Monthly Archives: April 2017

Quest for Happiness: Week Sixteen

Another week down, another week to continue pushing forward, chasing happiness every step of the way.

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Actually try out eating a week by Naturally Slim’s principles.
    • Status: Not really. Though the principles of Naturally Slim are fairly simple, it’s surprisingly difficult to do on a consistent basis (eating slowly, for example; always taking 25 minutes, at least, to eat). But I’m working on it.
  • This Week’s Goal: Workout three times. Practicing eating slowly and actually tasting all of my food.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit three books, write four new books and query at least one.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Research how to make characters have more depth. Edit two chapters. Finish short story.
    • Status: Nada. I really need to get back into writing again before I go crazy.
  • This Week’s Goal: Research how to make characters have more depth. Edit a chapter. Finish short story.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Write book review. Read every day!
    • Status: Success!
  • This Week’s Goal: Finish The Bloodbound and Warlock Holmes: The Hell-hound of the Baskervilles.

Relaxation:

  • Long-term Goal: Create and maintain a mindset that taking care of yourself is just as important as everything else.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Hang out on planet four and maybe makes some strides in the main quest.
    • Status: Success! 
  • This Week’s Goal: Finish the loyalty missions!

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Blog twice.
    • Status: Success! Doubled that with four posts last week on this blog, plus a review and a Waiting on Wednesday post with the other blog. Felt good.
  • This Week’s Goal: Blog twice.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Go grocery shopping and don’t buy anything unnecessary.
    • Status: Almost. Wendy’s, you damn temptress.
  • This Week’s Goal: Not need to pull anything else out of savings.

Week Fifteen turned out to be not too shabby! Week Sixteen, the focus will definitely be on reading and writing, as those are two passions that bring me the most happiness yet I have been putting both on the wayside lately–and that is not okay. Time to re-energize and refocus.

Cheers.

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My Gut Tells Me To Apologize For Writing This (But I’m Not Going To)

Apparently, I apologize a lot.

I’m not just talking about when I actually need to; when I’ve messed up and I need to own up to my own mistakes. I’m talking about all the time. The phrase “I’m sorry” is apparently one of the main elements in my lexicon, to the point that I hardly even notice how often I use it; how that phrase encompasses and follows every aspect of my life. I’ll apologize for what I just said. How I act. What I think. Things out of my control. I never realized how often I apologized, until a friend of mine snapped, “Damn, quit saying “you’re sorry” all the time.” His snap caught me off guard and I’m sure, the intuitive human that you are, you guessed how I responded. Instinctively, without a blink.

“Sorry,” I muttered.

And he just stared at me, his expression the very definition of incredulous as he responded, “Seriously?”

But it’s not just the phrase “I’m sorry” that reflects how often I apologize. I’ll say things like, “Sorry to bother you, but…” or “I don’t mean to distract you,” or “I know I’m burdening you, however…”. The most ironic thing? I usually say these things when I’m texting someone. When we’re simply talking. I never realized how often I did this, because it was so instinctual; a reflex, more than anything else.

Now that I notice, I see how harmful it is.

I’ve always struggled with my own opinion of myself, but I’ve grown and made a lot of strides in loving myself. Yet this is a very clear sign that there are still some negative thoughts and opinions rooted deep, expressed by my apparent need to apologize for my own existence (because now that I’ve noticed it, I apologize for everything). I know I’ve never had a lot of confidence, but it really shows here.

Which is sad, because I should have a little confidence. I should believe in myself more than always feeling the need to apologize for things that, half the time, I’m not even actually sorry for or ashamed about. Instead, subconsciously, I feel like I should be, hence the apology, e.g., That text was more than two lines, so obviously you’re being too much of a burden. Apologize. You’re wanting to talk about something that’s been on your mind and it’s taking up a lot of their time, so obviously you’re bothering them. Apologize. You’re eating pop-tarts they specifically bought for you because you’re hungry and they offered. Apologize. You sneezed. Apologize. 

I hope you’re catching my drift, here.

It’s a bit ridiculous, to be honest.

I’m not saying I need to become this cocky arsehole that is full of herself, but I do owe myself a bit more confidence that this meek, apologetic projection that I put off. I actually really like who I am. I like my quirks and my naivety (lack of street smarts) and my nerdiness and my traditionalist mindset and my positivity and everything else in-between. So why am I constantly apologizing for it, especially subconsciously? Not only am I doing a disservice to myself, projecting a person that I don’t want to be, but it’s also exhausting and at times, infuriating, to those who have to listen to the apologies the most. They shouldn’t have to constantly reaffirm their good opinions of me or remind me that it’s okay, I actually didn’t do anything wrong and the apology is unnecessary. Instead, that affirmation should come from within me. I should know that I’m not burdening my friends when I want to talk. I should know that when I’m texting someone and having a conversation, I don’t have to apologize for blocks of text. Hell, we’re actually just doing what friends do: communicating. So what if my humor is a little weird and my interests are a lotta nerdy? I should take pride in those things. Always.

So I’m glad I realized that this is an area of improvement that I can focus on; a lingering effect from all those years of me hating myself and thinking–and believing–too many toxic lies about myself. I know I’ll still apologize for a lot of unnecessary things, but now I can at least actively work on it as I continue to strive to love myself in every aspect and capacity. Thanks for listening, friends. (<–Last line written after backspacing a sentence apologizing for the need to write this post in the first place.)

Cheers.


Musings Behind “The State of Unawareness”

imageThis story was definitely not what I expected it to be, when I first looked at the prompt. I really wanted to write a story where the twist was that “they” were humans and the story was told from an animal’s perspective. I thought that would be really fun. Yet when I sat down to write it, I ended up switching to faeries, still wanting humans to be the bad guys.

I wrote about a paragraph before I deleted the entire thing, staring at an empty screen for the next 30 minutes.

I reread the prompt probably twenty times before I finally found an angle to follow: the details.

Rereading the prompt now, I have no idea what about it made me want to focus on writing out details, almost like a vignette more than a short story. I wanted to describe the weight of the pack. I wanted to focus on the difficulty of the grip, how their hands would threaten to slip from sweat. I wanted to describe the harbor, the escape attempt. I wanted to form a plot around the details that I highlighted. So I did.

I wrote about half the story because I switched from first to second person.

I don’t write in second person much, but I do really love it. It’s such a unique perspective and one that I don’t think I’ve ever done masterfully well (for an example of someone mastering second person and making you really feel the story and your presence in it, check out N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season). But I still like to experiment with it and even though I never really had a clear idea of where this story was going, I definitely felt second person was the way it needed to be told.

I didn’t realize the ending was going to be so dark until I got there and it sort of just appeared as I was writing. Like some of the responses from readers (who rock, btw), it made me sit back and just wonder what the heck I just read. It left me with a lot of questions: who are they? What do they want? How did my protagonist get in the situation he’s in? Hell, what even is that situation?

Honestly, I have no answers. And I’m totally okay with that. It was just a piece I used to explore and force myself to write, still battling the funk I’ve been in for months to write again consistently.

I’m really excited for my next short story piece for the Muses. It’s going to have a very different feel than most of the stories I’ve written, I think. As you may have noticed, our posts have been coming with less regularity, with one story being posted every two weeks instead of every week. Life gets busy. To-Do lists never cease to end. And so we’ve had to alter our posting schedule. But we appreciate all of you sticking with us during these early stages of our blog, as we figure out what works best for us, and continuing to read and offer feedback over our work. It’s one of the main reasons we do what we do: to write and to be read.

In case you have no idea what blog or story I’m talking about, here are some links:

Blog: Muse In Pocket, Pen in Hand
Story: The State of Unawareness

Cheers.


Weighing Value

Friday was my last day working at my second job.

I cannot describe how freeing that is.

Don’t get me wrong, my second job wasn’t the worst in the world. It started out fairly well, but as the months dragged on, it did become a bit draining. And frustrating. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit, but then I’d get that paycheck and see my savings account climb that much higher, and I’d convince myself to keep working (not to mention I had a trip to London I needed to save up for). Once I finally hit the bare minimum of what I needed to pay off the trip, I was definitely tempted to quit. Yet I kept working, stubborn and determined to work there until August, like I planned. The extra money would be so helpful.

Then, my first (and main) job made me an offer to become full-time, roughly a month ago, to start in the middle of the summer.

That full-time offer would make it to where I wouldn’t need a second job anymore. I’d be able to live pretty well working 40 hours alone, instead of stretching it working roughly 55 hours a week between two jobs. I accepted the offer immediately. That had been the goal ever since I was first hired, over a year ago, as part-time. I was jazzed, especially because it meant that I could quit my second job in the middle of June, instead of wasting away my summer working 15 hour days, with time for nothing else.

Your brow may be scrunched up, your nose wrinkled, your lips twisting into a smirk…whatever facial experience betrays your confusion. Because I definitely don’t have a second job anymore and it is definitely not June. It’s still April. So what changed? It’s actually very simple, really: I realized that plans could and that it was okay.

Lemme explain.

My family came up for lunch one afternoon, right after I was offered the full-time position. We were talking about summer being just around the corner and I wasn’t exactly jazzed about it–working at one job from 9-2 and then another job from 2-10 every day made it kinda hard to get excited about warm weather and pools. My Mom turned to me and just asked, “Well, why haven’t you put in your two weeks yet?” I stared back at her blankly, like she was speaking tongues.

I couldn’t quit. I told myself I’d work until August. I need to save up as much money as I can. The only reason I was now planning to quit in June was because the new hours gained becoming full-time would make up the difference, so I wouldn’t be losing out on any money I needed to save.

I explained that to my Mom, who shrugged. She knew I’d saved up enough to pay off the trip and have a little spending money, so technically, I could quit. And then my Dad piped up and said, “You’d have more time to play your games,” before the conversation shifted. But it was enough to make me realize that I had a decision to make. I had to weigh and compare the values of time and money.

If I kept working two jobs, I’d save up probably another $1,000 for my trip. Or, if I didn’t spend it abroad, it could be the new foundation for my savings. It could pay off some money I owe my parents. Or could be put towards another loan. Or it could just be a comforting fall back to have, a peace of mind, as currently, working only one job, I make barely enough to cover my bills and everything in savings is spoken for, so by quitting, I’d be putting myself in a tight financial bind until July, when I see that first increased paycheck.

Yet, if I quit, I’d be getting roughly 30 hours a week of my life back. To do whatever I wanted with. I could sleep in. I could play video games in more than 30 minutes increments snuck in because I chose not to make dinner and eat a microwaveable meal, instead. Hell, I could actually prep and cook meals. I could work out without feeling like it’s a work out in itself just to make it to the just between jobs. I could write. Read. Waste time on the Internet. Meet up with friends for lunch. Have time to run errands/chores, instead of cramming them all in on Saturdays. Over the summer, I could actually lay out by the pool. Whatever I wanted. I’d just have to live a little tight financially for a few months.

As spoiled by the first line of this post, time won. In this instance, time was more important to me. It had the greater value. At first, money did. I had no plans to quit. I chose to continue working and saving. Yet I went to work that next Monday, after talking with my parents, and by my break, I had written up my two weeks notice and gave it to my boss immediately. I realized, quickly, how much value time had; how much I missed having time to spare, to spend however I wanted. Plus, if I could make it financially, even if just skirting by for a while, why would I make myself miserable and exhausted trying to balance it all when I could give up one now unnecessary thing and be able to breathe again?

Today is only the first day of knowing what having that extra time is like. I slept in until 11am. I played Andromeda for a few hours. Showered, did my hair, dressed cute, ate lunch, prepped dinner for tonight, did dishes, picked up the apartment quick and still had ten minutes to spare before I had to leave for work. All of that accomplished–and enjoyed–during what would have been a five and a half hour shift at $9 an hour.

I think I made the right choice, friends.

Cheers.


Quest for Happiness: Week Fifteen

So, last week, I was sicker than I was the week before, so productivity wasn’t exactly my strong suit. My groove was thrown off, if you will–and you can tell, with how many goals I didn’t meet last week.

Image result for threw off my groove gif

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Complete Week Two and get back to the gym.
    • Status: Forgiven. With as sick as I was, trying out a new lifestyle surrounding how and when you eat isn’t exactly smart. Plus, hacking up my lunges make working out impossible. So I’m going to let last week’s goals slide, yet go at this’ week’s goal with vigor.
  • This Week’s Goal: Actually try out eating a week by Naturally Slim’s principles.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit three books, write four new books and query at least one.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Edit two more chapters.
    • Status: Nada.
  • This Week’s Goal: Research how to make characters have more depth. Edit two chapters. Finish short story.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Write book review.
    • Status: Nada.
  • This Week’s Goal: Write book review. Read every day!

Relaxation:

  • Long-term Goal: Create and maintain a mindset that taking care of yourself is just as important as everything else.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Beat another planet on Andromeda.
    • Status: Success! And I only screamed three times when invisible enemies surprised me and tried to kill me. Plus, killed an Architect and made it through a Kett Base without dying.
  • This Week’s Goal: Hang out on planet four and maybe makes some strides in the main quest.

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Okay, actually actually catch up on reading blogs.
    • Status: Success! I managed to read through all my favorite blogs and comment on most of them.
  • This Week’s Goal: Blog twice.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Maintain tight budget.
    • Status: Success! Back to the frugal life for the next few weeks, but that’s A-OK with me!
  • This Week’s Goal: Go grocery shopping and don’t buy anything unnecessary.

Luckily, groove can always be regained and this week, I’m ready to dance.

Image result for emperor's new groove GIF

Cheers.


Quest for Happiness: Week Fourteen

Let’s see how I did, shall we?

Fitness:

  • Long-term Goal: Shape the body I want and become healthier.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Complete the first week in the Naturally Slim program.
    • Status: Partial? So, I did watch the videos for Week One of the program. However, because I wasn’t feeling too hot, I didn’t actually alter my eating habits at all to try and follow their advice. So I’m hoping, once I kick this cold out, that’ll be able to start trying those out.
  • This Week’s GoalComplete Week Two and get back to the gym.

Writing:

  • Long-term Goal: Edit three books, write four new books and query at least one.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Get halfway through Round One edits.
    • Status: Nada. I did get another chapter down, but not much further than that. Still, progress is progress!
  • This Week’s Goal: Edit two more chapters.

Reading:

  • Long-term Goal: Read 60 books.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Finally finish The Desert Spear. 
    • Status: Almost. I seriously have 20 pages left in this book. Goodness me.
  • This Week’s Goal: Write book review.

Relaxation:

  • Long-term Goal: Create and maintain a mindset that taking care of yourself is just as important as everything else.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Keep playing Andromeda without guilt.
    • Status: Success! I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted, but definitely enjoyed the times I got to play (especially the night it rained).
  • This Week’s Goal: Beat another planet on Andromeda.

Blogging:

  • Long-term Goal: Increase output over all three blogs, i.e., post more consistently.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Actually catch up on reading blogs.
    • Status: Nada. 
  • This Week’s Goal: Okay, actually actually catch up on reading blogs.

Financial:

  • Long-term Goal: Manage money with more awareness, start retirement fund and build savings.
  • Last Week’s Goal: Don’t spend any unnecessary money. ANY.
    • Status: Nada. My bank account isn’t as bad as I feared it would be, but it definitely needs some strict management.
  • This Week’s Goal: Maintain tight budget.

So, not the best week. It’s crazy how a little old cough and feeling slightly under the weather can throw off my entire groove. Which sucks, because last Monday, I felt so productive and on top of things. Hopefully this week, I’ll be able to do better.

Cheers.


Mystery Blogger Award!

I’ll start this out with a confession: I love doing these types of things. They are so much fun, so shout out to the lovely and fantastic Jess for the nomination (and my apologies for actually taking months to finally fill this out). Her blog ellDimensional is one I always ensure I don’t miss a post, so I definitely recommend checking it out.

The Mystery Blogger Award…

  • is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get.
  • is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.
  • was created by Okoto Enigma.

mystery

Guidelines:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

Three Things:

  1. I truly believe dragons exist.
  2. I’ve been told that I look more Elfin than human…more than once.
  3. My favorite cheese is extra sharp cheddar.

Questions:

  1. Weird question: Are you afraid of the dark? I used to be, but I don’t think I am any more. Although my imagination definitely gets the best of me, at times, so I can certainly freak myself out.
  2. What is your favorite genre to write? Or, what genre do you wish you could write? I love to write fantasy (as if you couldn’t tell based on some of my facts above). I love the freedom of it, the limitless. Though I can read a contemporary novel every once in a while, I definitely prefer to exist in realms and realities that are impossible, otherwise–both reading and writing. 
  3. What are your thoughts on vampires? As in, do you find them corny, overdone, classic, entertaining, or something else? I like classic vampires. I think they should be grotesque, feared. In the trilogy I wrote, I tried to hearken back to the Stoker era, bringing back some of the darker elements that made me fascinated by them in the first place. The stigmas associated with them now do make me sad. 
  4. Your favorite movie, along with your favorite actor/actress. That’s a tough one…I can narrow it down to genre, maybe. Comedy: Snatch. Romance: Pride and Prejudice. Fantasy: LOTR. Animation: old school, Mulan, new school, How to Train Your Dragon or Zootopia. Or Anastasia, Quest for Camelot or Emperor’s New Groove. I told you that was a hard question. Favorite actor: Kit Harington. Actress: Liv Tyler. 
  5. The last book you read. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (translation: one of the best books I’ve ever read).

Nominees:

These are the bloggers that I never, ever, ever want to miss a post from. Ever. But I do…most of the time.

  1. All the Pieces: A fellow Muse and a lovely human being, Becky’s recent blog revival has made me so happy.
  2. Melissa Caruso: This debut author has a novel coming out in October that I am so stoked to purchase and read the hell out of. Until then, I’m stalking her blog and enjoying every post she writes.
  3. Light A Fire Instead: Marie is a dear friend and a wonderful person. I love the wide variety of content her blog provides.
  4. Robert F Nugent: Rob is an awesome writer who I admire the hell out of.
  5. Phil Charles R: This guy is a gem and a treasure. One of the best people I’ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon and discover on Twitter.
  6. AZ Pascoe: The only internet friend I’ve actually had the pleasure to meet in person (and I low-key brought my sister along so I wouldn’t get killed :P), this woman is a fantastic inspiration and role-model.
  7. The Writes of Passage: Another Muse, Joyce’s posts are always so vulnerable and real. I never fail to connect with her.
  8. Brown-Eyed Twenty Something: Amanda is a fantastic writer and friend. And we have way too much fun communicating only in Psych GIFs.
  9. Terrible Minds: I haven’t read Chuck’s books yet, but if I connect with them as easily as I do with every post he writes, then I’m still not 100% sure why they haven’t been skyrocketed to the top of my To-Read list. I need to fix that. Pronto.
  10. TeaPunk Noveling: Tanna is probably one of the first writers I discovered on Twitter and now we have a fantastic and amazing friendship. I simply adore this human.
  11. Sione Aeschliman: Most amazing connection I’ve made on Twitter, hands down. Met during a contest, became friends and colleagues, and now I cannot imagine what life would be like without this positive and inspiring presence in it.
  12. Awake Dragon: I adore Rebekkah. Words cannot express my adoration. She also has a book coming out soon. You should buy it and place it on the goat shrine you made in your closet just for her because she’s just that amazing and you’re just that weird read it.
  13. Snartasticly Yours: One of my actual, real-life friends! And this blog is always so real and spunky.
  14. Jo Writes Fantasy: Busy yet badass I think is the shortest way to describe how awesome Jo is.
  15. M.A. Crosbie: A Muse who is also a twin in many regards, I admire this woman on so many levels. Probably every level possible. And then some.

PS: Jess, the writer who tagged me in this post? Most definitely also on this list.

Their Questions:

  1. Favorite dragon of all time? I accept GIFs as an answer.
  2. What is your best advice concerning finding balance in life?
  3. Most underrated color and why?
  4. What’s the question you’ve always wished you were asked on one of these things? And what’s the answer?
  5. How do you create happiness for yourself? How would you encourage others to do so?
  6. Bonus: Cute puppy picture just for kicks?

Best Post Link:

I’m not sure if this was best post in my opinion or best post numbers wise, so I just went with one that I felt really resonated with me and, if people only read one post, I wouldn’t mind if it was this one: Measuring Worth, Recreating Mindsets and Dealing with Desire.

Thanks for reading, friends! Go check out all those kickass blogs! ❤

Cheers.