Friday, December 19, 2014

Petition for a Simple Christmas

I’m sitting here on the couch with my laptop searching my brain for something to write about for Christmas. This one of my favorite times of year. I love the weeks leading up to Christmas with Advent and counting down the days. I love putting up the tree and even sometimes braving the crowded shopping malls to try and find the perfect gifts for my family and friends. Yet, for once, I have no idea what to write about.
Then, as I’m trying to think of what to write about, Merry Christmas Charlie Brown is palying on my TV. So, I’m turning my attention to Charlie Brown. This little “blockhead” has been part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. My dad read the comic every single day in the newspaper and we love to give him little books and other reminders of the Peanuts gang. Naturally, Charlie Brown has always been part of my Christmas.
Want to read more? I'm blogging over at Lazy Happy Bored Happy Sad... today! Click here to read my guest post. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Proud of Your Boy

It's Music Monday!

So, I was going to share my favorite Christmas songs each week through December because there are just so many that I love. However... last night my pretend celebrity husband, Darren Criss, sang on the 20 Years of Disney on Broadway, and it was fantastic.

He sang "Proud of Your Boy" from Aladdin and it was so good! I'm obsessed! It's such a great song and I feel like he did a wonderful job. It's a perfect fit for his voice.

Besides... Darren Criss hasn't popped up on here in awhile and I feel like it wouldn't be me if he wasn't here today.

What music have you been listening to lately?

Also, I know I haven't been posting on here lately, but I have been doing Vlogmas on YouTube every single day. So, if you want to see what I've been up to and what I've been thinking about click here and you can watch the playlist of videos I've been working on this month.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Questions Questions Questions

Not too long ago I was tagged in the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by my friend Kirsti! So, I figured... why not join in on the fun? Thanks so much Kirsti!

1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their website.
2. Post the award’s logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions you have been asked.
4. Nominator ten other bloggers and ask them ten other questions.

Then, I give myself the following rule with questions like these: I can't answer anything with Harry Potter. Because obviously I could probably find a Harry Potter answer for each one.

Your questions are as follows:

1. What's your favourite Harry Potter book? (Come on, everyone has one)

Okay... this one is the exception to my rule because it's actually about Harry Potter.

UGH I have to choose just ONE?????? There are a few it could be. I love Goblet of Fire with the tournament, Harry and his friends transitioning more into being teenagers and the books start to become more mature, it's the changing point of the whole series, Cedric Diggory is in it, Draco turns into a ferret... what's not to love?

Then I also love Half Blood Prince. It was the perfect mixture of being hilarious but also serious and sad. We learn so much about Voldemort and his past and we learn about horcruxes and all of the things with Snape! But there's also all of the stupid high school relationship drama which cracks me up and I can't stop laughing.

But I have a tender spot for Deathly Hallows too because it's the end! I love how it all wrapped up and the epic conclusion - even the epilogue! I know... it's a controversial stance to have, but I LOVE THE EPILOGUE AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

2. What's the book/series that everyone raves about but you just didn't get?

The first one that came to my mind was Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Don't get me wrong - I like the book. But everyone seems to have this one as their absolute favorite by her and it's my least favorite. I think a big part of it was that I was expecting something really fun and light and it definitely wasn't... but I enjoyed her other books much more.

3. Which real world places do you want to visit because of a book?

London. Paris. Although I think I already wanted to go to said places but reading books just made me want to even more. 

4. What bookish merchandise are you dying to get your hands on?

Well... I really need a new bookshelf. I've been able to rearrange my shelves a few times and at the moment my books are fitting. But I know it won't last much longer.

5. What's your most anticipated book of 2015?

It's a toss between Winter and Fairest. But they're part of the same series... so it's hard to pick which one I want more. In Fairest, it'll be so fascinating to learn more about the queen. But Winter is the conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles and it's Snow White! Snow White is my favorite fairy tale!

6. Which book character do you wish you could be best friends with?

I would love to be friends with Edward Zanni from How I Paid for College by Marc Acito. He's hilarious and we would have epic musical theatre duets.

7. What's the last book you gave five stars to?

Oh! I just finished Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers. It's the third book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy and it was completely perfect. 

8. Which secondary character do you wish would get their own book?

ZUZANA from Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. She's the actual best ever and I love her and her boyfriend so much!

9. Which author, alive or dead, do you wish you could meet in person?

Rainbow Rowell. From what I can tell from her Twitter account, she and I would be really good friends.

10. How many books do you own?

I actually kinda know the answer to this one because I'm a nerd like that and keep a record of all of the books I own. Yeah... I'm  a nerd. As of my last inventory I own 375 books. That's not including the ones down in boxes in my basement that I never unpacked. Those are mainly the youth ministry type books which were in my office back in Missouri.

Now, it's my turn to tag people and ask them questions! My questions are...

1) What is one of the most underrated books/series you've ever read?
2) What's your favorite holiday story?
3) If your pet wrote a story about the holidays, what do you think it would be about? If you don't have a pet, pick your favorite animal.
4) Tell me about your favorite classic story/book/movie.
5) What are you looking forward to in 2015?
6) What's your favorite holiday dessert? (Can you tell I'm in a holiday mood?)
7) Which fictional character do you think you are the most like?
8) What is your latest Netflix binge?
9) Who are your favorite YouTubers? If you don't watch much YouTube, share bloggers, Tweeters, Instagramers, etc.
10) What's your current background on your laptop/tablet/cell phone?

And I tag... (Even though I know most of them probably won't do it... but I don't care!)

Amber of Mr. Thomas and Me
Dana of Princess Burlap
Angie of Sailor July
Michelle of Wide Open Spaces
Brittany of Stories, Songs, and Praise
Amanda of Musical Poem
Anne of GeekBrarian

Okay... that's all I got. I know I'm supposed to do ten, but oh well.

Also, I've been awful about keeping you all updated on my YouTube channel and my doing Vlogmas. Here's the whole playlist of what I have done so far!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just Believe

There's something about Christmas at brings out our innocence and naïveté isn't there? Suddenly we want to play with toys, listen to kids stories, watch cheesy cartoons on TV. It brings it out in us.

It's why I love the song "Believe" by Josh Groban from the Polar Express soundtrack. We for some reason as we get older let that go away. We stop believing. We stop playing. We need to be adult and do adult things! But Christmas... We find our way back.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

7 Lessons I Learned During NaNoWriMo

In case you haven't been keeping up via my blog, Facebook, or Twitter, I had a rough go of it this time around for NaNoWriMo.

This was the hardest year I've had yet. That's including the years where I had randomly stopped writing for a week or two at a time. Which means it was ridiculously hard. It frustrated me to no end. I loved this story idea! There was so much potential! But by the last half of the month I felt like I was pulling teeth to try and get words onto the page. Granted, I had a lot of adjustments I had to make for NaNoWriMo this year.

- Instead of living in Missouri in my own apartment, I was living at home. This definitely changed up the dynamic of my writing process!
- I didn't have a whole lot of writing buddies. I fully intended to go to write ups, but nothing ever worked with my schedule. Then my other writing buddies lived far away. We were able to do some chatting about our stories, but it wasn't the same as being in the same room.
- I started a new job in the middle of the month. This took up a lot of my writing time I had at the beginning of the month and put on some extra stress that distracted me from writing.

However, in spite of all of this, I still ended November with 50,115 words. Not my best number by any means. But I still got 50,000 words and that's what counts!

I still learned a lot about myself and my writing though through this process - even if it was painful at times.

1) All authors go through times when they hate their writing. The pep talks from the NaNoWriMo site by published authors just confirmed that. It's totally normal to sit there and think "This story is awful. My writing is awful. Everything is awful. I should just quit right now." But they get through it and keep going.

2) You can't edit what's not written. That really is part of the point of NaNoWriMo. Yes, your story might be terrible - but you can't edit it and make it better unless you have something written down. I had several friends via text and Twitter tell me to keep going and that it's okay to have an awful rough draft. That's what a rough draft is.

3) The vision I had for my story wasn't a novel - it was a stage production. If I decide to keep going with this story, it's going to need to be in a stage format. This is completely terrifying and some major adjusting will have to be done. But I really do think it would be better on stage than in a novel.

4) Planning is my friend. Part of my issue was that I hadn't thought it out well enough. I knew this going into November but decided to push through anyway. Some people are amazing at being able to "pants" their way through a story. I can to an extent - but I love my outlines! I need my outlines to at least give me a guideline of where I need to go.

5) Write with the ending in mind. This kind of goes with what I said before about planning. I really didn't know much about how my story was going to end. Sometimes this is okay, but I usually need an idea so I know where I'm going. I didn't know where my story was going so it floundered.

6) Being behind is a lot harder than I realized. So many times I try to encourage people even when they think they have no hope of winning. Or I cheer them on when they don't get the word count by the end of the month. When I got to points when I wasn't sure I was going to get to 50k, I realized that some of my encouragements in the past were really lame. Not doing well during NaNoWriMo sucks. Yes, you're still a "winner" just by getting words on the page. It's still awesome and an accomplishment, but it sucks to not know if you'll make it or not.

7) Fantasy and paranormal is my fiction "sweet spot." I can do realistic fiction, and that's great. But fantasy and paranormal is where I really get into it. It is my favorite genre and I missed it SO MUCH during November. I can't wait to get back to my project from last year and get that all polished and wonderful because I missed those characters and that story like WOAH.

How did you all do during NaNoWriMo? What did you learn this past month?

Also - here's my video for the day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Feel it in My Fingers

Today for Vlogmas, the topic is our favorite holiday movie. I can never choose my favorite because it's between Love Actually and The Muppet Christmas Carol. They're both so different- but so awesome!

Tell me about your favorite holiday movies!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's Music Monday - and today we're talking about our favorite holiday songs!

Which... let's face it... I'll probably do holiday songs every week this month.

Today I'm sharing with you Idina Menzel and Micheal Buble's version of "Baby It's Cold Outside." Their cover is so cute! I can't get enough of it. It's tied now as my favorite version along with Kurt and Blaine singing it in Glee. Seriously, watch the video and you'll see what I mean. Cute cute cute!

What's your favorite holiday song at the moment?

And, as promised, here's my video for the day!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Letters to Advent

Today marks the first day of Advent.

In the liturgical church calendar, Advent is the beginning of the year and the start of our preparation for Christmas. It lasts the four weeks leading up to Christmas and the last day is Christmas Eve. Then Christmas day starts the season of Christmas which lasts twelve days. (Thus, the 12 Days of Christmas.) It's a season where we focus on waiting, preparation, and the arrival of Jesus. Remembering his birth, but also to remember he's coming again.

It's one of my favorite times of year and sometimes I wish we focused on it more instead of just jumping right to Christmas and then having the season end once Christmas Day is done.

This year, I'm participating in Vlogmas. It's hosted by We Blog We Vlog (who does Vlog Every Day August) and Kirstie and I have gotten everything set up so people can sign up and we have the topics calendar ready to go. Click here if you want to learn more and sign up.

I'm combining it with Advent though. Some of you might have heard of "Letters to July" on YouTube. I'm going to do letters to Advent as well as the Vlogmas topics. It'll be a cool hybrid of the two ideas. (Hopefully.) Today, I was able to put together my first video for Letters to Advent.

I've finally completed NaNoWriMo and I'll be honest - I'm a bit burned out on writing at the moment. (Expect a NaNoWriMo wrap up post later this week.) Which I'm not worried about- this never lasts. But I'm glad to be taking a break, and I think making videos everyday in December will help renew my creative juices. 

I'll be linking my videos on the blog everyday. So, even if I don't actually write a post, there will at least be a video to watch!