October 29, 2013

November Preview

Hi guys! Happy Tuesday! How are you?

I don't know if you've seen this post, but in it I gave you some ideas to do if you were ever bored. Well, I can't say that I've ever had a moment of boredom ever since I arrived to campus, but the speaker in the video I featured, Matt Cutts, talked about starting a 30 day challenge and it just really appealed to me.

As some of you may know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I've had a long-term relationship with writing, but it's just always been my dream to write a novel--ever since I was in fourth grade. However, I stopped writing novels due to time limitations and so that I could devote more of my time to this blog.

But something in my heart just said, "This is the month." And I feel it in my soul (sounds kind of deep, but it's true!) to try living this 30 day challenge and to accomplish what I've wanted to do in such a long time. I do want to keep making content for you guys to enjoy, but at the same time, I'll be writing a lot on my laptop this November, and I just know that I'll get burned out if I write columns (the posts that you guys seem to enjoy a lot more) on top of it.

So here is my solution to our situation! I hope you all enjoy!

I can't say I'll make the best videos ever (watching myself in a video for the first time...cringing...), but I hope you guys will like the ones I plan to make on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery! (This slight change of pace might be good for us too.)

I hope you have a wonderful week, a safe, candy-filled Halloween, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

Take care, everybody!
-Riley XO

October 15, 2013

Defy Labels

Happy Tuesday! How are you? I'm actually doing very well--I managed to finish midterms successfully and am currently having a wonderful time with my friends and family over fall break! 

Naturally, since I'm on break I am thinking about class. (Facepalm.) I actually have made a reference to the Word the Line the Way by David Dark in a previous post, but we have discussed in English class of how words can really limit people. 

But you know what guys? It is up to us to defy those labels, to go beyond what the world thinks we are, and to leave a lasting, positive change on the earth. 

How will you defy labels today? Let me know in the comments below!

Take care,
-Riley XO

October 10, 2013

Are You A Fish?

From Albert Einstein himself:

Image found on Facebook.

With the quotation above in mind, I'd like you to ask yourself three questions today:

  • What are your strengths? 
  • What are your limitations?
  • Are they really limitations?

Take care,
-Riley XO

October 8, 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Hello there everybody! I hope you're having a wonderful week. I am glad that some of you contacted me saying that you found St. Thomas Aquinas's "A Student's Prayer" helpful and inspiring, especially during a hectic time in the semester. Today, I am so excited to tell you that Alexandra L from Tiger Lilly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Thanks, Alexandra!
I am a fan of Alexandra's blog and she is another teenager who writes inspirational posts, so if you would like to hear from someone with a similar mission but has a different perspective, please stop by there sometime and you might enjoy it as well.

I would also like to take some time today to thank you guys for reading my blog--this wouldn't be here running if it weren't for your readership and wonderful comments! I started Smiles No Matter because I wanted to start blogging for others, and try to bring happiness to others in a small but significant way. I feel blessed when I read your feedback and am always trying to improve the site. If there is anything specific you would like to see here that might help you or another person in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me at smilesnomatter@gmail.com or by leaving a comment! Thank you for your support, and I feel so privileged to be able to continue writing for you guys.  

These blog awards are fun because it's just one way for me to give you an insight as to who I am. Here are seven facts about myself:
  1. I stink at coming up with "fun facts" about myself. In college when there are smaller groups, for some reason when we go around in a circle introducing ourselves we are supposed to include our major, origin, grade, and "fun fact." But when it comes to my turn, I can never think of a fact that's as cool as "I have titanium knees" or even "I've fallen down two flights of stairs." There are a lot of facts about me, but I can't think of any "fun" ones. So I guess in a way, this nomination is a brainstorm of sorts for me to find some facts that I can use for these introductions.
  2. Some people at my school cannot figure out if I'm Hawaiian or not. There are a lot of Asians in Hawaii, and since I'm Asian, people tend to guess that I am Hawaiian (there is a significant percentage of Hawaiians on my campus). However, I spend a lot of time with a group of Hawaiians, and I enunciate my letters fairly articulately, so even the Hawaiians can't distinguish between me (a Coloradan) and one of their own.
  3. I do not have a best friend. Rather, I have four ladies in my life that I love with all my heart. We've been best friends since middle school and are keeping the relationship strong through college--probably through life, too. Whenever I thank God for what I'm grateful for, they are always at the top of my list. 
  4. Lindsey Stirling is my hero. I mean, nobody can top this:

  5. I am a pseudo-journaler (and I also enjoy coining my own words). I used to write in a prayer journal every day in middle school, but it wasn't until the beginning of this year that I found a really good system that helps keep my life organized and also gives me some time to reflect every day. My cousin purchased a stylish little planner from Barnes & Noble for my Christmas present, and I decided for my New Year's Resolution that I would use it, especially since before this year I was somewhat disorganized and didn't have a solid system for keeping track of dates or what I did throughout the week. Since I would forget what I did during the week, I began to think that I had a boring life. Now that I bullet-point my activities or special moments of the day in this weekly calendar, however, I have time to reflect every night on what I am grateful for. The planner also helps me keep track of dates and activities for the future, so it is my life. It's not actual journaling, per se, but it is pretty similar. Hence, pseudo-journaling.
  6. For any of you familiar with the Enneagram, I am a 3.
  7. I actually don't think that a lot of things are funny. When I laugh, it's mostly because I'm happy that someone else is having a good time. But my type of humor calls for either very dry, sarcastic wit or ridiculously cheesy puns.
Do you guys think those facts are worthy of being used in a "fun fact" introduction? Let me know in the comments!

Here are my nominees:
Hyperbole and a Half
Sweetly Unspoken - I just wanted to give Enoma some special recognition because her comments within Smiles No Matter have been absolutely wonderful, and I have also read some good content on her blog.

To accept the award, all you have to do is follow these rules:
  1. Display the Versatile Blogger Award on your page.
  2. Tag the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate deserving bloggers.
  4. Let your nominees know you've nominated them.
  5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
The three blogs above are great, so you should check them out if you ever have time!

And that's all for today, everybody!

I'll be posting another tidbit for inspiration on Thursday at 6:00 am Pacific Daylight time, so please subscribe by email, Pinterest, or Bloglovin' so that you won't miss any updates. Another way to connect with me is through Twitter.

Thank you so much for reading, and have a great day!

Take care,
-Riley XO

October 3, 2013

A Student's Prayer

Hello there, good morning! Today I have my calculus midterm and I am pretty nervous but I have spent a lot of time studying and have prepared as best as I can. With the hectic schedule I had this past week, it became more important than ever to just slow down and pray. I know that a lot of the people who read my blog are students, so here is a little meditation for you guys, just to relax, refresh, and be ready for all the tests, papers, and quizzes that are coming up.

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding. 

Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance. Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. 

Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. 

 Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. 

 I ask this through Christ our Lord. 

-St. Thomas Aquinas, "A Student's Prayer"


Take care,
-Riley XO

October 1, 2013

Finding the Good In Every Day

Hello there! How has your week been? Personally, my week had its ups and downs, but that's how life goes, isn't it?

On the rocky days, it's easy to let it get you down, but if you look out for the good, it gets brighter. I went to an Enneigram workshop last week, and the presenter brought up this concept that organized a common saying in a really swell way:
  1. There are things you can't control.
  2. There are things you can influence.
  3. There are things you can control.
She then flipped to the next slide.
  1. You cannot control others.
  2. You can influence situations.
  3. The only thing you can really control is yourself.
(On a side-note, if you don't know your Enneigram, there will be more to come in the future...)

Just think about it for a bit. 

What will you make out of your situation and life today?

Take care,
-Riley XO

This post was fairly brief because there are some big midterms looming ahead of me that I really need to focus on. There is a lot of studying to be done! I'll be doing something slightly different this week since I know many of you guys who read this blog are also students whose work loads are also picking up. I'll be making short posts like this one, but twice a week instead of once a week for the next two or three weeks. Please subscribe for that little bit of stress relief during an intense period of time this semester! And good luck with school, work, and everything you set out to accomplish!

Smile on.

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