December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution Alternatives

New Years Champagne
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    Do you ever get tired of the old resolutions.  Want something a little different.  Or maybe you want something more engaging for a New Years party.  Here is a collection of different challenges and activities for the new year festivities.

Memory Jar

     A memory jar can be any container in which you store good memories.  It can be a jar, a can, a tea tin, or whatever your heart desires.  As wonderful or happy things happen throughout the year write them down on a piece of paper and date them.  Place the note in your container.  At the end of the year open up the container and read all the good memories you have collected.  You can also open it up during the year to help remind yourself about the good things if you feel down.  At the end of the year you can get a new container and store or display the old one.
    I have seen memory jars on the internet in several places.  But, my first real introduction to it was at last years New Years party.  There was a collection of jars for everyone to chose from.  My current container is not terribly cute or anything, but for some reason I was attracted to the shape of the jar the moment I set eyes on it.  It was such a fun activity having everyone pick out a jar.  I also look forward to sharing some of my memories at this years party.

Letter To Self In One Year

    You have probably heard of writing a letter to your future self and opening it in ten years, yet we change so much even in a single year of time.  I know that I have changed significantly in the past year.  Write a letter to your self to open next year on new years eve.  In the letter you can talk about your hopes and fears.  You can list out things you hope to change.  You can talk about your goals.  Or you can even write yourself a letter of encouragement.  Close and seal your letter.  Try using stationary that really speaks about who you are today or of who you wish to become.  For extra security or style you can seal the letter with a sticker or if you have it sealing wax.

Contact Past Friends

    We all lose contact with people over the years.  Sometimes it is simply because of distance.  Sometimes it is over disagreements.  Often times it is merely the fact that life can be so hectic that we just lose touch with people.  Think of three people you haven't talked to in some time.  Has it been a year?  Two years?  Five?  Maybe even more.  Try to contact these three people within the next year.  See how they have been doing these past years.

Life Scouts (Challenge Badge)

    Have you heard about Life Scouts.  I saw a video about it by it's creator much earlier this year.  He was so energetic and excited about it.  Check out the video for an explanation of how the badge system works.  If you want a fun and randomized challenge, purchase one of the challenge badges on the store.  You will get a random badge selected from fifty of the one hundred badges.  Then try to earn the badge you got.  What will you end up trying?  Milking a cow, vlogging, Eiffel Tower, falconry.  There are several interesting badges.  Check out Life Scouts today.

Radical Self Love Bible

    If you have been reading my blog for a while, especially on Thursdays, you will know that I follow Gala Darling.  She is a fabulous writer and blogging babe on a mission to spread radical self love.  Remember that song "What the world needs now is love?"  Could your life use more love?  Too many of us are encouraged to be hard on ourselves and sometimes we are even encouraged to be hateful to ourselves.  A Radical Self Love Bible is a tool to help you be more positive about yourself.  Check out the following links to learn more.

Back Burner

    Ever have projects that you can't work on at the time, but don't want to forget?  In 2013 I decorated a little envelope and placed it under my memory jar so I would always remember where it was.  In the envelope I filed away projects I wanted to pursue in 2014.  I recently opened it up to see what in the file I wanted to work on first and what would stay on the back burner.  It has been useful and I think this is an idea worth sharing.
    How can you create a bake burner file?  First decide what to keep your notes in.  Using a physical object like a tine or envelope is great if you are likely to forget which folder on the computer you put your notes in.  Plus a physical object can be decorated and and displayed so it is never "Out of sight.  Out of mind."  For the notes take a note card or a piece of paper and write down information you will want to remember about the project.  Just enough to jog your memory.  Maybe even some websites or names.  Don't plan out the whole thing now, especially if the problem is that you don't have time to do it now.  Schedule designated times to go through your back burner envelope and see if then is the right time to start working on it.  I hope this serves you well.

101/1001 Challenge

    This is a wonderful project conceived by New Zealander, Michael Green.  Michael Green built and maintains the Day Zero Project website.  The challenge is to complete 101 tasks in 1001 days.  It is a wonderful challenge that will really push you.  I can't tell you how much I learned while doing the challenge.  To learn more about the challenge check out the about page.

7 Things x 2014

    Here is another great activity from Day Zero Project.  They have seven prompts to get you thinking about what you want to achieve in the new year.  Take a look at the seven prompts and see what comes to mind.  This is a great activity to do before you set your goals.  7 Things x 2014

    There are plenty of options our there for kicking off the new year.  Use on of these or come up with your own.  Remember that you do not need an event or holiday to decide to take up a new challenge or to change something about yourself.  If you can feed off the energy and hype of such events, make it work for you.

December 28, 2013

My 13 Winter Goals List

Winter Landscape and Steps
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    It took me some time to decide exactly what I wanted to focus on this season.  I think that is better for goal setting though than just throwing together some goals.  After thinking about it I realized that I really wanted to work on things that would make me happy.  Almost everything on the list will make me happy.  I am not sure if I will like yoga, but do we ever know if we will like something we have never done before.  Number six scares me and I know it will make me happy when I finish it.  I will likely enjoy it while I am working on it too, however it frightens me at the moment.  Hence it is my difficult task.  I think I would like to have a third draft done of the project by the end of 2014.  And that scares me even more.

    Number five follows in the thread of dreaming of decor.  I have been living here for some time and I have only decorated a little bit.  Now armed with a stool all I need is to assert myself.  For number four I'd like to donate some money to a cause.  I am not sure which yet, but I will keep a pot till the end of the season.  A friend introduced me to a savings challenge where you save for a full year putting one more dollar in than you did the week prior.  For that challenge you end the year of saving with $1,378.  If you use the same method over 13 weeks you end with $91.  That is a respectable donation I think.

    Number one is fairly open.  I simply want to make more time for crafting and working with my hands.  So I am going to try to craft at least five different items.  I am going to keep my toe nails painted, because it makes me happy.  They are gold right now.  I haven't decided what color to make them next.  I certainly look forward to frolicking with my fellow lolitas more.  And the end of winter and beginning of spring have a few events I love to go to each year.  This list makes me really happy and aside from the writing goal I don't think it will be too tough on me.

    I will be keeping track of my list over at the Day Zero Project site.  Here is my profile.  If you have a profile there just friend me and I will friend back.  I love to cheer people on with their goals.  Have you made a list of 13 Winter Goals?  If you missed the post about it or need a refresher here is the post on how to make your own list.  There are 12 weeks of winter left.  Let's make them awesome and productive.

My 13 Winter Goals 

  1. Craft 5 things.  (Bonus: Something season related)
  2. Buy a Japanese futon
  3. Get a massage
  4. Donate to something
  5. Decorate home
  6. Skeleton plot, maps, and other information for my current writing project
  7. Keep toe nails painted
  8. Attend a lolita meet-up
  9. Keep a Radical Self Love Bible
  10. Try Yoga
  11. Make a winter themed meal or tea spread (Bonus: Invite a friend or two)
  12. Attend at least one of my annual events
  13. Read 2 books

December 26, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: So Many Things

Pink Vintage Fan
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    It has been a busy week for me.  It has been filled with so much fun though and I can't thank my friends enough for all the fun we had going out and celebrating my birthday.  I hope you are all having a great week and enjoyed your holiday.  Here is this weeks gratitude list.

    So what did you love this week?  

December 23, 2013

A Little Rammbling About Reading


    Let's take a break from writing and talk about reading.  As mentioned earlier this month, reading is a good practice for any writer.  So here is a question.  What are you reading lately?

    I tend to be reading several books at any given time.  I have done this since I was young.  I tried for some time to only read one book at a time, but I found it took me longer to finish books that way.  You are not always in the mood for Bram Stoker's "Dracula" or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of Baskervilles."  It is nice to have some light reading on the side.  I also have always enjoyed non-fiction and how-to's.  At an early age I had a love for knowledge that I soon found I could better satisfy with books than with people.  I also keep books on hand for research for what ever projects I am working on at the time.  Lately I have been keeping the books I am reading on a designated shelf.  That's it above.  I recently bought a copy of an unabridged dictionary, so it found a home on the shelf too.  It's the really big one.  I had a lot of fun dressing up this shelf. (I am still prettying up my home in the aftermath of NaNoWriMo)  Do you have a special place for the books you are reading?


    One book I am reading that is not pictured here is Mary Robinette Kowal's "Without a Summer."  I have it on audio book.  Which is a great way to be able to enjoy a book while in the bath or while painting your nails.  Another book that was recently gifted to me by a good friend is "Cracked The De-Textbook."  I have to say this is a great book to pick up and just start reading from random pages.  It covers all sorts of different subjects and it is hilarious.  After I finish Reading "Without a Summer," I am going to start "Go Ask Alice." (Anonymous)  I also have a collection of books on different subjects for my current writing project.  I am also perusing a vegetarian cook book and a couple of books on tea.  Those are some of the books I am working on.

    I have been thinking of trying out a website called Goodreads.  I read reviews there now and again.  A couple of my friends use it.  I don't have much to say about it yet, except that it looks like it could be fun and useful.  Anyone use Goodreads?  How do you like it?

Writing Exercise 

    This week for our writing exercise I am going to utilize another resource I found.  Writing Things is a board I follow on Pinterest.  It has tips, inspiration, advice, and prompts.  Here is today's exercise.

December 21, 2013

13 Winter Goals

Happy Winter!

Winter Girl
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    Hello and happy winter everyone.  Autumn is officially past and the longest night (in the northern hemisphere) of the year is here.  Time to endure the cold, long nights until spring pokes its pretty little head out of bed and brings with it all the lovely new foliage and promises of warmer weather.  And as much as some of us would like to sleep through the next thirteen weeks, we are not bears and we do not hibernate.  For the past thirteen weeks some of my friends and I tried to complete our own personal lists of thirteen goals.  It is now time to take up a new list, this time for winter.  Would you care to join us on this fun and engaging adventure?

The 13 Winter Goals

    As there are thirteen weeks in each season there are a total of thirteen goals to be created.  Each person creates their own list.  There is a list of parameters to help you create the goals.  You do not have to have one goal per parameter as you would end up with fifteen goals.  Some of the parameters are very simple and are intended to be overlapped.  The parameters are also intended to help keep the goals diverse and to help create a list that will challenge you.  Here is the list of parameters.

  • 1 item needs to be difficult (at least one item on this list needs to challenge you)
  • 1 financial goal (whether it is a savings challenge, better budgeting, or a n item you want to save for)
  • 1 item needs to benefit someone else (an act of kindness, volunteer work, donations, etc.)
  • 1 item should be something you are doing for the first time (Always try something new.)  
  • At least 2 items should involve a group or being social  (being a recluse and talking through the computer can be fun, but there is fun to be had out there in the big world with lots of people)
  • 3 items should be based on the season (It is winter.  Don't let time just pass you by.  Get involved and enjoy the season for all its uniqueness)
  • 3 items need to be creative (whether that be crafts, cooking, or something else)
  • 3 items need to make you smile (do something for yourself)  

    Remember that these are just minimums.  If you want all thirteen goals to be creative or three of your goals to be difficult that is entirely up to you.  You can make your list as challenging as you like.  Remember you should end up with a total of thirteen goals.  

Keeping Track Of Your Goals

    This season I will be keeping track of my goals on Day Zero Project.  Which is a fabulous web site that started out with "The 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge."  Read more about the amazing challenge on the about page.  After creating an account you can track a handful of different lists at once.  You can also follow your friends and add updates or photos to your own goals.  

    Will you join us for some winter fun and personal challenges?  Will you try something new and push yourself?  What could you learn about yourself by accepting this challenge?  If you do choose to take up the challenge leave a comment below.  I am excited to see what everyone's goals are.  

December 20, 2013

13 Autumn Goals: A Final Update

    Tomorrow is the first day of Winter.  That means that time is up on my 13 Autumn goals.  So of course it is time to see how I did and plan out the next season.  My friend Lacy, over at Night Lights And Day Dreams, also did a list of goals for autumn.  Here is her latest update.

    For starters there is my number one, which I designated as my difficult goal, write 60K words for NaNoWriMo.  If I counted all the other writing I did during November I would have well surpassed the goal.  However the goal was only for the words in my NaNoWriMo project.  I didn't make it to my goal of 60K I did get very close to the regular goal of 50K.  I wrote 49,484 words.  I am proud of what I wrote and what I learned during that attempt.  I look forward to finishing the projects and some day submitting it for publication.

    Number two, buy a cozy Japanese futon, my financial goal.  I have saved 39.4% of the amount I need to get the futon I want.  I was hoping to have on by now, but life happens and this time of year can be more taxing on our wallets.  I very well may carry this goal over to my winter goals.

    Number three, make a donation to the local Girl Scout Council.  This one is almost done.  I wanted to donate some craft supplies to the local Girl Scout Council for their camps' art programs.  I have the supplies bagged up, yet I haven't had a chance to take them in.  I am going to continue holding onto them until I can get them to the office.  I am not going to carry this goal over like I am thinking of doing so with number two, but rather I will just keep it as an item on the side that needs to be completed.

    I would say I have completed number four.  Draw up a decor plan for my home that I can use for reference.  Include colors, motifs, and theme.  The only part I haven't posted here is the kitchen.  As for number five I did not go with friends to a museum, exhibit, or gallery.  I simply didn't have time to plan such a trip.  I did however go out with friends, new and old, quite a bit.  It was great fun and a healthy experience to be so socially active.  Number six was to host a lolita meet-up, and though I did not host it our local group had it's first big meet up on International Lolita Day.  It was great fun and I got to meet new people.  I look forward to our next get together.  I never did manage to get a hold of a seasonal tea for number seven.  I guess I should have ordered some online.  I did try a new tea though.  Zhena's Gypsy Tea Hazelnut Chai is delicious and has a slight nutty aroma and flavor.

Image from The Graphics Fairy

    Number eight was to learn to use the program GIMP.  I have barely scratched the surface of this program.  My friend did send me some really great tutorials and instructions though so I am looking forward to going through those.  This is something that I would really like to learn so I may carry this one over to my winter list also.  Number nine, craft and mail autumn cards, never happened.  Another one I just didn't have time to do.  Number ten was to learn at least three new recipes (bonus for using seasonal ingredients.)  I learned one new recipe and it included pumpkin.  I'd like to talk about that recipe later, because it was super easy and delicious.

    Read two books was number eleven.  For my first of the two I read "Glamour in Glass" by Mary Robinette Kowal.  I have fallen head over heels in love with her writing.  As such the second book I chose to read was her next book in the collection, "Without a Summer."  I only have seven chapters left and while I could finish it tonight I am going to take my time and finish it over the next few days.  As for number twelve, while it was very little, I did decorate for autumn.  Then last but not least number thirteen.  Learn some conversational French. I have made some efforts to this one and found some good resources to help me learn.  But my French is not much better than it was on the twenty second of September.  I do wish to continue this goal though.

Eiffel Tower
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    I feel like it was really busy over all and that maybe I put too much big stuff on my plate considering November is the month of the year I have a very limited life outside of NaNoWriMo.  I feel really good about my efforts over all and look forward to new goals and adventures in Winter.  Will you be joining me for making goals for winter?  Look for more details tomorrow.

December 19, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Violins and Happiness

Inside of Violin Case
Found this raised heart in the velvet inside my violin case. 

    This week started out a bit sluggish for me.  I am thinking it may have been due, in part, to the unregionably cold weather.  Last I checked I live in Texas.  LOL  It has warmed up though.  I am hopping my energy will warm up too.  Now onward to the list of wonderful things.  

  • Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son
  • Buying rosin so I can play the violin I got.  
  • Discovered Aromantic Aardvark (Look a tumblr --> Aromantica Ardvark)
  • "Without a Summer" by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Tweeting in letter format
  • The raised heart shape inside my violin case
  • Playing the violin, even if I''m not that good
  • Being inspired to write while I am reading(this can also be frustrating)
  • Listening to the music I used to listen to and deciding that it is indeed still awesome!  To name a few:
    • Simon & Garfunkel
    • Kansas
    • Stix
    • Queen
    • Skillet
    • Blue October 
    • Hoobastank
    • Three Days Grace
    • Billie Holiday
    • Frank Sinatra
    • Louis Armstrong (Yeah I could keep going, but Mr Armstrong is a great note to end on)
  • Tchaikovsky's works.  This week loving The Nutcracker.  
  • Dreaming of eventually putting an old school functioning gramophone in my sitting room.  
  • And conspiring to at least get my hands on a record player for my sitting room.  Then I can collect all the classical music I love on records.  
  • And on those two notes, Being an anachronist.  
  • China is the third country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon.  China’s Maiden Lunar Rover ‘Yutu’ Rolls 6 Wheels onto the Moon – Photo and Video Gallery
  • This Pinterest Board Too Old for Dress Up? Psh!
  • Only one 8track this week: bawm by abby.allison2
  • The fact that I own a good selection of clasical music to play when I feel like it
  • Inspiration! in all its forms
  • This grammar pin 
    So what are you loving this week?  What made you smile?  

December 16, 2013

You Should Be Writing!

Typewriter Girl Vintage
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    Yes.  Yes, I should be writing.  It is not as though I have writers block or that I don't feel like writing.  Why just Saturday I was shoving things out of my way so I could type out a few lines before they escaped my mind.  It is merely that I have not made time to write.  I intended to write on several occasions this month.  Good intentions will only go so far.  It is time to buckle down and do the work.  Today I present you with two pieces to help motivate you and encourage you to continue on your writing journey now that November is over.

    Over on the blog for the Office of Letters and Light they recently put up this piece by Julie Murphy.  NaNo Coach: Pushing Past the Land of First Drafts

    Writing Excuses has a good podcast on getting the work done.  Writing Excuses Episode 16: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard

    And with those let us all proceed forward into our writing lives.  But first here is an exercise.

Writing Exercise 

    For this weeks exercise listen to the Writing Excuses episode and follow the prompt they give at the end.  

December 12, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: In All Our Loli Glory

    Went to my first lolita meet up on International Lolita Day.  It was awesome.  We came out in all of our lacy, ribbony, adorable glory.  We oohed and cooed and ogled all the cute things.  It was great fun and I can't wait to hang out with the group again.  This has been a pretty social week over all.

  • Playing the Sims 3
  • Playable ghosts on the Sims 3
  • Dressing up in lolita whether I am going anywhere or not.  
  • Hanging out with Jenn, playing the Sims 3 and painting our nails
  • Meat Loaf - Wasted Youth
  • Not many 8tracks this week:
  • Going to a lolita meet up!!!!!!
  • Tea.  Bought new tea this week.  
  • This adorable photo shoot
  • Taking time to lose myself in hobbies and gaming
  • Finding a new work process for my story.  Massive outlining project.
  • Thinking about goals
  • Buying books
It has been a great but exhausting week.  How has yours been?  

December 11, 2013

Dreaming of Decor: The Sitting Room

Hanging Lanterns
Found these lanterns at World Market 

    The sitting room is by far the easiest of all my dream rooms to actually start on right now.  Is there a room you want to work on that you already have things you want to decorate it with?  Why haven't you gotten started?  To busy?  Need help?  Afraid of redecorating?  I say, let's make time.  Call a friend over and get them to help you. (Especially if it requires you up on a ladder or something.) Or put on your favorite tunes and just get to it.

    For a long time, or most of my life, I have been slowly collecting maps.  I am not sure when I first became interested in them, but I used to have them all over my bedroom growing up.  They are all stashed away now, but that will change very soon.

    My dream sitting room would have taupe colored walls which will be adored with maps.  Antique maps, modern maps, fantasy maps.  Decorations will also include globes or rather 3-dimensional maps.  I currently only have an Earth globe that is likely closing in on 20 years old.  I would like to eventually add a Mars and Moon globe to the collection.  Yes they make those.  To accompany the map collection I would also like to adorn the room with treasures from around the world.  Moroccan lanterns, colorful throw pillows and rugs.  I would use floor setting and low tables.  Maybe some bamboo plants and incense.  It would just eventually turn into one glorious collection.  A perfect place to have tea.

   I can not paint where I live now, but I have my maps and they shall soon don the walls in all their mappy glory.  Decorating can be lots of fun.  Let me know about your decorating adventures.

December 9, 2013

Two Pieces Of Writing Advice For Writers Of All Levels

    There is a vast amount of advice out there for writers and aspiring writers.  Here are two pieces that are good advice for writers of all skill levels.


    One of the pieces of advice I see and give about writing that I feel is crucial is this: Read, read, read.  I have seen people brush this advice off.  Reading however, is what your potential readers will be doing.  How does it feel to be the reader?  What do you like as a reader?  How can you have any clue what will move a reader if you don't read?  By reading you can expose yourself to and examine different writing styles, moods, genres, the list really goes on and on.
    Read as much as you can.  Read critically.  Don't simply read through as quickly as you can.  Take your time and think about what your reading.  How does it flow?  What length are the sentences?  Examine the word choice.  Observe how the words make you feel.  Observe how the author conveys information to you.  Take your time and study, but still enjoy.


    One does not get better at a skill without practice.  Practice writing.  Try different techniques and styles.  It will take time to get better, as it does with any skill.  Painting, math, and music are a few skills that come to mind that require attentive practice.  You can write anything you want.  If you just want to get practice writing I suggest the creative writing journals I talked about in 3 Useful Writing Activities.  You can free write or, if you need more direction, get a steady source of writing exercises.  I post a new exercise every Monday.  Writing Excuses gives a writing exercise with every podcast.  There are plenty of places to get writing exercises and prompts out there.  You just have to look for them.

Writing Exercise 

    This week let's talk about setting.  Describe a portion of setting through a character that does not take part in the story.  

December 5, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Recuperating

    With NaNoWriMo and all the baking for Thanksgiving done, I can rest.  I have started listening to Mary Robinette Kowal's "Without a Summer."  I finished the second book in this series in October.  I love to listen to books just before bed.  I have also gotten some gaming in. (The Sims 3)  There have been a handful of things I have done to rest and yet I keep wanting to get right back into working on Journeys of Outcasts (the current working title of my NaNo project).  I will likely start writing again today or tomorrow.  Well without further ado, my Things I Love Thursday list.

    Well I hope you all had a great week.  Have anything you want to share that you loved this week?  Let me know in the comments.  

December 3, 2013

December Try-its

Blue Morning Glories
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    Last month I was a crazy person.  I bit off way more than I could chew.  But we can never truly know our limits until we test them.  Yet even when we test them, our limits of today are not necessarily our limits of tomorrow or the day after.  Or the week after. Or even the year.  We have the ability and the power in us to push our limits.  So here goes with another month of Try-its.

  1. Do more of what I love.  I neglected a lot of things last month.  This month I want to read more, ride my bike more, take more pictures, just enjoy all the things I love more.  
  2. Finish things.  I want to attempt or finish as many of the items on my 13 Autumn goals as possible.  Also there are several small things that I have just been putting off in my life and around the home.  I have more links and people to check out in my bookmarks than I can tell you.  I’d really like to take a crack at going through all those things.  I hope to have less on my to-do list by the time winter is here and even less than that when the new year arrives.  
  3. Study more.  This one goes along with number one.  I love studying.  I would like to put some extra focus on it this month since NaNoWriMo is over.  I especially want to focus on French.  
  4. Improve my health.  I’d like to start taking some measures to be healthier.  You know drink more water, get more sleep, eat more veggies.  I do like veggies.  

    December is the last month of the year, so lets make it well worth remembering.  Try something new.  Learn something.  Finish something.  I would also like to invite you ahead of time to join me in creating some awesome and ambitious 13 Winter Goals lists.  Not sure what I mean or need a refresher, go check out my post for 13 Autumn Goals.

    Best of luck in all your endeavors and lots of love.

December 2, 2013

What I Learned During NaNoWriMo 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Participant
NaNoWriMo web badge of 2013

    NaNoWriMo is always a wonderful and stressful challenge.  I came in 516 words short of 50k this time.  I was shooting for 60k, so I obviously missed that, but I feel absolutely great with what I did get down.  Last week I talked about NaNoWriMo being a great time to learn about yourself and your writing process.  That does not count for only the first time you do the challenge.  Each time I do NaNoWriMo it is a new experience.  I learn several things about myself and my project this month.

    The first lesson for me is that I need to build a more regular writing habit.  I am already writing everyday.  However, I might benefit from more scheduling of when and what I am writing during a given time block.  I'd like to experiment with this over the next few months.

    I also identified some of the things that particularly distracted me.  For example Pinterest.  I can get so lost on Pinterest.  I look up at the time and an hour and a half has passed.  Twitter was also distracting.  There were several other topics I just had to avoid, both as videos and as blog posts & articles, or I just couldn't tear myself away.  Do you know what particularly distracts you?

    I also relearned the importance of taking breaks.  Not just breaks from writing to do other things, but breaks from all sorts of work.  There were a few times I couldn't write because my brain had fried and I just couldn't process anything.

    The project I worked on this past month was a project I have been working on for some time.  I realized that I can no longer work on this story in the NaNoWriMo style.  I no longer feel like writing at such a fast pace will benefit the project.  I will need to take more time with this story and start sharpening the plot and setting.

    These are the lessons I learned about my writing this month.  I haven't decided precisely what to do for all of them yet, I feel it is good to have them in writing though.  Now I will not forget them and I can review them. What did you learn during NaNoWriMo?  Let me know in the comments.  Or at least write them down for your own reference.  

Typewriter Girl Vintage
Image from The Graphics Fairy

Writing Response

    The last haiku prompt for November was agreeable vacillation.  Here is my response.
hesitation, doubt
no stillness in that moment
asserting to sway

Writing Exercise

    This week write a poem (any style) about dance.  

November 28, 2013

Things I Love Thursday:

Vintage Thanksgiving Card
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    The week leading up to Thanksgiving can be a busy and stressful one.  That just gives me more of an excuse to take note of the things I enjoy in each day.  Here is my list of things I loved this week.  Happy Thanksgiving and be safe.

    Happy Holidays.  Listen to some great music, spend time with loved ones, and remember to take note of life's pleasures.  

November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo: It's Not All About Winning

NaNoWriMo Participant
NaNoWriMo 2013
Web Badge 

    Including today, there are six days left to write your novel.  How many words do you have left to go?  Do you think you can still win?  If you don't think you can win, I have news for you.  And if you think you can win go ahead and listen in too.  

    Accepting the insane challenge of writing fifty thousand words in thirty days is about more than just winning.  It is about pushing yourself.  It is about challenging yourself.  It is about seeing just what you are capable of.  This is an amazing chance to experiment and learn.  What is your best time of day to write?  Where are you most inspired?  What do you like to listen to when you are writing?  When do you work out your plotting best?  Do you know your answers to any of these questions?  November is a fabulous time of year to try out new things with your writing.  Be adventurous with your writing and writing processes.  There are six days left!  How much do you think you can write in six days?  NaNoWriMo is about more than making a word count.  It is about getting the ideas on something other than grey matter.  It is about getting the story out of your head.  Is there a story in there?  Is there an idea in there?  Play with it.  Have fun.  Just write.  You could be amazed with what or how much you can actually turn out.  Even if you don't pass the 50k mark, look at what you produced.  My first NaNoWriMo, in 2009, only got me about five thousand words.  That is only 10% of the goal.  What it did do though was give me a chance to try to put in words a concept that I had been bouncing around in my head.  It allowed me to attempt to express something that I felt I could contribute to this world.  Furthermore, I credit this as one of the activities that finally pulled me out of a two year writers block. (Yes, writer's block exists.)  What will you achieve attempting what you think might be a stretch or impossible? What will you learn about yourself?  What will you teach yourself?  If you want to write, if you want to express, teach, or even just tell one good story; go write.  

Writing Response

    When I thought of monotonous reasoning I thought of, we do it this way because we have always done it this way.  Is there another way to interpret monotonous reasoning?  Maybe robotic or systematic.  Maybe even without change, which is what I feel I have done with this piece.  The rhythm feels very steady, even boring to me.  But that seems appropriate for the prompt.  Here is my answer to last weeks haiku prompt: monotonous reasoning

This is how we work
Brick by brick or stone by stone
always in this way

Writing Exercise

   One more haiku prompt to finish out the month.  Did you give last weeks prompt a try?  I'll be using the same method to pick this weeks prompt.  Here goes.  First word is 'agreeable.'  The second word is 'vacillation.' I don't know what that means.  New word!  Vacillation  So this weeks haiku prompt is 'agreeable vacillation.'  Have fun and go write something.  

November 21, 2013

Things I love Thursday: A Full Year of Gratitude

Victorian Lady
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    That's correct.  I have been keeping a gratitude list for a full year now.  I decided to go back to that first list I made a year ago and see what I was thankful for then.  It is really nice to be able to look back.  If you haven't tried making a gratitude list yet I highly suggest it.  One of the things on last years list was "NaNoWriMo for being one of the things that helped to end my two year writer's block."  Now for this weeks list.
  • Autumn and the seasonal arrival of mincemeat pie 
  • As for 8tracks this week:
  •  Showing off my small collection of Lego mini figs.  Some of which I have used as role playing minis.  
  • Playing Feed The Beast
  • Seeing a couple episodes of the old Addams Family episodes.  
  • IMDb My go to for info on movies and shows.  
  • Friends and family I have meet over the years.  
  • Watching the launching of MAVEN!!!! 
  • Being around people in real life that don't just think I am weird when I nerd out
  • Twitter and Pinterest.  Such great ways to get information, inspiration or to spread joy and laughter.
  • Working on my NaNoWriMo project.
  • Chocolate Chai Latte
  • Fashion
  • Sleep
  • Warm baths
  • Bloglovin'
  • Thrifting
    I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to Gala Darling!  I have said before, Gala Darling, is the blogger that inspired me to start writing these awesome lists.  She has so many encouraging words to share and I have discovered so much through her blog.  
    Happy Thursday!!!

November 20, 2013

What Has Been Distracting Me From NaNoWriMo


    So much science to read about, learn about, and watch.  There really is.  I have loved learning and exploring for a rather long time.  Astronomy and space are a special interest for me and the internet has made getting access to information on the sciences I love simple.  From blogs to podcasts to virtual hang outs and star parties.  There are so many opportunities out there not only to learn, but also to get involved and meet people.  After going to the virtual star party last month I have really had to be disciplined not to spend my writing time gazing through other peoples telescopes via the internet.  One event I had planned on allowing myself was the launching of MAVEN.  I have no clue how long I have been waiting for this mission.  I first heard of it some years ago.  The very subject matter of the mission really intrigued me.  Really go check out what they are doing over at NASA with MAVEN.  There is really so much science out there.  To put all the things I have been checking out into this one blurb would do them no justice.  I really must do a longer post some time on all the spacey things.

Thanksgiving Greetings with Turkey
Image from Antique Images

Thanksgiving and Baking

    It is Thanksgiving time.  I get to enjoy some of my favorite seasonal pies.  Like mincemeat.  I love mincemeat pie.  I also love sweet potato pie and buttermilk pie.  Buttermilk is available most the year though.  I need to learn how to make these pies at home.  I'd like to start by learning a basic pie crust.  I will have to go see if Alton Brown has any videos and recipes for this.  He probably does.  Baking!  I need to crack out some of the sweets from my oven for the upcoming gathering.  Pumpkin marble cheesecake is my traditional addition to the Thanksgiving feast.  Though I would like to have some other offering in addition.  Not that anyone will turn down cheesecake.  I have been wanting to make something new with pumpkin, but I just haven't made time between everything else.  I think pumpkin muffins would be delicious or a pumpkin loaf of some kind.  Something that could be eaten for breakfast.  These are very distracting thoughts from NaNoWriMo.  And with thanksgiving a week away I need to start baking or it will sneak up on me.

New and Interesting Things

    The internet has no lack of new and interesting things.  Or rather things I have yet to learn of or want to know more about.  Take science for example.  I have been filling up a folder of bookmarks that I just can't look at now, because I really need to be writing.  I think one of my try-its for December will be going through all those bookmarks.  Yeah, 45 links and counting.  I really have my work cut out for me there.  New blogs and people to follow.  Bloglovin' has been a good bit of fun.  Twitter!  Twitter is so distracting.  It is compelling, educating (depending on who you are following), and encouraging.  But all the links and tidbits I want to know more about.  I am simply going to have to shut that window down while I am writing.  I had to shut it down just to write this post.  And, oh the bane of my productivity, Pinterest!  It starts so innocently.  Let me just check out this board.  Before I know it an hour and a half has passed!  But there are really some great things to discover and if I am really careful I can find some really great info and inspiration there for my noveling.  It is a slippery slope though.

1917 Vintage Pump
Image from Antique Images


    Between lolita and dandy and all sorts of other fabric wonders, I am in love with ascetics.  It can be just so fun to see how you can transform a dress or a shirt and pants by using different accessories.  Just check out some of these Lolita Blog Carnival posts 1 dress 5 outfit challenge.  Go to the bottom of Megan's post for the links to the other blogs that participated in the challenge.  I had some fun yesterday thrifting with a friend.  We both founds some cute things.  I found a cute olive brown bolero that I think will look quiet smashing with my Eat me Ink me Wine Lover skirt.  

    These are just some of the things that have been distracting me from my writing.  What has been distracting you this month?  

November 18, 2013

Using Affirmations To Win NaNoWriMo

    First, an off topic note:  MAVEN should be launching today at 1:28 p.m. EST .  For more details check out @MAVEN2Mars or on NASA web site. I also posted some other useful links last week in NASA MAVEN Mission.  Now back to writing.

NaNoWriMo web badge from 2013

     We are well into NaNoWriMo.  Some of us may feel we are way in over our heads, some of us may think we can still catch up and some of us may be well on our way to success.  Today I'd like to introduce you, if you are not already familiar with them, to the powerful tool of affirmations.  What are affirmations?  Let me turn it over to my favorite definition website


  [af-er-mey-shuhn]  Show IPA
the act or an instance of affirmingstate of being affirmed.
the assertion that something exists or is true.
something that is affirmeda statement or proposition that is declared to be true.
confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decisionetc.
Law. a solemn declaration accepted instead of a statement under oath.  

    A lot of people talk about the power of positive affirmations.  Think about this for a moment.  You are listening to what you are saying and what you are telling yourself.  If you keep saying 'I can't do this, I can't do this.'  Guess what, you can't do this.  You will fail no matter how hard you try.  So the first thing you need to do is to stop talking down to yourself .  Just stop it.  Don't tell yourself how much your novel sucks.  It is a first draft!  Don't tell yourself you don't have the time to finish this.  Make time to finish this.  You are the boss of you when it comes to this awesome, amazing project you have started.  Give yourself some encouragement.  Believe in yourself.

    This is where positive affirmations can really come in handy.  I had wanted to post a list of affirmations that could be used to help us all get through NaNoWriMo.  As I thought about it more, I realized that each one of us is different.  Each of our projects are different.  The problems we face may be similar, but when examined carefully each case is unique.  Here is my challenge for you today.  Come up with your own affirmation that you can tell yourself.  What is it that you really need to hear right now?  What encouragement do you wish someone would say to you?  Don't be hard on yourself.  Word your affirmation in a positive and encouraging way.  Stand in front of the mirror and profess to yourself how great your project is going and how much you are enjoying it.   Be your own cheerleader.  Then write like the wind my friend and win NaNoWriMo for yourself.

Writing Response

    Last weeks haiku prompt was 'Waiting and change of seasons.'  Did you give it a try?  I like haiku.  They are very short and can express so much.  Here is what I wrote:

Observe the branches
Still and slack and grey and brown -
When will green appear?

Writing Exerciser

    For this weeks haiku prompt I used a time tested method.  Without looking, I opened the thesaurus to a random page and put my finger down.  I collected two words this way, here is the result.  This weeks haiku prompt is 'Monotonous reasoning.'  

November 14, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Legos

Scientist from Lego Minifig Series 11
Scientist from Lego Minifig Series 11

   It has been a wonderful and busy week.  I am still behind in my novel for NaNoWriMo.  However my last two sessions were both over 1500 words and I am confident I can catch back up to my goal.  I would like to give a shout of thanks to Gala Darling again who inspired me to originally start these gratitude lists by posting her own on a weekly basis and blogging about how much in can improve your outlook on life and your own situation when you make efforts to notice and remember the things that make you happy, laugh, or just smile.  I have suggested gratitude lists to others and they have also seen results.  If you haven't tried writing your own gratitude list I highly suggest giving it a try.

    So what was awesome in your life this week?  

November 13, 2013


Mars Globe
Mars Globe
Image from NASA

    I am very excited about the MAVEN mission that should be launching this coming Monday(November 18th of 2013.)  MAVEN stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN.  MAVEN is an orbiter that should reach Mars in September of 2014.  It will then begin its mission, taking an elliptical orbit that should pass through several layers of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.  It will be collecting data from the upper atmosphere, ionosphere and the interactions with the sun and solar wind.

"The atmosphere of Mars is less than 1% of Earth’s, so it does not protect the planet from the Sun’s radiation nor does it do much to retain heat at the surface."
Read more At Universe Today: Atmosphere of Mars

    Since Mars no longer has a magnetosphere the solar winds strip away the atoms of the atmosphere.  I find magnetospheres and their interactions with their planets and the planets atmosphere fascinating.  For more information on the atmosphere on Mars read the quoted article.  For information about atmospheres in general also check out the Astronomy Cast episode #151 Atmospheres.  There are eight instruments on this NASA orbiter including a pair of magnetometers and a neutral gas and ion mass spectrometer.  You can find a list of all the instruments and updates on the mission at the NASA website.  If you are interested in watching the launch also, you should be able to watch it at NASA TV.  Don't be surprised if I am tweeting with excitement about updates on this great mission.

Preparing MAVEN
Image from NASA


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