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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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™‚

 

 

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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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!

NaNoWriMo 2017: Let’s Do This!

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It’s that time of year again, guys! As many of you know, November 1st marks Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, aka: National Novel Writing Month. (Otherwise known as that 30 day span of time where you never see your writer friends because they’ve gone into that annual highly caffeinated full-blown hermit mode to reach that 50,000 word count.)

Last year was my first stab at NaNoWriMo, and I can honestly say that I went into it all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Something like this:

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And then when it came toward the end of November I suddenly found myself feeling more like THIS:

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Needless to say, things did not go exactly as I had planned. BUT, quite possibly the best thing about not succeeding is learning from your mistakes you made the first go around. That’s why I chalk my first attempt at NaNoWriMo as a valuable learning experience and not a “failure”. As long as you pick up on what hindered your goal and keep at it, it isn’t really a failure anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I know that my number one NaNoWriMo nemesis is that damned backspace key. I am a compulsive nut about re-wording things over and over again to make them sound “just so”. (Not a good habit to have when working on first drafts.) Thankfully, I don’t have this habit while blogging. I just wing it and keep going. I’m really going to try to avoid deleting things at all costs. Just keep pushing forward. That’s the goal.

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50,000 words in 30 days is the mission. It can be done. It isn’t easy by any means, but I’m really planning on passing that finish line this go around. Some of you might remember when I decided to challenge myself to a similar goal I dubbed the “Necro Rhino” since my boyfriend and I call NaNoWriMo “Nano Rhino” and this was me resurrecting the challenge in a different month after my little nano rhino bit the dust well below the planned word count. I may have not made it during 2016’s NaNoWriMo, but I did during the Necro Rhino challenge I set for myself, so now that I know I am capable of doing it, I am hoping to go for the gold this time around! ๐Ÿ˜€

Another useful tool? Those heavenly caffeinated beverages. Coffee? Sure! Red Bull? You betcha! I can sleep in December when NaNoWriMo is over. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Good luck to all of you who are participating in this month’s dash to reach at least 50,000 words! I saw a lot of people make, and even surpass, that goal last year, so don’t get discouraged. We’ve got this, people! โค

Happy Fall (and Hobbit Day)!!

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Woo! It’s September 22nd and you know what that means! It’s the first official day of fall (aka: the best season ever)! Aaand, it also just so happens to be Hobbit Day, the birthday of both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.

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It’s the perfect day to curl up with one of Tolkien’s books (or the movies that came after them) and enjoy your favorite fall drinks and treats while you get all cozy. โค And it’s Friday, so why not just continue doing so right on through the weekend? ๐Ÿ˜›

Calvatia Gigantea: The Giant Puffball!

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Behold! The giant puffball (and my shoes).

I’ve stumbled across a few giant puffball mushrooms before, but had never bothered picking one since you often hear the warnings about those poisonous look-alikes and I’ve grown slightly fond of breathing over the years. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, after reading some helpful info on properly identifying edible giant puffball mushrooms, we decided to chance it by plucking up this bad boy we found on my mom and dad’s property. Here’s my mom plucking it up. Say “Hi” Mama Moth! ๐Ÿ˜›

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After my mom picked it out of the ground we brought it inside and prepared to cut it open. The guides we read said you wanted a pure white center in the mushroom, and no gills and whatnot, so we were pretty pleased to cut it up and see that snowy center. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We’ve still gotta cook it up, but we’re excited to try it. If I suddenly stop posting after this, well, I guess our mushroom identifying skills were not quite as up to snuff as we’d hoped. Wish us luck!

Do you ever hunt/cook mushrooms? Any experience with puffballs? Lemme know! I’d love to hear about it. ๐Ÿ™‚