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February 2021: Huskies, Hedgehogs, and Honey Chai Cakes, Oh My!

I can’t believe it’s already almost March! February was a busy and awesome month full of surprises so I figured it was time to get my butt back on the blog and do an update post. πŸ™‚ I just got my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this past Tuesday and I’m so happy and grateful. (Even if it did really knock me on my ass the day after with sore muscles/joints, fatigue, little waves of nausea, and a headache). After that, I was back to my normal self though and I was just thankful to be able to get it, so no regrets. Thanks, Science! ❀

I also started the process towards going to school for graphic design. Michigan has a new program it has rolled out to get people over the age of 25 back in school to get their associate degree by covering their tuition. It’s such a great opportunity and was too good of an offer to pass up, so I’ll be starting classes this summer. I’ve even already got my college ID! One of my co-workers is already taking the exact program at the same college and has had great things to say about it, so I’m really excited. Pluuuus, I’ll get to share in this experience with my BFFΒ Cupcakes & Machetes since she is going back to college as well starting in the spring. πŸ˜€ Different schools/classes, but we’re both excited to geek out over school stuff together so that will make it even better all the way around!

Other fun surprises this month came in the form of two new fuzzy and prickly friends. A girl I went to school with before was recently trying to find a home for a good dog in a sad and tough situation so he wouldn’t have to go to a shelter so long story short, my parents opened their home to him and now have a lovable, goofy, clumsy, fluff monster to call their own. ❀ My other new little animal friend came in the form of a lovely little hedgehog at my work. She’s so sweet and cute and the participants at my job just absolutely adore her, as do I. πŸ™‚

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It wouldn’t be an update post on THIS blog if I didn’t mention recent reads, hobbies, and baking. I didn’t have as much time for those things as I’d have hoped, buuuut I did bake this delicious Honey-Drizzled Cinnamon Chai Cake:

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In reading news, I happily read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard BookΒ  this month. It was such a treat. Kind of a nice and cozy, comfort read. πŸ™‚ I also started reading Leigh Bardugo’sΒ The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse)Β  and, for a refresher before the Netflix adaptation comes out, I’m re-reading/listening toΒ Shadow and Bone. I just watched the official trailer yesterday and I. Am. PUMPED. ❀

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Well, those are my updates for the month! πŸ™‚ I also did some writing and more practice with digital art but not as much as I had planned due to all the other stuff going on. All in all, though, February was a pretty good month. I hope you guys all had a good go of it as well. ❀ Looking forward to catching up on some blog posts I’ve missed but please fill me in on any excitement I have missed in the mean time. What were your highlights of the past few weeks?

Β 

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Art Update: January (and December)

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Well, one of the things I was hoping to work on was practicing with other mediums (copic markers and digital art to be specific) so here are some of my more recent pieces done with that goal in mind. πŸ™‚

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I’ve been on a Rupaul’s Drag Race binge for several weeks and it had me wanting to draw some drag queens, and what better place to start than with Divine? It’s just a WIP at this point though because my red marker I was using died. D:

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I love costumes and weird outfits so I could hardly resist drawing the spiky outfit from the Rodeo music video by Lil Nas X. Plus he’s got the whole vampire theme going on in the video so that just made it even more fun to draw because vampire teefs. πŸ˜›

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I haven’t actually seen The Mandalorian yet (I know, I know) but I drew the little cutie pictured above on a Thank You card for someone I know to be a fan of the show. One day I’ll get around to the show and I’m sure I’ll love it, so no spoilers please! πŸ˜€

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Well, I finally did it! I started playing around with my art tablet and came up with this pretty lady in purple pictured above. I have a lot of practicing to do with digital art but I’m looking forward to working at it and trying to learn new techniques. πŸ™‚ Here’s hoping I’ll have plenty of new digital art to share in the months to come!

What have you guys been working on lately? Any fun projects or new hobbies you’re practicing at?

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Bread! Booze! Buddy Reads!

What time is it? RECIPE TIME! πŸ˜€ I I was so excited to get to spend New Year’s Day baking and boozing with the amazing Cupcakes & Machetes during our very first Virtual Baking Party. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off 2021. ❀ One of the things I’ve always loved so much about our friendship is that it never matters how far apart we are or even how long it’s been since we’ve last been able to actually see eachother, it’s always an amazing time when we get together. Here’s my favorite pic from our Zoom session, of C&M, being the reigning Queen of Silly Faces that she is. πŸ˜›

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C&M made a delicious-looking Eggnog Bread with an Eggnog Icing and I made a very yummy Honey Beer Bread and (because I happened to have an abundance of cranberries) I made Cranberry Cosmos and Cranberry-Cinnamon jam. We both loved what we ended up making and had a blast along the way. πŸ˜€ If you’ve been video-chatting with any of your friends during the pandemic, I wholeheartedly suggest throwing some fun activities into the mix sometime. It was a little tricky at first, but we quickly found our groove and it was fun to drink, bake, and plan our next Buddy Read together. Thank goodness for modern technology. I couldn’t imagine having gone through the pandemic without it, or without C&M for that matter. We may be miles and miles apart and forced to Quarantine away from each other for months on end, but being able to video chat and keep in touch via text and online has been a lifesaver! ❀

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What’s been keeping you sane during the pandemic?

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Buh-Bye, 2020! Hello, 2021!

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Happy New Year! ❀ I know this year has been, to put it very lightly, a rough one, but I hope you’re all in as good of a place as possible right now, healthy, and feeling inspired going into 2021. πŸ™‚

I think if 2020 taught us just one thing, it’s how truly unpredictable life is. That’s part of the reason I’m looking at my New Year’s Resolutions a little differently this go around. It feels good to be leaving 2020 in the dust but I also know that the strike of midnight isn’t going to magically make everything better. I feel like 2021 is going to be a year more about the journey itself and a gradual evolution toward something better rather than an instant transformation. That’s kind of how I’m looking at my resolutions this year, too, since we really don’t know what the next 12 months will be like. I’m hopeful, though, that they will be just what we all need to move us toward better days. ❀ So, let’s get on with the resolutions, shall we?

RESOLUTION #1: FOCUS

I know I wasn’t alone in this, but 2020 had me spun for a loop and I think one of my biggest personal weaknesses was FOCUS. I’m really going to try to pull out all my best organizational tricks and attempt to be more focused moving forward. I have so many things I always want to work on constantly battling to pull me in different directions but I know that without focus I’m not going to be able to truly accomplish any of them. Pictured below are my new 2021 planner/calendar, a notebook for tracking goals I’m working on throughout the year in more detail, and STICKERS! Haha I recently watched a video from an author I admire and she talked about how she rewards herself with fun stickers when she meets small goals that she has set that lead to bigger goals. So, I figured, what the hell, I’ll give it a go, too. πŸ™‚ The little type writer stickers say “JUST WRITE” on them and then there’s a ton of cute fitness-themed stickers as well.

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RESOLUTION #2: PUSH MYSELF OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE MORE

This week I’ve started dabbling with Prismacolor markers and I’m really enjoying them. πŸ™‚ I want to continue to play with different mediums which brings me to my next resolution: Pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. I want to start driving myself forward in new ways, I want to be more bold with trying new techniques for my art and writing, etc. I want to try to share more and put myself out there more in general. 2020 unfortunately was a huge reminder of how short life can be and how suddenly everything can change and I want to push myself to do the most I can while I’m here. To learn amazing new things and to grow as a person. I saw a quote recently that said “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there” and I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind as I work toward my various goals this year.

RESOLUTION #3: SELF-CARE

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Mental health is so important and mine has always pitted me in an uphill battle against myself. It really sucks sometimes. Depression and anxiety are the worst and they make you feel like you’re the worst. I’m going to try to make sure while I’m working on my goals this year that I also take the time to really work on me. I’ve been taking baby steps toward this while I’ve been in quarantine and it’s something I really want to continue to explore in 2021. πŸ™‚

So, yeah, those are my resolutions. I’m going to try to be flexible with whatever may be going on in the world at any given time because I honestly have no idea how the world around me will me in the months to come, but I will do my best to keep pushing forward during it as best I can. ❀ 

How are you kicking off your New Year so far? Have any resolutions for 2021? Here’s to what will hopefully be a MUCH better year! ❀

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Happy Holidays: The 2020 Version

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I hope everyone is having a healthy and happy Holiday season as we get ready to move forward from this chaotic year into what will hopefully be a better 2021. We’ve got a long way to go, of course, but I’m hopeful the new year will begin to take us into the right direction at least. ❀ Mr. Moth’s family got us the hilarious and VERY accurate Christmas ornament pictured above. While much of 2020 was/is indeed a raging Dumpster Fire, not all of it was bad. I hope you guys all managed to find your own moments of pure unadulterated joy peppered in among the rest of this year’s going-ons. πŸ™‚

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I made it my personal mission to be extra festive this year and I don’t regret it one bit. We may not be able to celebrate how we normally would, and while that is somewhat of a bummer, I was happy to celebrate in whatever ways we could. My team at work had a lot of fun decorating for the holiday season and we won the room decorating contest! πŸ˜€ “The Grinch-Free Zone” door pictured above and the PPE-sporting snowmen of our bulletin board and tree are just a sample of the work we put into it. There was a lot more I didn’t end up remembering to take photos of.

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Since we have a white tree in our classroom it’s usually a snowman so this year it was fun to do something a little different and year-appropriate with the PPE which is a part of our daily work life now. I really enjoy the white tree but I love that I get to enjoy both ends of the spectrum since Mr. Moth and I have a black tree at home. Instead of hanging the usual candy canes on our tree, Mr. Moth and I opted to hang the silver antique keys (they’re actually bottle openers) that we had ordered off etsy as our wedding favors. It worked out really well because we had so many extra key favors left over since we had chosen to downscale big time on our guest list to make sure our wedding in October was pandemic-friendly. I loved the keys on the tree though and we’ll definitely continue to use them this way in the years to come. ❀

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Seasonal baking this year included making and decorating Christmas sugar cookies (only some of which were completely inappropriate) as well as a triple chocolate coconut cream cake. I also recently made the Cranberry Christmas Cake recipe that Cupcakes & Machetes posted on her blog. πŸ˜€

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Bailey, of course, got in on the holiday fun with her new bow ties, one being green (pictured above) and the other being red, so she can be a little feline fashionista and mix it up during the holiday season. I’m so happy she doesn’t mind wearing bow ties, bandanas, and some costumes. I’m also very happy to report that the Christmas tree remained standing all through December, even if this little Grinch did bat around and knock an ornament down here and there. πŸ˜›

Happy Holidays, guys! ❀ ❀ ❀

Β 

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My Year in Books: 2020

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It’s that time of year again! Goodreads has posted our yearly reading stats so I thought it would be fun to share some of mine here and see how you guys all spent your year in books as well! πŸ˜€ With not a whole lot of December left to go, I’ve read 29 books/graphic novels so far this year. (My goal was 25.)

The shortest book I read was Clive Barker’s The Forbidden, at just 51 pages.

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The longest book I completed was Mira Grant’s Symbiont, at 608 pages.

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The most popular book I read was when I re-read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with Cupcakes & Machetes for a Buddy Read.

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I think for the last homestretch of the year I’d like to focus on finishing the books I’ve already started but have yet to finish because I keep getting distracted (purely due to my own attention span and/or current reading funk).

I read some really interesting nonfiction this year that spanned topics like the Donner Party, the daily lives of people in North Korea, and all the ways the Amazon Rainforest wants to kill you.

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Overall I enjoyed most of what I read this year with only a couple books that I’d consider disappointing along the way. With the pandemic bringing our book club to a halt this year I mostly just stuck to my usual go-to genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror with a dash of poetry and nonfiction thrown in to mix it up a bit. πŸ˜‰

What has your year in books been like during 2020? Any favorite books you read you think I should add to my TBR Mountain?

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Fantasy Concept Art 2020

So, recently I stumbled across some old and very rough concept sketches for some fantasy creatures/beings and decided to slowly start inking and coloring them for fun. It had been years since I’d done the initial sketches so it was fun looking back on them and spiffing them up a bit. πŸ™‚ So if Merfolk, Gorgons, and flying rats are your thing, please enjoy the following images!

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I decided to take inspiration from the Frilled Shark for the coloring and gills on these two Deep Sea Merfolk. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoy this color scheme for them. πŸ™‚

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This Mer-Person, however, I wanted to play with color a little bit more.Β  I liked drawing the fins and whatnot on these guys, so maybe there will be more Merfolk to come in 2021. Who knows! πŸ˜€

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It is both a tedious pain in the ass and very fun to draw Gorgon “hair” (aka: Danger Noodles) (aka: snakes). My attention span was not made for such things but I did thoroughly enjoy drawing these ladies. ❀

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Again, this is all just concept art so please don’t mind how rough all these pieces are. πŸ˜‰

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I love rats. I also love bats. Needless to say, I would love to have a little rat-bat minion to ride on my shoulder and fly around town with me. Especially if that little rat-bat had purple fur like this little guy. Also, ignore the laws of aviation. I know his wings are too small but he is cute and that is clearly what really matters. ❀

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Art Update: Rewinding Back to October 2020

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Happy December and Happy Holidays, everyone! ❀ It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a real art update around here so I figured I’d share some of the pieces I’ve been posting over on myΒ Instagram over the past couple months. πŸ™‚ It seems like I have dry spells where I don’t do much more than sketches/scribbles and then I hit my stride and put out multiple pieces right in a row. I’d really like to be more steady and consistent with my art output in 2021 but we’ll discuss that further when I do my New Year’s Resolutions post soon! πŸ˜‰

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These pieces were from back in October when I started (but failed to finish) the Corpsetober Art Challenge. It was so much fun, but October was such a whirlwind of a month that the challenge really got away from me pretty quickly in. I’m not upset about it though. With the stress of 2020 always looming I’ve spent much of this year being less critical of myself and more focused on mental health. ❀

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I think part of the reason I enjoyed this art challenge so much was because it called for me to lean heavy into my interest in all things spooky, and that’s always a treat. πŸ˜‰ What was not as fun, however, was dealing with my dying, busted ass brush pens and other markers. *SOBS* The silver lining of that, though, would be that it gives me a gentle push to try other mediums in the near future. I’ve been having fun with brush pens for the past 2 years or so and they’ve had a good run. Now I’m ready to tinker around with more tools of the trade. I’ll go more into that when I do that New Year’s Resolutions post I previously mentioned.

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Since this post features mostly horror/spooky themed art, my next art update I do will feature some of the fantasy art I’ve been doing more recently. Gorgons, flying purple rats, merfolk, and dryads, oh my! πŸ˜›

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Do you have any creative projects you’re currently working on before the end of the year? If so, I’d love to hear about them! ❀

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November 2020 Updates

Hey, there, all you majestic beasties! ❀ Can you believe November is nearly over? I hope you’re all well and finding ways to keep entertained and happy. πŸ™‚ I’m back at home, my work being one of the places that has closed during our state’s three week partial closure. I’ve tried starting multiple posts while I’ve been off and nothing sticks. I’m in this foggy headspace where focusing on one thing is even harder than normal, which brings us to my first November update…

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UPDATE #1: CREATIVE STUFF

With the exception of drawing, I haven’t been able to concentrate on a whole lot. So, that’s pretty much what I’ve been focusing on. Drawing. Especially mythical creatures/beings. It’s actually been a lot of fun. πŸ™‚ (The weird tree lady pictured above is a Dryad I drew, from Greek mythology.) NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, obviously got shot in the foot on take off. I don’t know what I was thinking with that one. Haha Between the pandemic and a very tense election I was pretty much glued to the news during the beginning of the month, so not much writing going on, I’m afraid.

UPDATE #2: HOLIDAYS

I think we all know by now that the holidays are going to be very different this year. Under normal circumstances I’m usually a bit on the Grinchy side, not really one for Christmas music and all the fluff that goes with it. (I’m not as bad as I used to be, but it’s never the part of year I’m really looking forward to.) Well, it’s 2020 and everything is all messed up and crazy, so of course this would be the year that I am PUMPED for Christmas. πŸ˜› Bring on the holiday baking, Christmas movies and music, cozy winter bullshit, and decorations. I would already have the tree up and decorated if it wasn’t for Mr. Moth demanding Thanksgiving be allowed to have its moment. Haha I didn’t make the comic featured below, but when I found it, it immediately reminded me of Mr. Moth and his bizarre love for Thanksgiving. πŸ˜€

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UPDATE #3: BAKING

I don’t know what it is about being stuck at home, but it really makes me want to bake ALL the things. Recent baking adventures include Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for Mr. Moth’s birthday, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cookies, and rainbow chip cookies. I also busted out our new waffle maker and made homemade Belgian Waffles. One batch was regular and the other I jazzed up and made Pumpkin-Chai Belgian Waffles. πŸ˜€ It’s actually been really nice finding a joy in baking again. I used to bake all the time and then eventually I got sick of it. My favorite things to make this year definitely seem to be cookies. I’m really picky about cookies, so making them at home has been nice because they are super soft and chewy, just like I like ’em! ❀

UPDATE #4: READING

Like I said previously, my level of focus has been practically ZERO lately, so needless to say, not a lot of reading was getting done. Well, thankfully I’m starting to come back around and get some light reading in again. πŸ™‚

Giant Days, Volume 14 and The Quotable Giant Days:

I’m not going to lie, I was sooo sad when it hit me that I was reading the FINAL volume of Giant Days. This comic about three college friends and their lives has been such a treat to read. I can’t say I’ve read many other things that made me feel like I, too, along with the characters was saying farewell to my friends at the end. Mr. Moth and I both read this series, and we agree that John Allison does a fantastic job writing female characters. (Really, just characters in general, but if you’ve ever read anything from a male author where the male gaze gets a bit heavy, you know what we’re talking about.)

The Forbidden:

Written by Clive Barker, The Forbidden tells the story of what would eventually become the 1992 horror film, Candyman. I really enjoyed this short story, though if you’ve seen the film before you’ve read the story, this one feels like the blueprint to the movie which expands upon it in a really great way.

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It’s always a treat reading more of Joe Hill’s work. With the recent news of the premature cancellation of AMC’s television adaptation of this title, I decided to go ahead and dive on in. Initially I was going to wait closer to Christmas due to some of the holiday horror vibes of this story, but as I mentioned already, I am feeling festive as fuck and could no longer wait. It’s off to a great start and I’m looking forward to reading more of it and seeing what the characters I came to love in the show get up to in the pages of this novel.

Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1:

This title and I go way back. I’d gotten to read a smidge of Hack/Slash long ago, enough to have given me a taste of what it was bringing to the table but not enough to sink my teeth into. Well, at 300 pages, this omnibus lays out the whole feast and dessert too. Hack/Slash follows our resident goth drifter Cassie Hack and her pal Vlad, a big, deformed man of few words who has the soul of a kitten (as long as you’re not on his to-kill list) as they hunt Slashers across the country and put them down for good. I like the way they handle their slasher mythology in this series, describing Slashers (your standard Michael, Jason, Freddy sort of fare) as “a type of undead, sort of like a vampire or zombie. They’re so full of anger that they don’t wanna die. They hate love, youth, sex . . . things they miss from life.” I mean, how often do we see the big murderous slashers who go after teenagers spring back up for more mayhem and murder after they’ve been killed? All the time, right? Makes sense to me to throw the supernatural spin on that. The series definitely isn’t for everyone, and I, myself, sometimes roll my eyes due to that “male gaze” thing I mentioned previously, but it has a lot of appeal for horror fans, and thus I do enjoy it. Genre favorites from the big screen and behind-the-scenes even make appearances such as Robert Kirkman and Mr. Good Guy Doll himself, Chucky.

Anywhooo, that’s it for my November updates. Now it’s time to play catch-up and see what you fine and fancy folk have been up to. Happy (early) Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it. And Happy Monday (ugh) to the rest of you! πŸ˜›

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Happy Halloween!

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I’m baaaack! ❀ And just in time for Halloween, no less. I know things are a hot mess this year, but I hope everyone is finding some way to have a fun (and safe) time this Halloween. Mr. Moth and I are celebrating the 5th Anniversary since we became a couple in a low-key “Quarantine & Chill” sort of way. πŸ˜› We got curbside pickup from one of the local breweries for lunch and we’re going to continue our month-long horror movie binge. I’m especially excited to check out the movie The Mortuary Collection on Shudder.

I think it looks like a lot of fun and a perfect viewing treat for Halloween! πŸ˜€

Mr. Moth also surprised me with these lovely and delightfully spooky flowers and bats for our anniversary. The boy knows my dark little heart so well. ❀

5th Anniversary Halloween Flowers

The past 2 months have been a real whirlwind, with the highlight of it all being that Mr. Moth and I officially tied the knot! We kept it small due to the pandemic but everything was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. ❀ The lovelyΒ Cupcakes & Machetes was my Maid of Honor and her hubby and my Brother-from-another-Mother was our Officiant. (I’ll do a post with more info and some photos soon!) ❀

We had planned a honeymoon, bought our plane tickets, got our hotel, and got a city pass for a trip to Boston and Salem, a trip we had always talked about going on together since we first began dating, but ended up postponing the trip due to the pandemic. It was a hard decision to make, especially since (like most other people we know) we’ve had to cancel so many big and exciting plans during the ongoing dumpster fire that is 2020. Still, we know it was the right thing to do and we’ll make the trip one day when it is safer to do so. So, instead of exploring new cities together we just did what we’ve done for most of 2020 and stayed in for a little Stay-cation.

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In other news: I returned to work in September after 6 months of us being closed due to the pandemic. It’s been really different due to all of the new safety measures we must take. Cold and Flu Season is always a rough time of year at my work, but now with the Coronavirus cases increasing in our state and it being a constant threat in the back of everyone’s mind, it’s been especially stressful and exhausting. We’ve been trying to make the most of things though, and keep everyone safe and happy. My room also hosts weekly Zoom skill-building lessons with some of our participants who prefer to join in virtually rather than in-person, so that has been an interesting learning experience as we try to find our groove presenting fun activities online.

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Honestly, I’ve been too busy and exhausted to do much of anything related to my usual hobbies, unless you want to count power naps as a hobby. I’m hoping to ease my way back into the things I enjoy now, though. πŸ™‚ It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any writing and, for a while there, I really had my doubts that I would have the energy or sanity to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to give it a go. πŸ˜€

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What are your Halloween plans this year? How have you been the past 2 months? I’m gonna try my best to catch up on some blog posts around here but if you have anything specific you wanna share PLEASE tell me or even hit me up with a link. I’ve missed my Blogging Buds so I’d love to know how you’ve all been doing. Have a frightfully fun Halloween, everyone!! ❀ ❀ ❀ Looking forward to catching up with all I’ve missed and getting back to a more normal posting schedule. πŸ˜›

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