201 Massive Thank You’s

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Wow! I was NOT expecting to sign into WP today and see a notification that I’d hit over 200 followers! Omg, thank you guys so much!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I’m sick with a real bastard of a cold right now so this really put a smile on my stuffy-nosed face. 🙂

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It has been so awesome getting to know you guys through our interactions here and by reading your blogs. I’ve gotten to chat with so many different kinds of people from all over the world since I’ve started this blog and it never ceases to amaze me how great of a blogging community we have here. 🙂

I’m a painfully shy person in the “real world”. An introvert through and through. Anxiety often keeps me from piping up in conversations at social events. I’m polite and friendly of course, but literally terrified to speak up most of the time. Blogging has been a great release, allowing me to express myself and my passions in life in a way I can be much more comfortable with. I had no idea when I started this blog that so many people would have any sort of interest in the things I have to babble on about, but it really does mean a lot to me. So, thanks, guys. You’re the best! ❤

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* Happy Mother’s Day! *

Woo! It’s Mother’s Day and I figured it would be fun to have the spotlight be on my own mom today. I consider myself very lucky to have the mom I do. Both of my parents are pretty damn amazing, but today’s Mother’s Day so it’s all about Mama Moth! 😛

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I went ahead and did an interview with the lovely lady I call Mom so you guys could get to know a bit more about one of the people who shaped me into who I am today.

Q: Are you more of a Science Fiction or Fantasy fan? Or both?

A: Fantasy! Your dad’s more into science fiction than I am.

Q: Favorite Mythological Creature?

A: Pegasus.

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Q: Favorite Visual Artists?

A: Ooh, I have so many. I love Brom. There’s Dali. Michael Parkes, Amy Brown and Brian Froud. I feel like I could keep going but I’ll stop with those.

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Q: What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

A: My kids. Watching you grow up into individuals. Spending time with you guys.

Q: What does your ideal “Girl’s Day Out” consist of?

A: Three things. Bookstore, Chinese restaurant, and then top it all off with iced cappuccinos.

Q: Favorite Family vacation?

A: Florida. All the winter breaks we spent in Florida were always nice.

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Q: What is one interest you had growing up that you’re surprised neither of your kids ever got into like you did?

A: Well, you like books like I do, you like art like I do, you like animation. You’re like a mini me, except a better version. So, probably sports. I think that’s about it, because you like baking and cooking and everything else I like. So yeah, sports.

Q: Do you think your kids look more like you or their Dad?

A: Your brother looks like my side of the family, but you definitely look like your dad’s side. So it’s a 50/50.

Q: Why were books so important to bring your kid up on and make sure they had in their life?

A: Because books are the best. They just rule. You could escape into another world and be who ever you want to be.

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Q: What are some of your favorite movies?

A: Hmmm . . . well, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, all of the Studio Ghibli Movies . . . oh, and Overboard!

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Q: Favorite Candy?

Black licorice

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your husband?

A: (Smiles.) He always makes me laugh and he’s got a good heart.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your children?

(About my brother) He’s my gentle giant. He has an old soul. He’s just such a sweet and loving person.

(About me) You, my dear, always make me laugh, you have such a great heart and you always care about others. Just an all around great person to be around. And you make bad ass cupcakes.

Q: How would you describe your family?

A: We’re a nerd family who is fabulous. I wouldn’t trade any of you guys for anything. Except maybe a Choco Taco (evil mom laugh). No, seriously, I think our family’s a good family. Each of us is willing to help others and that makes it even better.

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Please note that at the end of interview my mom declared “DONE!” and pretended to drop a mic. lol

The Nightingale- No Spoiler Book Review

As Book lovers, many of us are well acquainted with those nights when we know we should get to bed, but we just can’t put down the book we’re reading until we’ve finished it. This was me last night while reading the last quarter of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

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I don’t even know how to do this book justice in a review, but I’m going to try my best just the same. This novel is a great example of what historical fiction as a genre can accomplish. It takes what we know of history but gives us as readers the ability to step into the shoes of the characters who are living through the events that happened before many of us were even born. It shows us parts of day to day life that we might otherwise not consider while reading about the overall big picture presented in our history books.

The Nightingale follows the lives of two very different sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, as they do what they must to survive in France during WWII. Vianne is the older of the two, a wife whose husband is being held prisoner in a Nazi war camp, but also a mother who wants more than anything to keep her daughter as safe as she can while struggling just to keep them fed. Isabelle is the young and impulsive sister with a rebel’s spirit, a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. In German occupied France, these are dangerous times. Throughout the story the two sisters are forced to make choices time and time again that could be the difference between life and death, not only for themselves, but for those around them.

Several times while reading this I thought back to people I’ve met and cared for who were there in the thick of things during WWII. In previous jobs I’ve had I have taken care of people from different walks of life, born in different countries, but who all had lived during the same war. Soldiers, civilians, holocaust survivors. I’ve seen firsthand the numbers that were forcibly tattooed onto a person’s arm in their youth that they had to carry with them into their old age long after the war was over. I’ve seen how something seemingly as simple as helping someone to undress and take a shower even decades later can trigger a horrible flashback that mentally takes them right back to the horrors of life in a concentration camp. As I read The Nightingale I couldn’t help but be reminded of these people I once knew. I was moved to tears several times as I read this book.

There is a quote from the book that I think is very relevant now, much as it would have been back then. “What good is safety if she has to grow up in a world where people disappear without a trace because they pray to a different God?” Wars like WWII don’t happen overnight, and I think this book illustrates that very point. Hate, ignorance, and intolerance are all ugly things that can only build in momentum if we let them. This happened then, and one can’t help but feel it happening now. It makes another, older quote come to mind: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It is a disturbing thing to consider, but we as people have to learn from the mistakes of the past if there is ever to be any hope of us moving forward. As another quote from the book explains, “love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”

The Nightingale shines a light on the ugliest parts of humanity as well as the beauty and compassion we are capable of if only we choose to do the right thing and be there for one another. It shows that love comes in many forms, not all of them perfect or easy.  This book gets a solid 5/5 stars from me.

The Batman Adventures: Mad Love Re-Read & Review

“Face it, Harl. You’re a certified nutzo wanted by the law in two dozen states . . . and hopelessly in love with a murderous, psychopathic clown. At what point did my life go looney tunes? How did it happen? Who’s to blame?” — Harley Quinn

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First things first, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my fellow bloggers out there! ❤

In honor of the holiday I decided to re-read and review an old favorite of mine, The Batman Adventures: Mad Love by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Originally published in February of 1994 and set in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series, Mad Love gives us Harley Quinn’s origin story and follows her as she plans and attempts to carry out the ultimate scheme to impress the Joker and win his affections once and for all.

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I have a lot of love for these characters despite the fact that they both have done some pretty awful things. I’ve always been a fan of the bad guys, which is one reason I think I’ve also always been so into Batman to begin with. I mean, c’mon, dat Rogues Gallery! So, although I love me some villains and reading about all the awful things they do, this does not mean I am pro-messed-up-relationships like that of Harley Quinn and the Joker. Just like I am not pro-destroying-entire-planets, pro-tying-damsels-to-railroad-tracks, or other dastardly things villains do just because I choose to read about them.

Sure, the Joker and Harley Quinn are a famous and well-loved (on-and-off-again) couple in the comic book world, but that does not automatically mean that they are a good couple. Hence why I did not select them for my recent Cute Comic Couple post despite the fact that I love the Joker and I love Harley Quinn. Here’s the thing: I love to read about them, but I’m not going to romanticize an abusive relationship.

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I’ve seen a lot of girls post things about wanting a relationship like the Joker and Harley’s and I can’t help but think that either they don’t know their source material or that I should feel very, very concerned for them. They may be interesting characters to read about, but their relationship is not what any sane person would consider to be “cute”, or even healthy for that matter. Even to this day, the stronger and more independent Harley still struggles with her feelings for the Joker from time to time, but at least she can see how toxic their romance is.

Exhibit A: Her acknowledging how bad things were with the Joker and deciding that no one ever gets to put their hands on her ever again after a scuffle with interstellar bounty hunter, Lobo in the Injustice comics.

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Tell ’em, girl.

I feel like I went off on a little side rant here, so apologies for that, I just felt it needed saying. So, without further adieu, onto the review! 😛

Our story begins with the Joker and Harley doing what they do best: bad guy stuff. With Commissioner Gordon in their grasps and plenty of sharp and pointy objects to play with, the diabolical duo are having one hell of a date night. Ready to inflict some serious pain on the good ol’ commissioner, their plans are shattered by the sudden appearance of Batman, doing what it is he does best: thwarting the Joker’s plans.

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“Damnit, Batsy! Always spoiling my fun. THIS is why we can’t have nice things!”

Needless to say this proves to be quite the mood killer for Mista’ J despite Quinn’s best attempts to get him to “rev up his Harley” vroom vroom! 😉

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Not dealing well with the Joker’s rejection, Harley’s mood shifts from disappointment to anger as she blames Batman for coming between her and her man. This is when we get our big flashback of Harley’s start at Arkham Asylum as the young psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel who quickly falls for a notorious patient, none other than the Joker himself. While she originally intends to get into the criminal’s head, he winds up turning the tables on her and getting into hers, painting a picture of himself as a victim, and Batman as a self-righteous monster always there to knock him down. She convinces herself that she can help him. That he only needs love and acceptance, the very things that she could give him, to be better.

Her dangerous new romance seems to be cut short though when the Joker escapes the asylum. She finds herself worried sick about him in his absence. It isn’t until a week later that Batman drags back a bleeding and battered Joker, enraging the protective Quinzel and causing her to reach her breaking point.With her love interest wounded and locked back up, Harleen flips the switch to full-blown Harley Quinn, robbing a costume and novelty shop to piece together her trademark jester costume and busting the Joker out of the asylum so they can begin their official reign of chaos on Gotham City.

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Harley’s head is filled with delusional dreams of a future life and family with the Joker, something she knows she will never have as long as Batman is in the picture. She’s convinced herself at this point that Batman is the only thing standing in their way of true domestic bliss. So she makes the decision to take the bat out of the picture for good. I won’t give away the rest of what happens, but I’m sure you can imagine that things do not go for Harley as she would like to think they will.

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All in all, Mad Love is a staple point in the history and development of Harley Quinn’s character. Recognized by IGN Comics as “one Batman book everyone should read”, this one-shot won an Eisner Award for “Best Single Story” in 1994. Even Mark Hamill himself, who has voiced the Joker numerous times in various animations and video games, has named this comic as one of his all-time favorites.

She may have gotten her start as the Joker’s sidekick/girlfriend, but there is no doubt that Harley Quinn has become a force all her own in DC comics over the years.

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Valentine’s Day Fan Art

It’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day so I thought I’d share some of my more lovey-themed doodles/fan art with you guys. Some are older than others so you’ll probably notice some definite changes in style and the varying tools I was using to draw/color them at the time. That’s one of the fun things about drawing, your style is constantly growing/changing as you continue to learn new skills and explore new art styles. 🙂

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Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, daydreaming about Jack.
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Severus crushing on Lily. “Always.” ❤
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An older one of Harley Quinn, pining for her Puddin’.
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Queen of Hearts fan art from volume 1 of the Tales from Wonderland comic.
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Sheldon and Amy fan art sketch from The Big Bang Theory.

I’m off to do some Valentine’s Day baking now. The plan is chocolate chip muffins and chocolate covered cake balls. 🙂 I hope you guys all have an amazing weekend! ❤

 

Cute Comic Couple

Ah, Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and love is in the air. And for those of us who don’t feel it, at least there is discounted candy to look forward to on February 15th.

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So for a bit of holiday fun I figured I would take some time to share my thoughts on one of my favorite comic book couples: Saga‘s very own dynamic duo, Alana & Marko.

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Alana, Marko, and their child, Hazel.

Their tale takes the whole star-crossed lovers trope and runs with it in the most awesome way possible: an intergalactic space opera/fantasy that pulls you in from the very beginning and leaves you begging for more. Like, seriously, I have only gotten to read the first volume so far, and I am already fully invested in these two as a couple.

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D’awww! ❤

Alana and Marko’s story begins with war but turns into so much more than that. Despite the hardships of being on the run, raising a newborn, fighting off bounty hunters, and everything in between, these two never lose sight of how much they care for one another and for their child. They do whatever it takes to keep their little family together and alive.

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It’s rare that I so quickly and so fully get behind a couple the way I did with these two, but I couldn’t help myself. Each of them is an enjoyable character in their own right, and together they’re just perfection. Like peanut butter and chocolate. Yeah, poetic, I know. 😛

If you haven’t picked up Saga yet I truly cannot recommend it enough. Every person I’ve encountered that has read volume 1 agrees that it is an instant favorite and that they cannot wait to get their hands on the next volumes. Believe me, you will want to see for yourselves the moving story of these two.

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