols/fandoms/etc. Some ways users show their love and passion to their likes are by writing fanfiction (which is a large amount of the writing content), starting groups (multiple groups can including role playing), and making quizzes (such as seeing whether you are a “true fan” of a certain topic).

“I think the best part about Quotev would have to be the writing,” Maggie Gordon, 14, shares.

Quotev users are also able to customize their profiles like any other social media account — except with more freedom than the usual. Quotev is sometimes referred to as “the place where all those who don’t fit come together.” Multiple users have even mentioned that speaking to the people they have met through the page saved their lives. While most pages like Instagram are focused on seeing what “real-life” friends are up to, Quotev gives a revolutionary twist to friendship by creating online friendships.

“Quotev is my life. Literally, “Lena Quinn, 18, adds.

“In these two years I’ve been here, I’ve met so many amazing friends, made great memories. This webpage  changed my way of living, in a great way.”

Gordon has a similar experience with Quotev.

“The people online are so friendly. Plus the stories are amazing! I think lots of them should actually be published,” she adds.

While many doubt online friendships, this site has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Once I showed my parents [the page]… they were angry,” adds Quinn.

“I get that they don’t trust anyone online, but I know these are my friends. It’s sad that I cherish these people more than the ones in reality, but I know it was meant to be. Different timezones don’t define friendship,” she shares.

Quotev is packed with multiple caring people, or so Quinn narrates: “I’ve talked to my followers on Skype, I have some of their numbers and Kik [accounts]. They’re just my sweethearts. If I ever put an RA (which stands for Recent Activity, aka a post) about me feeling down, they’re right there to help me to my feet. I couldn’t go through anything without them.”

Gordon supported this case by commenting how has made a couple of friends.

“They’re great! I never saw how great Quotev would be coming,” she adds.

But Quotev is not always sunshine and rainbows. The page, unfortunately, has had some cases of bullying. Most of the cases involve some of the popular accounts. In addition, some users have experienced hacking and spam accounts. One can assume that this stems from the site’s increase in popularity, but, aside from these bad experiences, it still continues to be a positive experience for many teens.

But at the end, flaw after flaw, Quotev.com will forever be the home of thousands of people across the planet “Quotev is my everything” Quinn happily concludes. “I can’t imagine life without it.”

¿Quien Soy Yo? / Who Am I?

AriadneThere are many things that shape who you are, your identity. For me, it deals with my name, nationality, roots, and family history. They have shaped me who I am today, but it hasn’t always been easy. So, who am I? My name is Ariadne and I am 24 years old. This is my story.

Some say your identity starts with your name. For me, it’s a more personal story. The first time my dad saw me he wanted me to have an original name. The origin of it is Greek and it belonged to a princess who protected the entrance of the infamous Minotaur’s cave. I know most of my professors don’t really know how to pronounce my name and I deal with it every time I get to know someone new. I like my name, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t be mad if I had an easier one. My name shapes who I am, but so do a lot of things.

Finding Strength through my Roots
For the most part of my life, I have attended only Mexican schools. I consider myself a Mexican, even if I was born in El Paso, Texas. My parents and brothers were born in Ciudad Juárez, and, for that reason, my roots are stronger than my nationality. As I said, both of my parents were born in Ciudad  Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a Spanish colonist who settled in Parral, Chihuahua then later came to Ciudad Juárez to have a  better life.  Mama Quecha, what she likes to be called, is the “patriarca” of my mother’s family. Mama Quecha  was married to my Papa Grande, whose father fought in the Mexican Revolution.

I have Spanish roots from my grandmother, and I must say that I am the only red head with curly hair in the entire family — which I love. My grand-grandfather was a red head with white skin among the indigenas. When my  abuelita had nine sons, one of them came out a red head with blue eyes, too. My dad’s  family also has some Spanish roots, too, but those roots are not as strong as my mother’s family. My Spanish roots shape my physical appearance and are a part of my identity, but who I am comes from living in a U.S.-Mexico border city and relationship with my family.

Living in a U.S.-Mexico Border City
I had difficulty adjusting to the environment of both cities (El Paso, Texas and Ciudad, Juárez) because the people were so different from one another. My dad used to tell me that he didn’t want me to be like a chicana. I didn’t understand why, but I thought that it was something bad. My dad referred to them as  stuck up women covered with tattoos. During my first two years of college, I was able to meet and learn more about the Chicano culture. The Chicanas were so different and nothing like my dad had described them. The Chicanas helped me be confident and not scared of college. Now, I’m a junior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and close to getting my degree.

Even though I wasn’t born in Mexico, my culture and roots come from there. I feel very proud to say I’m Mexican and I’m not scared of my beautiful Ciudad Juárez. I have a lot to be thankful to that city, and I’m not ashamed to say where I come from. I grew up and lived there, I have friends and I even prefer to have fun in my beloved Ciudad Juárez. I’m happy to know that my family has a rich diversity and history in Mexico, but both Mexico and the city of El Paso has helped shape who I am.

Literature Picks for Spring Break

For book lovers, it might seem that there are endless lists of books to read, but we’ve stumbled across a couple of selections that you might pick up during your Spring Break vacation.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
This historical book is about the famous Mirabal sisters who lived in the Dominican Republic and defied the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The story follows the lives of the sisters from young girls to marriage, womanhood, motherhood, and to their incarceration. This is a must-read as it recounts a heartbreaking story of Latina woman who fought for freedom in their country during a time when women were expected to be obedient, let alone not meddle in politics. The work of Alvarez makes the reader feel the oppression and fear that Dominicans felt during Trujillo’s regime, while trying to live their lives as normally as possible. This book has been adapted to movie starring Salma Hayek.

The Selection by Kiera Cass
While the story might not center around the Latino community, this author is Puerto Rican who has found immense popularity in the literature realm. The Selection is the first part out of a 4-book saga; it follows the main protagonist, America Singer, who has been forced to enter competition called the Selection in order to compete against 34 girls to win the heart of the future king of Illéa. Unlike the other girls, America finds that being selection is a nightmare as she didn’t want to leave her home and her previous Love to live in a mansion where chaos and violence are constant companion. This book meets The Bachelor and the Hunger Games. The Selection is a must-read as it is important to support Latina authors in the book world where it is difficult to find books that have Latino protagonists or even written by Latinos.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Shadowshaper is the story with an Afro-Latina protagonist. This book is for those who are looking for a young adult fiction book that has magic and fantasy elements. Sierra Santiago is a young artist living in Brooklyn when at a party a zombielike creature crashes her world. Through this conundrum, Sierra discovers that her world around her consists of magic and that it exists in her ancestry.  Older’s book is a refreshing take on the female protagonist as she is not only strong but has a positive mentality of her body, which will pass onto the reader. There is romance incorporated into this book but it is not the main focus nor the goal for the protagonist.

Dealing with Family Problems

Hispanic girk looking sadFamilies are those whom we can rely on for support, for love and those whom we have a special bond with, but we don’t always choose to embrace our feelings towards one another.

According to Psychology Today, it is common to have family problems, especially when living with several teenagers at home with their parents. Some of these issues include alcoholism, abuse, feelings of guilt, depression, financial, and anger towards family members.

The Better Health Channel shares three tips on how to overcome these common problems that can be sometimes be too hard to deal with.

1. Communication
Even though it is a cliché when someone says “Communication is key,”  it is true. “A lot of the times, unwanted problems arise because we don’t talk to each other enough. If we could communicate more with one another, we wouldn’t have to deal with the extra stress of unnecessary problems,” says Bianca, 24. Talking might sometimes be difficult, especially when it is something that is bothering you, but even a small amount of communication goes a long way. Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.

2. Listen
Try to stay calm by putting your emotions aside and don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking. Sometimes we are too stubborn to realize that we are letting our pride get in the way of fixing our problems. Understanding what they are saying by asking questions through an open and honest discussion will be beneficial in the long run.

3. Seek Help
If it is a more serious problem where communication is not possible, seek professional help. “When I was going through some intense family problems, I didn’t know what to do. I decided to go to my school counselor and talk about it, it took a lot for me to go, but I couldn’t deal with it alone. And now I can talk to my family about it and things are slowly getting better,” says Mary, 19.

Whether it’s talking with your family or with a counselor, you are not alone. You don’t have to deal with your family problems by yourself. Millions of people are dealing with the same things you are. Communication is key, listen to your heart, and seek for what you need.

“My family and I don’t have a good communication environment. My parents are old school and they think their way is the right way. And there’s no way of  telling them otherwise. I was so fed up and tired with everything that I decided to take it into my own hands. I made my parents listen to me. I made them see how much stress and pain they were putting me through. And that was the smartest thing I could’ve done,” says 22 year-old Clarissa.

Even when you think it’s inevitable, something can be done about it. You just have to speak up, let your voice be heard. Clarissa adds, “I have never been this happy with my life, taking a stand for myself  was the scariest and the best thing I’ve done in my life.”

Crafty Gift Ideas

We all tend to do our gift shopping last minute, and sometimes we can’t find what we want because it is last minute. But why not, instead of stressing out at store check-out lines or whether they would like it or not, why not give them something they’ll love and keep forever.

Crochet Candleholder

DIYCandleHolder
You’ll need: old crochet doilies, a balloon, wallpaper glue, and a battery-operated light
Steps: First soak five doilies into the glue, inflate the balloon, the bigger the balloon the bigger the candleholder is. Glue the doilies on the balloon right next to each other, let them overlap a little. Hang the balloon upside down to let it dry. When it’s dry pop the balloon, and there you go, a beautiful candleholder.

Mason Jar Prism Light

DIYPrismLight
You’ll need: Mason jar, round glass decorative elements, ribbon or twine, e3600 glue, tea light, lighter, and brushes
Steps: First apply the glue to the brushes, then apply it on to the Mason jar. Next apply the round glass decorations in the Mason jar all around right next to each other from top to bottom or the jar. Wait about 15-20 minutes while the glue dries. Then apply the ribbon or twine around the top of the jar to add a little more decorative touches, then insert the tea light inside of the jar and watch how it makes your room shine beautifully.

 

Decorated Coasters

DIYCoasters
You’ll need: Mod Podge (glue), a glue gun, roll of thin cork, Spray Acrylic Sealer, Foam Brushes, Small Tiles, and Photographs or Scrapbook paper
Steps: First with the hot glue gun, glue a squared piece of cork to the back of the tile, make sure it is firmly glued to the tile. Cut out any pretty scrapbook paper or any photographs that you’d like to decorate the coasters with the size of the tile. Put mod podge on the tile where you are placing the paper, place the picture and put mod podge on the picture and the tile until it is firmly on the tile. Let it dry for 10 minutes, then add a second layer of mod podge on the tile and the picture. Then you have to add 3 layers of Acrylic sealer, after every layer, wait 2 minutes. After you see that it’s dry, your decorated coasters are done and ready!

 

Now, you can give many different kinds of presents to your family that will make their heart smile.

Girl Talk: Tips to De-Stress

In order to fight stress, first you have to know what it is. Stress is a a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, may it be at work, school, bullying or even family. Stress can result in insomnia, extreme fatigue, headaches, tense muscles and an upset stomach among others. I bet you’ve felt this way before, maybe you were nervous about a presentation in school or an interview for a job or internship. Now the first thing to do is to find what’s causing you to feel this way and how to deal with it. Follow these steps to de-stess.

  1. Start a journal: Find a little notebook or diary as your stress outlet. Besides writing the highlights of your day, write about the things that are making you feel stressed.

  2. Find a special place: Search for a place where you feel relaxed and comfortable to be yourself. It can be your room, backyard or the coffee shop down the street. Go there anytime you feel like being alone and disconnecting of the world.

  3. Find a hobby: Hobbies can be a great distraction. Just try not to spend so much time at it. Remember responsibilities are always first. Try drawing, painting or playing a musical instrument.

  4. Make a calendar: If you’re stressed because of the amount of assignments or activities during your week, then write them in order of priority,. Write deadlines and dates to start working on them if they will take more than a day to do. Mark them as you finish each one of them. This way you’ll see what you’ve accomplished and feel more motivated to do the rest.

  5. Exercise regularly: Not only is it a way to stay healthy physically, but exercise is also great to help your brain. Physical activity enhances memory and learning. Exercising helps your body release endorphins, which are pain killers and will make you feel really happy. Try a sport to make everything more interesting and maybe find a workout buddy. Yoga is the ultimate stress reliever.

  6. Get enough sleep: Do you remember all those cranky mornings? Well that’s because sleep is very important for your emotional well-being. If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not able to function properly. Don’t even think about handling stress when you’re sleepy; it won’t work. If you didn’t sleep those beautiful 8 hours, try a power nap during the day. You don’t know how valuable it is until you try it. Just don’t oversleep.

  7. Pamper yourself: You don’t have to go to the spa or spend a large amount of money. Simple ways to pamper yourself can be done at home. You can take a bath, moisturizing and putting cucumbers over your eyes while you listen your favorite song.

  8. Focus on the positive stuff: Of course stress can be caused by more than one thing, but try to think of all of the good things in your life. It may not change the situation, but thinking of the good things can help you feel better. Some gratitude and positivity can be a big help in de-stressing. Think about the good things in life, you’ll know where to find the support you need.

Now that you know the tips to handle stress, try each one of them and feel the difference.
Good Luck!

Latin@ and Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which affects our daily life in a variety of different ways. A healthy mental state affects how people interact with other individuals, form relationships, handle stressful situations, and be able to perform daily tasks without much difficulty. However, when there is a disruption or compromise of an individual’s state of being, problems begin to arise.sadgirl

Over the past couple of years there has been an increase of public awareness of what mental health is, the stigmas present, and the symptoms of a mental health illness. The National Alliance of Mental Illness found that  approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States (43.7 million) experiences a mental illness in a given year.

Programs have slowly popped up in multiple ways: from city-run campaigns to student-created clubs in school to increase awareness. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, about about 50.6% of children aged  8-15 received mental health services in a past year. The hope of this is to allow individuals that might be struggling in their daily life to reach out for help without being stigmatized by their peers.

Mental Illness and the Latino Community

Having a mental health illness is a serious issue and needs treatment so the individual can continue to perform at their normal capacity. In the Latino Community, symptoms of a mental health illness are usually dismissed or are written off as an attempt for attention, and mental health illnesses are heavily stigmatized. This combination usually prevents the individual from receiving help.

Celeste Nevarez, who earned her Masters of Counseling Psychology from Arizona State, is a licensed psychiatrist who works at the Family Service of El Paso. A native of El Paso, she decided to return to her city after graduation to help her community; she now works at a non-profit organization that offers counseling regardless of ability to pay and is a professor at El Paso Community College. Passionate about her work, she is determined to improve the mental health scene of the city.

Nevarez states that having a mental health illness can be due to a combination of genetics, psychology, and the social environment of the individual. Lacking a family history of mental health illness does not mean that the person is immune, mental health knows “no gender, race, culture, [or] religion.” Mental health illnesses do not discriminate, everyone is vulnerable. According to Nevarez, the best thing for someone that is suffering from a mental illness is to seek professional help if possible- especially if his/her case becomes dangerous; however, sometimes having support from a peer might help.

However, this might sometimes be hard to come by. Nevarez believes that the Latino Community is proud and tough, and asking for help to treat a mental health illness signals that the person is weak and that something is wrong with them. She thinks that the stigma might come from a combination of culture, religion, stereotypes of “crazy” people, and shame placed on the individual and on the family. Nevarez often hears similar lines to “‘it is just a faze,’ ‘nothing is wrong with you,’ and ‘I need help.’ ‘But you’re not crazy,’” when someone attempts to reach out for help.

Treatment of a Mental Illness

By prolonging treatment the individual might feel isolated if no support is given and that is one of the worst things to happen. Nevarez argues that the lack of treatment could possibly make the mental health illness might take a turn for the worst. Although there has been improvement of slowly breaking down the stigma and more people reaching out for help, Nevarez believes that there is still a long way to go.

With the continuation of breaking down stigmas and making mental health services easier to access, those in the Latino community will be able to reach the help that they need. Those that are asking for help should not be ignored or laughed at, but understood and supported through their struggles.

Finding Your Shade

Makeup is found both in the drugstore and high end stores, but finding the right shade and product can be tricky, especially for Latinas.

The following is a guide for chicas who are looking to play with makeup, and to those experienced ones who are looking for extra tips. So, andando!

1. Foundation and powder
Undertone and skin type
It is important to know this, as your foundation needs to work with your skin efficiently.

There are many steps to find your undertone. One of them is to look at your veins. Do they look green? You are warm toned. Are they blue? You must be cool toned. Can’t figure it out or you see a mixture of both? You might be neutral.

Another method is to try on gold and silver jewelry, pero don’t worry, they don’t have to be real!

  • Do you look better in gold ? You are warm. Silver? You are cool toned.
  • Or is it both? Then you’re neutral.

2. Now, onto your skin type. Look in the mirror.

  • Do you have oil and shine everywhere ? You have oily skin, chica. No oi
  • Okay, next question.Does your skin feel tight or have dry patches? Dry skin is what you have.
  • No to oil or dryness? Normal skin.
  • Don’t worry if you have a combination of skin types because, guess what? Yes, you have combo skin.

3. Next,use your skin tone (warm, neutral, cool) to look for some foundation to try on.
If you’re on a budget, the drugstore might be helpful. Unfortunately, some brands do not have enough shades for darker skinned Latinas. Thankfully, brands like L’Oreal have shades for all skin tones. Keep in mind that you can’t open the product in store, but you can return it to most drug stores as they accept returns if you are unsatisfied. Foundations can be tested in some high end stores, such as the famous Sephora. The great thing is that you can get personal help from a Sephora makeup artist.

Okay, if you would like to find a foundation shade for yourself, then swatch some shades on to your jawline to choose one that closely matches your face and neck.

For powder follow the same steps for foundation.

4. Blush, bronzer and highlighter
Blush: perks up your skin
Bronzer: creates more dimension and definition. Can be used to contour.
Highlighter: makes the face look like it’s glowing and radiant.
With all of these products, there aren’t strict rules of how to use them. In fact, you can use a light pink blush on deeper skin tones. Try what you like. You do you!
To apply, you can use makeup sponges or brushes. Ecotools and Real Techniques are some good affordable makeup brushes.
For beginners, definitely start a small amount and then build it up to your liking.

5.  Eye shadow
With eye makeup, the sky’s the limit as some girls prefer light colors and others bolder looks. You can use brushes or even your fingers to apply.
Usually the lightest color goes on the brow bone.
The mid tone color goes on the lids.
And the darkest color goes usually on the crease.

6. Eyeliner
There are many forms of eyeliner: gel, pencil, and liquid. A separate brush is used for gel eyeliner where a slanted one will be easier to apply. For pencil make sure to sharpen it for smoother application

7. Just have fun! 

The Mexic-Arte Museum

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.40.59 PMGoing to a museums is all about learning different histories and cultures. And the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas is the epitome of just that.

The museum opened in 1984 and was founded by Sylvia Orozco, Sam Coronado, and Pio Pulido. This museum started off with artwork based around Mexican culture throughout Texas. It opened with a festival for the Day of the Dead in the fall, and from that day on it offered different programs that allowed attendees to learn about the culture.

Four years after its opening, the museum was moved to its current location, right in the center of downtown Austin. The history section on the museum’s website says, “A total of 75, 000 visitors ranging from enthusiastic children to art connoisseurs, tour the museum each year.”

And it’s partly because the entire feel of the museum has a sort of Hispanic/Latin vibe to it. Although the museum focuses around Mexican culture, the art held in it is not all made by Mexican artists. There is currently art from a range of Latina women whether it be Mexican or Venezuelan or Spanish.

The Contemporary Art Collection this past march showcased recent work from artists such as Adriana Corral and Teresa Cervantes.

Along with this collection is the Changarrito Collection: 2012 – 2014. This annex gallery, named Selections from the Changarrito Permanent Collection from 2012 – 2014,showcases work from residencies of the Changarrito. The Mexic-Arte Museum says,

“The Changarrito Project is an international traveling mobile gallery that provides an alternative method of showcasing artwork for contemporary artists. Mexic-Arte Museum received one of the Changarrito carts, and has invited over 15 artists to participate. Works acquired from these residencies will be on display, ranging from tapes, zines, toys,miniature sculpture, paintings, sketches, and other portable works on paper.”

Below are various works of art from the Contemporary Art Collection as well as the Changarrito Collection. Both of these collections were at the museum until May 31, 2015.

To find out more about the museum, its hours, location, and programs, visit the website here.

 

DIY: Lace-Trim Shorts

lace-trim-shorts

We can all agree that trendy shorts can be a little over-priced. There are a variety of shorts that are in style such as high-waisted, distressed, and detailed, yet we may still have trouble finding the style that best suits us. So, instead of worrying about the money and whether you will find the right shorts that fit your taste, why not take it into your own hands and make them yourself?

Step number one is to go to your local thrift store, such as Goodwill, to find any high-waisted pants that are your desired size. Some may be a little big, but just find the ones that work best for you. Now that you have your high-waisted pants, you will also need a pair of scissors and some tweezers for the distressing process.

To begin, you will want to first cut off one pant leg to the desired length of shorts that you will want. Then, fold the cutoff leg over on top of the other pant leg, and cut the uncut pant leg so that the shorts are even. At this time, you may not begin to distress your trimmed shorts by using the tweezers to pull on some of the threads at the ends of the cutoff part of the shorts. You can even use sandpaper or a nail filer to distress the shorts more if you prefer. Next, you can cut slits on the front of the shorts and use the tweezers again to add more distressing.

Remember: The distressing part is based on your preferences and style.

For this next part, you will need some hot water, bleach, a stick, a bucket, and your shorts. Pour in the bucket two parts water and one part bleach, and proceed by dunking shorts into the mixture. To make sure they are evenly in the water mixture, use the stick to move the shorts around so that the shorts are entirely soaked. Let sit for 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly your shorts are discolored. After this is done, take shorts out of bucket and rinse them in the sink under some cold water. Try to wring as much water out of the shorts, and toss them into the dryer until they are completely dry.

Next, you will need some lace and fabric glue that you can find at any sewing or craft store. You will need to measure the amount of lace you will need to wrap around the inside part of the bottom of your shorts, and cut off the amount you need. Apply the fabric glue to the part of the lace that you will be attaching to your shorts until the ends meet. Gradually attach, and complete both sides of your shorts with this process.

Depending on your style and fashion preferences, you may add any other details to your shorts such as garlands. Allow a sufficient amount of time for the fabric glue to dry, and your shorts are complete!