Summer 2018 Wrap-Up

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I don’t know about you, but I am always excited to see summer coming to an end. Fall is my favorite time of the year and I just can’t stand the humidity, blazing sun, bugs, and heat of summer. Bleh! Bring on the cool, crisp weather, gorgeous scenery, tasty treats, and Halloween festivities! πŸ˜€

Although I’m excited to see it go, this summer wasn’t a total bust, so I figured I’d do a wrap-up post with some of the highlights for this particular season as it comes to an end.

In June I went to my little cousin’s wedding. It was a fantastic celebration. Funnily enough, this was the first wedding I have ever been to where I was simply a guest and didn’t have any responsibility so that was interesting. Everything was amazing and everyone had a wonderful time. I’m so happy for her and her new husband and the life they’re starting. ❀

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Look how cute their dessert table turned out!

In other news, we got some succulents! I’ve been wanting to get some of these little bad boys for a while, so I was beyond elated when my boyfriend took me to pick a bunch out for the house and get all the supplies we needed to take care of them. πŸ™‚

Speaking of plants, we also took a day to visit Grand Rapids this summer and made sure one of our stops was at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. This place was MASSIVE. I feel like we could have easily spent the whole day just at this one place, but we had a zoo and brewery to go to that day too, so we had to hustle just a bit. We got to see some wonderful and bizarre sculptures as well as tons of gorgeous and interesting plants. If you ever find yourself in Grand Rapids, Michigan it is definitely worth a visit!

We didn’t end up going to the movie theater quite as much as we normally would these past few months, mostly due to how busy things have been, but we did manage to squeeze in a few good movies.

I only got to review one of these three films (Deadpool 2) but I did actually enjoy all three of them. πŸ™‚

Haven’t gotten to do very much reading this summer, either. Squeezed in a few things, and slowly chipped away at a few more, but I’m hoping fall will prove to be better for getting cozy and curling up with some good books. πŸ™‚ In other book-related news, I did score some great deals on books I will (hopefully) be enjoying soon.

We got some major yard work done this summer, so it’s been cool seeing how the property has really transformed. You can tell someone who lived in this house previously really enjoyed gardening and had quite the green thumb and eye for landscaping. Years of renters, however, seem to have let things grow a little out of control, so we had some hard work to do, but I love our yard and all the cool plants that came with it. We even started using out fire pit and I’m looking forward to some fun bonfires come fall.

Well, that is my summer wrap-up post for the year. I’m excited going into fall mere days from now and plan on doing a lot of fun stuff throughout that particular season before winter comes creeping in. Expect a fall bucket list post in the near future! πŸ˜‰

How about you guys? What were your own personal summer highlights? Anything you’re particularly excited about for fall? What’s your favorite time of year? Let’s talk about it!

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Three Things Tag!

It’s taaaaag tiiiiime, guys! Big thanks to Random Melon Reads for tagging me for the Three Things Tag! πŸ˜€ If you haven’t yet ventured on over to their blog, I suggest you rectify that and experience their humorous and entertaining posts for yourself. πŸ™‚ Now, onto the tag at hand:

3 Read Once & Loved Authors:

Well, might as well start with my most recent newly loved author! πŸ™‚ After hearing so many good things about V.E. Schwab, I’ve finally begun my first venture into one of her books, A Darker Shade of Magic! I’m loving her writing and fully intend on reading more of her stories in the future. ❀

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V.E. Schwab

Of course I would have to include Leigh Bardugo on this list. Her writing is always a treat for me, but it just seems to keep getting better and better. She’s definitely one of those insta-buy authors for me.

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Leigh Bardugo

This list wouldn’t be complete for me without mentioning George RR Martin.

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George RR Martin

3 Titles I’ve Watched But Haven’t Read:

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I happened upon 2 of the books in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. I enjoyed watching the film version and am definitely looking forward to reading the books that inspired it, starting, of course, with the first one.

Another set of books I would really love to sink my teeth into, would be Diana Gabaldon’sΒ Outlander series. ❀ I love the show and have only heard amazing things regarding the books.

Although I wasn’t too crazy about the third and final season of Hemlock Grove on Netflix, I did really enjoy the first 2 seasons and would definitely love to check out the source material some time. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, so maybe I’ll make this a priority on my reading list for October. It certainly seems like a fitting time to give it a go! πŸ˜‰

3 Characters You Love:

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer. He’s just such a good character overall. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to read more about him and the other amazing characters when Laini Taylor’s Muse of Nightmares hits the scene in October!

I’ve always loved the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From his crazy grin right down to the very way he speaks.

It’s always been difficult for me to narrow down my favorite character from GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, so I’m calling it a tie between Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark.

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3 Binged Series:

I binge-read George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books after having the first one literally thrust upon me by Cupcakes & Machetes years ago. Still waiting (and waiting) on the last 2 in the series to come out, but those two books will no doubt be binge-read as well upon release. πŸ™‚

If memory serves right, I think I also binge-read Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy a while back. I’m pretty certain I read the three books very quickly.

And, in the graphic novel arena, I definitely conquered Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series in quick succession. It was an excellent and imaginative series I just couldn’t seem to put down.

3 Unpopular Bookish Opinions:

Prologues don’t bother me. I know a lot of people seem to hate them, and I understand why to an extent, but as long as it is at least interesting, I’ve got no beef with a good prologue. πŸ™‚

If I’m studying a certain topic, and I’m reading an informative book about it, I bust out the highlighters and cover those pages in neon streaks. It’s quicker than writing the notes out by hand, makes for a quick reference, aaaand it’s my book so I do what I want with it! πŸ˜› Oddly enough, though, you’ll never see me dog-ear a page. I mean, I’m not a complete monster. πŸ˜‰

Call me crazy, but I hate book jackets (or dust jackets if you prefer). I know they’re to protect the book, and I get it, but they’re just so bothersome to me for some reason. I’ve gotten better about dealing with them in recent years, but they still tend to irk me just a bit. Plus, I always like the way the actual book looks underneath.

3 Current Favorite Book Covers:

Leigh Bardugo’s books are always lovely to look at, but I really like the cover for The Language of Thorns.

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Another book I just love the cover artwork for is My Life as a White Trash Zombie. The colors, the badass look of the character, it just all works for me.

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I had a really tough time picking three covers for some reason, despite always drooling over new cover art. I dunno, for some reason when I’m put on the spot my mind goes blank and I flounder about. But, I had to give some love to The Girl From the Other Side, with a cover and internal artwork that gives me the warm fuzzies. It blends two of my favorite aesthetics, monsters and cute shit.

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3 Goals For The Year:

Hmmm . . . well, there isn’t a whole lot of 2018 left at this point, it being September and all. That said, I really want to spend the remaining months of the year writing my ass off. NaNoWriMo is in the not-so-distant-future, so I definitely plan to participate in it again, but I also want to push myself to make more time for writing in general.

I’m also still working on my goal of reading 50 books/graphic novels for the year. With so little free time I’ve fallen a bit behind where I’d like to be by this point in the year in terms of my reading goal, buuuuuuut I’m confident I can catch up in the months to come. πŸ™‚

Aaaand my third goal is to continue being a boss bitch and getting shit DONE! πŸ˜› Haha and by that I mean to keep attacking my goals head on for the rest of the year. No sense losing momentum now. πŸ˜‰

Now, for the tagging! Mwa hahaha! If you’re reading this still at this point, consider yourself TAGGED! (Or not . . .) No pressure or anything. You know the drill, do it if you think it looks fun! πŸ˜€

Let’s Celebrate Women’s History Month!

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March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the awesomeness of women. Cupcakes and Machetes had the wonderful idea to host a blog event to do just that, so of course I had to participate! πŸ™‚

Her mission is pretty straight forward, so I’ll let it speak for itself with a quote from her post: “Let’s celebrate women. Every kind, in every way, in whatever way you see fit. For myself, I’m going to read only female authors for the entire month. My hope is that other blogs sign up to celebrate women in any way they would like to contribute and I’ll post weekly updates to these blogs and what they’ve worked on. Not only will this be great fun, I think it will be a helpful way to highlight your blog and meet other interesting people.”

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If you’re interested, head on over to C&M’s awesome blog and leave her a comment on her event post. I’m going to be joining in on the fun by illustrating different women who have left their marks on history in one way or another. I’ll try to squeeze as many as I can in throughout the month, along with short little bios explaining the things these bad ass ladies have accomplished and how they’ve helped to change the world and inspire others. I’ll also be posting reviews of comics that feature ladies as the protagonists. (My plans are to read and review Paper Girls, Lumberjanes, some more Giant Days, Bitch Planet and some more Rat Queens!) It’s gonna be a busy, lady-filled month of posts, and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully some of you will decide to join in on the fun, too! πŸ˜€

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Susan from Giant Days, a comic filled with delightful female characters.

 

New Year’s Resolutions: 2018

Daaaaaaaamn, guys. I seriously can’t get over the fact that tomorrow is the final day of the year. It feels like 2017 went by in the blink of an eye. A lot of things happened and a lot of changes were made, all for the better. πŸ™‚ I feel like this was a fantastic and much-needed year for patching up what was once the fast-sinking vessel that is my mental health. I’m happy to report that I accomplished a lot of important goals I’d set for myself this past year, and that I’m not only much happier, but also much stronger, because of it.

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I had a lot of things I wanted to work on in an attempt at bettering myself and I conquered the goals set before me. Honestly, it’s probably been my best year ever as far as slaying New Year’s Resolutions goes and it feels pretty damn good. I plan on riding that high right into 2018 by continuing to try and better myself. That’s kind of the thing about life, isn’t it? We’re always pushing ourselves, learning new things, and taking new chances.

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So, that said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what exactly my goals are for the new year! I’ve got several themes for my various goals concerning different aspects of my life. Things like reading, fitness, writing, etc. (Knowing me, I’ll probably come up with several additional goals throughout the year, but as of right now, here’s what I intend to work on in 2018:)

Reading Goals of 2018:

  • Finally read the neglected books that have been sitting on my bookshelves, untouched.
  • Venture into reading more poetry.
  • Read 50 books/graphic novels (Last year’s goal was 45, so I upped it by 5.)

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Creative Goals of 2018:

  • Bust my ass to get my writing project ready to start submitting by the end of 2018.
  • Start utilizing art tutorials and online courses to learn snazzy new art skills.
  • Experiment with watercolors.
  • Draw! Draw! Draw! Write! Write! Write!

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Fitness Goals of 2018:

  • Do more cardio, kickboxing, and dance.
  • Drink more water.
  • Find more fun and active hobbies like going to the trampoline park.

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So, that just about covers my personal goals for the new year. πŸ™‚ How about you? Are you planning on making any new year’s resolutions? Did you complete any this past year? I’d love to hear about them! πŸ˜€

Since I don’t know if I’ll have time to hop on tomorrow, let me just wish you all a very Happy New Year! Here’s to what will hopefully be a fantastic 2018! ❀

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December Updates

Hello, everybody! It seems I fell off the map there for a bit, but it’s only because things have been extremely busy and especially chaotic this month. Things are slowly, ever so slowly, getting back to normal just as the year comes to a close. Between my personal life and work life I’ve pretty much been in caregiver mode 24/7 and have been feeling burnt out by it, but luckily I have a nice little vacation coming up to hopefully squeeze some rest in and enjoy the holidays. πŸ™‚

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That said, here are just some random updates of what’s been going on as of late.

Update #1: Due to the previously mentioned craziness, I missed out on my book club’s Christmas party this year which was a total bummer. We always wear ugly Christmas sweaters and I had been so pumped to show off my new R2-D2 one. All is not lost, though, since I’m planning on wearing Christmas sweaters to work the rest of this week, so I can proudly display that one, my Deadpool one, and my “Bah Hum-Pug” one. One day I hope to have amassed enough ugly Christmas sweaters to be able to wear one each day of December leading up to Christmas. Mwahaha!

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Update #2: I recently reached my goal of 45 books read for the year, though I’ll admit a lot of them were graphic novels. πŸ˜› This was quite the busy year. I’m upping my goal for next year though and aiming for 50 this time. I’ve even made a list of some of the priority titles I’m looking to read in 2018. Some are new, some old, some are novels, graphic novels, and there are even a few poetry collections in there, too. It should be a pretty interesting year in reading for me. πŸ™‚

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Update #3: I’m seriously thinking about pampering myself during this time off by going to get my hair done. Planning on getting it chopped and colored. Thinking of throwing some purple and/or blue in the mix. It’s been too long since I’ve put any fun colors in it and I’m feeling like it’s a good way to kick off the new year!

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Update #4: Started doodling again. Planning on doodling more in the new year. These are just 2 rough sketches with some highlighter and sharpie thrown in, but I’m hoping to really get back into it in 2018. Maybe even hook up my art tablet again. It’s been a while.

Update #5: I recently got awarded Employee of the Quarter (quarter of the year) at my job. I was really surprised since I’ve only been there a little over 6 months. Woo!

So, that’s it for my little updates. Hope you guys have all been well. I’ll be catching up on your posts to see what all has been going on. Feel free to fill me in on any exciting updates of your own. I’d love to hear about them. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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?) πŸ˜› 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? πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜€

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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. πŸ˜›

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. πŸ™‚

 

 

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? πŸ˜› 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* . . .Β  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! πŸ˜›

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

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. πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ˜›

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