The Christmas Tag!

I’m feeling festive this year, so when I saw this cute little Christmas tag posted by The Happiest Pixel I decided to join in on the holiday fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ Fun Fact: I used to be a total Grinch til Cupcakes and Machetes made it her personal mission to show me the joys of the holiday season. I was skeptical at first but have slowly come to enjoy Christmas and the chaos that comes with it. ๐Ÿ˜›

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1.) What is your favorite Christmas film?

I actually have a few. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s no secret that I love The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s definitely a holiday staple. I’ve also always enjoyed Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration and the more recent Krampus film from 2015.

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Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration

2.) Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

It’s always been fake, except for one year. That was the year my cat turned into the Hulk and took down an entire pine tree, bringing it and all it’s decorations crashing to the floor. Cats seriously up their dickhead game this time of year.

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3.) What is your favorite Christmas song?

Carol of the Bells has been my favorite for a good while now. ๐Ÿ™‚

4.) What is your favorite Christmas scent?

Hmmm . . . I really like cinnamon scented things, especially around Christmas. It reminds me of when my mom helped my brother and I make cinnamon ornaments for the tree when we were kids. For several years I was pretty obsessed with Bath & Bodyworks’ Vanilla Bean Noel scent, but I kind of burnt myself out on it.

5.) Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

It’s usually pretty laid back. I pretty much just enjoy the company of who I’m with and we open one present that night. I’ve always done that since I was a kid. I think a lot of people do it, too.

6.) Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

See the above question. ๐Ÿ˜‰

7.) What tops your Christmas tree?

Well, this year the only tree I’ve decorated so far is the one my room at work decorated, and we have a big beautiful silver bow on top. We’ll see what the other two trees I have yet to help decorate will be topped with this go around.

8.) What is the best thing about Christmas for you?

Spending time with my loved ones and doing all the festive activities with them leading up to the actual holiday. Also, the book club I’m in always has a fun Christmas party to look forward to.

9.) What is your favorite festive food or treat?

As of this year, I’d have to say that damn tasty Christmas Kronut I was just raving about in my last blog post. Other faves include the chocolate candy cane doughnut from Tim Hortons, the Bigby Peppermint Mocha Latte . . . basically anything chocolate and peppermint, apparently.

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10.) What is on top of your Christmas wish list this year?

Trump’s removal from office. A girl can dream, can’t she? ๐Ÿ˜›

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If you’re up to doing this holiday tag, have at it, and please let me know because I’d love to read your answers! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Christmas Kronut: Holiday Dessert Review

I don’t usually do dessert reviews, but when you find a new sweet that “takes the cake” as your favorite dessert ever, well, that warrants a post . . . and a bad pun. Allow me to introduce you to the Christmas Kronut!

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Picture from Home Bakery’s website. (I didn’t think to photograph my actual kronut before devouring it in pure bliss.)

I found this delectable treat in downtown Rochester in my home state of Michigan. This was my second year attending the Kringle Market there, a big event with Christmas lights, as well as tons of vendors and entertainment to kick off the month of December. It was a lot of fun and there were plenty of neat vendors, but this Christmas Kronut was the #1 thing I was excited about purchasing.

The vendor selling these bad boys actually has a gorgeous bakery located right downtown called Home Bakery. They describe the dessert as “deep-fried croissant dough, filled with vanilla bean pastry cream, tossed in cinnamon-sugar, dipped in a vanilla bean glaze, and finished with white nonpareils, and red and green holiday-themed sprinkles.”

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It was utterly amazing. Every single part of it brought something special to the dessert, from the cinnamon-sugar kronut itself to the oh-so-delicious vanilla bean cream that it was stuffed to the brim with. The different elements of this holiday themed sweet manage to shine on their own but also blend together perfectly as you eat it. It’s also adorably festive-looking, so it makes for a wonderful seasonal treat.

I’d easily give it 5 out of 5 stars, though I think it deserves some extra credit for being what I personally deem to be the best dessert I’ve ever had. ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s you’re favorite holiday treat to enjoy this time of year? Or just your favorite dessert in general?

NaNoWriMo 2017: Conclusion

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You, guys. YOU. GUYS. It’s done! I know it’s been a couple days now, but NaNoWriMo is officially at its end, can you believe it? After all the late-night writing binges, after consuming more caffeinated beverages than anything of actual nutritional value, and after writing our little hearts out all last month, it is finally OVER!

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We did it, guys! We weathered the storm. If you participated, I’d love to hear how you did. Hopefully everyone got a great experience out of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the whole challenge is a positive thing no matter the word count you end with because it is a valuable learning tool as a writer. So, no matter the outcome, congrats on another NaNoWriMo battle fought and survived (and maybe even vanquished!)

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I spent the last couple weeks of November sick, but determined not to give up. Hence why I wound up going on a brief hiatus and have been a no-show around here lately. (Can you tell I started to feel the pressure when I wound up a bit shy of my intended word count by the halfway mark?) ๐Ÿ˜› Well, the near-maddening level of work I put into it paid off and I DID cross the finish line. Not in a smooth, effortless gazelle-level-of-grace sort of way, but in more of a frothing-at-the-mouth, crashing through the wall and skidding to a bloody stop sort of way.

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So, that said, by the end of November I finished the challenge by the skin of my teeth with . . . dun dun dunnnnn . . . 50,246 words. I wrote my little heart out. Some of it is pretty rough, but they call it a “rough draft” for a reason, no? ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s plenty more to keep writing for this story, but I’ve got a lot of that figured out already, too. I tend to be a project hopper, always bouncing from idea to idea, but I’m really enjoying writing these characters and their world right now, which leads me into another big announcement as the start of the new year draws ever nearer. It’s something I’m pretty excited about. ๐Ÿ˜€

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I’m one of those people who always does the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. For a long time I was ALSO one of those people who made the goals and forgot all about them a month or two into the new year. Last year was different, though. I made a lot of resolutions aimed toward improving myself and I actually did accomplish a lot of them, which was an amazing feeling. I’ll do a whole post about my goals for the upcoming year as January gets closer, but for now, while we’re on the topic of my current writing project, I want to announce that one of those goals is to (by the end of 2018) have a finalized draft of my novel to start submitting to publishers.

NaNoWriMo was a major step in this, but only the first of many that I’ll have to take to make these goal happen. I’m looking forward to the journey though, no matter how stressful it might just end up being. Along the way I may even finally work up the nerve to talk a bit about what it is I’m actually working on. I’m neurotic about only letting people see my stuff when it’s DONE but maybe I’ll lighten up a bit on that. Maybe. lol It’s hard for me to let people see the rough, WIP versions of things I’m making, so we’ll see. Are any of you guys like that, too? I always see people sharing the things they’re working on and I love to see it, just for some reason I’ve always had a hard time showing things until they’re finished. Maybe that is something I should work on, too. ๐Ÿ˜›

Alright, time to catch up on everyone’s blogs! I’ve missed popping into WP since I was finishing my writing binge and dealing with a very busy last few days. It’ll be nice to see what you’ve all been up to. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

My Name in TBR Books Tag

This tag seemed so cute and fun when I saw thebookcorps do it. I haven’t done a book tag in a wee bit so I figured I’d take a stab at it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll be using my blogging name instead of my real name just as my own personal preference, but if this looks fun to you, do it whichever way you like. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m also going by alphabetizing rules that would dictate you drop the first word in the title if it is something like “The” or “a”. ๐Ÿ˜› That said, let’s get this tag underway!

I – The Ice Dragon

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Although George RR Martin’s other stories featuring dragons (cough cough, you know, those books in that little series known as A Song of Ice and Fire) are full of violence, incest, foul language and other adult themes, The Ice Dragon is actually one intended for younger readers. I’ve heard it is enjoyable for all age groups, though, and would love to read it.

G – Gather the Daughters

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I’ve had several friends read this recently, including fellow blogger and my personal BFF Cupcakes & Machetes who posted aย review about this horrific dystopian read. I’ve heard it’s the sort of read that you won’t soon forget after reading it.

N – Night of Cake & Puppets

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A novella linked to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. ‘Nuff said.

I – In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

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After seeing Yeonmi Park’s moving speech regarding life in North Korea and what it took to escape it, I had to add her story to my TBR list.

T – Tin Stars (Descender, Vol. 1)

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I actually picked this one up recently from my local comic shop, but have yet to read it. I’ve heard marvelous things about it, though. It’s supposed to be a really good science fiction read.

E – An Ember in the Ashes

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Another book I’ve been hearing wonderful things about. I feel like this would wind up being one of those reads that winds up being devoured.

D – A Darker Shade of Magic

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I’ve heard this author specializes in good, dark reads. Sign. Me. UP.

M – A Monster Calls

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I suspect this book will make me cry my eyes out, but I hear it’s amazing. I hear the story itself and the illustrations blend this book into a memorable read that will definitely give you the feels.

O – Odd & True

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A blend of historical fiction and paranormal fantasy that I’ve seen several of you review favorably.

T – Traitor to the Throne

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Okay, I’m cheating with this one because I don’t have a whole lot of books starting with ‘T’ in my TBR list, and this is the second book in a series I really want to read as a whole, Rebel of the Sands. But, hey, it’s my blog and I can cheat if I want to! ๐Ÿ˜›

H – Hemlock Grove

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I (mostly) enjoyed the Netflix series of the same name, so I’ve been wanting to check out the book for a while now to see how they compare. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, there we have it, guys! This was actually pretty neat to do since it made me have to reexamine my TBR list. Some of these titles have been on there a long time. As for tagging, it’s no pressure here as per usual. If this looks fun to you, have at it! Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! โค

NaNoWriMo 2017 Weekly Update: No. 2

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Woo! Half way through the frantic chaos that is NaNoWriMo! It’s hard to believe it’s half over already. How’s it going for those of you who are participating this year? Are you right on track where you were hoping to be at this point? Any tips on what’s working for you so far this go around?

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Not getting sick helps, of course. This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo and it also just so happens to be my second time getting sick during it. Lovely. Yay, tradition, am I right? ๐Ÿ˜› Oh well, it and some other things slowed me down this week, but I’m not out of this fight yet! I’m behind where I wanted to be, but I’m not giving up. It’s called a writing “challenge” for a reason, after all.

Alright, that said, let’s get down to business, shall we? Last week my writing update had a day by day word count breakdown, but I failed to track how much was written each day this week, so we’ll just go over the end game number I wound up with this week. I’d been hoping to write an additional 11,669 words this week, PLUS I wanted to make up for the 339 words I was shy of from last week’s goal. Well, it did not happen this week, guys.

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I finished the week with an additional 9,168 words written. With the month being half over at this point, I was hoping to have reached a minimum of 25,000 words by now. After adding this week’s numbers up with last week’s I see I am at exactly *drum roll please* . . .ย  20,498 words!

That’s a whopping 4,502 words less than I’d hoped.

Oops.

Oh, well, I feel like if I get my butt back on track and split up the extra words I still need between the two weeks I have left that I can do it. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but it’s better than giving up! ๐Ÿ˜›

Good luck to those of you still in the good fight, too. โค NaNoWriMo is one tough beast, but we’ve got this, guys! ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh! And on a non-NaNoWriMo-related side note, you should go check out this snazzy giveaway Kate over at All the Trinkets is doing for her blog’s 3rd birthday! She’s a great artist and blogger and has a few different giveaway options you can pick from going on right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s got an awesome and inspiring blog so be sure to give her some blog b-day love. She deserves it! She also deserves an adorable gif of a hedgehog in a little party hat eating a tiny cake, so here ya go, Kate! ๐Ÿ˜›

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Nimona (No-Spoiler) Review

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I’d heard good things regarding the graphic novel Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and I did not feel let down one bit upon reading it. The story was so sassy, cute and fun. I really enjoyed the characters, and how the story developed from humble beginnings to an increasingly dramatic plot with ever-growing stakes.

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Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

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I think this story would definitely be of interest to people who enjoyed the cartoon Adventure Time. It has that same sort of charm in my opinion, all while doing its own thing. Definitely worth checking out, in my opinion!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Weekly Update: No. 1

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Hey, guys! Well, we’re through the first week of NaNoWriMo. I hope everyone is right on track and having a good go of it so far. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll try to do one of these writing updates each week throughout the challenge just to touch base on where I’m at and how writing went throughout that particular week.

Here’s my progress throughout week 1 when it came to my daily word count:

November 1: word count of 1,679

November 2: word count of 1,688

November 3: word count of 1,321

November 4: word count of 1,092

November 5: word count ofย  1,895

November 6: word count of 1,927

November 7: word count of 1,728

My goal for this week was to reach a minimum of 11,669 words. I accomplished:

11,330 words written in 7 days!

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I came in just 339 words shy of where I’d planned on capping off the week, but hey, not too shabby of a start, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I can catch up. I know I can. As is the case for many people, November has been shaping up to be an incredibly busy (and financially-draining) month. Still, I remain optimistic! I nearly made the first week’s goal, so I just gotta catch up a wee bit and then I’m right on track. ๐Ÿ˜€

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How did your first week of the writing challenge go? Let’s talk NaNoWriMo!