It’s that time of year again–time to break out my inner holiday elf. Who’s that you ask? It’s the little guy who gets all the important holiday stuff done when all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch Christmas specials while sipping hot chocolate. Thank goodness he got here just in time–after having the 10yo home on the couch for a week I was way, way, way behind in my Christmas preparations. Cuddling with the 10yo and catching up on old TV was a nice break after the mind numbing month of November with NaNoWriMo, a dance recital and everyone over for Thanksgiving dinner. In fact it may have actually been kind of blissful. But this year, because of a late Thanksgiving, Christmas feels like it’s taking the Express Train into town. There really isn’t a minute to spare!
And even though I should be wrapping or shopping or cleaning or cooking right now, because I love you, I’ve asked my inner holiday elf to help me make some time to start a support group. A place where we can all go to unload, but also find inspiration. So, in the comments be sure to tell us your Most Epic Holiday Failure This Year (but don’t worry, you still have time to turn it around) then also tell us how you’ve kicked some holiday elven ass. Keep the Most Epic Holiday Success This Year stories coming. They are the driving force we (by we I mean me) need for motivation. Maybe a few of your good ideas will help me make it to the finish line without looking like the Heat Miser.
Just to be fair, I’ll start…
Kim’s Most Epic Holiday Failure This Year: I packed all the freaking light-up garland in the storage unit because we were supposed to be moving in October. But now we’re moving mid-January and all that piney, twinkly garland is under an mongo-stack of stuff and it just ain’t coming out. I don’t care how pouty little boy faces can look. Bah-humbuggy on that. Your kids–USE YOUR IMAGINATION.
Kim’s Most Epic Holiday Success This Year: Usually at Thanksgiving (this year I switched so Christmas it is) I make my Grandma’s apple pie. Before she died she taught me how to do it and I’m now the maker of the pies. The keeper of the pie legacy if you will. I make pies I don’t particularly crave myself. I like them, but I’m a chocoholic, so I can live with out the pie. BUT–everyone in the family wants this apple pie and I get that–it is pretty awesome as far as pies go. BUT–the crust is my nemesis. In fact, it’s the reason I HATE making the apple pie. But this year—*bounces up and down on toes*—I accidentally (thank you gods of the turkey pot pie adventure…I love you!) found a pre-made, organic crust that tastes sooooooo good. Like Grandma’s but without me throwing a rolling pin across the room in a cloud of flour. So, this Christmas I am going to use this pie crust to make a gorgeous, low-stress, tastes just like Grandma’s apple pie and I’m going to enjoy the experience. It will be a yummy pile of cinnamon, apple, doughy, sweetness. And since my mother has admitted she hasn’t turned on her computer in three months we are going to see if she notices. DO NOT TELL!!!!–I vow to let you know if she notices and also the minute she catches up on my blog posts LOL!
All right–get out your Inner Holiday Elf and let the stories rip!
What’s really happening beneath the Hunger Games? Lots of ripples–the kind of thoughtful, amazing stuff that makes me love these books and movies even more than I already do.
I found this blog fascinating.
Also can’t talk about the Hunger Games without giving a shout out to Jennifer Lawrence. I’m such a fan girl.
Check out this Upworthy Video
Wondering what you think?
Filed under: Family
I’m giving myself a little pat on the back right now, because I usually remember to ask you for advice at the eleventh hour when my chances of implementing it are slim to none. Not helpful! So even though something could still go wrong and all the fine print of moving hasn’t been worked out yet, every day it looks more and more likely that this is going to happen in the near future. *fist pump then knocks on wood*
So today, instead of running my blabber mouth and giving advice, I’m asking you for your best tips, hints, suggestions and must-dos for moving. I’ve been shaving away at this process a little bit at a time for months now, but hell–I’m a disorganized procrastinator LOL! Please–I’m begging you! Share your wisdom and experience with me!!!!
This post is like a turkey pot pie. It’s put together from all the bits and pieces of the holiday.
*First up…I’m a NaNoWriMo Winner!!!! Very proud of that. I clocked in very, very early on the 29th with 50,057 words and the cool part is that last day, in order to make my goal, I wrote just over 6,100 words which is more than I wrote for last year’s attempt at NaNoWriMo. And out of more than 300,000 people, I was one of 41,940 to finish. *fist pump* And yes, I don’t want to look at any of those words for a least a couple weeks LOL!
*On Thursday December 5th I’ll be at the Crawford Public Library in Monticello, NY. All the info is HERE.
*Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my 25th High School reunion. I had an amazing time. What was intriguing to me was how much we had changed, but at the same time all stayed the same. And I mean this in a good way. Growing up, we’ve developed into better evolutions of ourselves, but we still have so many great memories from being kids. It was kind of cool to be in a room of people who all know the same stories you do. But having said that, despite it all, I could still feel myself slipping back into old teenage insecurities at times. But I have a feeling, that’s par for the course with a reunion. Overall, a two thumbs up for me. Can’t wait until the next one.
*Because we’re moving pretty early into the new year (*fingers crossed* this process will give you grey hair) I traded the Christmas holiday for Thanksgiving this year. I’ve got TURKEY!!! OMG!!! I’ve been missing this meal’s leftovers for years. It’s my death row meal. *grin* But then their are leftovers. And last night I made my first ever homemade turkey pot pie. I may have died from yum it was so tasty. But I’ve got more up my sleeve. Turkey salad sandwiches and turkey soup too. I have a feeling I’m going to run out of turkey to recycle before I run out of meals to make. So, new resolution–even if I don’t do Thanksgiving Dinner next time around. I will still have to make my own just for the leftovers LOL!
How was your holiday? Did you survive NaNoWriMo? Are you still shocked that I’m 25 years out of high school? Yeah, me too! LOL!
I hit a huge milestone yesterday. Since I started running on May 21, 2010…
I’ve run 1,000 miles!!!!!!
I’ve found it eerily appropriate that I was shooting for this goal while I was also writing my #NaNoWriMo words. While both activities are time consuming and challenging, I have a sneaky suspicion that they actually created a momentum that helped me to make both goals. (fingers crossed–I have plans to also cross that NaNoWriMo finish line by 11/30)
In case you’re wondering, there are many runners who’ve hit 1,000 miles a lot quicker than I did, but this in no way affects my enthusiasm for the accomplishment LOL! Prior to that day in May, I HATED running and I only did it when I was in a soccer game or being chased. Or maybe if I’d eaten way too much junk food and needed to sweat it out of my pours. And even then I only ran on the treadmill. But that day in May it was one of the first perfect spring days of the year. I’d decided to go for a walk and as the movement invigorated me, I had the urge to feel physically exhausted the way you do when you’re a kid and you play too hard. So I started to run. I went just over four miles. No lies it was awesome, but it was also freaking hard. I don’t really know what changed for me that day, but since then I’ve stuck with running. I’ve had periods where I’ve wanted to run and couldn’t. I’ve had sick kids at home or I’ve been injured. I’ve also had periods where I haven’t been very motivated to get out–too hot, too cold, too sick, too lazy, too busy making up excuses. But no matter how much I was running, I’d flipped a mental switch and now considered myself A RUNNER. Maybe a lazy runner on some days, but a runner none the less.
Here’s how it all went down as of yesterday…
*I’ve run 1,001 miles. Which means I ran far enough to go from New York City to St. Louis!!! Yes, it was a long way to travel because I’ve been doing it since May 21, 2010. Whatever. Stopped to see the sights. But hey–technically I ran to my niece and nephew’s house. I find that mind blowing since I would normally take a plane there.
*I’ve run those miles across 221 runs.
*This also means I’ve spent almost 164:46:10 hours of the last 3 1/2 years running. Kinda cool.
*I’ve burned 100,060 calories running. Most of those were chocolate–I can not lie.
*My average pace was 9 minutes and 53 seconds for each mile. I’ve had many slower, but I’ve also had some much faster.
*Only 160.91 of those miles were on the stupid treadmill. Hate running indoors, so I only use it when I have to because of the weather.
*75% of my runs took place in the morning.
*My longest run was 12.08 miles.
*I’ve never officially run in a race.
*I may be a feedback junkie, what do you think? *grin*
Can you tell I was excited to smash this run???
And yes, I look like a bank robber because it was 27 degrees LOL!
Thanks for letting me hog the blog for a glory moment.
Any runners in the audience? Any potential runners? Anyone who’s fallen into a passion they hadn’t expected? How did you get there? What keeps you doing it? What’s your biggest milestone been so far? How are all my #NaNoWriMo friends doing? I’m racing towards the finish line and plan to hit the 50,000 word mark no matter what. Keep it up everyone!!!!
Also, I’m doing Turkey Day at my house this year, so I won’t be running on Thursday or blogging. I’ll catch you on the flip side of the tryptophan on December 3rd. WHAT???? DECEMBER??? How did that happen????
Have a fabulous holiday with your friends and family.
Today’s Bookanistas Review comes to you with a side dish of local author love. Jennifer Castle lives pretty darn close to me, so we get lots of opportunities to hang out at author and writer events together. Yay me!!!! I love Jennifer and adore her books. Today I’m reviewing YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE.
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they’re real life.
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There’d be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn’t feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what’s on film. They’ve all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else’s eyes.
Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what’s personal and what’s public aren’t always clear.
Kimberly’s Review of YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE:
I immediately developed a soft spot for Justine even though she’s a bit of a snarky character who has moments of being unlikable. I’m personally drawn to a character with that kind of dimension. Perhaps it’s because a flawed MC is comforting to me, I’m loaded with my own chips and cracks. Or maybe it’s the complexity of character that keeps me so interested. More likely a combination of both, which in my humble opinion is even better. Additionally, all of Castle’s supporting roles had range and depth of character that held my attention the whole way through.
But I have a favorite reason for loving this book. It made me think and rethink about reality television, particularly the role of media fame on children. In fact, I think I’m still digesting it, even though it’s been a few weeks since I turned the last page. What does it mean to grow up in the public eye of reality TV? This is a harder and harder question to answer as our media opportunities are casting an ever widening net. Maybe watching Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears, Amanda Bynes, and Lindsay Lohan, to name just a few, really illustrates why a book like this so important. It feels to me as if those young girls are the unreliable narrators in their own life story. We only see parts of their story and some of those pieces do not give us the complete picture we need. Castle’s book gives a deeper look into what can happened when a child’s life becomes too transparent.
YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE is a fabulous, richly-textured, thought provoking read that you shouldn’t miss.
YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE is available for purchase here…
*Barnes & Noble
Jennifer Castle received her B.A. in Creative Writing at Brown University and worked as a celebrity publicist’s assistant, an advertising copywriter, and a struggling screenwriter (yes, that’s an actual job) before falling into a niche producing websites for kids and teens. Her first novel, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, was a 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection as well as a Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best” book. Her most recent novel is YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE from HarperTeen–June 2013. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughters.
You can find out more about Jennifer Castle and her YA novels here…
Want more fabulous Bookanistas Reviews? Your wish is my command…
Any thoughts on reality TV’s effect on today’s children? I personally think we have yet to see the full ramifications for the actors or the audience. What do you think? What should be changed? What is a positive that is often over looked? Do parents have a greater responsibility in this process? Lots to talk about with this one.
I’ve passed the 30,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and although it’s still a ways away, I can see the light at the end of the 50,000 word long tunnel.
I know I’ve mentioned that this year, the challenge has been a lot easier for me than I expected, but that’s because I decided (after listening to LOTS of advice about NaNo) to do the things that weren’t necessarily comfortable for me, but are kind of essential for making November work. In no particular order, I’m going to highlight some of the things I don’t usually do, but decided I should do, in order to be successful.
* GIVE UP PERFECTION: I’ve always hated place markers. I don’t like to leave incomplete thoughts and information on the page. When I don’t know or remember something, I usually go back and look it up or work through it until I have the information I need to move on. This is a time suck! It’s word count repellent. Here’s an example of me using a place marker in my text…
I hadn’t seen her since I was blank years old and she…
I need to go back and look up how old I said the MC was when this happened in an earlier chapter, but I don’t remember which chapter I wrote it and I’m 24 chapters in. It would take me forever to find it, so I decided to let it go, save it for the read through after NaNoWriMo is over. NaNoWriMo is about flow. Letting your stream of thoughts come out organically. It shouldn’t be impeded by details. Of course I may have stopped drafting to write this blog post. *head thunk* You don’t want to do that either LOL!
*GIVE UP YOUR DEPENDENCY ON YOUR LOGICAL MIND: Every night after I complete my words for the day, I go to sleep thinking about the chapter or scene I have to write next. I especially like to do this at night as I’m nodding off to sleep. Ironically, I get some of my best clarity when my vision is relaxed and a little fuzzy around the edges. Basically I give my subconscious some time in the spotlight and it really works for me. The next day I may not know all the words, but I know where I’m starting and for me that is usually half the battle.
* GIVE UP A COUPLE POCKETS, THE ZIPPER and MAYBE A CUFF OF YOUR PANSTER PANTS: In case you didn’t hear me, I’ll say it again…I am not an outliner. I’m never going to be that structured of a person. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants pantster. But you waste a lot of time when you do your creative thinking in front of the keyboard or with the pen in hand. Jot down some ideas ahead of time. Pre-planning doesn’t have to be an old school outline. It can look like a doodle as long as it helps you to organize your thoughts a little better, freeing you up to write with more ease.
* GIVE UP THE STUPID IDEA THAT PERFECTION ON THE PAGE IS GOING TO SAVE YOU TIME: It doesn’t. If you like to write slow and methodically, I say go for it. I do it all the time. But I’m no longer under the illusion that I’m saving myself later work. I think you have to pay the piper along the way, no matter how you structure the process.
* GIVE UP FEELING SO ALONE IN A VERY LONELY PROCESS: Every night when I post my NaNoWriMo Word count, I get at least a few people cheering me on. I also check to see how everyone else is doing. I’ve even made some new online friends along the way. But ultimately, I enjoy that festive, collaborative environment that November brings. It really helps me to stay motivated. I don’t run into so many moments where I can talk myself into stopping. Momentum is fueled by the community collective.
What have you had to give up for NaNoWriMo that’s been a gift in disguise?
I’ve always drafted my books with a musical playlist inspiring me. Sometimes I would play the same song over and over and over again as I wrote a scene. But all throughout NaNoWriMo I haven’t felt compelled to write with music. Nor have I even found anything that stood out and spoke to me. That is until now.
The first song on the CHASING ADAPTATION playlist.
Write on NaNoWriMoers. Find the music of your words.
Do you write to music? Is silence your thing? Does it change from project to project? Has there been a specific song that has had an impact on your writing?
Yesterday I had this great dream and it was about today’s blog post. I remember being really excited about coming up with such a crazy awesome idea, but now…
I DON’T REMEMBER THE ACTUAL DREAM!!!!
So instead, I thought I’d talk about something that is not NaNoWriMo–which is hard–because when you’re focused on something it tends to be on your mind a lot. But I’m going to do it! Or not do it. You know what I mean.
Any hoo, next on my list of topics I’ve been dying to talk about is the last book in the DIVERGENT trilogy, ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth.
Only I have a HUGE problem. I don’t feel like I can talk to you about it the way I’d like. There are spoilers I don’t want to slip and give away. But I still want to anyway because there are so many reasons why this book is fascinating for me. There were things I loved, things I hated. Moments that were wasted and moments where I completely respected the author’s guts. Over all, the book itself had some high points and some not as high points for me. But it’s the response of the studio audience that I find the most intriguing, baffling, slightly horrifying, and completely fascinating. Readers have been up in arms about a variety of things, but particularly the ending. This passionate response raises so many questions for me. What is an author’s obligation to it’s readers? Has that changed with the accessibility of intimate contact through social media? Can anyone write a trilogy where all three books satisfy most readers? Is it the nature of the beast that some readers will always be unhappy? What does a controversial ending mean for the author’s next project? Are there “rules” that shouldn’t be broken? Will all the unrest increase sales or decrease them? Did you love it or hate it or were you somewhere in between?
If you’ve read Allegiant and want to talk about it–please do–I’m dying over here for stimulating ALLEGIANT conversation. But please be sensitive to others and speak vaguely or clearly post spoilers in the comments. And remember that no matter what your thoughts are on the book, Veronica Roth is a fabulous human being who gives so much to the kid lit community. Please be respectful of her . Thank you–you rock!!!!
Hmmmm I love you, but I’m a busy NaNoWriMo Bee, plunking away on my keyboard and I don’t want to stop. So, since I saw the fabulous movie GRAVITY last weekend, I thought I’d share this really cool vlogbrothers video with you.
Have you ever had the desire to be a cosmonaut? I’ve definitely always wanted to experience zero gravity, but after hearing some of these scary stories, I think I may have to settle for the simulation. LOL!
Off to write more words…