To Fanfic, or Not To Fanfic?

 

I’m not asking if you should read fanfiction, because you totally should; I’m asking myself if I should write some fanfiction.

The dilemma… or rather more honestly, dilemmas, are:

1) Insecurity

 I am actually a little bit shy when it comes to my fiction writing.

I’ll brag all day about knocking out a research paper in two hours, or ramble on this here blog, or even type up a nice review on Goodreads. I don’t even care about my bad grammar because I went for that particular phrase because I’m Texan, dammit, and my writing style is very… particular… as well. Which comes to the second point.

2) Writing Style

I write like I think and talk. I prefer it because it flows more naturally. I even use a talk-to-text program to help me capture a lot of my writing. Yes, I’ll go back and edit, because rambling doesn’t always flow, of course. But the main point is that not everyone out there is going to like my particular style, and honestly, I just don’t want to hear that.

3) Feedback

I’m not really looking for feedback on improving my writing.

Unless the feedback can help me with character development, plot points, and world creation. I love reading, and when I was younger, I desired to write a book. I’m not expecting to get published, I just REALLY REALLY need to get these stories out of my head. I’ve literally been obsessing over one for OVER A DECADE, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!

I don’t want to change my writing style because I like it. I’m weird, and I will never want to change that.

4) Writer’s Block

I get carried away, and then frustrated.

Inspiration is very inconsistent in my life. Please see one of my first blog posts about the Inspiration Fairy and Mr. Motivation. I’ll go weeks with a drive of obsession, then months with the focus on other projects. Unless there is a deadline set by myself and I truly hold myself to it, (which I usually don’t if it’s difficult), or from another entity (like school or work), I don’t do the work.

Furthermore, when I get carried away, I get very jumbled up, and loose track of where I was going with the story. Which is why I started writing very detailed outlines.

I was able to write the outline of my first book, a complicated post-apocalyptic, at war dystopian Sci-fi.

Have I gotten around to actually writing the book?

Noooooooo! Not. At. All!

I have so much research to do. Hence…:

5) Research

I obsess over accuracy. I need to make sure things are as accurate as possible. That means that I’m going to find maps, plot out paths, research theoretical physics, plan out weather patterns, the works. For my Sci-fi book, I’ve researched what the world would look like after the ice caps melt so I could have my character run from the Appalachians to the Rockies and know if she has to cross an over-flooded river. She does, just so you know.

6) Ships

Shipping, as in “relationships” is a major thing in Fanfiction. And my ships are often… different, or rare? I know, rule 54, someone else out there has thought of it, so I’m not really alone; but dang if it ain’t terrifying having a world judge you on your pairing!

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Lol. ^ Thank you Tumblr.

Welp. I just wrote this to work through some things. I think I’ll write it, at my own pace, but have my partner be the one to set a deadline for me. I’m going to do this for this story and my books.

I can’t believe I just admitted I’m going to write a fanfiction. Oh jeez. You peoples (all two of you lol) know my face, aaahhh! Well, I won’t put my real name on it, obviously.

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Keto Diet

I somehow agreed to a Keto diet with my boyfriend. I think it was something like:

“It’s only 30 days!”

“I’m doing it with you!”

“We can reset our digestive systems/Maybe we can find out what is making you sick!”

“We can have a good habit after!”

Those all sound find-and-dandy, but darnit I want ice cream and pasta right now.

And, it’s only been day three.

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Me ^ and my frustration at the cravings already happening early in the diet. I love Martin Freeman’s reactions.

 

Essentially, the Keto diet is this: high fat (unsaturated, preferably), moderate protein, and low carb, according to this infogram from myketokitchen.com, seen here.

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So far, the thing that has been most helpful is the Carb Manager app. I’ve been able to add foods to track how many calories, carbs, protein and fats are in the foods I eat, and stay under a goal.

Now, I’m not exactly excited to be doing a diet. I’ve tried in the past (I didn’t really know what I was doing and I wasn’t nearly as dedicated). I don’t particularly trust diets nor to I trust myself, but I know that I have a lot of trust in my partner, Bo, and I appreciate that he’s doing it with me. I truly feel that he’s a wonderful place of inspiration and encouragement. And I have to give credit to him for being such a good sport in supporting  my complaining butt. He’s also been telling me every thing that he craves when he craves it (mostly Oreo’s), and it makes us both laugh every time.

At least Bo’s willing to put up with my dramatic complaining that I do for the sake of making myself laugh and cope with the cravings/hunger. My stomach still needs time to shrink and I’m still figuring out how to get nutrient-rich and higher calorie foods without carbs.

In addition to the diet, I decided to limit red meat and spices for the month long diet. I’ve been having really bad reactions to spicy foods for about 2 years now and haven’t been able to narrow down exactly what it is that’s causing the reactions. Sausage, pepper, jalapeno, curry, Tex-Mex, you name it, I feel sick a couple hours later. So I figured this is a good time to reset my system and maybe narrow down some foods by reintroducing the foods one week at a time after January is up.

Thankfully, we have a reward set up in February; it coincides with Valentine’s weekend. We’re attending the Cirque du Soleil show “Crystal” and then treating ourselves to a couple’s massage and dinner.

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Last Valentine’s, the day before, I was SUPER sick with food poisoning (under cooked pork-sausage), so dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse on the actual day was very disappointing, mostly because I was still recovering and didn’t have an appetite. We should’ve canceled and gone another day, but I am very stubborn and wanted to appreciate Bo’s romantic gestures. He was so sad I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should’ve, but that truly was not his fault. So, to make up for my stubborn-ness, I am treating him to a good time this year.

I absolutely love Cirque du Soleil. I’ve been to… uhh… *counts fingers* La Nouba, Alegría twice, , Le Rêve–which is not Cirque’s but very a similar kind of production and it’s excellent, Varekai, Dralion, I think I saw Koozå when I was young, or maybe that was Quidam or Alegría again?, I know I saw Alegría twice for sure. Somewhere around 7 or 8 shows.

I highly recommend, if the show comes to town, or a nearby town, go.

I’m counting down the days until this blasted diet ends and I get to see an amazing new show.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that this diet will be of needed and great help. I’m a realist, and understand completely the benefits of eating healthy. So, know that I am taking this time as a great opportunity for my future. I’ll just complain along the way, it’s my nature–to humor myself.

A Book a Week

In my youth, I was a voracious reader. All through elementary, middle school, and junior high, I read quickly and in great quantity. Then high school hit. I read the required readings, and Harry Potter of course, but beyond that I read maybe 7 or 8 books for fun, per year. College was worse. I can count how many books I read outside of classes on two hands, and that was over the course of 10 years. (Yes, I was in college for 10 years, it took me a very long time to figure out my trajectory, and it was well worth the wait.)

My final senior year, I read several books for fun. I graduated and continued trying to find a career; I read at least three more books in the new year. I missed books so much, I had a lot of catching up to do. The problem was, I was really unhappy at my current job, and I made it my priority to spend as much time as I could finding a place to start my career.

Finally, in March, I was offered a job. I love it and plan to be here for several years.

This job–answering crisis calls for a domestic violence hotline–is emotionally taxing but worth the fulfillment. And a perk has been time reading between calls.

I met my goal of 30 books in one year. Goodreads helped me achieve that.

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I did it!!

Now, 2018, I have a new goal.

Read a book a week.

You can too! Track your progress, organize your books, favorite and review the best ones, follow authors and friends!

Check it out and have fun. And feel free to friend me! Especially if you like memoirs, dystopian futures, or classics.

I aim to clear out my current library. So I made a list to help me. I don’t have to follow this list exclusively, but rather use it as a guide to pick-and-choose.

Here’s what it looks like for the New Year:

  • “The Historian” – Elizabeth Kostova
  • “Gravity’s Rainbow” – Thomas Pynchon
  • “Cyrano de Bergerac” – Edmond Rostand
  • “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “Atonement” – Ian McEwan
  • “The Joy Luck Club” – Amy Tan
  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee
  • “The Martian” – Andy Weir (my sister read this book right before the movie came out and loved it, and I happened to be at a book store and saw a couple signed copies were leftover, so I bought her one and me one; she was thrilled)
  • “A Clockwork Orange” – Anthony Burgess
  • “Ready Player One” – Ernest Cline
  • “Pinterest Power: Market Your Business, Sell Your Product, & Build Your Brand on the World’s Hottest Social Network” – Jason Miles, Karen Lacey (honestly, this was bought back in 2013 or something, we shall see if I keep this book after I read it)
  • “Running with Scissors” – Augusten Burroughs
  • “The Golden Compass” His Dark Materials #1 – Philip Pullman
  • “Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood” – Alida Nugent
  • “House of Leaves” – Mark Z. Danielewski
  • “Angels & Demons” Robert Langdon #1 – Dan Brown
  • “Contact” – Carl Sagan
  • “Zen & the Art of Writing” – Ray Bradbury
  • “Prey” – Michael Crichton
  • “We the Living” – Ayn Rand
  • “Under the Dome” – Stephan King
  • “Divergent” #1 – Veronica Roth
  • “Wonder” – R. J. Palacio
  • “Outlander” #1 – Diana Gabaldon
  • “Atlas Shrugged” – Ayn Rand
  • “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” – J. K. Rowling
  • “On Death & Dying” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
  • “Bossypants” – Tina Fey
  • “The Bone Clocks” – David Mitchell (signed!)
  • “The Dante Club” #1 – Matthew Pearl (I didn’t even know this was a series, whoops)
  • “Shōgun” Asian Saga #1 – Jame Clavell (I have started this one 3 times, throughout my life, and never finished; well that’s going to change!)
  • “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World” – Bill Nye (signed!!)
  •  “The Republic” – Plato (I’ve read most of it, but not all the way through consecutively)
  • “Lolita” – Vladimir Nabokov
  • “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” – Madeleine Thien
  • “The Fountainhead” – Ayn Rand
  • “Odd Thomas” #1 – Dean Koontz
  • “Thus Spoke Zarathrustra” – Friedrich Nietzche, Walter Kaufmann translator
  • “The Little Prince” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Richard Howard translator
  • “Deep, Down, Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, & the Miracle That Set Them Free” – Héctor Tobar
  • “The Call of the Wild” – Jack London
  • “Into the Wild” – Jon Krakauer
  • “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” – Cheryl Strayed
  • “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” – David Sedaris (I really disliked one of his other books I read, but I’ll give this one a shot anyway because of the title and cover art)
  • “Choke” – Chuck Palahniuk
  • “The Kite Runner” – Khaled Hosseini
  • “15 Seconds” – Andrew Gross
  • “Dark Matter” – Blake Crouch
  • “Magical Thinking” – Augusten Burroughs
  • “Murder on the Orient Express” Hercule Poirot #10 – Agatha Christie
  • “The Merchant of Death” Pendragon #1 – D. J. MacHale
  • “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, & the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” – Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter (contributor)
  • “Fight Club” – Chuck Palahniuk
  • “The Boy on the Bridge” The Hungry Plague #2 – M. R. Carey
  • “Geisha, a Life” – Mineko Iwasaki, Rande Brown
  • “Orange Is the New Black” – Piper Kerman
  • “East of Eden” – John Steinbeck
  • “X/1999” – CLAMP
  • “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Millennium #1 – Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland (translator)
  • “A Million Little Pieces” – James Frey
  • “Catch-22” #1 – Joseph Heller
  • “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – Stephan Chbosky
  • “A Wind in the Door” A Wrinkle in Time Quintet #2 – Madeleine L’Engle

As you may have guessed, there are more than 52 books in this list, giving me a plethora to choose from. All of these books I have never read, so they will be a brand new experience for me. Yes, I have many classics to catch up on. Some of these are very special copies, signed by the authors, or old versions I’ve dug up in thrift stores. I love real books, I can’t do digital (except for manga that I don’t want to buy).

There are some manga series listed. Many manga series are 10 or so volumes, depending, and I will include the first or last volume as a book read to represent reading the entire series; I don’t cut corners here! Take, for example, “Bleach”–I read that one in 2017; there are 74 volumes, so I split them up into 25, 25, and 24 books to one novel. Not far off from the actual story arcs. I could’ve lived without the last arc, I was very disappointed and should’ve stopped after the Aizen battle, that was good enough for me.

Anywhoo. Check out Goodreads. Go on. DO IT.

 

Gift Ideas 2017

It’s the holiday season, and that means gifts. I really sound like a commercial. Ugh. Now I sound like the Grinch…

Pardon me while I go watch the Jim Carrey Grinch movie for the third time this month, if I’m being honest here.

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LOL

Let’s cut to the chase, these are some cool gift ideas I’ve come across. Maybe they’re for me, maybe they’re for someone you know? Either way, you can expect that they are quirky and/or nerdy.

Target’s Modern Tree Toppers – I’m head-over-heels for these: an infinity light star that changes colors, and a neon sign star that also changes colors. Great for teens and college students.

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Little Lapel Plant Pins – I really, really, really want to copy this collection of little plant pins. I already collect souvenir lapel pins from places I visit and use them at push pins in my bulletin boards; now I want to make a garden “scene”.

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Here are a few places you can get adorable pins:

262da488647c9147c0d0ec11e7d1e8a7 Nier: Automata Enamel Pin

il_570xN.1314970404_9oka  Set of 3 Plant Pins

a_mano-louisa_podlich-enamel_pin-plant_pin-lapel_pin-3  Aloe Enamel Lapel Pin

047EP_Plant_03  Plant Pin + Post

Succulents_and_Plants_3_Pins_NO_TIMLEE_540x  Succulent Plant Pins with Drop

HTB1ZHOMRpXXXXbKaXXXq6xXFXXXj_original  Cacti Plant Pins

Processed with VSCO with lv01 preset  Succulent Plant Pin Set #4

 

 Star Wars Patches – Because the movie is coming out this Xmas and I am SOOO excited. I need some subtle nerdy fandom to carry with me.
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Yub Nub Ewok Morale patch – made from PVC and stitching. I feel like these would be perfect on a satchel or backpack.
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Rogue One Squad Rank Iron-on – you’re the rebellious of the rebels.
Cake Signs – I love these cheeky cake toppers. I saw them featured on one of my favorite blogs, and then I bought them myself, and I just have to say they are so much better in person.

Marble Dual Powerbank Charger – any portable charger will do. You can’t go wrong with this stocking-stuffer. This one just happens to be opal and I need it.

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Pegasus Unicorn Pool Float – you can find anything on Amazon, and I found the thing I need for hot summers in Texas. The model on Amazon freaks me out a little; why is she looking at me that way with a pool float, that’s weird, lady.

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Corgi On Fleek Shirt – I love this YouTube vblogger, Ryen, and his corgi, Gatsby. If you haven’t had the chance to watch his videos, do it. Not only are there plenty of footage of Gatsby being adorable, but there is lots of nerdy reviews, cooking, adventures in nature and Target, and saltwater aquarium upkeep, all to keep you interested.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ❤

 

Gallery Walls, My Way… The Lazy Way

DISCLAIMER: You may be disappointed.

I’m just being honest.

~*~*~*~

I have an obsession with gallery walls. Just look at my Pinterest board devoted to it:

Ridiculous? NEVAAARRR

I’m currently in the process of creating a gallery wall for my bedroom.

It took some trial-and-error and a few holes in the wall to get everything up. It took some planning, I couldn’t just pull from my pile of… stuff.

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Stuff. On my rarely-made bed. Hey self, tell me why you decided to share this photo with the world?

I probably have too much “stuff” so it’s been a process just trying to sort through and pick the best pictures. I have such a hard time separating myself from sentimental pieces, or the plans that I will have my own home one day where I can hang up my other pictures. Is it weird that I have a couple of photos of myself from when I was a kid? I just really adore the candidness of those photos, and it brings me to a time when I was not so worried with adult problems. Surely, I’m not alone with this thought?

But I’m rambling.

Basically, my way of hanging a gallery wall is very, very lazy.

First, I had to figure out how and if I was going to hang this beast.

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Author’s foot for reference

It’s four pieces. I can’t frame that! It’s so awkwardly shaped and has a freaking mind of its own. It likes to fall, or slide around, do flips and spins, because it’s so into being beastly.

Beast really is an underused word.

Beast, beast, beast, beast, beast, beast….

So I decided the beast deserves its own wall.

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Stare into the hall of darkness! Let the void and mystery take you!!

As for the actual gallery wall, I started with my charcoal drawing called “Transparence”. It’s the largest artwork, second to Beast, and is a great conversation piece. Also, I spent a crap-ton framing it so it kinda needs to be a focal point.

I wanted at least three areas of focus, the other two being a print by my favorite watercolor artist Agnes Cecile (check out her speed paintings on YouTube) and a watercolor face I did in college.

Another part of creating a gallery wall is the color scheme of the room it’s in. My color scheme for the bedroom is black, gray, and red–as the main colors–with pops of bright, random colors, especially oranges, turquoise, and tropical greens. This same scheme is echoed in my artwork.

By the way… I did not choose the wall color, and I’m not allowed to change it.

UGH, TAUPE, I HATE YOU.

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HAAAAATE ALLLLLL OF YOUUUUUU.

I originally had a gallery wall the side of the room with the window, but took it down. I changed the layout of my room completely when I discarded some terrible Walmart bookcases.

Don’t buy Walmart guys; go to Target, or anywhere else.

The problem I had in my room with those bookcases, aside from being poor quality, was that every time I opened my door there would be the side of my shelves. That view was just no good; interrupted the floooowww~.

Getting rid of the bookcases really opened up the room. I had to fix the holes from the previous gallery wall, and paint over them, which took fooooooreeeeeeveeeerrrr. Here’s a little tip for smaller holes, though! Use a bar of soap to fill in the tiny holes, like so:

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Picture found on Pinterest

Totally works! Save you some hole-filler, or whatever that goop is called. Can you tell I’m sooooo DIY savvy? Ha!  (I am now informed it is called wall plaster….)

But if the holes are really large, definitely invest in wall goop. If it’s a huge hole, you’ll need to pack the hole with newspaper and then slather on the goop; most likely there will need to be multiple layers of goop. Be sure to utilize a scraper to get a flat even surface, then spray on some texturizer (found at hardware stores) and paint over everything.

To save some hole-making, I wanted to plan out the arrangement as well.  Momtastic does a fantastic tutorial using the butcher paper technique.

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She makes it look so easy. Probably is. I just… meh.

But this is the lazy way! Shortcuts all around!

I wanted this gallery wall to look nice on the wall, so I still had to plan things out. You can’t just start hanging things on the wall and hope that it turns out alright. The one time I did that, I got lucky…. There were a lot of holes to fill when I had to vacate that room, just wasn’t worth the trouble.

I still measured my wall so that I knew what my limits were. My wall is about 11 feet wide, and I can’t get an accurate measurement of the height (because I’m short and tape measures like to give up on me) but I’m pretty sure it’s around 9 feet. Once I figured out the area I could work in, I laid out my artworks on the ground to figure out how I wanted them to be grouped.

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Layout 1, before framing and editing. There are SO MANY pieces!!

Sorry for the blurriness, there’s only so much I can do with a phone camera and shaky hands. I still wish I had gotten a Nokia Lumia instead of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha….

Currently undergoing some reorganization as well… Unkempt bed, holes in the wall, blurry photos, reorganizing mayhem–I just come off as a hot mess, don’t I?

But don’t ignore the puzzle! Gaze upon it’s splendor! Admire it!

Can you tell I’m quite proud of my family’s puzzling hobby?

To hang the pictures, I tried to stay away from using too many nails (I learned my lesson). Use Command Strips instead!

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Cue the angel chorus~~~

Did you know you can actually cut the strips in half for smaller, lighter pictures? I just saved you moneys. 😀

After all that work laying it out, I couldn’t bring myself to hang it up. Something felt off, I was overwhelmed… there was just too much. 

I decided that I had waaaaay too many pictures for my wall and edited out several pieces. Some made their way to the boyfriend’s apartment, some went up in the room on other walls, some have been thrown into the dungeon (my closet), and the rest have been ditched.

What was left were arranged in this setup:

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Man, my camera does not do ANY artwork justice. UGH. Where did all the colors go??!

Aaaaand then I ordered an new Agnes Cecile print for Xmas… and also moved the artwork around… again.

THIS has been a year of planning, and it still hasn’t gone up. It’s now the holiday season and my pictures are still laying on the ground.

As for the wall that used to be a gallery wall that I mentioned previously, it now has shelves. That’s another “How-To, My Way… The Lazy Way.” If I get around to it. I probably won’t at least for the one that was done in my room, because: LIFE UPDATE, I may or may not be IN my room next year….

OOoooo, enigmatic phrasing…!

Just think on that a bit.

Until then!

List of Artwork

  1. Others’ Voices” print — Agnes Cecile
  2. Transparence” — me, professionally framed by Aaron Brothers
  3. Dark Side of the Firework” print — saltyshadow, no longer available
  4. ‘3D’ Blue Orchids drawing on black paper — me
  5. Rainbow Pixel Skull — DIY
  6. Femme 46” print — Aja ebsq on Etsy
  7. Mute Butterfly” print — Amy Judd
  8. The Golden Forest” print — Gustav Klimt
  9. “Blurred Sigh” — me

 

I Bought a Car… & a Cat! Some other things happened too.

Life update!

I bought a car!

Her name is Skelly.

She’s a 2018 Toyota Corolla SE, meaning Sports Edition. Never did I imagine purchasing anything remotely related to a sports car, but I did, I did. And I have no regrets!

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She looks exactly like this, minus the desert mountains. I’m in central Texas, the desert is out west, y’all. I’ve got tons of allergy-ridden cedar trees to look at/avoid out here.

Skelly is white, with “orange zest” interiors. Seriously, that was the description at the dealership! It’s black leatherette interiors with orange stitching. So zesty.

I named her Skelly because the colors remind me of Halloween, and being a white car associated with Halloween, I immediately thought of Jack Skellington.

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Love the Hamlet reference, Jack.

There’s more parts to this post, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. And it involves my second big purchase this month, considerably less money, but will probably be around longer than my car.

A new kitten!

We (the boyfriend and I) adopted him together from a local animal shelter in Austin. Originally my idea, not only did it take some convincing, but the adoption was a benefit of good timing. You see, my coworker was fostering a litter of kittens from a local shelter, and advertised around that if anyone needed kitten wellness (we have a stressful job), that we could come to her house and play with an adorable litter. She sealed the deal further by naming the kittens awesome names.

Thus, we were introduced to Bowser.

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Look at this majestic baby!!

He’s a gray, medium-haired, tabby, and is either chill and cuddly, or rambunctious and ornery; there is no in-between.

We absolutely fell in love with his little face, his fluffy mane, and his laid-back temperament. We had debated getting the runt of the litter, a black female named Sprite-to go with our current black cat named Sakura, but she was too active for the cat my boyfriend already owned. Sakura is nearly 3 years old. Bo’s had her for a year and several months before I met him. She didn’t take to me kindly, and would bite my toes while I slept. A year later, after much research, she now turns to me for comfort/warmth and will sit on my lap when I call.

We’re in the first month of adoption; Bowser and Sakura are finally playing. There is still some aggression from Sakura, but there is less growling and more chasing. We have to be careful though, because she may swipe and we don’t want her to get away with that; and Bowser keeps wanting to play with her so we have to separate them so Sakura doesn’t feel pestered all the time.

Lastly, the other thing that happened: I met my boyfriend’s families. I am so honored to be his first relationship he brought home (and hopefully the last relationship 😀 ). We traveled up to the New England area. We first started off in the Big Apple, where Bo’s workplace’s corporate office, and he met other members of his team. NYC was fun, OMG the MOMA was everything, but the most fun I had was in Massachusetts.

To name a few: we ate lobster, walked on a beach (yes, it was cold!), did a whale sight-seeing tour, and took a small plane ride over the state. It’s easy to fly over most of the state because it’s so small. I laughed and laughed when I found out it was a 45 minute drive to Maine–I’m from big ol’ Texas and takes 10 hours any direction to get out of here.

Seriously. HOURS.

My Instagram account has my favorite pics of the trip, but I dropped a bunch more here.

Enjoy!

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Chelsea & Bo’s Adventure in New England ^ 

I Can’t Keep Plants Alive

I can’t keep plants alive and it’s killing me!

My mother is an amazing gardener. I always thought she had a green thumb like Stanley from “Troll in Central Park,” which is a great old kid’s movie if you’ve never heard of it!

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I did NOT inherit my mother’s green thumb. I am not a Stanley.

*Weeps*

I just can’t seem to keep plants alive. I’ve vowed to stick to fake plants if I can get them.

HOWEVER!! I have a dilemma.

I really enjoy making floral arrangements… but they can be pricey, and more importantly: I have ZERO SPACE.

I’ve created a magnolia centerpiece [link] for my family’s dining table (when it’s not covered by an in-progress puzzle), and now I strive to make a parrot tulip wreath for spring, and some sort of frosted succulent and snow arrangement for winter, if I change up my decoration theme for the year.

As for year-round decorations, I’d like to get at least a large croton. Fake plants are expensive, but worth the lack of upkeep in my opinion. Preferably, I’d rather have real plants so that I could have fresh oxygen cycling in my home, but we all know their doomed fates.

My favorite would-be flora:

Aloe Vera – especially white or striped

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Croton – obviously; also, RAINBOW

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Fiddle-leaf Fig tree

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Monstera – I have some artwork at my partner’s apartment with these featured

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Orchids – especially white, blue, or unique

Magnolia – I’d love a huge tree of “Little Gem”

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Snapdragons – I have so many childhood memories

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Parrot Tulips – if tulips got a fringe haircut!

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Michael’s has great realistic fake flowers. I’ve shopped around and their the best store around for fake flowers, and yes, I’m including Hobby Lobby; those flowers fall apart super quick, they’re much too thin.

Right now, I have no space or money for the fake plants. But one day… ONE DAY!

They shall be mine, and I won’t have to worry about watering them.

I’m really lazy, guys.

Tulle Skirt: the DIY that took me a while… And gave up on.

Soooo, I’ve always wanted a long ballerina tulle skirt.

Like this:

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Well… Sorta like that. I like green and blue more. And this is me, so I’m going to make it differently. (AKA, the lazy way.)20160727_194603.jpgFirst things first! I got me some turquoise tulle! I got out my supplies; thread, fabric scissors, and whatnot.

20160727_194731.jpgSpeaking of whatnot, look at this cute little machine I bought for this tutorial!

Michael’s Loops & Threads brand, sold in stores only. It’s lavender and tiny and adorable.

20160727_200355.jpgI immediately unpacked it and started sewing! Look at that focus. And that posture. That terrible, terrible posture.

And then I realized… I don’t know anything about this machine!

How to thread it.

Or what leavers do what.

Or how to turn it on.

20160727_200652.jpgMANUEL, TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

20160727_200929.jpgSecond time’s the charm.

Sidenote: Am I the only one who finds staring at hands fascinating? Even if it’s my own hands, seeing the tension as they work is amazing, and I’m often not able to appreciate the beauty of hands creating because I’m more interested in the work being made. Look at your own hands at work next time you’re doing something!!

20160727_201000.jpgWhoo! I made an elastic loop!

I’m trying to test the strength for the camera. And showing off to my friend.

20160727_205004.jpgNow that I had an elastic loop, measured to my waist and taken in by an inch and a half so the band will keep the skirt in place while I wear it–next came the tulle.

I cut a bunch of strips a length I measured to fall around my calves. I planned on trimming the bits after the thing was completed.

I layered ten strips on top of each other and sewed them directly to the elastic.

20160727_210121.jpgI folded the strips over each other so they would get a volume and a cute little ruffle detail. That was completely improvised, I had no idea if it would work! This section was stitched so crookedly, but hey! I’m a beginner, it’s okay that it’s crooked, no one is going to be coming up to me saying, “Love the skirt, except that one part. That’s wonky! You’re an awful person for that mistake!” That’s just silly.

So the skirt is very different from other tulle skirts because I did the fabric in strips instead of a folded swath like most tutorials do. I’m going for a floaty look–(AKA, I’m not going for a look, I’m just super lazy and cheap and don’t want to go out and find turquoise tulle off a bolt at a fabric store. Which honestly would have been much easier than the tutorial I did. Wow. Good job, Chell-Bell, for coming to that conclusion.)

Even with the 10 layers of tulle, the skirt is very sheer. There’s no way I can wear it as it is. I needed to put in a liner. But while I was attempting that… I decided I did not like the way my skirt looked.

So I scrapped the tulle skirt and made some maxi skirts.

Maxi skirts are like two seams. Sew once, twice, DONE.

This tulle skirt was not like making a maxi skirt….

FAIL

A Hat for My Friend

This is my friend, Lexi.

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She’s the redhead, and was one of my friends to come to my graduation. I’m totally going to hers soon!

I promised that I would make her a customized sun hat for beachy days.

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Like this. ^

They are all the rage right now. I had no shortage of inspiration research on Pinterest. Seriously, all I had to type was “sun,” “hat,” and “message.”

Finding the right phrase has been a challenge.

A French saying didn’t strike me as “Lexi….”

And neither did “Beach Please…” or “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere!” as cheeky as those are….

Nor did “Do Not Disturb,” or other negative sounding message.

I’m sarcastic; any biting witty remark is golden in my eyes, so if I’m going to make a snarky hat, it’s going to be for me, but it’s not becoming of Lexi! Lexi radiates support and kindness.

So I searched for more positive messages:

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That’s cute, but not enough….

I liked the one that referred to travel, and the other reminds me of a song. Still not quite right.

The one that sold me on Lexi…?

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“Hello Sunshine”

Perfect!

A lot of the DIY instructions for customizing hats are all about gluing on the letters, but not only does it look bad, it’s also not weatherproof. And if a hat is not weatherproof, what’s the point??!

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Nope. ^

My favorite DIY tutorial, that both speaks to me at my level of sarcasm, but also respects quality control, is by YouTuber “Threadbanger” Corinne Leigh. She is one half of the duo that is Threadbanger.

Her video slays me.

I’m not adding a pom-pom edge, but I did find a lovely gold sequin ribbon at Joann’s in the trim section. I thought gold would suit the hat I got at Target.

I sewed on the sequin ribbon, little by little; like Corinne said, it takes a freaking ton of time and my fingers hurt. I made sure I got durable thread that could and would… weather the weather.

I’m proud of my puns.

One of these days I’ll add some fabric to the bottom to cover up the stitches, but until then… I’m proud of the result! Super duper cute. I hope Lexi likes it!

Hurricane in Texas

Okay, so it was a tropical storm by the time it hit us. Guys… Guys! Austin FLOODS.

They don’t tell you that. You really wouldn’t expect it because it’s so damn hot here most of the year; like seriously, what is snow? (Actually, I know what snow is, I can ski down a mean Black Diamond, but this is for hyperbole.)

Hyperbole aside, the years that I have lived here, 3 out of 4 have had flooding of, well, biblical proportions.

2015, around Memorial Day, there was such horrible flooding that 1,000 people were displaced in the towns south of Austin.

2016, Halloween, historic downtown streets were completely flooded, lake levels were at record heights.

Now, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hits the southern coast of Texas. While we didn’t get the brute force of the hurricane, we did get TONS of rain, and frightening winds (seriously, my car kept getting pushed to the side of the freeway)! Many of my coworkers couldn’t make it into work, the reason I was able to is because I live less than 10 minutes from my office building (a great perk of the job, completely coincidental).

While my situation panned out to not be so bad, many people are still being effected by the damage leftover from the floods and hurricane.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are some resources:

Humanity Road: updated information on road conditions and road closures

SPCA & Houston Pet Set: help for pets and animals effected by the disaster

211 United Way: referral program; dial 211 on your phone to find local shelters and resources in your area

WorkIn Texas: for those who have lost wages

Project Row Houses: list of other resources

Texas Tribune: list of other resources, includes a lists that are county specific

If you or someone you know wants to help, here are some resources:

Americares: donate to disaster relief

Update local papers and law enforcement of missing persons, flooded streets, or stranded civilians.

Donate to Food Banks

Texas Diaper Bank

Give blood

Volunteer your time: cleaning, rescuing, updating, and coordinating; you can even volunteer your home to house a relocated victim of the disaster.

Virtual Volunteer Reception Center

If you are willing and able, get out there and volunteer. There’s always donating food, clothes, and money for those who have lost so much. Please help South Texas.