Project 365: Days 11-17

I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve been enjoying this project, and not just because it motivates me to keep my house a little cleaner than usual. Admittedly, there are some days when my photos are half-assed because I can’t figure out what to photograph or it’s late in the day or I just can’t get the photo right and I have to throw in the towel. For the most part, though, I’m already seeing improvements just a little over two weeks in, and I can only hope that by the end of the year I might be able to claim I have something resembling skill in this area.

11/365: A sprawling collection of face products, mostly samples.

12/365: My sweet girl.

13/365: The newest addition to my eyeshadow collection.

14/365: Our wedding cake toppers.

15/365: Charlie on the prowl.

16/365: Currently reading.

17/365: Work space.

January 18, 2017
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It’s Launch Day!

Posted in Writer Life by

You guys! It’s official! My Patreon is now live and ready to go. I don’t expect everyone to jump on board right away, if at all, but I will ask that you share the news with anyone who you think might be interested in supporting my work.

In an effort to make my writing accessible to as many readers as possible, starting in February, I’ll be posting pieces of poetry and flash fiction here on my blog twice a month. Much of my fiction and poetry is currently available only by paying for it, either through my zines on Etsy or through Patreon. While I write in the hope that I’ll be able to make my living from it in the future, I also write simply because I love it, and I want to share it.

Sometimes you need to show people what you’re doing before they can trust you enough to, you know, spend money on you, so for me it makes sense to share what I can. Kind of like those free samples of cheeses and dips in the grocery store, y’know?

You can head on over to the Patreon campaign page to check it out, see what I have for rewards, and maybe share the link on a couple of sites if you have a moment because I’d be indescribably grateful for it.

If you’ve got any questions, feedback, or general comments, please let me know. I’d love to hear what anyone has to say.

January 16, 2017
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It’s Friday; I’m in Love #82

My emotions have been a very mixed bag this week, but I’ve managed to keep up with my writing, get the house feeling like the cleanest it’s been since we moved in, and finish two books, so it can’t all be bad, right? Any time I can keep afloat when all I want to do is curl up into a cave and hide seems like a good thing to me.

I’ve also been cleaning up my Patreon for its launch on Monday, and while I’ll have some tweaks to make in the coming weeks I’m sure, I’m excited to get it up and running (even if the eternal pessimist in me is trying not to get my hopes up). The page looks good and reads well; now I just need to make sure the first month’s rewards are all in order ahead of time.

homemade chocolate cream pie ♥ engaging with other bookstagrammers ♥ This Is Us ♥ finding new blogs to read (please send me recs!) ♥ wax melts ♥ cleaning the house after finally taking down the tree ♥ waffles ♥ How to Hang a Witch ♥ browsing zines ♥ finishing up books ♥ cheese ♥ listening to podcasts while deep cleaning the house ♥ reading for hours on end without guilt ♥  rain + tea ♥ dogs in coats or sweaters ♥ having so many ideas it’s almost overwhelming ♥ Sephora + Sourpuss orders on the way

Three ways to make next week great:

  • Check out a local store. / I have a couple of favorites in town (especially the used bookstore), but I don’t always go to them as often as I’d like. Make a point to stop in while you’re out and about, even if you don’t buy anything (though bonus feel good points if you do).
  • Eat an extra piece of fruit. / Or vegetables, if that’s your thing. Just eat something fresh to boost your insides and help them work a little better than that second bag of chips you got from the vending machine today.
  • Finish that project. / You know the one. It’s been sitting half finished pushed out of the way, but it’s still nagging at the back of your mind. Just get it over with–or scrap it entirely. Whatever “finished” means to you in this situation. (For me this will be one of any number of zines I have sitting around to revise.)

“It’s Friday; I’m in Love” is a weekly gratitude post. It aims to remind myself and others of the good things from the past week, big and small; to share ways to make the next week a positive one; and to serve as a record to look back on for the not-so-great days to come. The title comes from the song by The Cure.

January 13, 2017
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Project 365: Days 4-10

I lucked out a bit with this week’s photos: I only took one on Saturday, but I was relatively happy with how it turned out. The weather’s been making it difficult to get any photos out of the house, and it’s driving me a little stir crazy as far as the project goes (and only a week and a half into it), but at least I’m getting practice in with my tripod. With low lighting in the house to begin with and the sun still going down so early in the day, if I don’t take any photos as soon as I get home, the tripod is definitely a necessity for that day’s picture. Thursday was such a struggle, though, that I actually ended up going with a dark photo anyway; it was somehow still the one I liked best after about an hour of work. But how could it not be? It’s my favorite cat.

4/365: A delivery from BookOutlet.com.

5/365: A most majestic kitty cat.

6/365: My travel selection of makeup.

7/365: Seven-layer dip from Saturday’s party.

8/365: A look at my bathroom makeup collection.

9/365: A Christmas gift we received this year.

10/365: My current Stephen King TBR.

January 11, 2017
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2017 Goals

Posted in Personal by

I haven’t even looked at my goals from last year because I doubt I met many–if any. I’ve decided this year to try having only two larger,  more distinct goals, ones that can be worked on year-round. Additionally, I’ll have some smaller, simpler goals to keep some focus on the fun as well as the work.

Let’s get into it.

Reach my second Patreon goal. / I’ve decided to definitely launch my Patreon page, thanks in part to the emotional support I’ve already received from a number of people, and this goal feels a little bold, seeing as it assumes I’ll reach my first goal this year. I’m rubbish at publicizing my own projects, so this may be the most challenging part of the year for me. My concern is about coming off as insincere, so I often fall to the opposite end of the spectrum  and instead don’t do much sharing at all. It’ll be a demanding goal, but it’s not an impossible achievement.

Finish a full book manuscript. / This is clearly a “by the end of the year” goal, which I expect to be pushing hardest through the final months of 2017. I’d love to have a full, ready to submit (or self-publish) manuscript by December 31, 2017. For years I’ve though it would be a novel, and maybe it will, but the idea of a book of essays has also been rattling in my skull as of late, so it’s all about seeing where the year takes me. I have ideas for both; it’s just a matter of which one grips me harder in the long run.

As for smaller goals, the list so far looks like:

  • Go on three ghost hunts/UFO watches.
  • Table one out-of-state zine fest.
  • Write and publish two zines.
  • Go on seven hikes, preferably in a few different states.
  • Complete a Project 365.
  • Make twelve different kinds of (new to me) bread. (Please send me recipes!)

I’ve made a point to include numbers in the smaller goals to keep them measurable and to keep myself accountable. (Accountable of fun–what a concept.) Of course, I could always do more of each thing, as well, and I really hope that I do.

What’s your biggest goal of 2017?

January 9, 2017
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It’s Friday; I’m in Love #81

I feel like I’ve been working really hard this week, but I also feel like I’m getting stuck. Maybe I’m wearing myself out. Maybe I’m doing too much of the same thing. I’m really not sure what’s going on, but I’m hoping that taking the weekend off for a small party with a few friends will help get me back on track come Monday.

I did come up with a fun idea for a short story collection while cooking some bacon for dinner the other night, which I mentioned on my Instagram. If I take the weekend to think it over a little bit, let the idea stew in the back of my mind as I enjoy other things, then perhaps I’ll be able to start next week with words ready to pour onto the page.

Nicki Minaj ♥ rewatching Stranger Things ♥ seeing how much writing has changed (improved) even over the last year or two ♥ takeout food ♥ full-face makeup days ♥ “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins ♥ helpful, supportive, and enthusiastic friends ♥ The Art of Asking ♥ homemade pizza ♥ book deliveries! ♥ going to bed early (one of last week’s suggestions) ♥ blog ideas coming out my ears ♥ challenging myself with Project 365 ♥ working on my Patreon campaign

Three ways to make next week great:

  • Consider your relationship with the internet. / This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a negative one, either; I’ve actually been making more of an effort to connect with people lately, rather than just being an observer. I want to make the internet more than just a place to waste time, y’know?
  • Cook something. / Anything, be it a full layer cake with buttercream frosting or a grilled cheese sandwich with a little extra something. Just take the time to be present while making–and eating–a meal.
  • Congratulate yourself. / Acknowledge something you’ve accomplished this week, even if it was just getting through the week itself. You made it, and that’s worth celebrating, too!

“It’s Friday; I’m in Love” is a weekly gratitude post. It aims to remind myself and others of the good things from the past week, big and small; to share ways to make the next week a positive one; and to serve as a record to look back on for the not-so-great days to come. The title comes from the song by The Cure.

January 6, 2017
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Project 365: Days 1-3

Here’s an exercise in accountability: Blogging your yearlong project, which is exactly how I’ve decided to approach the Project 365 photography challenge this year. I don’t know if there’s ever been a year when I completed the project from beginning to end, but since I want to start working on my photography skills again, I’ve decided to make another attempt.

It’s been years since I made a real effort with my photography; it’s something I loved senior year of high school, and I spent a couple of years working on it, but midway through college and on, it fell to the wayside while I dealt with the rest of life. Even when I bought my dSLR, I didn’t pick it up nearly as often as I’d like to have. It was an occasional thing, not a daily practice, and it honestly makes me a little sad to think about it. (I’m often crying over time lost.) But it’s an art I love, and it’s an art I think I have a skill for, so I’d like to keep exercising it and getting better.

I’ll be aiming to share my photos every Wednesday; I considered doing just a monthly roundup, but I know I hate photo heavy posts (they take so damn long to load), so a weekly update seems like a better option. This week’s collection is small since the year only started on Sunday, but I think it’s a nice way to begin, easing into it.

1/365: The first bookstagram post of the year, January’s TBR.

2/365: Practicing self-portraits.

3/365: This egg was just so beautiful.

January 4, 2017
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Top 8 Books Read in 2016

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish by

I’ve been watching Criminal Minds the past few weeks, and I couldn’t help but laugh at Garcia’s mention of her “Top 8” in one episode, so I thought this year’s reading recap could be a little throwback to that era of my life.

Here’s a summary of my top 8 favorite books of 2016.

It by Stephen King. / I have a sneaking suspicion that any time I read a Stephen King novel, it’s going to end up on my end of the year list. There alway’s so much character detail to his stories, and they’re often the only ones that have the potential to scare me, not because the monsters are terrifying, but because the people are. This book has its problems that I’m not going to rehash because, especially with the new adaptation coming up (!!!), they’re easy to find talk of all over the internet. But this was by far one of my favorites of 2016, even if it took me a whole month to get through it.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. / I am so glad that I kept a list of all the books I’ve read this year, otherwise Dumplin’ might have gotten lost in the fray. I read this book way back in January, and I remember spending the better part of a day on an air mattress in the living room gobbling it up. Dolly Parton? Beauty pageants? Talking about body image? Yes, please! Julie Murphy’s novel was so entertaining and emotional. I very much look forward to reading more of her work soon.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. / Ugh, Jeff. *collapses* This one had me up at two a.m. and sobbing, which of course I both loved and hated. It’s such a well-written book about fascinating teenagers living in a place I have almost no knowledge about. Honestly, the most I really know about Tennessee is how much I want to go to Dollywood (see above). The strain in the character’s relationships and the struggles they each dealt with, separately and together, were so heartbreaking at times, but it’s a book I absolutely can’t help but love. The Serpent King definitely earned its own review earlier this year, so be sure to check that out to get the full gist of just how much you should read this.

The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater. / THIS. SERIES. It’s so good that I’m counting all four books as one entry here, okay? It’s not often that I read urban fantasy–for some reason everything recommended to me is more high fantasy end of the spectrum–but at the suggestion of a couple of friends, and probably 85% of Tumblr, I picked up this series when I found the first two books at Barnes & Noble and had some cash to burn. It about killed me when I realized that the series was so damn good that I couldn’t wait to buy the last novel, but I didn’t want to get it in hardcover and have my set mismatched. Enter our old standby, the library. I read the final novel, The Raven King, in about two days, loving the way that everyone’s stories came together in the end, even if it totally ripped out my heart, as per usual with the YA genre.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. / Towards the end of the year I started reading a number of nonfiction essay/memoir genre books, and I think this is the one that really kicked it off. Two essays in and I became a total convert to Roxane. She’s got such humor and honesty to what she writes without feeling like a comedian–it’s more of a wry, everyday humor that your best friend might use, and that made this an enjoyable book for me. In fact, I began following Roxane on Twitter as I was reading, and after a couple of clicks through her website I found out she’ll be talking at Mount Holyoke in February. You can be sure I’ll be attending!

The Martian by Andy Weir. / This was my first book of the year, but still one of my favorites. I really don’t read enough science fiction, but when it’s coupled with such sarcasm as Mark Watney’s narration, I truly love it. As with many cases, I saw the movie first, and the veracity of the adaptation was pleasantly surprising given Hollywood’s track record. Considering Watney is the only character on an entire planet through much of the novel, Andy Weir does a great job giving him such a vibrant personality. I’m sure you’ve heard from others, but this novel truly had me laughing out loud as I read it. I’m thankful to have started the year with such a strong book.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. / Along with The Art of Asking, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic quickly found its way onto my list of “books to reread when I need a kick in the pants.” I’m already thinking about when I’ll read it again, putting sticky notes next to the passages I like the best and want to find easily in the future. I feel like this book was especially poignant for me because it came from the perspective of a writer, just as I read it from the perspective of one. It’s not impossible to apply to other types of work, but being on the same wave as Gilbert probably helped. There was also a balance between being grounded and being mystical in its approaches to creative endeavors that struck a chord with me.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King. / I impulse bought this book at one of my favorite local bookshops this year, and I cannot tell you how glad I am to have chosen it. The story is thoughtful and heartbreaking, and it’s one of my favorite contemporary YA novels I’ve read in a long time. I said in my full review that A.S. King’s writing style isn’t your typical YA fare, lending the novel a literary tinge, and I stand by that. I can’t wait to reading more of her novels in the future.

What were some of your favorite books to read in 2016?

January 2, 2017
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It’s Friday; I’m in Love #80

In an effort to, shall we say, redecorate my blog, I’ve been going through old posts, deleting drafts that have sat around for months and revising any that could use a fresh coat of paint, and I decided that for 2017 I want to bring back my series “It’s Friday; I’m in Love.” I’ll pick back up right where I left off, and I’ll work it like the original version, with both a love list and suggestions to make the upcoming week a little better.

Here’s what we’ve got on the list for the end of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.

new makeup and books on the way ♥ keeping up (for the most part) with my new writing routine ♥ routines in general ♥ dog snores + cuddles (seriously, my dog is the best cuddler) ♥ baklava ♥ My Favorite Murder ♥ a full shelf of unread books ♥ working on a Patreon page ♥ my new blog layout ♥ Criminal Minds ♥ Stephen King ♥ snow storms ♥ ASMR ♥ new notebooks + pens ♥ a clean work space ♥ photography + bookstagram ♥ naps

Three ways to make next week great:

  • Make a decision. / I’m talking about something that you’ve been thinking about for a while but haven’t been able to make up your mind yet. Just do it, and check it off your list of worries.
  • Indulge. / In a snack or drink. In a good long reading session. In way too many episodes of that show on Netflix you’ve been considering.
  • Go to bed a little earlier. / This one’s self explanatory. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, dude!

“It’s Friday; I’m in Love” is a weekly gratitude post. It aims to remind myself and others of the good things from the past week, big and small; to share ways to make the next week a positive one; and to serve as a record to look back on for the not-so-great days to come. The title comes from the song by The Cure.

December 30, 2016
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To Ask or Not to Ask: Considering Patreon and Other Options

Posted in Personal, Writer Life by

I’ve been trying to set a writing routine for myself over the past few days; I fell off the wagon sometime in September, and I fell hard. The only upside to this is that I finally started reading again, but not creating is a steep price to pay for Netflix binges that have no foreseeable endpoint. The past several months, though, have been difficult. A lot of days took the life out of me, and it was all I could do to pick up a book and make a good meal for dinner.

For even longer than that, though, I’ve been eyeing Patreon as an option for my work. I learned about it shortly before I read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, and it’s intriguing. My biggest fear isn’t that people won’t use it, though. It’s not taking that step to ask with the potential of “no” as the answer. It’s the concern that I won’t be able to keep up with rewards. When I’m feeling crushed, I don’t know for how long or how hard it is until I’m in the thick of it. It’s hard to even know that it’s coming, so I’m afraid I’ll shirk my responsibilities, especially when people are paying real money for me to fulfill them.

I try to tell myself that it’ll be motivation, that creating a Patreon page for my writing will help keep me from falling apart and hold me accountable. I try to believe that it’ll be helpful in, well, all of my goals. It’ll be a good thing. It’s something I can handle. But being my habitually pessimistic self, I’m very skeptical about all of these declarations. I have a hard time believing in myself, which is rather tragic, isn’t it?

I do have a couple of rewards in mind for various pledge points, including flash fiction stories, which I’ve just started incorporating into my hourly writing sessions, in which I bounce from project to project based on what’s floating around in my brain at any given moment, and I’m considering a free option, as well, such as a newsletter-style monthly story. It’d only be one small piece per month, or maybe part of a serial (shit, that’s an awesome idea), rather than say, three stories for $5 a month or something like that, but I think I like that as an option because it could get people exposed to my writing without having to pay anything in the beginning, and then if they chose to pay for more, they could.

I feel like I’m going to go back and forth on this because it feels like such a good idea, but it’s such a scary one at the same time. I guess I’m what I’m really looking for is some feedback, so if you’ve got any thoughts, let me have ’em.

December 19, 2016
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