Where Am I Going With Girl Getting Her Geek On?

I recently took a road trip to Indiana and Tennessee and got to see a lot of the country…from inside a car. You spend a whole hell of a lot of time stuffed in a car during a road trip, go figure. While the scenery outside is often beautiful, it’s not always stimulating. When I ran out of anecdotes and quips, I began to think.

I began to think about my blog.

What is Girl Getting Her Geek On doing for me? I would like to see myself in a future where I am writing and possibly creating art full time. While I’d love to create fan art once my skills expand, I’ve created a tumblr with which I can share my work for now. I don’t need this blog.

That leaves me with two ideas that I kind of like. One involves a lot of books and words, two things that I love immensely. I’d love to curate a blog that revolved around reviewing books, finding cool book related art, jewelry, and clothing, as well as creating some articles on writing fiction.

While this would take a lot of work and planning, I think that it would pay off. I think it would be rewarding to some extent.

On the other hand, I considered creating a whole new blog centered around self-love and spirituality. Self-love is something that I need more in my life. I beat myself up constantly for silly, stupid things for no reason. Would creating a blog about self-love and the magic I love so much create more lightness and love in my life? Would following my journey create more lightness and love in your life?

I really like both ideas, but if I get my way I won’t have the time or the attention span to steadily keep both. This will take a bit of contemplation on my part, but I’d also like to hear what you have to say. As the readers who have so faithfully been keeping tabs on me, would you follow me into either venture?

Modernly Magical, Part 3

Click HERE for part One, and HERE for part Two.

…..

A knock came from my door, pulling me from the conversation. I had few, if any, friends in this town. Who would be on the other side of that door?

“Just answer it, Margaret,” Grandmother said, the roll of her eyes obvious in her voice.

I stuck my tongue out at the phone before hanging up. Setting my half eaten takeout container on the nightstand, I scooted myself off of the daybed. My mind was still trying to figure out who could be on the other side. After the lying mystery student from this morning, I really wasn’t in the mood for visitors.

Dabbing my finger in the bowl of black chalk that sat on the TV stand, I drew a simple sigil on the door and whispered the spell into it. A one way portal opened up, just a hazy porthole really. I didn’t expect to find who was really standing on the other side.

He sighed and shifted feet before pounding on the door again. I jumped. I couldn’t help it. Finally, I yanked the door open. Adam shoved past me into my apartment. It seemed that his friendly demeanor hadn’t changed at all. That was indeed sarcasm.

“Can I help you?” I asked, crossing my arms.

“You very well better,” He growled. My arms fell away. Adam was only ever mad about one thing. One of his creatures was in trouble.

“Alright, sit down and I’ll make a cup of coffee. Obviously you have time if you travelled all the way here instead of calling me. You do know that’s what they make phones for, right? They even make portable ones now called cell phones. No magic required.”

He rubbed his hand over the stubble that had grown across his chin. His eyes looked out the window, not distant. I paused a moment. No, his eyes were searching. They jumped from tree to tree outside while his shoulders fell further and further.

“What is it?” I asked, truly concerned this time.

“Ember is missing,” the words seemed to fall from his mouth and hit the floor heavily, despite their whispered tone.

Everything in me froze. The only dragon to have ever been born in this century was missing. My mind went back to the road trip we had endured, chasing Ember’s mother across the country. We had no idea why the older dragon had left the reserve back then. We didn’t know that she was nesting.

“Ember is barely eight,” Adam said as if reading my mind. “She’s nothing more than a wyrmling at this point. There’s no way she’d be laying an egg.”

I shrugged.

“Why did you come to me?”

“The last time her tracker was live was near here. Ember was in your town at one point and I was just hoping beyond all hope that she decided to visit you. Everyone knows how strong willed dragons can be, especially us.”

Shit.

Blackcraft? Stolen grimoires? Missing dragons? This was not adding up to anything good at all. I prayed that Ember’s disappearance had nothing to do with the events at school today, but the chances of that weren’t looking great.

I shuffled into the small kitchen, my hands working from muscle memory as I made a pot of coffee. This was a life that I had worked hard to put together, one where no one knew who I really was. My grandmother had carefully laid the groundwork and I’d walked fine lines all the way through that. I thought that I’d taken every step so carefully, so quietly. Why was it falling apart now?

What had I done wrong?

You were born, Maggie. Plain and simple.

I brought two mugs back to the living room, handing a cauldron shaped one to Adam. He raised an eyebrow, but accepted it nonetheless. To be fair, it was one that I’d pilfered from the Academy. Leaning against the wall, I sipped my creamy coffee and studied the man that sat on the edge of my day bed. He wasn’t really sitting on it, actually. It was more like leaning. I could see that he knew it was the only piece of furniture in the studio, the place where I slept.

He was uncomfortable sitting where I slept. It kind of made me smile, seeing him off guard like that. The man always wore anger and contempt wrapped around him like bubble wrap against the world. When I first met him he’d barked orders at me, menial tasks at best because he was convinced that he was the only one that could handle the dragons.

I didn’t even want to be there, either, so my own anger rose at him in defense. I’d thought I’d be studying unicorns or willow-wisps, not flame throwing monsters. All of that anger had burned hot during the course of our trip, so hot that a few things happened that neither of us planned.

Of course, he immediately regretted it. Which made me regret it as well. I turned my head away, not ready to relive those moments. When I yanked myself from those thoughts I heard a sharp sound at my window.

Tink. Tink. Tink.

“The hell?” I set my coffee mug aside and moved to the window. Of course, there was nothing on the other side, but the sound persisted.

Tink. Tink. Tink.

Adam rushed over and threw open the window, not once thinking of the consequences. I rushed forward, shoving him aside. He crashed into my nightstand just as I felt the magic surround me. Air was forced from my lungs as the pressure gripped me. I fell to all fours on the floor, struggling to breath.

“Maggie!” Adam shouted. He moved to help me, but I raised a hand for him to stop.

The blackcraft magic was still swirling around me, angry that it couldn’t finish it’s job. While I sucked in shallow breaths the force began to lose power. It pushed and pushed until there was nothing left to do the pushing.

I pushed myself back, finally sucking in large breaths. That had been a strong spell. I glanced over at my friend. He could be dead right now. Had I been anyone else, I would have died. His eyes met mine and he seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. But, more than that, I saw the questions begin to arise.

Slowly, I pushed myself up. Poking my head outside, I looked for the source of the blackcraft spell. There on the window sill was a collection of tiny pebbles and beside it was a small, burlap satchel.

The culprit.

I snatched it up, angry now that the thief/murderer would come to my own home. I yanked the tie from the satchel and dumped its contents onto my night table. Crushed herbs and a variety of bones came tumbling out. The bones looked so thin and fragile that I assumed they were bird bones. Raven bones, more likely. No. Vulture bones. Something that eats the flesh of the dead and carries an even nastier omen in its flesh.

“Son of a Cerberus!” I resisted the urge to kick my nightstand. I didn’t need all of these bones running around my apartment.

“What just happened?”

My gaze snapped over to Adam. He still sat on the floor beside me, his wide eyes moving from the pile on my nightstand to me. There was fear in them. I felt guilt like a blow to the stomach.

It isn’t your fault. No one died.

But he could have. This had just become very personal. I extended a hand down to Adam. He paused, a long and pregnant pause. Fear faded from his eyes and gears began turning.

“What. Was. That?”

“The best way to end the shittiest day I’ve ever had,” I said, sarcasm sharpened to a point. “It was a blackcraft spell meant to kill me. It’s not the first blackcraft spell I’ve come across today, either.”

“But, you’re alive.”

I nodded as I swept the bones and herbs into a small, decorative trashcan.

“Welcome to my life.”

“And to think I ever wanted to be a part of that,” Adam said as he pulled himself up.

I froze. What had he just said? What was I supposed to say to that? For a moment, I just stood there, bird bones half swept off my nightstand as I looked at Adam. I did what I knew best. I ignored it.

“Why didn’t that kill you?” He asked suddenly.

“I don’t want to talk about it. How about we just go out and try to find your missing wyrmling? Can we do that?”

“No! I almost died opening your window. I think I deserve some answers.”

I pulled my coat from the rack near the door. Adam would run if he knew the truth. He wouldn’t look back and he certainly wouldn’t want to be a part of my life ever again. So, I told him some of the truth. I told him about what had happened at the school today, ignoring how I tripped another blackcraft spell today and still wasn’t dead.

He watched me through narrowed eyes.

Things I Love Thursdays! Video Game Edition

While I don’t play games too much, I still love them. Some for nostalgia, others for the amazing work put into them. Then there are the others….the ones that let me just be a mad raving psycho and unleash my rage at the real world on.

Kirby
I don’t mention him, but I love this pink ball soooooooo much.

The Legend of Zelda

This must have been one of the very first games I remember watching. It was a staple in our house from the original Nintendo right up to the current Wii system. Ocarina of Time has to be my absolute favorite, probably because it is the first one that I remember well.

Skyrim

After a lot of poking and prodding by my husband I finally gave in and made a character on Skyrim. I can’t remember her name for the life of me, but I remember loving the shit out of her. She was a badass, up in your face kind of girl carrying a two handed ax and travelling the world with an undead friend, Herman. I was absolute shit, but I had fun and hubs thought I was funny.

Anything Lego

This began with my brother, on a Playstation 2 I do believe. It was Lego Star Wars. I always killed my brother for the LOLs. Then we moved on to Lego Batman. I always got to be Batman and I always killed my brother for the LOLs. Nowadays I play Lego Hobbit or Lego LOTR with my husband. I try not to kill him, if only to spare his feelings. I’d love to get my hands on the Lego Marvel games.

Dark Souls

Like hell will I even try to play this one. Hubs pushed me to make a character and play for an hour on DS 2, but I was absolute shit at it. Still, I love to watch him play. The absolute horrendous nature of the game makes me laugh. Monsters are often conglomerations of body parts, elevators and treasure chests will straight up kill you, and the mythology is dope.

Grand Theft Auto 5

This is where my true nature tends to show itself. I become a bit of a sociopath, mowing down NPCs with cars and, more satisfyingly, my fists. I don’t really like to rob stores or kill PCs (because I’m horrible at it), I just like to cause mayhem. Have you seen the opening credits to Hardcore Henry? I laughed the whole way through it. That’s why I play GTA 5.

The Witcher 3

Again, this isn’t one that I would play myself. I’m too jumpy and spastic. But, the story and design of the Witcher 3 fucking blew me away. I’m in love with Ciri (who I’d name a child after if Siri didn’t exist) and Geralt. I loathed Yennifer because she’s a bitch. I loved Roach and the crazy creatures that inhabit that world. I bought Hubs the books, but might pick them up for myself.

Why My Future Children Will Watch More Ghibli than Disney

Kiki

I think we all know that I am a die hard Studio Ghibli lover. Anything that Hayao Miyazaki puts his hands on turns to gold in my eyes. He created the ubiquitous Totoro, a forest spirit that became the friendly face of the company, and took many other pieces of work and brought them to life.

What I love best about Studio Ghibli movies, aside from the wonderful watercolor landscapes and simplistic animation, are the lessons told in each story. So many of them are about respect for nature and life in general. They teach us that life can be fragile, such as with My Neighbor Totoro or Arrietty. They teach us that anyone can be loved and love in return, as with Howl’s Moving Castle. Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa show us that humanity is too harsh on nature, too selfish.

Stories, lessons, like these are what help to build children with respect and love. But Miyazaki went one step further. In just about any Ghibli film there has been a female and a male protagonist. The female was never wholly a damsel in distress. Same as the male was never wholly the hero figure. Instead, the two found that working together made them stronger than before. They saved one another anytime the world turned against them, being both the hero and distresser (so not a word, but it works).

howl

The older Disney movies were about retelling fairy tales in a way that squarely put the damsel in distress and the hero without much personality needed to ride in and save her. While that has changed recently with movies such as Big Hero Six, Lilo and Stitch, and Brave they still don’t pack the oomph that I think Ghibli movies do. Only recently has one touched a subject as pressing as depression.

Maybe my future children won’t see Princess Mononoke for a while (that might cause some creepy ass nightmares in a toddler), but you can bet that they’ll be starting off with Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Then we can add Ponyo and Arrietty. We’ll save Spirited Away to go with Princess Mononoke.

This is one of the things that makes me look forward to becoming a mom. Now, if only hubs will let me get away with a Ghibli nursery. He likes the idea of the LOTR nursery.

A Wild Liebster Award Appeared!

liebster-img
This is not my photo. All rights belong to its creator.

Not too long ago, Chrissie of Vamp It Up Manchester nominated me for a Liebster Award. I’d seen this thing floating around other blogs and had thought “good for you,” but really had no idea what it was. Bear with me. I can be a total noob.

Apparently, the Liebster Award is a kind of made up award that other bloggers can pass on to fellow bloggers that they think are rocking it at what they do and need some sweet recognition. This is such a cool idea! I like that someone else that does what I do looked at my stuff and thought it was awesome. That’s a really great compliment and I kind of needed one.

Part of the deal is to tell a little about yourself, so here’s a few things you may or may not know:

  1. I secretly love anime. I used to pretend that I didn’t, but I’m kind of obsessed lately. It’s all I want to watch…and rewatch. I loved FMA, obviously, as well as Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. We picked up Noragami recently and I’m itching to dig into it again.
  2. I’m really flighty with my own future. Today I want to be this and tomorrow I’ll want to be that. Do I really know who I am yet? Or am I too much to be defined? I don’t know. It makes my head hurt.
  3. I adore my nose ring and pray that I will never have to take it out for a job. It has such a small affect on my appearance that I wish my performance could make up for it in the eyes of an employer. I love my nose ring. Period.
  4. I’m so basic/hipster that I should hate myself, but who the hell cares. I love iced Dunkin Donut’s coffee and comfy, knockoff Uggs in the winter. I love leggings because I’ve gained 15lbs this winter. I like music that isn’t the norm, like Florence and the Machine or Hozier (although they’ve become norm). And SRIRACHA EVERYTHING.
  5. As much as I love the art and storytelling of video games, I rarely ever sit down to play them. There’s always something else that I should be doing. When I do sit down, ten minutes later I want to do something else. I really enjoy watching others play games. That’s how I used to hang out with my brother and how I knew everything about LoZ: Ocarina of Time.
  6. I say that I love Horror movies but squirm like a bitch in the theater seats. Isn’t the point of a horror movie to be scared? I hate it while I’m watching it, but love it when it’s all over. The only thing I can’t stand are straight up hacker/slasher flicks.

Five Fandome Friday! 5 Geeky Hobbies

Today’s prompt is kind of cool. There are all sorts of hobbies that one can fervently fall in love with, but it’s kind of what you do with them or how you look at them that came your hobbies geeky. (I’m going to list hobbies that I love, but really I spend most of my time pinning fanart on my Pinterest page. Shhhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.)

Cooking!

There is an art and a science to cooking that can make it super geeky. Baking is a science. To take a conglomerate of powders and wet substances and turn it into a pan of gooey brownies takes a lot of chemical reactions and a leap of faith (or witchcraft, you decide).

Watercolor Painting

I really enjoy making watercolor splash art. It begins with a rough sketch of something geeky, like Totoro. Then I throw a lot of pigmented water at the paper and push it around until I think it looks pretty. Once that dries, I use caligrapher’s ink to outline my sketch and VOILA cute, geeky splash art!

Writing Fiction

This isn’t so much a hobby for me, but something I’ve desired to do with my life since I was small. I’m working on it. This is so geeky because I’m trying to create the very thing that other people are out there gushing over, fandoms.  I’m creating lovable characters, irresistible worlds, and stakes so high your ears will pop.

Decorating

I don’t get to do it often, but I do drool over all of the sick art prints and such out there on the internet. I adore being able to take the things I love an placing them in the open around my home. I have some cool Adventure Time art that I’m dying to hang somewhere! I just haven’t found the right spot.

Renaissance Festivals

I’ve only ever been to two Renaissance Festivals, but there’s one every year a couple hours from here. I’m excited to go back again this summer and take part in all of the goofy fun. The first time, my husband pressured me into renting a costume. I was a common wench with a bustier that killed after three hours in the hot sun. My sister in law had a much nicer dress with more layers. She must have had it worse.

We all like to do so many things. Some of you may like to knit or crochet and use that to make sick blankets or cute amigurumi. Others may like to craft super cool household objects or make webpages and macros.

That’s because we’re cool like that.

Things I Love Thursdays

Library E-Books

library

Finally! Finally, my log in information works and I was able to not only browse, but “borrow” e-books from my local library systems online book lending system. So far I’ve read three books, two Stiefvater books and one exceptionally good Holly Black book (but I think I love all of her books, anyway).

I think once I’m done writing this I’m moving on to Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I’ve heard good things about the series and it seems good enough to pass the time until The Raven King comes out.

Late Night Coffee

tina

Coffee has become a god awful addiction for me. It’s not even the caffeine that I crave. It’s the act, the ritual, the warmth. It’s become attached to our late night D&D games/Critical Role watching. So much so that I constantly think about it when I don’t have it. But it’s sooooo good and sometimes I take it decaff.

Warm Days and Coffee Dates

sunshine

So an old friend came home after being so far out of the country for school that he was probably on the other side of the planet. It had been a really long time since we had really talked at all and I was worried when he messaged me on facebook to hang out. I was worried that we wouldn’t have that same relationship anymore.

Boy were my worries unfounded. We ordered coffee at a local cafe and took it to go because the sun was finally shining in our little part of New York. We walked up and down the small town streets, bitching about how great our lives were. It was great!

Imgur

imgur

I’m not one for Reddit and definitely not 4Chan. But, hubs introduced me to this site at the beginning of our marriage and it’s gotten me through some tough nights alone. Sometimes, hubs and I will sit on the couch and browse Imgur together on the big screen TV. It’s a cool hub of things people have made, funny jokes and gifs, sweet comics, playlists, or what have you. I like the Wallpaper dumps and cat gifs, of course.

Characters I’d Love to Cosplay As!

Peggy

Agent Carter

I’ve even been told that I look like her! I’m head over heels for the strong, witty, and resilient Peggy Carter. This might be the easiest cosplay to pull off. I’d have to either let my hair grow out or get a wig at this point, but the rest is simply pulling off the late 1940’s look with proper red lipstick and a nice skirt suit.

Eve Coffin

If You haven’t picked up Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge and you love a good horror story, go find it. The story is super cliched, but Kittredge knows that and wraps it around her little finger to make it do her bidding. I’d cosplay as young Eve, the pink haired punk wrapped up in drugs and dark magic.

Sailor Scout Princess Bubblegum

A girlfriend and I are big fans of both fandoms and when I saw crossover fan art I knew it would be the bomb to do a cosplay of it. Of course I’d leave Sailor Scout Marceline to her. She named her freaking car after Marcy. Since I’m seeing how I can be a lot like PB, I’m learning to love her.

Biker Gang Sailor Moon

This is another cosplay based off of fan art, but there’s just so much of it. I’d probably  have to rock a wig at this point (after I’ve chopped all my hair off) so I might as well embrace Biker Usagi. Cosplay or not, I still want to deck out my denim vest with sick Sailor Moon patches.

How to Geekify Your Adult Bedroom

I think many of us can remember having or our friends having super neat themed bedrooms. A co-worker that I had in Maryland did her son’s bedroom with an X-Box theme, complete with the neon green touches. Why does that kind of fun have to end when we become adults?

Why does all fun have to end when we become adults?

Thaaaat’s a question for another time…

Throw Pillows

You can hit up sites like Etsy, Look Human, and Society Six for some really cool throw pillows, these days. Even Bed Bath and Beyond had a cool Star Wars collection that I kind of needed at one point. These little pillows can be tossed on your bed for a cushy, adult touch.

My personal favorites are Evie Seo‘s Book-ish Designs on Society Six. I plan on adding a few of these to my couch and bed this summer when my wallet is padded, like this one:

Six

Art Prints

Blank walls are never fun. They drive me a little crazy, honestly. Especially all white. I hate all white. Why not brighten it up with a framed poster or print. You can easily pick up poster frames at Wal-mart or Michael’s to dress up that college dorm poster you still love. Or you can buy a print of some super cool fan art off Etsy or Society Six.

Dad’s game room got an Art Nouveau inspired Nintendo piece by Megan Lara for Christmas, but I rather like these cool prints I found on Amazon.

Kick AssBedding

Okay, let’s just admit now that we all still want those supersoft Star Wars sheets we had on our twin mattress when we were nine. If you don’t you’re lying to yourself. That’s okay.

There are some sick adult options out there right now between Think Geek and Hot Topic. Even Etsy has something to say on the subject. You can rock the Avengers in a super elegant, minimalist way or you can sleep in the Tardis if that’s what you really want. It was for me for a while.

Or, if you can’t find what you want you can create a color palette to match your fandom. If you love Sherlock, but can’t find sweet Sherlock wallpaper sheets (which must be a thing, right?) then pair some super slick purple sheets with a nice black comforter, preferable in a black on black damask. Cause that screams freaking elegant.

AvengersAccessorize

Go ahead and add the final touches. Get that golden unicorn lamp you’ve been eyeballing. I’ve been eyeballing one at Target. Flowers of any kind brighten up a space. I learned this from my BFF who has around twenty bouquets of fake flowers in her studio apartment. And candles can go a long way towards making a room cozy or making it romantic. Etsy has a plethora of sellers offering geeky themed candles, such as Frostbeard, to add scent to your decor.

I bought the BFF this sweet candle for Christmas.

Romance

What Outlander Means To Me

Around Halloween of 2014 I was having one of the worst weeks of my life. I can’t go into details because not all of them are mine, but I can say that I remember coming home one night and crying on my kitchen floor. I was alone and struggling through my own selfish emotions when I should have been strong for someone else.

Claire gif

At least he couldn’t see me breaking.

Sometime before that I must have bought Outlander. I think it sat on my bookshelf for quite some time before I even thought of picking it up. I just wasn’t into period fiction anymore. But I needed something to get me away from what I was going through. I needed to escape.

I fell so deeply into Outlander that time began to fly by. Claire was ripped away from the world she knew, the husband she loved and thrust into an uncertain time with untrusting people. If she could be strong and sassy in the face of all that then certainly I could pick myself up off the kitchen floor.

Then there was Jaime. What wasn’t there to love about Jaime? He was sweet and caring and honest and just all around a great man in the face of absolute shit. In so many ways he actually reminded me of my own husband, a man that I am so lucky to have.

How this book lasted me the week is beyond me. It must have been more tightly packed with words than I remember, but I’m grateful that it lasted that long. It was there for me that very lonely and painful time. It got me through some long bus rides and dark nights. It reminded me that I was stronger than I last thought.

While book two dragged and I didn’t make it all the way through, I’m thinking of picking it back up again. Not because something in my life sucks, but because it deserves a second chance and I find that I miss Claire and Jaime.

Funko Friday: Five Funko Fandoms I’m Dying For

They seem to be in the back of my mind lately, whispering sweet nothings to me as I go about my day. What is it with these adorable little figurines that makes them so addictive? I usually have a rule about not buying things that don’t have some sort of use. These really don’t have any use other than to collect dust, yet I’m itching to get my next fix.

Most recently I bought Captain America (because I’m utterly in love with him and Agent Carter needed him) as well as Flame Princess (because I’m collecting the cool ladies from Adventure Time). I have those plus the Doctor Who collection, Sherlock, OUAT collection, and a few more.

But I want MOAR.

Outlander: Jaime and Claire

JaimeClaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing, and I mean nothing, holds a candle to the face so Sam Heughan, but I still want the little kilted version of him to stand atop my Outlander books. And what is Jaime without sassy and brilliant Claire?

Firefly: Captain Mal Reynolds and Kaylee

MalKaylee

Why is it that everyone has Zoey and Wash and Even Jayne, but no one has Mal or Kaylee? I think I saw Mal once in an actual store, but foolishly passed up the chance to grab him. I don’t have a Firefly collection started yet, but this is how I’d begin.

The Hobbit: Smaug

Smaug

Everywhere I look, you can find the dragons from GoT. They just don’t do it for me. I’m sorry. They don’t. Smaug is the dragon that I need. I read The Hobbit when I was younger and when the movie came out, featuring Cumberbatch as Smaug, I died happy.

Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon

I have finally found a pre-order for the Sailor Moon funko! She even comes with Luna! Honestly, I’ve kind of been putting off purchasing other Funkos because these are the ones that I REALLY want. I’m broke right about now, but work starts soon and you know I’ll be pre-ordering all of them. Delivery date is posted as June. On Amazon, it’s September.

Supernatural

Cas

I kind of only want Dean and Cas (the one with wings), so don’t judge me. I can’t really love Sam because he looks so much like an older version of my brother that it’s creepy. And the Crowley funko doesn’t remind me of him at all. He could be anyone. If Dean is my TV husband, my first love, then Cas is a close second.

Things I Love Thursday: YA Authors!

There was a time in my life where I avoided YA like the plague. I was too old for that now. I needed to read books with older protagonists because I couldn’t connect with the younger protag anymore.

I was an ass.

In the past few years the variety and quantity of YA books has soared through the roof. And now I’m devouring them like dark chocolate peanut M&Ms (because I love those, too). I can’t tell you which book it was that pulled me back into the YA genre, but it might be by one of these authors.

Beetle

Laini Taylor

I stumbled upon Taylor while perusing a stack of books in a game shop. Hubs was taking his sweet time going through each game and felt bad so he offered to buy me a book. I picked up the paperback copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone like iron drawn to a magnet.

It didn’t take long for me to fall headfirst into her bizarre world of angels and chimera and humans. I fell in love with blue haired Karou and her spunky best friend Zuzanna. The trilogy takes place all over the human world and between another world as well, taking me on a fantastical trip to places I could only dream of.

Leigh Bardugo

Tsarpunk.

A word that was probably coined by Bardugo herself is more than fitting for the world that she’s created. It’s a fantasy Russia, surrounded by witch hunter filled Scandinavian-like country and evil scientist filled Asian-like country. In her first trilogy she weaves the story of Alina Starkov, reluctant hero and accidental Saint of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, as well as Rise and Ruin.

I read the first book a year or more ago and, as much as I loved it, didn’t have the funds for the follow up books so I promptly forgot about it. Then, I stumbled across the sequel in the discount bargain. I shared an outcry at it being discount, but quickly snatched it up. More recently, hubs purchased Six of Crows for me. Its as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

Maggie Stiefvater

It wasn’t her werewolf romance series that caught me, although that is more my style. No, for Stiefvater it was an interview I watched on Youtube. Bardugo and Taylor were there as well, but listening to Stiefvater talk made me want to read what she was putting out.

The Raven Boys immediately drew me in. Its a story of outcasts, dead kings, and baby ravens. The next book, Dream Thieves, is about anger, drag racing, and a hit man. Stiefvater writes like I wish I could.

Holly Black

My love for Holly Black began YEARS ago. It started with Valiant, an urban rewrite of Beauty and the Beast that fucking hooked me. Valiant will always be one of my favorite books, but The Darkest Part of the Forest is now a close second.

It follows Hazel, a human girl living in a town surrounded by Fae. In a world that renders the townsfolk helpless, Hazel refuses to remain helpless. Reckless and wild, she is set on a path to become a hero when the sleeping horned boy in the glass casket suddenly comes up missing. But, Hazel isn’t so sure she is the hero that she thinks she is anymore.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for books with girls that have swords.

Tamora Pierce

This woman right here was the beginning of everything for me. Trickster’s Choice was the very fist book of hers that I read, which meant a lot of back pedaling when I found more. Many of her books are set in the fantastic world of Tortall. But, it isn’t all fantasy. It’s political intrigue, stuggling with race issues, the aftermath of war, and any number of deep cutting themes.

Forever  a favorite of mine, I constantly return to the Immortals series. Daine starts out as an orphaned thirteen year old struggling to figure out who she is and what to do with herself. There she runs into the fabulous mage, Numair. As the books progress, and Daine ages, the two struggle with their feelings for one another. Perhaps this is why I like older men.

 

My Hair is my Canvas

This Sunday I decided that I NEEDED to get my hair cut. I woke up far too early for someone who isn’t working (because of a particular cat that has decided to serenade us at night) and spent the wee hours of the morning browsing hair styles.

I haven’t had my hair cut in over a year. I just kind of ignore it. It happens. Three years ago I cut it all off to sport a Ginnifer Goodwin pixie and everything since that has been an attempt to reclaim the awkward regrowth experience. There were a few mid length hair cuts in there, to relieve myself of the bleaching I’d done to said pixie, but that was about it.

My hair was almost past my breasts and had bleached tips sporting quadruple split ends on each hair. It was fantastic. Not. The bleached tips needed to go and I needed a reason to not to put my hair up at work in a month. That meant short.

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As always, I went with an inverted bob. It’s my fall back and it looks great. Gone are the straight bangs, though. I feel as though I look my age with the side swept bangs, but hubs says I look even younger. I guess I should be okay with that.

Wanting some kind of edgy-ness to my hair, I decided to do the undershave. A friend shares the same kind of hair as me and loved hers. The hair dresser just took a little off the bottom, so that if I put my hair into a tiny pony tail you could see the shaved portion. I wanted a sick lotus design cut in, but she couldn’t do that. Boo.

My hair has been through a lot of transformations, including one burning bleach experience and how I tried to cover up the shame with blue but found myself rocking some sick green. Who knew green looked great on me? This time I’m going to add in some peek-a-boo ombre streaks with pink and yellow. I’ve DIYed my hair enough that I should be able to rock this.

I’m tempted to ask my mother-in-law if she’d like to cut some lines into my undercut to make it super cool. She wanted me to rainbow my bleached tips before I chopped it off!

I Can’t Get My Head On Straight

I can’t help myself.

I have this tendency to obsess over things. One at a time a subject or an idea will consume me. While obsession has the foundation of passion, which is healthy, my capricious nature can make it rather unhealthy.

It can be anything. One week I wanted to work on cut paper art and I was being moody because I couldn’t go to the craft store for supplies. Well, I got the supplies and haven’t touched them. That was a chunk of money that I don’t have to begin with dropped on something that I completely lost interest in once I obtained it. Other weeks it’s the cafe I dream of, or it’s the idea that I could learn to tattoo.

This sends me spiraling from one thing to another without really having anything to show for it. So, when I see people I graduated with having careers, I’m entirely embarrassed. Why haven’t I gotten my shit together yet? Why can’t I maintain that kind of passion for one thing? Everything was just so distracting.

All of my life I wanted to write fiction. Then, in 2012, I wrote a book. And in 2013 I revised and revised and revised that book. I did the thing and immediately lost my love for it. Like usual. I let all of that passion dwindle and die. I let my work gather dust and fall from my mind. I’m frustrated with myself. I kind of want to erase all of this and find another topic, even.

Hubs said I wanted all of the good without the work. At first, I was mad at him. I have done so much work and been put through so much already. I was done working. But, he’s right. The easy part of my writing was done and now it was time for the hard part, boring ass nitpicking and spelling error correction. Even harder is getting back on the path to constant writing. My desire to do anything other than browse the internet is minimal and I’m ashamed.

I am a writer, damn it. I always was and will continue to be. There are times that I fear what I’ll do when we move, but the idea was always that I’d continue writing. While moving definitely impedes writing time, I can always pick up and move my job.

Breathe easy, Leah. Breathe.

Life will be okay. I need to stop letting every little thing distract me. Inspire, yes. Distract, no.

Five Fandom Friday: 5 Geeky Guilty Pleasures

We all have little things that we do, things that make us cringe when we consider telling anyone else. What will they think of us when they know we secretly love these things?! You can envision your social life crumbling between your fingers.

It’s okay. EVERYBODY has something they’re too afraid to share.

Really, it is.

I promise.

Here, I’ll show it to you. Here are five geeky guilty pleasures of my own!

Mystery Novels

I’m not even talking about anything as thrilling as Gone Girl. I’m talking about chintzy and dorky cozy mysteries. The kind that are about some amateur stumbling in on a murder victim and taking it upon themselves to catch the killer.

My favorite cozy mysteries are…culinary mysteries. Does that even sound like it should be a thing? Well, it is. And I love it. The protagonist’s day job usually has something to do with food and they spend a lot of time putting together clues while they cook or bake or what have you.

Shut up. I like it.

Anime

I watched a bit of this growing up, starting with Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. I moved onto Toonami in my teens, watching Yu Yu Hakusho and some of the Gundam series. Once I got a little older I moved away from it, realizing that a lot of the people that watched anime were really weird (around here, at least).

But, hubs lured me in not too long ago and set me back on the path. We began with Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (which I’m obsessed with now) and moved into other shows like Death Note and A World in Which Dirty Jokes Don’t Exist (I’m sure it has a simpler name).

I don’t hang out with the people around here that watch anime, but I devour it in the privacy of my own living room.

Romance Novels

Most of them are absolute shit. Let’s be honest. There are plot holes everywhere you step, conveniently place characters in times of need, and a whole lot of raunchy sex. But that’s what you pick the book up for. I’ve read an overabundance of romance novels in my time.

I’ve read some of the Christine Feehan vampire-y books and some of the Sherrilyn Kenyon alien romance books. And I enjoyed every minute of that shit. It’s lady porn. And it’s okay.

Journals

It’s like some weird prerequisite as a writer to have an odd and obsessive need for journals. I can’t pass the office aisles in any department store without needlessly drooling over a notebook. The really nice leather bound ones.

There are a freaking million of them scattered across the house right now, each of them having only a few pages of writing in them and no actual purpose in life. It’s gotten bad. Really bad. But I still need more.

Buying the Real Book after Buying the EBook

Raise your hand if you’ve done this!

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve done this. I’m just throwing my money at authors. How can I help it when a book is so good that I NEED to own the physical copy? I can’t dreamily look at an ebook on my shelf and reminisce about the story inside it. I can’t pour over the paper pages and revel in the familiar book smell.

I know. I’m a bit weird. Yet, we all are in our own unique way and that’s what make the world great. Weirdness makes the world truly interesting and enjoyable! Embrace your weird!

 

Things I Love Thursdays!

This is one theme that I’d like to make a tradition! Let’s take a look at all of the things I’m in love with this week.

Cooking/Baking

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I think it’s kind of obvious by now that I have an overwhelming obsession with cooking and baking. It’s my zen place, where I can go to turn away from my life and focus on the things that I can control. In my kitchen I can make a dense almond cake or a rockin butter thyme pasta, even if I can’t control my future.

Subscription Boxes

This is kind of an unfounded obsession. I haven’t really had that many subscription boxes in my life. Bookcase.Club was honestly really cool, while I’ve been disappointed by Loot Crate and Julep before. This month I splurged and ordered a Moon Box by Gaia Collective and the Fantasy Lit Cube.

The Moon Box from Gaia Collective sends a crystal, a sample tea or soak, and an essential oil to my door step. All of these things I absolutely love. There are so many crystals in my bedroom and I’m hoping to spread them around the house. The Lit Cube advertisement featured a cute little dragon and I could not pass that up. As cliche as dragons are, I still freaking love them.

My Husband Singing Along to Music

Bob's Burgers

This happened on our way home from grocery shopping today. It took a while for my groggy brain to break from my train of thought to realize what he was doing, but once I did I fell into the memory of us riding in his old car. Rise Against was playing and his smoky voice sung along to a familiar song.

This is the man that I love so much and sometimes I forget to think about more than just myself. I forget to tell him that I love him, that he’s my world. He hasn’t sung along to music since before his military days. It was a show of just how much better things had gotten for us.

It was a reminder that I needed today.

Gudetama

Gudetama

Oh my freaking giddiness.

I didn’t know about this cancerously adorable anime until yesterday. A Hot Topic employee that I like to chat with recommended that I check it out and I was not disappointed. All of the episodes are around a minute long and feature a super lazy egg confronted with the trials of breakfast.

It drove my husband crazzzzy. I couldn’t stop linking it in skype and our roll20 chat just to bug him. This might be a funko that I add to my collection later.

Dungeons & Dragons

D&Deisel
Vin Deisel plays Dungeons and Dragons with our favorite DM, Matt Mercer to promote his new movie.

Once upon a time I refused to partake in D&D. It was beyond that line I’d drawn in the sand, a line that said I was NOT THAT geeky. But, it was just metaphorical sand in the end and it was washed away by the wave that is my husband. Dungeons and Dragons is his motherfucking passion. He breathes it.

Over the four years of our relationship he’s chipped away at my reluctance until about a year or so ago. I now play in two games and am picking up a third until I start my full time job in May. I totally love how he DM’s and the character that I’ve built for that game, Yanna the gnome warlock who has the capacity to become a drug lord out of spite. Up next is Daphne, the dragonborn necromancer obsessed with bringing her dead garden back to life even though it was her allergies and poison sneezing that killed her garden to begin with.

Yeah, I get a little carried away with it.

Geek Girls x Bloggers Comic Swap

So Pepi of Depepi, a Geek Anthropology Blog, had a really cool idea to involve some of the girls on our facebook group in a comic swap. Of course, I’m a big comic reader so I eagerly hopped in. I really enjoy participating in most online swaps. It feels really nice to get to know someone across the world and treat them to something, even a little something. Getting something is nice, too, of course. Since I was stateside, I was paired with Kayla Cox of Epicfied.

We chatted a little over facebook, but that was hardly a way to get to know someone. In hindsight I probably should have stalked her blog. A bit creepy, but I would have known what to have given her. Instead, I gave her a comic that I held very dear myself. I even butchered her name on the package (I felt awful).

But I’ll let her talk about that, here.

Kayla straight up asked me what was in my reading list that I didn’t have and I gave her three titles I’d put off buying. Once she mailed it out I check my PO box religiously, I was so excited. That meant drudging across a bar parking lot in pj’s and knock off uggs at nine in the morning. It was so worth it.

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I squealed when I opened the package to find Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson, waiting inside. It was a comic that I carried around half of Powell’s Books before I found something that had been nigh impossible to find (Rat Queens 2, duh). It hurt to put it down, but budget is a bitch.

After all of my adult responsibilities had been fulfilled, I curled up in hubs game room (complete with a bean bag chair and a blanket) with Nimona. I don’t know what I expected when I read the synopsis, but this wasn’t it. And that isn’t a bad thing at all. Nimona herself is a wild teenager with out of any world powers and a villainous role model that she decides she just has to work for.

The art work is simple, yet really fun, kind of like Adventure Time. With a limited color scheme she sets up a world that is a conglomeration of science and fantasy, villainy and heroism. Stevenson also has a collection of webcomics on her own site, Gingerhaze!

Writing is Hard

This was said by one of the best Supernatural characters: Chuck.

chuck

He was the “prophet” that wrote the Supernatural books in that universe, kind of doing this odd Inception shit. I still think that he’s God and has either forgotten or needed to get away from his asshole angels for a while.

Anyway, back on topic. Writing really is hard. Back in the fall of 2012 I wrote a novel for Nanowrimo. That was possibly the easiest part of the job. I sat down every day and wove my story for the first time. It was messy and there were some days I would just write a trash scene to write something. So much of it didn’t make the first cut.

Hubs and I moved to California and I used those first few unemployed months to make the first round of cuts and revisions. This is where I weeded out the unnecessary and replaced it with firmer storytelling.

I cannot believe that I’m still doing just that. It’s been four freaking years and I’m still revising. I think I’m on draft six or seven. I haven’t been able to get the whole way through the story lately because it is such a drag to look at. Four years of reading the same paragraphs over and over again makes you kind of wonder why you thought this was great in the first place.

But it has to get done. Hubs commissioned cover art for my Christmas present and while the artist is still working on it, it’s coming. I have got to get this done and put out into the world at some point this year. But, it’s just so hard to find the love and enthusiasm I once felt for writing. I put it off, I blog, I clean the house, I find reasons to leave the house entirely. All just so I don’t have to work on revisions.

Writing is hard. You doubt yourself. You struggle through paragraphs, pages, chapters of words. You struggle to make sure your character grows and isn’t too whiny. You struggle to make sure your story weave is tight, patching up plot holes. You struggle to make sure your villain isn’t just evil for evil’s sake.

This has been the underlying reason for my depression lately. I feel really guilty that I just do not want to work on it anymore. But, I’m trying. Once upon a time I loved this story. I loved my protagonist and the world she belonged to. I want to feel that love once more, to dive deep into her world and begin pulling the strings of story together again.

When my cover art is done, I’m having it blown up into a poster to look at every day. I made this. I made a whole world with multi-faceted characters. I wrote a whole novel and I actually have the sequel (a shitty first draft) sitting on the back burner, waiting for me to give it tough love. I made this thing and it might help pay for my future dreams.

Writing is hard, but it’s worth it.

In Which I Devour All The Books And Rate Them

So, we all know that I cope with life by picking up a book. Fiction is usually better than reality and a lot of the time I’m telling myself that it’s a learning experience (because my ass isn’t in that chair writing fiction).

I’ve been seeing a lot of people raving about The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, getting Lunar Chronicles fanart and tumblr snippets all over my pinterest, and thought I’d see what all the hubub was about.  It was a really quick read, taking me all of a day, but that might just be the way that I read books.

All at once.

Cinder

I picked up Cinder. It’s about a young cyborg girl dealing with cyborg racism in a super futuristic Chinese republic. She’s an orphan taken in from Europe, stranded with a resentful stepmother after the husband passes away from a plague-like disease. SO many moments in this book nearly brought me to tears and I do not sad cry. I just don’t.

Much of this book focuses around the Republic’s attempt to cure the plague-like disease. Since cyborgs are seen as inhuman or having lived past their due date, there is a cyborg lottery in which the winner becomes a plague test subject. The winner is involuntarily injected with a freaking horrible disease.

The premise and the setting were kind of cool, but about halfway into the book things just became too much for me to take in. There are magic people living on the moon. That’s where an evil sorceress queen comes from, her heart set on destroying Cinder from the first moment she sees her. I have to say, I saw the plot twist at the beginning of the book.

Still, I might pick up more in this series.

Holly Black

The next day, I opened The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black. I have already read the Tithe series and Spiderwick by her and really loved both so I knew that I would love this as well.

I wasn’t disappointed. Hazel Evans is a girl that lives in a town surrounded by Faeries. It’s just a fact of life. Just like the Horned Boy in the glass coffin in the forest or the double edged gift a faery bestowed upon her older brother. Hazel wants to save both of them. She wants to save the whole town.

But, she’s just a messed up girl who can’t stop kissing the boys. That is, until the Horned Boy is no longer in his glass coffin. Hazel thinks it is her job to put everything right as the world falls in around her head.

I honestly loved this book so much that I might order my own copy of it to keep. Maybe it’s because I love anything about the fae. Maybe it’s because I love it when girls can be knights, too. Anyway, this makes me want to find The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and the Curse Workers series by Holly Black.

Thing I Love Thursday!

It has been a bit of a struggle lately with my depression weighing me down every moment that I’m alone. I’ve gained enough weight that I can no longer fit into a lot of my clothes and even some of the new clothes are tighter than I expected. I was working out, but I lost all motivation. Then, my husband is going back to school this fall and I said I would, too, but I cannot seem to make up my mind on what I want to do. What if we move somewhere for his job and I cannot find one in my field?

I really don’t want to think about any of it.

I want to think about what I do have. I want to think about what makes me happy right here and now. Gala Darling is all about self love and gratitude. She started Things I Love Thursdays as a way to stay grateful, to fight back the darkness of depression. So, I’m going to follow suit.

Sunshine!

While my husband turns into a lobster in any kind of sunlight, I relish in it. I love to throw open all of the blinds and open windows on sunny days. He can retreat to his windowless gaming room, anyway. On Easter we spent a large amount of time sitting on my parents’ front porch in the sunshine, jokingly throwing things at one another.

Sunshine is such a healing thing for me.

My Cats

Luna is still having issues getting along with our fat cat, Hex. She’s such a tiny bully and he’s become a big pushover. Still, it is incredibly sweet when I have both of them sleeping beside me on the couch or when we’re playing with the makeshift whack-a-mole contraption my hubs made for them (basically cardboard with holes cut out and we poke a straw through that they love to attack).

Winning their love has been incredibly rewarding. Hex follows me around the house like a dog. Luna is slowly coming out of her self induced exile. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she learns to love Hex, too.

Squishables

I have two squishables of my own and I bought one for my husband because he often steals one of mine. They are round stuffed animals made to look like almost anything. I have one of the large Cerberus squishables that acts as a back rest on my couch and a small Hippogriff that I sleep with at night.

Yes, I’m 26 and I still sleep with stuffed animals. You can blame my husband for that. He started it with a penguin pillow pet. There’s something comforting about hugging something soft while falling asleep. Sometimes, I put it aside and hug hubs.

Sometimes.

Books

I have been a lover of books since I could begin to pick out the words. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on when I was younger. I grew to have a more defined taste as I got older, but I’ll still branch out here and there to remind myself that all stories are worth while.

Story is something that I hold dear. It allows us to leave the troublesome world we’re stuck in and adventure across so many other worlds, mundane and fantastical. It teaches us lessons. It shows us love and perseverance. Story does so much for us.

These are a few things that I love in life, things that I’m grateful for. I want to keep doing this as a regular thing. I know that I need a little more gratitude for the things that are already in my life.

Binge Reading The Sad Away

Depression

Sometimes I think that I forget about the things that make me really happy. Depression can do that. It can make you obsess over the things that drive you crazy, that make you so sad that you just don’t do anything.

Fuck that.

I don’t take depression lying down. I’ve dealt with it for all of my teenage years and into my twenties. So many people I know have, as well. It seems odd to see the person that doesn’t struggle with it. But, having dealt with it for so long, I’ve come to realize that I can combat it on my own and with the help of those who love me.

Yesterday was particularly hard for me. I wanted nothing to do with myself. So, I did a couple of things. First, I shaved my legs. That smooth feeling made me feel a bit prettier. It made me feel like I was doing something. Next, I told my husband after screaming at the ripping trash bag for five minutes. He helped with the trash and with the dishes I dragged out of the fridge. Next, I bought myself good coffee. Dunkin Donuts is the best around here. I’m a little obsessed after going so long without it in Cali.

Finally, I went to the library. They didn’t have exactly what I was looking for, but that was cool. It’s a freaking library. They have everything else. I picked up a new book by Neil Gaiman because he’s the freaking boss and will be a decent substitute for Charles De Lint (find his work, trust me). I also grabbed a new Holly Black book because she’s awesome, too. The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer seemed to cropping up everywhere so I decided to give Cinder a chance.

Needless to say, I read Cinder in the space of yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t impressed, but it was really different from anything else I’d read and I do have a soft spot for fairy tale retellings. But it helped rekindle my obsession with story and reading. The hope is that with enough reading, I’ll find the gumption to return to the book I wrote in 2012 and finally finish revising it.

That would make me really happy.

Until then, I have The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Darkest Part of the Forest left to read.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Bilbo

At the end of April, I’m scheduled to go on another adventure. This time it is a trek across a few states to visit my husband’s aunt with his mom, sister, and the foreign exchange student, Sam. Road trips with his mom are always a good time and we might hit some landmarks along the way that Sam and I haven’t seen yet.

I just wish that I wasn’t so quiet about things I wanted to do. It took several months before I raised the topic of visiting my BFF in Portland and that had just been in passing. I didn’t want to push my desire on my husband’s bank account. I didn’t want to put anyone out like that.

There are  a few other things I’d like to do, too, but I just can’t seem to find my voice. As a teen I had a subscription to a travel magazine. I would cut out photos and paste them to my wall or to a notebook where I could turn back and look at them. I was convinced that I was going to get a degree and move out west to San Francisco or Seattle. I just wanted to see the world.

Sure, I’ve seen quite a bit of the US in the past few years. I’ve driven across it twice with my mother in law and have gotten to visit San Francisco (albeit shortly and for a shitty band) and Portland. I went to Albany for a color run (5k) and I went to Baltimore for a comic-con. But, that shouldn’t be the end. It should just be a beginning.

I’d like to go back to my old college town, where my husband will be going this fall, and revisit all the places I loved or missed. We could find all the hole in the wall cafes and bookstores before we moved in. I could see Lake Ontario again. Which, as one of the Great Lakes, it’s pretty freaking great.

There was a cafe my BFF took me to that had jungle murals on the walls and board games on all the shelves that I’d like to find again. It was such a unique and cozy place that I really hope it’s still open. There was even an authentic Mexican restaurant that we went to for my b-day while I was there that I miss all the time.

This summer I know I’ll be hella busy. I’m being bumped up to Night Manager and will be training a second store and be in charge of making a lot of our product. Yay, chocolates! Boo, work. Still, I hope that I find the time in between all of that to adventure. I’d like to go hiking in a state park or even in the Adirondacks. I’ve always wanted to buy a kayak and adventure the St. Lawrence River that I grew up on. Perhaps I’ll save up or I’ll find a place to rent one.

Another thing on my list is to take my family to the Sterling Renaissance Festival (that is ironically really close to my old college town). My dad talked about going when I was in high school, but never found the time because both of my parents are kind of workaholics. They worked hard to provide for us in a super low income area of New York, but that often meant there was little time for family vacations. This summer, I want to take them to see jousting and sword fighting and all of that crazy kind of stuff.

I want to wander the world, bit by bit. I want to adventure and see all that I can instead of sitting on my couch with a book or a computer screen before me. I love books and all, but a part of me aches for sunshine and wide open spaces.

Now, I just have to convince my husband to go along with me!

Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

Of all of the Ghibli movies Howl’s Moving Castle has got to be my favorite. I’ve re-watched it over and over again and I plan on getting a quote from it tattooed on my body at some point in time. When I realized that it was a book, it became even better.

Castle

During my visit with my BFF in Portland we went to Powell’s Books, a freaking MASSIVE bookstore. I wanted to move in, but that’s beside the point. It took some looking, but I finally found Howl’s Moving Castle. I read most of it on the long flight from West Coast to the East Coast, finishing it just the other night.

The book is so little like the movie, I was surprised. I can’t say that it was a bad surprise. Instead, I see these as two separate things, one by Jones and another by Miyazaki. I adored this and plan on reading it to my children someday.

Sophie is the oldest of three daughters, destined to never make anything great of herself and she takes that destiny to heart. Yet, when the Witch of the Waste wanders into her shop, mistaking Sophie for one of her sisters, the curse changes the course of her destiny. Now burdened with old age, Sophie loses a lot of her inhibitions and fears.

This is how she finds herself in Howl’s castle, talking to Calcifer the fire demon. They make a deal, he’d break her curse and she’d set him free. Only, she would have to fulfill her part of the bargain first and she doesn’t even know where to begin. Her journey leads her across the world and even into Wales, in some points.

This was the kind of book I’d read to my kids and I plan on grabbing more by Jones to add to my collection. The book and movie deviate a lot from one another after Sophie finds herself in Howl’s castle. The book Sophie has a lot more magic and a lot more spunk, honestly.

It’s 3.99$ on Amazon Kindle right now. Give it a look.

 

Altered, By Jennifer Rush

Altered

I received this book quite some time ago from BookCase.Club and it sat, patiently, waiting for me to read it. Science Fiction just didn’t draw me in as well as fantasy did, but last night I realized that I needed to read something. I needed to rekindle my love for any and all books. I used to read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on.

So, I pulled this down and cracked it open at last. The beginning had me questioning myself. It opened with a lot of description and nothing of any sort that really pulled me in. Anna was so bland that it was hard for me to root for her. I felt this way for a while so I’m not really sure when that changed and love began to creep in. I didn’t want to put it down to go to bed last night. Even when my hubs got out of bed for his customary bowl of night time cereal, I opened it back up.

Anna is the daughter of a scientist in charge of a secret experiment in the middle of rural New York. Under her house are four boys, test subjects with no memory of the people they were before the experiment. Nick hates her. Cas can’t stop moving. Trav is a fount of knowledge. Sam? He’s the one that draws her in. She knows that her heart belongs to this mysterious boy behind the glass, the one that she sneaks down to see in the middle of the night.

When The Branch comes to retrieve their test subjects, chaos erupts and before she knows it Anna’s own father is urging her to escape with the boys. Her life spirals out of control from there and the mousy girl that she had once been falls away, leaving a lot of questions.

While it began slowly, I fell in and didn’t want to come back out of this book. Rush cleverly mixed careful plot weaving with a number of riddles, leading the characters into action and intrigue. No one is who they seem to be in this book and, as a writer, I enjoyed that I couldn’t predict every plot point.

If you see this in the store or at the library, definitely give it a chance. It feels neatly wrapped up on it’s own, but there are two cheap prequels on Amazon and another two full books, one about Nick and another about Anna, if you want to keep the series going.

Modernly Magical; An Original Magic School Story

This was far from my first day at work, but every morning held the same anxious butterflies. When would it go away? When I realized that I was working at the Academy for the Mage Born? When I realized that I’d made something of myself from nothing?

I doubted that either of those two things would ever really sink in. My skull was far too thick, as shown by the numerous cracks to the head while sparring…with real swords. Perhaps something had really been jarred each time. Perhaps that was why I really didn’t believe that this life I was living was actually my own.

Pulling my old Ford into an empty parking spot on the street, I jumped out and made my way towards the only coffee shop in town open 24 hours, InBetween. The woman behind the counter was frantically moving to catch up with the line of professors and students that were already crowding the small cafe. Her impossibly lightweight hair seemed to float around her elegantly pointed ears.

Fae always made the best coffee. Once upon a time, Calla had confessed to pouring a little bit of her Dryad magic into each cup. It was the kind of wild magic that seemed to bend and reshape itself as the cup passed from her hands to the drinker, taking on a power that the drinker needed in the coming day. Even if she hadn’t confessed that little bit to me, it was evident from the long line that InBetween was a very popular place.

Anxiously, I waited in line. Part of me was worried that I would be late to work. The more rational side of my mind saw Vera Wentworth, the head of my department, a couple patrons ahead of me and knew that she’d arrive only moments before I did.

The Academy for Mage Born, or AMB as many liked to call it, was the largest American magical school. It’s classes ranged from elementary grades and on to college level classes. Despite its vastness, it was truly a difficult school to get into, for students and teachers. Parents of small children had to know someone. College level students had to prove a talent of great worth. Teachers had to have damn near heroic resumes.

I didn’t yet understand why they had accepted mine. I had done nothing of great import in my short life. Born the last heir to a dwindling mage-line, I was the least likely to become anything. It made me learn how to fight for things. Being a mage in a public school pushed me to learn self defense and the old art of sword fighting. Having a mage power bite a non mage kid could have serious repercussions in a public school.

After graduation, I did a lot of floating. I learned a bit of this and a bit of that. Several years were spent interning at the Magical Wildlife Reserve. A year of that was on the road, chasing a wayward dragon with a grouchy grad student. That’s a story for another time.

Right now, it was my turn at the counter. Calla smiled at me with a brilliance that could only be glamour at this hour of the morning. Either that or she was deranged.

“The biggest Mexican Mocha you have over ice, if you could.”

“That’s not even on the menu anymore, but i keep the ingredients around just for you. Always so spicy, Maggie.” Calla rushed off to complete my order.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Vera Wentworth in the corner of the cafe, glaring at the smart phone cradled in her hand. Perhaps cradled wasn’t quite the right word. No, her fingertips were white as she clutched it.

Against my better judgement, I moved towards her. Damn your betrayal, feet.

“What’s wrong, Vera?”

“It’s Ms. Wentworth,” she snapped. Her eyes widened as she realized who was standing beside her. “Oh, I am very sorry, Margaret.”

I cringed at the use of my full name. Not even my own mother called me Margaret. Ever.

“Very bad news from the Academy, actually. The Dean has called a faculty meeting for the heads of departments. I’ll need you to pick up my workload for the morning.”

Inside my head, I groaned. Loudly. Profusely.

“Of course,” I smiled, trying to emulate Calla without fae glamour.

It looked like I’d be visiting the maenads at the bar down the street later tonight. They poured a damn fine drink and knew how to party.

Calla called my drink, pulling me away from my boss. I was so grateful that I almost thanked Calla. I grimaced before the words could fall out of my mouth.

Never thank a fae.

 

Wait, I never told you what I taught? Silly me.

That could be because I don’t actually teach anything. Technically, I’m a librarian. In real life, I filled in where I could. I was a Jill of All Trades, unfortunately. Somedays, I was in the field teaching self defense, archery, or sword fighting. There had been a few days where I’d filled in for the Elementary teachers and I’d told Vera that I’d never do that again. Tiny children throwing magical temper tantrums was too far above my pay grade. One little…child had accidentally zapped me with the force of a taser.

Elementary teachers were masochists. That was all I had learned from that.

Today, I pushed the massive wood and glass door to the library open and breathed in the scent of books. There were fresh printed books with stiff pages and there were dusty leather tomes with pages that weren’t made out of anything I’d like to acknowledge. The shelves worked in a kind of spiral, chasing one another into the center of this massive room.

It had a very odd system of arrangement that I think was decided upon after long nights of smoking the entire herbology department. Regardless, I made my way to the dark, mahogany desk that gleamed by the front doors. Thankfully, computers had advanced enough that this sleek model seemed at home atop the ancient wooden behemoth. Before booting the tower up, I ran my finger along the etched design in the wood.

It changed from day to day, depending on the stories of history or the library’s mood. Today, it depicted something I’d never seen before. A woman stood atop a small hill, brandishing a sword over her head. A dragon was curled, asleep, in the hill below her. It reminded me of Ivory, the dragon I’d followed across the country for a year. There were times when I would dream of her, of her great white body hovering in the sky above us as we raced down the highway. I still mourned her loss.

I sighed and moved back around to the computer atop the desk. The AMB crest appeared on the glowing screen, lighting up the dim world around me. I slid the piece of paper out from beneath the monitor and punched in Vera’s access code. All of this magic and we still needed access codes for computers. I shook my head, a slight smile touching my lips.

Reaching for my oversized, spicy coffee I thought of Vera’s concern as she held her phone this morning. What had been the issue? Nothing had seemed outwardly wrong as I had come in. The school looked as it always had, a castle oddly situated on the side of a quaint small town. There were no fires emanating from the dorms or alarms going off in the common areas. So, what had been the dire emergency?

I shrugged and turned back to the computer system, mechanically scanning returned books and placing them in the gliding wood cart. There were minor spirits, beings of psychic energy, anchored to the library that would return them for me once they’d been scanned. It was a wonderful system, really.

My work, or Vera’s work I should say, involved creating a database of some of the really old spells. She’s been hard at work taking some of the more fragile or volatile books and typing their contents into a computer program. I had suggested scanning all of the books and creating PDFs for the database, but that had gone south when one of the volatile book’s magic had translated digitally. It had been quite the surprise when the monitor screen had begun dripping swamp water and lithe creatures had begun to push the plastic out of the device.

Why we needed to transcribe spells from that book was beyond me. It was clearly a gateway to a place that no one wanted to go. At least not sanely.

I had been working on a fragile book, using a psychic hand to gently turn the pages, when a student appeared by my side. I jumped. The mouse haired boy seemed to appear out of nowhere, his eyes quietly taking in the book before me as a page hovered in the air. I swore sharply under my breath when i realized I’d torn part of the page.

Vera was not going to be happy.

“Can I help you with something?” I asked with my most polite voice despite my irritation with him.

“What book is that?” He asked, his voice soft and damn near monotonous.

“It is a book of Eastern European spells supposedly written by Baba Yaga herself. But that isn’t why you came here,” I said.

“Uh, no. I thought that you should know there was a cloud of sprites in the library basement again.”

“Sprites? What kind of sprites like basements?”

“Swamp things. Tiny little gray bodies, sharp teeth. Not fun.”

Why was this my problem? I was a librarian. Still, I kept my bitching to myself and set off to find someone in Maintenance to take a look into it. Not once did I think to ask the child why he had been in the basement. I was too busy whining about my predicament to smell what was fishy.

I wasn’t able to find anyone in Maintenance, much to my frustration. I’d take care of it myself, I thought as I reached for my cell phone. Darien would be able to tell me how to deal with swamp sprites. Or, at least he would if I’d been able to reach him. There was no phone in my pocket.

Instead of heading back to the library for it, I brashly ventured into the basement myself. Perhaps I could open a window and guide them out with a broom, I thought. That couldn’t be too difficult. Right? What would Darien do? He’d say it wasn’t in his Phd, or course.

My boots made no sound as I descended the stairs. It was darker in the basement than it was upstairs in the library. I glanced around as my eyes attempted to adjust. What kinds of things were kept in a magic school’s basement, I wondered. Frustrated with the darkness, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a coin from my early morning purchase. Pulling a bit of energy, I whispered a short word and it the metal began to glow with a faint light. Quarters worked great, nickels too since they were always hiding in our pockets.

There really wasn’t much to be seen. Obviously, nothing of any kind of import was kept down here. There were a few broken and charred bookshelves, evidence of student magic gone wrong. I raised the quarter to shed light on the space around me. I heard absolutely nothing down here in the darkness, which was odd. Sprites should have been making a bit of noise. Wings scraping and sharp teeth clattering.

But I heard nothing.

Until something crashed against the far wall. Instinctively, I reached to my hip for the weapon that usually hung there. I gritted my teeth, dismayed that nothing was there. I could have just turned out of the room. I could have gone back to the library to yell at the little prankster.

Instead, I inched forward. Quarter held out before me, the wall came into view. A broken bookshelf blocked part of something written on the wall. The closer I got, the better I could see the dripping red paint.

Paint?

Was I that naive?

I gritted my teeth, more outraged that someone would defile the school than shocked by the blood. I reached out to pull the bookshelf away from the wall in order to see better. As the wood scraped against the stone floor, I felt the burst of magic rush out to me. It crashed into my solar plexus and threw me back.

I landed on my butt, head spinning. The magic still flowed around me. It pushed at me from every angle and I could feel it’s frustration. This was some heavy hitting black magecraft and it couldn’t affect me.

The outrage rose again. Who had the gall to place a black magecraft spell in AMB? My mind raced back to the mouse haired boy. He’d appeared out of nowhere, utterly unremarkable, and his interest in the book I’d been transcribing.

“Son of a Cerberus!” I scrambled to my feet and raced up the stairs. At the top of the stairs I remembered the still active black magecraft in the basement. I rolled my eyes and ran back down to swipe my hand across the blood sigil.

Ick.

Ick.

Ick.

Back in the library, the boy was gone. My stomach dropped to the floor. The book was also gone. A spot of tan paper stood out against the dark blue carpet. I knelt and found the piece of page that I’d ripped.

I was unsure as to what was so significant about the book, but I knew that the black magecraft downstairs did not bode well. Was it part of the emergency that had pulled Vera from her work today? Or was this something altogether different? Sure, it could be a rowdy prank, but pranks never involved black magecraft.

I jammed the piece of the page into my pocket. This couldn’t go unreported. Even if it was a prank. I found myself halfway to the Dean’s office before I realized he might not even be there. He had called an emergency meeting not too long ago, had he not? Chances were, he was still in that meeting.

Hoping that I was wrong, I raised my hand to knock on the door.

Who Doesn’t Love Cards Games: My Ideas for Games

Lately, we’ve been playing a lot of Exploding Kittens with both families. It’s a super fun and quick game that allows you to either protect your loved one or betray the shit out of them. Hubs likes to put the exploding kitten on the top of the deck every time he defuses it, no matter who is next. He’s a pretty smart and ruthless gamer. We don’t play monopoly with him anymore.

If you know what’s good for you, at least.

Lately I’ve been thinking that I could make my own card game. It doesn’t seem that hard, especially with how many games there are already. You could take a piece of inspiration from this game and that to create something wholly fun.

Last night I had two ideas (and bear with me because these will probably never see the light of day):

Magical Girl Card Game

Sailor Moon

I would set this one up similar to Munchkin. There would be an assortment of character cards to chose from, probably mostly girls. During the course of the game you would level them up with magic items and side kicks like talking cats and fairies.

I wouldn’t put the players up against one another. This game would be more about team work. I think there should be an array of villains to battle, as well. This idea was taken from the Eldritch Horror games and how they cooperatively play against a single villain. Evil Queens and City Destroying Monsters would have special powers and armies that need to be defeated by the party.

I was on a Sailor Moon kick yesterday.

Spell Slinging Cards

Duel

I love everything witchy and witchcraft-like. This idea came from a print I found on Society six of random witchy objects like toadstools, crystals, and knives. I really wanted that on a mug, but my wallet said no.

This idea is more player vs player like Exploding Kittens. The object of the game would be to collect resources, such as herbs and crystals, to create spells to fire at other players. Each player would have a set of hit points and once they reached zero it would be game over. Last man standing wins, kind of game.

There might be incentives to make pacts with other players or rewards for betraying other players. Who knows? I imagine this as witchcraft meets wild west.

Wouldn’t these ideas be kind of rad? I can’t say my husband would happily play  the Magic Girl game, but he might have fun with the other game. Too bad I don’t know the first thing about getting these made.

 

Living a Modern Spiritual Life; Two Books I’d Like to Read

All of my life I’ve been a kind of spiritual person. I was always a tree hugger and believed in magic, in a way. I was a teen when I discovered Wicca and all that it offered and it stuck most of the time. I never swayed from my beliefs, but from practices.

I have a problem with getting stuck in the drudgery that is day to day life and capital consumerism. Then, when the seasons begin to change, I feel the kind of power that I felt as a kid. I can see Mother Earth’s magic at hand, shaping the world around me into something altogether new. When the leaves begin to paint themselves crimson or when the first blanket of pure, white snow falls I can feel it.

Spring is edging in on us here in Northern New York. Yeah, it takes forever and this is actually kind of early for us. The weather has been in the high forties to fifties (Fahrenheit) and the snow has almost completely melted. It makes forgotten waterfals come to life and creeks roar with power.

As I was debating which metaphysical subscription service I wanted to try, I came across some books that were totally out of the ordinary for me. I’m so used to earthy, hippie-esque books that were covered in various shades of green, brown, or even black. These books are vivacious, covered in shades of pink and gold!

Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

Gala

I’ve heard other bloggers talk about Gala Darling, but I kind of brushed her off at first. It wasn’t until I came across an interesting Pinterest pin and happened to follow the link that I realized how much I liked her style. She writes with meaning and enthusiasm about the kind of things that I love about living a metaphysical lifestyle. I’d love to pick this book up because I think a little self love would help not only my life, but my marriage.

The Soul Searcher’s Handbook: A Modern Girl’s Guide to the New Age World

Mildon

Upon searching for Gala Darling’s book, I came across this. Now, I don’t know about Feng Shui-ing my smart phone, but this seemed like a fun introduction to the spiritual side of a metaphysical lifestyle, including good crystals for road trips and alternative healing practices. I’d really like to take a glance into this book and see a different side to my faith.

I’ve always looked at my faith as something perpetuated by middle aged women wearing floor length skirts and tie dye t-shirts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m learning that there is a younger side of spiritualism growing today. Tess Whitehurst brought me into it with her book, The Magical Fashionista, and I had just assumed she was an oddball in the industry.

I can’t wait to get these books! Tell me, have you heard of Gala Darling? If so, what do you think of her blog? Are you spiritual? Atheist? Christian?

 

Workin on My Fitness

Let me begin this by saying that I’m kinda cool with my body. Finally.

It took a long time and three years of marriage to find this place, but it happened. Then, my clothing stopped fitting. Was that ever frustrating. Long before that I stopped feeling comfortable wearing a bikini. I would just like to look at all the clothing that I own and be able to fit into it.

A kind of rabbit hole happened and I found myself looking at workout tanks on Lookhuman.com. Because it totally makes sense that I’d want to buy more clothes to work out so I can fit into my clothes, right?

Anywho… Check these out.

3480bc-black-z1-t-workin-my-puff-into-tuff

This little fighter has to be one of the sassiest and, perhaps, scariest mofo in all of Pokemon. She’s didn’t stand for shit when it came her way.

3480bc-heathered_gray_bc-z1-t-state-alchemist-in-training

Because out of all the anime I’ve watched lately (Fate/Stay, Sword Art Online…) Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood will always be my favorite. Ed and Al won my heart when the world pitted their desires against their morals and they came out of it all mostly alive. I’d train to be a State Alchemist, too.

6733-heathered_black-z1-t-run-like-dean-just-saw-you-crash-the-impala

Dean Winchester is my TV husband. That’s something understood in this house. I imagine him teaching me to drive a stick shift might end up just how this shirt describes.

 

6733-heathered_black-z1-t-sailor-scout-in-training

Saving the best for last. Out of all of these worlds I think I’d rather be a Sailor Scout. Rei is definitely my spirit animal so perhaps I’d be Sailor Mercury in another life. Or, maybe I could claim a whole new planet considering how much space there is!

Five Fandom Friday: Geeky Tattoos!

I’ve already written posts on this subject, but it’s one of my faves so let’s keep going. My very first tattoo was the old school script lettering Wonder Woman logo. It sits on my rib cage, just around my bra strap. But, this is the only geeky tattoo that I’ve gotten so far!

A lot of the time I think up cool tattoos that I’d love to have. I have ideas of where life could take me and I’m not entirely sure that my path looks highly on tattoos, so I have to pick and choose what I’m doing. I know I’m going to be working hard this summer and I want to treat myself to a tattoo eventually.

One idea I have is actually a cover up. I have three, small black bats on the front of one shoulder and three, small black birds on the other. They did not heal well at all, scarring in some places and completely falling apart in others. They are just not pretty anymore.

On Pinterest (or somewhere online) I saw a traditional swallow tattoo. Or, at least, it was in the shape of a swallow. The inside of the bird was a galaxy. It would be insanely cool if I could cover the shoulder tattoos with matching galaxy swallows. They’d hurt, but they’d make me feel so much better about myself.

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Another idea I toyed with lately was a Sailor Moon themed tat. I drew up some concept designs, mixing a traditional dagger in the rose design with a Moon Wand. It might end up being too big for me in the end, but it’s a really cool idea.

I’m huge into Norse mythology and really love Freya. She’s the goddess of love, marriage, AND war. She’s a total badass and I’d love to find room for her on my body. My upper right arm is totally empty and Dani Green did a rendition of Freya that totally inspired me.

food-colorful-dessert-sweet-large

I’ve always wanted something to signify my love for baking and cooking. One of my favorite concepts was a whisk and a spatula tied together with a pretty ribbon. Other concepts included a pencil, paint brush, and a pen for all of the other things I love to do. That would go on the inside of my right arm if I had the guts.

howl

Finally, and this will happen some day, will be my Studio Ghibli thigh piece. This will cost hella dollars, but I’m so intent on getting it done that I don’t think anyone could change my mind. I’d like it to include not only Haku and the Bathhouse, but Calcifer, Howl and Sophie, Kiki and Jiji, as well as San.

My skin is where I can carry the things I love around for the rest of my life. I have my love for my husband inscribed on my ring finger (which is great when m y wedding ring doesn’t fit). I have my own art embedded into my foot. I carry a reminder of my grandmother’s gardens around on my arm. I can have the joy of Ghibli movies, the feminine strength of a Sailor Scout, a freaking goddess, space birds, and a reminder of the power of my creativity on me at all times.

My Feelings on Fanfic

All of  my life I’ve known at least one thing.

I wanted to be a writer.

I wanted to create stories, characters, villains, and worlds. I was making things up all the time once I passed the age of playing “make-believe” and into the realm of “young adult”. I wrote short stories in the back of notebooks, on the family computer, or in the corners of class notes. Characters would go to class with me. Stories would weave themselves as I laid down to sleep or in the shower.

Story means a lot to me.

I appreciate stories other than my own, too. I adore Howl’s Moving Castle and the Night Circus. Anything by Charles De Lint sends me into an a week of floating happiness. Kim Harrison and Laurell K Hamilton make me feel strong. But, not once did I ever consider taking on their characters or their worlds with my own words.

That doesn’t feel right to me. Once another person takes on a story it changes. It is no longer the original thing, but something similar with the same name slapped onto it. It’s like ordering the same thing at different restaurants. You’re not always guaranteed to get the same dish, honestly.  Curry can mean a great many different flavors.

I prefer to leave the worlds of other authors alone. They are revered in that way, a piece of art that I don’t dare touch. I much prefer to play god with my own characters. I know them much better, inside and out. There is no set of rules or boundaries that I need to prescribe to in order to create my own story.

Which is how we create new stories that we fall in love with, new worlds we want to fall into. So don’t ever expect me to write fanfic. There’s just so much more in me.

Charlie

Way to Go, Wizards of the Coast

My husband is a huge D&D fan. He loves not only creating stories and worlds, but play acting some crazy fun characters. His 5th Edition books were falling apart, despite his loving treatment of them. It was frustrating trying to create my own characters with a book where entire chapters were falling out of place.

I was ten kinds of done with it. His friends suggested taking the books to get them spiral bound by a printer, but I could see it on his face that he hated the idea. So I set my mind to something for him.

I contacted Wizards of the Coast via email to see what could be done. They responded promptly and happily each time, confessing that the first printing run did, in fact, have a record of binding issues. Our option was to mail the books to Wizards to have them inspected for replacement. There were no promises put in place if we did send the books, but I was willing to take a chance on it.

Hubs took some convincing. I totally understood. He runs two games a week and plays in a third game. Having his books handy is detrimental to the game. Using PDFs was an irritant and I couldn’t get them to bend to my will, forcing my husband to create my latest character for me.

We sent the books in, choosing to pay for the shipping (because Fed Ex cannot seem to find our house, ever). There was a stipulation that those that chose to pay for shipping would receive an item in the box of equal value once returned. I was cool with that.

It took several weeks, about three, for the books to return. I emailed once during that time, just to make sure the box had been received. It was hard to miss with it’s neon orange duct tape. Don’t judge me.

I was prepared to swear off Wizards of the Coast as I brought the box back to the house, fearing that they’d returned the faulty books without any help. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised when we opened the box to not only find two brand spanking new books in place of the returned books, but there was also a rather expensive book added in!

Shipping had only cost around 11$. This extra book cost around 30$. It made the time without his books feel worth it. It made us feel respected as customers.

I was so happy with this transaction as a whole. They were totally helpful with every little request and question I had. They were generous with their help and products, keeping customers that really loved their game.

Who Shrunk my Jeans?!

Before my trip I was trying on a lot of my clothes and was left wondering if a D&D character had come into my room unannounced and cast a shrinking spell on all of my clothing. It was devastating.

Add to that a full length mirror in my girlfriend’s bathroom and I knew that something had to be done. Five years a go I worked very hard to go from almost 200 pounds down to 110 pounds. I am not anywhere near that neat 110 pounds anymore.

I am a mixture of emotions over this. Shame. Disappointment. Disgust. Not a whole lot of good in this. How had I thrown away much of the work that I’d done? When had it happened? How had I not seen it until now?

Time for those emotions is over. I don’t want to feel any of those things. I also don’t want to feel the hatred that I feel towards much exercise. I hate running. I hate the way it makes my chest feel.  So, I’m going back to what I did in the very beginning.

In the privacy of my own home I’m using Wii Sports (Boxing) to whip myself back into shape. Add to that healthier meals and smarter portions and I am certain that I’ll get myself to a place where I am much happier. I don’t need to be the tiny thing I was the first time I’d lost weight. There was a touch of anorexia that pushed that wight loss along and that’s not a person I want to become again.

This time around I have a very specific motivation.

BombshellI love the idea of a high waisted suit and this one isn’t too high waisted. It won’t cut my already short for too short, I don’t think. But it will do well to perhaps hide some of the parts of my body I don’t care for while rocking out the parts I do.

I’m a huge Wonder Woman fan. I thought I was mostly over that until I saw this. I squealed. And then realized I wasn’t up to wearing it. This has to be the best motivation ever! Plus, if I buy it and already have it then I have to get myself back into shape.

Also, I’ll HAVE to go to the beach!

 

Five Fandom Friday: Five Bob’s Burgers I Want to Try

The thing I immediately think of when I read fictional food is definitely Bob’s Burgers. This is something I haven’t watched in a long while, but truly loved. Louise is my spirit animal. She’s truly devious and brilliantly intelligent. But, every time they named a new burger I imagined what I would want to put on it.

Bob's Burgers

Burgers have to be one of my favorite foods. They make wonderful canvases for all kinds of flavors imaginable. You could have a burger every day and not eat the same thing twice!

Here are my five favorite Bob’s Burgers and how I’d make them.

Summer Thyme Burger

I imagine this being a lean beef burger topped with crisp, fried potatoes that had been cooked with olive oil and thyme. Maybe I’d ass a little bit of baby spinach and a slice of smoked gouda.

Sharp Cheddar Dressed Man Burger

This makes me think of my favorite burger. Growing up, we always put extra sharp white cheddar on our charbroiled burgers. These go best with simple iceberg lettuce, dill pickles, and, trust me, Thousand Islands Dressing. Oh, and a good beer on a summer day.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Zucchini Burger

Vegetarian sliders. I’d cut the zucchini into thick medallions and quickly grill them with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Top this with romaine lettuce and a slice of tart red onion with some garlic mayo.

To Err is Cumin Burger

This would be a pork burger mixed with cumin and coriander. The bun would be toasted and slathered with lime mayo.

Chevre Which Way But Loose Burger

Goat cheese always reminds me of figs, bacon, and balsamic reduction. It has to be one of the best combinations out there. I’d make this a lamb burger topped with goat cheese, bacon jam, carmelized onions, and sweet balsamic vinegar on baby spinach. So rich, but so good.

I love to make up recipes. These would be super fun to try out. I didn’t even think of what kind of rolls I’d use! Bob’s Burgers creates the coolest names for recipes. Fun, punny names always get me.

What fictional foods would you like to try? How would they be made?

Funko Friday!

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I bought these probably around this time last month and have been kind of sitting on them for a while. I came down with an Adventure Time obsession for quite some time. I bought a bunch of games, one for the Nintendo DS and another from Steam. We also binge watched the latest season.

Whoa, that Marceline story arc! I freaking loved it so much that I think I was on the floor in front of the television. She’s always been my favorite character in the series, being a Queen among the lands of princesses. She was sassy, adventurous, rebellious, and damaged in her own way. Plus, I always jive with the brunette in any show.

Lately, PB has kind of been getting my love. I’m coming around to understand that we have similar personalities. She and I can both be very controlling and stubborn. Where I once could have done without Princess Bubblegum, I have learned to love and appreciate her.

Lumpy Space Princess, on the other hand, pushes all the wrong buttons. But, that’s what she’s meant do do I suppose.

Next on the Adventure Time Funko list: Cake the Cat and Flame Princess!

Cats and Planes, Yeah You Read That Right

I am a bundle of nerves and excitement all at once. Tomorrow, I board a plane headed west to visit my very best friend. I can’t believe that it has been over two years since we’ve seen each other in the flesh. That is far too long.

We’ve both changed a bit since then, gaining weight, growing out our pixie cuts (that I will never do again because I looked just like my mother), and just becoming older versions of ourselves, but we’re still the people that we grew to love.

She lives in the oddball city of Portland, Oregon where weird is the norm and weed may or may not have been legalized. I have to say that this city has been on my bucket list for a while now simply because it welcomes everything odd and strange like myself. Part of me just can’t believe that I’m really going.

Another part of me is dreading the long flight. It definitely won’t be the first time I’ve suffered an East coast to West coast flight, having endured many from our time spent living in California while family lives in New York.

Be sure to expect a lot of Instagram pics! I don’t think I’m even going to bring my digital camera because the phone is just so much more convenient.

In other news, we adopted cat number two. It was a upon a whim that we ventured into the local Pet Smart to look at rodents and found ourselves looking at cats. I fell in love with an older, long haired black feline, but it wasn’t meant to be. She just wouldn’t be playful enough for our rambunctious boy cat.

About a week later, after seeing him desperately try to play with my parent’s dog we decided to get him a playmate. We went to the local SPCA to see what they had and I was drawn to the tiniest black cat. Yes, I really have a thing for black cats. She rolled her head into my hand and I was done for.

I was worried that our landlord would say no. He initially didn’t want pets in the apartment. So, it was miraculous that he said yes to cat number two. Not like they had anything to be afraid of. Since we’ve brought Luna home she’s tucked herself away in every unassuming corner she could find.

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Her favorite place so far has to be within the depths of the blankets on the couch. Even Hex saw fit to join her, on a separate couch cushion of course. Their relationship is still new and she’s still really afraid, but mostly he leaves her alone and runs off to eat her food, the prick.

She’s so darn tiny. I feel as though I may break her if I pet her too hard. This will be a before and after photo process for sure.

 

What’s To Come

I really don’t want to be writing this post. Sorry, not sorry.

What I really want to be doing is playing Pokemon Y. I just caught THREE eevees and I plan to make a small army of them to take to the final challenges. That involves a lot of training and game playing. I’m honestly having so much fun with it right now.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to come up with a pokemon themed recipe that ISN’T a freaking pokeball. I think that we can all agree that it is so over done and, plus, my husband can’t have anything with red dye 40. That knocks out a lot of red.

His idea was to work with my favorite eeveelutions since I seemed to have become obsessed with them. We will see!

On the other hand, I just ordered a book from Blogging For Books called How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression From One Who Knows. As someone who has dealt with it herself and seen others deal with it, I’m looking forwards to reading this comedic take on depression. The book doesn’t come out until March first, but that’s the great thing about Blogging for Books. I can tell you if it’s worth it or not before the release. Seriously, this book can’t arrive fast enough.

While surfing Instagram I came across a subscription box called Charm with Me Club. You know how I’m always talking about the Pandora style bracelet charms and how I wish I could find more fandom inspired beads? Well this company put my desire into a monthly box. I’m just sad that I missed out on Harry Potter and a super wicked Game of Thrones dragon egg inspired bead.

The March box is built around The Nightmare Before Christmas and is offering two more special charms in the black and white color theme. For your first package you will receive a starter bracelet in the traditional metal style or the cool leather wrap. I’m honestly impressed with what they’ve put into this subscription box. Often, they design their own charms and send the files off to be 3D printed. Other times they work directly with the manufacturer to get just the right style they’re looking for.

Charm With Me Club is searching for representatives and I’m so dying for a spot on that list. I don’t even care what the perks are, I’m that impressed. Or, am I that obsessed? I’ve been looking for a way to geekify my charm bracelet for a while now and a lot for the options I’ve found are kind of expensive or too cheap to be real.

Anyway, so that’s kind of my life right now. Kind of boring, kind of exciting. All me. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas about what my Pokemon recipe should be!

 

We Could Always Use More Chari-Tee

Each and every one of us has something to offer to the world around us. I think this has been a lesson that I learned from my Mother-in-law, a truly giving woman. It always have to be something expensive, like our time. Or, that could be what you have freely to give. I loved my volunteer time at the library in California, setting up kid’s reading time and running kid events. My Mother-in-Law likes to volunteer, to donate, to give her heart to those who need it.

She passed that on to her son, too. But that isn’t why I’m talking about this. I found out about the Extra Life registration much too late to register for this year (also, who knows where I’ll be when the day comes to live Twitch). Since I couldn’t participate in that, I wanted to bring to your attention ways that you could give and get in return that I thought were really cool and you might, too.

Creation Stands

I can’t remember how I found this site, but I’m in love. The site offers not only Supernatural, but Star Trek, and Vampire Diaries exclusive tees and such that donate to charities that the actors feel strongly about.

Jared Padalecki has admitted to his struggle with depression and dearly wants to help others fight through it as well. If you bought Jared’s (Sam’s) you are contributing to the Pack Fund (a combination of Padalecki and Ackles). This fund contributes to charities like To Write Love On Her Arms, Random Acts, and Wounded Warrior. Abbadon’s shirt gives proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House!

Each popular character gets a collection in their name and really cool tee designs. I want to throw all of my money at them!

TeeFury

This took a bit of searching, but I found it. Teefury, everyone’s favorite tee shop, has a collection of really sweet tees with their own unique charities attached. I really love the Thuranduil (King of the Woodland Realm) tee that gives back to the World Wildlife Fund. I’m sure with a bit of searching you could find the perfect match between tee and charity for you.

And what about Pup Culture?! Save puppies and be adorable. Yes, please.

Amazon Smile

I find this to be really cool. Amazon has a special part of their site set up so that you can choose a charity and part of your purchase will go to that charity. This doesn’t jack up the price of anything you buy. Instead, it takes a small portion of your sale out for donation.

What I think is really cool about this is that you can pick any charity in their system. I haven’t done this yet, but I recently learned that my local library system is one of those charities! Do you realize how much I spend on amazon?

I’m sure we all use Amazon for whatever. You can be using it to give back, too.

I was really moved by these sites. Sometimes I feel bad when I realize that I’m so caught up in my first world problems that I forget others have it horrendously worse. I should try volunteering at the library again. I wish there was a closer SPCA, too.

Even if we can’t give back in huge ways, there are little ways that we can try to help the other people that are giving back. As always, make sure your charity of choice is on the up and up, meaning a large portion of their donations go directly to their cause.

Game Review: Exploding Kittens!

I bought this a while back, but it sat, diligently waiting for more people than just my husband and I to play. This weekend his mom, sister, and Sam, the foreign exchange student with a twisted sense of humor to rival my own, visited for a game day. I ran for this box, excited to really give it a try.

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There was a lot of confusion first thing, but I blame that on teenage texting and my mother-in-law’s slow, but steady style of learning. The instructions really only take up one small portion of the inside pamphlet.

Really quickly, the game began to get faster and faster. The deck dwindled down until there was nothing but explosions left. You had to cleverly evade them or get blown up. Each person begins with one Defuse card to evade the exploding kitten cards. It’s a one time use and there are chances that other players could steal it from you. Other ways to evade explosion include looking into the future, aka the top three cards, and attacking, or making the next player take two turns. Of course, someone can always Nope your actions, like Hubs did, promptly saving my life in early game.

I grabbed the NSFW, Not Safe For Work, edition because everyone has reached the age where that’s acceptable and funny. There were penis pretzels, titty kitties, and other cards that made my Mother-in-law blush. You can always opt for the original, kid-safe edition if you have younguns in the household. It is a really fun and fast paced card game to play with friends and family. My sister-in-law is searching for her own Exploding Kittens game.

BDS CAT
I couldn’t help myself.

I can’t wait until they come out with some expansion packs to make it even more fun and interesting. The deck itself is quite small for the box that it comes in. That was the only disappointment that came with this. I’m looking forward to playing it with my parents next time.

Girl Eating Geeky: Deadpool Tiramisu

This probably should have been up a while ago. I’m sorry. It was just so good that I spent all of my time eating it (and watching the awesome new Marvel flick) that I forgot to write the post!

I’m not too well acquainted with Deadpool, having not read any of the Marvel comics. I knew some comic loving friends that raved about the character, but stuck with my DC lineup anyway. I think the best introduction to Deadpool that I got was watching Pewdiepie play the Deadpool video game on Youtube.

My easy icebox-cake style desert isn’t a traditional tiramisu in any way. This is much denser and much richer , with only a slight coffee hint. Really, it doesn’t make much sense at all as a tiramisu, but maybe that’s the Deadpool influence. Insert Wink Here.

Deadpool Tiramisu

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Prep Time: 40-45 minutes
Chill Time: Overnight

Ingredients:

1 8oz box 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temp

3 1/4- 4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 package chocolate wafer cookies

1 cup black coffee (I used a K-cup in the Keurig, but you’re welcome to use instant or whatevs)

Red gel food coloring

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 white chocolate chips

(Optional: Chocolate Graham Crust)

 

  1. Begin by softening the cream cheese with a tabletop/hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until you get a thick and fluffy frosting.  If it is too thick to blend, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until you can blend easier. This will take about ten minutes total. Go ahead and blend in the teaspoon of vanilla extract and a hefty amount of the red gel food coloring. It takes a lot of coloring to achieve a really rich red. If it feels too pink, add a teaspoon of cocoa powder for a richer hue and a Red Velvet-like flavor.
  2. Prep your cup of coffee. Make sure to use (or transfer it to) a cup large enough to fit your chocolate wafer cookies in. Kind of like you’re dunking oreos. I used a tupperware dish to assemble my “Tiramisu”, but you’re welcome to use a pre-made crust (I wish I’d thought of that earlier), a pie pan, or any other dish you’d like as long as it is round.  photo 1(1)
  3. Place a small amount of the red frosting in the bottom of the dish and spread it around. This is the glue for your first layer of cookies. One by one dip your wafer cookies into the coffee and place them along the bottom of your dish. They only need a second in the coffee and you can place them however you like. No one will know if it looks like crap.   photo 3(1)
  4. Gently  cover the first layer with a layer of frosting. Repeat the layering of wafer cookies and frosting until it you have three or four layers. It won’t be an incredibly thick “tiramisu”, but the richness makes up for it. Layer on the last of the frosting to create a solid red top.
  5. Meanwhile, using a scrap of wax paper, make two small mounds of semi-sweet chocolate chips and microwave for 1 minute. Using the back of a spoon, smooth the melted mounds into two small ovals. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. They’ll just be eaten anyway. Before they cool completely place one white chocolate chip in the center of the melted chocolate. This will act as Deadpool’s eyes.  photo 2(1)
  6. You can crunch the leftover cookies into crumbs and sprinkle them around the outside of the “tiramisu” and in a line down the very center. Once the eyes have cooled completely peel them off the wax paper and place them on either side of the cookie crumb line.
  7. Cover and place in the fridge over night. The next day those cookies will have softened up into a super delicious cookies and cream cheesecake-like dessert!

I realized after making this that the colors are inverted, so if you want you can dye the frosting black and leave some red to pipe in the line work. If not, the dessert is still recognizable as the classic Deadpool logo!

Because of a red food dye allergy in my house, I used this recipe to make two small-ish “tiramisu” cakes about the diameter of a traditional cereal bowl. The recipe will also fit one 8 inch pie pan as well.

What Do I do With All These Dream Jobs?

I have to say I’m a bit too capricious with my future, as you’ve all seen. Throughout my life I’ve thought that I was headed towards many different careers. A lot of them I’d still be really pleased to find myself in.

Bakery

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This was my dream late 2014 and into 2015. I pinned I don’t know how many pictures of the perfect cafes and tracked down storefronts in my hometown, setting up imaginary shops inside of them where I worked with my mom and best friend. I even designed my own logo at one point, naming my would be bakery The Black Velvet Bakery after my love for all things punky and sassy.

Isn’t that a the best name?  Too bad these ventures cost hella amounts of money and often fail within the first few years. That alone kept me from really pursuing this dream.

Food Truck

Pixabay

I had the coolest vision of a rockabilly food truck that served updated versions of diner classics. I’d wear pedal pushers and tie my hair up with a bandana while I served milkshakes made from homemade ice-cream. Yeah, it was going to be super cool and found at all of the classic car shows.

Only thing is that those trucks cost a lot of money even without all of the kitchen equipment and I don’t even know if our hometown area will allow food trucks. Sure, Syracuse has a coalition, but they’re an hour and a half away. It felt like it would never work.

Librarian

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I’m really excited about the path that I’ve recently chosen to go down. The written word has been a really huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. There was a time in my life that I volunteered at a large library and loved it for the most part.

My dream would be to run one of the smaller libraries in this area, putting together events and curating the right books for the library. I’ve been pinning ideas that are cute for kids or really cool for teens.

 

I’m sure there were more careers I desired, but my life has always revolved around books and food. To work with either one on my own terms someday would mean arriving at my dream job. Thinking of all of the dreams I’ve had make me yearn for them once more.

Fangirl, a Review

Freaking, urgh.

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Sauce: Google Image Search

I mean that in the best possible way. Once I picked this up from the local library it took my basically the span of one night to finish it. That is no small feat once you see how thick this tome really is. The book pulls you into a world that is so wildly relatable that you fall for the characters and keep page turning to see what will happen next.

Fangirl is about Cath, one half of a twin set, on her own for the very first time. Her twin sister, Wren, thinks that it will be good for them to be apart for once. Cath, on the other hand, is a bundle of anxiety that prevents her from living the way her sister does. What gets her through her worries and fears is her love for Simon and Baz, fictional characters from a wildly popular kid’s book.

Cath’s struggle through anxiety, Wren’s through alcoholism (often a sign of depression), and their father’s through Mania are very well written in a way that still feels so hopeful. It brings light to those that have struggled themselves, sharing a very important message.

Sometimes, your community is the best medicine or your worst enemy.

Simon Snow totally feels like the good guy Harry Potter, but Rowell totally makes him her own the way that Cath does. There is another book, Carry On, that I also checked out. It seems like a fleshed out version of Cath’s fanfic, but I’m not quite sure yet.

This is definitely a must read. For all fangirls out there. For anyone struggling. For all teens. For all young adults. Next up: Elenor and Park, as well as Carry On.

You Go, Rainbow Rowell.

Ups and Downs

I’ve been practically dreaming about this library job that I applied to. I imagine myself wearing cute Disney tops and dresses with cardigans while I carefully pick books for reading time with kids. I was all for this foot in the door kind of job that would get me the experience I needed to work at other libraries.

But I didn’t get it. Someone with more experience that wasn’t moving in less than a year got it. Damn myself for letting that little bit slip. But I won’t let this stop me from moving on to other opportunities. If this is what I really want to do, I just have to keep trying, keep looking.

I’m keeping my head up because other great things are happening in my life. Hubs and I have been working out a lot. Three days a week doesn’t seem like much, but it is kicking out asses. The results have been really nice (despite all the sweat and tears, yes, I cry every time). I no longer feel like a flabby mess. Things are pulling back together like they were when I initially lost all that weight.

Also, the tickets are booked! I’m going to Portland, Oregon this year! I am so excited to see my friend in person. It’s been almost two years since we’ve last seen each other in person, a time that is just way too long. Remembering the adventures we had in Monterey makes me so excited to see what we will do in Portland.

All I have to do is survive the flight on my own for the first time and remember to bring my freaking camera for once. I never use that thing and I paid so much for it.

Valentines Day is around the corner and I hope that you are all remembering to treat yourself and your partner this year. Hubs paid for my plane tickets, so I’m determined to take him to see Deadpool and I’m making him a killer homemade tiramisu this year. I’m totally winning on this, too.

 

Rainy Days are Meant for Library Books

I woke up to the sound of rain pattering on my bedroom window today. Outside, all the pretty, white snow has melted and left us with mud everywhere. The time for tubing and sledding it seems has passed and the dreary weather offers no solace whatsoever to the down in the dumps feeling that has gripped me.

Instead of spending the day needlessly arguing with my husband, I headed into town, signed up for a new library card, and grabbed coffees at the cafe that I haven’t been to in forever. Everyone has been raving about Rainbow Rowell’s books all across the internet. I felt as though I was missing something, but when I found the books on Target shelves, my wallet firmly said no.

That meant a library trip and it just so happened that the library 5 miles down the road had exactly what I wanted, Fangirl and Carry On! I love libraries. I spent much of my early teens in a library. On days that my grandmother would watch us, she’d let me walk the block and a half to the library and I’d spend my days perusing books to read in the summer sun.

I haven’t cracked open the books yet and, disappointingly, there is no sun to read them in. Instead, I’ll cuddle up with my blankets and coffee while I read and dream of the day I get my dream library job.

Here are some shirts I’d love to rock on the job, or any day:

394-heathered_light_blue-z1-t-women-who-read-are-dangerous

3200bc-white_blue-z1-t-a-book-is-proof-that-humans-are-capable-of-working-magic

3200bc-white_black-z1-t-with-freedom-books-flowers-and-the-moon-who-could-not-be-happy

394-heathered_gray_aa-z1-t-i-m-a-reader

These are all so freaking wonderful! I like to imagine myself walking into work wearing a sleek pencil skirt or a spiffy cardigan with these. I really wouldn’t be who I am now without books in my life.

Golden Snitch Macarons

I first fell in love with macarons back in Monterey. While hubs was perusing a game shop on a side street, I ventured around and found myself in a tiny french bakery. I want to say that it was a small Parker Lusseau, but I really could be mistaken. Anyways, I left with three macarons and readily devoured them on the two minute drive home.

They were such heavenly little cookies. About a year later I found myself yearning for them in the middle of Maryland. I hated traveling anywhere in that part of the state, so I decided to attempt to make them myself. Despite having such simple ingredients, they were frustratingly difficult to even get a few right.

This time I have a bit more experience and a craving for the world of Harry Potter. What was one of the most iconic, round objects in the books? The Golden Snitch of course! It seemed like a no brainer to make my own Golden Snitch macarons at home.

Golden Snitch Macarons

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Prep time: 30 mins
Bake time: 15-20 mins
Yeild: 24 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 Cup Almond Meal, sifted

1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

3 Large Egg Whites (aged 3 days, if possible) <— I didn’t

5 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Yellow Food coloring (I used a paste food coloring bought at Wal-Mart)

  • Begin by separating the yolks from the whites. Be very careful not to get any yolk in your egg white because this will keep it from gaining the volume you want. You could do this by cracking the egg into your slightly open fingers, by moving the yolk from one half of the cracked shell to the other so that the whites fall into the bowl, or by purchasing a device meant for separating eggs. Personally, I chose the egg shell method. Set this aside, preferably up to three days in your fridge to allow some of the excess moisture to evaporate.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of your cookie sheet. Using a pencil and a round object (I used the base of a K-Cup), draw your templates about an inch and a half apart on the parchment paper. Flip it over to keep the pencil marking away from your cookies.  NOTE: Do Not use permanent marker. I did and it left rings on my pan. Also, don’t use Wax Paper. Entire batches of the cookies stubbornly stuck to the wax. If you have a silicone baking sheet, use it. You forgo the templates, but have a better chance of getting them off it.     photo 1
  • If you have a stand mixer, now is the time to begin beating your egg whites. Set it to medium high speed and leave it alone. If not, move directly on to sifting your almond meal and powdered sugar. The almond meal may clog your sifter. Just give it a good smack on your hand to remind it who is the boss. Once the sugar and almond meal have been sifted, use your hand mixer to beat the eggs. NOTE: You could do this by hand, but it will take a very long time and will inevitably hurt your arm. Borrow a mixer or con someone you don’t like into doing this job for you.
  • Once the egg whites have begun to froth, getting bubbly at he surface, slowly add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time to the eggs. This creates a glossy egg that will hold it’s shape. After a while the egg should become white and somewhat stiff. If you stick a rubber spatula into the egg mixture it should have a peak that curls at the very tip. That means you’re good to go. Add your yellow food coloring and mix just until blended.
  • Remove the egg mixture from the mixer and fold in your teaspoon of vanilla extract. Don’t mix in circles. Instead, use your rubber spatula to cut through the mixture and fold it on top of itself. Once that has been mixed, add half of your almond/sugar mixture to the bowl. Fold it into the mixture. Once it has been incorporated, add the other half of the almond/sugar mixture and fold it in.
  • By now you should have a bright yellow mix with little to no lumps. At this point if you don’t have pastry bags your welcome to reach for a gallon sized ziploc bag. Angle a lower corner into a tall drinking glass and fold the excess bag over the rim. This should make it easier for you to pour the macaron batter into your bag. Don’t zip the bag. Instead, push the batter into the corner and twist the top of it shut (kind of like I do with my sandwich bread bags). Go ahead and snip half an inch of the corner off the bag using your kitchen scissors.
  • Pipe the batter onto your pre-drawn circles in a clockwise motion starting from the outside and going in. Flick the bag away from the cookie when finished piping to reduce the peak. Once you’re done piping all your cookies on the paper, give the cookie sheet a good tap against the counter top. Lift it about an inch off the counter and drop it. This softens your peaks and removes excess air bubbles from the cookie.
  • Here’s the slightly irritating part. Leave it out. Give them twenty to thirty minutes to rest on the counter. In this time the macaron is forming a film across the surface that will provide the unique shape and rise that they’re famous for.
  • About five minutes before they’re finished, pre-heat the oven to 250 Fahrenheit. After the last five minutes are up, set the cookie sheet on the center rack in the oven. Bake around 15 to 20 minutes. Now, they should rise and create the “foot” around the bottom. Some will crack, that means there was too much moisture in the batter, but you can cover that up later with some chocolate.
  • Remove from the oven to cool on the cookie sheet. Use a second prepared cookie sheet to bake another batch, or remove the first batch after they’ve cooled and pipe another batch onto the parchment.

“Butterbeer” Buttercream

Prep time: 20 min
Yeild: 2-3 cups buttercream

Ingredients:

1 Stick REAL Butter (1/2 Cup), brought to room temperature

2-3 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup creamy pb)

1/2 Teaspoon Root Beer Concentrate

  • Whip the room temperature butter and peanut butter in your stand mixer, or with your hand mixer. (Personally, my hand mixer did a better job of whipping the butter and leaving little to no chunks). Add the scant amount of root beer extract. Trust me. It turned out delicious.
  • Once it has been creamed together, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, careful not to pour it directly onto the beater. You’ll have a cloud if you do. Continue adding the powdered sugar one cup at a time until you get the desired consistency. It should be creamy and fluffy.
  • Once your cookies have cooled you can scoop it into a pastry bag or ziplock bag the same way you did with the batter. Flip half of the cookies and match them up with an unflipped cookie of similar size. Pipe a tablespoon of buttercream onto the flipped cookie and top it with the un-flipped cookie like a sandwich. Be careful not to press too hard or you will crack the fragile cookie.
  • Repeat for all of your remaining cookies. Use your straggler, the odd cookie with no match, to sample your creation for yourself.

 

Meanwhile:

White Chocolate Wings

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Ingredients:

2/3 Cup White Chocolate Chips

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Shortening

Yellow Sanding Sugar

Wax Paper

Pastry bag/Ziploc bag

  • Using a marker, draw your wing shapes onto the paper, accounting for both the right and left wings. For 24 cookies, you will need 48 wings total. I didn’t give all of mine wings and you don’t have to either. Just give the ones you want to show off wings (insert wink).
  • Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave with a tablespoon of shortening. Do this 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. It might only take 1 minute total.
  • Pour the chocolate into a pastry/ziploc bag and snip the end, leaving a rather small hole. Using this you can pipe the wings directly onto the paper.
  • Using the leftover chocolate or extra melted chocolate, pipe hatch lines across your cookies. I finished mine with some yellow sanding sugar from the baking aisle of my supermarket.   photo 3
  • Once the wings dry completely, you can peel them off the wax paper and slide them into the buttercream center of your cookie.

Voila! You’ve made Golden Snitch Macarons to show to the world you aren’t just some muggle. You’re a boss ass Kitchen Wizard. Send me photos of your creations and let me know what you think of me recipe, fellow Wizards and Witches!

For a little help here is a Master Ingredient List:

2/3 Cup Almond Meal, sifted

1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

3 Large Egg Whites (aged 3 days, if possible) <— I didn’t

5 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Yellow Food coloring (I used a paste food coloring bought at Wal-Mart)

1 Stick REAL Butter (1/2 Cup), brought to room temperature

2-3 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup creamy pb)

1/2 Teaspoon Root Beer Concentrate

2/3 Cup White Chocolate Chips

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Shortening

Yellow Sanding Sugar

Wax Paper

Pastry bag/Ziploc bag

Five Fandom Friday: Five TV Shows I Was Fashionably Late To

Sometimes being late to the party isn’t a bad thing at all. In the case of TV shows, when you’re late to the party there are inevitably at least a few seasons waiting for you to binge watch. Isn’t that one of the best feelings in the world?

Doctor Who

Doctor

It wasn’t until pretty recently that I realized that this is one of my favorite shows. It began with Torchwood on a tiny screen in my friend’s RV. I didn’t realize exactly where it came from, but I was addicted to Captain Jack Harkness. I mean, who isn’t?

It wasn’t until I moved to California to be with my husband that he introduced me to Doctor Who. While we’d been apart, someone else had hooked him. I simply picked up where he’d left off with the Tenth Doctor and continued to watch until I had to go back full circle to the Eighth Doctor.

Did you know that they released River Song, Rose Tyler, and Captain Jack Harkness Funkos at Hot Topic. I grabbed River right away because she’s my gurl. I’m still drooling over the other two.

 

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood

FMA

I watched some anime while I was in my middle school/early high school years. It kind of tapered off until it held absolutely no interest for me anymore. Over ten years later, I’m reaching for Sailor Moon (and thinking of Card Captor Sakura) with nostalgic love.

Searching for something to watch together, hubs and I fell into Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. He’d watched it in his teen years and I agreed to give it a chance. Oh boy, was I ever sucked in. This anime is set in fictional european-esque world with magical alchemy, intrigue, action, and SO MANY FEELS. The show goes right for the heart strings at the very beginning.

 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Spike

This was kind of before my time. I think I may have been eight or nine when it first aired, but that’s kind of a good thing. It means that I have ALL of the seasons waiting for me.  Sweet, strong Buffy caught between the life of a normal teen and a supernaturally strong chosen one hooked me.

I have to say that I’m probably only on season four right now. I’m rather impatiently waiting for Buffy and Spike’s relationship to happen. I’ve heard so many things about it and I can’t wait to feel all of Joss Whedon’s feels. That man writes incredible women.

 

Sherlock

Moriarty

This one I discovered all on my own. I was new to Monterey and had nothing to do with my life back then. I spent much of it perusing Netflix, searching for something to get me through the long days before hubs came home and I was no longer alone.

Sherlock ended up being that thing. The best part? There were already two seasons waiting for me. I was a bit spoiled for a Sherlock fan. The episodes were incredibly long, eating up much of my lonely days. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reminded me that deep down, I had a love for Sherlock Holmes stories that I’d never explored. This capricious, high functioning sociopath and his strong willed, loyal friend brought that into the 21st century in a way that seemed oh so right.

 

Firefly

Shepard

Again, this originally aired when I was kind of young. I vaguely remember commercials boasting the iconic spaceship, but I was ten. Firefly really came into my life during my friend’s visit to Monterey while Hubs was away. She could not believe that I hadn’t watched Firefly before, so she promptly poured us drinks and settled in for the greatest introductory lesson.

I’ll be honest. A lot of that first night was spent buzzed and chatting. But Firefly isn’t something you watch once and you’re done. There’s only one season, but those wonderful characters beg you to come back and re-experience their trials and joys, their humor and tears. Joss Whedon did it again.

I kind of believe that what makes it so great is the fact that there is only one season. It wasn’t drawn out for season after season, much like Charmed or Supernatural (not that I don’t love them). All of the glory that is a show’s first season was perfectly contained within itself with only a movie to tie up some loose ends and, of course, make us cry harder.

 

These are the five television shows that I arrived fashionably late to, but still adore above anything else. As a thanks for getting through all that, here’s my Funko Friday Tax!

photo 1
I got RIVER SONG!

 

A Geek Girl’s Guide to the Art of Baking

Last time we spoke, I let you in on my little secret: that I’m a science geek, too.

Science is really important when baking. It gets you the form that you want. On the other hand, there is also an art to baking. Especially the kind of baking you’ll find on here. Of course, you might think of art as re-creating our favorite geeky icons, but there’s a bit more to it than just that.

Totally Not Me, But Totally Cool
Totally Not Me, But Totally Cool

Flavor. I mean, they can be pretty, but we also have to eat what we make in in the end.

Here’s where you can have fun. There’s a lot of ways to add flavor to something these days. There are extracts and concentrates for everything. You can use citrus zests, flavored liqeurs, jams and jellies, as well as anything else you could think of. Add them to your batters and dough. Add them to your icing. You can use only a single note, like plain vanilla, or you can play mix and match to create depth of flavor.

We all know some tried and true flavor combinations that no one should be afraid of. For example: Peanutbutter and Jelly (or Chocolate, duh), Chocolate and Coffee, Lemon and Raspberry. Honey and Lavender is delicious in bread. Sage and Blackberry is deceptively good in tea. Sage and Lemon, even, is good in a shortbread cookie. I had a friend single-handedly devour that batch when I made it. Even, bear with me, Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar is delicious. It so is.

Just make sure that when adding these flavors you account for any extra moisture or dryness in your recipe. Adding too much liquid flavoring can cause your batter to become too runny while a bevy of dry flavor can create something too crumbly. Finding the sweet spot is key in all things, right?

Once all is said and baked, then comes the art of decoration. As I displayed with my Sailor Moon cookies, I used wax paper to draw and cut out a template for my cookie shapes. This kept me from spending a lot on cookie cutter clutter. Feel free to print your desired shape off the internet and trace over it with the wax paper. Then you have a reference photo nearby when decorating!

For piped cookies, draw your templates directly onto the paper with enough space between each so that the cookies don’t touch each other while baking, but don’t cut it out. You can simply lay the (preferably) parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and pipe your cookies directly onto the paper before throwing the whole shebang into the oven. This works well with Macarons and Spritz cookies.

Later, once all is cool, you can use buttercream frosting, royal icing, sprinkles, edible glitter (yeah, that’s real), and fondant to make your cookies geeky and pretty. I saw a DIY where one baker used fondant to cut out and make her own Sailor Moon inspired sprinkles. With a few supplied from your craft shop we could do something cool like that, too!

All in all, have fun in the kitchen. There will be failures. It happens with any venture. Just be sure to laugh it off and try again. For Christmas, Mom and I (both seasoned bakers) left a pan of cookies in the oven for about an hour. We laughed, tossed them away, and went on with our baking. Shit happens.

 

A Geek Girl’s Guide to the Science of Baking

While I am a huge fan of all things magical and fantasy, I have another side that not a lot of people get to see. I’m secretly a science geek. Sure, I suck at the math of science, but learning how the world’s “magic” works is really exciting to me.

Baking isn’t much like cooking. Most of the time, you can’t Bob Ross a little fuck up. Baking is, in fact, the magic of chemistry. Measurements have to be precise in order to obtain a desired rise, glaze, or crumb in your baked good.

Surely, this is why I’d rock at Potions at Hogwarts.

Hermoine

We start with flour. That’s kind of obvious in most cases. Usually we work with All Purpose flour which has a middle of the road gluten. This is great for cookies, quick breads, and the such as it won’t become too tough if you treat it right. There’s also cake flour which simply has a finer texture, high protein flour for chewy breads, and alternative flours like almond meal and rice flour.

Most of these have wheat which means they have gluten. This is a kind of glue that pulls together your baked good. This is produced by adding moisture to the flour and mixing correctly. Like Hermoine teaching Ron the correct Swish and Flick technique, there is always a trick to gluten. Never over mix because you’ll end up with a tough bread or a runny batter.

Another very important aspect of baking is the rise. In some cases you don’t want a rise at all, like pie crust. In other cases, like cookies and bread, we need a chemical that will react with the other ingredients and cause pockets of air to form within the product. This is where yeast and baking powder/soda come into play.

Yeast is a fickle creature, an actual live bacteria. It needs just the right temperature to wake up and a decent amount of sugars to get going. Sounds a lot like myself. The best way to awaken the beast is by adding it to luke warm water with a dose of sugar or honey.

Baking Soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate, is a base. This leavener requires some kind of acid within the recipe to work. Think back to your elementary school days when you made the volcano. What did you put in it? Baking soda and vinegar (the acid). Most times the acid comes in the form of brown sugar (who knew?), buttermilk, or lemon juice.

Baking Powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar (a dry acid). Sometimes it has cornstarch as well, but not always. This is nowhere near as strong as baking soda, but it is a base and an acid that activates itself once wet. This means that you cannot simply mix and forget a baking powder batter. It will activate once more once heat is applied to the mixture.

Other ingredients create structure. Eggs are moisteners, tenderizers, and binders all at once. An egg means things are going to keep together as you bake. Milk often provides moisture and tenderness. Oil and butter keep the product from going stale by coating the flour and protecting it from the air.

It all seems like magic when you beat together strange things, add heat, and come out with a solid product. Sometimes I feel like a witch brewing up things in my kitchen. Other times I feel kind of like a mad scientist. Either way, I try to enjoy myself in the kitchen. Knowing a bit more about the how and why of baking might ease some of your kitchen worries and let you have a little more fun, too.

Binge Baking Because I Can

This weekend I made another attempt at making geeky iced cookies and you know what?

This time they turned out 99.99% better!

photo 3
Hubs purchased something for himself on Amazon so he let me pick out these sweet socks!

I won’t post a recipe for these because, really, I just used the Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe in Ro Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies cookbook. I tweaked it a little bit because I didn’t have lemon available. Instead, I added a mixture of vanilla and almond extracts to both the dough and the icing. It turned out so freaking delicious that I’ve been eating them for breakfast every morning.

That’s okay when your husband makes you do cardio, right?

Annnnyway, I’ve found a sugar cookie recipe that I like and nearly have the icing down pat. The icing was much thicker than the first test, but still had a habit of running. That’s why the moons turned out a bit derpy. Still, I was so impressed with the cookie flavor that I didn’t care. Because it can be cute as shit, but you still have to eat that cookie. It better taste like a freaking food orgasm at the same time.

photo 1
Using wax paper I made a cookie stencil and cut the shapes out with a paring knife. Suck it expensive cookie cutters.
photo 2
Totally ignore the mess in the background. Please?

I originally wanted to make my favorite cats, Artemis and Luna from Sailor Moon, into cute macarons. (Cute French cookies not to be confused with macaroons. No, seriously. Don’t.) I didn’t have almond meal on hand so I began another batch of sugar cookies. This time around I have a bag of what looks to be really fine almond meal (purchased in the baking section of Wal-mart).

My mother-in-law has celiac disease and cannot have gluten or dairy. She bemoans the lack of good gluten/dairy free cookies in the world and I immediately thought of these. I haven’t yet decided what geeky fandom I’d like to approach with this recipe. Comment down below with your ideas and I’ll be sure to share an actual recipe next time.

Also, I applied for the Library job and received a kind of mini interview upon resume delivery. I was the first to apply. I’m filled with so much trepidation and excitement.

What I Read in December 2015 (And maybe January 2016)

After Nanowrimo I kind of had a falling out with writing. I pushed on into December, but lost the fire not long after. I fell into a kind of writer’s block that was accompanied by depression. I threw myself into reading thinking that there was no better way to learn to write than by example.

It began with Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series. I threw myself into the fun steampunk series, emptying Christmas gift cards into procuring the rest of the series. I wasn’t let down, as you probably know. There are vampires, werewolves, dirigibles, and, of course, Picklemen. 51K4NcinI2L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

There was just enough money left on a gift card to pick up the kindle version of Maggie Steifvater’s Raven Boys. This doesn’t have the same fun that Carriger’s YA books had. It was more of a slow introduction to a very mysterious world, several of them. Steifvater introduces us to a group of teens somehow bound to one another by a magical, Celtic king.

51zb1Ggd5VL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

I haven’t picked up the rest, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to.  I fell in love with Blue’s strange, mismatched family of psychics. I fell in love with Adam’s desperation to become more than his upbringing. I found my own little brother in Ronan. I think this means I need to renew my library card.

I’ve been eyeballing Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows for-practically-ever. I’m beyond thrilled that I found the print version and hubs bought it for me. It is beautifully designed and what’s on the inside is devilishly good. The reader follows six criminals through the biggest heist of their life and all of the ghosts of their pasts in the world that Bardugo built in the Grisha series.

Six-of-Crows

My only complaint was the ending. It’s not even a complaint really. It’s more a growl of frustration. Be forewarned. This is most likely not a stand alone novel like I had assumed. If it is… well, then I’m going to throw it very, very hard…. at Bardugo.

Somewhere in between these books I ran out of cash and turned tot he unread pile on my shelf. I must have picked up Unbreakable by Kami Garcia in the sale section of Books-a-Million back in Maryland and forgotten. I remember wanting it, thinking of it as a YA Supernatural. With nothing else to read, I thought “what the heck” and pulled it.

Kami Garcia/Unbreakable
Kami Garcia/Unbreakable

I wanted to love it. I wanted to defeat awful monsters and see some really kick ass girls. She worked on Beautiful Creatures and I remembered loving that book.

Nope.

The protagonist loses her mother to a vengeful spirit and finds herself pulled up with a group of kids whose families have sworn to protect the world from ghosts and demons. Sounds cool, but falls woefully short. Everything happens so quickly that character development feels very lack luster. One moment the protagonist hates her love interest and the next she’s swearing her love for him.

I was beyond frustrated with this book. It had potential. It had bones, but there was no flesh on the bones to breathe life into the story. I felt the protagonist’s dismay at being normal amongst all the weird, but Garcia let the romantic story take center stage and it ran away from her.

Carriger, Steifvater, and Bardugo did really well with their recent YA books. Choose Carriger for fun and espionage. Choose Steifvater for mystery and magic. Choose Bardugo for story weaving and world building.

 

The Balancing Act

I haven’t been posting lately. My days off would come around and I’d tell myself I should write a post, but the ambition wouldn’t be there. I’ve been driving an hour to work and an hour back, leaving very little daylight to myself. So instead writing anything, I’d finish my chores and boot up steam to play Fallout 4.

Which isn’t good.

chuck

Something had to change. But I wasn’t about to give up my latest crutch. No, there needed to be a better balance. If I was ever going to become the author I always wanted to be I needed to get back to writing. But, because I work 30+hours a week and commute an hour each way, there needed to be some leeway.

My plan as it stands now is to hit a Nanowrimo word count on my days off, punching out over 1667 words. On the days that I work I’m willing to settle for a 500 word count if it means I’m keeping up the ritual. Because I have plans to write a YA trilogy these counts don’t include my blog posts.

I’m thinking since it has been so hard for me to find content for my posts that I should post more about writing. I’m always trying to do this, but never follow through. Boo on me.  I’m also toying with the idea of doing Hot Topic Hauls because I’ve been buying so freaking much from work lately. I had two Hot Topic bags shoved in the corner of my closet. And a couple more laying on the kitchen table downstairs.

Can there just be more hours in the day?

I’m honestly just looking forward to my birthday this Sunday. I’m not doing ANYTHING. No dishes. No floor cleaning. No laundry. No work. Just me.

As for my posts, what would you guys like to see? What kind of writing posts would you like?

Classy Geek Chic Picks

Who doesn’t window shop on the internet? Isn’t that kind of what it’s for? We all make wishlists on our favorite sites and count the dollar bills in our bank accounts until we can click the checkout button.

My newest obsession is classy geek fashion. I’m talking classic silhouettes with a funky, geek twist. Most of the time I just wear jeans and tee’s to work, but there are days that I want to feel dressed up and still celebrate my favorite fandoms. Here are the items in my wishlist.

 

This chiffon top from We Love Fine looks breezy and would be cute with a black cami underneath. From a distance it looks classy, but upon closer inspection it has the D&D dragon logo and D20s with dagger and staffs. $35

 

 

When isn’t a dress classy? Each dress boasts a scene from the sci-fi world of Star Wars, the pastel dream of Cloud City and the ice blue Hoth. Sure, it’s a little more obvious, but I feel like the silhouette makes up for it. $90

This pretty little beauty is sitting in my Hot Topic wishlist, waiting for my next paycheck to drop. It has the pretty pattern that you would associate with blue and white china, but upon closer inspection you find the Doctor’s favorite thing in the world, the Tardis. $34.90

 

 

 

I Fell Down the Fallout Rabbit Hole

Too often, I sit down with my laptop in my free time and do…nothing. Sure, I browse Pinterest for a while and even tell myself I should be working on that YA story I’ve been planning for years. But, in reality, I do a whole lot of nothing and I get insanely bored.

While I have shit coordination, I’ve always wanted to play video games. Hubs wants it, too, because sitting around and watching anime together isn’t exactly interactive. I’ve always loved to watch my loved ones play video games, from the NES Zelda games when I was really little to all of my brother’s fun XBox 360 games when he was a teen.

While the games I’m looking forward to haven’t released yet, (Pokemon and Zelda) we own a ton of games that have gotten little to no gameplay.

Fallout4

Especially Fallout 4.

I think we each played it once for a few hours when it released and then promptly forgot about it. Which is a waste of money in my book. So, I hooked up the spare computer and bugged hubs for his Steam password.

And holy shit, do I love it. It’s the first thing I want to do when I come home now. I’m pathetically awful and I have to put the game settings on easy just to be able to play, but I’m having so much fun.

Hubs sits along side me, laughing at all of the inappropriate and stupid things that I do. I’m traveling the Commonwealth, calling my companion Cocksworth instead of Codsworth as he glitches over the map, making awful gun sounds with every movement. I’m screaming in surprise as I turn away from my husband to find angry Supermutants standing in front of me, as if waiting for me to pay attention.

It’s been a riot so far. Hopefully I’ll have more stories for you, like the time I made my brother carry a garden gnome across the Fallout 3 map. I’m pretty excited for Fallout: Nuka World and to see what crazy trouble I can get into there.

Do you play Fallout 4? What are your funniest stories? Who’s your companion? (I’m thinking of switching to Valentine soon.)

Fallout

The Punderdome

When I saw this, I thought it would be a wonderful addition to our gaming collection. My husband is the king of god awful puns. He’s comprised of 50% puns and 50% song lyrics.

puns

But I got the game and it has sat on my table for weeks now. I read the back of the box and realized that I don’t think I’m smart enough or quick enough to play this game. I’m super intimidated by it.

You get two subject cards and you have to create a pun using both of them. I take forever to think. And I need alone time to come up with things. There’s now way I could play this with my clever and quick husband.

So it sits.

And waits.

For now.

Disclaimer: I received this game for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. That in no way affects my opinion of the product. I’m just scared of my husband.

He is a Ravenclaw after all. And as a Slytherin, I don’t like to lose.

 

My Youtube Addiction: Speed Painting

Every morning that I have a little time to enjoy my coffee, I prop open my laptop and pull up Youtube. Usually, my husband is still asleep so I don’t have to listen to him complain about the sound coming from my end of the house.

Growing up, I loved to draw. At first, I did little fashion sketches with the dream of becoming a fashion designer. Later on, I did more character sketches. I pulled people from my head and brought them to paper the best that I could. Through my high school and college years, my drawing filled the edges of my notebooks. It was a mechanism that helped me to better pay attention.

But, I never really took it seriously. Writing was my calling, I threw all of myself into and let the sketches become doodles. Now, I’m wishing that I’d kept up with it, that I’d learned more.

I don’t know if I’m telling myself I’d learn anything from watching these speed paintings or if I just long for the ability to do these things myself (without actually having to work at it, of course). But I let myself fall head long into binges.

Audra Auclair

Audra No FaceThere’s something creepily ethereal about all of Audra Auclair’s paintings that I absolutely love. The best part is that sometimes she takes on fandoms that I love as well. Someday, I want to frame all of her Ghibli paintings and hang them in my home.

Jacquelin Deleon

Jacqueline deleon

I love the graphic nature of her paintings, the heavy outline that makes them so striking. Jacquelin Deleon often paints otherworldly, tattooed women, goddesses, and mermaids. Her ability to create depth with vibrant watercolors makes me so jealous.

Victoria Gedvillas

Victoria

Going by the name of Juicy Ink on youtube, Victoria Gedvillas posts videos the most often, I think. She doesn’t actually paint that much, opting to use copic markers for all of her adorable character drawings. I’ve learned the power of the thumbnail sketch and color study by watching her videos. She loves to take on the coolest women in all of the fandoms, slowly dragging me deeper and deeper into her youtube channel.

Instead of watching these, I really should go upstairs and gather my sketchbooks and watercolors. Perhaps I’ll put these videos on in the background, their lovely music playing in the background.

Disclaimer: All rights to these photos belong to the artists who made them. I just wanted to give them all the shout out that they deserve because they’re all pretty awesome at what they do.

 

Let’s Get Serious About Creative Slumps

I think all bloggers, artists, writers and creators of any kind know what I’m talking about. And I’m lying at the very bottom of that nasty slump.

It’s something that happens for creatives when they stop creating. That voice in the back of their mind tells them that they just can’t do it anymore, that they were never very good at it anyway. We fall into this irritable depression that slaps a lot of gray over the world around you.

kiki

You know what the cure is. You know what could make everything better, even a little.

But you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

You can’t bring yourself to create.

My excuse is that I don’t have enough time. It’s an hour to work and an hour back and after driving on top of my shift, I’m beat. I don’t want to do what my mind is telling me is more work. I let myself get away with it by telling myself I’m not good enough anyway. It isn’t going to be the best seller that I want it to be.

I’m letting it affect other areas of my life, too.

And it has to end. In someways, writing this post is the first step back. I’m making something. I’m stringing together words in a way that no one else would. I can tell myself I’m not that awful at writing. I can tell myself that every first draft is shit.

The next step for me, I think, is painting. I truly, deeply love watercolor painting. I always wanted to be able to paint as a teen and if I’d discovered it then I might have gone to art school like I wanted. So, perhaps when this next paycheck rolls through I’ll go nuts at the craft store. I’ll pick up all the things I’ve seen the artists use in their tutorials.

And use them.

Just for the fun of it.

Eventually I need to get back on track with the book rolling around my head. I’m almost thinking that meditating on the setting and characters might bring each of them more fully to life for me so that writing them flows so much easier. Also, finding the right playlist helps bring emotions to the tips of my fingers while writing.

Moral of the story is when that creative slump hits you and tells you that you’re worthless or that you can’t do what you want, flip it the bird. Then, don’t do your art for profit (or dreams of making it big).

Do it for fun. Do it for you.

Then the beauty of it will come back, bit by bit. I know that any kind of creation can be tasking, but we all know that it’s worth it. That our souls we meant for it.

Things I Love Thursday: the Birthday Wishlist Edition

My birthday is more than a month away, but I’m one of those people that celebrate all month. I get pumped for a day all to me. Last year we went south to the Maryland Renaissance Fair. I’m not so sure what we will do this year, probably dinner somewhere at Destiny, USA (Formerly the Carousel Mall of Syracuse) since we’re so close.

I thought that I would make a pre-shopping list to share the things I’m dying to get my hands on.

Books

The day after my birthday, two authors that I love dearly are dropping new novels.

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the Grisha series and this sequel to Six of Crows is set in that very same fantastic universe. Something happened to one of my favorite characters at the end of Six of Crows so I’m excited to finally pick back up where it left off.

Laini Taylor wrote Daughter of Smoke and Bone, a book I loved so much that I ordered a second copy for my best friend. If I understand correctly, this book is set in the same universe, after the war between the great awful thing and the characters from that series. Confused as I am, I still really want this book.

Charm Beads

I think we all know that I have an obsession with these things. But I haven’t bought myself any of them yet! Now that I’m working at Hot Topic, I can wear my charm bracelet without ruining it and I need to add some cool beads to it.

What can I say? I wear my geek on my sleeve. Or, my wrist, rather.

Fan Art

Specifically, Charlie Bowater’s interpretation of characters from A Court of Mist and Fury. I’m currently rereading it because it has hit the top of my favorites list in an obsessive way. Mix that with Bowater’s devastatingly beautiful art and I’m sold.

Bowater1bOWATER2

These would have to hang in the area I choose to use for art and writing. Hopefully, it would inspire me to reach for Bowater and Maas’s levels of awesome.